Friday, June 06, 2014

Ten Years After

2004, the national pastime and number one topic of discussion was the red-hot real estate market. Average Americans were buying investment properties worth ten times their annual income with no money down and no intention of renting them. The average Cocoa Beach residential property was appreciating by several hundred dollars a day. One's net worth was giddily recalculated every morning over coffee to figure out how much the night's sleep had netted. We still had another year and a half before reality crashed the party. Some escaped with easy riches and others were ruined.

In the bubbly month of May 2004, there were 71 MLS-listed condos and townhomes closed in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral. I can't remember any deals that year falling apart over a declined mortgage or a low appraisal. That has certainly changed in the ten years since. Lender scrutiny of borrowers and of the property being purchased has never been more stringent. Despite the difficulty in the mortgage process, we have reclaimed the mountain. 71 condos and townhomes closed in our two cities in May 2014, as reported so far. We have come full circle. Single family home sales mirror the condo numbers.

There were 13 single family homes closed in May 2014 with eight of those over $400,000. Ten were purchased with a mortgage. There were no short sales or bank-owned homes sold. Someone picked up a fixer-upper 3/2 on a canal for $265,000.

Of the 71 closed condos, three sold for over $700,000. Cash accounted for 45 of the sales. There was but one short sale and 13 bank-owned units closed. Prices for decent direct ocean units above the ground floor clustered mainly in the low to mid $200s per square foot. A couple of very nice units brought around $300 per square foot and a couple needing work sold for less than $200 per.

There are 274 units for sale in the two cities this morning as reported by the Cocoa Beach MLS. Fifteen of those are not yet built. 7% of the total are distressed, nine bank-owned and ten short sales.

Summer is fully upon us with temps in the 90s most days tempered by the dependable sea breeze. The surf temperature is steady at 80 degrees. Fresh turtle nests are on the beach in the mornings and there have been plenty of days with decent waves so far. Offshore fishermen are catching good numbers and sizes of dolphin and a few guys have caught decent grouper and large mangrove snappers. The tripletail continue to bite for those who have the patience and know where to look. All combined, it's the usual "life is good" stuff, heavy on the salt water. I have a few summer weeks still open in ocean condos at prices from $785 total for seven nights for anyone wanting a piece of summer fun. Come on down. There's enough for everyone.

"There are no more committed people on the planet than surfers. We fall down a lot. We turn around, paddle back out, and do it over and over again. Unlike anything else in life, the stoke of surfing is so high that the failures quickly fade from memory."  ____Gary Sirota