Florida Realtors® & Sanibel/Captiva Real Estate Happenings


Florida Realtors logoSanibelSusan is writing this from the Florida Realtors® 2014 Conference & Trade Expo in Orlando which is a terrific annual event with the leadership team’s subcommittee, committee and business meetings, plus plenty of Realtor® camaraderie.

This year I am happy to be serving on several including: the Audition Panel for new instructors; the Professional Development Committee’s Curriculum Subcommittee; the Professional Subcommittee; the Professional Standards Forum; and the Resort and Second-Home Specialist Forum.

2014 conventionSometimes I think that when I am out of town, the SanibelSusan Team performs at their finest. It certainly seems to work in bringing us new business. I’ve only been here a couple of days and already the team has serviced an unexpected new listing at Pointe Santo, and teammate Dave is all set to show property tonight and in the morning to some last-minute buyers flying in later today for a quick 2-day home/condo buying trip. Dave is on a roll after putting an off-island property under contract earlier in the week. So much for August being a quiet month in Southwest Florida!

View from our new listing at Pointe Santo

View from our new listing at Pointe Santo

Here are a few more news items, followed by the action posted in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service over the past seven days.

“Homeless to Harvard”

breaking-night-liz-murrayMany island real estate colleagues also are in Orlando, soaking up the educational sessions, networking, and finalizing our 2014 committee work. Yesterday at the annual Keynote Awards Luncheon, the speaker was Liz Murray. As a homeless child of cocaine-addicted parents in Brooklyn to becoming a Harvard graduate on scholarship, her story is awe-inspiring.

She authored the book “Breaking Night” and the made-for-TV movie “From Homeless to Harvard” is based on her life. I have attended many conventions and events with nationally-known speakers, but this gal is second to none. With nary a dry eye in the house, we all left the room with huge motivation. If you have a chance to hear her, do it!

A Fast Ten Years

charley-track-mapIslanders all breathed a silent sigh of relief on Wednesday which was the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Charley. Though that storm brought out the best in island leaders and demonstrated amazing island spirit and neighbors helping neighbors, I think we are all very thankful that we have had pretty easy summer weather over the last few years.

2013 StarsThis August anniversary also means that right-around-the-corner is the 10-year anniversary of SanibelSusan Realty’s office opening in Sanibel Square. Those ten years have flown by.

Sanibel Luminary night 2014 (Dec 5) will officially mark the anniversary of our grand opening. Stay tuned for something special then!

Changing the Game

reading-bookAnother interesting convention speaker and co-author of the book that has many Realtors® abuzz is Steve Murray (no relation to Liz Murray above). His book “Game Changers” was the basis of a local Association task force that I served on recently.

Game-Changers-CoverThis book about the “unfounded fears and future prosperity of the residential real estate industry” describes through extensive industry research how the real estate business is changing and what the future may hold. You undoubtedly have heard of Zillow, Trulia, and various money-driven 3rd party listing portals eager to get their hands on Realtor® listing information. This book tackles not only issues like that but also agent ratings, MLS consolidations, and more.

realtor logoAs a firm believer that change is inevitable and usually for the good, I also personally think that the Realtor® needs to remain at the center of real estate transactions to best serve sellers and buyers, particularly when the market is a unique vacation-type destination like Sanibel and Captiva Islands where the clients often are absentee. It’s still all about service to me which sometimes conflicts with the theory that “bigger is better!” The greatest compliment that my team and I receive after a successful transaction is “your service is the best we have ever received from a Realtor®.” The industry remaining service-driven needs to continue for our business and profession to thrive!

What’s Happening With Real Estate in the Rest of the World?

TRC LOGOThrough SanibelSusan’s TRC (Transnational Referral Certification), I often receive information about the real estate market in other countries. Here is an excerpt from the July TRC newsletter with details from ICREA (the International Consortium of Real Estate Associations).

“With the first half of 2014 coming to a close,…quick round-the-world snapshot of key residential markets, based on news from member associations and other credible sources. …all real estate is local, but having a big picture sense of market conditions is good….

“One of the few markets to emerge largely unscathed from the global financial crisis, CANADA was well into recover by 2010. Its recession was the shortest and mildest among advanced economies. Since then the market has remained steady with slowly rising home sales. In most months about half of all local housing markets report gains. The metro Vancouver and Toronto markets tend to skew median home prices upward. Canada’s central bank has maintained its low 1% overnight lending rate for the past four years with no increase expected until 2015.

“On of the much-watched BRIC countries, BRAZIL is Lat America’s largest economy. Its housing market witnessed an economic boom thanks to low interest rates and credit expansion, raising cries of a housing bubble. Debate continues on the bubble, but the market has remained strong, supported by a growing middle class that buys for personal use. Its recent place on the world (Cup) stage, and selection as host country for the 2016 Olympics, is viewed by some as a mixed blessing with foreign investor eyes on the market but local money being redirected. Economic growth has slowed…perhaps a good sign for those fearing the bubble.

“High prices are twarting firtst-time buyers in the UNITED KINGDOM, in spite of the government’s “Help to Buy” program. Compounding the problem is a lack of inventory, which neared a 10-year low this spring. The UK’s NAEA views the Help to Buy program as a good temporary measure, but has called on the government to take action on the “unfair and hugely expensive” Stamp Duty, seen as a barrier to access and upward mobility on the housing ladder. London prices remain high and rising although the strong pound is prohibitive for some foreign investors.

“While the newly instituted property law “ALUR” in FRANCE is much-debated among industry professionals a recent FNAIM survey found a minority of citizens aware of or do not understand the law. Among those who do, few deem it effective. The law brings a raft of measures impacting the housing market, including for owners who rent their homes to tourists. While FNAIM supports efforts that protect consumers and promotes professionalism, it cites a number of shortcomings and overly burdensome elements of the law that will slow or complicate sales. Overall, the housing market remains weak, hurt by high employment, although prices are edging up in some markets. Paris and Cote d’Azur prices (particularly luxury housing) have largely remained strong.

“The newly elected Narendra Modi-led NDA government bodes well for INDIA‘s property market with many believing the government will help revive the market and address housing affordability issues. Ongoing urbanization and migration to cities coupled with increasing levels of education and healthcare will drive future demand. The market has been facing a slowdown in recent years due to high interest rates on home loans and lower economic growth. A Real Estate Regulation bill (long in development) is expected to pass this year which will support greater transparency and protect buyers’ interests.

“Housing news from China is less about housing in CHINA than about the impact of Chinese foreign buyers–primarily in the luxury market. A number of overheating local markets point to Chinese investors as pushing up home prices; often out of reach of local buyers. Markets attracting large numbers of Chinese buyers include Sydney, Mumbai, London, Paris, Singapore, NYC, Los Angeles and Vancouver. Chinese tend to buy where they have business interests, or buy for their children or to secure residency (a growing trend worldwide). Local response is mixed between those selling at record high prices and those priced out of the market. Some view the trend as dangerous to the local economy while others see it as a natural outgrowth of globalization.

“The resort market in MEXICO took a hit with the US economic recession (due to the many American expats buyers) but is now recovering with some notable success stories such as Veracruz. A positive sign is the government reforms being instituted to encourage business growth and investment. Sector actions include debt guarantees for construction companies and increased subsidies for homebuyers. The two government lenders reported a 14% credit increase in 1Q 2014 with increased participation by small and medium-sized homebuilders. Real estate trade group AMPI is doing its part by continuing its push for strong industry regulations and professionalism.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity August 8-15

Sanibel

CONDOS

3 new listings: Mariner Pointe #421 2/2.5 $599K, Pointe Santo #D5 2/2 $675K, Pointe Santo #D45 2/2 $799K (our listing).

1 price change: Mariner Pointe #1052 2/2 now $480K.

3 new sales: Sundial #H407 1/1 listed for $399K, Loggerhead Cay #451 2/2 listed for $475K, Sundial #E108 2/2 listed for $799K.

1 closed sale: Island Beach Club #320D 2/2 $824K.

HOMES
No new listings.

2 price changes: 1221 Par View Dr 3/2 now $758K, 940 Lindgren Blvd 3/2 now $898K.

3 new sales: 1661 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex listed for $290K (foreclosure), 1377 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed for $469K, 9446 Beverly Ln 3/3.5 listed for $599K (short sale).

6 closed sales: 5141 SanCap Rd 2/2 $280K, 421 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $450K, 1516 Angel Dr 3/2 $865K, 1817 Buckthorn Ln 4/3.5 $1.05M, 2279 Troon Ct 3/4 $1.2M, 283 Ferry Landing Dr 3/2 $1.4375M.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Sunset Beach Villas #2337 2/2 now $689.9K.

No new or closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings.

1 price change: 1 Sunset Captiva Ln 2/2.5 now $2.395M.

No new or closed sales.

LOTS

1 new listing: 15295 Captiva Dr $850K.

No price changes, new or closed sales.

This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.

Happy weekend to all! Susan

Dancers2

Summertime on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


Visit SW FloridaSouthwest Florida made the national news this week with some of the highest rain recorded in Naples (some 7″ on Monday, when the previous record was 2″). Sanibel and Captiva Islands had a lot then too, but the sandy soil here managed to absorb it quickly. Personally, I had a little fall-out from the storms, when lightning hit the prized Bismark palm in my front yard. Just the price we pay for summers in Florida!

The beaches remain busy with summer vacationers, but the local children are getting ready to go back to school, in less than two weeks, on August 18. Yesterday, I heard that the number of vacation rental check-ins tomorrow is dropping off. Then that business really comes to an almost screeching-halt the following Saturday. That is the norm here late August and September and the reason why many restaurants and businesses close up then for annual maintenance work and vacations. Now through the end of September often is the slowest time of the year on the islands, but still a great time to come.

another-perfect-sunset

A few SanibelSusan listings were shown this week and though we had an Association of Realtors® biweekly caravan meeting yesterday, I was the only one to announce a new sale (Spanish Cay #A4) and only one new listing was on Caravan for viewing. These are more indications of how S-L-O-W, it can be here late summer. The action posted in the Multiple Listing Service follow a couple of news items below. The first is a list of a couple of closings that were announced this week:

Short-Term Closings

Bag Day Noah's arkNoah’s Ark Thrift Shop (located behind St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church at 2304 Periwinkle Way) annual Bag Day is August 15 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Bags will be sold for $4 each, and can be filled with anything that fits inside. Larger items will be 80% off. Noah’s Ark will not be accepting donations again until after September 1.

Sanibel Historical VillageThe Sanibel Historical Village closed its doors on another season on July 30 and will reopen in November. There will be a lot of changes when the museum reopens. Shore Haven, the 1924 Sears Roebuck house is in the final stages of preparation to serve as a welcome center for guests and a staging area for docents. People are welcome to walk the grounds of the village during the off-season with signage for the buildings giving visitors a picture of life in old-time Sanibel. When the village reopens November 5, hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with docent-led tours at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. More info at www.sanibelmuseum.org.

Donax Beach AccessDonax Street Beach Access closed yesterday and will remain close through August 20 for maintenance work.

Similar work was finished this week at the Nerita Street Beach Access which reopened yesterday.

Henderson Boat Ramp is closed for dredging as part of the City’s maintenance of canals in the Pine Tree Drive canal system. The ramp will remain closed until the dredging is complete which is expected to take four months.

Cyclists Focus on Sanibel

bicycle_clip_artSanibel City Manager, Judie Zimomra, posted the following on Facebook earlier this week. What nice recognition of the island’s terrific bike path system and its history: “…thanks to Sanibel resident Tom Sharbaugh this concise history of our Shared Use Paths system is currently posted on the Bike Walk Lee Blog…….& a tip of the hat to the three Sanibel Moms who were the birthmothers of our path system that now provides recreation, transportation, exercise & fun to thousands of our residents & visitors daily…”

“Thursday, July 24, 2014. This week’s BWL column, written by Tom Sharbaugh, shares the history of the Sanibel Island path system. Anyone looking for proof that interested citizens can advance the cause of bike/ped safety in their community need look no further than nearby Sanibel Island for a good example.

News Press logoBikeWalkLee’s News-Press “Go Coastal” Column: 7/24/14 By Tom Sharbaugh

“When the Sanibel Causeway opened in May 1963, it brought a period of intense development to what was previously a sleepy barrier island.

“For cyclists and pedestrians, it also brought a nightmare as they were forced to share narrow island streets with non-stop traffic, including heavy construction vehicles. Without benefit of bike lanes or sidewalks, every trip by bike or by foot became a life-threatening experience.

