When you buy a condominium, however, you only buy the dwelling - 'up to the paint on the walls,' - not the whole structure itself, and not the land. So, if the question is, "Are condos riskier in terms of investment than houses?" The answer is a qualified yes, because not only do you not own the land the condo sits on, you have very little control over all those things that affect it, like condo association fees, extended litigation, and bad neighbors. For these reasons, prices in a development can go south quickly.
But, if the question is, "Are Condo's a bad investment?" , the answer has to be much more qualified, and begs the question as to why folks want to buy a condo in the first place:
These and numerous other life style advantages fuel the fire for condos. It seems that everywhere there's a new condominium development being dug. However, the resale market for condos in most areas, including Northeast Ohio and the Mahoning Valley, is still far smaller than for houses. Condos, therefore, are generally more difficult to sell the second time around. But as the 'baby boomers' reach an age where the 'advantage appreciation' of the condo life style out weighs the condo’s lackluster 'price appreciation', we will very likely see older condos in greater demand, and these will see far greater price appreciation than they've enjoyed in the past.
We don't want to end this discussion without mentioning that all of the special tax considerations available to homeowners are also available to condo dwellers if they itemize their tax return. Most accountants will tell you that this fact alone will most often make up for uninspired performance in appreciation, and can make owning a condo less expensive than renting.
Here's the bottom line as far as investing in a condo. As with any real estate purchase, study the neighborhood or development before you buy. It's important to gage how effective the particular association is, and to learn about development issues that will put downward pressure on resale value (the most dangerous of these difficulties are disputes and lawsuits with the developer). Weigh the advantages of condo living against the disadvantages of low to moderate appreciation and slower resale. Above all, remember that any investment that brings contentment and peace of mind, may, in fact, be priceless.