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Market Report: Maligned Downtown Condos

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Cautious would-be condo buyers are withholding investments in the downtown market, reports Crain's. 2011 saw just 770 closings on downtown condos, compared with 1,682 in 2010 and 1,891 in 2009. Enhancing the disparity was the pace of closing, with buyers generally taking full possession much more quickly a couple years ago. Also to be taken into account: distress at specific condo buildings that produced discounts and quick sales. In some cases, down payments and strict loan requirements are insurmountable obstacles. "People talk about the cost to own being very attractive," says Gail Lissner, Appraisal Research VP. "It is attractive, but you need that down payment, you need that unblemished credit score, and those can be tough things." Furthermore, some young buyers demand high-end finishes at below-market prices which, according to Jameson Sotheby's VP Lindsey Delrahim, is a hard thing to land downtown. [Crain's]