Friday, August 08, 2008

Waiting on a foreclosure

Sung to the tune of "Waiting on a friend" by the Rolling Stones.

I constantly get calls and emails from people wanting to pursue foreclosures and short sales in hopes of snagging a great deal. While there have been some outstanding deals in those two categories, there have also been equally outstanding deals in non-distressed properties. For instance, yesterday a big, direct ocean 2/2 condo in south Cocoa Beach was slashed to $219,000. This unit has no garage and the 2nd floor view is somewhat obscured by dune vegetation but at this price it's now priced below most river units of the same size. Someone's going to get the best deal of the year on the ocean here. It's not bank-owned nor is it a short sale. The 4th floor corner 3/2 at Ambassador Shores that closed last month for $235,000 was not a distress sale. Nor was the top floor 2292 sq.ft., 3/2 River Bend that closed for $265,000. My point is that, in your search for a deal, do not limit your search to distressed properties. There are occasional non-distressed properties closing at prices that qualify as "great deals" without the hassles and perils of bank-owned or bank-approved sales.

The numbers are in for July and we dipped below 2007 in total closed condos in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral with a total recorded (as of this morning) of 35 sales. The highest price paid for a condo in July was $850,000 for a 5th floor northeast corner that sold new for $1,035,000 three years ago. A similar haircut was administered at Majestic Seas for a 6th floor southeast corner that closed for $712,500 which is $116,500 less than it's purchase price three years ago. John Edwards would be jealous. We had our busiest month of 2008 in the over $500,000 category with six units closed, two at the Meridian whose outstanding marketing team continues to pull rabbits out of an empty hat.

According to the tax appraiser's site only 12 of the May 17th auction units at Mystic Vistas had closed by July 23, so, I guess the early rumors of 20-something sold were inaccurate. The lowest recorded price was $181,500. I suspect this was the unit that sold for $165,000 with a 10% buyer's premium added. The math works.

If our seasonal trend holds true sales should drop significantly through the end of the year. The chart below shows what we can expect for the rest of the year if we follow 2007. The steep decline after August below looks the same if we chart the previous five years. As a buyer, expect to have more bargaining power during this slow time although you'll be dealing with reduced inventory as many sellers pull their listings off the market until spring. If you're selling, well, I won't repeat my broken-record message. You know the drill. Your time for action is now.

Single-family home sales were brisk in July with 11 closed sales bringing the total closed MLS-listed homes in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral to 60 since January 1, 2008. Current inventory stands at 123. Lowest price, $147,500 and highest, $1.75 million.

Condo inventory is now at 746 with the lowest asking price, $49,000 for a small 1/1 Atlantic Gardens unit in Cape Canaveral, and the highest, $1.95 million for a 5000 sq.ft. new direct river penthouse in south Cocoa Beach. Until next post, be careful out there. There are hungry wolves wearing Time2Buy buttons who would love to eat you for lunch.

"I have known a vast quantity of nonsense talked about bad men not looking you in the face. Don't trust that conventional idea. Dishonesty will stare honesty out of countenance any day in the week, if there is anything to be got by it. "
________Charles Dickens