Construction Costs Continue to Rise

As everyone knows, the price of a downtown Austin condo has increased over the last few years. While supply and demand play their usual role, one of the major factors in rising condo prices has been the rising cost of construction.

For new condo projects, building costs have increased substantially since 2006. As the cost of concrete, steel, and rebar increase, the total cost of downtown construction increases accordingly. With so much simultaneous building, labor costs and crane costs are also on the rise. Finally, with demand for downtown land still very strong, escalating lot prices can add significant costs to new projects.

One reason that this is important is that newly developed condo units play an important role in setting market pricing for all downtown condo units. If new units are nicer, cheaper, and better located than existing inventory, prices can move down across the board as owners of existing units lower prices to remain competitive with buyers. When construction costs rise -- and new units are more expensive -- two things happen. First, fewer new project get built tighting supply. Second, new units hit the market at a higher price, subsequently pushing prices upward or, if insufficient demand exists, failing to sell.

Here is additional analysis from the Austin Business Journal:

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics added more bad news this week for contractors and developers trying to get buildings out of the ground.Construction material costs increased 10.4 percent during the past year, the agency reported on Tuesday. The bureau's producer price index measures materials used in construction, including diesel fuel. Meanwhile, highway construction materials increased 18.9 percent during the past 12 months.Ken Simonson, economist for the Associated General Contractors of America, says in a statement "surging prices for diesel fuel, asphalt, steel and other materials are clobbering construction budgets."He says asphalt prices during the first two weeks in July have increased by 40 percent. Rebar has increased $200 per ton.And Simonson says the situation could get worse.


Betting on a Project: The Pre-Construction Purchase Process

If you are interested in living in a downtown condo, the best buying opportunities are often during the “Pre-Construction” process. Before a project has funding, the developer must fill at least 50% of the proposed units with prospective buyers. To do this, they often offer discounts and other incentives to draw in buyers.

Those that are willing to take the risk, and wait the longest time -- often 2-3 years -- may get the biggest reward. They get the most choice units, and often at slightly reduced prices. The risk, however, is real: If the project is never built, the buyer will get their money back but must start anew in their search for a condo. For buyers in projects like 360, the best units went quickly and at reasonable prices. Today, the project opens with no available units and a waiting list of more than 200 potential buyers whose only option will be to wait for units to hit the secondary market.

Perry Henderson published a great summary of the pre-constructions sales process in his blog which we have reprinted here:

Pre-Construction Condos: How the Process Works in downtown Austin


When you buy a home that's not built yet, there can be setbacks before you move in. Here are steps to buying a pre-construction condo

Pre-construction condos are units that have been proposed by a developer, but have not yet been built. When you purchase a pre-construction unit, you are putting money down before construction begins. Buying a pre-construction condominium can be a great opportunity, but you should proceed with caution. Because you are buying into something that does not yet exist, there is greater potential for unforeseen problems and setbacks before you move into your home. By understanding the risks and planning carefully, you can avoid complications and come out a winner.

Advantages
The main advantage to buying into a condominium development before construction starts is that you often get a lower price than if you buy when construction is complete. The reason for this is that developers typically need pre-construction sales of 50 percent to 90 percent of the units in a development before they can borrow funds to begin construction. Pre-construction condos can also get you in on the ground floor of an investment that will appreciate. The market value of pre-construction units generally increases during the one to three years it takes to build a development, so your unit may be worth more than you’ve paid for it before you set foot in the place. In addition, you can often choose from a variety of finishes and flooring options, allowing you to customize your home.

How the process works
There are several steps to buying a pre-construction condo. They can vary from developer to developer, but the basic components are:

1. Reservation agreement You give a deposit (usually between $5,000 and $10,000) to reserve the unit and set the price (although the builder can reserve the right to change the price in the contract). The deposit is held in escrow and you can cancel the agreement at any time with a full refund.

2. Condominium documents When a development is approved for construction, the developer submits condominium documents (including budgets, association rules, unit descriptions, materials and other important information) for approval by the state. Once the documents are approved, they are sent to you for review. Read them carefully to make sure that you will be comfortable living by the association rules.

3. Right of rescission Once you receive the condominium documents, you have a 15-day period to decide whether you would like to proceed into a binding contract. If you don’t, you can exercise your right of rescission and withdraw with a full refund.

