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When Will Developers Start Building Condos Downtown Again?

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What's it going to take to get some new damn condos, Downtown? The insane, 2,800-person *interest list for the Barker Block's 68 units—the only new condos built in the past year—would suggest that perhaps some people are interested in buying a home in DTLA. So why does almost all of the new construction in the neighborhood focus exclusively on apartments? Oh, because developers want to squeeze every last dime out of every last bit of space, duh: Downtown News reports that developers have been patiently waiting since the economy took a dive to see if and when units would start selling at prices that "could justify the cost of building condos." See, developers only want to build "luxury" condos, the type that would sell for more than the estimated $700,000 it costs to build a condo (low-rise units would probably be cheaper), but condo sales have recently only averaged about $544,000 a unit in Downtown. There's an obvious price to pay, however, for only building high-end condos and overlooking the mid-range market, though, warns a principal at Keller Williams' Downtown office: "There has to be a range of condos with prices that can accommodate different kinds of residents ... I understand it's all about the bottom line for developers, but it's important to build a community of homeowners."

What's so hot about buying into Downtown, anyway? Despite the leaps and bounds it's made in becoming a cultural center, a large part of its desirability for potential buyers has to do with rising prices in adjacent neighborhoods like Echo Park and Silver Lake, says the director of USC's Lusk School of Real Estate: "Two years ago, you could buy a house in Silver Lake for $400 a square foot, and that's simply not the case anymore." Downtown is the next best thing to Silver Lake, then.
· With Big Barker Block Sales, Many Hope for a Condo Comeback [DN]
· 2,800 People Are Interested In 68 New Barker Block Condos [Curbed LA]