Pre-Thanksgiving 2014 on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


Fishing PierSanibel and Captiva Islands got a pre-winter chill this week with temperatures down into the high 40′s on Tuesday night when some of that polar vortex weather made its way to Florida. It’s back into the 70′s during the day now, with the next cool-down expected on Wednesday just in time for Thanksgiving which is expected to be sunny, but in the mid-60′s. Perfect cooking weather!

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

City Presentation to Island Realtors®

Group at SanctuaryYesterday at the November Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® monthly membership meeting, Sanibel City Manager Judie Zimomra and her management team including Planning Director, Jim Jordan; Police Chief, Bill Tomlinson; and Interim Director of Natural Resources, Holly Milbrandt, were the speakers.

judie zAlways our most heavily attended meeting of the year, their talks were a great reminder, particularly at Thanksgiving time, of how lucky we are to live and work on this wonderful island and how fortunate we are to have such a terrific City Manager leading the way. Judie as Sanibel’s City Manager for 14 years has seen us through hurricanes, a sewer system installation, and garnered many accolades for the island.  She and the City Attorney are the two Council-hired employees that provide the checks and balances to each other and to our local government. Here are a few highlights from her pitch:

Sanibelcityseal logoSanibel recently celebrated their 40th anniversary of City incorporation – a City governed by councilmen with no posted political affiliations but rather by individuals who cooperatively support the Sanibel Plan and harmonious island life. This 5-seat council elects two members every four years and three others four years later. This March, two terms are up.

In elaborating on the history of the island for some of our newer members, the City Manager reminded us that Island Water is a non-profit, that the Sanibel Fire Department is not part of City government; but rather is an independent district, much like the Sanibel Library which also is independent.

sanibelmapbikeRecently, Sanibel was promoted to the “silver level” nationally for its offerings as a biking community. After being awarded the “bronze level” some years ago, it indeed is another feather in the Sanibel cap to now be ranked one of the top four biking communities in the state of Florida. (The silver level is the highest achieved in the state with the other three recipients being Gainesville, Venice, and The Villages.)

This alternative transportation method now boasts additional connectivity by the recent expansion of the path along Causeway Road, Periwinkle Way, and through the conservation land around the Bailey Homestead. For example, from the peninsula of Marine Pointe, where I used to live, bikers now can go via the boat ramp and under the bridge onto the path and on to Jerry’s or even Bailey’s for groceries.

Judie also told us about two big grants recently awarded to the City. A $200K grant will fund building a dedicated bike path on Bowman’s Beach Road and separate the cars from the bikers, improving safety and providing a better way to the beach for owners in The Sanctuary and for the 32 new homes that soon will be constructed near the Wulfert Road entrance.

A second grant for $469K was garnered by the City and “Ding” Darling. It will be used to construct a new entrance and egress to Wildlife Drive.

Judie too spoke about the new agenda management software that has been added to mySanibel.com making it possible for those on-line but in remote locations to listen “live” to City meetings. So even if you are on vacation, up north, or on an iPhone/iPad here, you can plug in to hear any City meetings. The new software also archives the meeting recordings so it is possible to revisit them after-the-fact. Meeting handouts are bookmarked as attachments too, so the listener can follow along with the printed material. As Judie said, “It’s user-friendly software. If you can watch a cat dance in a YouTube video, you can do this too.”

Our City Manager and her team often speak out-&-about on the island, particularly during “season” at various events and annual meetings. If you have a chance to hear them, you too will be reminded of what a great job they do for us!

Rush to Buy Homes During the Holidays?

ForbesThe below article in “Daily Real Estate News” on Monday was sourced to Forbes.com (November 14). Though the islands are not a traditional year-’round market for real estate sales, much of what the article says applies here too. Here is the exact article, followed by some personal comments.

“Home owners may be doubtful that the months of November and December will bring about a home sale. After all, aren’t potential buyers sidetracked with the holidays and likelier to postpone their house hunt due to bad weather and shorter days?  But sometimes the “off-peak” time to sell can actually be the perfect moment for sellers. Several studies show that, on average, homes listed in November and December are more likely to sell, sell more quickly, and more closely approach the asking price, according to an article at Forbes.com.

“A 2011 study conducted by realtor.com found that 60% of real estate professionals advise their sellers to list a home during the holidays because they believe it’s an opportune time to sell. Nearly 80% of the real estate professionals surveyed said that more serious buyers emerge during the holidays, and 61% say less competition from other properties makes it an ideal time to sell.

“Thanksgiving is particularly good, the article notes. Buyers may have held out through the busy summer months hoping to find a better deal, but now they may be searching with increased urgency. Some buyers may be motivated to close before the end of the year for tax purposes. They can purchase a home late in the year to deduct home purchase costs on their taxes, such as points, interest, and property taxes. Also, certain sellers who sold their homes during the summer season may be facing a capital gains tax. They may be highly motivated to buy in November to avoid paying capital gains tax (since closing on the purchase of another house is required within 180 days.”

On Sanibel and Captiva, the most island sales occur first quarter, followed by last quarter when we have the most prospective buyers in town, and sometimes related to the weather. SanibelSusan agrees that holiday buyers can be serious and may make an emotional purchase because of the holidays. A sale I made on Christmas Day to a family that often only gets here then, was a special one. The SanibelSusan Team holidays are spent in town so we are ready to service our listings and show property to any prospective buyers wanting to view property. We will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, but still available and nearby if we get a showing request then.