4. Hard contract If you don’t withdraw, you’ll provide the balance of the required down payment, usually 15 to 20 percent of the purchase price, and sign a binding contract agreeing to purchase the condominium. You generally have seven days after that to cancel. This is your last chance to walk away with no penalty.

5. Closing When construction is nearly finished, the developer will issue you a Certificate of Occupancy. A closing date is set when you will hand over the balance of the purchase price and sign the final documents. If all goes according to plan, your closing will coincide with your move-in date, and you will be ready to enjoy your new home.

The original article can be found here.

New: Four Seasons Residences Listings

Since many of the large new condo projects are being privately marketed through in-house sales agents, the only way to get unit details and pricing is to schedule a meeting and visit the sales center. Recently, however, the Four Seasons Residences has added a number of units to the Austin MLS -- making the details publicly available for the first time.

Currently, there are 8 units listed ranging from a 1,060 SF one bedroom unit for $580,000 to a 2,692 SF three bedroom, three bath unit for $1,918,000. One interesting note is the wide variance in price-per-square-foot which ranges from $459 to $764 -- it's highest for the largest units.

The listings, as well as new listings for Sabine on 5th, are available Here: AustinTowers Downtown Condo Listings

Austonian Condo Fees Set a New Record!

The Austonian is going to be nice. At 56-stories, it will be the tallest building in Austin. In fact, it would be the tallest residential building in San Francisco. It has a beautiful pool and a dog park with a special doggie toilet.

These luxury features, however, are not free. Units in the Austonian start at $500K and top out at more than $7 million -- more than the selling price of almost any apartment or single family home in the history of Austin. On top of this, residents will pay the highest condo fees of any project in the city -- an amazing $0.64 per square foot per month which equates to almost $1,300 per month for a 2,000 square foot unit.

Condo fees fund the daily operations and maintenance of most condo buildings. They cover security, landscaping, cleaning of common area, common area energy use, maintenance, and other key building functions. Prior to the introduction of the W and Four Seasons Residences, the highest condo fees in Austin were $0.40 per square foot and the average was a low $0.34. At $0.64, the fees at the Austonian are the highest in the city. According the sources, the $0.64 fee is actually a reduction from the $0.67 per square foot which was originally offered to buyers.

Here is our updated list of condo fees by project:

Fee by Building - - - - - $ / SF / Month
Avenue Lofts
.................$0.28
Milago
.......................$0.31
The Sabine
...................$0.33
360
..........................$0.33
Plaza Lofts
..................$0.33
The Shore
....................$0.36
Five Fifty Five Condos
.......$0.40
W Hotel & Residences
.........$0.61
Four Seasons Residences
......$0.61
Austonian
.... . . . . . . . .$0.64
Average......................$0.42

Condo Sales: How Firm are They?

While the mortgage lending crisis seems to be easing, jumbo mortgage rates remain significantly higher than they were just two months ago. During this period, many projects have announced stellar sales and reservations of new units brought on the market during this awkward period.

So what's the deal? Is the Austin market so strong that people keep on buying as rates go up? Is everyone in town paying in cash? Is there really demand for another 136 buildings? The answer is no. In reality, some of the buildings have made the reservation process so painless that with $5,000 or $10,000 and a dream you can reserve a unit. If interest rates rise, contractual provisions may allow you out of the contract. If you can't get financing, you get your money back. In fact, at some buildings, the deposit is fully refundable. Go ahead, reserve a unit and then decide if you want to live downtown. If not, just ask for your money back.

For example, the W Hotel and Residences has a $10,000 fully refundable deposit policy. While they report that they have "sold" 150 of their 196 units, this number will certainly drop when the hard earnest money is due at ground-breaking in October, or when some occupants find out that they will not qualify for a jumbo loan.

This isn't true for every project: once a building commences construction the deposit requirements typically become much more strict with as much as 10% of purchase price due to the developer. It's the buildings still in pre-construction sales whose "sales" are the hardest to gauge.

The Monthly Cost of Luxury Living

Condo fees fund the daily operations and maintenance of most condo buildings. They cover security, landscaping, cleaning of common area, common area energy use, maintenance, and other key building functions.

