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What’s driving the crisis?

Despite condo prices falling in major Florida metros, they’re still higher than what they were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Condos that used to have a $400 monthly maintenance fee may now have a $700 fee,” said Juan Castro, a Redfin Premier agent in Orlando, in a recent Redfin report. “It’s causing buyers to rethink their plans.”

To make matters worse, the state has been rocked by extreme weather, like storms and hurricanes, leading many home insurers to either hike up premiums or pull out of Florida entirely.

The average home insurance cost in Florida is $4,218 a year — almost $1,441 more than the national average of $2,777, according to insurance.com.

And in the aftermath of the 2021 Surfside condo collapse — which killed 98 people due to construction flaws — regulations now require more frequent inspections of condo buildings, while many condo associations are raising fees to build a larger reserve for repairs.

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Sunshine State seniors are suffering

Sellers are now struggling to offload properties saddled with the additional costs of condo ownership.

Redfin reveals the median condo price in Jacksonville dipped by about 7% year-over-year in January, sales declined 27%, and new listings surged by 32%. In Miami, condo prices dipped by 3%, sales dropped 9% and new listings rose 27%.

Barbara Schmal, who has been a real estate agent for three decades, told ABC Action News she’s never seen the Florida condo market experience such a low.

Schmal adds this crisis is hitting folks on fixed incomes harder than most. The Sunshine State is known for its sizable retirement community — and many of these older adults reside in smaller single-family homes or apartments.

“That’s what made Florida — the 55 [and] over retirees who really created our beautiful state,” Schmal says. “Now, they’re being punished for it.”

With lower incomes and limited savings, this group may no longer be able to afford their Florida condos in the face of rising prices, but they’re struggling to sell them off as well.

Schmal provided numbers that showed 2,660 condos on the market in Pinellas County — 869 of which are in 55-plus communities.

"I currently have five listings in the 55 and older communities, the longest one I have on the market, which I listed back in August; it's been on the market for 151 days, and we've had three showings," she says.

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Serah Louis is a reporter with Moneywise.com. She enjoys tackling topical personal finance issues for young people and women and covering the latest in financial news.

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