REDUCED! ... meh

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Looking up the channel along St. Croix from Fountain Cove.
Merritt Island in the distance and Banana Bay on left.

REDUCED! OWNER MOTIVATED! BRING OFFER! NEW CAR IN GARAGE! $50,000 DECORATING CREDIT! SELLER WILL PAY 2 YEARS OF YOUR MORTGAGE PAYMENTS!

Like Lisa Simpson, when I see any of the above or similar phrases in a real estate listing I usually yawn and say, meh. However, it's the last weekend of summer, seller sentiment is changing and the headline "REDUCED!" is starting to mean something. When I sift through the 129 price reductions on condos and townhomes in the month of August in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral I'm seeing some serious price drops unlike the, mostly, baby step reductions earlier in the year. The pressure of the end of the summer season is apparently being felt and some of the reductions are significant. For example:

Villa Verde 3/3 in south Cocoa Beach from $1.35 million to $899,999
Ocean Terraces 3/2 reduced from $699,900 to $599,900
Cape Hacienda 2/2 from $315,000 to $225,000
Waters Edge 2/2 direct ocean from $259,000 to $219,000
Dolphin Beach from $240,000 to $129,900
Brisas del Mar from $185,000 to $120,000
Cape Shores from $199,900 to $119,900

I don't consider all of these to be good buys even at the newly reduced price but the amount of the drops tells me that the shift in seller mindset is speeding up in it's move towards acceptance and away from denial. Even with the highly picked-over inventory I suspect that the next few months will present opportunity for ready buyers. I would suggest, if you are going to be using a mortgage, that you go ahead and make contact with your lender before you start pursuing a deal. The rules for condo mortgages continue to change and you'll have more bargaining strength if you're already approved or paying cash. If you were pre-approved more than a couple of months ago, you need to talk to the lender again. Things have changed, yet again.

As of today, the Cocoa Beach MLS is showing 24 closed condo and townhome units in the month of August in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral, well below last year's 39 sold units with nothing closed under $500,00. The number may drift up slightly as tardy listing agents update their listings next week. Hope you have a fun Labor Day. Be safe and close your shutters when you leave.

Homer: Kids... how would you... like to go to... Blocko Land??
Lisa/Bart: Meh.
Homer: But ... the TV gave me the impression that ...
Bart: We said "meh".
Lisa: M-e-h. Meh.