Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Lehman gives free put options on condos

Voltron says: see my comments at the end.

From the Wall Street Journal:

In a move that speaks volumes about the glut in the condominium market, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. is promising some luxury-condo buyers their money back after three years of ownership.

The offer applies to some 200 condo units, priced between $480,000 and $2 million, in West Bay Club, a Lehman-owned resort community in Estero, Fla., near Naples on the Gulf of Mexico.

In an effort to jump-start sales in a skittish market, Lehman says that for every buyer until June 1, it will guarantee that the resort will either sell or buy back the residence at the "full cost of the purchase price three years after closing."

The gamble is that prices will recover during that time, and buyers will hold on to their condos.

A spokeswoman for Lehman said no one was available to discuss details of the guarantee program, which appears to exclude 10 penthouse units in two towers.

Jack McCabe, a real-estate consultant in Deerfield Beach, Fla., said other developers desperate to move unsold condo inventory might have to follow Lehman's lead in offering price guarantees as market values continue to slide and thousands more condo units in Florida come on line this year.

Voltron says: Lehman has lost their freakin' minds! I never heard of any plan as insanely desperate. Is lehman going to be around in three years?

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