Sunday, July 17, 2005

Waiting on the Space Shuttle

It has been an intense week here on the Space Coast with the impending launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery and the return to space for the U.S. manned space program.

Residents of our area are very proud of our astronauts and engineers and all those who contribute to this incredibly complicated and dangerous endeavor. If things go as planned, we should see a second try at a launch the end of this week. So far we are enjoying the flood of journalists and film crews from all over the world. In the absence of launch news they have been scrambling for stories since the first launch delay. There was even a film crew in my favorite sushi bar, Yen Yen, last week.

Our market continues at a somewhat subdued pace as is normal for this time of year. Inventory is almost unchanged and the pace of sales is holding steady. I had to adjust my MLS stats this week as we had a group of 39 developer contracts go contingent or pending all at once. I subtracted these numbers from the totals because they are not accurately portraying actual sales during the period. Investor demand for pre-construction remains high with not enough first-round, pre-construction units available to fill that demand. There is continuing resistance from buyers in the high-end resale units. If you're playing with pre-sales in the high end, you better be prepared to close. At the other end of the range, sales are robust. Portside Villas is maintaining brisk resale activity, I believe, because the current prices still represent good value and they are in a very sweet spot of the market, under $300,000. We will probably never again see new construction beachside for under $300,000.

You may want to read an interesting article in today's Florida Today about condo conversion This is a trend we've been seeing in our area that we can probably expect to continue. With property values soaring and rents flat, it is inevitable that this happens. Take a recent conversion, Brisas del Mar in Cape Canaveral.

This 14 unit apartment building represented some of the developer units I factored out of my stats this week. This property as rentals was probably generating around $100,000 a year in gross rents. Converting to condos yielded around $2.6 million before costs. With numbers like these, we can expect this trend to continue. There are still quite a few rental properties in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral that are suited to conversion.

Other developments locally are the ground-breaking of the 77 unit Magnolia Bay complex on the river in south Cocoa Beach and the tear-downs of 2 more houses on the west side of S. Atlantic Ave. This is a trend I see continuing. There are quite a few old houses across the street from the ocean that are candidates for tear down and replacement. We saw a tear-down condition home built in the 1920s sell recently for $649,000. It commanded that price because it sits on a lot large enough to build 3 units. Expect to see luxury townhomes or condos there soon.

Here are the numbers for July 17, 2005.

contracts last 14 days

condos over $500,000___ 6
condo under $500,000__ 31

homes over $500,000____ 3
homes under $500,000___ 3

active listings

condos all prices______417
condos over $500,000__ 126

homes all prices______ 55
homes over $500,000__ 32

Do your homework, get pre-approved before you start your search for property and keep your procrastination in check. It can cost you a fortune.