Sun, 27 September 2015
I have read that condominiums existed in Rome some 2000 years ago. Check this photograph taken under the entrance way to a very old community, the stone reads "Condo"...is there a doubt? Perhaps Romans bought into a multi-family structure for the same reason families today do...more time for leisure, less demand on utilities and in many cases, lower costs than single-family housing. Our lifestyle has evolved since then...most of the forward movement has happened since the 1970's.
Today the condominium is the fastest growing shelter concept in America. In 1963 the government mortgage insurance was extended to condominiums through the enactment of an amendment to the National Housing Act. The concept was first accepted by the 55+ market as an alternative to single family housing in retirement areas and as second home investment in resort areas. And for a variety of reasons with the enthusiasm for condos propelling builders and developers, the condo boom in the late 70's ran right into overbuilding. Even here in Charlotte. Kathryn Smetana built the very first new condominium on Gaynor Road in Cotswold: Gaynor Arms. A handsome building still...stately and well-built it serves to remind us that quality construction is long, long lasting. Then came the era when first timer condo buyers got married, had children, changed jobs, were transferred and there was a glut...and interest rates were high and condominiums got a bad rap...made worse by some faulty construction and some poor management and maintenance. Whew! If units didn't sell, they were rented...investor ratios grew, then complexes couldn't get financing. It was a tough market for attached housing.
Then Charlotte began to grow...the condominium market changed. In some areas sellers even made money...note: some areas. When I first started my database, there were 300+ condominiums and townhome complexes...as of today, I have data sheets on most of the 1000 residential condominium communities and that is just for Mecklenburg County