Sunday, November 12, 2023

What's Up With Condo Fees?

It's been quite a year for Florida property owners. The good news; a slow hurricane year. The bad news; insurance. The stories about wildly increasing homeowner's insurance premiums have been circulating since policy renewals began arriving earlier in the year. I started saving comments about rate increases from various internet forums where Florida homeowners were discussing insurance increases. Here are the most recent quotes I've saved. I have many others.

  • Ours went from $2500 in 2018 to $6500 this year
  • $4,600 this year up from close to $4,000 last year. A few miles from the coast Volusia County
  • In Central Florida, it jumped from $1100 last year to $2500 this year
  • In Land O Lakes, went from $1800 to $3900 per year 
  • Up from $3,000 to $8,673. What do I win?
  • Ours went from $1800 in 2020 to $5000 now
  • From $4.3K to $8.4K. 30 miles inland. Roof replaced in '23. It was $1.3k back 4 years ago.
  • My beach town house that was built in the ‘30s and has never had a claim went from $8000 to $22,000.
  • We were $1600 for years… last year, $3600… this year, $6000. Orlando not near water
  • $3300 in 2016, $6,000 2023 high and dry St Pete.
  • $4500 to $9700
  • Mine went up 50%. From $4,000 to over $6,000. 100 miles inland, ten year old metal roof, 1750 sq ft. That was with Castle Key,
  • I just received a homeowner's insurance bill for $17,000!!! Last year it was $8000 and the year before $4000!
  • We jumped 55% this year, 225% in the past four years. 

The drastic insurance increases hit condominiums hard as well with many local associations getting six figure increases in their master policy premiums. With a balanced condo budget in place, an unexpected six figure expense requires either a special assessment or, if ongoing like annual policy premiums, an increase in fees to cover it. Not every association has gotten their renewal yet and not all those who have, have figured out how they're going to pay for the increase yet. Some have done a combo special assessment and a fee increase to cover both the increased insurance cost and compliance with the newly required structural reserves. We'll continue to see both as associations come into compliance by the end of next year.

Those that haven't been keeping up with condo fees might be a little surprised how high fees have gotten. Of the current inventory of condos for sale, over 16% have monthly fees of $800 or more with several over $1000. Some of them have not done their structural reserve study yet which in almost all cases will require even higher fees. Deadline is December 31, 2024. Prospective condo buyers need to read recent meeting minutes to see if fee increases are being discussed and also need to know whether the milestone inspection and structural reserve study has been done yet. If the condo fees are much lower than similar complexes, it would be prudent to plan for an increase by end of next year. The silver lining is that once the fees settle into their new, higher levels, special assessments should become less common and far more affordable when they do happen. 

Most successful people are just a walking anxiety disorder harnessed for productivity.” __Andrew Wilkinson

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