News from our neighbor to the North:
When mortgages become too burdensome, the bill from the condo association becomes easier to ignore.
Phil Ochs, a lawyer who represents about 40 condo and homeowners associations in Montgomery and Prince George's counties, said he has seen 10 foreclosures since January. In the past 45 days, 15 people living in communities he represents have declared bankruptcy to stave off foreclosure. Most of them bought their condos in the past two years, he said.
Normally, Ochs said, he may see one or two foreclosures and one or two bankruptcies a month. But now, that's changed. "Something's going on," Ochs said. "This is historically out of line."
Delinquencies are also increasing on investor-owned units, lawyers and property managers said. At the height of the real estate boom, investors bought properties with the intention of selling for a quick profit. When the market turned, they couldn't sell. Now, they are renting the units out, sometimes for less than the monthly mortgage. To make up for the shortfall, some choose not to pay condo fees.