Published on our September 2023 Newsletter

Question: “Why don’t so many condo complexes qualify for financing?

Chris’s Answer:

Currently most condos on St. Croix must be purchased for cash since they don’t qualify for financing. A condo complex is warrantable if it operates as closely to a residence as possible and is not seen as a “condo hotel” and complies with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Mortgage guidelines. When lenders are considering loans on condos in a specific complex, they look at many factors: some HOAs, while insured, don’t meet the lenders guidelines for coverage, the number of vacation rentals in condo complexes is increasing, and a couple of condo complexes rent office space to agencies that rent condos inside the complex which can appear to lenders that the complex is a condo hotel.

After Hurricane Maria in 2017, insurance companies paid claims which were sometimes substantial. Many insurers decided to raise their premiums in subsequent years. Condo complexes handled those rate increases in different ways. Some passed them along as either increases in the monthly HOA fees or as special one time assessments. Some HOAs reduced their premiums by increasing their deductibles or by lowering the amount of their insurance coverage.

Lenders want the properties they finance to have a certain amount of insurance coverage. Some lenders have become unwilling, in the short term, to lend into some complexes until these issues can be resolved by the insurers and individual HOAs. Many of the Condo Boards on St. Croix are currently reviewing these issues, and working with the insurers to make adjustments to their coverage so that lenders are satisfied.

Do you have other real estate questions, contact us!