Condo, co-op resales in U.S. set record in '97

Real Estate Watch

March 01, 1998

Condominium and co-op resales soared to record numbers across the country in 1997, as first-time buyers and retirees increased their purchases, according to figures released by the National Association of Realtors.

More than 516,000 existing condos and co-ops were sold last year, the highest since NAR started tracking these sales in 1981. Boosted by low mortgage rates, both younger and older homebuyers showed a new interest the condominium market.

"First-time buyers and retirees are helping to push condo sales to new records," said NAR President R. Layne Morrill. "For first-time buyers, it's largely an issue of affordability and lifestyle, while for people who are retiring, it's a combination of amenities and low maintenance."

Condo buying increased even amid a rise in prices, as homebuyers were willing to spend more money for the ease of condominium living. The national median price for existing condominiums and co-ops in 1997 was $96,200 during the fourth quarter, a 4.6 percent increase from the same time last year.

"All parts of the country experienced relatively strong condo price increases during 1997," said NAR consulting economist John A. Tuccillo. "In part, this results from sales to empty-nesters who prefer nicely appointed units with lots of amenities."

The strongest regional quarterly increase was in the West, where condo/co-op resales rose 6.4 percent to an annual rate of 149,000 units. In the South, condo/co-op resales rose 5.5 percent during the fourth quarter to 173,000 units.

Pub Date: 3/01/98

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