Sunday, November 28, 2010

Random observations

Looking west on Minutemen Causeway yesterday.

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday. Weather looks beautiful for the last day of the Space Coast Art Festival in downtown Cocoa Beach and I'll be rejoining the crowds here shortly. It's always a fun time. I crunched a few numbers this morning looking for trends from the almost-finished year. My findings mixed with some random anecdotal observations are below.

Trends in 2010 in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral
  • High-end newer condos saw prices drop significantly closing the gap with older luxury units. We saw sales at Ocean Club, Magnolia Bay, Michelina, Ocean Paradise, Garden Bay and other new luxury developments at numbers hundreds of thousands of dollars below previous asking prices. This pressure on prices will likely abate as supply diminishes but there is more pain yet to be felt at at couple of large, recently completed complexes starting with "M".
  • While mortgage rates hit an all-time low, difficulty in getting a mortgage hit an all-time high, especially for condos.
  • The number of condo sales was up for the 4th straight year.
  • Inventory continued to drop. Now at pre-boom levels.
  • Short sales and foreclosures made up more than a third of all sales. Of these distressed sales, the vast majority were clustered in the sub-$100,000 range. Only 7% of the distressed sales were for $300,000 or more.
  • Of 127 pending sales, 80 (63%) are distressed.
  • Of 586 currently active residential listings in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral only 102 (17%) are short sales or foreclosures. This seems to suggest that once the 80 pending distressed sales close, we may be out of the woods for this cycle. We will, of course, see more distressed sales but likely not at the pace of the last couple of years. It appears the bulk of the weak hands have folded. As always, I could be wrong.
  • Some buildings will continue to buck the trend because of limited supply, strength of owners, age and other factors. Because Mystic Vistas is imploding doesn't mean that Solana Shores owners are going to give away their units.
I welcome all comments, predictions and other observations. It is almost noon and downtown Cocoa Beach is wrapped up in Art Show visitors. I'm out there. Have a good one wherever you are.

The end of the world call, so far throughout history, has been the losing bet.
_________Barry Ritholtz