NAHB reports signs of life in condo market

The National Association of Home Builders said that the condo market is showing some signs of a revival in some markets across the country, and the uptick in sales is also benefiting the rental apartment market.

“We’ve had fairly strong rental demand for quite some time now, but the unsold condos and single-family homes coming back into the market as rentals were hampering the rental apartment sector,” said Steve Patterson, vice chairman of NAHB’s Multifamily Leadership Board and CEO of ZOM USA, which builds and manages apartments throughout the Southeast. “With many of those units now selling, the so-called shadow market is starting to dissipate and the multi-family market overall is getting healthier.”

At the height of the housing boom, condo starts accounted for approximately 45 percent of all multi-family starts annually, according to the organization. When the market rebounds, NAHB expects that percentage to hover from 20 percent to 30 percent of annual multi-family starts.

“We are definitely emerging from a difficult time and seeing some light in the condo market,” said Bill Donges, CEO of the Atlanta-based Lane Co., which has condominium developments in several cities, including Hollywood, Fla. “The condo lifestyle --especially in urban areas -- is very attractive, and with the interest rates low and the selection good, we are seeing buyers come back into the market,” Donges said.