Good News for Downtown Condo Market

Good News for Downtown LA: Evo Condo Tower Moving Units

(*cliff notes version of article in LA Business Journal by Daniel Miller)

After cutting prices by as much as 30% last year, 193 of the South Park building’s 311 units were sold in 2009, making it one of the fastest selling condo buildings in the country.

With the market showing signs of life, the developer South Group, said it has raised prices by as much as 20% from the lows hit last year and sold 15 more in January and February. They are hopeful they will sell the remaining 81 units before the year is out.

The news of the Evo sales is encouraging in the midlevel and high-end condo market which has taken a huge hit over the past few years.

The evidence is not just anecdotal that there has been a pickup in the market.

Condo sales rose last year as developers slashed prices. The trend continued in February, when 1,393 condos were sold in Los Angeles County, nearly 50 percent more than in February 2009. The median price of $295,000 is about where it was a year earlier – well off the $460,000 high hit in mid-2007.

Thanks to condo projects being converted into apartment building and little to no construction, a strong reduction in inventory has helped condo projects recover from the lows of last year.

Evo, at 1155 S. Grand Ave., features a 24th-floor open-air lounge, a sixth-floor pool deck and amenities typically reserved for Wilshire Corridor condo properties, such as concierge and bellman services. Units include terraces, oak floors, exposed concrete walls and stainless steel European appliances.

The original plan called for Evo to be nearly sold-out by the September 2008 opening. The worst case envisioned was that perhaps 20 percent of buyers wouldn’t get approved for loans and those units would be sold later. But the reality was far worse. At one point, about 200 units had been presold, but as the economy cratered, people backed away from the deals, despite deposits and executed contracts. Ultimately, no more than a dozen units were sold to original presale buyers.

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