By Conor Dougherty | The Wall Street Journal
Many condominium developers who rode out the real-estate downturn by renting out their units are reverting to for-sale housing, in another sign of the market’s continued recovery over the past year.
Take Amir Haber, a Los Angeles developer who opened his Universal Lofts project at precisely the wrong moment in late 2008, when the stock market was in free fall and home prices were declining at a double-digit pace. Instead of selling off the project’s 67 lofts that range from 2,000 to 2,500 square feet and sit across the highway from Universal Studios, Mr. Haber converted them into high-end rentals that range from about $3,800 to $5,500 a month.
Miami, above, is a market where developers are satisfying demand with new condominiums or ‘reversions’ from rentals. Reuters, Patrik Argast/Polaris Pacific
Today, things are turning around: Early this year a tenant asked if he could buy his unit. That deal, for $1.3 million, has since closed, and Mr. Haber said several more units will soon be in escrow. “I knew the market would come back,” Mr. Haber said. “It was just a matter of when.”