Monday, February 23, 2015

Under the Hood February 2015

How's the market doing? I get this question almost daily. I don't have to look at MLS stats to know that it is on fire. We continue to have more demand than supply and the cold, snowy winter up north is fanning the demand flames.

Since the first of February, 59 units have gone under contract in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral. Total MLS for sale inventory of condos and townhomes in the two cities is 261 units this morning. Considering the current rate of 2.5 units a day going under contract, the supply is likely to remain low.

The Cocoa Beach MLS is showing 69 closed condos and townhomes since January 1 in our two cities and 13 single family homes. Of the 69 sold units, 49 sold without ever dropping the asking price. They closed for an average of 94% of asking and 30 of them sold in a month or less on the market. Compare this to the average 149 days on market for the twenty units that had to reduce their asking price to sell.

An interesting side note is that only one of the six bank-owned units closed at or above asking price. This is reflective of the banks' recent too-optimistic pricing.

Cash accounted for 72% of all condo purchases so far this year. This trend is likely to persist as underwriting has gotten even more strict for condos with many underwriters now requiring forms of insurance that were rarely mentioned in the past and that many associations do not have. Buyers using a mortgage would be prudent to get the condo questionnaire from their lender to the Board of the condo as early in the process as possible in case the association's insurance is not up to snuff.

Take-away for buyers: Identify your property type and either search the MLS daily or have your agent set up an email auto-alert directly from the MLS. You are likely not the only one looking for the same type of property. The stats above tell us that the priced-right units will be gone in less than a month. The 94% of asking average also tells us that a lowball offer is not likely to work. If you will be getting a mortgage please consider using a local lender. Your internet loan officer or cousin at First National back home will tell you they can close on a Florida condo but history tells us that they fail to close far more often than the local lenders.

Take-away for sellers: Price it right to start with and it will sell quickly. It is very easy to know what your unit is likely to bring by looking at recently sold comparable properties and adjusting accordingly for condition and other details. What you would like to get is probably more than what the market is willing to deliver. Be realistic. If you don't trust your agent, get a different one.

The weather the last two days has been wonderful, temps in the 70s with very light winds. The forecast high in Cocoa Beach today is 78 with slightly cloudy skies and a westerly breeze of less than 10 MPH.

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed the day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.
_____________________Louis Armstrong