In every corner of Forest Park you’ll find condos on the market, and some are priced very, very low. Why aren’t they selling? There are two main reasons. First, it’s about supply. We have an overabundance of units for sale, and the competition is fierce. Did you know that if not one more unit became active, it would take us almost a year and a half to sell-off the existing inventory for the one- and two-bedroom units. This is bad news for sellers, and, unfortunately, we are now in the traditionally “slowest” quarter for real estate activity.
But people have to live somewhere, and rental rates are increasing dramatically, so why – our second reason – is demand low?
It’s all about the mortgage. Not only are they hard to get these days, but once secured, they’re most often Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgages and not conventional loans.
This is another problem for sellers and a big one for potential buyers because many condos in Forest Park are not approved for FHA mortgages. This is because of the “first right of refusal” clause in the building’s condo documentations, and it is considered discriminatory. There’s much federal talk about making FHA loans more inclusive, but any changes are in the future.
What’s a seller to do? If your condo building is FHA-approved, includes parking, takes pets, has central air conditioning (many of our older buildings do not), and/or allows rentals, emphasize, emphasize, emphasize these advantages in your marketing efforts. Any of these features puts your unit in the forefront of the competition. As a Realtor, I can’t begin to tell you how often this info is not included, much less trumpeted in the MRED listing data.
Obviously your budget is your guiding principle as a buyer, but you too should consider these points not only for your convenience but also for your down-the-road resale value.
Yes, it’s a buyer’s market. Let’s look at some of the available opportunities to see why. Today in Forest Park there are 28 one-bedroom units listed for sale, and this number includes seven short sales. More to the point, half of these active units are priced at $70,000 or less. The least expensive one-bedroom sold for $26,900! As for two bedrooms, there are 35 on the market, and 21 are listed at $150,000 or less. We see seven short sales in this mix too.
With this kind of pricing level, we should be seeing buyer motivation. Talk about deals! They exist if you are a first-time buyer with an approved loan in your pocket. Perhaps you have a recent college graduate living in your basement or maybe one who’s in a local college and needs an apartment or dorm expenses. Maybe you’re thinking about older parents you’d like to have closer (maybe they need to be closer). If a rental option is OK – a condo could “buy” itself. Imagine getting your retirement home paid for before you leave the workforce.
If any of these criteria describes your situation, now may be the time for you to buy a condo in beautiful, easy-access-to-the-big-city Forest Park.