Central Florida real estate experts debate the future of the oceanfront condominium market amid Surfside collapse

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INDIALANTIC, Florida. – Surfside rescue personnel have moved from rescue to recovery mode as 80 people remain unaccounted for after the partial collapse of the oceanfront Champlain Towers condominium in the middle of the night last month.

The tragedy of the Champlain Towers, which claimed the lives of 60 people, has attracted the attention of multi-story condominium owners throughout Florida. What about buyers?

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For New Smyrna Beach condominium tenants, the Surfside tragedy is felt far from home. At least it didn’t seem close enough for beach goers to want to cancel their vacation.

“We have been to this condominium many times and we are confident in its safety,” said Thea Shearer from Richmond, Kentucky, who came to visit with her husband and two children.

The Shearers rode a beach bike and said they had vacationed in Florida many times.

“You want to make sure the place you are staying at is safe, but we haven’t thought about canceling,” Shearer said.

Her sentiment was echoed by Dana Sheets, who also rented a seaside condo for the Fourth of July weekend.

“I mean it crossed my mind, but no, I didn’t want to cancel,” she said.

Others were ready to take their Florida dreams of oceanic paradise to the next level.

“We’re ready to buy,” Mark Medina said when asked if he would buy an apartment following the partial collapse of the Champlain Towers in Surfside. “I would like to buy. I definitely would.

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“People kind of look at it and think, ‘Well, this won’t happen to me,” said Michelle Boyer, a real estate agent who enjoyed the beach. “I have a client who wrote to me by email:“ I’m ready to watch. I come from Ohio and I’m ready to watch. “

But there have been some changes. Both Boyer and Dwayne Carpenter, a Brevard County real estate agent who said he sold nearly 400 oceanfront apartments in his 25-year career, believe the collapse of a South Florida condominium has forced some buyers to set new parameters when searching.

“I had a buyer who said, ‘I want to look at condominiums built in the 1990s to the present,’ based on the Surfside incident,” Carpenter told News 6.

Sean Snight, director of the Institute for Economic Forecasting at the University of Central Florida, agrees.

“I think that there will definitely come a period for old buildings when people will pay attention to the inspection and the willingness to carry out some renovation work. We don’t have apartment buildings that collapse every day across the state. This is a terrible and unusual event, ”said Snight.

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So what can buyers check?

“It all starts with building maintenance,” Carpenter said.

“Has the building been surveyed? When was the last restoration work carried out? From my own experience, I know that balconies last from 20 to 30 years. The old buildings are not bad. It just depends on the maintenance program. If a building has a tight budget and has deferred maintenance, you won’t be able to catch up, ”he said.

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