Saturday, May 18, 2013

How Local is it?

All real estate is local. That is certainly true in Brevard County. I get requests almost daily from buyers wanting to take advantage of the distressed market that they've heard about and hoping find a foreclosure or short sale deal in Cocoa Beach or Cape Canaveral. If one looks at the distressed market in Brevard County as a whole (the market that the media typically reports) there are plenty of distressed opportunities. Exactly one quarter, 25%, of all residential listings in our county are either short or foreclosed. If we restrict our search to Palm Bay in the southern end of our county, 35% of the residential listings are distressed. Lots of opportunity there. Now let's cross a bridge and check our possibilities on the beach. In the 30 miles of beach south of Patrick Air Force Base from North Satellite Beach to Sebastian Inlet the distressed ratio drops drastically and is standing at just 9.83% of the total this morning.

Driving north along A1A past Patrick Air Force Base we have the two beachside communities of Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral with the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Banana River to the west and the government owned Kennedy Space Center to the north. The opportunity in distressed property shrinks even more here. Of the 350 total residential listings in the two cities only 8% are distressed. For a buyer looking for a single-family home in either, there are but three distressed possibilities. If that same buyer wants waterfront there are none to see. If he's willing to consider condos, he has a whopping list of 12 from which to choose.

Has our bargain hunter missed his chance? Not really. He does need to reconsider his mindset that bargains only exist with distressed properties. Prices across the board were dragged down when the formerly huge numbers of distressed sales worked their way through the system and are still attractive in many cases. Now that the big numbers of distressed listings have disappeared, there is no dynamic to push prices any lower and we are seeing successive sales creeping upwards. If you're looking to take advantage of the still-low prices, as always, get your pre-approval process handled before you begin your search, do your homework so you'll recognize a deal when it appears and forget about a distressed-only search. Swift action is crucial for those looking for a good property in this market. Conditions will likely change at some point as they always have but, right now, preparation and swift action are among a buyer's best strategies. An informed and involved local buyer's agent will give a serious buyer their absolute best chance at success. AND, this bears repeating, multiple offers are a fact in this market. Calls for best and highest offer in multiple offer situations are common and are not a creation of evil Realtors trying to manipulate single buyers. Withdrawing an offer out of paranoia only gives the property to the other buyer. Adapt and win.

When an archer is shooting for nothing . . . he has all his skill.
If he shoots for a brass buckle . . . he is already nervous.
If he shoots for a prize of gold . . . he goes blind;
or sees two targets . . . he is out of his mind!
His skill has not changed.  But the prize . . . divides him.  He cares.
He thinks more of winning than of shooting . . . 
and the need to win drains him of power.
            – Chuang Tzu, 400 B.C..