5 Real Estate Predictions for 2015

FreddieMacLogo_3Here’s what Freddie Mac posted on this subject:

“Expect the home-purchase market to strengthen along with the economy in 2015, according to Freddie Mac’s U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for November. “The good news for 2015 is that the U.S. economy appears well-poised to sustain about a 3% growth rate in 2015 — only the second year in the past decade with growth at that pace or better,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Governmental fiscal drag has turned into fiscal stimulus; lower energy costs support consumer spending and business investment; further easing of credit conditions for business and real estate lending support commerce and development; and consumers are more upbeat and businesses are more confident, all of which portend faster economic growth in 2015. And with that, the economy will produce more and better-paying jobs, providing the financial wherewithal to support household formations and housing activity.”

“Freddie Mac economists have made the following projections in housing for the new year:

Mortgage rates: Interest rates will likely be on the rise next year. In recent weeks, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has dipped below 4%. But by next year, Freddie projects mortgage rates to average 4.6% and inch up to 5% by the end of the year.

“Home prices: By the time 2014 wraps up, home appreciation will likely have slowed to 4.5% this year from 9.3% last year. Appreciation is expected to drop further to an average 3% in 2015. “Continued house-price appreciation and rising mortgage rates will dampen affordability for home buyers,” according to Freddie economists. “Historically speaking, that’s moving from ‘very high’ levels of affordability to ‘high’ levels of affordability.”

“Housing starts: Homebuilding is expected to ramp up in the new year, projected to rise by 20% from this year. That will likely help total home sales to climb by about 5%, reaching the best sales pace in eight years.

“Single-family originations: Mortgage originations of single-family homes will likely slip by an additional 8%, which can be attributed to a steep drop in refinancing volume. Refinancings are expected to make up only 23% of originations in 2015; they had been making up more than half in recent years.

“Multi-family mortgage originations: Mortgage originations for the multi-family sector have surged about 60% between 2011 and 2014. Increases are expected to continue in 2015, projected to rise about 14%.”

“Ding” Darling Thanksgiving

Ding Darling Society logoThe “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society has the copyright to political cartoonist Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling’s work of November 1908 which is captioned “People who only remember to be thankful once a year sometimes get badly out of practice.” It is posted in their newsletter this week, where they also say,

“We at “Ding” Darling are thankful every day that the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist possessed the forethought to preserve Sanibel acreage for wildlife and the enjoyment of generations to come. Happy Thanksgiving one and all. Start a new holiday tradition and tour around Wildlife Drive on Thanksgiving Day and give thanks for all you see. (Note: The Refuge Visitor & Education Center will be closed that day, but all other facilities will remain open.)”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity November 14-21

Sanibel

CONDOS

9 new listings: Spanish Cay #B2 2/2 $394K; Sanibel Moorings #1422 2/2 $419,914; Coquina Beach #4B 2/2 $458.8K; Loggerhead Cay #351 2/2 $529K; Heron at The Sanctuary #1B 2/2.5 $675K, Tarpon Beach #204 2/2 $785K, Snug Harbor #113 2/2 $1.049M, West Shore #6 3/3 $1.795M, Wedgewood #204 3/3.5 $2,225,555.

4 price changes: Sanibel Moorings #1622 2/2 now $439K, Ibis at The Sanctuary #201 2/2 now $479K, Signal Inn #14 2/2 now $799K, Sanibel Seaview #C3 4/4 now $1,999,999.

2 new sales: Colonnades #51 1/1 listed for $179K, Seashells #11 2/2 listed for $321.9K.

View from Island Beach Club #P6D, both listed & sold by SanibelSusan

View from Island Beach Club #P6D, both listed & sold by SanibelSusan

4 closed sales: Sundial #H407 1/1 $380K, Sanibel Moorings #611 2/2 $435K, Sayana #202 2/2 $800K, Island Beach Club #P6D 2/2 $969K (our listing & sale).

HOMES

7 new listings: 4599 Brainard Bayou 4/3 $529K, 1211 Periwinkle Way 3/2 $540K, 660 Durion Ct 2/2 $549K, 2449 Harbour Ln 2/2 $895K, 2543 Tropical Way Ct 3/2.5 $995K, 2302 Wulfert Rd 4/5 $1.449M, 1779 Venus Dr 3/5.5 $3.998M.

6 price changes: 1835 Ardsley Way 2/1 now $309K, 395 Old Trail Rd 5/4 now $859K, 6433 Pine Ave 4/3 now $875K, 1748 Jewel Box Dr 4/4 now $1.098M, 600 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2.5 now $1.279M, 2118 Starfish Ln 4/5 now $1.859M.

2 new sales: 543 Chert Ct 3/2 listed for $499K, 701 Durion Ct 3/2 listed for $530K.

1 closed sale: 6451 Pine Ave 3/2 $489K.

LOTS

1 new listing: 5723 Baltusrol Ct $399K.

1 price change: 5307 Umbrella Pool Rd now $379K (our listing).

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 861 Birdie View Pt $318.9K.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: Marina Villas #603 2/2 listed for $640K.

No closed sales.

HOMES

4 new listings: 11461 Dickey Ln 3/2 $1.495M, 11530 Paige Ct 4/4.5 $4.1M, 1121 Schefflera Ct 4/4.5 $4.499M, 16151 Captiva Dr 4/3 $10.8M.

No price changes, 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.

Best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving from The SanibelSusan Team!

pilgrims-and-indians-and-turkey

Sanibel Weekend Weather Forecast in Degrees F – Saturday 75 & Sunday 79 – WhoooHooo


SanibelSusan is back at her post this week where it is always great to get home and back to business even after a wonderful fun-filled vacation. Island traffic is noticeably heavier now than it was three weeks ago, while the weather remains mostly the same – sunny and picture perfect, unlike those nasty photos we are seeing on the news with snow and cold weather elsewhere.