“Eventually, residents had had enough, and a few concerned citizens decided to do something about it. In December 1972, four island women — Grace Whitehead, Mariel Goss, Sherry Vartdal and Starr Thomas — organized the Sanibel Bike Path Committee to work toward creation of a system of “hike and bike” trails for the community. As mothers of young children, these women had a special interest in improving safety for bicycles and pedestrians.

The group adopted a slogan: “Preserve, Protect and Pedal.”

“Preserving the environment and wildlife was (and still is) a hot button with Sanibel residents. Protecting children with safer streets was a key goal of the effort, and pedaling was promoted as a healthy alternative to motor vehicles for getting around the island. (It is interesting that these same themes are alive on the island today.)

“After unsuccessfully seeking help from Lee County and state entities, organizers determined that if their effort was going to succeed, they would have to drive it through local efforts, raising money for the project and calling attention to the importance of their cause.

“What followed is a classic example of “bootstrap activism,” as the founding women geared up local fundraising efforts. They placed donation jars at local businesses, which raised their first $1,180.

“They created a local phone directory for Sanibel and Captiva, selling the first edition for $2 with all proceeds going toward building the new bike path. They sold T-shirts and sand dollar necklaces, and they organized fundraising dinners.

“In addition to raising money, the organizers looked for ways to increase awareness about why this was an important community need. In February 1974, the women organized a protest during which 15 bicyclists rode the length of Periwinkle Way in the middle of the traffic lane during rush hour.

“After determining that bikes had the same rights as motor vehicles to be on the road, they decided to use this as a demonstration to county commissioners and law enforcers that a safer alternative was needed for bikes and pedestrians.

“Later, the group invited all the Lee County Commissioners to a pot luck luncheon, after which they drove them around the streets of Sanibel to see first-hand the unsafe road conditions.

“Eventually, these efforts made a difference. Influenced by the Sanibel group’s activities, Lee County developed a plan for a county-wide network of paths and a funding strategy for county and state funding to pay construction costs. Also that year, Florida’s Department of Transportation (FDOT) set aside $2 million in federal funds for bike path construction.

“And when the City of Sanibel was incorporated in late 1974, the path system was a prominent issue; candidates for the first City Council election were asked to state their positions regarding the path system. In 1976, the first 2½ miles of Sanibel’s path were built along Periwinkle Way, funded by $10,000 in seed money from the Sanibel Bike Path Committee, matched by a similar amount from FDOT.

“Since those early days, Sanibel’s path system (now known as a “Shared Use Path”) has been expanded many times and now covers over 25 miles of off-road pathways. Responsibility for overseeing path construction & maintenance now rests with the City of Sanibel, funded by city tax revenues. But stewardship of the path continues to be a responsibility shared between the city and the citizens of Sanibel.

“In recent years, the job of advocating for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and safety has been taken on by the Sanibel Bicycle Club. Founded in 1994, the club has worked closely with the city and its Department of Public Works to identify path expansion opportunities, maintenance needs and safety issues, and to provide volunteer help for path-related projects.

“In a throwback the path’s early history, in 2005 the Sanibel Bicycle Club established the “Sanibel Trails In Motion” fund, a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to raising money through donations to pay for path enhancements. To date, Sanibel Trails In Motion has collected more than $57,000. The Trails In Motion Fund helped to pay for preparation of Sanibel’s 2009 Shared Use Path Master Plan, in partnership with the city.

“In the past 10 years, Sanibel’s path system has been extended to new parts of the island, widened in heavily traveled areas, and separated from the roadway with a grassy median. Recent focus has been updating crosswalks and adding safe interconnectivity of the path with major destination locations.

Anyone looking for proof that interested citizens can advance the cause of bike/ped safety in their community need look no further than nearby Sanibel Island for a good example.”

— Tom Sharbaugh is a member of the Sanibel Bicycle Club and the BikeWalkLee steering committee. BikeWalkLee is a community coalition raising public awareness and advocating for complete streets in Lee County—streets that are designed, built, operated and maintained for safe and convenient travel for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Information, statistics and background online at www.BikeWalkLee.org. Click the blue link for a copy of the Sanibel Path system map.

Florida Has Most Visitors Ever

floridaThis is a repeat of a special report on news-press.com by Karl Etters on Wednesday, August 5, 2014:

“More travelers visited Florida in the first quarter of this year than during any other three-month period in the state’s history. Data from Visit Florida showed that from January through March, 26.7 million visitors entered the state, a half-million more than the previous record set last year. The uptick in tourism, and the impact on the state’s economy, was lauded in Tallahassee on Monday by Visit Florida and the non-profit TaxWatch.

“The numbers represent an increase of 38,000 tourism related jobs and 37,000 outside of the industry related to strong 2013. The study also shows that travel related jobs in the state during the first three months are up 3.5% compared to the same time in 2013.

“The Legislature approved a budget with $74 million in funding for marketing and promotion by Visit Florida, a huge increase from the $10.5 million the year before. “If the state increases its tourism spending, private businesses do as well and private investment is great for the state of Florida,” said TaxWatch chief economist Jerry Parrish.

“Visit Florida, public-private agency, is required to have a one-to-one match in private funding. Over the past seven years it averaged $2.08 in private money for every public dollar. Parrish said aside from being a boon in communities statewide, more visitors put money into the state coffers for paying off state debt, lessens the tax burden on state residents, makes tax-free holidays possible and contributes to infrastructure funding.

“The increase in visitors is part of a three-year trend of more travelers, international and domestic. “There’s no question the state of Florida and the tourism industry in the state of Florida has a tremendous amount of momentum,” said Visit Florida President and CEO Will Seccombe. Data show that in the first six months of 2014, hotel room rentals increased 10%.

“In 2013, 94.3 million visitors came to the state. That number has been rising from 80.8 million in 2009, a record low. Robust tourism visitation for June in Collier County resulted in continued high occupancy at hotels and short term rentals at close to 70% and a 14.2% increase in tourism direct spending over June of 2013. Year-to-date direct spending by visitors is nearing $759 million, 11.4% ahead of the pace for 2013. “Tourism and hospitality industry direct and indirect employment in Collier County increased by 4.0% in 2013 and reached a peak of 38,800 during the 2014 winter season. Our summer visitation and occupancy continues to be close to capacity, which means that more of those employed will be able to keep their jobs without being subjected to seasonal layoffs,” said Jack Wert, Collier tourism executive director. “Our community has enjoyed 41 straight months of job growth in the tourism and hospitality sector.”

“The Bureau of Labor Statistics data totals the average annual employment and total annual wages for each of the state’s 67 counties. In 2013, the leisure and hospitality category of private-sector jobs pushed more than 24,000 jobs in Collier County with a total annual salary over $627 million. Lee County jobs totaled more than 34,000 with annual wages topping $734 million countywide. “We’ve always known that tourism creates jobs and there is an absolute return on our investment,” said Tamara Pigott, executive director for Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau. “We’re very supportive in helping Florida get to that 100 million (visitors) number. We want to grow our visitation, and we do believe in that partnership. All ships lift in a rising tide, and we are supportive of their funding. We all have a symbiotic relationship — their promotion efforts and ours.””

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity August 1-8

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Loggerhead Cay #322 2/2 $519K, Sanibel Inn #3512 2/2 $725K.

3 price changes: Sundial #D207 1/1 now $258.990; Seascape #105 3/3 now $1.795M, Seascape #204 3/3.5 now $1.895M.

No new sales.

2 closed sales: Coquina Beach #5G 2/2 $372.5K, Sundial #J307 2/2 $501K.

HOMES

3 new listings: 1063 Blue Heron Dr 3/2 $545K, 1195 Par View Dr 3/2.5 $1.195M, 2010 Sunrise Cir 5/3 $1.379M.

1 price change: 1377 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $469K.

5 new sales: 421 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 listed for $499K, 1225 Junonia St 3/2 listed for $649K; 1504 Angel Dr 4/3 listed for $745K; 1048 Kings Crown Dr 4/4 listed for $1,224,995; 766 Sand Dollar Dr 4/5.5 listed for $1.495M.

5 closed sales: 2079 Wild Lime Dr 3/2 $480K, 236 Hurricane Ln 3/3 $530K, 1049 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2 $590K, 2569 Coconut Dr 2/2 $622K, 5313 Punta Caloosa Ct 4/3 $820K.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

Captiva
CONDOS

1 new listing: Bayside Villas #4212 1/2 $275K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: Sunset Beach Villas #2313 1/1 listed for $539K.

No closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 16910 Captiva Dr 4/4 $4.835M

No price changes or new sales.

2 closed sales: 11411 Old Lodge Ln 4/2 $900K, 11547 Wightman Ln 2/2 $1.275M.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.

Happy Weekend to all! SanibelSusan

Here is a photo taken on Wednesday from the beach access next to Sanibel Siesta!

IMG_2773[1]

Sanibel/Captiva Islands Real Estate Happenings, 8/1/2014


SunsetbAs July winded down, it was another fairly quiet start to the week on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. SanibelSusan finished up a busy weekend of showings with some 2nd looks on Sunday. Several of our listings received inquiries, as well as a few showings. Then today, one of our condo listings went under contract, and rumor has it that offers will be coming later today on a lot listing, and next week on another condo listing. (Sunset photo above by Jim Anderson, JMA Photography.)

The month is wrapping up as one of the best in years for rentals. Internet marketing and high marks on many social media rating sites continue to bring the island business.

Here are a couple of news items followed by the action posted in the Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing service this week. Quite a few closings were posted, usual for the end of a month.

“If You Like Seashells, You Should Go To Sanibel Island STAT”

ShellsThe above headline was posted on-line in “The Huffington Post” Travel section yesterday with the below article. Island rental managers and accommodation owners keep saying that their bookings this year are ahead of last year, which was already a record year. News postings like this undoubtedly contribute.

“Sure it’s almost August, but there’s still a ton of time left to plan a little R&R on the beach. Why not Sanibel Island?

“Known for being a “swanky-but-not-in-your-face-swanky barrier island,” Florida’s Sanibel Island is gorgeous and also has pretty awesome sunsets.

“The island’s beaches also happen to have more seashells than your average beach, making it the perfect place to go “shelling” (which is apparently a really big deal down there). It’s a famous spot for collecting everything from sand dollars to scallops thanks in part to its east-west orientation. There’s even a phrase — the “Sanibel Stoop” — to describe what people look like while there.

“So if you finally want to make that DIY shell necklace you saw on Pinterest — or just want to enjoy some really beautiful beaches before summer’s over — head on down!

Permit Approved for Wulfert Pointe Estates

Sanibelcityseal logoOn Tuesday, Sanibel Planning Commission granted a development permit and preliminary plat approval for Wulfert Pointe Estates, a major subdivision consisting of 34 single-family lots and dwelling units along Sanibel-Captiva and Wulfert Roads.

Previously known as Phase III of Sanibel Bayous, the 76.2-acre property is adjacent to the south end of Wulfert Road.

The Long View on Recovery

realtor logoAs presented by Lawrence Yun, NAR (National Association of Realtors®) Chief Economist in July/August “Realtor®” magazine:

“No industry is more cyclical than the housing sector. Changes in job growth and mortgage rates can have a big impact on whether home sales rise or fall. Today, after two years of solid growth, home sales appear to be hitting a soft spot. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the recovery is over.

“Compared with previous cycles, hitting a soft spot only two years into a recovery is unusual. That’s because the country’s steady population growth typically boosts demand for home sales after a downturn. We saw this in the three housing recoveries since 1970. These recoveries were multiyear phenomena of seven, five, and 14 years (the boom).

“This time, the expansion seems to be sputtering after only two years. Why? It doesn’t appear to be a lack of demand. We’ve seen a build-up of potential buyers from the creation of 2.4 million jobs over the past 12 months, as well as continuing low interest rates (4.2% as of early summer), and the pent-up demand from young adults living at home longer or doubling up with friends.

“The difference between this and previous recoveries is on the supply side. There simply isn’t enough inventory to keep the market growing. Just to keep pace with the growing U.S. population, we would need to see about 1.5 million housing starts a year, but since the downturn, we’ve seen the construction of new homes at levels well below that.

“Fortunately, we’re starting to see more homes being listed for sale. March and April inventory levels were higher this year, and home builders are increasing their activity.

“To be sure, the affordability side continues to face pressure. Home prices have been rising throughout the recovery, and credit standards remain tight. But there’s good news on both fronts. As more homes come on the market, the pressure on prices should moderate, and we expect future price gains to be in line with income growth. And we see signs lenders could dial down credit standards to more normal levels, in part because of the strong performance of mortgages originated in the last few years.

“Therefore, all in all, a multiyear housing market recovery is still in the works if we discount the modest slowdown for this year.”

America’s 132 Million Homes

Census-Bureau-LogoI love statistics and am sharing this article from the current “Realtor” Mag. Some fun facts about the 132 million homes in America, sourced to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Housing Profile:

How Old Are They?

