Monday, September 26, 2011

Mission creep

Not the Bahamas. It's the tip of the Cape on September 25, 2011.

Mission creep: the tendency of a target or goal to change or evolve as a mission progresses. It's a rare property search that doesn't involve some mission creep.

A typical condo search will usually begin a with a list of important criteria. One's mental image of the perfect ocean condo might be a three bedroom, upper floor corner unit with a two car garage in a complex with tennis courts, pool and hot tub that allows weekly rentals and large dogs. If searching in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral that search is over before it begins as that particular unit doesn't exist. The mission to find an acceptable unit is going to have to creep away from the initial target. There are some criteria or combo of criteria that so limit a buyer's choices that a unit is unlikely to ever be found. If looking in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral for a three bedroom condo that allows weekly rentals the choices are immediately reduced to five complexes. The same shortage of choices exists with complexes that will allow a dog over 50 pounds. Combine the two criteria and you've eliminated all the possibilities. Similarly, making a two car garage a must have will severely restrict the possibilities. Not impossible but begin to add other unbending criteria and the list starts to rapidly shrink.

It makes sense before beginning a search to list all the things that are important and to decide which ones are must-haves. A list of pretty units assembled from the MLS or might not contain a single unit that will work because of missing features or restrictions not mentioned in the listing. Talk to your agent about the reality of finding a unit that matches your criteria before putting together a list of units that look good but may not work for you. You might decide that a two car garage is not as important as being able to bring Scrappy Doo to the condo with you. Prepare for the possibility of mission creep. Deals are out there and flexibility increases your choices.

"It is widely believed, especially in the court of public opinion, that a true theory can have no failures and a false theory no successes." ___Eliezer Yudkowsky

Monday, September 12, 2011

August by the numbers

Grounded sailboat at Jetty Park, Port Canaveral.
Photo by Lauren Lulich.

In the month of August twelve single family homes closed in Cocoa Beach as reported by our MLS. Median price was $315,000, and all but three were waterfront, two of those oceanfront. There was one reported single family home sale in Cape Canaveral but it was actually a half-duplex. Prices ranged from $681,000 for a short sale 5 year old Snug Harbor home on Edwards Bay to $239,000 for a non-waterfront 3/2 with a 3 car garage on Esther. Another of the twelve Enclave homes in Cocoa Beach closed in the month making five this year. This one sold for $490,000, a far cry from the original million dollar plus asking. Two of the 12 August sales were short sales and none were foreclosures making a total of 17% of home sales distressed. Seven of the buyers paid cash.

August was a record month for condo sales with a total of 57 MLS-listed units closing in the two cities. None sold for more than $500,000. Median price was $133,500. A whopping 79% (45 units) of the 57 total sold for less than $200,000. The former bread and butter of our market, direct ocean units, made up only 14% of the activity (eight units) a reflection of one of the most heavily impacted parts of our depleted inventory. Eight of the total were foreclosures and ten were short sales making 32% of the total condo sales distressed. Highest price paid of the 18 distressed sales was $203,000. Forty three or 75% of the total of the buyers paid cash. The average sale was for 91% of the last asking price.

Inventory this morning, September 12, 2011 is at it lowest point in my memory. There are 353 total condo and townhome units for sale in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral and 74 single family homes. Of these 427 residential units for sale, eleven are foreclosures and 56 are short sales making 16% of the total distressed, well off the recent crazy high percentage.

We are now in the sweet season with the summer crowds gone and snowbirds yet to arrive. What little traffic there is is just blissful locals with surfboards and fishing rods hanging out of our vehicles. There is surf most days, the water is warm, the air not so much and the mullet run is in full swing. If you've never visited Cocoa Beach in September or October you have missed the best time of year.

Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. __Henry David Thoreau