INSIDE THE DEAL: Fractured Condo Sale: Foreign Buyer Snaps Up Condo Conversion at $55,000 Per Unit

By Keat Foong, Executive EditorPembroke Pines, Fla.—A recent transaction brokered by Apartment Realty Advisors (ARA) demonstrates that condominiums can be readily sold in this market for the right price—in this case, at $55,000 per unit. ARA’s Florida division arranged the bulk sale of 26 remaining condo units at the 250-unit garden apartment-style La Via Condominium located here. Shaoul Mishal, president of Israel-based Gamla-Cedron Group purchased the units for $1.43 million, or $55,000 per unit. This price compares to an average condo sales price of about $230,000 per unit at the height of the market, says Avery Klann, senior vice president at ARA’s Boca Raton office. Klann arranged the transaction. “There is a phenomenal level of interest in distressed [properties] throughout Florida,” Klann tells MHN. “We’re seeing buyers come in from the Middle East, Europe, and even many from Canada.” The seller in this case had already paid off the senior debt and was achieving strong profits, according to ARA. The 250-unit property was converted to condominiums in 2005 and a total of 224 units had already been sold over the past three years. But the owner wanted a fast closing with a strong all-cash buyer on the remaining units. Klann said he approached a “handful of sellers” given the seller’s wish for a quick transaction. The all cash deal was closed in 35 days, Klann, a member of ARA’s Distressed Assets Solutions Group, said. He said an additional benefit to the buyer is that about 90 percent of the 26 units are already occupied by renters. The buyer’s strategy is to continue to operate the units as rentals, maybe for another two to three years, and over time to begin to sell them. “Most buyers in the market are looking for properties that generate a current yield and have cash flow from day one,” he says.