Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Just around the corner

The crew at Walker Bagwell Properties has moved it's offices just around the corner to 125 N. Brevard Ave., across the street from the Pompano Grill. Look for the beautiful ancient live oak tree out front.

Out of the 33 closed condos and townhomes closed so far this month in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral, only four sold for more than $250,000. Interestingly, of those four, three were in weekly rental complexes, two in Boardwalk and one in Sandcastles. Look for a comprehensive wrap-up of the month's stats early next week.

He who hesitates is poor."___Mel Brooks

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Shifting dynamics

Our MLS condo inventory in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral appears to have stabilized at around the 600 unit level having been below that number for the last seven months. In May 2006 inventory was close to the peak at 1047 units while today, four years later, we stand at 581 total MLS-listed condos and townhouses in the two cities ( short sales and bank-owned units are down to 19% of the total). With monthly sales running at almost the same level as sales in 2006, and 45% less inventory, there appears to be a dynamic building that, absent a flood of new inventory, could impede continued price erosion. This is not a bottom call, just an observation of market conditions that haven't existed for some time. There is still an unknown quantity of underwater and otherwise troubled owners who are not yet represented in the actively for sale numbers but we know from the stats that a significant number of the distressed owners have already been shaken out in the brutal decline of the last three years.

The predicted higher mortgage rates have not materialized so far. Rates have been in a steady retreat since March with the average rate for 30 year fixed rate mortgages back below 5% this week. I was made aware yesterday of new mortgage money available for Florida condo loans to qualified borrowers with 25% down. Those of you paying cash need to get your proof-of-funds documentation together before offering. All foreclosures and many other sellers are going to require proof of funds if you offer cash. Proof of funds documentation is usually an account statement in your name (account numbers can be blacked out) showing liquid funds in excess of the purchase price or a letter from your banker stating the same. Don't grump. This is no different than having to document credit worthiness when applying for a mortgage and is just part of the process.

"There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction."

______Winston Churchill

Saturday, May 15, 2010

From April showers to May flowers

The little house on the hill that's been home for the last week. Almost the exact same distance from Cocoa Beach as Marathon in the Florida Keys.

Not surprisingly, the real estate market in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral did not grind to a halt in my absence. There have been eight new single family home listings, all in Cocoa Beach, at prices from $143,000 for a a small 2 bedroom 2 bath in Cocoa Isles to $469,000 for a nicely remodeled pool home on canal with boat dock and lift off Minutemen. Of the 13 price reductions on other homes during the same time, none were significant. Five single family homes closed during that time at prices between $94,900 for a small, foreclosed 3 bedroom 1.5 bath cottage on Woodland in Cocoa Beach to $380,000 for a big (3061 sq. ft.) 3 bedroom, 3.5 bath on Ridgewood in Cape Canaveral.

The condo market, as always, was much more active. There were 33 new listings during the same 12 day period. Prices began at the low end at $29,900 for a small, Fannie Mae owned studio at Essex House in Cocoa Beach. The highest priced new listing ws for the northeast penthouse unit at 3800 in Cocoa Beach. This 5th floor unit sold for $1.1 million new in 2007 and is offered now for $774,900. I expect some action on this one as the seller is offering an obscene buyer's agent bonus on top of the commission. Two very optimistic Meridian sellers are offering their units for $669,000 and $724,900, both more than they paid new a few years ago.

Other new listings of interest include a Park Place top floor southwest corner with a southern ocean view for $269,900. A 2nd floor corner, direct ocean 2/2 Windjammer in Cape Canaveral hit at an asking price of $214,500.

A total of 21 units have closed as of this morning so far this month at prices from $33,250 for a 1/1 Star Beach unit in Cape Canaveral to $355,000 for a 6th floor nicely remodeled 3/2 Crescent Beach Club unit in south Cocoa Beach. Two Boardwalk 2/2 direct ocean units in downtown Cocoa Beach closed for $312,000 and $340,000. These units both had garages and weekly rentals are allowed.

A direct river River Bend 3/2 in south Cocoa Beach closed for $307,000. A 7th floor, north facing Sandcastles 2/2 with garage closed for $260,000. Weekly rentals allowed. And the smoking deal of the month so far, a lakefront, ground floor Harbor Isles 2/2 with garage closed for a shocking $110,000.

Look for more updates in the next few days.

"No vacation goes unpunished."
____Karl Hakkarainen

Sunday, May 02, 2010

A little break

Larry is taking a little break from the hamster wheel and will not be posting again until after May 15 when he returns from chasing fish and waves on his favorite tropical island. Unless things have changed drastically in the last six months, cell phone coverage and internet are not readily available. Those of you needing help with Cocoa Beach real estate in the meantime can contact the most capable Danielle in Larry's office in his absence. Her email is

As a quick follow up to the last post about slack listing agents, the agent who hadn't return the call to request showing her listing has still not returned the call a week and a half later. She has company. I called another listing agent last Thursday to show his listing. Again no answer and I left a message requesting showing instructions. I left another message a couple of hours later. As of this morning, Sunday, still no returned call. His clients must think that the market really sucks as they are priced well below the comps after reducing the price by over a third since November and are still getting no showings. Your regularly scheduled programming here will resume in two weeks. Hasta luego.

"Fishing is much more than fish. It is the great occasion when we may return to the fine simplicity of our forefathers.
"_____Herbert Hoover

"None but natives ever master the art of surf-bathing thoroughly."
_______Mark Twain