Post Katrina Condominium Boom Continues

The Seabreeze began building before Katrina. The first of two condominium towers will soon be finished.

"I see at least five years and possibly pushing to ten years of opportunity and new development," said Mike Boudreaux with Gulf Coast Investment Developers.

Boudreaux should know. He's involved with 14 condominium projects on the coast.

"You're going to see smaller sized units. And the reason you're going to see this is a lot of the hotels and motels that were taken away, that's the type of product that needs to be replaced, smaller units that can accommodate," he explained.

Casinos are also a big influence.

"With the ability to bring gaming on shore makes it a much nicer product than it was on the water. The added value there. Then again with 12 months of opportunity for renting those properties, a condominium is a natural for that added value beyond casinos," he said.

Along with the coast being a desirable resort community, there are some strong investment incentives helping drive the condominium market. The GO-ZONE legislation created some desirable tax breaks for investors who own rental property, like condos.

"We have a lot of investors. In a lot of our condominiums we end up with about an 80-20. Eighty percent of the people come in and invest and put it in a rental program. And twenty percent say I just want a great place to vacation or to live. And so they live there," said Tom Woods with Sterling Development.

Woods has heard the cry from those who fear Biloxi becoming "another Destin" with so many high rise condos. However, he doesn't buy it.

"There's only a small area where you can actually build on the beach. Other than that when you drive down Beach Boulevard, you've got the beach on your side and you'll never lose that," he countered.

They'll still have the beach, plus plenty of "rooms with a view".

Boudreaux says the average price for a beach front condo in Biloxi is $500,000. The least expensive units cost around $250,000. The "penthouse" units can carry a price tag of nearly $2 million.