Sunday, November 21, 2004

Sacramento Apartment Complex To Become Condos

Tenants of a Sacramento apartment complex recently were surprised with the news that all 162 units will be turned into condominiums and the renters will have to buy or get out.

Chuck Dart says that he has lived in the Woodside Oaks apartments for 14 years.

"The best part about it is, everybody else does the yard work, and I don't," Dart said.

But Woodside Oaks is about to become Alicante Villas, with the rental office being replaced by a sales office.

Converting apartments to condominiums is a growing trend all over the state. Greg Vlasek, of the Sacramento Association of Realtors, says it's a wise investment for those who can afford it.

"Just this year, we've seen a 30 to 40 percent increase in existing condominium prices. An upscale rental property can actually increase in value by 50 to 100 percent when it's converted to condominium ownership," Vlasek said.

One condo in downtown Sacramento recently sold for $245,000. It's only 586 square feet. And a two-bedroom townhouse is on the market for $330,000 -- a price that has been called shocking by some.

"It's crazy! Crazy! And you know what it is? It's the Bay Area. They're all coming over here," said Bill Karch, who is looking to buy a condominium.

At Woodside Oaks, residents are being told they have 60 days to move out or 90 days to close escrow.

Many of Dart's neighbors will have to move. He said that at least one woman just can't afford to buy.

"She goes, 'I don't want to buy. I'm 83 years old. I already sold a home,'" Dart said.

"Renters can be displaced. That's unfortunate. It's part of the ongoing problem of finding enough housing for everybody in Sacramento and throughout the state," Vlasek said.

A shortage of affordable housing, in turn, leads to a shortage of rentals. It's a cycle that continues in California real estate, according to experts.

A representative for the villas said the prices haven't been determined yet, but current tenants will get first dibs and loan assistance.

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