December by the numbers

Sunday, 9 January 2011


Shrimp boat at sunrise off south Cocoa Beach.

December 2010 was a busy month for real estate sales in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral. Single-family home sales were dominated by low-price properties with only two of seven closed MLS sales exceeding $200,000. The gem of the seven was a beautiful 4 bedroom, 3 bath pool home with 2787 square feet at the end of a cul-de-sac off Minutemen Cswy. on open water overlooking the islands that sold for $630,000.

51 condos closed in December, the most MLS sales in the month of December since before 2004. (My records only go back to 2004.) This strong finish to the year on the back of the lowest inventory in the same seven year period is positive for the 2011 market. Of the 51, twelve were for less than $100,000 and eight were above $300,000. The sweet spot for activity was between $100,000 and $300,000 with over half of all sales landing in that range.

Sales of note included:

Four units in the new Ocean Paradise in south Cocoa Beach at prices between $560,000 and $435,000. These prices represent discounts of 40% and more off the original asking price. All units were 3 bedrooms and slightly over 2000 square feet.

Jaw-dropper of the month and maybe the year was a short sale at Magnolia Bay. A 3/3 corner unit with 2 car garage and 2455 square feet closed for $295,000. This unit sold new in 2007 for $689,900.

Another short sale haircut was a 3rd floor south facing unit in the oceanfront Sol y Mar also in south Cocoa Beach. This gorgeous 5 year old, 4/3 unit with 2 car garage and 3020 square feet sold new in 2005 for $745,000. It closed two weeks ago for $430,000.

A 2nd floor Meridian direct ocean 3/2 that was purchased new just three years ago for $679,900 was sold for $545,000. Not a short sale but considering the dynamics at this complex probably a smart decision by the sellers even though it was a significant loss for them.

A top (5th) floor, north ocean view 3/2 at the 8 year old Artesia of Cape Canaveral. This unit sold new in 2002 for $306,900. It sold in 2005 for $683,000 and then two weeks ago for $410,000.

A remodeled ground floor, direct ocean 3/2 at Royale Towers sold for $215,000. Had 1445 square feet and a 1 car garage.

A remodeled 4th floor direct ocean Sand Dollar 2/2 at Royale Towers of Cocoa Beach sold fully furnished for $270,000. One car garage and 1374 square feet.

Another 4th floor Sand Dollar floor plan 2/2 just north at Windward East closed two weeks earlier for $265,000. Also with a 1 car garage and 1394 square feet.

Just south down the street another direct ocean 2/2 on the 2nd floor sold at Beach Winds of Cocoa Beach. This 1213 square foot unit was partially remodeled, furnished and with a 1 car garage. Closed the last day of the year for $255,500.

A south side ocean view, 4th floor Sea Oats short sale closed for $205,000. This 3/2 unit was in original but OK condition and came with a 1 car garage.

An east side with ocean view Royal Mansion 2/2 closed for $226,000. Furnished, 1058 square feet, but no garage. Weekly rentals allowed.

Third floor direct ocean 1/1 Sand Dunes with 887 square feet and garage closed for $187,500.

One of the rare townhouses in the direct ocean row in front of Mystic Vistas closed for $185,000. This unit had 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 1509 square feet and sold furnished. No garage.

A foreclosed Solana Lakes 2/2 with 1828 square feet and garage closed for $185,000.

A nice canalfront 2nd floor, 2/2 at Beachwalk of Cocoa Beach sold for $185,000. Sold furnished and came with a garage and private boat slip.

An updated direct ocean ground floor 2/2 at Windjammer of Cape Canaveral sold for $180,000. Had 1196 square feet and a garage.

Two more of the 5 year old, bank-owned Mystic Vistas closed for $150,000. Both 3rd floor, one B building and one A bldg. One with 2010 square feet, one with 1994 sf and both with a garage.

A 2 story, south facing 2/1.5 with 1088 square feet in the oceanfront North Triton Arms in downtown Cocoa Beach closed for $147,000. No garage.

A side view 2/1 in the oceanfront Richard Arms just north of the Pier closed for $145,000. 1013 square feet and no garage.

A nice, updated ground floor direct ocean end unit at Canaveral Sands sold for $145,000 as a short sale. One car garage and 1316 square feet. Sold in 2004 for $385,000. Ouch!

Foreclosed top (5th) floor 2/2 direct river Four Seasons w/garage sold for $140,000.

Two 1/1 Royal Mansion weekly rental units closed for $105,000 and $95,000. The math (cost/income) really starts to make sense at these levels.

I'm not going to get into all the lower priced sales (of which there were many) but there were quite a few deals done at very compelling levels for the properties concerned. If you're looking for a smoking deal, they are still out there, just less to choose from. Inventory at all price levels continues to decrease so we are going to have trouble maintaining the same pace of sales as we move into 2011. As the number of distressed sellers dries up I expect to see shift in seller sentiment over what will probably be a surprisingly short period. It will only take a small notch-up in comparable sales to embolden the remaining sellers. They've been hoping for exactly that for a few years now. Couple that with a decade-low inventory and we could see an unexpected firm-up in prices as buyers become concerned that they've missed the bottom and begin to willingly pay a small premium to the last sale. I'm not predicting a substantial or sustained run-up in prices but it seems the conditions are ripe for a decent little bounce. As always, just my opinion. Do your own due diligence and remember that every market is different. I will most certainly be wrong in the specific as the "bottom" only happens once in each complex and floor plan. Those complex-specific bottoms will be spread over months or years but the sentiment shift will likely happen in a narrow time period and I think in our market it will happen this year. This prediction does not include the newer luxury condo complexes. My forecast for continued pain in that market segment still stands.

"Most haystacks don't even have a needle."___Unknown