Monday, August 27, 2012

Warm, green and fuzzy

This post is a little off the usual subject but relevant. For sellers and listing agents; You may want to occasionally visit your property if no one is living there as bad things sometimes happen to vacant property. Of particular concern is keeping the air conditioning set low enough (and making sure it's working) during the warm months to prevent mold and mildew. The photo at the left is from a very nice oceanfront condo that has an asking price of  $400,000. Apparently no one has been inside in a while. The AC is either not doing it's job or it's been set high to save a few dollars on electricity. In either case, the green fuzzy stuff you see on those utensils is mold prospering in the warm, damp conditions. Check your vacant properties often. Speaking of warm and damp, that's exactly the conditions this morning in Cocoa Beach as we are getting the blustery outside rain bands of Tropical Storm Isaac hundreds of miles away in the Gulf.

“The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.” - A. Einstein

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dog days and mortgages

Nine of the 24 condos closed so far in August were on the market for less than a month. This is the new normal in our market. One quarter of the closed units sold for less than $100,000 and only three sold for more than $233,000 including a mack-daddy penthouse unit at Ocean Club with 4565 square feet and 20' ceilings that sold for $800,000. Of the 24 sold units, five were distressed. In a radical departure from the trend of the last few years, cash sales lagged financed purchases. Fifteen of the 24 condo purchases were financed and only nine sold for cash.

Lowest price for a direct ocean unobstructed view was $192,000 for a 4th floor Wellington 2/2 in downtown Cocoa Beach. Only 1049 square feet and open parking, BUT, 4th floor direct ocean within a few blocks of over two dozen restaurants and the post office and library for less than $200,000.

A foreclosed, 2nd floor, direct ocean Boardwalk 2/2, also in downtown Cocoa Beach, closed for $231,900. Not a bad price for 1296 square feet and a garage and the ability to rent weekly.

Also in downtown Cocoa Beach, a fully furnished and nicely remodeled 2nd floor Ocean Pines direct ocean2/2 with 1353 square feet and garage closed for $300,000. Note that the selling prices of these units varied in dollars per square foot by around 20% at the extreme.

A new ten year low price at Emerald Seas recorded at $225,000. This was for a direct ocean 2nd floor 2/2 with 1602 square feet. Partially obstructed ocean view from the 2nd floor here because of all the palm trees but still quite a deal, in my opinion, at this price in this complex.

Another 2nd floor direct ocean unit, this one at Mystic Vistas (A building), closed for $280,000. Even less of an ocean view here because of the row of townhomes between the building and the ocean but still a nice 8 year old 3/2 unit with 1775 square feet and garage. Sold fully furnished.

A Spanish Main weekly rental 2/2 on the 2nd floor with direct ocean views over the pool closed for $180,000. This unit unlike many Spanish Main units has a garage. The seller financed part of the purchase price.

A foreclosed south facing 1st floor Royale Towers C building 2/2 closed for $158,000 with 1374 square feet and a garage.

A Royal Mansion 2nd floor 1/1 weekly rental unit with a decent ocean view closed for $147,000. We saw six of these 1/1 units sell below $100,000 in 2010 and 2011 but of the three closed so far this year, the lowest price paid was $127,500.

Six single family homes have closed so far in the month of August in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral. A 3002 square foot 4 bedroom, 3 bath with a three car garage in Discovery Bay in Cape Canaveral sold for $579,000. This beautifully appointed canal-front home is three years old and has a pool and covered boat dock.

A very nicely remodeled canal-front 4/4 pool home in the Cocoa Beach Country Club subdivision closed for $548,000. It has 2550 square feet and a boat dock.

A remodeled 4/2 pool home on Dorset in Cocoa Beach on a corner of the canal with 140' of waterfront sold for $410,000.

An open water fixer upper 4/2 with 2111 square feet on La Riviere closed as a short sale for $242,000 after six days on the market.

We continue to be locked in our summer pattern of calm mornings followed by afternoon thunderstorms. Temps have remained mild in areas close to the ocean as the afternoon sea breeze off the colder than normal ocean serves as a natural air conditioning system. Turtle nesting and hatching also continues at a very intense pace. While offshore last week I saw dozens of adult and hatchling turtles swimming in the calm Atlantic. Some areas of the beach have so many nests that the beach appears to have been the scene of a tractor pull.

