Saturday, November 25, 2006

November Numbers

The numbers are in for the first half of November and there has been an uptick in activity and inventory.

MLS stats for Nov. 1 - 15, 2006 - Cocoa Beach & Cape Canaveral

single family homes_____4 (none over $400,000)
condos & townhomes___19
(four over $500,000)

single family homes_____160
condos & townhomes___1049 (205 over $500,000)

The Beach Culture Surf Art Gallery pictured above has re-opened in the old Da Kine Diegos building in downtown Cocoa Beach. The mural on the front was painted years ago by Cocoa Beach artist, Rick Piper , and has, somehow, survived all the different business that passed through the North 1st Street location. As before, it is too cool for description. A little twist this time; in addition to the always strange and random hours and killer parties, they are doing art workshops ranging from airbrushing to sculpture. Check out their website and maybe sign up for a workshop. Definitely get on their party invite list. You can read about the opening party and see a few photos in this month's Beachside Resident . I'm off to enjoy the Space Coast Art Festival this weekend in downtown Cocoa Beach. Get out there if you read this in time.

Monday, November 20, 2006

AOL Strikes Again

Attention AOL users. Your mail system may be blocking mail that you want to receive. I continue to have my replies to readers' requests blocked by the AOL mail servers. Check your spam filters or your AOL mail settings. If you send me a mail and don't receive a response from me, it is probably your over-protective Big Brother tossing the baby out with the bath water. Feel free to call me at 321.917.5786 if you don't receive a reply to your mail. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Secret Agenda?

Looks like someone else has been investigating the whole buyer's agent compensation issue. The Wall Street Journal published an article this week by writers, James R. Hagerty and Ruth Simon, entitled "Do Real-Estate Agents Have a Secret Agenda?"

It was like deja vu all over again. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you may remember my post on Feb. 26 of this year entitled "Conflict of Interest". In it I raised the same concerns that these writers addressed in their piece, sellers trying to subvert the process by offering sweet temptations. Rather than rehash the whole issue, click the title to read my earlier piece. I'm not saying all bonuses are undeserved, but, I do think that buyers should be made aware of extra compensation intended to attract the buyer's agents. If your agent goes above and beyond the call of duty, she may deserve every penny being offered. If it was an easy deal for her, she may be happy to rebate that bonus to you. Knowledge is power.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Big Chill

It's a chilly market out there, people. Motivated sellers have been progressively chopping prices as they probe for the magic number that will generate an offer but buyers, for the most part, have frozen in their tracks. We have reached a take it or leave it point for many sellers. Contrary to popular opinion, most sellers are not in trouble and many are quite willing to ride out the downturn. If you didn't catch my story on the "alternative universe" earlier this year take a moment to read it. It's about the underlying market chugging along while the speculator market grabs the headlines and gets the reality shows. As the chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, David Lereah, is fond of saying, there is no national housing market. Heck, there's not even a Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral housing market. For the record, I'm not impressed with Mr. Lereah's self-serving rhetoric but he is right on at least one point, that there are markets within markets that operate on their own and separate dynamics.

While there may be scores of pre-construction condo sellers who are in very real trouble, the same can't be said for the average seller of existing condos and single-family homes. There is a trickle-down pressure on all properties when one segment becomes sick, BUT, there are many sellers that can continue to enjoy their beach homes while waiting out the market. The ones who must sell are starting to price their properties aggressively and deals are being made. The bottom appears to have been passed at Portside as the last of the super deals have been scooped up and all offerings there at the moment are priced considerably above the recently contracted units. There are currently no 2 or 3 bedroom units offered under $200,000. Like the guest gurus on CNBC are fond of saying, "It's a stock picker's market." There will always be individual issues within a market that move in a direction opposite that of the market. Do your homework or talk to someone like me who does it for you.

MLS stats for October 2006 - Cocoa Beach & Cape Canaveral

single family homes____8
condos & townhomes___20

single family homes____140
condos & townhomes___995

Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral are almost equally divided on condos sold or listed but Cocoa Beach has the majority of single-family home activity. Of the 20 closed condos, only 1 was for more than $500,000, and 12 were under $300,000.

In a bizarre move this week, the National Association of Realtors launched a 40 million dollar advertising campaign themed "Now is a Great Time to Buy or Sell a Home". Think about that for just a second. The body of the ad targets buyers only but, apparently, NAR didn't want to alienate sellers in the process, so, the "or sell" was added to the header as an afterthought. Beware statements from organizations and people that stand to benefit from your acceptance of their declarations. As I'm fond of saying, do your homework. Now might be a good time to buy or sell but it's not because someone spent $40,000,000 saying it. Personally, I think it's a better time to buy than sell and only for specific properties that are priced below recent sales.

Deal of the week; a 2 year-old, 3/2 townhome at Canaveral Woods with garage for $243,000. It's still active as of this writing.