Thursday, September 25, 2014

Where It's At

A brief summary of the current market trends in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral. All data is from the Cocoa Beach MLS.

We began the year on January 1 with 303 condos and townhomes for sale in our two cities, 10% of those distressed (either short sales or foreclosures). Since then a total of 491 units have closed, 16% distressed. The higher closed percentage of distressed is explained by the high number of short sales contracted before the end of 2013 but closing in 2014. The trend of cash purchases dominating the condo landscape has continued with 63% of all condo purchases so far closing for cash. That percentage has stayed between 63% and 71% for the last three years.

The inventory this morning stands at 251 condos and townhomes, 19 of those not yet built. Of the 251, a total of 9% are distressed.

Single family home trends are slightly different. Since the year started, 102 have closed with 45% of those purchased with cash, 18% of the total distressed. Inventory right now is at 54 properties, 11% distressed.

We seem to have returned to our normal fall slowdown in activity. During the years following the crash, the fall was almost as busy as the spring and summer but that trend hasn't expressed itself this year. New listings remain alarmingly low. Buyers who are looking now, as always, need to have financing preliminaries taken care of (if not paying cash) and be prepared to move quickly when an attractive opportunity appears. If it's priced right, recent history tells us that it will be sold in a few days. Out of town buyers would be well advised to have a buyer's agent they can trust who can visit likely targets immediately and advise whether to offer or not. Waiting to get here in person to view a desirable property will reduce a buyer's chances of winning the race. It's not a risky nor uncommon practice to write an offer on a property sight-unseen with an inspection period long enough to allow time get here to physically tour and inspect the property. If you need a buyer's agent you can trust to guide you through the process, I'm happy to help.

Price is almost always different than value. ...price is what you pay for an asset, but value is what you get. ___________Brian Nelson

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Bought & Sold - Your Info

If you've ever looked for real estate on a website and requested info on a property you may have been harvested and sold without knowing it. We agents get emails and phone calls daily from companies offering to sell us your info for exorbitant prices. On the big three websites, ZTR, your request for info can go simultaneously to up to three agents who won't owe anyone any additional payment should you use one of them. They have already paid to be there in the margin hoping for your request. On dozens of less prominent real estate websites, the process is different. The dominating business model is selling the leads they harvest. Should you care if your info is sold to an agent? You're going to want an agent to represent you anyway. Well, when your agent is giving up a third to half of his potential pay check, his devotion to your needs may be less than enthusiastic. Below is an example of the type of agreement these companies want from the agent to whom your info is sold. I received this one this morning.

We, the Originating Broker, have referred to you, the Recipient Agent, our Customer {CUSTOMER_NAME}, a potential buyer, seller or renter, whom we have procured through our websites, including, and direct contact. You have agreed to accept the referral of our Customer,...  subject to, this Standard Referral Agreement ("Agreement").

 With respect to any Customer, their family member, or any related party (familial or not) introduced as a result of the original referral of the Customer whom We have referred and for whom You have agreed to provide brokerage services, You agree to:

 1. Share with Us thirty (30%) percent of all gross commissions ("Referral Fee") due to You for each side of the transaction where You represent the Customer, whether the Customer buys, and/or sells and/or leases/rents any real estate, for a period of twenty-four (24) months following your acceptance of the Customer ("Referral Period").

Do yourself a favor and try to contact an agent directly rather than through a website. You deserve their total commitment to you. This includes the big franchise websites, most of whom have even more onerous referral arrangements with their agents. Here's a disgusting take on how the nation's largest brokerage is handling this process and their big plans for squeezing even more out of their agents and franchisees.

A small swell has lingered even after the great waves of last week retreated. Not nearly as big but still fun. I hope all who enjoy the warm water and waves of fall have been able to get out and partake. The mullet run is on in all it's glory so surfers who do venture out are sharing the lineup with billions of mullet and the larger predators who feed on them. Fishing from the beach is epic on days when the surf conditions allow.

"I've been poor and I've been rich.
The first one stung but the second one itched."
________________________Patrick Stump

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Price High & Hope For a Miracle

If your vehicle uses premium gasoline you may want to take a close look at the prices for premium on the signs at the left. The Sunoco at 1st St. South was charging 33 cents less for premium yesterday when those pics were taken than the Chevron in south Cocoa Beach. Reminds me of asking prices on our MLS except that some people are actually overpaying for the Chevron premium.

Sales have slowed to a crawl in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral with just 16 condos and townhomes closed in the first half of September along with six single family homes. That's not surprising as we've closed a total of 481 condos and townhomes and 108 single family homes so far in the year and inventory is, to put it mildly, depleted. There are 241 existing condos and townhomes for sale this morning. That's equal to the number of units sold in just the first 18 weeks of 2014. As I've mentioned before, if we strip out the over-priced listings that have been languishing on the MLS for over 9 months, the actual inventory is below 200 units.

There were some compelling sales among the 16 closed so far. Someone got a good deal on a direct ocean 2nd floor weekly rental 2/2 Cape Winds that closed for $175,000 as a short sale. It needed some TLC but will be able to generate good income for the new owners.

A big direct ocean 2nd floor corner 2/2 at Coral Seas sold for $324,900. It had 1608 square feet and a garage.

