“Home of the Light-rail” Condos: Who’s Buying and Who’s Paying?

This letter is response to âÄúM Flats struggles to fill its 48 units,âÄù which ran in WednesdayâÄôs Daily. At the height of the recent real estate bubble, condos along the proposed light-rail line shot up like mushrooms. The first spores sold, and a second wave of condo construction began. Unfortunately, the market for these investment âÄúvehiclesâÄù has dried up. According to realtor Bill Frothinger, the primary buyers of these University-area condos are the parents of college students. The investment scheme goes like this: 1. Rather than paying the kidâÄôs rent, the parents make payments on the kidâÄôs condo. 2. Five or 6 years later, when the kid has graduated from college and the shiny new light-rail is in place, the parents sell the kidâÄôs condo and hopefully make a healthy profit or at least recoup the money invested. This may not be a bad investment strategy, but should it be subsidized with public transit funds? How many regular riders of the most frequent, most heavily-used, most cost-effective line that Metro transit operates, the 16A, are buying quarter-million dollar college crash pads for their kids? Sheldon Gitis University alumnus