Putting Properties in Their Place

Location, location, location: The old saying about what’s most important in  real estate has never held truer than in today’s tough market.

Residential property spending has been dropping for months (the average U.S. home sales price dropped from $322,100 in the first quarter to $310,000 in the second quarter of 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.). New properties have stalled on the market, causing many developers to postpone or cancel upcoming developments.

But some residential projects are selling — well — and location plays a big part in their success.

The Big Apple Goes Crazy for the Great Outdoors

New York’s residential market is faring better than most, but it’s still amazing to consider residences near New York City parks are selling at considerably high prices, according to The New York Sun.

  • Apartments next to parks in Manhattan and Brooklyn are selling at premiums of at least 25 percent.
  • Properties near New York’s famed Central Park are selling for record prices, in some cases for more than $3,000 per square foot.

New York is no cheap place to live — so it stands to reason residents expect prices to be higher. But $3,000 per square foot? When you’ve got something to offer residents that they can’t get anywhere else — be it a penthouse or a park view — as New York’s real estate market is finding, they’ll pay.

Young and Older Generations Do Downtown

Despite the housing slump, data indicates that in many cities, buyers are still interested in urban properties. As single-family home prices drop across the board, condos are faring well in several markets:

  • Salt Lake City condo prices grew by 25.6 percent this year.
  • Albuquerque condos shot up 17.9 percent, according to CNNMoney.com.

One key reason: With mean prices of $147,100 to $164,600, the units are still affordable (at least more than single-family homes are) and appeal to first-time buyers or older residents who can benefit from a city’s walkability, dynamic nightlife and public transportation.

The Best Place to Be: In Between Everything

Convenience can also be a factor in residential location-based success.

Consider Greer, S.C. The area’s population has more than doubled in the past 15 years and its real estate market remains stable in the face of a national housing slump, according to the Spartanburg Herald-Journal.

A few reasons why:

  • Locals say location makes Greer an attractive spot to settle: It’s off I-85 and near large employers BMW and Mitsubishi, allowing for an easy commute and proximity to two cities, Greenville and Spartanburg.
  • Greer also offers a variety of housing, giving everyone from first-time buyers to retirees looking for a summer home options.

We may not hear about it often, but there are some strong residential sales going on in this otherwise lackluster year for housing.

True, that doesn’t mean every downtown condo will sell. It doesn’t imply that all developers should rush off to create new communities off interstates.

But it does show a few glimmers of hope for the market. With the daily housing news getting more and more bleak, it’s easy to write the whole industry off — but it’s important to remember that this is a downturn, and while it affects the overall market, it isn’t eradicating it.

Certain areas and developments will continue to sell well. Others won’t. Know about an area that’s booming or one that has gone bust? Post about them here on the Out and About blog — and watch for future posts about housing market holdouts.