Now through Easter is always a great time to be enjoying winter in Southwest Florida. I had lunch today with a colleague in the vacation rental business and he said that their phones are ringing off the hook with folks looking for last-minute holiday reservations.

Our listings had a few showings this week and our local Association of Realtors® Thursday Caravan meetings have changed to the “season” schedule of every week. Following a few news items below is the action posted in the Sanibel/Captiva Multiple Listing Service over the last seven days.

On teammate David’s travels this week he took the following bird photos. I thought you might enjoy them too – from osprey to sandpiper to eagle. (Bet you notice the mono-filament line wrapped around the osprey too. It’s a good reminder to always be careful with that stuff.)

osprey fishing line

 

Sandpiper

Eagle

On the real estate front, the number of units available still is down, though business is picking up, albeit is slowly. Homes and larger-sized condos continue to be in most demand. All indications are that it will be a terrific winter with prices continuing to rebound – we sure hope so!

Island Sales Stat Summary

Sanibel                         Condos                        Homes                         Lots

                                     #          Avg Price         #          Avg Price         #          Avg Price

For sale                        112      708,608           149      1,308,066         90        503,335

Closings pending         16        634,519           21         948,452           5          305,180

2014 sold thru 11/12    145      661,379           183      823,155           22         453,957

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

2012                             151      551,244           183      823,598           33         487,687

Upcoming Island Events

Shell MuseumNov 16 – tomorrow – Sat – 19th Birthday The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum – so free admission from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. www.shellmuseum.org

taste of the island logo_2014Nov 16 – Sun – 33rd Annual “Taste of the Islands” at The Dunes from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. (postponed from last week)

BIG Arts logoNov 21 – Fri – BIG ARTS Strauss Theater reopens for the 2014/2015 season with “Divas” which includes hits by some of the most successful female vocalists including Judy Garland, Aretha Franklin, Carole King, & Whitney Houston. “Divas” runs until Dec 4, www.bigarts.org/theater

Sanibel Community HouseNov 23 – Sun – Sanibel Thanksgiving Celebration at The Community House at 6:45 p.m. The BIG ARTS Community Chorus (& your favorite (I hope) alto) will be performing.

Luminary SantaDec 5 – Fri – 30th Annual Sanibel Luminary from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. (rumor has it that there will be another flash mob at Bailey’s this year)

Dec 6 – Sat – Captiva Luminary from 5:30 p.m. until 9 p.m.

Captiva Boat paradeDec 13 – Sat – Captiva Holiday Village 5th Annual Lighted Boat Parade at 6 p.m.

 

 

It’s Final: News Corp Acquires Realtor.com®

Realtor.com logosToday’s announcement from “DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS”:

“Media giant News Corp has officially completed its acquisition of Move, Inc., firming up its stake in the online real estate arena and tying its name to the REALTOR® brand. Move, Inc. is a leading provider of online real estate services and the operator of realtor.com®. News Corp says the merger will extend the media company’s global and digital operations as well as “bolster the real estate pillar of its business.”

“In partnership with the National Association of REALTORS® and its one million members, we look forward to turbo-charging realtor.com® and making it the most popular and profitable property site in America,” Robert Thomson, chief executive of News Corp, said in a statement.

“News Corp, a media and publishing business of which Rupert Murdoch serves as the executive chairman, owns such titles as The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s. It also has a majority ownership of the REA Group Ltd., a leading Australian residential property website. The Move network of websites reaches more than 30 million online visitors per month.

““We provide people with the information, tools and professional expertise they need to make the best and most informed real estate decisions, and we work to uphold the indispensable role of the professional in the real estate experience,” Steve Berkowitz, chief executive officer of Move, told REALTOR® Magazine in late September after the merger was announced.   “News Corp shares our vision, which is one of the many reasons this combination is such good news for our customers, consumers, and the industry as a whole.”

“National Association of REALTORS® President Chris Polychron praised the deal.  “The National Association of REALTORS® is excited about NewsCorp’s successful acquisition of Move, Inc.,” Polychron said in a statement released this morning. “REALTORS® are about making consumers’ real estate dreams a reality, and the unique strengths of News Corp, Move, and our REALTOR® members will enhance our ability to do that. NAR looks forward to its new partnership with News Corp and is committed to working with both companies to seek and develop new opportunities that help REALTORS® and consumers flourish in today’s real estate marketplace.””

The Next Big Home Feature Buyers Want?

Here’s some info from Wednesday’s “DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS” on-line:

houses-clipartfree-christian-clip-art--image-of-a-house-a-home---cropped-image-xoshp3ls“Home owners are showing a bigger appetite for smart home technology. Nearly half of consumers — 46% — say it’s important their current home or the next home they purchase have smart home technology, according to a survey conducted by ERA Real Estate and HGTV of nearly 2,500 consumers who recently participated in an HGTV national focus group on smart home technology.

“Home owners and buyers say they see the value in smart home technology for comfort, safety, and cost savings, and 51% surveyed say they would consider installing smart home technology in their home to make their home more marketable to future home buyers.

“The younger segment of the millennial generation is the most likely age group to spend money on smart home technology — 10 times more likely than the percentage of generation X members who say they’d consider adding smart home technology to their homes, the survey reported. “While still a growing trend, smart home enhancements have the potential to increase savings, safety, and resale value,” says Charlie Young, president and CEO of ERA Real Estate. “As we have seen through this survey and our one-on-one interactions with buyers and sellers, a smart home is one that is well positioned for the future and aligns with a growing reliance on mobile technology.”

