Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Note to Developer: Skip the Stack

I saw the six newly renovated condos at 2401 44th Avenue several weeks ago, and thought they were nice in terms of overall condition and finishes. Targeted at empty nesters or first-time home buyers, these 2BR/2BA condos, ranging in price from $595,000-$685,000, seem like they would have been sold by now. But they've been on the market since May, and none have closed yet.

What it comes down to, according to the listing agent, is the issue of stacked parking and high homeowners association (HOA) dues. When developers are looking to ensure parking for all, they sometimes decide to install automated, mechanical lifts. In 44th Avenue's case, there are two levels of parking, and you press a button to operate the device so your car is in a position to be driven off the lift. Unfortunately, there isn't enough room in the garage for six, independent parking spaces unless you stack them.

The idea of having to drive on and off the device itself is deterring some potential buyers. And the feature costs money to maintain, contributing toward the high HOA dues (about $570 per month). The seller is currently offering pre-paid HOA dues as an incentive.

At the right price, these units will sell. But resale value will probably lag behind the average, given the parking situation and dues.

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