Inner Harbor Ritz condos: 21 sold, 171 to go
Mirabella notes this in a story about lead contractor Bovis Lend Lease petitioning for a lien because it says the developer has missed $1.37 million in payments. Subcontractors aren't happy either, as you might imagine. (Developer Midtown Baltimore, in a statement about the Bovis petition, said it is "working closely with them to complete the close-out process and to amicably settle any outstanding matters in a timely manner.")
It's not an easy time to sell expensive homes, and these are definitely upscale for our area, complete with valet attendants and doormen. When the first residents moved into the Ritz condos last summer, the units were priced from the upper $800,000s to $5 million, Mirabella reports.
I took a look at homes in the Baltimore metro area listed for $800,000 or more through Metropolitan Regional Information Systems last month. There were 1,384. Home sales in that price range? Thirty-three. If that pace continues, it would take three-and-a-half years to move all currently for-sale $800,000-plus homes into buyers' hands.
Is this a reflection of difficulties in the jumbo mortgage industry? Of concerns about the economy (including stock portfolios)? Of too few people who can sell their not-quite-so-expensive homes and move up? Or is it just about too few people who have the money to buy upscale, period?
The answer is important for a development like the Ritz. Because the million -- or rather $1.37 million -- question for the developer is this: Will the condos do well when the economy improves, or are they ill-suited for the Baltimore market?
I'm not claiming to know. What do you think?