Thousands were built downtown in recent years, but many are unsold or in foreclosure and prices have plummeted. The upside is that those priced out of the area can afford them – if they can get loans

(Source: Los Angeles Times)

Drive through California’s sprawling inland suburbs and you’ll spot the familiar mileposts of a real estate bust: foreclosure signs, brown lawns and abandoned subdivisions.

To see the damage in downtown San Diego, walk a few blocks. Then look straight up

There you’ll see hundreds of unsold luxury condominiums stacked in vacant high-rises. Some units downtown are now selling for less than half what earlier buyers had paid during the market peak.

These see-through buildings, with names evoking European sophistication like Aria and Vantage Pointe, are the opulent spatter from the bursting of one of California’s flashiest housing bubbles.

From 2001 through 2008, more than 8,000 condominium units were built in downtown San Diego. That’s double the number of downtown units constructed over the same period in Los Angeles, a city three times its size. So while sales of urban high-rise units are convulsing elsewhere, nowhere is the collapse more dramatic than in downtown San Diego.

Read Peter Y. Hong’s full article “San Diego high-rise condo market goes from frenzy to fizzle” in the LA Times (July 27, 2009).

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