Friday, March 09, 2007

Condo Conversion In Reverse?

In some cities, there is a worrisome trend of converting apartment buildings into condominiums thus reducing the number of rental units available. Making housing less affordable.

Then I hear that a lot of condominium units are not "owner occupied." The condo owner is renting out the unit to tenants.

Would this be "condominium conversion in reverse?" "Condo" actually used as "rental."

There was a recent article in the Herald about local condominiums that are not "owner occupied." A large percentage of them.

Could be good news for renters.

I don't think we have a problem with condominium conversion here in Bellingham. They are building a lot of condos, but it is "new construction" for the most part. Elbow room. Some people don't like seeing new construction, but at least it can create "elbow room," or "breathing room," if one would rather say that.

Especially as population keeps growing.

They say some condo owners have bought early before retirement. They bought before they actually plan to live here. They don't want to leave their "real jobs" yet and come to Bellingham where there doesn't seem to be much enterprise beyond "education," "retirement" and "retailing."

That gives us locals some breathing room. The scary stories about skyrocketing rents and condo conversion from other locations isn't too bad here yet.

A somewhat soft economy, in terms of wage scales, has some benefits. It's a bit more mellow. Maybe not quite as much of a "rat race" even though it seems like a rat race at times, especially looking at the traffic.

I feel like it's kind of a treadmill that goes nowhere.

"Treadmill to nowhere," that's what a lot of the commercial economy is about, everywhere. Especially noticeable here where we don't have a lot of enterprise outside of local retailing.

Few big export industries.

There's always so many gift shops, massage therapists, restaurants, dance studios, opening up and then struggling. Selling to one another's employees. Lots of "preaching to the choir" here, it seems like. Running on that treadmill trying to get ahead, and then closing.

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