Sunday, December 30, 2012

That's a wrap

Thought I'd do our December wrap-up a little early as I'm heading out on a boys' adventure in the islands very soon. As most of you already know, 2012 was a record-breaking year for real estate sales in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral. We exceeded the number of sales for every year since 2005 as we continued the upward trend that began in 2009 after hitting our lowest number of sales ever in 2008. The major contributing factor for the strong sales was price. With prices stabilizing at their lowest since the decline began in 2007 and inventory rapidly shrinking, potential buyers were motivated to act by that confluence. As of this morning, December 30, 2012, 606 MLS listed condos and townhomes and 115 single family homes have closed in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral during the year. One quarter of those sales were distressed, either short sales or foreclosures. For sale inventory this morning stands at 311 condos and 46 single family homes, less than half of the total number of sales in 2012. Of these active listings, 12% are distressed. This significant change in dynamics suggests two things for 2013, less total sales and rising prices.

Condo sales so far in December indicate rising prices in a few complexes. Examples:

Ocean Pines 6th floor SE corner 3/2 with 1702 square feet that closed for $405,000 or $238/sq ft.
Sandcastles 3rd floor direct 2/2 with 1286 sq ft closed for $300,000 or $233.28/sq ft.
A 4th floor south facing Mystic Vistas C bldg 3/2 with 1686 sq ft closed for $290,000.
A north facing 6th floor Windrush 2/2 Sand Dollar with 1517 sq ft closed for $265,000.
A 2nd floor direct ocean Royale Towers 1/1 with 888 sq ft closed for $158,000.

We will likely see a large number of units closing tomorrow, the last day of the year. I will do a more comprehensive 2012 wrap up in a few days when all the numbers are in and the closed listings are finalized. I hope everyone had a happy 2012 and that 2013 is happy and prosperous for us all. Happy New Year.

“Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works.
You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it.
Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else.”
_____Leonardo da Vinci

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Bottom of the 9th

Returning cruise ship at Port Canaveral

With just two weeks left in 2012  December sales look to finish our record-breaking year on a strong note. So far this month 23 MLS-listed condos and townhomes have closed in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral. That brings total sales for the year to 590 units with 301units actively for sale this morning. Of the 23 sold units, five closed at prices below $100,000 and none exceeded $210,000.

 Sales of note have included the following;

Two more bank-owned Pier Resort units have closed, 1900 square feet for $169,100 and 3400 square feet for $210,000.

Only one direct ocean, east facing unit is among the 23, a Winslow Beach 2nd floor, 468 square foot 1/1 that closed for $92,000.

A south ocean view Sea Oats 2nd floor 3/2 with 1505 square feet and no garage closed for $180,000 with all furnishings.

A foreclosed 4th floor Solana Lake 2/2 with 1698 square feet and garage sold for $175,000.

The 2nd floor NW corner at 2100 Towers closed for $162,500. It has 1600 square feet, wrap balcony and no garage.

A clean, fully furnished 5th floor, 2/2 Villa Vista with a southern ocean view sold for $155,000. No garage and 1018 square feet.

A furnished 2nd floor Royal Mansion 1/1 with a north ocean view sold for a surprising $155,000. Several almost identical units have closed in the last two years below $100,000.

A big lakefront 3rd floor 2/2 at Rock Pointe closed for $146,000. Garage and 1466 square feet. Sold in 11 days.

A 3rd floor direct Banana River 3/2 with 1344 square feet and garage at Pebble Cove sold for $141,000.

A ground floor Conquistador 2/2 in the non-oceanfront building sold in 21 days for $120,000. No garage and 1101 square feet.

A furnished 3rd floor corner 2/2 with 1200 square feet, carport and wrap balcony at Treasure Island on the canal closed for $120,000.

Someone got a nice direct river 3/2 at River Club across from Roosevelt School for $119,000. Carport, boat slip and 1488 square feet.

A nicely remodeled, fully furnished north facing 3rd floor 1/1 in the south building at Twin Towers sold for $97,000 after just 17 days on the market.

A 1st floor Diplomat non-waterfront 2/1 with 750 square feet in need of total remodel sold immediately for $70,000.

Only one single family home has closed in the two cities so far in December. It was a canal-front beauty on Country Club in Cocoa Beach. It sits on just over a quarter acre with 3080 square feet and a 2 car garage, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, a screened pool and party deck overlooking the boat dock that has a 12,000 pound boat lift. It closed for $575,000.

