Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

First Coast Condo Prices Fall 42 Percent; but Resulting Bargains Cause Sales to Surge

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

First Coast Condo Prices Fall 42 Percent; but Resulting Bargains Cause Sales to Surge

Article excerpt

Byline: KEVIN TURNER

Jacksonville-area condominium prices plunged by 42 percent from the second quarter of 2009 to the second quarter in 2010, the most severe drop in metropolitan areas for which the National Association of Realtors tracks such data.

Of the 61 U.S. metropolitan areas for which NAR provides the median sales price of existing condominiums, the Reno/Sparks, Nev., metro area came in second with a 34 percent drop. The Phoenix metropolitan area had the third-highest median value drop at 16 percent.

The median price for Jacksonville-area condominiums fell from $126,900 in last year's second quarter to $74,200 this year, according to data gathered by the Florida Association of Realtors and released Wednesday. At the same time, condominium sales shot up by 90 percent - from 359 to 682 -as buyers snapped up bargains, FAR reported.

It was also the largest year-over-year quarterly drop of any other city in Florida, according to FAR. Daytona Beach's 28 percent condominium value drop was second, and Pensacola was third-worst with a 25 percent median price decline.

Jill Mero, a Realtor at the Watson Realty Corp. San Marco/San Jose office, said the fall in price came from a mix of factors.

"There were a lot of conversions done, so [there were] many short sales, bankruptcies and people desperate to sell," she said. Making matters worse was a tightened lending market that wouldn't finance areas where there hadn't been much financing previously. And with new condominiums pouring onto the market during the 2005-06 real estate boom, the result was a glut, she said.

And when other condo owners have filed lawsuits because sometimes speedy conversions resulted in building defects, there's an additional chill on financing for other units in the same development, she said. But even without other factors, financiers still want 10 to 20 percent down before they'll finance a Jacksonville condominium, she said.

Quarter over quarter, single-family home prices in Jacksonville were much more stable. Median values dropped by 9 percent - from $160,300 to $145,100 - as volumes rose from 3,054 in the second quarter of 2009 to 4,073 in the second quarter of 2010. …

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