Of all the bad ideas I have read about or witnessed concerning the housing bubble of the '00s, the Natick Collection: Nouvelle is my favorite.
Here's the idea:
1. Residential real estate is bringing in big bucks, let's build!
2. There's nowhere to build in Mass with zoning laws, and the population is declining. Maybe we shouldn't do this.
3. Awww screw it, let's slap some 'luxury' condos onto our existing shopping mall.
Seriously, is there such a thing as non-luxury condos or apartmnets? Ever condo or apartment building markets itself as luxury. When all are luxurious, none are luxurious. These were originally priced in the 500s and all the way to 1.75 mil for a penthouse. Now the official website says $229K to sold out. I feel bad for the suckers who bought penthouses earlier. Scary thing is that just a little over a year ago, these condos were going from $379K to a little over $1 mil. The bubble peak is shown through initial hopes, and the slow deflation shows there. The moment when it all might have hit rock bottom was the auction in October of 2009. Some went in the mid $200s. That is how GGP went under, debt and stupid ideas like the Collection.
Buried in the auction article is the details of condo fees and taxes. Condo fees for 900 sq ft condo will be over $500 a month. With a 30 year mortgage and 20% down on a 250K condo, you'd pay $1098 a month on principal and interest, and then 50% on top of it for condo fees!!! At least the condo fees take care of plenty of maintenance or whatever, sorry but condos are not a good deal when you're paying through the nose for condo fees. Taxes are a total screw job, and here's where the municipalities get thier grubby paws on money and screw over citizens. Taxes are assessed on full value, not the auction price. Consider this: if the auction price went above full value, do you think the city would wait a second before using the higher price for the assessment? No way. This is not as bad as Florida munis throwing out home sales of distressed properties because they were not normal, keeping property taxes higher than they should be to reflect the market. Everyone's got to get paid, especially the cities that screw over the elderly with skyrocketing property taxes.