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Condos drop from $220K down to $60K

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POSTED March 13, 2009 12:21 a.m.
Thirty months ago the Cherry Lane Apartments condo conversion was being billed as the most affordable housing option for buyers in Manteca.

The price for the condos that were typically two bedrooms and one bathroom with 941 square feet was just under $220,000.

Today, the condos are still for all practical purposes – except for a few properties aptly described as tear downs or major fixer uppers – the least expensive housing in Manteca. That even holds true in most cases after you tack on the $200 plus a monthly homeowner’s association fee.

There is one catch. Instead of buying units being sold by the firm that did the condo version, you need to buy them in the resale market as a foreclosure or short sale.

Housing Source Partners will sell you a converted unit for $179,900 based on prices listed at various websites. That is $119,900 more than they’re going for on the resale market.

Buying one from the developer will cost you $997 a month for mortgage payments and property taxes. That excludes the monthly association fee. There is one hitch. You’d have to pay all cash probably as it is highly unlikely the condo will appraise at $200 per square foot when they are being sold as foreclosures for right around $65 per square foot.

Buy one in foreclosure with a 3.5 percent down FHA loan and your monthly cost including the association fee will run somewhere over $600 a month.

Two units sold in February - one for $60,000 and the other for $60,500.

The Cherry Lane condos are the only place in town where those caught in a short sale situation know what the bottom line pricing is. There is one currently listed as a short sale for $60,000. That isn’t stopping one owner who is hoping to snag $99,000 in a short sale for their Cherry Lane unit that has three more square feet than the others. The location may be worth it to someone but it has to be able to appraise to secure financing.

A number of condo units that were foreclosures sold for $60,000 in late 2008.

It’s tough to compare condos with the general housing market as people who opt for them like the idea they have no yard and that the association fee is set up to handle all exterior maintenance costs.

To beat the overall housing cost per month that the condos provide, you’d have to find a home under $100,000 in Manteca. There are 10 foreclosures at that price, seven short sales, and three owner-occupied homes that aren’t under duress.

A spot check shows most – if not all – need cosmetic or structural work.

The condo also has the added bonus that it comes with a swimming pool and weight room.
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