Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Premium Condos Becoming Scarce - Where Are the Middle Market Condos?

On Sunday the Enquirer ran an interesting story about the current shortage of high end condos in the Downtown/Urban Core/Riverfront areas on both sides of the Ohio.

This is of course an overall positive sign for Downtown and Urban Core areas of the City. I don't know if it bodes as well for building up a wider socio-economic group of residents. If the goal is to building up residents of downtown, we'll have to take what we can get in the short run, but is that good for the long haul?

What downtown needs more of is not only high end, but middle or lower end condos. If you want to attract YP you must understand that the majority can't afford to buy a condo for 250,000 plus, when they can buy a house at the same price or less with at least twice the square footage. I don't know what writer Jeff Newberry defines as a YP person, but this paragraph gave me pause:
Market researcher and consultant Michael Dinn said the supply of central city condos is getting thin, especially those selling for between $200,000 and $300,000 that many young professionals can afford.
Newberry is likely using the old fashioned YP definition of Doctors and Lawyers.

What I feel has been the overall problem with the housing efforts in Downtown is that they focus on people making six figures ($100,000 and up for those a bit slow this morning). Single people making $40,000 to $99,000 would often jump at the chance to own property below Central Parkway, but can't afford the prices. Sure, those making closer to 100K could afford the higher end if they budget correctly, but that assumes they've been making that kind of money for a few years and have savings and other means to make that kind of purchase. Saying they should is the view from the realtor and developer, not from people thinking long term and not from those who don't want to see people lose their condo when they lose their job.

At some point the high end market will dry up. We need to think middle class here. The middle class makes a community, but they can't afford to start it.

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