I’ve been saying for years, that one way our city and state can help address affordable housing within our skyrocketing condo market, is to address the issue that developers are afraid to build condos! Why are they afraid? Because they know they are going to get sued by the HOA’s, and to prepare for that, they have to pad the development budget by driving up the cost of the condo units to make up for the expense. Why are they getting sued? Not because they are building bad buildings, but rather due to the ancient Washington Condominium Act, which was supposed to help protect consumers several decades ago from scrupulous builders and developers that were cutting corners, but now over 25 years since the law was enacted, even for the best development teams with quality control measures, it is now creating a breeding ground for lawsuits, no matter how well and condo building is built.
What’s the big whoop? Well guess what, these lawsuits drive up the cost of everything related to condo ownership. It makes things more expensive for the developer, for each subcontractor who also gets roped into each lawsuit, for each HOA that has to fund the huge cost of hiring a consulting firm to find construction defects, and on down to the individual condo owner who just wants buy a nice condo so they can live in a cool, fun and vibrant condo building in the city so they can reduce their carbon foot print, ride a bike to work, not commute an hour to work, and walk to the gay pride parade this weekend with their friends and neighbors but have to pay more for this convenience. They are okay to pay a bit more for all these perks of living in the city, but at what cost?
I loved reading this article by Bob Wallace of Wallace Properties as he is doing a great job of bringing to the forefront some major issues regarding developers, lawsuits, land prices, and “extortion” as he calls it that affecting our condo market.
By Marco Kronen with Seattle Condo Review: A guide to Seattle downtown condos.