With this posting, we are publishing the condo fees of two new ultra-luxury projects, The W Hotel & Residences and the Four Seasons Residences, for the first time. Our previous analysis has noted that he prices in the new buildings that we have looked at are surprisingly constant -- they have varied from $0.28 / SF / Month to $0.40 / month -- an amazingly tight range. With these two new projects, this is no longer the case. According to our research, the condo or home owner association fees at both buildings are set at $0.61 per month -- 50% higher than any other building we have reported on and 85% higher than middle-of-the-road projects like 360. While it should be no surprise that the Four Seasons and W are more expensive than the Hilton, it's sets a new and unprecedented price for luxury condo living in Austin.

Almost universally, Austin condo fees are calculated on a dollar-per-square foot basis. The rate typically remains relatively constant on all units throughout each building. So, condo fees are not higher for more expensive units, or units with more bedrooms, or units on higher floors compared to less desirable units of the same size in the same building. The only thing that matters is the number of interior square feet. If anyone has numbers for other buildings, send them to us and we will add them to the list.

Here are the updated building-by-building statistics:

Fee by Building - - - - - $ / SF / Month
Avenue Lofts
.................$0.28
Milago
.......................$0.31
The Sabine
...................$0.33
360
..........................$0.33
Plaza Lofts
..................$0.33
The Shore
....................$0.36
Five Fifty Five Condos
.......$0.40
W Hotel & Residences
.........$0.61
Four Seasons Residences
......$0.61
Average......................$0.40

Jumbo Mortgage Rates Spike

The mortgage crisis is now front page news all across the United States. While conforming loans remain okay -- primary loans with values below $417K and full income documentation for buyers with solid credit - the investor market for everything else is in trouble. The result is a rapid rise in rates. As for the condo market, there will be very little effect for buyers of units that are less than $500K. For the high-end market, however, the market change is dramatic.

First, many buyers who qualified for loans a couple of weeks ago will not be able to get financing at all today. For those who can still get financing, rates have risen dramatically and are currently hovering between 7.5% and 8.0% for jumbo 30-year mortgages.

Bankrate.com reported today that:

Buyers of pricey houses are finding that money has suddenly become more expensive to borrow. Ditto for loan applicants who don't want to prove that they told the truth about their incomes.Rates on jumbo and Alt-A mortgages have zoomed upward since the last week of July, even as rates on conforming, fixed-rate mortgages slipped downward.The development is bad news for people who want to borrow more than $417,000 to buy a house or refinance a loan, or who can't or don't want to document their income. Rising jumbo rates make it more difficult to sell a house costing half a million dollars or more.



Over the last few months, hundreds of Austin buyers have put units under contract in new condo projects such as 360, the Four Seasons Residences, and the W Hotel & Residences. many of the buyers may no longer qualify for mortgages, or, may not be comfortable with the higher monthly payments now required. While every building is different, some projects do allow buyers to get 100% of their deposit back if rates climb over a certain threshold, one of the major buildings set this rate at 8%, or if buyers are unable to secure financing. With rates spiking, some buyers will be able to take advantage of these provisions.

For the majority of downtown units priced under $500K, including most of the units I buildings like 360, the current mortgage crisis is not catastrophic. While lending standards have tightened this week, most buyers with solid credit and documented income will still be able to qualify for the same traditional mortgage, just at a slightly higher rate.

For buyers who can afford the higher rates or our planning to pay cash, now might be a great time to negotiate with developers. If this crisis continues, it will be very difficult to sell many of the high-end units currently planned for downtown Austin.

Mortgage Crisis Hits Austin

Over the last two days, the Austin lending market has changed dramatically for the worse.

As the subprime lending crisis has evolved into a global problem—the bankruptcy of two large lenders seems to have tipped the scales — the market spotlight has turned a negative eye on every participant in the residential mortgage market. As the bad news has spread, lenders are dramatically cutting back on loans -- and rapidly raising rates at the same time.

The market changes in Austin over the last 48 hours are dramatic:

- A number of lenders, especially brand name lenders such as Wells Fargo and Bank of America have hiked jumbo (>$417K) mortgage rates from 6.8% to over 8.0%. Many other lenders seem to be following.

- Specialty loans -- especially loans that do not require income verification or documentation -- have quickly disappeared. These loans, which were commonplace a week ago, are now very difficult to come by. The same is true for loans that do not require a full 20% down payment.

- It has been reported that large loans (>$1.5M) are now very difficult to obtain, even for people in a very strong financial position.

These changes are bad news for buyers -- especially buyers who have placed deposits, are stretching their budget, and haven't locked in their final loan. We'll see how the marker evolves over the next few weeks. While anything could happen, most experts believe that the mortgage lending environment will get worse before it gets better.

