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FHA Loans May Spark Condo Sales in Bay Area: Pacific Marketing

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Pacific Marketing Associates, which provides sales and marketing services for real estate developers in California, anticipates increased demand and limited supply will boost prices in the condominium market. The prediction goes against expectations that new guidelines from the Federal Housing Agency (FHA) would constrict financing for condos. Paul Zeger, president and founder of Pacific Marketing Associates, said several factors are pushing average sales prices up in the mid-range market, especially in the Bay Area. Year-over-year sales jumped for the second straight month in many markets, such as Contra Costa County. Prices also increased from Oct. 2009 to Nov. 2009 by 8.5%. “If you want new construction, demand will soon outstrip supply, but other factors such as interest rates and availability of home loans will also have an effect,” Zeger added. Low interest rates, federal benefits and FHA loans are pushing prices when the inventory of condos priced below $729,000 is not being refilled and current sales deplete the inventory, Zeger said. He pointed to an 87-unit boutique condo development in downtown Walnut Creek that’s one-third sold or in contract. The average price-per-square-foot is running at $467, compared to $310 for other condos in the area. In January 2010, Zeger said, the availability of FHA loans should spark an immediate sales push. Write to Jon Prior.

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