“Indeed, 70% of millennials say it’s important that smart home technology integrate with their smartphone.

While smart home technology has often been thought to be driven by mainly security, survey researchers did not find security as the main motivation for adding smart home technology. Instead, home owners say they’re using or wanting smart home technology mainly because of the money-saving potential, such as through automated climate control, energy management, remote home monitoring, and lighting control systems. What’s more, consumers of all generations said they’d automate their thermostats before their lighting or security systems, and one in 10 Americans say they’d automate their TV over their lighting or security systems.”

Life Doesn’t Rise or Fall With Interest Rates

realtor logoAs a long-time fan of NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, here is his article from the November “Realtor®Mag”:

“Housing market can weather the effects of expected mortgage spikes.

“Mortgage rates haven’t budged, remaining at historic lows throughout the year amid economic growth that has generated 2.5 million net new jobs over the past 12 months and a record high stock market. But uncertainty looms in light of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s announcement that the economic stimulus program known as “quantitative easing” will halt by year’s end. Moreover, an increase in the short-term Fed funds rate is expected by the middle of 2015. The course of U.S. monetary policy, in short, will be less accommodating going forward.

“In the meantime, perhaps because of geopolitical risks in the Middle East and Ukraine, or because of weaker economic conditions in Europe, a plentiful amount of money has flowed into the safe U.S. bond market, thereby holding interest rates down. Inflation has been low so far, too, rising only by 2%, another factor behind the low rates.

“Sooner or later, though, interest rates will have to rise. From the low 4% rate that prevailed for most of this year, the average mortgage rate will likely cross over the 5% threshold sometime in 2015 and probably rise to near 6% by 2016. Such a change makes homes less affordable, a clear negative for residential sales. But job creation and the accompanying rise in consumer confidence, along with some loosening of underwriting standards, might more than compensate for the rising rates.

“But what will be the impact on home owners who have locked in super low rates? How resistant will they be to giving those up? That’s something we’ll be tracking. But if past behavior is a guide, most home owners won’t stay put just to hang onto a low mortgage rate.

“Our own research supports this. Nearly half of recent buyers indicated the desire to have a different-sized home or live in a different neighborhood as the key reason for moving. Having kids and selecting a school district they like makes people move. Another third of recent movers cited changes in a job or ­marital status. Retirement was a factor for ­others. Only 3% mentioned changes in mortgage costs as a reason for moving.

“Low interest-rate lock-ins seem to matter far less than life cycle events. Even as rates move up, life moves on.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity November 7-14

Sanibel
CONDOS

4 new listings: Spanish Cay #C5 2/2 $379K, Blind Pass #G203 2/2 $520K, Island Beach Club #330C 2/2 $795K, Shell Island Beach Club #5A 2/2 $895K.

4 price changes: Colonnades #51 1/1 now $179K, Loggerhead Cay #453 2/2 now $459K, Sundial #Q202 2/2 now $694K, Sanibel Surfside #133 2/2 now $849K.

3 new sale: Tennisplace #C35 2/1.5 listed for $310K, Ibis at The Sanctuary #301 2/2 listed for $449K, Sayana #103 2/2 listed for $715K.

2 closed sales: Sundial #I103 1/1 $314K, Pointe Santo #B45 2/2 $710K.

HOMES

3 new listings: 548 Chert Ct 2/2 $585K, 1026 Bird Watch Way 3/2 $589K, 4577 Waters Edge Ln 4/3 $2.995M.

4 price changes: 590 Lake Murex Cir 2/1.5 now $649.9K, 1337 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 now $1.149M, 375 East Gulf Dr 4/3 now $1.589M, 4265 West Gulf Dr 4/4.5 now $4.395M.

2 new sales: 1901 Sanibel Bayou Rd 4/3 4/3 listed for $829K, 1339 Par View Dr 3/2.5 listed for $999.9K.

1 closed sale: 800 Birdie View Pt 3/3.5 $975K.

LOTS

3 new listings: 707 Emeril Ct $319K; 5633 Baltusrol Ct $349,555; 4334 West Gulf Dr $959,959.

3 price changes: 6411 Pine Ave now $335K, 6486 Pine Ave now $399.9K (foreclosure), 4988 Joewood Dr now $529K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva
CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: Bayside Villas #5230 1/2 listed for $309K.

No closed sales.

HOMES

Nothing to report.

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.

Whether selling or buying, please call The SanibelSusan Team.

Susan, David, Elise, and Lisa are island experts and ready to help you!

SANSLogo

November Real Estate & More on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


imageAs SanibelSusan has been moseying across the Atlantic, the rest of The SanibelSusan Team has been covering things on the islands. Big thank you to David, Elise, and Lisa for making that vacation possible. Now for the week’s Sanibel and Captiva scoop also penned by Elise and Dave:

It has been another beautiful weather week. Dave had a closing off-island and below are a few other news items followed by the action posted in the Multiple Listing Service this week. First a photo of the private fishing pier at Mariner Pointe. We still have two terrific listings there!

MPFishingPieraREALTOR® Party Allies Win Key Races

Posted by Realtor®Mag Wed, November 5th:

“Real estate issues stand to be well represented in Congress over the next two years as REALTOR® Party-backed candidates on both sides of the aisle won closely watched races in yesterday’s national midterm elections.

NAR-backed Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who is poised to become Majority Leader in 2015 with the Republican takeover of the Senate, has been a strong supporter of the mortgage interest deduction, rural housing development, and other top real estate issues throughout his 30-year career.