“The median age of a home built in the United States is 40. In 1974, when those houses were built, interest rates on 30-year fixed mortgages averaged 9.1%; the median existing home price was $32,000; President Gerald R. Ford had announced a $300 million mortgage credit initiative to help alleviate the housing market recession; and the energy crisis had spurred the incorporation of energy-efficient features in new construction.

U.S. housing stock by age

  • 0-14 years old – 18 million (14%) were built in 2000 or later.
  • 15-54 years old – 33 million (25%) were built from 1980 to 1999 (14-34 years old) & 40 million (30%) were built from 1960 to 1979 (35-54 years old).
  • 55-95 years old – 21 million (8%) were built from 1940 to 1959 (55 to 74 years old), 11 million (8%) were built from 1920 to 1939 (75-94 years old) & 9 million (7% were built from 1919 or earlier (95+years old).”

Understanding and Combating the Rate Lock-in Threat

realtor logoHere’s an excerpt from an article in July 2014 “RealtorMag”. It has further info about how the housing market is evolving nationally.

“For years, a large number of home owners were prevented from moving up because of negative equity. These underwater owners were locked in to their current location thanks to rock-bottom home values.

Now that the economy is improving, those home owners may be moving into the market more freely. But some feel hemmed in for a wholly different reason: They don’t want to give up the rock-bottom interest rate they procured in recent years. This time, however, they’re being locked in by the low interest rates — as low as 3.3% in late 2012 — that they secured by buying or refinancing over the past few years. Economists worry this group will be reluctant to move now that interest rates are heading back up, exacerbating an already tight housing inventory….

“Researchers at the Institute of Housing Studies at DePaul University in Chicago say that interest rate lock-in may be more of an impediment to housing turnover than equity lock-in (those who can’t sell because they’re underwater). Their study, published in February, used the Chicago metro area as a test case to predict what rising home prices and interest rates will mean for housing turnover. The study assumed a 1% rate increase each year over a three-year period. They found that the number of households freed from equity lock-in by increasing home prices will not offset the number of home owners who are increasingly being locked in by low interest rates. At the end of the three-year period, the turnover rate in strong markets had decreased by 75%. The effect in weaker markets was slightly less extreme, but similar.

“Though Pat Hendershott, senior research fellow for the study, says the interest rate parameters they set were somewhat arbitrary, rates might actually follow a similar path in the three-year period between 2013 and 2016. National Association of REALTORS® Chief Economist Lawrence Yun predicts that interest rates will increase from current levels (around 4.2%) to nearly 5% by early next year. He says they will probably rise until they reach 6%, then stabilize there. Historically, 6% interest isn’t deadly to the economy, but Yun says that a home owner paying about half that may take rates into account when deciding whether or not to move. “Some home owners will delay moving into a new residence because of the desire to hold on to the current lower rate mortgage,” Yun says.

“John Moony, managing vice president of Guaranteed Rate, a national mortgage company based in the Chicago area, says that even a 1% increase in mortgage rates can make a big difference in a home owner’s decision-making process. He says a 1% increase in interest rates generally equates to a 10% reduction in purchasing power. In practical terms, that means a family looking to keep their mortgage payment below, say, $1,500 a month will need to lower the maximum price they can pay for a house from $300,000 to $270,000 if interest rates go up one percentage point.

What Lock-in Might Look Like

“It’s hard to know exactly how this will unfold on the national arena, but one CoreLogic executive recently estimated that up to 3.6 million home owners will be reluctant to sell this year because of rate lock-in.

Hendershott says looking back to other lock-in events can provide insight to what home owners might do in the face of interest rate lock-in. He says that historically there has been “a substantial amount of renovation of houses” as home owners seek to put off moving.

“But locked-in home owners have a variety of options other than delaying a move, according to Yun. He says some home owners might consider renting out their homes, rather than selling. Others might look into seller financing and assumable mortgages, which can keep the lower interest rates alive while still freeing up the home owner to move to a new residence.

“Donna Stadum, ABR, GRI, salesperson with AZ Horizon Realty in Casa Grande, Ariz., thinks rising rates will encourage home owners to get off the fence, at least in the short term. “Interest rates are still really competitive,” Stadum says. “They’re going to want to move quickly so that they can keep the lower interest rate.”

It’s About More Than Numbers

“The lock-in problem is real, but interest rates aren’t the only calculus people use when determining if it’s the right time to buy. “Generally speaking, they’re going to make this decision based on what’s right for them, what’s right for their family,” Moony says. “Most customers will make that decision emotionally, but they’ll use the financials to back up that decision….”

It’s Never Too Early To Think About December

Captiva Holiday VillageElise and I groaned when we saw the front page of the “Island Sun” today which posted the schedule for the Captiva Holiday Village events. We love the holidays, but it’s hard to believe that plans for December already are being promoted.

This three-weekend-long event launches the Friday after Thanksgiving with fireworks, tree lightings, holiday readings, and musical performances. Individual events are posted on the “Upcoming Events” page, click on the tab above.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity July 26 to August 1

Sanibel
CONDOS

No new listings.

3 price changes: Sandy Bend #5 2/2 now $629K, Nutmeg Village #304 2/2 now $649.9K, Sanddollar #C101 2/2 now $880K.

4 new sales: Duggers Tropical Cottages #5 1/1 listed for $298K, Spanish Cay #A4 2/2 listed for $349K (our listing), Blind Pass #D204 3/2 listed for $399K, Sundial #D101 3/2 listed for $799K.

4 closed sales: Sundial #D408 1/1 $349K, Breakers West #A4 2/2 $445K, Sundial #O302 2/2 $635K, Gulfside Place #322 2/2 $945K.

HOMES

3 new listings: 1661 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex 290K, 2407 Shop Rd 2/1 $339K, 1581 San Carlos Bay Dr 3/3.5 $1.995M.

1 price change: 1203 Isabel Dr 2/3 now $1.095M.

3 new sales: 1709 Sand Pebble Way 5/3 multi-family listed for $429K, 1526 Bunting Ln 5/3 listed for $525K, 475 Sea Oats Dr 3/3 listed for $750K.

9 closed sales: 2186 Egret Cir 3/2 $417K, 621 Lake Murex Cir 2/2 $474K, 917 Pepper Tree Place 4/3 $750K, 1284 Par View Dr 2/2 $610K, 1063 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2 $625K, 925 Lindgren Blvd 3/2 $689.9K, 2538 Blind Pass Ct 3/2 $785K, 6010 White Heron Ln 3/2.5 $930K, 1066 Bailey Rd 3/3 $970K.

LOTS

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: 5407 Osprey Ct $435K.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: Lands End Village #1667 2/2 listed for $1.025M.

No closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: 11532 Captiva Dr 2/2 $1.2M

LOTS

Nothing to report.

This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.

Until next Friday, here’s another Sanibel sunset photo, this one from my Swiss friends, Doris & Hans.

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

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Summer Brings Popcorn Clouds to Sanibel & Captiva Islands


It’s SusanSusan reporting that we have had another quiet week on the islands. The weather has settled into a nice summer pattern of sunny days with an occasional passing shower which is keeping the islands lush and tropical.

The photos below were taken earlier this afternoon as I was on my rounds getting ready for some showings tomorrow. On the photo of the causeway are the storm clouds just off island, then turning the other direction I took the blue sky photo showing San Carlos Bay toward Pine Island Sound. The lake view in The Dunes shows the cloud progression in just a few minutes.

Our summer island joke is that the storms can’t afford the $6 toll, when in reality it probably has something to do with the surrounding water temperature. Some afternoons we get a shower and some we don’t.

Below are a couple of news items followed by the activity posted in the Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing Service this week.

July Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Monthly Membership Meeting

SanCapAssnLogoThere was a good turn-out yesterday at our monthly Association of Realtors® membership meeting which was sponsored by our friends at Barrier Island Title Services, Inc. Janet McBee (owner), Nanci Berlin (manager), Angie Martin (who handles most of my closings), & Jackie Martin were all in attendance. Nanci thanked members for their continued support and reminded us that this is their 25th year in business on the islands. Congratulations!

Sanibel Surveys logoThe educational segment of the meeting included a presentation by Andy Johnson, owner of Sanibel Surveys. Here is some of the information he shared regarding the three control lines on the islands. Andy particularly mentioned that these lines sometimes get incorrectly lumped together and called CCCL’s (Coastal Construction Control Lines) when in fact there are actually three different lines and only one is the true Coastal Construction Control Line today. Below is some info learned from Andy’s presentation as well as some websites:

The Differences in Coastal Control/Setback/Erosion Control Lines

State of FL SealCoastal Construction Control Line (CCCL) – is the line established by the State of Florida that defines that portion of the beach-dune system subject to severe fluctuations based on a 100-year storm surge, storm waves, or other predictable weather conditions. It is part of Florida’s coastal management program and it is regulated through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. It provides protection for Florida’s beaches and dunes while assuring reasonable use of private property. Property may not be modified or constructed seaward of this line without approval from the State. (See more info on http://www.dep.state.fl.us/beaches/programs/ccclprog.htm.)

Here on the islands, many of us refer to this line as the 1991 line. As part of the sales contract prepared when an offer is written to purchase a property that is forward of the CCCL line, a Coast Construction Control Line rider is required. Note, in the case of a condo purchase, it may be that some of the common elements are in front of this 1991 line, but not the actual unit itself. Since a condo owner usually will own a share of the common elements, like a beach-side swimming pool, a prospective buyer should be made aware of the line if it intersects the property anywhere.

Lee County Setback Line – also sometimes known as the Lee County Coastal Construction Control Line. Lee County first adopted coastal control construction codes in the mid-1970’s. Here, the current CCCL established in 1991 and mentioned above, replaced an earlier 1974 CCCL. Construction seaward of the 1991 CCCL requires a coastal construction permit from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Florida Building Code establishes a base flood elevation for buildings located seaward of the 1991 CCCL.

On Sanibel, the state 1974 CCCL was used to establish the Gulf Beach Ecological Zone which is designated for passive recreation and conservation uses only. For that reason, and to add to the confusion, the 1974 CCCL is often referred to as the Coastal Construction Setback Line on Sanibel.

On Lee County websites, a county-wide 1978 CCL is posted on the county aerial maps since that is the map that applied to properties built before the 1991 line was established.

Erosion Control Line – To further complicate things, there is a third line, known as the Erosion Control Line. Captiva residents and businesses have been managing their beaches for decades, improving them as needed with beach renourishment events. CEPD has developed a comprehensive plan to protect the island’s shoreline including support from Federal, State, County and local agencies. The first CEPT renourishment project was in 1961, followed by projects in 1981, 1988, 1996 (this project also included sand on northern Sanibel), 2005 (also including some of Sanibel), and 2013. The land seaward of this line does not convey with a sale.

Want to Find Details on a Specific Property? Realtors®, appraisers, surveyors, insurance agents, and others often use two county on-line resources. Each can be queried by either owner’s name, address, or the property identifier called the STRAP number.

  • http://www.LeePa.org which is the Lee Property Appraiser’s site. It shows property values, deed recordings, legal descriptions, aerial photos, tax code details, and more.
  • http://leegis.leegov.com/leespins/ which is Lee County’s Spatial Information System. It provides some of the same information, but also includes overlays with these control lines shown, where applicable.

Sanibelcityseal logoSanibel Build-Back Ordinance  – In early 2006, Sanibel City Council adopted an ordinance that is important to Sanibel property owners because it clarified and revised the City’s build-back regulations which can relate to properties and improvements seaward of control lines.

These clarifications and revisions to the City’s build-back regulations address when/how nonconforming structures and structures devoted to nonconforming uses, which are substantially damaged by a natural disaster, can be built back.

There are buildings and land uses, within the City, that were lawful when established, but which have become nonconforming under the terms of the Sanibel Plan or the Land Development Code (like a ground-level property seaward of a control line). “It is the intent of the Land Development Code to permit these nonconformities to continue until they are eventually removed, but except as to most nonconforming uses, not to require them to be removed as the result of a disaster, and to allow them to be built back (their reconstruction) after a disaster, subject to reasonable restrictions.”

The City clarified and revised its build-back regulations to ensure that property owners do not suffer the loss of a dwelling unit or a reduction in unit size as the result of a natural disaster. It is also the intent of build-back regulations that nonconforming uses can be reestablished if the building they occupy is built back after a natural disaster. (For more info, the Sanibel Buildback Guide is available on the City’s website at www.MySanibel.com.)

