Downsizing in Jacksonville: Mansions to Condos | Real Estate
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The housing boom and then eventual bust left many people who bought high holding the money bag with nothing in it. Condominium prices, especially here in Florida, were hit especially hard. Those prices have since plummeted and some folks are starting to wade back into the buying pool. Those buyers include families who are looking for a different type of lifestyle in downtown Jacksonville.
Seth Pajcic, his wife Kathleen, and their two children moved into their three bedroom condo on the 17th floor of the Peninsula condominium complex on Jacksonville's Southbank last December. Pajcic uses the skyway to get to work at his law office downtown. "If you work downtown, the way gas prices are today, you're not going to be paying that much for gas. You can walk or take the train," says Pajcic.
The Pajcic's downsized from their 2800 square foot Avondale home and moved into their 1800 square foot condo late last year. "Everything is just fresh and new and it felt like it was just right," says Kathleen.
In the 37th floor penthouse, the Larsens really downsized from a Ponte Vedra mansion to a 3 bedroom condo. They have four kids. Why did they do it? "The view is great. It's just a simple life. It allows me to spend all my time with my wife and kids and work. And not take care of property and possessions and a big 8-thousand square foot house," says Peter Larsen. Peter's wife, Julie, who owns a grocery business in San Marco and Springfield says she's living in the perfect spot. "I'm in the middle of everything and and truly happy and it's fantastic."
Both the Pajics and the Larsens say they always wanted to live downtown, closer to work and not be worried about the upkeep of a house. Another big incentive. Price. The housing crisis caused the Peninsula to slash prices of its condos by 50 percent. Paul Bobik, CEO of Palladium Real Estate Advisors, was hired by the developer 9 months ago to professionally market the 45 remaining condos. Now only 17 remain on the market "There are a lot of people who saw the market go way up and then way down and now they're just reached a point in their life that they're tired of waiting," says Bobik.
It's still too early to tell if the housing market is truly turning around. However, price and lifestyle are giving some the incentive to give up traditional family living and try something new. The remaining new Peninsula condos for sale range from $260,000 to $740,000. At the peak of the market, top condos at the Peninsula went for more than $1.5 million