The Looming Condo Bust

With the housing market softening, cities that have been witness to heavy speculation in trendy urban condos will suffer most.
August 28, 2006, 2pm PDT | Christian Madera | @cpmadera
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While the booming condo market in cities like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington and San Diego helped establish the idea of an American "urban renaissance," the latest data show that these cities, particularly their downtown cores, will be impacted the most by the slowing housing market.

"Inventories for houses are up 39 percent from a year ago, while those for condominiums have shot up by 63 percent. Home price increases are slowing and could begin to decline. But the condo market is much worse. Prices could fall as much as 9 percent this year, according to one recent investment bank analysis. Four-fifths of developers say they find more price resistance from buyers.

High priced, overhyped urban areas are particularly vulnerable. Many of these markets are heavily influenced by speculators, who own as much as one-third of the condos for sale in downtown San Diego and more than four-fifths in Miami. These 'flippers' are most likely to unload properties once they see the prospect of declining prices."

Thanks to Joel Kotkin

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Published on Sunday, August 27, 2006 in The San Francisco Chronicle
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