Monday, November 21, 2011

City filled with HOAs resists downward trend in property values

We often hear from some folks that mandatory community associations drag down property values. Dictatorial boards, botched elections, disgruntled owners, missing reserve funds, none of these stories paint a rosy picture of the community association lifestyle but how much of an impact does all that really have on property values?

According to a recent Bloomberg Businessweek survey, the city of Weston, FL, which is comprised almost entirely of mandatory associations, has seen a 15.1% increase in property values from February, 2009 to August, 2011. This increase occurred during the same time period that most homeowners across South Florida saw their property values drop by as much as half!

In 1984, the first homes in Weston were built by Arivda/JMB Partners as part of a planned 15,000 acre master community. Ultimately, Weston became a city comprised of 110 Subdivisions with over 61,000 residents. 90% of Weston residents live in communities governed by homeowners' associations. Another 8.5% live in condominiums.

Only 350 houses in the entire city of Weston aren't in a development controlled by an association. Weston is one of those unique cities where almost the entire populace lives in a mandatory association and yet it has, according to the Bloomberg survey, flourished in spite of an incredibly challenging real estate market. It's hard to make the argument that Weston is succeeding in spite of their associations when almost 99% of the population lives in one!

My parents have lived in Weston since the early '90's and they have all the usual complaints about their board, the parking policies, the fining committee and more. Still, their home has retained much more of its value than my sister's in Sunrise outside the confines of an association. Coincidence or something else?

For the article on the Bloomberg survey, please click here: http://miami.cbslocal.com/2011/10/25/weston-home-values-defy-downward-trend/.

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