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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Prices collapsing in senior communities: San Diego

How cheap? Houses and condos in senior communities in the region have been losing value steadily since they peaked in 2005, now down 42 percent to a median price of $160,000 in 2011, a faster drop than the local housing market as a whole, according to data from the Multiple Listing Service, a real estate agent database. These communities, which restrict the age of purchasers, provide amenities such as pools and activities and the assurance of no screaming kids to retirees or people on the brink.
As such, the communities anticipated a wave of baby boomers that has not materialized, as boomers have gotten caught in the vise of the real estate crash and a sluggish recovery marked by high unemployment. Unlike the family market, where lenders and hold-out owners can keep houses off the market, nature itself forces homes in senior communities onto the market at a higher than usual rate.
Prices in senior communities tracked with the rest of the housing market until last year. The median price of a house or condo in a senior community peaked at $275,000 in 2005 in North San Diego and Southwest Riverside counties, according to a North County Times analysis of data from the real estate agents database provided by Gregory Moser, a local Realtor.
In 2010, government tax subsidies spurred new-home buyers to jump into the regular housing market, and the median price rose from a low of $237,000 in 2009 to $255,000 in 2010, and $260,000 so far this year. But senior communities never stopped dropping: The median price fell to $160,000 this year, and has now lost slightly more value from its peak than the market as a whole.
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