Saturday, May 13, 2023

How Much is Too Much?

I was reading an article in the Tampa Bay Times about the startling new flood insurance increases and was looking at their posted chart (left) when I noticed the zip code at the top of the chart, 32931. What is this, surely a typo or a mistake? 
[Click the chart for a larger image.]

The new rates that were announced this week put Cocoa Beach in the number one position as getting the highest increase of any zip code in Florida. Those with existing flood policies have a little breathing room as premium increases are capped at 18% per year for them but those buying a new flood policy will see the full rate at purchase. This new Risk Rating 2.0 as FEMA calls it went into effect in April and the intent is to price policies based on actual risk. Many Floridians have gotten away with unrealistically low flood premiums in the past but that era has ended. 

The reported increase for new national flood policies for affected properties in Cocoa Beach is 761%. Flood policies in Cocoa Beach that were less than $1000 before this year will now cost over $6000 a year on average. Note that flood insurance is typically only required by lenders for homes that are in an at-risk zone, which is a minority of homes in Cocoa Beach. Those looking to buy a home here need to check for flood zone status of the properties they're considering and to include the cost of flood coverage if they're buying in a flood zone. Note that these increases are for federal flood insurance only and don't affect regular homeowners and wind coverage rates which are set by the insurance companies. Properties in at risk zones will typically be required to carry flood coverage by their mortgage holders as are those with homeowners' policies from Citizens which now requires all policy holders to also have flood coverage.

You can search for flood zone status for specific addresses in Brevard County at the County's Flood Map below.

Current Effective Brevard County Flood Zone Map

A good summary from the Tampa Bay Times here who also posted the chart above.

"Experience is making the same mistake over and over again, only with greater confidence." _unknown

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Mini Slow Season

May is traditionally one of our two slowest months for real estate in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral, the other being October. Sales remained strong in April as properties contracted earlier during the spring season closed while inventory remained practically unchanged. 

During April there were 76 closed residential properties, 63 condos and townhomes and 13 single family homes. Lowest price paid for a single family home was $535,000 for a 2965 square foot 5/3 in Cape Canaveral that needed some TLC. Median price was $810,00 with five sales over a million and the top dollar sale was a beautifully remodeled direct oceanfront two story in south Cocoa Beach with 3670 sq ft with six bedrooms and 4½ baths and a pool that closed for $3.17 million. 

Median selling price for condos was $385,000. Lowest selling price in the month was $75,000 for a tiny studio in Cape Canaveral far from the beach. Highest selling price for condos was $950,000 for a gorgeously remodeled and fully furnished 5th floor corner direct ocean Crescent Beach Club in south Cocoa Beach. It is a 3/2 with 2278 square feet and a single garage. Slightly over half of the condo sales were cash and median time on market was 24 days. More than a thrid of the sold units were on the market less than two weeks.

Selling prices remain high with eleven condos bringing over $400 per square foot although prices have declined in several popular complexes. Notably, among the weekly rental complexes, a Sandcastles 2nd floor 2/2 side unit closed for $515,000 while a 7th floor Canaveral Towers 2/2 sold for $550,000. My vote for most notable sale of the month was a remodeled and furnished 5th floor direct ocean Royale Towers Sand Dollar 2/2 that closed for $655,000 or $476/sq ft. That's a remarkable price for a unit in a complex with a two month minimum rental restriction. More remarkable prices are happening at The Diplomat in Cocoa Beach where 60 year old, 2/1 units with no garage and no ocean view have closed over the $300,000 mark.

Activity seems equally spread over all price ranges both waterfront and not. Buyers are still active and attractive units in good buildings are still commanding high prices and selling quickly. We usually see activity increasing as we enter the summer months and with the current inventory levels multiple offers will likely continue to happen with attractive new listings. Buyers paying with cash will continue to win most of these multiple offer situations. Good luck to all hoping to purchase. Make your offers as clean as possible with as few contingencies as you are comfortable with for your best chance at success. Those looking for a deal are likely to be disappointed.

Florida, among six other eastern states, just recorded the hottest January through April season ever experienced. I can confirm that the heat is here in Cocoa Beach. What is not here is the much-hyped "super blob" of seaweed that the media has been warning us about. It may eventually arrive or it may pass by in the Gulf Stream if it doesn't coincide with easterly winds as it passes. We get sargassum on our beaches every year and always have. Some years it is so thick that the beaches are covered and you have to wade through a pile just to get to the water. Some years there is very little. It's always passing by in the Gulf Stream during summer but it needs sustained easterly winds to get onto our beaches. Beaches in the Yucatan are dealing with piles of it now and our turn may come. It's a natural thing and something that most see as little more than a temporary nuisance. It will disappear like it always has. For those walking the beach when the seaweed is washing ashore, take the time to pick up small pieces at the water's edge and shake them out over the sand. You might be surprised at the creatures that fall out that ride with it, shrimp, crabs and an occasional sea horse among others. 

Congrats to all graduates. Enjoy your summer as you get ready for the next stage of your lives. Best of luck to you all.

If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” _Butch Harmon