Economic Analysis: 2008 Job Growth to Drive Austin Housing Price Appreciation

If there is one rule in predicting what will happen in the housing market, it's that strong job growth drives strong real estate demand. This is why the Austin market was red hot during the tech boom and why the market was stagnant during the tech bust -- even as real estate prices soared in the rest of the country. And it is one of the main reasons that the Austin market has stayed so strong in 2007, even as national prices decline, interest rates continue to spike, and the sub-prime crisis unfolds.

The good news is that job growth in Austin is expected to remain strong. According to Mark Dotzour, chief economist and director of research at the prestigious Texas A&M Real Estate Center, 2008 should be a great year for the Austin housing market.

The Statesman reported that:

Dotzour said national job growth will be only about 1 percent but that Texas' rate probably will be double that. And he predicted that Central Texas will outperform both the nation and the state with 3.5 percent job growth. "Austin is blowing the doors off the state of Texas," Dotzour told a crowd of more than 1,000 people. On the housing front, Dotzour said, the Austin metro area should see healthy sales and price appreciation. . . Home sales were at near-record levels at mid-2007 with a low, four-month supply, Dotzour said. . . It's no surprise, he said, that Central Texas home prices appreciated 11 percent in early 2007 compared with a year earlier, according to federal housing data. That outpaced rates of 6.87 percent in Texas, 4.34 percent in Florida and 1.19 percent in California. "I would expect at the current low levels of inventory, home prices are likely to continue to appreciate substantially in the next 12 months, possibly rising in the 8 to 10 percent range," Dotzour said in an interview.



For condo shoppers, market appreciation and rapid increases in construction and land prices are clearly putting upward pressure on condo prices. As long as demand remains strong, condo prices will likely continue to slowly rise.

Austin Crane Shortage

Austin's KXAN is reporting tonight that an acute shortage of cranes and crane operators is complicating high-rise construction in Austin. We've heard numerous reports from developers that a scarcity of construction labor -- and skilled general contractors and sub-contractors — is leading to escalating constructions costs, and higher condo prices in the end.

According to the story:

"There's no available operators in Austin right now," said construction worker Sam Buchanan. "They're all working." With a nationwide shortage, construction managers are paying more to keep cranes moving in Texas.



Over the last two decades, only a handful of tall buildings have been built downtown. As a result, local construction companies are only staffed to build a couple of major projects at one time. With more than 20 projects currently under construction or being planned, it is getting very difficult to find labor and equipment to build new projects. The result is simple: construction prices are going up and condo prices will likely follow.

Reserving a Condo: Up-front Payment Requirements

In July, more than 100 Austin condo buyers reserved units in projects such as the Austonian, the Four Seasons, and the W Hotel & Residences. All three of these projects have one thing in common: they are currently empty lots. Actually, in the case of the Four Seasons Residences, the building site is currently a very busy hotel parking lot.

In the current hot condo market, top projects will sell out before the first ceremonial shovel of dirt is removed from the lot. In these circumstances, buyers will be required to pay deposits years before they will be able to occupy their newly selected home. The deposit requirements vary widely among projects. Typically, buyers will be required to pay between 3% and 10% of the purchase price of the unit in order to execute a sales contract. The projects that are super-upscale or in high demand are the ones most likely to have high condo fees.

A typical payment scheme would be an initial payment of $5,000 or $10,000 to be paid at contract signing. This payment reserves the unit. The balance of the deposit would be paid over 90 or 120-days (or with some projects all money is due by ground-breaking). In addition, most buyers are required to pay 50-100% of upgrades such as wood floors, premium appliances, and sound system packages.

One comment we have heard from buyers is that it is currently a seller's market: prices are non-negotiable, deposit requirements are steep, reservations require a sales contract, and there are very few good deals or incentives to be had. While the 360 supposedly provided a 3% down incentive for a limited time to move some remaining units, these sorts of incentives are hard to come by and almost never available on the prime units that tend to sell first.

While the current market for condos may be a sellers market, this won't be true for every project that comes along over the next couple of years. The name brand projects such as the Four Seasons, the W Hotel & Residences will see high demand from people who value the brand. Other projects, like the tall and reasonably-priced 360, will also sell well. For the other downtown projects, competition for buyers will be fierce. It is inevitable that some buyers will be able to negotiate better deals, free upgrades, or reduced deposit requirements by shopping around and playing projects against each other.