3 Challenges Still Facing the Housing Market

“Daily Real Estate News” on-line on Wednesday said:

realtor logo“Existing-home sales gained momentum in June, reaching an annual pace of 5 million sales for the first time since October 2013, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest housing report. Rising inventories also are pushing the overall supply of homes for sale toward a more balanced market, with unsold inventories 6.5% higher than a year ago, NAR notes.

““Inventories are at their highest level in over a year and price gains have slowed to much more welcoming levels in many parts of the country,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “This bodes well for rising home sales in the upcoming months as consumers are provided with more choices.”

Growing Optimism?

“Still, the market is facing several headwinds that continue to subdue a more robust recovery. NAR noted three in its most recent housing report:

  1. Sluggish new-home construction: While overall housing inventories showed improvement in June, inventory problems continue to weigh on the market and could become more problematic if new-home construction doesn’t increase in more markets, NAR notes. “New-home construction needs to rise by at least 50% for a complete return to a balanced market because supply shortages — particularly in the West — are still putting upward pressure on prices,” Yun notes.
  2. Stagnant wage growth: Yun also noted that stagnant wage growth is holding back what should be a stronger pace of sales. “Hiring has been a bright spot in the economy this year, adding an average of 230,000 jobs each month,” Yun notes. “However, the lack of wage increases is leaving a large pool of potential home buyers on the sidelines who otherwise would be taking advantage of low interest rates. Income growth below price appreciation will hurt affordability.”
  3. Dwindling first-time home buyers: The percentage of first-time buyers continues to be low by historical standards. First-time home buyers made up 28% of the market in June, down from a typical 40% of the market historically.

“NAR President Steve Brown says that some prospective buyers who have above average credit scores but low down payments are being deterred from home ownership by the high cost of FHA mortgage insurance. “Access to affordable credit continues to hamper young, prospective first-time buyers,” says Brown. “NAR recommends that the FHA reduce high annual mortgage insurance premiums for all qualified homebuyers and eliminate the insurance requirement for the life of the loan. The FHA’s HAWK program is a good start, but it should offer further reductions for participating home buyers.”

“Here are some more housing indicators from NAR’s most recent report.

Home prices: Median existing-home prices for all housing types in June was $223,300, 4.3% higher than year-ago levels. This was the 28th consecutive month for year-over-year price gains.

Distressed homes: Foreclosures and short sales accounted for 11% of June sales, a 15% drop from year-ago levels. On average, foreclosures sold for a discount of 20% below market value, while short sales were discounted 11% in June.

Time on market: The median time on market for all homes was 44 days in June, up from 37 days on market in June 2013. Forty-two percent of homes sold in June were on the market for less than a month.

All-cash sales: All-cash sales made up 32% of transactions in June, up slightly from 31% in June 2013. Individual investors, who account for the majority of cash sales, purchased 16% of homes in June, down from 17% in June 2013.

“REGIONAL SNAPSHOT

Take a closer look at how existing-home sales fared in your area.

Northeast: Existing-home sales increased 3.2%, but remain 3% below year-ago levels. Median price: $269,800, an 0.1% decrease from June 2013.

Midwest: Existing-home sales surged 6.2%, but remain 2.4% below June 2013. Median price: $177,900, up 4.6% from a year ago.

South: Existing-home sales rose slightly by 0.5%, up 1% from June 2013. Median price: $192,600, up 3.4% from a year ago.

West: Existing-home sales increased 2.7%, but remain 7.3% below a year ago. Median price: $301,000, up 7.2% from a year ago.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity July 18-26

Sanibel
CONDOS

2 new listings: Duggers Tropical Cottages #4 1/1 $299K, Signal Inn #14 2/2 $819K.

3 price changes: Duggers Tropical Cottages #5 1/1 now $298K, Shell Island Beach Club #7A 2/2 now $619.9K, Nutmeg Village #209 2/2 now $730K.

2 new sales: Sundial #G407 1/1 listed for $339K, Sundial #J307 2/2 listed for $539.9K.

2 closed sales: Tennisplace #E31 2/1 $280K, Sandals #D 4/3 $1.8M.

HOMES

1 new listing: 1674 Sabal Palm Dr 3/3 $865K.

2 price changes: 2098 Wild Lime Dr 2/2 now $359K, 419 Lighthouse Way 4/3 now $849.9K.

3 new sales: 581 East Rocks Dr 3/2 listed for $495K (short sale), 676 Anchor Dr 3/3 listed for $949K, 566 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2 listed for $995K.

3 closed sales: 553 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $579K, 1278 Sand Castle Rd 4/3 $721K, 1058 Fish Crow Rd 4/3 $860K.

LOTS

1 new listing: Lot 27, Leisure Acres $199.9K.

No price changes, new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: Sunset Beach Villas #2316 1/1 $475K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 16585 Captiva Dr 5/4.2 $2,799,585.

No price changes or new sales.

1 closed sale: 15361 Captiva Dr 5/4 $2.3M.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.

Til next Friday,  Susan

Mid-Summer Scoop from Sanibel Island


It has been another quiet, summer shower kind of week on the islands, with no real estate meeting yesterday and very few showings or even phone calls. All-in-all, that is pretty typical for late July. At SanibelSusan Realty we spent much of the week beating the bushes for new listings and working on selling long-distance and sight-unseen. It always pays to have good marketing material when you do that. Here are a few photos taken this week at our new listing at Spanish Cay. It’s great value at $349K and already getting interest. Smart buyers know that summer is a great time to buy – when it is easy to preview property and sellers may be more motivated.

Below are a few news items followed by the action posted this week in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.

Sea Turtles Nesting in Record Numbers

loggerhead_sea_turtle_baby_blogFrom the “Island Sun” today: “Local businesses and residents of Sanibel and Captiva universally agree that the 2013-14 “in season” for tourism was the highest in recent memory. However, another group of visitors to the islands this summer has shattered the record books.

“On July 7 when the 70th nest was recorded, it established a new mark for nesting activity on Sanibel’s east end…Last Friday morning, SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) updated its sea turtle nesting statistics. Reported were 73 loggerhead nests and one green sea turtle nest on Sanibel’s east end, 237 nests on Sanibel’s west end, and 101 nests on Captiva. By way of comparison, by the same date last year, SCCF had reported 44 nests on Sanibel’s east end, 208 loggerhead and seven green turtle nests on Sanibel’s west end, and 99 loggerhead and one green turtle nest on Captiva.”

An interesting fact is that once a tiny hatchling reaches the water, “they’ll swim for 48 hours straight to get away from the shoreline and birds and other predators…that’s their instinct.”

“Each day during nesting season, which runs from May to October, more than 100 volunteers, permittees and SCCF employees monitor approximately 18 miles of island beachfront which stretches from the Sanibel Lighthouse to the tip of Captiva….”

BIG ARTS Then/Now & Their Fall Schedule

BIG Arts logoKnown as Sanibel and Captiva’s home for all the arts, BIG ARTS has been providing cultural enrichment and fulfillment to island residents and visitors since 1979. BIG ARTS began when a group of artists dreamed of a cultural center on the island. Today, BIG ARTS members and participants enjoy a wide spectrum of performing and visual arts events, and the community participates in more than 200 educational classes and workshops each year.

The creative spirit, driving force, and hard work of volunteers have shaped BIG ARTS into the vibrant organization it is today. More than 250 talented volunteers assist the staff each season to ensure the professional management of BIG ARTS. Now a prominent cultural institution in Southwest Florida’s region, BIG ARTS has fulfilled its original mission to provide cultural, social, and volunteer opportunities to island residents. As new residents move to the area, they see how BIG ARTS enriches island life, and many are eager to participate and support the arts as they did in their former communities.

BIG ARTS banner-homepage-35-anniversaryBIG ARTS activities were held in private homes around the island until 1987, when a small cottage was donated and moved to its present location on Dunlop Road. Founders Gallery opened in this cottage and concerts were held in the garden under a tent. Due to the popularity of the programs, the organization quickly outgrew these facilities. Through the generosity of BIG ARTS supporters, Phillips Gallery opened in 1990 as an art gallery, concert hall, and classroom.

BIG artsThe West Wing, Schein Performance Hall and sculpture garden were added in 1997. Designed by BIG ARTS member Irwin Stein, Schein Hall is a 400-seat concert hall with surround sound in high definition and a recently added high definition projection system. Classrooms provide space for pottery, clay, metal works, and many other offerings. The beautiful sculpture garden, renamed Boler Garden, was restored in 2006, including an ongoing project with installation of an etched stone walkway.

BIG ARTS Administrative Offices and Classrooms are at 2244 Periwinkle Way, right behind SanibelSusan Realty Associates. Additional classrooms and meeting space there allows BIG ARTS to further its mission to support the arts.

Theater-in-SanibelIn 2010 the Boards of the Herb Strauss Theater and BIG ARTS joined together to combine the support functions and volunteers of the two organizations, making both stronger and more efficient. The Herb Strauss Theater is now part of the BIG ARTS family of programs and productions. The goal is to further the tradition of quality cultural and educational experiences to the residents and visitors of Sanibel, Captiva, and neighboring communities.

BIG ARTS Herb Strauss Theater presents professional live theater, and offers Broadway-caliber talent in an intimate atmosphere. The 160-seat Theater is at 2200 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.

BIG-ARTS-Community-chorus-holiday-concert-2009Going into the fall 2014, as in past years, as soon as the BIG ARTS Summer Arts Camp ends, the new schedule begins. Workshops will continue classes in painting and drawing; open studio sessions; fine crafts, such as stained glass, glass fusing, and weaving; pottery; dance/fitness; discussion groups; music appreciation and instructional; technology lessons; language and writing classes. Also part of the family of workshops is BIG ARTS Community Chorus and BIG ARTS community Concert band.

As one of the original members of the BIG ARTS Chorus, SanibelSusan was working behind the scenes this week with Director Steve Cramer in organizing the music that chorus will sing for the fall Bailey Fest, Thanksgiving Celebration, and December Holiday Concert. It’s going to be another great season!

Sanibel Rec Center – Brief Closing for Maintenance

Sanibel Rec CenterThe Sanibel Recreation Center will close July 26 through August 3 for maintenance projects. Improvements will include resurfacing of the gym floor and front entrance, deep cleaning and painting of the facility, restriping of the parking lot, and resealing of rest room tile. Day-camp programs will operate as scheduled.

The Sanibel Recreation Center is at 3880 Sanibel-Captiva Rd. Daily, weekly, semi-annual, and annual memberships are available. More info on www.MySanibel.com.

Survey: Buyers, Sellers ‘Not on the Same Page’

REDFIN logoThis article in “Daily Real Estate News” on July 10, 2014 describes a small survey, but to me the points are “spot on”.

“Home buyers and sellers are “not on the same page” when it comes to the state of the housing market, according to a new Redfin survey of 707 of its agents and partner agents across 35 U.S. markets. Buyers and sellers are taking a more aggressive stance in the market, with some sellers overpricing their homes and more buyers refusing to get in bidding wars, the survey found.

““In May, 40% of sellers surveyed by Redfin said that they planned to list their homes above market value, even though home sales had dropped by 9% since the year before,” says Nela Richardson, Redfin’s chief economist. “Typically, it takes sellers six to nine months to adjust to a price change, but this latest shift is longer. Prices have moved down and then up so much over the past five years that it’s even more difficult for sellers to have a realistic baseline for what their homes are worth in the current market.”

“Fifty-eight percent of Redfin agents say that sellers are holding unrealistic expectations about the value of their homes, up from 49% in the previous quarter. Meanwhile, buyers are showing less willingness to chase after a home, as they face affordability and financing hurdles, the survey found.

““Buyers who have been searching for a long time may still try to win deals with aggressive offers,” Richardson says. “However, new buyers in the market are much less willing to chase an escalating sale price to compete with multiple bids. The demand side of real estate is moving from ‘please take my offer’ to ‘take it or leave it as you please.’ Home buyers’ willingness to walk away from a deal that’s a bad fit is good for them and is ultimately healthier for the housing market.”

“So is it a seller’s market or a buyer’s market? It depends on who you ask. Twenty-four percent of Redfin agents surveyed say that “sellers have all the power,” a drop from 35% three months ago.

“Rising inventories have been beneficial for buyers who are less willing to participate in a bidding war, but they are facing other challenges, such as access to credit and affordability, the survey finds. The top challenges Redfin agents identified as growing problems for buyers are: lack of affordability; qualifying for a mortgage; saving enough for a down payment; and worries about the economy.”

Despite Predictions, Baby Boomers Aren’t Downsizing Yet

realtor logoBelow is another “spot on” report from “Daily Real Estate News”, July 15. Some points here can be further illustrated by the “housing” market on Sanibel and Captiva where today there are not enough homes for sale to meet the demand of the baby boomers, particularly those wanting enough space for entertaining, home offices, and visiting family members.

