Orlando, Fla. —The condominiums at Cypress Pointe are priced so affordably that 50 of the original tenants at this 236-unit rental apartment community here could buy their own units. The remaining 186 units were set to go on sale in mid-August.
“We were able to buy right,” said Rebecca Gheiler, executive director of CondoMax USA, a condominium converter based in Boca Raton, Fla. The company saw potential in a lakefront complex that hadn’t been substantially updated since it was built in the 1980s. This June CondoMax bought Cypress Pointe for just $19.1 million, or about $81,000 a unit.
That low purchase price—about half the median unit price for condos in the area—gave CondoMax a lot of room to create a deal that made sense. “We need to have a 20 percent spread between the income from sales and the purchase price,” Gheiler said. With that in mind, CondoMax could sell its condominiums for as little as $100,000 apiece and not lose money.
That’s more than a third lower than the $161,600 price the median condo sold for in June in Orlando, and even lower than the $167,900 median a year earlier, according to data from the Florida Association of Realtors.
CondoMax expects to sell the large two- and three-bedroom, lakefront units at Cypress Pointe, which average 1,300 square feet, for at least $189,000 on average. The existing residents at Cypress Pointe had a chance to buy their own units at a 10 percent discount. Condo buyers at Cypress Pointe also have the option to purchase an upgraded package of finishes for an extra $20,000.
These prices are carefully set to a level that a household earning $50,000 to $60,000 a year could realistically afford, Gheiler said. “We are targeting first-time homebuyers,” she said. CondoMax will also assist its new homeowners with their closing costs and provide mortgage incentives.
The company went after these households by sending postcards advertising the property to the tenants at rental buildings nearby. CondoMax is also enthusiastically courting speculators and claims that Cypress Pointe offers opportunities “for those looking for a second home with access to nearby golf courses and all of Orlando’s hot spots,” Gheiler said.
CondoMax has renovated the aging, 11-building garden apartment community, located near Lake Orlando a few miles northwest of downtown Orlando, into what the company calls “a resort-style lakefront community.”
Just a 15-minute drive from attractions like the Universal Studios theme park and the Millennium Mall, the project is also in a good school district in a neighborhood of single-family homes set near a country club.
The renovation has cut down a barrier of trees that stood between the community and the lakefront, though workers preserved most of the other mature cypress trees on the property.
CondoMax also added a lakefront picnic area, a putting green, a playground, a car wash area, and two lighted tennis courts, in addition to the usual (for Orlando) gated entry, swimming pool, and exercise room with spa. The new community, completed in mid-August, is now called Cypress Pointe at Lake Orlando.