Friday, May 16, 2008

Cocoa Beach Bunnies

This is a true beach bunny. He lives in the dunes between my back door and the ocean and ventures out into the back yard daily for a little snack of St. Augustine grass. You can see a blade in his mouth in the photo above. He is actually a marsh rabbit, a smaller darker version of the eastern cottontail rabbit with strong swimming skills. Marsh rabbits have shorter ears and no cottontail. This guy or one of his relatives strolled into my living room one evening when I had the door open. Just another in my long list of reasons why I love this town. Now on to this week's train wreck.

I was looking at a foreclosed river condo yesterday. As always, I investigated it's sales and listing history. What I found was not pretty. This particular unit sold new at the peak of the hysteria in June 2005 for $429,900. It was resold in June of 2007 for $344,000 and is now for sale once again for $254,900 by Fannie Mae, the less-than-enthusiastic new owner. That is some serious evaporation of wealth with the pain spread among the previous owners and lenders. At the new price, this unit is priced at $124 per square foot, approaching replacement cost. I predict that it will sell quickly. Hopefully, the new owner will get more enjoyment of this unit with a beautiful river view than the previous unfortunate owners.

Another interesting couple of sales recorded this month in Chateau by the Sea. Both units were owned by the same seller and both were offered as short sales . One unit closed for $323,000 and, three weeks later, the slightly smaller unit next door in similar condition closed for $390,000. Somebody got a raw deal. I can't say this enough, people. Do your homework or work with a good buyer's agent who will do it for you. Question everything. There are good deals going down almost daily but there are also buyers paying too much who could have saved thousands of dollars by doing some research.

Two Waters Edge three bedroom units on the ocean sold this month. Both were in great shape, one on the forth floor and one on the second. The forth floor sold for $348,000 and the second floor much-nicer unit is scheduled to close soon for slightly more. Click here for a slide show of one of these units. This is what the mid-$300s will get you in Cocoa Beach these days. Until next time, keep your hand firmly on your checkbook and question everything you read about the housing market.