“Baby boomers aren’t showing any signs of leaving the single-family home market that has defined their generation’s real estate habits, despite many predictions that they would by now. As boomers hit age 65 and become empty nesters, many housing analysts forecasted that a huge wave of them would downsize and move into an apartment, condo, or townhouse.

But Fannie Mae researcher Patrick Simmons says that isn’t happening yet. “There’s a perception, particularly in many media reports, that this massive generation born between 1946 and 1964 is altering its housing consumption,” Simmons, the director of strategic planning for Fannie Mae’s economic group, told the Chicago Tribune. “It’s true that they’re becoming empty nesters in droves. But by one measure, the proportion of boomers who live in single-family homes actually increased between 2006 and 2012.”

“Baby boomers’ mobility has gone down. Nine out of 10 boomers surveyed by AARP reported that they wanted to stay in their current home as long as possible. Some may be motivated to stay put because of the housing crisis. For boomers, the value of single-family homes they owned fell by an average of 13%. Some boomers could still be underwater and are waiting to recoup more on their house before they sell. Others may be holding on to their home because they snagged a record low mortgage rate in recent years, and they know borrowing won’t be any cheaper if they do decide to sell.

“Some baby boomers are downsizing but choosing to stay in smaller single-family homes rather than move to a condo or townhome. But “eventually, boomers will slow down with age and have the same physical frailties that their predecessors had,” Simmons told the Tribune. “My sense is that it’s not going to be a major shift — something we see in the numbers in a year. It will likely unfold over a decade or more.””

More Chinese Buyers Coming to America

Florida Realtors logoHere’s another interesting article from “Daily Real Estate News”, July 11. We keep hearing that the islands will soon have more Asian buyers, but it hasn’t happen yet.

“The number of Chinese home buyers and investors flocking to the U.S. is on the rise, driven by China’s currency appreciation, rising affluence, and concerns over its own economic slowdown, according to the 2014 Profile of International Home Buying Activity, released this week by the National Association of REALTORS®.

““It’s just the beginning of a tidal wave,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. Chinese investors accounted for 16% of the $92.2 billion worth of international U.S. homes purchases in the year through March, up from 12% a year earlier, according to NAR.

“China was the leader in dollar volume of international purchases, purchasing an estimated $22 billion with an average sales cost of $590,826, according to the NAR report. China also was the fastest-growing source of U.S. foreign transactions, now accounting for 16% of all purchases, up 4% from last year.

“Canada maintained the largest share of purchases, but its share is falling – 23% in 2013 to 19% in 2014.

“The share of Chinese buyers in the U.S. market will likely only get bigger, says Paul Diggle, Property economist at Capital Economics. “This bigger picture hides a rapid rise in purchases by Chinese investors, who may overtake Canadians as the largest group of foreign buyers of U.S. housing within the next five years,” Diggle told HousingWire. “The strength of Chinese demand is another reason to watch closely developments in the Californian housing market, where housing is now no better than fairly valued at the statewide level and starting to look frothy in a number of metros.””

Source: “China Set to Dominate Foreign Homebuyers Market,” HousingWire (July 10, 2014) and “Bloomberg Briefings,” San Francisco Chronicle (July 9, 2014)

Energy-Saving Tips from LCEC

Lcec logoSome timely concise suggestions were included in our recent electric bill from Lee County Electric Co-op (LCEC):

“Warmer weather has arrived and you may be looking for ways to save energy and lower your bill. Our energy experts are here to help you save energy by following these simple tips:

  • When cooling your home, set the thermostat at 78 degrees F. Each degree below adds 8 to 12% to cooling costs.
  • Do not close A/C vents or interior doors when A/C is running.
  • While away from home for more than two hours, set the thermostat at 83 degrees F.
  • Install a programmable thermostat that will automatically raise and lower the temperature at certain times of the day.
  • Turn fans off when the room is not occupied. Each continuously running fan costs approximately $7 per month on your electric bill.

For more green energy tips visit www.lcec.net.”

Prescribed Burns are Done

SCCF photo

If you are concerned about the large burned areas noticeable on Tarpon Bay and San-Cap Roads, know that they are for the good.

Last Sunday morning, fire officials and J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge staff conducted a prescribed burn at the Bailey Tract and surrounding SCCF property. Planned burns scheduled for the following days along San-Cap Road and Legion Curve were delayed due to heavy wind and rain, but the fire team completed their planned burn along Legion Curve on Wednesday. (photo here by SCCF)

Summer is not only rainy season in Florida, but also peak lightening season, which can cause fires with devastating impacts. Managed burns can prevent the likelihood and severity of wildfires and help preserve the natural ecology of the area.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity July 11-18

Sanibel
CONDOS

3 new listings: Tennisplace #C35 2/1.5 $310K, Ibis at The Sanctuary #A301 3/2 $449K, Sealoft Village #105 2/2 $529K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: Breakers West #B1 2/2 listed for $449K.

1 closed sale: Sundial #O307 2/2 $920K.

HOMES

2 new listings: 868 Rabbit Rd 3/2 $395K, 1901 Sanibel Bayou Rd 4/3 $829K.

2 price changes: 3001 Singing Wind Dr 3/2 now $495K, 580 Birdsong Pl 3/2.5 now $574.9K.

1 new sale: 1434 Sandcastle Rd 3/2 listed for $575K.
2 closed sales: 1744 Bunting Ln 4/2 $580K, 1529 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $787.5K.

LOTS

No new listings.

2 price changes: 6519 Pine Ave now $1.095M, 6505 Pine Ave now $1.095M.

No new sales.

2 closed sales: 659 Anchor Dr $520K, 4308 West Gulf Dr $600K.

Captiva
CONDOS

Nothing to report

HOMES

1 new listing: 11529 Laika Ln 3/2 $1.65M.

1 price change: 16785 Captiva Dr 4/3.5 now $1.645M.

No new or closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.

It’s a great time to enjoy the beach, the shelling, & fabulous sunsets on Sanibel & Captiva Islands. Best wishes to all…SanibelSusan

sanibel_sunset

Summertime Happenings on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


I was merrily working on today’s blog when Comcast service went out on most of the island. With no office internet (except by cell phones/iPads) until this afternoon, I now realize how much we take technology for granted.

Years ago when offers were transmitted by snail mail or FedEx, we were thrilled when faxes became acceptable. That was back when those were printed on thermal paper (that shows my age). I remember needing signatures on an offer and running one of those faxes to some folks lounging around the pool at Sundial Resort. The words started disappearing in the bright sunlight. That made for an interesting obstacle to overcome!

What a difference a few years make! Even without internet service today, I was able to type an offer up on my iPad and with electronic signatures AOK, what now can be accomplished in minutes used to take days!

Here are just a couple of news items, followed by a report of the action posted in the Sanibel/Captiva Multiple Listing Service since last Friday. It was a pretty quiet week, aside from the disruptions from the weather. The late day showers make for some fabulous sunsets though!

Sunset_1018

New Business Neighbors at Sanibel Square

Here’s a little scoop from the shopping center here at Sanibel Square:

Sanibel PlumbingNave Plumbing, serving the island for more than 65 years changed hands recently. Located in the building behind us on Periwinkle Way, it has been renamed Sanibel Plumbing. The first of their trucks with a new wrap was in the 4th of July parade last week.

Next door to Sanibel Plumbing, Jeff Molnar also recently advised that his company, Molnar Electric, has changed hands. This company name will remain as Jeff will continue with them during the transition.

Congratulations to both families for some well-deserved retirement fun and best wishes for continued success to our new neighbors at “the Square”.

New Signs on Sanibel This Week

stop algaeComing onto the island from the causeway and coming from Captiva onto Sanibel, two new signs went up this week advising “Stop Algae! No fertilizer July to Sept”. What great tools these signs are to educate the public and get all of us thinking about the devastating effects that excess fertilizer can have on local water quality.AlgaeSign

The SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) Marine Lab is working with the City of Sanibel to develop a nutrient management plan: http://marinelab.sccf.org/research/sanibel-nutrient/
To learn about local fertilizer ordinances visit: http://fertilizesmart.com/

Survey: Lenders Fear Another Housing Bubble Is Brewing

realtor logoHere is an interesting posting from Realtor®Mag’s on-line “Daily Real Estate News”, on Wednesday:

“Mortgage bankers are fearful that another real estate bubble is on the horizon, according to a quarterly survey of 203 bank risk managers from the United States and Canada conducted by FICO. Fifty-six percent of respondents said that an “unsustainable real estate bubble is inflating.”

“”The home loan environment has bifurcated,” says Andrew Jennings, chief analytics officer at FICO and head of FICO Labs. “Six million home owners in the U.S. are still underwater on their mortgages, with the average negative equity a whopping 33%. Yet with home prices soaring in many cities, total home owner equity in the U.S. is at its highest level since late 2007. That doesn’t feel like a healthy, sustainable growth situation. No wonder many lenders in both Canada and the U.S. are concerned about the risk in residential mortgages.”

“But real estate experts mostly have downplayed housing bubble fears in recent months. In fact, a new report finds that home prices are still undervalued by 3% nationally. Trulia’s most recent Bubble Watch report found that at the current pace, home prices are expected to fall in line with long-term fundamentals – neither over- or undervalued – by the last quarter of 2014 or the first quarter of 2015. “Much of the recent house-price appreciation is a result of market correction for the significant undervaluation caused by the price declines,” Mark Fleming, chief economist at housing data provider CoreLogic noted in recent months. “There is no need to fear a bubble for at least a few years to come, if at all.”

“FICO’s survey also asked bankers about the most common concerns they have in the underwriting process on consumer loans. The most common concerns cited by bankers: “high debt-to-income ratio” in approving loans (59%); “multiple recent applications for credit” (13%); and “low FICO score” (10%). “As consumer confidence picks up and people increase their borrowing, lenders are understandably concerned about growing indebtedness,” says Mike Gordon, FICO’s executive vice president of sales, services and marketing. “For the last two quarters, around 65% of our respondents said they think credit card balances are headed higher. Those are the two highest figures we’ve ever seen in this survey. When I talk with bankers, they tell me they’re happy to see growing consumer optimism, but they’re wary of a return to reckless borrowing.””

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity July 4-11

Sanibel

CONDOS

3 new listings: Captains Walk #D5 2/1 $299K, Spanish Cay #A4 2/2 $349K (our listing), Lighthouse Point #219 2/2 $488.8K.

2 price changes: Sundial #D307 1/1 now $259K, Loggerhead Cay #453 2/2 now $469K.

2 new sales: Sanibel Arms #C1 2/2 listed for $499K, Gulfside Place #322 2/2 listed for $1.15M.

1 closed sale: Sundial #D304 1/1 $310K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 547 Chert Ct 3/2 $739K.

1 price change: 5753 Pine Tree Dr 3/4 now $799K.

6 new sales: 5141 San-Cap Rd 2/2 listed for $299K, 490 Elizabeth Dr 2/2 listed for $379K, 5841 Pine Tree Dr 3/2 listed for $474.9K, 581 East Rocks Dr 3/2 listed for $495K (short sale), 917 Pepper Tree Pl 4/3 listed for $799,407; 3537 West Gulf Dr 3/3 listed for $3.9M.

1 closed sale: 949 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2 $740K.

LOTS

1 new listing: 1820 Farm Trl $279K.

No price changes, new or closed sales.

Captiva

No new activity for condos, homes, or lots.

This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.

Best weekend wishes to all. Here we hope the weather stays like this photo (taken during a home inspection on Captiva early-afternoon Tuesday).  SanibelSusan

Tweeked_BB_07-09-14_3Nests

It’s a Bright Sunny Independence Day on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


It’s Susan manning the fort at SanibelSusan Realty for the July 4th holiday. The island is busy with vacationers, mostly families, and many for just the long weekend. The parade this morning was a big success. Elise and her family were here to enjoy it with me from our great vantage point. I posted lots of photos on Facebook for those interested, just a few here.

The road rally at The Timbers is just finishing up now, and the evening celebration is gearing up at The Dunes, followed by the fireworks over the bay. I hope your Independence Day has been a fun-filled one too!

Below are a couple of news items before the action was posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service over the last seven days. It was pretty quiet, but, be sure and check out the new Captiva sale by SanibelSusan. I started working on this one several months ago so it is really not indicative of the action we typically see this time of the year. Just the same, I am very happy that it finally made it to contract. If you follow the named homes on Captiva, this is the one known as Banyan Beach and it’s a beauty!

Lee County Final Property Rates Up From Early Estimates

LeePALogoThe below article posted at news-press.com on June 16, 2014 includes information provided by Lee County’s Property Appraiser Ken Wilkinson.

