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New Florida Law Roils Condo Market

Some owners in older condo buildings are putting their units on the market after receiving six-figure special assessments following the Surfside collapse.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A recent state law to ensure condominiums meet structural safety standards has many condo associations levying special assessments for repairs and upgrades, leaving the condo owners – many on fixed incomes -- to foot huge bills.

Repairs that include roof replacements, façade waterproofing and others bring the buildings to code but cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per unit. Some owners have little choice but to sell their condos, but many are selling for less than expected because buyers don't want to pay pending repair assessments after the sale.

In Miami, housing prices have more than doubled since 2018, according to Redfin. Since the first quarter of 2023, South Florida's condo for-sale inventory has more than doubled to more than 18,000 units, and about 38% of housing stock available in Miami is condos, according to Zillow.

About three-quarters of those condos are 30 years or older and carry assessments and large repairs with them.

ISG World reports that prices on these condo units are 12% less than they were 30 years ago, while condo units built less than 30 years ago are selling at 38% more today than they did in 2020.

"It's not the buyers that aren't qualifying," said Craig Studnicky, chief executive at ISG World. "It's the buildings that aren't qualifying."

Source: Wall Street Journal (05/13/24) Acosta, Deborah

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