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Field Guide to the Condominium Market

Condominiums continue to be a popular option for first-time buyers and empty-nesters, particularly in urban areas. While buyers often choose condos for their convenience they also face a different set of issues that owners of houses do not—specifically condo boards and the rules governing the many aspects of condo living. This field guide offers articles and books that address the unique circumstances of condo owners. (R. Carlson, Information Specialist)

Q - ProQuest articles available for NAR members only. Password can be found on the ProQuest/Find Articles page.

Condo vs. Co-ops

Before condominiums there were co-ops—short for cooperative housing project. While common in New York (80% of the market) co-ops are also found in most large cities. There are differences between the two, as shown below.

Condo: title, same as a house
Co-op: own shares of a corporation

Property Taxes
Condo: unit owners taxed separately
Co-Op: typically lower taxes

Condo: same as a house
Co-op: few lenders willing to give a mortgage

Deductions at Tax Time
Condo: same as a house
Co-op: more complicated

Monthly Assessment
Condo: includes maintenance
Co-Op: includes maintenance, property taxes

Condo: same as a house
Co-op: less costly; sale not recorded (no title)

Source: Condo or co-op? What's the difference?, (BankRate.com).

Condo ​Trends

'Bulk sales' of condos clear supply, at a cost; Florida, for one, eases legal path to cut glut of distressed properties, but packaged purchases put pressure on prices, (Wall Street Journal, July 6, 2010). Q

Local condo market is heating up, says ECAR, (Emerald Coast Association of REALTORS®, Mar. 26, 2010).

Reaching out to condo buyers, (New York Times, Nov. 20, 2009).

'Ghost towers' spur condo backlash, (National Real Estate Investor, July 2009). Q


Really? Condo-hotels are back, (Hotel News Now, Aug. 2014).

In Florida, Return of the Condo-Hotel?, (The Wall Street Journal, Aug. 22, 2014).

Related Fund Management Grabs Fort Lauderdale Condo Hotel for $90M, (Commercial Property Executive, July 2014).

Homebuyers Avoiding Chores Fuel U.S. Condo-Hotel Revival, (Bloomberg, July 2014).

Selling Condo Hotels: A solution to the legal problems associated with condominium hotels, (Multi-Housing News, May 2014).

Investing in Condo Hotels: Time to Cash in on Condo Hotels, (Wealth Daily, May 2014).

Treatment of Condominium Hotels as Securities after Salameh, (Los Angeles Lawyer, Jan. 2014).

Checking In: Chicago’s Hotel Resurgence, (Urban Land, Oct. 2013).

Marketing Condos

Condo sales making a comeback, (Orlando Business Journal, June 21, 2010)

Luxe sales buzzing, (The Miami Herald, June 19, 2010)

Stressed developer to try auction, (Wall Street Journal, June 4, 2010). Q

Developers extending condo push with downtown marketing drive, (Columbus Business First, June 22, 2007).

What you need to know to sell condos, (Realty Times, May 29, 2007).

Condo Association Issues

10 questions to ask your condo board, (REALTOR® Magazine, Handouts for Consumers)

Changes Urged to Rules on Condo Loans, (Wall Street Journal, June 22, 2009). Q

Condo boards take on lenders—chasing unpaid dues, associations are foreclosing on units seized by banks, (Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2009). Q

Specialist helps condo boards get along, (Star Bulletin, Mar. 25, 2007)

An Introduction to Community Association Living, (Community Associations Institute)

Related Websites

Affordable Housing Cooperatives, (University of Illinois, June 2004)—Conditions & prospects in Chicago.

Buying a condo using an FHA loan, (Department of Housing & Urban Development).

Community Associations Institute

Condo Life Magazine

FHA Approved Condo list

FHA-approved condominiums, (Department of Housing & Urban Development)—Search by city.

FHA Condo approval process, (HUD).

Institute of Real Estate Management

Living in a housing cooperative, (National Association of Housing Cooperative)—FAQs.

Nationwide links to condominium laws, (CondoLawyers.com).

What Buyers Should Know about Multifamily Homes, (realtor.com®).

eBooks & Other Resources


The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

Condo Owner's Answer Book (Kindle, Adobe PDF eBook)

How to Buy a Condominium or Townhouse (Adobe PDF eBook)

Make Money with Condominiums and Townhouses (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Tips & Traps When Buying A Condo, Co-Op, or Townhouse (Adobe PDF eBook)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Information Central. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Information Central at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

Existing Home Sales: Condominiums and Coops, (Chicago, IL: National Association of REALTORS®).

Field Guides & More

These field guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to Hotel/Motel Properties

InfoCentral Blog

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The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.