“Lee County’s final property values are in — and they’re up. Across the county, values of the 600,000-plus properties went up 7.1% over last year’s numbers. That’s about 1.6% points higher than property appraiser Ken Wilkinson’s initial estimates sent to the state June 1.

 

“All of the county’s cities and all but one fire district saw had small boosts from June estimates as well.

“It’s been an appreciating market … it makes sense values would continue to go up when we finished our last month of work,” Wilkinson said. In addition, the “actual real estate market that’s happening between buyers and sellers appreciated over 10% overall,” he said — the first time since 2007 that’s been the case.”

“Collier County is slated to release its final numbers to its taxing authorities today.

“The increase is good news for Lee County’s budget, and possibly for its taxpayers, Board of Lee County Commissioners Chairman Larry Kiker said.  “It puts us in a better financial position as we go into this budget cycle. It will mean, obviously, we’ll have more money to work with,” he said. The county could use that money for capital improvement projects it has put off for years — or, “best case,” a reduction in taxes, Kiker said. “My prediction is it’s going to be a lower rate this year than last year,” he said.

“County staffers created two budget scenarios for commissioners at their last budget workshop: One with an increase of 5.48% based off Wilkinson’s earlier numbers, and one at 6.48 reflecting what final number they hoped to see. Since it’s even higher, the county will “adjust accordingly” before bringing its third draft of the budget to commissioners, Pete Winton, assistant county manager, said in an emailed statement provided by county spokeswoman Betsy Clayton.

“Cities up, too. Cities and taxing districts in the county also saw boosts.

“Fort Myers and Bonita Springs each had a nearly 2% increase over earlier estimates, increasing from 7.3 to 9.2% and 6.4 to 8.3%, respectively.

“Cape Coral had a boost of 1.5% between estimates and Thursday’s final numbers. Last year, it had the largest increase in the county.

“Sanibel’s property values went up 1.5% points from estimates, to 4.8%, and Fort Myers Beach had an increase to 6.6%, from 5.5% estimated in June.

“Sixteen of 17 fire districts saw had boosts too. The exception is Fort Myers Shores, which had a decrease of its estimate from 6.95 to 5.22%.

“Wilkinson must send these numbers to the state by Tuesday July 1. The next step is for the board to set the tax rate for fiscal year 2014-2015, which will allow TRIM (Truth In Millage) notices to be sent to property owners by mid-August. The commissioners are scheduled to meet Aug. 4 to set the rate.”

More Details on Sanibel & Captiva Sales

SanCapAssnLogoWith half the year over, it is a good time to see again how the real estate market is progressing. The condo segment still is playing catch-up, particularly with the seasonal-rental type units. Good income should make those properties more attractive to prospective buyers in the months to come as the economy rebounds. In the meantime, the baby boomers and retirees continue to drive the market. They are looking for space and more inventory is needed to meet that demand. Here is a snapshot of the islands sales/inventory today (July 4, 2014):

CONDOS                    HOMES                                LOTS

SANIBEL               No.    Average Price   No.    Average Price   No.    Average Price

For sale                 132   $714,951           165   $1,305,212        83     $517,812

Closing pending      12     654,567             32        856,820          3       465,852

Sold & closed

2014 thru 7/4        103    685.677            127       840,984         17       441,356

2013                     161    573,557            197       910,321         26       416,502

CONDOS                    HOMES                                LOTS

CAPTIVA               No.    Average Price   No.    Average Price   No.    Average Price

For sale                 44   $858,589              32   $3,831,078          3     $2,579,667

Closing pending      1     525,000                6     3,524,833          0      N/A

Sold & closed

2014 thru 7/4        12    617,042              17     2,834,794          0       N/A

2013                     36    659,185              18     2,522,056          2           675,000

Florida, A Worthy Investment: Vote “Yes” on Amendment 1

SCCF logoThe following is an excerpt from the July-August 2014 “SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) Member Update”, by Rae Ann Wessel, National Resource Policy Director:

“Did you know Florida is the only state in the union to have been recognized and awarded the prestigious National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in the management of our state parks three times? In fact no other state has ever won twice, let alone thrice.

“I’m just back from a jaunt around Florida visiting Florida parks from White Springs near the north Florida border to our own backyard. It’s a trip that I highly recommend and one that never fails to inspire me with the unique diversity and beauty of this state’s natural wonders!

“The protection and public use of these wonders is made possible by a nationally recognized public land conservation effort many decades long that has invested in the protection, conservation and interpretation of some of the best and most unique features of wild Florida. Today the program goes by the name Florida Forever but has been known over the years as Preservation 2000 (P2000) and CARL – Conservation and Recreational Lands.

“Despite its amazing success, the program has been in jeopardy since 2009 when state legislators began redirecting funds historically used to fund purchases, restoration and preservation efforts. This November we have a chance to recover the program by supporting Amendment 1 on the November ballot.  The amendment does not create a new tax but would dedicate and protect funding of our public lands using 33% of existing document stamp taxes, the taxes paid in real estate transactions. This is the funding that has been used for 20 years.

“The program to educate the electorate for this Fall’s vote needs your support and sponsorship. Visit our website (www.sccf.org) for more information or the Florida Water and Land Legacy website (www.voteyeson1fl.org) to donate toward the effort to pass this important amendment this November.”

Planning Ahead to “Ding” Darling Days

Ding Darling Society logoFrom the “News from Friends of J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge”: “There must be 25 ways to celebrate “Ding” Darling Days, happening at the Refuge October 19-25 this year. 2014 celebrates 25 years for the annual eco-festival, which started in 1989 as a one-day Family Fun Day and has grown week-long with free and discounted tours, free nature presentations, and yes, still that so-popular Family Fun Day kick-off. We don’t have room to tell you all of the 25 ways to celebrate, so we will start with just 10. Look for more in the next newsletter, “Ding” on the Wing bulletins, and at www.dingdarlingdays.com/ddd-events:

  1. 25 “Ding” Things Passport: A week-long scavenger hunt with 25 fun prizes.
  2. The debut of the Discover “Ding” GPS-based game app – the first of its kind in the Refuge System with 25-minute clinics during “Ding” Days.
  3. Free Silver Anniversary reusable bags filled with books and other goodies for the first 250 arrivals to Sunday Family Fun Day, October 19.
  4. Free 25-minute archery demonstrations and clinics for Family Fun Day.
  5. Special 25th anniversary presentations by Heather Hensen’s Ibex Puppetry troupe.
  6. 25% off all Tarpon Bay Explorers tours – including tram, paddling, and nature cruise excursions.
  7. 25 stunning images of mating great blue herons at a special photographic presentation by Sallie Rich on Tuesday.
  8. Free 25-minute stand-up paddleboard clinics on Tuesday and Thursday.
  9. Fee wilderness paddles into the Refuge’s Lady Finger Lakes to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.
  10. 25-cent Sill Photo Booth pictures on Saturday’s Conservation Art Day.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity June 27-July 4

Sanibel
CONDOS

1 new listing: Clam Shell #C 2/2 $1.265M.

1 price change: Sundial #I104 1/1 now $369K.

1 new sale:  Loggerhead Cay #373 2/2 listed for $539K.

2 closed sales: Breakers West #B4 2/2 $430K, Sanibel Inn #3535 2/2 $656.5K.

HOMES

4 new listings: 1825 Ardsley Way 3/2 $548K, 1674 Bunting Ln 3/2 $569K, 218 Daniel Dr 3/2.5 $849K, 547 N. Yachtsman Dr 4/2.5 $965K.

2 price changes: 475 Sea Oats Dr 3/3 now $750K, 1048 Kings Crown Dr 4/4 now $1,224,995.

7 new sales: 1644 Atlanta Plaza Dr 2/2 listed for $459.5K, 621 Lake Murex Cir 2/2 listed for $509K, 497 Lake Murex Cir 4/3 listed for $715K, 4444 Waters Edge Ln 3/2 listed for $949K, 1066 Bailey Rd 3/3 listed for $970K, 1817 Buckthorn Ln 4/3.5 listed for $1.095M, 283 Ferry Landing Dr 3/2 listed for $1.695M.

5 closed sales: 2011 Mitzi Ln 2/1 $415K, 1841 Ibis Ln 2/2 $435K, 2551 Sanibel Blvd 3/2 $465K, 2729 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 $1.092M, 5612 Baltusrol Ct 4/3/5 $1.675M.

LOTS

2 new listings: 1299 Par View Dr $235K, 2462 Wulfert Rd $259K.

1 price change: 1540 San Carlos Bay Dr now $1.195M.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 4309 Gulf Pines Dr $270K.

Captiva
CONDOS

No new listing, price changes, news sales, or closed sales:

HOMES

1 new listing: 11535 Wightman Ln 3/3 $1.325M.

2 price changes: 16785 Captiva Dr 4/3.5 now $1.695M, 15009 Binder Dr 4/5.5 now $4.25M

1 new sale: 16682 Captiva Dr 10/12.5 listed for $11.9M (my buyer).

No closed sales,

LOTS

Nothing to report.

This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.

2013 StarsHappy Birthday, America!

Here’s wishing everyone a safe & fun Independence Day!

Wrapping Up the June 2014 Real Estate Action on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


Florida Realtors® “Believe”

Elise & SusanIt is SanibelSusan reporting that Elise and I enjoyed being part of the FloridaRealtors® “Believe” event last Friday afternoon. This event which encouraged Realtor® work toward helping the homeless was part of a state-wide tour where the FloridaRealtors® leadership team visited every Florida district.

Elise and I were part of the Sanibel & Captiva group who, along with other local association members, packaged meals. It was an inspiring cooperation, where 100+ local association members and the leadership team were arranged in assembly-line fashion under the direction of Meals of Hope.

meals_of_hope(1)In just one hour, we assembled 21,760 meals (each will feed a family of five) which will be distributed to families of homeless children in Lee and Collier counties. Astoundingly, our state leaders told us that there are more than 63,000 children here that qualify for free breakfast and lunch during the school year. Often, those were their only meals of the day. Since these children don’t get the meals now that schools are out for the summer, Meals of Hope will distribute the packaged meals to the same families.

Island Weather & More

 

It has been another week of wonderful summer weather on Sanibel with a few afternoon showers that resulted in fabulous sunsets.

Sunset South Bldg 8 at 8:30 a.m. 06-27-14

Sunset South Bldg 8 at 8:30 a.m. 06-27-14

Unfortunately the later thunder-buster last night, just after sunset, resulted in a lightning strike in Bldg 8 at Sunset South condominiums. That is one of the riverside buildings. Sanibel’s finest extinguished the fire quickly but several units were damaged. Thankfully, there were no occupants at the time.

We saw the early arrival of some July 4th holiday vacationers this week. Tomorrow many check-ins are expected with the Sanibel and South Seas expected to be near-capacity next week.

The activity from the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service this week follows a few more news items below.

Association of Realtors® June Membership Meeting

SanCapAssnLogoThe Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® June breakfast membership meeting was yesterday.

Sanibelcityseal logoDuring the educational segment of the agenda, Jim Jordan, Sanibel’s Director of Planning, updated members on recent happenings at City Hall. He also reminded attendees about Sanibel permit requirements. Here is some of that info:

  • Development Permits are required whenever the appearance or use of a structure is changed, a structure will be demolished or impermeable coverage or developed area is going to be added.
  • Building Permits are required when a structure is constructed, enlarged, altered, remodeled or repaired if the labor and materials exceeds $750 in market value. A building permit also is required when a building is moved, demolished, or when replacing windows or doors. Non-permanent improvements like painting, carpeting, and appliances are not included in the calculation.
  • Sometimes a development permit is required but no building permit is needed, like when building a fence not related to a swimming pool.
  • In other situations, a building permit may be required, but no development permit is necessary, i.e. for work such as interior repairs or remodeling, exterior siding replacement, or adding a concrete slab under an existing structure. See more details, forms, and a list of approved contractors on www.MySanibel.com.

During “questions & answers”, Realtors® quizzed Jim about some issues recently affecting island sales and closings, i.e. improvements to non-conforming structures and the 50% rule, and open permits discovered before a closing,

Jim reminded members that the 50% rule covers a 5-year time period, so at the end of that time the process may begin again.

Jim also advised that the City is adding software to their computer system this summer/fall which will improve tracking of permits. He said that permit information including history on all properties will eventually be on-line and accessible to the public. Since closing open permits is a requirement of some Florida sales contracts and permit information currently is not readily available on-line to property owners (and Realtors®), that news was well received.

Florida Realtors® Honor Society

Florida Realtors logoAt the same meeting, four Sanibel/Captiva Realtors® were recognized for earning Florida Realtors® Honor Society membership for their recent work for the state association; their activity locally and nationally in the Realtor® organization, in national institutes, societies, and councils; for designations earned; educational activities; and political involvement.