Updated: Condo Fees by Building

As we have written before, one of most common questions asked by first time condo buyers -- especially in Austin where the popularity of condos is rapidly on the rise -- is how much individual buildings charge in monthly condo fees.

Condo fees fund the daily operations and maintenance of most condo buildings. They cover security, landscaping, cleaning of common area, common area energy use, maintenance, and other key building functions. On average, our research shows, condo unit owners can expect to pay $0.34 / SF / per month or $340 in monthly condo fees for a 1,000 SF unit. For more information on total condo costs, check out our detailed posting on condo cost of ownership.

Looking at detailed MLS records on more than 30 units on the market today, we recently calculated the rough fees for the major downtown condo buildings that currently have units on the market. Since then, we have received updated numbers from some of the projects and some additional data on two new projects. Almost universally, the fees seem to be calculated on a dollar-per-square foot basis that seems to remain relatively constant on all units throughout each building. So, condo fees are not higher for more expensive units, or units with more bedrooms, or units on higher floors compared to less desirable units of the same size in the same building.

In addition, the prices in the six new buildings that we have looked at our surprisingly constant -- they vary from $0.28 / SF / Month to $0.40 / month -- an amazingly tight range. If anyone has numbers for other buildings, send them to us and we will add them to the list.

Here are the building-by-building statistics:

Fee by Building - - - - - $ / SF / Month
Avenue Lofts
.................$0.28
Milago
.......................$0.31
The Sabine
...................$0.33
360
..........................$0.33
Plaza Lofts
..................$0.33
The Shore
....................$0.36
Five Fifty Five Condos.......$0.40
All..........................$0.34

As we get more information on additional building fees, we'll keep updating this posting!

The Efficient Condo Market


If you buy a house in central Austin, the odds are that it is different -- in one way or another -- from every other house in central Austin. When it comes time to sell your unique house, you may get lucky and sell for more than it's worth, or you may be unlucky and have it sit on the market for a long time. Setting a price is a key variable, but pricing a unique house is as much art as science.

The issue is that the value of unique single family homes is subjective and highly personal. Every house, every street, and every aesthetic is valued differently. The single family home market, as one would expect, is very different from the downtown austin condo market.

Every high-rise condo project has a large number -- sometimes hundreds -- of interchangeable commodity-like units. Unit 16B is essentially identical to unit 17B. The result is a much more efficient resale market. When it comes time to sell a downtown condo, there will likely be similar units on the market. If they are cheaper, they will sell faster. If they are more expensive, the may never sell at all.

While the floor (the higher the better, stay away from the ground floor) matters and in some buildings the view can vary greatly from side to side, the effect on value is not as dramatic as one might think. Our ongoing analysis of Nokonah values and appreciation confirms this: units on floor 11, the top floor, are valued at just 11% more than units on the second floor. Buyers seem to pick a building first, and then look for the right unit weighing size and price. This approach leaves very little room for creative pricing.

Yet, it's amazing how differently sellers price similar units. The AustinTowers listings pages provide a few great examples of this. For example, there are two units currently for sale in the Nokonah: a 670 SF 1/1 for $450K and a 1,225 SF 2/2 for $550K -- the smaller unit is almost certainly overpriced.

Because it so easy to compare prices, downtown condo values will be efficiently set by the market. The building will make a huge difference, but actual prices will be set by your neighbors. This has some benefits and drawbacks. On the positive side, accurate comparables make it easy to set the right price and correctly priced units should sell quickly. On the downside, pricing may fluctuate more widely with supply and demand: when there are lots of people selling at the same time, it's likely that prices will drop. And there is very little chance to get lucky and sell your unit for above market value --- if a unit doesn't sell, the most likely reason is that it is overpriced.

Condo Fees by Building

One of the most common questions asked by first time condo buyers -- especially in Austin where the popularity of condos is rapidly on the rise -- is how much individual buildings charge in monthly condo fees.

Condo fees fund the daily operations and maintenance of most condo buildings. They cover security, landscaping, cleaning of common area, common area energy use, maintenance, and other key building functions. On average, our research shows, condo unit owners can expect to pay $0.34 / SF / per month or $340 in monthly condo fees for a 1,000 SF unit. For more information on total condo costs, check out our detailed posting on condo cost of ownership.