"Morality is doing what's right regardless of what you're told.
Obedience is doing what you're told, regardless of what's right."

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

July sales

Condo sales in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral slowed significantly in July. After 68 closed sales in May and 62 in June we finished July with only 37 MLS-listed condos and townhomes closed in the month. Single family homes were stronger with 13 closed, two in Cape Canaveral and eleven in Cocoa Beach. Of the 50 total closed residential sales, 12 (24%) were distressed, ten short sales and two foreclosures. There are 286 condos and townhomes for sale this morning and 43 single family homes. There are two foreclosure homes for sale and zero short sales or 5% of the total distressed. There are 18 short sale condos and 21 foreclosures making distressed condos 14% of the total for sale condo inventory.

Sales of note included;

Two Meridian direct ocean units, both 2nd floor. One was an interior 3/2 with 2072 square feet that sold for $580,000. It sold new in 2007 for $672,900. The other was a corner 3/3 with 2487 square feet that closed for $700,000 after just 5 days on the market. It sold new in 2009 for $735,000.

The last unsold unit in the Ocean Paradise building in south Cocoa Beach. This was the 2nd floor NE corner, 3/3 with 2444 square feet and a 2 car garage. Sold for $507,500. If memory serves me right they were asking close to a million for this pre-construction.

Another south Cocoa Beach complex, Magnolia Bay direct Banana River 3rd floor corner 3/3 with 2552 square feet and a 2 car garage closed for $435,000.

Again in south Cocoa Beach, a very nicely remodeled Constellation 2nd floor direct ocean 3/2 with 2126 square feet and a 1 car garage closed for $365,000. This one had been on and off the market for six years beginning at $975,000. When the price finally got down to $380,000 in June they had an accepted contract in 15 days. There's a lesson here.

A Royale Towers B building direct ocean 2nd floor Sand Dollar 2/2 with one car garage sold for $280,000.

A fully furnished "A" building Stonewood direct ocean 4th floor 3/2 with 1588 square feet and one car garage closed for $275,000. The "A" building is the one on the right that looks over the pool to the ocean.

A foreclosed Solana Shores side ocean view 3/2 with 1921 square feet and a one car garage sold for $257,500 after eight days on the market. It had previously been offered as a short sale at steadily dropping prices from $314,000 to $289,000 for over a year without any takers.

Another Royale Towers direct ocean A building 6th floor Sand Dollar 2/2 closed as a short sale for $250,000. It last sold for a shocking $510,000 in 2005 by an owner who doubled his money in three years. Ah, those were the days. This particular contract was taken out in the first right of refusal process by another RT owner.

A tastefully remodeled and fully furnished 3rd floor direct ocean Wellington 2/2 in downtown Cocoa Beach closed for $250,000. It had 1049 square feet and no garage.

Another unit in the resurrected riverfront building behind Sunset Cafe (don't know if they've decide on a name for this condo) sold for $238,000. It was a 3rd floor 3/3 with 2084 square feet and a one car garage.

Yet another Royale Towers unit, this one in the south facing C building closed for $220,000. It was a remodeled and fully furnished 3rd floor 2/2 with 1256 square feet and a one car garage.

Another 3rd floor Wellington, this one the SE corner 2/2 with 1139 square feet and open parking closed for $199,900 after 25 days on the market.

Three units closed in July in the weekly rental Chateau by the Sea next to the Cocoa Beach Pier. Two were ground floor 2/2 units, one a direct east facing with 910 square feet that closed for $190,000 and the other a south facing with 844 square feet that closed for $153,000. A third floor south facing 2/2 with 910 square feet closed for $173,000. All were fully furnished and none had a garage. Of note here is that two of these contracts were taken away from the original buyers by another owner in the first right of refusal process.

A very nicely remodeled ground floor direct Banana River Waters Edge West in south Cocoa Beach closed for $215,000 fully furnished. It was a 3/2 with 1445 square feet and a one car garage.

A fourth floor furnished canalfront Commodore 2/2 NW corner with 1234 square feet and one car garage closed for $175,000.