SanibelSusan was awarded her 15th-year Florida Honor Society pin, while three VIP colleagues also were recognized: Jim Hall (19 yrs), Dave Schuldenfrei (9 yrs), and Shane Spring (1 yr).

Caloosahatchee Water Project To Begin

Caloosahatchee RiverA construction project that should improve water quality in Southwest Florida area has been approved. The Caloosahatchee River (C-43) West Basin Storage Project which is part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan is slated to begin in October. This is a cost-shared project between the federal government and the state of Florida. The President officially signed off on the project June 10.

This project is just one step toward improving water quality on both coasts of Florida by reducing polluted discharges from Lake Okeechobee to local waterways. The idea is to pull water out of the Caloosahatchee River during the rainy season when there is too much water flowing. Stored water in a newly constructed reservoir would then be released during the dry season to provide sufficient fresh water to keep the salinities at healthy level within the estuary.

This project is just a small part of the many solutions needed to improve water supply and water quality in the estuary, but definitely a move in the right direction!

Sundial Resort Announces Phase II Renovations

sundial-logoThe 2nd phase of the Sundial Beach Resort & Spa’s multi-million dollar renovation program is scheduled to begin in August, with completion expected in early November. It will include a state-of-the-art fitness center, pizza kitchen, on-site market and deli, and new soft tennis courts. The Sundial Buddies Kid’s Camp and Sanibel’s Sea Camp for Kids also will be launched. The pool bar and main pool deck area will be upgraded too. During the renovation period, Sundial’s four other condo association pools will be available, Sea Breeze Cafe will be open with live entertainment and full bar offerings, and resort amenities will be available to guests including the activities center, bikes, kayaks, and the new spa and boutique. The meeting rooms and reception areas also will be operational. More details at www.sundialresort.com.

Certified Master Chef at The Sanctuary

The Sanctuary Sign2July08This posting came from the June 2014 issue of the “Sanctuary Sound”. No wonder there are so many raves about the great food at The Sanctuary.

“This past March, Daniel Scannell, Certified Master Chef (CMC) one of 66 in the country that successfully obtained the Certified Master Chefs examination joined the Management Team at The Sanctuary Golf Club. Administered by the American Culinary Federation and the Culinary Institute of America, the title Certified Master Chef (CMC) represents the most rigorous culinary test for a professional chef. “Chef Daniel is coming from Oak Hill where the 2013 PGA Championship was held with over 200,000 people attending the event. His education is impeccable, the awards and accolades numerous, and his passion for food is contagious. In Ireland he won The Jean Conil Perpetual Trophy for International Chefs, has been inducted into The Epicurean World Master Chefs’ Society in London, and been a member of the Culinary Olympic Team USA 2000, 2004, and 2008, to name a few achievements. We are very excited to have him on the team,” stated Ken Kouril, General Manager of The Sanctuary Golf Club.”

If you are interested in a property at The Sanctuary, whether it be a condo, home, or lot, please give SanibelSusan a call, she can arrange for you to try out the golf course/tennis courts and dine in the restaurant as part of your due diligence.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity June 20-27

Sanibel
CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

5 new sales: Tennisplace #E31 2/1 $325K, Sundial #D304 1/1 listed for $339K, Coquina Beach #5G 2/2 listed for $415K, Sandpiper Beach #302 2/2 listed for $599K, Sundial #O307 2/2 listed for $975K.

3 closed sales: Sundial #I304 1/1 $360K, Blind Pass #G204 3/2 $485K, Sundial #L202 2/2 $629.5K.

HOMES

6 new listings: 1377 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $499K, 981 Main St 4/2.5 $599K, 1426 Causey Ct 3/2 $729K, 667 Nerita St 3/2 $739K, 8987 Mockingbird Dr 3/3 $849K, 2255 Troon Ct 4/5.5 $1.695M.

8 price changes: 5141 SanCap Rd 2/2 now $299K, 490 Christine Rd 2/2 now $599K, 4279 Gulf Pines Dr 4/3 now $699.95K, 6001 Clam Bayou Ln 3/2 now $789K, 676 Anchor Dr 3/3 now $949K, 3400 West Gulf Dr 4/3 now $1.149M, 6440 Pine Ave 3/3 now $1.395M, 3744 West Gulf Dr 4/4 now $1.695M.

5 new sales: 702 Donax St 2/2 listed for $449K, 1644 Atlanta Plaza Dr 2/2 listed for $459.5K, 236 Hurricane Ln 3/3 listed for $549K, 283 Ferry Landing Dr 3/2 listed for $1.695M, 1206 Bay Dr 4/4.5 listed for $2.85M.

3 closed sales: 966 Fitzhugh St 2/1 $290K, 966 Greenwood Ct 3/2.5 half-duplex $385K, 2552 Harbour Ln 3/2 $800K.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 1304 Eagle Run Dr now $249K.

1 new sale: 5407 Osprey Ct listed for $499,555.

No closed sales.

Captiva
CONDOS

1 new listing: Bayside Villas #5230 1/2 $309K.

No price changes or new sales.

2 closed sales: Tennis Villas 3229 1/1 $215K, Beach Homes #6 3/3 $1.7M

HOMES
No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: 16645 Captiva Dr 8/9/2 $3.45M.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.

Until SanibelSusan’s next blog posting on July 4th, happy summer to all…& remember it’s a great time to buy property on the islands! It is always easier to view during the summer.

Almost Summer & It’s Beautiful on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


Florida Realtors logoSanibelSusan’s Friday blog out is going out a little early today as teammate Elise and I are heading to Naples this afternoon to participate in the Florida Realtors® District 5 “Believe” Tour Celebration. That is an event organized by our state leadership team who are touring the state, visiting every District, and speaking about the homelessness problem in Florida and how Realtors® can make a difference. Elise and I will be rolling up our sleeves with other Realtors® from our district and teaming up with Meals of Hope and the entire Florida leadership team to package meals and fill cases of food for distribution to food pantries in District 5 communities. (District 5 includes Marco Island, Naples, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers and the Beach, Cape Coral, and Sanibel/Captiva Islands.)

Below are a couple of news items from the week, followed by the activity posted over the past week in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service. But first a couple of photos that I snapped midweek at the Fulgur Street beach access, plus a sweet bloom also noticed on my travels this week.

Gov. Scott Signs Florida Flood Insurance Bill

Florida the sunshine stateOn Monday, Florida Realtors® posted the following news from Tallahassee:

“A Florida bill to ease the burden of skyrocketing flood insurance costs became law on Friday when signed by Gov. Rick Scott. The Florida Legislature approved the bill, SB 542, earlier this year.

“Despite recent reforms at the federal level to slow flood insurance rate increases resulting from Biggert-Waters, legislation passed by Congress in 2012 to reform the National Florida Insurance Program (NFIP), Florida Realtors and other business groups sought an alternative to the NFIP at the state level.

“The bill by Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) encourages private insurers to enter the Florida market by giving them rate-setting flexibility and reduced regulatory burdens.

“Early on, the House and Senate disagreed on how much flexibility to give insurance companies on the amount of coverage required. In the end, SB 542 specifies four types of flood insurance policies:

  • one that mirrors coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
  • one called “preferred” that requires replacement costs for contents, not the structure
  • one labeled “customized,” which will be defined by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation
  • one that would wrap around NFIP coverage, i.e., “supplemental” coverage

“Florida Realtors continues to talk with Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation, NFIP and Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) to clarify the coverage requirements on structures/contents and better understand the new law’s impact.”

Homebuyer Flood Insurance Relief

NationalFloodInsuranceProgrHere is a little more information on the subject of flood insurance. It is an important topic here on the islands. This is more good news, posted Monday on the National Association of Realtors® e-Newsletter:

“On May 30, 2014, FEMA announced the Flood Premiums and Rate Tables for 2015.  Each October FEMA issues the following year’s rate tables.  Releasing the rate tables at this time provides insurance companies sufficient lead time to update their rate quote software.  These rates will take effect this October 2014, and will be used to calculate refunds, to be issued later this Fall. According to FEMA, from their memo: “In every case, the attached rates are the same or lower than the October 1, 2013 premium rates.”  In other words, no one will see a rate increase next year and some could see a further rate reduction below this year’s level.  This is on top of rate reductions FEMA implemented last month, when it rolled back all rates so no older (pre-FIRM) property owner could pay more than 2013 subsidized rate for the rest of the fiscal year.”

11 Stunning Florida Towns You Need To Visit

a_view_from_the_lighthouseBuzzFeed.com posted this article on-line the end of May. Just in time for those making their summer plans, press like this is another reason the island continues to be such a popular vacation destination. Of the eleven stunning Florida towns that the article says you need to visit, Sanibel Island tops the list:

“Florida’s a big state, and possibly the best one to road trip through!

“1. For secluded and untouched beauty, visit Sanibel Island. You won’t find many buildings that are taller than a palm tree on Sanibel Island, and that’s because the city has taken careful measures to preserve the natural beauty of the area. The town is markedly devoid of fast food restaurants, which were banned and even stoplights. So get ready to step into a world that feels totally removed from the norm,,,,”

The other ten towns rounding out the list are: Tarpon Springs, Santa Rosa Beach, Delray Beach, Destin, Mount Dora, St Augustine, Fort Myers, Clearwater Beach, Apalachicola, and Amelia Island.

America’s Happiest Seaside Towns 2014

Captiva Banyan BeachNot to forget Captiva Island, “Coastal Living” just posted their annual list of 2014’s top ten spots to live in bliss by the sea!” You may remember that Sanibel Island made this list last year, so they were not eligible for 2014.

According to “Coastal Living” on-line, they began with reader nominations, plus all of the past places they’ve lauded as Dream Towns. From there, they looked at the rank on the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, percentage of sunny days, healthiness of beaches, commute times, crime ratings, walkability, standard of living and financial well-being of the locals, geographic diversity, and their editors’ assessment of each town’s “coastal vibe”. They announced their top ten contenders in their March 2014 issue, and let America vote for its favorites. Here are the results:

1. Chincoteague, VA

2. Captiva Island, FL

3. Saugatauk, MI

4. St. Augustine, FL

5. Provincetown, MA

6. St. Simons Island, GA

7. Watch Hill, RI

8. Haleiwa, HI

9. Scarborough, ME

10. Bolinas, CA

Here is what the article had to say about Captiva Island:

CaptivaChapel“Local folklore holds that pirate José Gaspar hid his captives on this pristine island. A gorgeous prison, indeed: The slender barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico west of Fort Myers has pale, powdery sands graced with more than 250 types of seashells. A single main road runs Captiva’s five-mile length, making much of its raw beauty best appreciated by sea kayak. (Buck Key Paddling Trail, a best-kept paddlers’ secret, winds past green herons and gators.) There are plenty of finds on foot, too; shoppers here love the intimacy of Captiva Village along Andy Rosse Lane, which houses not only galleries and boutiques, but also a public library, community center, and the historic beachfront Chapel By The Sea. It’s a 10-minute stroll from the Village to sweeping Alison Hagerup Beach Park (aka Captiva Beach), a great sunset post for spotting the horizon’s famous green flash.

“Although Captiva’s sunny, mild climate means warm days year-round for its 400 residents, a particularly special time is May to October, when thousands of tiny loggerhead turtles emerge from their nests and make their way slowly to the water’s edge. They might be the only islanders who ever feel like leaving….”

Free Sea Monster Programs

Ding Darling Society logoIf you are one of the lucky ones on Sanibel this summer and have children with you, here are some fun things to do at the J.N. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge. As reported this week in the on-line newsletter of the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society.

“As part of our summer Sea Monsters traveling exhibit from Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida, we have scheduled related FREE films and interactive programs through Mote. The exhibit and programs are made possible by grants from the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and a private family foundation.

The programs below begin at 2 p.m. on the designated dates:

  • Tuesday, July 8. 50-minute interactive Ocean Careers program.
  • Friday, July 11. 50-minute interactive Manatees program
  • Monday, July 14. 60-minute NOVA: Why Sharks Attack film
  • Monday, July 28. 60-minute Inside Nature’s Giants: Giant Squid film
  • Friday, August 15. 50-minute Sharks interactive program.”

Housing Bubble Fears Brew Overseas

365px-International_Monetary_Fund_logo.svgAlthough much of this news is far-reaching, I found it interesting. It came from “Daily Real Estate News” last Friday.

“The International Monetary Fund says that several global housing markets are overheating, even in the U.S. – which is still digging itself out of a housing bubble that popped in 2008. Most of the warnings, however, have been issued for overseas.

