Most likely a combination of things, as another poster pointed out. At the peak these townhouses were going for up to $240,000! Anyone who bought during the peak and had an ARM probably got caught way upside down. There have been some foreclosures so that's probably part of it. Also, the older people who live here do die off, so those units become available. Lots of old people, so more vacancies to come in the future.
Young couples outgrow them pretty quickly and move up.
The community is aesthetically lovely. It's a nice place to just walk around. It's kept up very well, looks much nicer than Emerald Lakes up the road. It's mostly very quiet. To me it doesn't seem really "neighborly". You can walk around the whole mile of Riverboat Drive and not see a single living person sometimes. Other times you may see some folks walking, running or cycling. It seems people pretty much keep to themselves.
There are rules, and mostly I like the rules. No pickup trucks or commercial vehicles or motorcycles are allowed. No unregistered vehicles or broken down vehicles are allowed. No big dogs--a good thing because big dogs make big messes and people don't always clean up. There are limits to how many people can live in a unit but I don't think that's enforced.
Over the years I've lived here (about nine) I've seen a general relaxing of the rules to the detriment of the complex. I don't believe they check out renters as much as they should. To that effect we have had (and still have) some unsavory people living in some of the courts, including people on the sex offenders registry and just some druggie, lowlife types. Some owners will rent to anyone. The HOA doesn't monitor this as they should and if you complain you get absolutely nowhere. It's really too bad. These people are the minority but they are still here and affect the quality of life here. Pool rules are frequently not enforced.
On the other hand, the HOA gets on people for the strangest reasons! The group who make up the HOA are just what you would expect here in south Florida. Very senior citizens who have become curmudgeonly and cranky. The younger residents (and I mean anyone under 65) laugh about it. The property manager is rude and obnoxious. I don't think he actually realizes this. He works for the HOA and does their bidding I guess. I think this is about the same no matter where you live. It just seems that the type of people who want to be on the HOA board are similar everywhere. However, they do serve for no pay (though I would guess there are many non-monetary perks) . The place looks beautiful so no complaints there! You have to give them credit for that!
Eventually they will also be gone, and others will take their place.
It's hard to get information about anything that goes on here. Almost all the meetings are held during working hours--therefore only the retired folk can go, and I think it's set up that way on purpose. The property manager's hours are quite limited, and again, if you work during the day you'll never see him, because there are no evening or weekend hours.
A couple of years ago someone started a website, but it disappeared, and there has been nothing to replace it. You can't contact the HOA board via email, or even the property manager. Very frustrating. Again, I attribute this to the advanced age and lack of internet savvy of the people on the board, and of a great many of the residents. Someday this will change, as another generation steps in.
The units themselves vary from vintage 1981 interiors with all original fixtures, to totally remodeled. Some have screened patios, some don't. You don't have much leeway to change anything outside--you can't even plant a shrub without permission from the HOA. You can grow whatever you want inside your fence.
The one flaw in the layout of the units is that there is a bathroom right off the little dining area. I mean RIGHT THERE. If you're working at the counter in the kitchen, or eating at your table, you get a nice view of the toilet. I don't know about anyone else but this was a terrible idea! I have to keep the door closed when I cook and eat. I just can't enjoy a nice meal while gazing at a toilet!
Overall this is a really nice place to live. Just remember if you have any kind of problem, you're mostly going to be on your own. Luckily there aren't too many problems.
It's not a good place for young kids. There is nowhere to play. In fact other than the two pools, there is no clubhouse or anywhere else to gather, no playground, nothing. This community was really not designed for families with children, and the townhouses are really too small for more than two people, in my opinion.
One very important thing!! The cell phone service is practically non-existent! All carriers! You'll need a landline!