“NAR congratulates Sen. McConnell and looks forward to working with him on real estate–related policies important to REALTORS® and to all home and commercial property owners,” NAR President Steve Brown says.

McConnell had been in a tough race with Alison Lundergan Grimes, a business attorney in Lexington, but, as in several closely watched races throughout the country, the Republican ended up on the winning side.

On the crucial House Financial Services Committee, several real estate champions on both sides of the aisle retained their seats with strong support from the REALTOR® Party. These include Joe Heck (R-Nev.), Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz). In addition to receiving support for their campaigns from the REALTORS® Political Action Committee, they also benefited separately from independent expenditures from the REALTOR® Party. These independent expenditures include mailings and other types of outreach that are undertaken separately from, and without coordination with, the candidates’ campaign efforts.

In the Senate, Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), who sits on the important Finance Committee, retained his seat with help from the REALTOR® Party independent expenditure program.

In all, the REALTOR® Party, which has been recognized as one of the most bipartisan national political operations in the country, charted a more than 90 percent win record in the elections, with wins coming on both sides of the aisle.”

Congratulations! Florida Voter Mandate Delivered on Amendment 1

Florida voters delivered the only mandate in the midterm election -in support of Amendment 1. Florida’s Water and Land Legacy Amendment passed by a statewide vote of 75% well beyond the 60% needed. This is a great bipartisan victory that reflects residents understanding that protecting our natural resources protects our economy.

SCCF reports they plan to bring this mandate forward with them to the upcoming legislative session to fund restoration projects and protect and advance Florida’s award willing parks and wild places.

2014 Taxes

The Lee County 2014 real estate tax bill are out and posted at http://www.leepa.org.

City of Sanibel Marks 40th Anniversary of Incorporation

Saluting the city’s founding fathers as well as the citizens who were part of the push toward independence, more than 50 people gathered at MacKenzie Hall on Tuesday morning to mark the 40th anniversary of the historic vote to incorporate Sanibel as a city. The 45-minute celebration, attended by several former council members and mayors of the city, included personal remembrances, a display of historic photographs and artifacts as well as the singing of “Happy Birthday” To Sanibel. On November 4, 1974, an incredible 84.6% of all registered voters on Sanibel went to the polls, with 63.6% casting their ballots in favor of incorporation.

Free “Ding” Darling Kid’s Fishing Derby

Kids who are able to hold their own fishing pole can participate in the free 2nd annual “Ding” Darling Kids Fishing Derby to be held on the Sanibel Causeway Islands Park (Island A) on Saturday, November 8. J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge and the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) co-sponsor the event. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. on the causeway, and ages 15 and younger start fishing at 9 a.m. and finish at 11 a.m. An awards ceremony is at 11:30 a.m. Judges will record catches during the session. After the results are tallied, they will award winners in two age groups: 10 to 15, and 9 and younger. Based on total inches of fish caught, the refuge will award first, second, and third place prizes, plus awards for the largest and smallest fish hooked in both age categories. Participants should bring fishing poles, but Tarpon Bay Explorers will provide a limited number of loaner poles for those who don’t have their own equipment. Shallow Bait and Dale Shirley will be supplying the bait. Throughout the day, volunteers and staff will teach fishing skills and safe, ethical fishing practices and will engage children in fish crafts.

Taste of the Islands Postponed

Due to 90% chance of rain on Sunday, CROW’S Taste of the Islands at Dunes Golf and Tennis Club is being postponed until next Sunday, November 16, 2014 from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm. Come out next weekend & support CROW.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity October 31-November 7

Sanibel
CONDOS
3 new listings: Loggerhead Cay #412 2/2 $499.9K, Nutmeg Village #307 2/2 $749K, West Shore #3 3/3 $1.795M.
3 price changes: Spanish Cay #A6 1/1 now $259.7K, Blind Pass #E206 2/2.5 now $433.3K, Sanibel Arms West #M8 2/2 now $479.9K.
2 new sales: Sundial #C307 1/1 listed for $339K, Nutmeg Village #107 2/2 listed for $659.9K.
3 closed sales: Sanctuary Golf Villages I #6 2/2.5 $500K, Nutmeg Village #308 2/2 $725K, Sundial #E108 2/2 $780K.

HOMES
5 new listings: 1710 Middle Gulf Dr 3/2 $699K, 497 Lake Murex Cir 4/3 $715K, 248 Daniel Dr 2/2 $749K, 251 Daniel Dr 3/2 $824.9K, 5424 Shearwater Dr 3/2.5 half-duplex $899K.
6 price changes: 702 Donax St 2/2 now $439K, 3168 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $539K, 857 Birdie View Pt 3/2.5 now $1.029M, 190 Violet Dr 3/2.5 now $1.15M, 842 Limpet Dr 4/3.5 now $1.645M, 830 Limpet Dr 4/4.5 now $1.695M.
3 new sales: 2615 Tamarind Rd 2/2 listed for $37y9K, 1238 Par View Dr 3/3 listed for $799K, 784 Birdie View Pt 4/4 listed for $1.625M.
3 closed sales: 5289 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/2 $495K, 2735 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 $1M, 1048 Kings Crown Dr 4/4 $1.165M.

LOTS
3 new listings: 3013 Poinciana Cir $250K; 1310 Par View Dr $379,555; 6419 Pine Ave $899K.
3 price changes: 1820 Farm Trail now $249K, 1429 Albatross Rd now $269K, 1311 Par View Dr now $279K.
1 new sale: 218 Violet Dr listed for $352K.
No closed sales.