Looking at detailed MLS records on more than 30 units on the market today, we've calculated the rough fees for the major downtown condo buildings that currently have units on the market. Almost universally, the fees seem to be calculated on a dollar-per-square foot basis that seems to remain relatively constant on all units throughout each building. So, condo fees are not higher for more expensive units, or units with more bedrooms, or units on higher floors compared to less desirable units of the same size in the same building.

In addition, the prices in the six new buildings that we have looked at our surprisingly constant -- they vary from $0.28 / SF / Month to $0.40 / month -- an amazingly tight range. If anyone has numbers for other buildings, send them to us and we will add them to the list.

Here are the building-by-building statistics:

Fee by Building
$ / SF / Month
Avenue Lofts

$0.28

Milago

$0.31

The Sabine

$0.33

Plaza Lofts

$0.33

The Shore

$0.36

Five Fifty Five Condos

$0.40

All

$0.34

Nokonah Analysis: Part II


Two months ago, Austin Towers initiated a comprehensive unit-by-unit analysis of appreciation in the Nokonah. The Nokonah, A luxury high-rise project completed in 2002, was one of the first successful projects that helped to ignite the current condo boom in downtown Austin. The 11-story project is located at 9th and Lamar just north of Whole Foods and on the western border of downtown. When the Nokonah was built, the real estate market in Austin was stalling as the regional economy slowed. It was not clear how well the new project would do. Five years later we know the answer: the project sold out and the buyers have seen significant appreciation in the value of their units.



As we mentioned in Part I of our analysis, In order to better understand condo values in the downtown market, we've begun a comprensive analysis of public tax records (tax records are available online through the Travis Central Appraisal District) to better understand downtown condo market values and how they have changed over the last five years. This analysis, which tracks every unit in the Nokonah, shows appraisal value and $ / SF by floor, apartment size, # of bedrooms, and year. The data is fascinating and will be a useful tool for anyone looking to purchase a downtown condo (Register for the full report).

In part two, we've further examined the tax data and have come up with some interesting results: Read More...

More on Downtown Living Costs


When you focus on price-per-square-foot in evaluating costs, downtown condos may seem expensive. But there is more to the cost:

- Energy costs in a condo are typically very low: it's not uncommon for average utilities in a 2,000 SF unit (Electric + Gas + Water) to be under $100 per month. A similar house with a lawn could have average monthly utilities in the $300 - $500 range.

- Maintenance costs are included so you won't have to spend $10K for a new HVAC unit, roof, or other potentially expensive repairs.

- Downtown living can enable a different life style. Some couples or families may be able to eliminate a car and the related gas, insurance, and financing payments that come with it.

- Many buildings include amenities such as swimming pools, shared "guest" bedrooms, etc. that allow tenants to live in smaller units that they might otherwise own. If the building has an extra bedroom that can be used when guests are in town, you may be able to live in a unit that is smaller than a comparable single family house.

- And there are many more economic benefits: you won't need a paid security system or service, your insurance premiums will likely be lower and you won't spend money on landscaping, exterior painting, or pool maintenance.

So while the price per square foot may seem high, think about the complete picture. There are some great economic benefits to life in a downtown condo.

How much does it cost to own a condo?


The price of a condo is only one component of the final cost. In addition, you'll need to think about monthly condo fees, property taxes, utilities, etc. The good news is that the price is relatively fixed: unlike owning a single family house, you won't need to worry about surprise maintenance projects like a new roof or new AC that can cost thousands of dollars.

Here are cost estimates for three size condo units in a new downtown high-rise development:

Typical 1-Bedroom Unit
Square Feet: 750
Price: $281,250
Monthly Payments:
Mortgage: $1517
Condo Fees: $255
Taxes: $592
Total: $2,364 / Month

Typical 2-Bedroom Unit
Square Feet: 1500
Price: $562,500
Monthly Payments:
Mortgage: $2,995
Condo Fees: $510
Taxes: $1,184
Total: $4,689 / Month

Typical 3-Bedroom Unit
Square Feet: 2,200
Price: $825,000
Monthly Payments:
Mortgage: $4,392
Condo Fees: $748
Taxes: $1,736
Total: $6,876 / Month

All of these cases assume a standard 30-year mortgage with 10-percent down and the balance financed. The cost assumes an average purchase price of $375 / SF and the monthly condo fees are calculated at $0.34 / sf. What does it add up to? Plan on spending about $3.15 / month per square foot to live in a typical downtown condo building.