Atlanta developer Cousins Properties is promising to return any down payments to condo buyers if their property declines in value over the next three years.
The program is being offered at www.10Terminus.com a condo tower in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborwood where units start at $300,000. Buyers can put as little as 5% down. Cousins is providing loans at 4% interest. If the buyer wants out within three years and the property has not gained any value, he can just hand the keys back to Cousins.
In another unusual deal, Cousins will also allow a buyer to not make payments for a full year, as long as they are trying to sell another house and put 20% down on the condo.
Cousins says this approach makes more sense for them than merely slashing prices or selling units in bulk in an auction, as many condo developers have done.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.