Increasing Condo Taxes Causing More Real Estate Problems in Cities

Across America the real estate market is suffering from the economic climate; in some areas the economic decline combined with overbuilding in previous years has left many condominium units standing empty and unwanted for extended periods of time.

In the years before the recession, there was a boom in condo construction in many cities across America as real estate values just kept climbing with no apparent end in sight. This recent building boom has, in many areas, helped cause an even bigger glut in the condo market when combined with the economic downturn and resulting epidemic of foreclosures.

One of the programs that has been supporting condo sales is that of urban tax abatements that allow home owners in certain areas to pay reduced—or no—property taxes to give buyers an incentive to live in areas that have been previously seen as undesirable. Many of these tax breaks were set up for finite amounts of time, running anywhere from five to fifteen or twenty-five years; and some of these tax abatements are now coming to an end at a particularly bad time.

Because there are so many home owners who're already having problems paying their mortgages currently, the end of these tax breaks has the potential to increase this problem exponentially. With all of the foreclosed homes on the market at present—as well as homes that have already been on the market for an extended period of time—there is the very real possibility that American city's condo markets are very soon going to be in even worse shape.

The increased numbers of condos that will possibly be unoccupied once these tax abatements have expired are likely to cause condo owners who stay in their homes additional strain as well. In condominiums, association fees are paid by owners to collectively cover maintenance costs for the building and pay any employees—like doormen or security. The fewer owners there are in a condo complex, the fewer pieces this monthly payment can be divided up into and the bigger chunk of change that each of the individual home owners will have to fork over. These bigger monthly association fees will put further strain on already overburdened owners struggling to keep their condos.

There doesn't appear to be any plan in the works for home owners who will be affected by this tax abatement expiration at this time; but it would likely be in the municipal governments' best interest to start coming up with ways to help ease home owners' financial pain that they are more than likely going to feel over this issue.

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