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Anthony Lamacchia with Bob Ward of Fox 25 on Why Condos Are in Such Demand

Related Blog: Demand for Condos Grows Strong

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Report shows families are choosing to give up back yards and privacy, for less maintenance and more amenities. And prices are reflecting this trend, the price gap between standalone homes and condos reportedly is narrowing to $20,000. Here with some insight is Anthony Lamacchia from Lamacchia Realty . I’m surprised by this trend is so pervasive and the price gap is narrowing

Well in the first quarter, it came together, there was like a $6,000 difference where condos were almost the same as single families, that’s the first time we’ve ever seen that in Massachusetts.

So where are these condo sales, where are they really taking off?

Well, always condos the closer you get to Boston the more that there are, there’s no question about it that’s why we’re seeing such a rise in pricing in Boston as an example in 2011 the average price for a condo was $650,000, now it’s over a million dollars.

In Boston?

In Boston.

When I think of condos I think of one of these sort of developments that pop up, you know, a swimming pool, and has all these amenities, that’s not necessarily the case here in Boston is it?

I’m glad you mentioned that because that does tend to be exactly what people think of; there’s also townhouse style, there’s condos where a lot of places there’s 2 units, 4 units, but the thing about them that’s different is there’s more and more and more of them have two-car garages, multiple bathrooms, multiple bedrooms, and the thing is you go into a lot of these now, you feel like you’re in a single-family.

You don’t feel like you’re in an apartment complex.

When I was a kid you said condo, you think of a big apartment complex with small units, but that’s not the case anymore there’s a wide array of properties,

So why are condos in such high demand right now?

There’s a number of reasons. I think there’s two things going on, one is, baby boomers are retiring faster and faster as kids move out kids go to college, and they just want to get something that’s nice, updated, they pay a fee and the landscaping is taken care of, the snow ploughing is taken care of, all these things are taken care of and people love it.  The other thing I see is younger folks, late 20s early 30s, more of them are opting to be closer to work in a condo, than further away in a single-family. And when I say that I’m referring to Boston and Boston Metro.

We wanted to show our viewers an example of what we’re talking about, we have a condo right in Saugus listing price is $315,000, what does that get you?

This is in Sherwood Forest we sold a number of units there over the years, it’s on for $315,000 like you said,  2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1500 square feet, so nice complex, you pay a fee everything is taken care of this property is very well maintained, and it is the complex style there’s a few hundred units as you mentioned.

But 1,500 square feet, that’s a small house, and how does that price, $315,000, 2 bedroom, compare to a single-family house in the same town?

The funny thing is you could get a single-family house in Saugus in the 300s, and obviously there’s more as well condos tend to be better priced, I mentioned the average for Boston but when you look at the average for all of Massachusetts, it’s $300,000. But the gap as you say is narrowing, as you mentioned in the first quarter and there’s really was no gap. Normally the closer you are to Boston, the less bang you’re going to get for your buck, you go further away you can get the single family with a big lot for less money.

What about condo fees? What advice would you give folks because sometimes the condo fees can be pretty high, what would you give somebody they’re trying to examine: do I go with the single family home do I go with the condo and pay the fees? Especially the fees, what advice would you give somebody?

Make sure you’re extremely clear on what those fees include and also make sure you look at the financial statements of the condo association, if you look at an association that’s in good shape, they’re likely not going to raise their fees any time soon, you see an association with 50 units, and they’ve got an extra $10,000 in the bank –that’s not enough money. It’s a major problem, $10,000 goes away like nothing they’ll have to do special assessments, and/or raise the condo fee. So it’s very important to know what the fee includes, and understand the financial position of the association.

And if you’ve got a good Realtor? That Realtor can guide you through it? Right? Seriously not all of us know how to read these financials your Realtor can help you with that.

A Buyer’s agent is key whether you’re buying a condo or single-family home and also like in Massachusetts is an attorney state so you should have a good real estate lawyer too to review the documentation related to the condo.

All right, Anthony Lamacchia thank you so much for joining us an interesting development, people turning to condos perhaps staying away from single-family homes, we’ll see how it all plays out.


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