Friday, February 12, 2021

Depletion Impending


That didn't take very long. This morning we have a total of 107 existing residential properties listed for sale in the Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral MLS. Ninety of those are condo or townhouse units and 17 are single family homes. Median price of available condos is $339,000 and buyers looking for a single family home in our two cities for less than $500,000 have three from which to choose. Fifteen homes have closed since January 1. I have no idea how this rapidly worsening inventory crunch will resolve itself but the immediate effect is rising prices. 

Cocoa Beach residents age 65 or above are able to receive a Covid vaccination at one of the Publix supermarket in Cocoa Beach with an advance appointment. Appointment reservations are usually available at 7 AM Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at this website. The website will refresh every 60 seconds until a position is available at which point a screen will appear asking for information. Medicare recipients will need their Medicare number which is on the red, white and blue Medicare card. It may take several tries as Brevard County only has a couple of thousand doses available on each day. Good luck.

"The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality."  __JFK

Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Approaching 100 - The Long Decline

Today the MLS inventory of condos and townhouse units for sale in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral will likely hit 100 total units. The decline from 1200 units in May of 2006 to 100 today has been relentless. The flush of sales that began in late 2006 had the supply down to 500 units by 2010 and below 250 by 2015. The decline never slowed. The story for the single family home market has paralleled that of condos and we have a grand total of 20 existing homes for sale today in the two cities, only three of those asking less than a half million dollars.

What does this mean for the 2021 real estate market in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral? At the current rate of sales the single family inventory will be gone in less than 60 days and the condo supply will last 48. We will add supply with new listings but unless the trend reverses, new listings will continue to lag sales. With this type of supply and demand imbalance, lacking some currently-unknown macro issue, prices will continue to climb. Those hoping to purchase can expect multiple offers on desirable, fairly-priced new listings. Know that sellers are taking advantage of the market conditions to swing for the fence with almost all new listings asking well above fair market value, some of them ridiculously so. Buyers should consider the possibility that they may have to overpay for a desirable property. It's an unfortunate situation but one that can't be ignored. There are buyers in our market who have been looking for years but who have been unsuccessful in their search because they can't bring themselves to pay current fair value because it is higher than when they began their search. Those who pinched their nose and overpaid last year have been vindicated as market value caught up with their, at the time, too-high purchase price. 

In the last sixty days about half of all transactions were cash deals and a third of all listings sold in less than two weeks on the market. The fast and flexible buyers are winning. Those hoping to purchase a condo here who plan to use a mortgage need to talk to their lender before starting the search. The down payment requirement may be higher than anticipated. A low down payment condo loan will eliminate many condos from consideration as some won't satisfy lender requirements. As always, be prepared with finances first and know enough about our current market to be able to estimate fair value. Identify the target property type as closely as possible and be prepared to move quickly once a target has been acquired. Decide before the search begins what criteria are non-negotiable; if you must have a garage, if you'll be bringing a pet with you, if rental restrictions matter, the type of view you must have and if a particular location within our two cities is off-limits. Prepared and informed buyers will continue to be successful in this difficult market. Best of luck in your search.

Melbourne aircraft company, Alerion, is to begin production of a supersonic passenger jet at their new Melbourne facility. 

"A Covid test nurse asked if I've had a sudden loss of taste.  I told her, "No, I've dressed like this for quite a while." __Ruth Buzzi

Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Demand Is Increasing

Roseate spoonbill, snowy egret and wood stork in Cocoa Beach

We begin 2021 with a record low inventory of residential properties for sale in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral. There are a total of 108 MLS-listed condo and townhome units for sale in our two cities. That's exactly the number of units closed in the last 55 days with over half of those sold in less than a month..

Single family home inventory is equally depleted with a total of 23 existing homes for sale on the MLS. We closed that many homes in the last 52 days.

Despite low and declining inventory throughout the year, 2020 saw a remarkable number of sold properties. There were 209 single family homes closed in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral during the year. A quarter of those sold in their first week on the market, most with multiple offers. Over half the sold homes sold in less than a month on the market and only 13 closed for less than $300,000. Top price of the year was $2.3 MM for a direct ocean 3 year old beauty in downtown Cocoa Beach.

The story was much the same with condos with 730 units closed during the year, half of them selling in 35 days or less. Seventy five units sold for more than a half million dollars with the top price of 2020 being $1.6 MM for a 7th floor penthouse unit at Ocean Oasis downtown Cocoa Beach. Only 43 units out of the 730 closed for less than $100,000.

About a third of the existing inventory has been on the market for over 100 days, a sure sign of over-pricing in this fast-paced market. Those of you hoping to purchase in 2021 need, more than ever, to have your ducks in a row and have a good idea what you're looking for. If your competition is more prepared they will have an advantage when the perfect property hits the market. The time to talk to a lender is before you start looking at properties. You will be at a disadvantage to those who are paying with cash so make the other terms of your offer as attractive as possible if you must get a mortgage. An experienced buyer's agent in our market is another huge advantage. Your cousin who is an agent in a nearby town is probably not your best choice for a Cocoa Beach property search. She may be perfectly experienced with contract particulars but lack of local knowledge will put her at a disadvantage against local agents in our competitive market.

While we're talking about agents, people, please stop letting your agents pick your pockets with transaction fees. The title company is entitled to a transaction fee but I have yet to see a situation where an agent deserved a transaction fee on top of his commission. I closed a deal a couple of weeks ago with an agent who did the bare minimum during the transaction and still had the audacity to charge his client a $395 junk "transaction" fee on top of the commission they were already paying him. It's not an accident that the agents who rob their clients with transaction fees are often those who are the slackest. That was my experience again in 2020 as it has been my entire career. DO NOT PAY transaction fees to your agent. They are usually being handsomely compensated with commission and don't deserve a transaction fee or whatever else they may call it. Except in rare circumstances, an agent charging a transaction fee is not acting in the client's best interest.

"We've heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the complete works of Shakespeare; now, thanks to the Internet, we know that is not true." _Robert Wilensky