Another direct ocean, weekly rental 2/2, this one at Spanish Main, sold for $260,000. It had 1177 square feet and a garage and sold fully furnished.

A small 2nd floor direct ocean Diplomat 2/2 with 900 square feet closed for $250,000. It was nicely remodeled and had no garage.

An original condition 2nd floor Sand Dollar south view 2/2 at Royale Towers closed for $220,000. It was fully furnished and had a garage.

A poolside ground floor Cocoa Beach Club weekly rental 2/2 sold for $205,000. 1098 square feet and carport only.

A nice 2nd floor 2/2 direct Banana River Waters Edge West in south Cocoa Beach closed for $199,910. It had a garage and 1268 square feet.

A 2nd floor furnished direct river Banana Bay 2/2 with 1316 square feet and a garage closed for $189,000.

Two townhomes on Colonial Drive near downtown Cocoa Beach closed within two days of one another for $155,000 and $160,000. Both were 3/2 with a garage and the higher priced one was slightly larger at 1537 square feet.

Someone got a very cool remodeled and furnished Aqua Sea 1/1 a couple of blocks from the ocean in south Cocoa Beach for $100,000. On the high side for 700 square feet not on the water but a gorgeous little unit.

The fall mullet run is on in full force with gazillions of finger mullet running south along the shore. Mix those in with the bazillions of pogies already scattered just offshore and it makes it a good time to be a pelican or snook, tarpon, ladyfish, bluefish, spanish mackerel, jack crevalle or shark. All the latter can be caught from the beach with a live mullet, pogie or appropriate artificial. The big swell from Hurricane Edouard will arrive sometime tonight so don't expect much to get done in this town tomorrow or Thursday. The boys will all be calling in sick.

"Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man." The Dude from The Big Lebowski

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Sales and Shenanigans in August

Condos sales in August in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral continued at a slower pace with 49 recorded sales as of this morning in the Cocoa Beach MLS. That's 30% fewer units in July and August 2014 than in the same period in 2013. Prices on the other hand continue to increase. A Sandcastles 7th floor unit sold for $550,000 matching the highest price of the last ten years in that complex set back in the heady market of 2006.

Other sales of significance included the following:

  • A top floor (4th) Meridian direct ocean 3/2 with 2072 square feet and garage sold for $850,000.
  • A 5 year old direct ocean, 2nd floor Ocean Cove 2 BR, 2.5 BA in south Cocoa Beach with NO garage sold for $425,000.
  • An oceanview 4 BR, 3.5 BA, duplex in Cape Canaveral with 2771 square feet and a two car garage closed for $415,000.
  • A fully furnished 3rd floor direct ocean Canaveral Towers weekly rental 3/2 with 1417 square feet and a carport closed for $315,000.
  • A furnished 10th floor direct ocean Xanadu 2/2 with 1761 square feet and garage sold for $310,000.
  • A furnished, direct ocean 5th floor Stonewood 2/2 with 1317 square feet and garage closed for $305,000.
  • A furnished 3rd floor direct ocean Sea Oats 2/2 with 1200 square feet and no garage sold for $305,000.

Based on those last three, it's looking like the market is comfortable with the $300,000 neighborhood for direct ocean 2/2 units in original condition above the ground floor. Remodeled units are bringing more, as always.

Now for a couple of head-scratcher sales recorded in August 2014.

A direct ocean 1st floor Spanish Main 3/2 sold at online auction for $199,000. What's interesting about this one is that Nationstar was holding an offer of $225,000 as a short sale when they decided to go ahead and foreclose and auction the unit. The auction appeared to have no bids and disappeared from the site only to show up weeks later as closed for $199,000. The buyer who offered $225,000 nor his agent was ever contacted by Nationstar.

In another crazy online auction Fannie Mae sold a direct ocean 2nd floor Driftwood 2/2 for $126,000. That's $100,000 less than the yet-to-close contract on an almost identical unit two doors down. To compound the craziness, this FNMA unit was first auctioned off in April with a winning bid of $192,000. That buyer failed to close but there were two other bidders who had each bid over $170,000 who were never offered the chance to reengage. A subsequent "quiet" auction produced a buyer who won for $154,000. Fannie Mae screwed up the first right process and lost that buyer and then contracted with a new auction firm who advertised an "in-person" auction that never happened. A "high-bid" contract was produced after the secret auction for $120,000 plus $6000 buyer fee. None of the earlier bidders can figure out what happened and none were ever contacted about either of the last two auctions. All were willing to pay the considerably higher numbers that they had previously bid. Someone needs to tell Fannie Mae that there are much easier and more fun ways to lose $100,000.

Snook season opened yesterday and the first stray schools of mullet are already showing up. I watched giant tarpon crashing schools this morning in south Cocoa Beach well within casting range of the beach. Surf fishing will be the best it gets in the next several weeks as the annual mullet run kicks into high gear and all the bigger predators move in close to the beach to feed on them. I'll be hoping for a tasty snook or two. A big tarpon from the beach, although inedible, is a nice consolation catch.

"If you don't know how to turn off the safety, being unable to fire the gun is the intended result." __unknown