Golf rates just went up at the Cocoa Beach Country Club yesterday. It now costs me $18.60 to play nine holes with a cart, an increase of 50 cents. Or, if I'm up to walking, I can play all I can stomach for $18.36 after 2 PM. I have to pinch myself at times when I'm enjoying this beautiful course on warm winter days in shorts and short sleeves for less than twenty bucks.

If you haven't given it a try yet, I heartily recommend the Fat Kahuna Beachside Grill in the old Key West Taco location on Minutemen just west of Coconuts on the Beach. Possibly the best fish sandwiches in Brevard County and that's with some very serious contenders for the title. Kabobs, salads, hamburgers, fish/shrimp/chicken sandwiches and dinners and more. Eat inside or out.

“There must be some Tommy Hilfiger event horizon, beyond which it is impossible to be more derivative, more removed from the source, more devoid of soul.”  __William Gibson

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Great Expectations

I had an interesting conversation with a prospective buyer last week. Among his criteria was "being able to take advantage of the poor market conditions in the area in terms of significant below market pricing and leveraging the fact that he'd be paying cash". "Poor market conditions"? The current market would be better described as en fuego (see the previous post). "Significant below market pricing"? I'm not aware of any sales happening at significantly-below market prices. Buyers are standing by ready to purchase good properties when they're priced at current levels with over half of them paying cash. I suspect this particular buyer is going to be looking for a very long time unless he modifies his expectations.

Are the deals all gone? No, but expecting to purchase property significantly below market pricing will eliminate most if not all possibilities. There are plenty of properties that are deals at current market levels. Just matching the last sale in many neighborhoods and complexes would qualify as a deal in my book. Some prices at current levels are down 75% from the peak. Expecting to buy significantly below that level is unrealistic. As always, buyers need to do their homework and know the dynamics at play in the current market so they can have a better chance of success. I'm glad to help if you have questions about the Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral market.

Some of you will have read this similar post from 2009 but it's worth revisiting. Self Defeating Games

"Amateurs talk strategy, professionals talk logistics." ___Gen. Omar Bradley

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Burn rate and parades

We crossed a threshold this week with 574 closed condos and townhomes in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral so far in 2012. That is the highest number of closed sales for any year since 2005, which was the biggest year in history with 805 closed condos. With just 17 shopping days until Christmas I thought it would be a good time to calculate the burn rate again. Speaking of shopping days, does that term even apply in 2012 with most stores open seven days a week and online shopping always available? On the subject at hand, I have figured these burn rates in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral using the MLS for sale inventory this morning December 8, 2012 and the monthly average sales using sold numbers for the most recent completed three month period, September, October and November 2012.

Condos and townhouses
All prices - 290 units for sale - selling 17% of supply per month.
Under $200,000 - 123 units for sale - selling 27% of inventory every month.
$200,000 to $400,000 - 118 units for sale - selling 9% a month.
Over $500,000 - 33 for sale - selling 5% per month.

While inventory in the lower price ranges is drying up, the high end still has a healthy supply although down drastically in the last year and a half. There are 117 pending condo sales, none over $425,000. Hopefully, new listing activity will increase soon to take up the slack. Distressed sales are still at 11% of the total supply.

Total single family home inventory stands at 50 today. That's a 6 month supply at the current sales rate. As in 2011, the lower price ranges are the most active with but a 3 month supply of sub-$200,000 houses for sale about the same as in 2011. There are 16 pending home sales on the books right now.

The Cocoa Beach Christmas Parade is today in downtown CB beginning at 2 PM. Bring the kids, the dog and lawn chairs and enjoy this small town tradition and visit with friends. The route will be south on A1A from the Kelly Slater statue down around City Hall and back up Brevard Ave.

"We don't expect kittens to fight wildcats and win
- we merely expect them to try." __Robert Heinlein

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Short sales and income tax

A reminder to sellers who closed a short sale in 2012. If you had forgiven debt, you have reportable income. The absence of a 1099 from the lender does not release you from the obligation to report the forgiven debt as income. On the other hand, if the lender did not provide a release of the balance due, there is no income to report. But, you're still on the hook for the unpaid balance.

2012 short sellers, if you haven't done so already, contact your accountant or tax adviser now for how best to handle your possible tax liabilities. There may be beneficial strategic moves you can make before the end of the year.

"I have turned down a lot of money for things that would have made me feel cheesy."  _____Tom Petty