Captiva
CONDOS
No new listings.
4 price changes: Bayside Villas #5144 1/2 now $299.5K, Gulf Beach Villas #2004 2/2 now $639K, Gulf Beach Villas #2031 2/2 now $670K, Lands End Village #1610 3/3 now $1.865M.
1 new sale: Beach Villas #2511 2/2 listed for $575K.
1 closed sale: Ventura Captiva #5B 3/3.5 $850K.

HOMES
No new listings.
1 price change: 16428 Captiva Dr 7/8/2 now $9.95M.
No new or closed sales.

LOTS
Nothing to report.

Until next weekend, SanibelSusan!

Catching Up From Oct 24 & 31 on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


SanibelSusan has been busy with a little R&R, while the team has been covering business as usual. Below are some news articles and local info, followed by the activity posted in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service over the 2-week period ending on Friday. Sorry for the delay in posting!

Sanibel Catering Company

imageBailey’s General Store formally expanded into catering with the opening of Sanibel Catering Company (by Bailey’s). Sanibel Catering Co. is a direct tribute to the Sanibel Packing Co., the firm started by Frank Bailey in the late 19th century along San Carlos Bay. Sanibel Packing Co. evolved into Bailey’s General Store which moved to its current location in the 60′s. Two of Frank Bailey’s three sons ran the general store and surrounding shopping center until Francis Bailey died last year. His brother Sam died in 2010. Today Francis’s son-in-law, Richard Johnson is at the helm.

This news follows other growth for Bailey’s, a retail outlet at The Sundial Beach Resort and Spa. The new Sundial store will be a 1,000 sq.ft. space, selling sandwiches, salads, deli food, and more. The new Bailey’s Market Place is part of the renovation and expansion at Sundial. It will open in a few weeks.

QRM Rule Opens More Doors for Consumers

Good news posted in “DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS”:

“The mortgage-financing environment for households could improve as a result of a rule federal regulators put in place Tuesday. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is the first of six financial regulators to release the final version of the long-awaited qualified residential mortgage (QRM) rule, which stems from the big 2010 banking reform bill the federal government enacted after the financial crisis.

“The QRM rule provides a set of requirements a loan must meet to be considered safe and eligible to be sold to investors as part of a mortgage-backed security without the lender having to retain 5% of the loan amount on its books. Because the QRM loan comes without the risk-retention requirement, lenders should be able to make more loans — and for cheaper — because they don’t have to pass along that risk-retention cost to borrowers.

“The National Association of REALTORS® has been vocal for several years about the QRM rule, saying it should be broad rather than prescriptive and that it should match up with the qualified mortgage (QM) rule, which took effect at the beginning of this year. The QRM rule does, in fact, do that. The QM rule provides ability-to-repay standards for safe and affordable loans, whether or not they’re securitized for sale to investors.

“”NAR applauds the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for finalizing the Qualified Residential Mortgage rule today, which includes a broad definition of QRM and aligns with the Qualified Mortgage standard implemented earlier this year,” NAR President Steve Brown says.

“Under the QRM rule, as under the QM rule, loans are generally considered qualified if the borrower’s debt-to-income ratio is 43%, among other things. There is no onerous down payment requirement, as regulators had originally proposed. “Importantly, the final rule relies on sound and responsible underwriting rather than on an onerous down payment requirement to qualify as a QRM loan,” Brown says. “NAR strongly opposed earlier versions of the rule that included 20 and 30% down payment requirements, which would have denied millions of Americans access to the lowest-cost and safest mortgages.”

“The rule takes effect in 12 months. That will give lenders time to align their internal processing systems with the requirements. Since lenders have already been aligning their systems to the QM rule, the process can be expected to go smoothly.

“For lenders, having the two rules in alignment provides the clarity they’ve long been asking for. One result of this new clarity could be a widening and deepening of loan availability, which has been one of the main stumbling blocks to increased home sales. At a press conference Tuesday, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said the alignment of the two rules could help make credit more available and boost sales. “Certainly this is a victory for consumers,” Yun says.

Increased Traffic at RSW

“The Island Sun” reported that during September, 366,038 passengers traveled through Southwest Florida International Airport, an increase of 8.2% compared to September 2013. Year-to-date, passenger traffic is up 4.3% from the same period last year. The traffic leader in September was Delta with 81,989 passengers traveling to and from Fort Myers. Southwest Florida International Airport served more than 7.6 million passengers in 2013 and is one of the top 50 U.S. airports for passenger traffic.

Waterside Inn Sold

Also reported by “The Island Sun”, Waterside Inn, Sanibel’s second largest family-owned beach resort, sold on October 24 for $10,000,000 according to Lee County records. Bert and Joanie Jenks have owned the property for the past 16 years. The buyers, from Indiana, plan to retain Waterside Inn’s employees and operate the resort in the same fashion as the Jenks family. The property, located at 3033 West Gulf Drive and formerly known as the Snook Motel, has 27 gulf-front tropical cottages and hotel efficiencies.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity October 24-31

Sanibel
CONDOS
1 new listing: Seascape #205 3/3 $1.849M.
1 price change: Seashells #36 2/2 now $335K.
7 new sales: Seashells #33 2/2 listed for $299K (short sale), Seashells #38 2/2 listed for $299K, Sundial #I103 1/1 listed for $337.5K, Sundial #I203 1/1 listed for $395K, Pointe Santo #B45 2/2 listed for $749K, Sandalfoot #5A3 2/2 listed for $849K, Plantation Village #B321 3/3 listed for $2.299M.
5 closed sales: Coquina Beach #4F 2/2 $400K, Loggerhead Cay #451 2/2 $450K, Sanibel Arms #C4 2/2 $485K, Pointe Santo #E22 2/2 $688.5K, Pointe Santo #D45 2/2 $750K (our listing).

