Chattanooga’s condo market is holding steady in terms of sales volume, although the median price declined in 2007, data show, and several condo projects have stalled.
Realtors helped sell 539 condos in the market last year, compared with 548 sales in 2006, according to the Chattanooga Association of Realtors. The median condo sales price last year was $159,700, an 8.7 percent decrease from $174,900 in 2006.
“Demand was slow in December and January,” said Gina Sakich, co-owner of Real Estate Partners Chattanooga LLC. “But it’s coming back. The last couple of weeks we’ve had a lot of contracts working.”
Ms. Sakich is the listing agent for Museum Bluffs Riverside and Parkview. Riverside is sold out, she said, with prices ranging from the $400,000s to $2 million. Riverside is opening in June with 80 condos sold, from $175,000 to $595,000, and 27 units remaining, she said.
But other condo projects have stalled in the past year:
The developer of Battery Place Condominiums auctioned five units to dispose of unsold stock.
An apartment-to-condo conversion at Marina Pointe Apartments failed in 2007 and the lender forced the owner to walk away from the property.
The creditors of the Clark Centre in December forced eight remaining residential and commercial condos into involuntary bankruptcy prior to a foreclosure sale. Several residents and businesses occupy previously sold units there.
An Atlanta bank foreclosed last fall on 49 unsold units at The Village at Greenway on Mountain Creek Road. At least 27 units were sold to residents prior to the foreclosure.
BATTERY PLACE LOSES CHARGE
Battery Place Condominiums was built in the historic Battery Place neighborhood in 2005-06, north of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga campus. Developer Tag Bailey sold five condos in auction March 22 to reduce his inventory.
One condo sold for $272,250 to Dr. Sibaji Shome, who closed on the property Wednesday, said auctioneer Henry Glascock of John Dixon & Associates. Three units sold for $253,000, and one sold for $280,000, he said. The sales prices include a 10 percent premium to John Dixon & Associates, Mr. Glascock said.
The low of $253,000 is 27.3 percent less than the previous low selling price of $348,000 for at least eight units at Battery Place in 2006, county records show. At least two additional units sold in 2006 for $379,000 and $428,000 each, county records show.
More than 250 people attended the Battery Place auction, Mr. Glascock said, but he had hoped for higher bidding. The real estate market is soft, he said, and people are nervous.
“No one is buying on impulse,” Mr. Glascock said. “They’re very calculating. It’s good to buy, not sell, unless you have a unique piece of property.”
However, it’s a buyers market, he said, and the high auction attendance shows there is great interest in downtown living.
Developer Bailey said he still has a couple units left and will try to sell them later after the market stabilizes. He said he also was pleased with the auction turnout, but “everybody was trying to lowball everything.”
Battery Place was complete and most of the units were sold prior to the auction. But one planned condo project did not get off the ground.
The previous owners of Marina Pointe Apartments last year gave up plans to convert the property to condos. The former owner, Peter Rosenbaum of New York-based Pinnacle Homes Realty Co. LLC, said in November that condo demand is flat and he did not meet his goals for pre-sells for the complex at 5750 Lake Resort Drive, overlooking Chickamauga Lake near the dam.
The company that held Marina Pointe’s mortgage note, BRT Realty Trust, announced recently that it had acquired the apartment complex’s deed in return for not initiating foreclosure against Marina Pointe. Pinnacle Homes had owed $25.7 million on the property, said Simeon Brinberg, senior vice president of BRT, which is based in Great Neck, N.Y.
BRT plans to hold onto and manage the 308-unit Marina Pointe Apartments, he said.
“We’re happy with it,” Mr. Brinberg said. “I understand it’s a beautiful property in a beautiful location.”
BRT is a real estate investment trust that specializes in mortgage bridge loans and short-term commercial real estate loans, according to the company’s Web site.