Condo prices take a beating, but in a few markets, keep on ticking

For first-time buyers and investors, condominiums are often a way to get into a hot housing market, offering the potential for appreciation and/or rental income, without having to worry overly about a lot of maintenance costs, zoning and other issues. See the full report in Acrobat.

But the condo market has taken a beating over the past few years, in part due to overbuilding in places like Miami, but also because financing for condominiums can be more strict than single-family homes.

According to the National Association of Realtors, the average condo lost 20% of its value from the first quarter of 2008 to the first quarter of 2009. Of the roughly 60 markets surveyed by the NAR, only five showed appreciation year over year.

Condos in Portland, Maine, and the surrounding area did very well last year, up 11.2%. In the Midwest, you see condo prices in Wichita and Bismarck (N.D.) up more than 6% each. Lastly, in Springfield, Mass., and Syracuse, N.Y., prices were up 4.9% and 3.4% respectively.

On the down side, the five weakest condo markets were Las Vegas, Phoenix, Reno, San Diego and Miami, with prices all down 39% or more year over year.

While we are hearing some reports of investors coming back to these high visibility markets with all-cash offers, prices seem to have farther to fall before they may bottom out.

The median condo price in Las Vegas has dropped to $75,200, so certainly some buyers are going to look at that low price point and ask themselves how much lower can it go.

Brett Widness is an editor with AOL's real estate channel. Find homes for sale, foreclosures, home values, home finance and apartments at AOL Real Estate.
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