“Economists are warning countries like China, Sweden, the United Kingdom (particularly London), and Canada that after years of rising housing prices, their housing markets may be overheating. In Sweden, housing prices have tripled over the past 10 years. In Canada, prices have been rising for years and some economists have speculated a housing crash is inevitable later this year.

“But China has many economists particularly worried that its property market is overheating, ignited by the widespread availability of cheap credit. Pan Shiyi, CEO of Soho China, even compared the market to the sinking of the Titanic: “After hitting the iceberg, the risks will not be in the real estate sector,” Shiyi notes. “The bigger risk will be the financial sector.”

“IMF policy makers are paying closer attention to the global housing market. Over the past year, 33 out of 52 countries in the IMF’s Global House Price Index have posted rises in home prices, even when the economies in the countries have been slowing down.

“In the U.S., home prices have risen by about 5% on a yearly basis ending 2013. However, the economy has grown by about half that amount. Markets growing by the largest amounts on an annualized basis – more than 9% – were the Philippines, Hong Kong, and China, IMF notes. Economists say that home prices, rents, and incomes should move in tandem with the economy. When they get out of alignment, a housing bubble can form.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity June 13-20

Sanibel
CONDOS

1 new listing: Pointe Santo #E22 2/2 $749K.

3 price changes: Blind Pass #D204 3/2 now $399K, Blind Pass #E206 2/2.5 now $449.5K, Sanddollar #C101 2/2 now $810K.

1 new sale: Sundial #D408 1/1 listed for $359K.

4 closed sales: Sundial #J407 2/2 $495K, Tarpon Beach #305 2/2 $685K, Snug Harbor #121 3/2 $955K, Tamarind #A101 2/2 $1.325M.

HOMES

No new listings.

8 price changes: 828 Rabbit Rd 2/1 now $419K, 421 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 now $499K, 4563 Brainard Bayou Rd 3/2 now $629K, 590 Lake Murex Cir 2/1.5 now $668.5K, 4648 Buck Key Rd 3/2 now $679K, 1755 Jewel Box Dr 3/2 now $699K, 1800 Woodring Rd 2/2 now $1.695M, 1266 Isabel Dr 3/3 now $1.895M.

6 new sales: 702 Donax St 2/2 listed for $449K; 620 Hideaway Ct 3/2.5 listed for $575K; 1049 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2 listed for $599,555; 2569 Coconut Dr 2/2 listed for $639K; 5313 Punta Caloosa Ct 4/3 listed for $848K; 5321 Punta Caloosa Ct 3/3 listed for $1.094M.

6 closed sales: 2050 Sunrise Cir 3/2 $525K, 1838 Long Point Ln 3/2 $639K, 1019 Lindgren Blvd 3/2 $715K, 2667 Coconut Dr 3/3 $750K, 512 Periwinkle Way 3/3 $875K, 235 Daniel Dr 3/2 $1.145M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 1336 Eagle Run Dr $262.5K.

3 price changes: 9277 Belding Dr now $198.9K, 3792 Coquina Dr now $329K, 2562 Coconut Dr now $349K.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 1042 Blue Heron Dr $420K.

Captiva
CONDOS

1 new listing: Gulf Beach Villas #2004 2/2 $649K.

No price changes or new sales.

1 closed sale: Ventura Captiva #4B 3/3 $750K.

HOMES

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 11547 Wightman Ln 2/2 listed for $1.375M.

No closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.

Best wishes to all for wonderful weather wherever you are this weekend too.

(I hear there still are some vacancies for the 4th of July if you want to have some small town island fun. It’s just around the corner!)VIP Flag 2012

SanibelSusan

A Peek at Dinkins Bayou on a Friday Afternoon


It’s been yet another quiet yet sunny real estate week on Sanibel Island. There was a quick shower this morning and most evenings thunderstorms from the other coast as well as from the gulf side have tried to make their way to the islands, but it has rarely happened.

Here are a few snapshots that Dave took this afternoon while he was out checking our signs. This is Dinkins Bayou from the end of Henderson Road on the west end of Sanibel Island.

Now some news items from SanibelSusan followed by the activity posted this week in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.

Realtor® Happenings

SanCapAssnLogoOur local Association of Realtors® Caravan meeting yesterday had as many affiliate members in attendance as sales associates, so another indication that it is a slow time for island sales. Occupancy is expected to pick up for the upcoming July holiday, but in the meantime, it is a good time to play catch up.

Rental managers are doing their yearly property evaluations, Realtors® are beating the bushes looking for new listings, and the push with annual projects has begun with many condo associations beginning their maintenance and remodeling work early this summer.

realtor logoI was asked to Chair our Association of Realtors® Nominating Committee again this year so that will take a few hours of time later this summer. We have two board positions opening up this year. Sharing, like volunteering always comes back in business multifold, so I am happy to do it.

meals_of_hope(1)Next Friday Realtors® from our District will be in Naples with their sleeves rolled up teaming with Meals of Hope and the entire Florida leadership team to package meals and fill cases of food for distribution to food pantries in District 5 communities. 2014 Florida Realtors® President Sherri Meadows will be there to speak about the homelessness problem in Florida and how Realtors® can make a difference.

Another Best for Sanibel Island

USNewsLogoU.S. News Travel ranks the best destinations in the USA. They combine expert opinions and user votes to determine the best travel spots in a variety of categories. Under “Best Beaches in Florida”, Sanibel Island is #2. The others rounding out the top seven include: Destin, Naples, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Miami Beach, and Key West.

Florida Treasurer Lauds State’s Economic Turnaround

NW FL Daily News logoGood news, posted yesterday in the “Northwest Florida Daily News” in Fort Walton Beach, FL:

“Florida’s treasurer has called the state’s recovery from the economic downturn a story of the human spirit and of people who do not give up and quit. Jeff Atwater, Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, was the guest speaker for Wednesday’s Power of Business breakfasting meeting hosted by the Walton Area Chamber of Commerce. Atwater started his talk by thanking the business leaders for turning around Florida’s economy.

Florida-s-Chief-Financial-Officer_logo“You’re the ones who are building this economy,” Atwater said. “You’re the job creators of this state, you’re the innovators, you’re the ones that create the hospitality, the memories and experiences that people will talk about after they visit.”

“Atwater talked about Florida’s recovery by first talking about how far the economy fell during the recession. In 2006, Florida’s top line revenue from sales taxes, licenses and fees, corporate taxes and doc stamps was $27 billion. The average single family home price was $258,000 and 365,000 people moved into the state.

“Fast forward three years and top line revenue had dropped to $21 billion, the average home price plummeted to $119,000 and the number of people who moved to the state fell to 20,000. During this time, the state also received a letter from Standard & Poor’s downgrading the state’s credit rating from neutral to negative.

“”I don’t stare at the state books,” Atwater said.  “I can’t change the state books by staring at them and I can’t make your life better by staring at my books. The choices this state made were not to stare at our books in that nightmare moment, but to instead look up and look outward and ask what can we do to create the conditions for the fastest possible recovery.”

Since that time, the state has reduced its spending and debt as well as corporate taxes for small business owners to improve the economy. Atwater said the state’s top line revenue was back up to $26.5 billion, despite the lower taxes and debt, average home prices have gone back up to $175,000 and 287,000 people are estimated to be moving to Florida this year. S&P also upgraded the state’s credit rating back to neutral. “You didn’t give up. You hung in there,” Atwater said.””

Brazilians Make Their Mark on Florida & Beyond

fifa-world-cup-2014-logo-3Yesterday, to mark the beginning of the World Cup, Florida Realtors® posted the article below, sourced to The Associated Press. The article got me thinking about how many Brazilians own real estate in Lee County, so I did a quick property search. Answer: just 32 according to the Lee Property Appraiser’s website, www.LeePA.org.

“As all eyes turn to Brazil for the World Cup, Brazilians in the U.S. are also gaining notice. According to the U.S. Census, more than 325,000 people of Brazilian ancestry now call the United States home, but experts put the numbers higher.

“Most have come since the late 1980s, first landing in the nation’s traditional Portuguese-speaking enclaves around Boston and more recently congregating in central and South Florida. Still others have settled in New York, California and New Jersey….”

Will Stainless Steel Lose Its Popularity?

The following article posted on-line on Monday from REALTOR® Magazine doesn’t exactly answer this question, but this is a subject that comes up often from owners looking to renovate kitchens. Interesting to read what the future holds for kitchen appliances.

stainless-steel-kitchen-cabinets-ikea“Appliance manufacturers are providing home owners with modern finishes to their kitchen appliances, and some of the offerings have even been touted as the “new stainless steel.”

“Appliance makers are in the search for a potential successor to stainless steel, which some designers say will eventually wear out its welcome. But so far, no introductions have touched upon the popularity of stainless steel, and stainless isn’t likely to be doomed to the same fate as 1970s avocado-colored appliances anytime soon.

“Still, some home owners have complained about the annoyance of fingerprint smudges and the upkeep in keeping their stainless polished. Eventually, that annoyance may tempt them to look more closely at some of the alternatives popping up in the last two years. Some appliance makers are choosing to still channel the stainless look in their alternatives so that home owners could even make a gradual switch. Other manufactures, however, are opting to offer more bold alternatives.

“Could any of these finishes have the potential to dethrone home owners’ love for stainless steel one day?

Ice-Glazed – Whirlpool introduced last year its White Ice collection of appliances, and at the time called white “the new stainless.” The glossy white appliances feature silver accents. Whirlpool also offers a Black Ice version — black appliances with silver accents.

SlateGeneral Electric is offering up slate as an alternative. The low-gloss gray finish is “inspired by the rich texture of stone” and “provides a warm, inviting alternative to stainless steel,” GE says on its website. GE also notes that the dark matte finish hides fingerprints, smudges, and dirt.

Colorful Options – Viking Range offers several various colors of appliances, such as in cobalt blue. Viking Range Corp. which was a pioneer in stainless with its debut in 1987 of a stainless steel open-burner range is providing home owners a colorful array of options with appliances. It has 24 color alternatives, from cinnamon, wasabi, kettle black and Dijon to plum, sea grass, and cobalt blue. Or, the company’s graphite gray may be a little less bold for more home owners who are looking to make a switch from stainless.”

Builders to Widen Stock of Green Homes by 2018

EcoBrokerOriginalCertifiedLogo150pAs posted in the “Daily Real Estate News” yesterday, “An upswing in green building is expected over the next four years as more widespread adoption takes hold, according to survey respondents in McGraw Hill’s latest SmartMarket Report.

“More than one-third of single-family builders or 34% report that more than 60% of their projects are “green.” What’s more, 62% of builders say they expect that more than 60% of their single-family homes will be green by 2018.

“The multifamily market is also going green. The number of multifamily builders who say that 90% of their current projects are green is expected to triple by 2018, rising from 6% to 18%, according to the report. Forty-two percent of builders say that more than 60% of their projects will be green by 2018. (Currently, 23% are operating at that level.)

“Builders say that buyers are showing more willingness to pay for green features. In 2013, 73% of single-family builders and 79% of single-family remodelers said that buyers were willing to pay a 3% to 5% premium for green homes. For multifamily homes, 68% of builders said that buyers were willing to pay more.

“In the survey, builders identified the following main drivers to building more green homes: energy cost increases; code, ordinance, and regulation changes; and green-product availability and affordability.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity June 6-13

Sanibel
CONDOS

3 new listings: Captains Walk #C7 1/1 $249K, Blind Pass #D204 2/2 $445K, Mariner Pointe #813 2/2 $479K .

1 price change: Lighthouse Point #215 3/2 now $575K.

1 new sale: Sundial #D408 1/1 listed for $359K.

2 closed sales: Seashells #6 2/2 $340K, Pine Cove #302 2/2 $1M.
HOMES

3 new listings: 702 Donax St 2/2 $449K, 2596 Roosevelt Pl 3/2 $785K, 1545 Sand Castle Rd 4/3.5 $1.295M.

4 price changes: 5141 San-Cap Rd 2/2 now $310K, 3001 Singing Wind Dr 3/2 now $539K, 395 Old Trail Rd 5/4 now $859K, 660 Anchor Dr 4/4 now $1.199M.

3 new sales: 2079 Wild Lime Dr 3/2 listed for $549K, 475 Sea Oats Dr 3/3 listed for $775K, 5615 Baltusrol Ct 4/4/3 listed for $4.399M.

2 closed sales: 696 Sea Oats Dr 3/2 $560K, 9007 Mockingbird Dr 3/3 $960K.

LOTS

1 new listing: 643 E Rocks Dr $335K.

No price changes, new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS, HOMES & LOTS

Nothing to report.

This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.

 

w gulf dr sanibel beach with peopleUntil next Friday, SanibelSusan hopes your weather is bright & sunny too!