A top (5th) floor Puerto del Rio sold as a short sale for $173,000 after just four days on the market. It sold new in 2007 for $390,000. It is a 3/2 with 1852 square feet and a full 180 degree wrap balcony and one car garage.

A first floor direct ocean Canaveral Sands 2/2 with 1222 square feet and a one car garage sold for $171,500 after being on the market since early in 2009.

An eleven year old Minutemen Villas 4/4 townhouse on the Cocoa Beach golf course sold for $150,000.It had 1564 square feet and a 2 car garage.

A direct ocean 2 bedroom 1.5 bath North Triton Arms with 1088 square feet in downtown Cocoa Beach closed for $145,000 after 11 days on the market.

A 6 year old Oak Park townhome with 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths and a 2 car garage closed as a short sale for $140,000. It sold new for $349,900 in 2006.

A south ocean view 2nd floor Siesta del Mar short sale finally closed for $130,000. It has been for sale since January 2008 and has had multiple buyers with accepted contracts along the way but for various reasons, mainly the bank's slow pace, they all walked.A buyer finally went the distance and after waiting just five months this time was able to close. I'm sure the neighbors are relieved.

Somebody got a smoking deal on a short sale 6 year old, 2nd floor Portside Villas 2/2. Closed for $80,000. It has cathedral ceilings and 1211 square feet. No garage. Sold new in 2006 for $224,900.

Two 672 square foot 1/1 units at Starbeach in Cape Canaveral closed for $40,000 and $43,000.

A foreclosed Cape Shores 2nd floor 2/2 with 1038 square feet sold for $62,900. No garage.

Five canalfront single family Cocoa Beach homes closed in the month at prices between $299,000 for a short sale with tiny waterfront on Indian Creek needing work to a remodeled 4/2.5 on Jamaica with pool, boat dock and tiki bar that closed for $365,000. Lowest single family sale was $135,000 for 1404 square feet needing a lot of work. Several nice non-waterfront homes closed between $165,000 and $215,000.

With the tight inventory most good listings that are priced anywhere within reasonable range are selling quickly. If you're looking, get your criteria as defined as possible and be prepared to move quickly when a good one appears. If you plan to buy with a mortgage, talk to your lender before you begin the search. Be aware that at least one of the biggest mortgage lenders is failing to meet deadlines at an alarming rate. Local lender is almost always better than an out of state lender even if that out-of-stater it is your brother in law. Also, be aware that first right of refusal is being exercised a lot recently especially in a few certain complexes. Your buyer's agent, if he's good, will know which complexes I'm talking about. If you need a good buyer's agent call me. Buzz words today: shade, breeze and liquid refreshment.

"Fertile's the word."  ___Matthew McConaughey (expecting his third child)

Friday, August 03, 2012

Yikes - Back to school

Surf school session behind Coconuts at Minutemen Cswy.
Just hearing those words puts a knot in any student's stomach unless you're talking about surf school. We've only got a few days before first day of school, Wednesday August 8 for most Brevard County students. We are lucky in Brevard County to have highly ranked schools. Among Florida's high schools, four of Brevard County's are in the top 50 with three in the top twenty, according to USNews and World Reports

They are:

Edgewater Junior/Senior High - Merritt Island - # 6 in Florida and #43 nationally
West Shore Junior/Senior High - Melbourne - # 9 in Florida and #64 nationally
Cocoa Beach Junior/Senior High - Cocoa Beach #18 Florida and #188 nationally
Satellite Senior High School- Satellite Beach - #45 in Florida and #794 nationally

To put these rankings in perspective this is out of 990 Florida high schools and just under 22,000 nationwide. The top three on our Brevard list have been awarded the gold medal as best schools in their categories nationwide. Only 30 schools in the nation received this designation.

As of this writing I'm not aware of any rankings of surf schools but based on my casual observations this summer, our local surf schools would probably rank higher than our high schools. They have churned out a healthy quantity of stoked young grommets this year judging from the smiles on the young faces. See the photo above of a class carrying their boards back from a morning session. Look for the lineups to be crowed into the foreseeable future.

"The important thing is not so much that every child should be taught,
as that every child should be given the wish to learn." __John Lubbock