"We are definitely emerging from a difficult time and seeing some light in the condo market,"said Bill Donges, CEO of the Atlanta-based Lane Company, which has condominium developments in several cities, including Hollywood, FL. "The condo lifestyle — especially in urban areas — is very attractive, and with the interest rates low and the selection good, we are seeing buyers come back into the market."
At the height of the housing boom, condo starts accounted for 45 percent of all multifamily starts annually. When the market rebounds, NAHB expects that percentage to hover between 20 to 30 percent of annual multifamily starts.
Preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau indicate that 2007 saw a total of 275,700 starts of buildings with five or more units, down about 6 percent from the previous year and the lowest number of starts in this sector since 1996. NAHB has also ratcheted down its forecast for multifamily starts in 2008, saying it expects approximately 250,000 five-plus starts in 2008, with that number rising to just above 260,000 in 2009.