Pointe Santo beach

HOMES
3 new listings: 1671 Hibiscus Dr 4/5 $998,899; 1339 Par View Dr 3/2.5 $999.9K; 1138 Harbour Cottage Ct 3/2.5 $1.385M.
4 price changes: 547 Chert Ct 3/2.5 $695K, 430 Surf Sound Ct 3/2 now $805K, 1748 Jewel Box Dr 4/4 now $1.148M, 2118 Starfish Ln 4/5 now $1.859M.
4 new sales: 3990 Coquina Dr 3/2 listed for $599.9K, 1238 Par View Dr 3/3 listed for $799K, 800 Birdie View Pt 3/3.5 listed for $1.099M, 2964 Wulfert Rd 5/5.5 listed for $1.947M (short sale).
1 closed sale: 940 Lindgren Blvd 3/2 $885K.

LOTS
1 new listing: 5706 SanibelCaptiva Rd $479K.
No price changes.
1 new sale: 1182 Sand Castle Rd listed for $199.9K.
1 closed sale: 1402 Middle Gulf Dr $250K.

Captiva
CONDOS
No new listings or price changes.
1 new sale: Sunset Beach Villas #2218 2/2 listed for $575K.
No closed sales.

HOMES
No new listings.
1 price change: 16910 Captiva Dr 4/4 now $4.735M.
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.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity October 17-24

Sanibel
CONDOS
4 new listings: Seashells #38 2/2 $299K, Sundial #Q205 3/2 $850K, Sanddollar #B204 2/2 $920K, Sanddollar #A203 3/2 $1.015M.
3 price changes: Colonnades #44 1/1 now $197K, Seashells #33 2/2 now $299K, Kings Crown #307 3/2 now $899K.
1 new sale: Sandalfoot #4D2 2/2 listed for $619K (our buyer).
No closed sales.

HOMES
2 new listings: 3716 Coquina Dr 3/2 $489K, 1644 Bunting Ln 3/3 $495K.
3 price changes: 8987 Mockingbird Dr 3/3 now $799K, 600 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2.5 now $1.195M, 1520 San Carlos Bay Dr 4/3.5 now $1.995M.
4 new sales: 2621 SanibelCaptiva Rd 3/2 listed for $299K, 4606 Brainard Bayou Rd 2/1 listed for $399K, 3251 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 listed for $629K, 1426 Causey Ct 3/2 listed for $729K.
2 closed sales: 1221 Par View Dr 3/2 $700K, 1021 Fish Crow Rd 4/3 $700K.

LOTS
No new listings.
1 price change: Bowman’s Beach Rd now $179K.
No new or closed sales.

Captiva
CONDOS
1 new listing: Beach Villas #2322 1/1 $589K.
1 price changes: Lands End Village #1610 3/3 now $1.875M.
No new or closed sales.

HOMES
Nothing to report.

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.

Fall Is In The Air on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


Beach (Medium)Fall is definitely in the air – or as fall-ish as it becomes on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. A cool front arrived Wednesday night which brought a drop in humidity and lower evening temperatures. Whenever the humidity is under 70%, it is a wonderful thing in Southwest Florida.

toll boothIsland traffic is slowly increasing as snowbirds return. Local TV news last night reported that the total number of visitors to Southwest Florida has increased considerably over the last year. In August alone, nearly 8,000 more vehicles crossed through the Sanibel toll booth.

Below are a few news items, followed by the week’s activity in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.

2014 Annual Meeting – Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

SanCapAssnLogoThe islands Association of Realtors® had no caravan meeting this week, but last night was the annual meeting and election.

Yours truly, the 2014 Nominating Committee Chair, is happy to report that two new directors have been elected to our nine-member board. Congratulations to Dustyn Corace and Deb Smith.

Upcoming Events

Ding Darling Society logo“Ding” Darling Days – at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge from Sunday, Oct 19, through Saturday, Oct 25. www.DingDarlingDays.com

Island PawsHowl-o-Ween – Island Paws Costume Contest & 10th anniversary, on the patio of Over Easy Cafe Friday, Oct 24 5-7 p.m.

(Judging at 6:30 p.m.) Proceeds benefit Gulf Coast Humane Society. This is great fun to watch even if you don’t have a pet!

SanibelCityHall40th Anniversary of Sanibel’s Incorporation – reception (hosted by Sanibel Historical Preservation Committee) at City Hall at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Nov 4.

Record-Setting Year for Sea Turtles

SeaturtlehatchlingsSCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) recently reported that 411 Sanibel nests (110 on the east end and 301 on the west end), shattered the island’s previous high marks of 358 sea turtle nests established in 2000. In addition, the previous record of nests on the east end was 69 in 2012. Captiva had 124 nests this year.

SCCF logoIn addition to SCCF employees, more than 130 volunteers patrol the islands’ beaches every day throughout sea turtle nesting season (May to October).

