Sunday, December 03, 2006

Are We There Yet?

Can you see light at the end of the tunnel of declining prices? Depends on the source. The tunnel at the left is one of my favorite beach crossovers in south Cocoa Beach. About that other tunnel: In a remarkable article this week, Florida Today claimed that Brevard housing appreciated at a rate of 9.67% from the 3rd quarter of 2005 to the 3rd quarter of 2006. If they weren't hurting so much, most folks that purchased in the 4th quarter of last year would probably have snorted coffee out their noses. The author does offer that this data from the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight is at odds with the most recent report from the Florida Association of Realtors. At any rate, as I have cautioned in the past, treat all statistics with suspicion. I'm sure there are properties that have experienced even higher appreciation during the period for various reasons but I seriously doubt that the average existing property gained any value in the last 12 months. This brings up a good point. If one purchases far enough below market value, appreciation can be had even in a declining market. I continue to see deals happening at below current value.

Of the 28 condo sales in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral reported as closed in the month of November 2006 by our MLS, the range of prices for direct oceanfront condos was from $263 to $335 per square foot. In non-waterfront units the prices ranged from a super low $100 per square foot to $259. I am happy to have put a buyer in a beautiful brand-new unit for a bottom-scraping $129 per square foot while a similar 20 year old unit nearby sold for $202/sq.ft.


single family homes_____4 (none over $400,000)
condos & townhomes___28 (four over $500,000)


single family homes_____157
condos & townhomes___1032 (205 over $500,000)

Looking at currently active units, I find a 3 bedroom direct ocean corner unit in south Cocoa Beach listed for $224 per sq.ft. (2000 sq. ft. for $449,000). That's less than any closed direct ocean unit last month. The last same floorplan to sell in this building was 2 floors higher for $308/sq.ft. in May 2005 ($617,000). The lowest price per sq.ft. I can find for a non-waterfront unit in Cocoa Beach today is a 2/1 for $136/sq.ft.

What a wonderful weekend we had in Cocoa Beach. The weather was perfect. There were small, fun waves and the water was in the high 70s. Not many out-of-towners enjoyed it but I spotted quite a few locals headed to the beach for a fun session.