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Manteca condos plunge 73% in value in just 33 months
The Cherry Lane condos peaked at $220,000 33 months ago and now sell for $60,000 with one unit going for as low as $52,400. - photo by DENNIS WYATT
Thirty-three 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 month homeowner’s association fee.

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

Housing Source Partners three months ago would sell you a converted unit for $179,900 based on prices listed at various websites. That is $127,500 more than the most recent condo unit closing at the complex that was at $52,400 in April. A similar unit with the exact same footage sold for $60,000 in March.

There are two condos in the complex now for sale – one at $68,900 and another at $60,000. Two units sold in February - one for $60,000 and the other for $60,500.

Buying one from the developer will cost you $1,252 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 as low as $55 per square foot.

Buy one in foreclosure at $60,000 with a 3.5 percent down FHA loan and your monthly cost including the association fee will run somewhere over $635 a month.

At the end of the day, condos have plunged the most of all housing in Manteca dropping a steep 73 percent in less than three years. By comparison, the median price for all single family resale homes is down 58 percent from a peak of $413,000 in late 2006 to $176,225 today

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. A number of condo units that were foreclosures sold for $60,000 in late 2008. There is also one condo that Is not under duress that is listed for $68,900.

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 $90,000 in Manteca. There are four foreclosures at that price, eight 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.