Fannie Mae cleared 123 new Florida condominiums for financing in the first eight months of 2010, a huge difference from recent years, according to Condo Vultures LLC.
In all of 2008, not one new property was approved for funding by the secondary mortgage giant, and just 87 were deemed mortgage-worthy by the government-sponsored enterprise in 2009. In 2007, some 27 projects won Fannie's approval.
Without Fannie Mae's blessing, individual buyers of condo units are all but locked out of conventional financing and the record low rates that go with it. And the inability of buyers to snag such a loan inevitably means lower prices for sellers because all-cash buyers typically demand deeper discounts.
"Fannie Mae has made a seismic policy shift in its outlook for new Florida condos," said Peter Zalewski, a principal at Condo Vultures, a Bal Harbour, Fla., real estate consulting firm.
Fannie is now approving projects in the Sunshine State at a pace of more than 15 per month, he said.
Nearly 30% of the Florida properties — 70 projects in all — that have been cleared by Fannie since 2007 have been in the tri-county South Florida market — Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.
And almost 25% — a total of 57 properties — are in southwest Florida, which includes Cape Coral and Ft. Myers.
Both markets are considered depressed because of the lingering effect of widespread overbuilding during the real estate boom.