Thursday, January 31, 2019
In Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral there are four times as many condo and townhome units for sale as single family homes. In the county as a whole that proportion is reversed with three times as many homes as condos for sale. That difference makes the county statistics misleading for those only interested in the beach market. Readers can continue to expect only the Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral market conditions here.
Inventory has ticked up through the month of January. There are currently 265 existing condo and townhome units and 64 single family homes for sale as reported by the Cocoa Beach MLS. Note that my inventory number doesn't include units in proposed projects offered as pre-construction reservations of which there are thirteen today.
Random observations at the end of the first month of the new year;
Initial asking prices are becoming more ludicrous. Sellers have always had optimistic opinions on the value of their properties but that optimism has reached new heights in our market. A listing agent who wants to sell a property knows that accurate pricing is paramount but with the crazy increase in number of agents pursuing listings in our market most have adopted the strategy of taking a listing at whatever price the seller wants in order to get the listing. They know there's a good chance the seller will moderate their expectations after the market has failed to deliver a buyer in a reasonable time and may eventually lower the price enough to close a deal. Even if they don't it is another page on Zillow that will draw inquiries that can then be sold something else that is priced fairly.
A quarter of the units closed in the last 60 days sold in the first week on the market. Obviously they were priced right. Another quarter of those closed sales took from five to fourteen months to sell, all but one with multiple price changes along the way. Obviously overpriced. Buyers, you better have an agent who can recognize which properties are priced fairly and which are not. A buyer who chooses to deal directly with the listing agent needs to have the skills necessary to determine the fair number or odds are good that they will overpay for one of the majority of listings that are way over-priced. A 10% discount isn't a good deal on a property that is 25% over-priced.
The competition to stand out on Zillow has become fierce as have the tactics by agents to boost their numbers there. The transaction numbers, reviews and ratings can't be trusted and it's gotten worse. A seller might contact Josh Altman to list their property because his transaction numbers are so high but find themselves stuck with Mikey because Josh can't possibly handle fifty listings and, frankly, has other more important listings that deserve his direct involvement. The good news is that Josh will agree to the seller's crazy high asking price because it will give him another listing on Zillow to attract more inquiries. When Mikey closes your sale there's a good chance that Josh will get the credit which will help him boost his numbers and chances of getting the next inquiry. It keeps Mikey busy and Josh in Maseratis.
As I write this there is a 77 degree difference in the temp in Cocoa Beach and Chicago. 63 here, -14 there. It's not just the fishing and beaches that have made Florida so crowded. I'm thinking it might get worse.
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocket full of mumbles, such are promises
All lies and jests
Still a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest
Friday, January 04, 2019
We begin a new year in Cocoa Beach with about the same residential inventory and rate of sales we began last year with. The same supply/demand imbalance persists as well. It seems reasonable to expect most trends that we saw in 2018 to continue.
We began 2019 with 238 existing units for sale in our two cities. That's after a year in which we closed over 734 units. That's a 17 week supply at the average sales rate of the last twelve months. We would run out of supply by Easter without new listings. In addition, a large portion of the current inventory is overpriced, evidenced in part by the large number of listings on the market longer than six months and the high number of listings whose agents are repeatedly cancelling and relisting trying to trick the MLS days-on-market clock. It's still amazing to me that agents think that deceiving buyers with artificially low days on market will somehow sell an overpriced listing. If it ain't selling, it's the price, people.
While we're on the subject of prices let me share some observations about offers. I've prepared and received many hundreds of offers over the years and I've seen quite a few that never stood a chance of success, a large number recently. Beginning negotiations on a positive note helps and price and terms of the very first offer set the tone. Regardless of commentary to the contrary, emotions are a real part of most real estate transactions. We have humans on both sides so it's reasonable to expect human reactions and emotions. Assuming a property is priced within the range of what the data suggest is fair market value, an offer reasonably near that range will usually be received by a seller as a constructive beginning. An offer way below that fair range is usually received with negativity and little to no optimism that a deal will be possible. Constructive optimism or adversarial negativity. That first offer determines the tone of the negotiations and often has an impact on final terms. Anyone making a crazy low offer should be prepared to have to start over at a higher number when they receive no counter from a discouraged seller. Another thing; I have presented enough low offers to know that if one part of an offer is unattractive the other parts better be compelling if there is to be hope for a deal. An offer far below asking might be considered if it's cash, with a quick close. Might. An offer with a close more than 45 days in the future, contingent upon a mortgage or even worse, the sale of another property, better be close to the seller's wished-for selling price to stand a chance of consideration. Buyers who are compelled to offer low should consider the attractiveness of the terms and make them as shiny as possible if they hope to have any chance of success. New, overpriced listing might need a little seasoning time on the market before an unrealistic seller will consider reasonable offers.
Fifty two percent of MLS-listed condos and townhomes sold for cash in 2018 in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral. Remember that when the next expert predicts that rising interest rates will kill the real estate market. Interest rates were not a consideration for over half of condo purchasers in our market last year.
Those of you hoping to purchase in Cocoa Beach or Cape Canaveral in 2019 should be aware of the low inventory and the preponderance of overpriced listings. It will help to have a good idea what type of property you want (and whether it is even reasonable in this market) and be able to act quickly when something matching that idea appears. You and your agent need the ability to estimate current fair value and you need the resolve to resist your urge to make a lowball offer "just in case". With our supply/demand imbalance no seller needs to sell below market value. The fact that an offer is cash is unlikely to entice a seller to sell cheap when over half of all buyers are paying cash. Despite everything, barring some outside force or event, we can reasonably expect the current sales rate of over 14 condo units and 3 houses per week in our two cities to continue. Good luck out there and feel free to contact me if you have any real estate related questions. Happy and rewarding New Year.
"She says, like, literally, music is the air she breathes...
I wonder if she even knows what that word means,
well, it's literally not that." __Josh Tillman