Sanibel Land Development Code Subcommittee Report

Sanibelcityseal logoAs reported by the “Island Sun” today, “following Tuesday’s planning commission session, the Land Development Code Review Subcommittee (LDCRS) heard the annual report on amendments made to the City’s codes made during the past two years”….According to City Planning Director, Jim Jordan, “amendments made during the two-year span included:

  • Inter- and intra-connectivity standards for providing access between properties and to the shared use path.
  • The phasing of preliminary plats approvals for major subdivisions.
  • Legislation to regulate floating dock platforms preempted from permitting by the Sate of Florida.
  • Legislation requiring the installation of reflective tape wrapping on telecommunication towers greater than 75 feet above ground.
  • To allow pervious brick pavers installed within the driveways and parking areas of single-family, duplex and triplex to be treated as 100% pervious.
  • To allow for an increase in the room size of one-bedroom resort housing unit to develop up to 600 sq. ft. of habitable floor area.
  • Update the list of permitted uses within the commercial district and providing a process to consider new uses that are similar in nature and intensity to those uses that are listed in the code.
  • A new provision allowing minor nonstructural alterations and modifications to the rooflines of lawfully existing structures devoted to a nonconforming use.
  • Requirements, procedures and standards for maintaining and securing distressed buildings and structures.”

Recent Appointments

KevinThe City of Sanibel announced on Wednesday that Mayor Kevin Ruane as been appointed by Florida Governor Rick Schott to serve on the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force. The Task Force is composed of 14 members including federal, tribal, state, and location representatives, developing policies, strategies, plans, programs, projects, and activities that address the restoration, preservation, and protection of the South Florida Ecosystem. The success of the Everglades restoration will have a tremendous economic impact on the coast communities of South Florida, including Sanibel. Congratulations, Kevin!

Chris HeidrickToday’s “Island Sun” reports that Chris Heidrick, Association of Realtors® affiliate and “principal of Heidrick & Co. Insurance on Sanibel has been appointed as Chairman of the National Flood Insurance Task Force for the Independent Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA). In this new position, he also will serve on the Flood Insurance Producers National Committee which is dedicated to improving the National Flood Insurance Program through consultation, cooperation, and regular communication with the Federal Insurance Administration/FEMA.” Congratulations, Chris!

In Feb, both Kevin and Chris joined a Lee County Commissioner and several local mayors in DC to present suggestions for reasonable flood insurance reform. Most of the ideas were included in The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, signed by the President in late March. The Act successfully removed the most harmful provisions of Biggert-Waters, which threatened the local economy. I got rebates from both my home and office flood insurance premiums just this week.

“In the coming year, Chris’s primary focus will be on a smooth re-authorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in 2017.”

3 Industry Trends to Watch This Fall

BankRate.com logoHere’s a recent article posted on “Daily Real Estate News” and sourced to BankRate.com (October 2014):

“The housing market is expected to heat up this fall, despite buyers showing greater signs of being conservative in their home purchases. Bankrate.com recently highlighted some of the following trends to watch this fall in the nation’s real estate market:

“1. An overall pick up in housing activity. Low inventories of homes for sale in many markets have been blamed for cooling the summer months more than expected. However, more inventories are hitting U.S. markets, which could unleash some pent-up demand among buyers. At the end of August, housing inventory was at 2.31 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 5.5-month supply of homes, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. That’s 4.5% higher than a year ago.

When buyers have greater options in their home shopping, they may be more likely to finally jump off the sidelines, says Jonathan Corr, president and chief operating officer for Ellie Mae. “The housing market is going to be a function of the economy,” Corr says. “I think we are going to see steady growth in the coming months.”

“2. Buyers are more cautious. In what most housing experts describe as a “seller’s market,” buyers are showing signs of getting more conservative with their spending, Pava Leyrer, director of training for Northern Mortgage Services in Grandville, Mich., told Bankrate.com. “They are sticking to their budgets,” she says. The past housing crisis has prompted buyers – particularly the younger generation — to be more cautious, as they’ve learned that home prices don’t always appreciate. The younger generation views a house as a place to live and not the great investment that their parents once considered, says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. Forty percent of the millennial generation believes buying a home is a safe investment with great potential, compared to about 50% of boomers, according to a survey by Fannie Mae National Housing Survey.

“3. Mortgage rates will climb – really. Housing experts warned that mortgage rates would rise this year, but those forecasts have largely been wrong to this point. However, the Mortgage Bankers Association expects the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to start its climb to 4.5% by the fourth quarter, and continue to gradually climb and reach 5% by mid-2015. That’s prompted some lenders and real estate professionals to urge their buyers to lock in a mortgage rate now, while they are still at yearly lows.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity October 10-17.

Sanibel

CONDOS

1 new listing: Compass Point #111 2/2 $1.169M.

4 price changes: Sundial #H411 1/1 now $272.5K, Seashells #33 2/2 now $319K (short sale), Seashells #36 2/2 now $325K, Sundial #I103 1/1 now $337.5K.

1 new sale: Colonnades #1 1/1 listed for $195K.

Beach Walk2 closed sales: Tennisplace #A26 2/1.5 $325K, Island Beach Club #310F 2/2 $450K (our listing & sale).

HOMES

6 new listings: 2621 SanibelCaptiva Rd 3/2 $299K, 1452 Sandpiper Cir 2/2 half-duplex $379K, 735 Donax St 3/2 $479K, 1287 Par View Dr 3/2 $910K, 1224 Par View Dr 3/3 $1.149M, 784 Birdie View Pt 4/4 $1.625M.

6 price changes: 1938 Roseate Ln 3/2 now $369K, 4636 Buck Key Rd 2/2 now $449K, 317 East Gulf Dr 2/2 half-duplex now $449K, 315 East Gulf Dr 3/2 half-duplex now $449K, 297 Ferry Landing Dr 3/3 now $1.295M, 2514 Blind Pass Ct 4/3/2 now $1.425M.

No new sales.

4 closed sales: 2098 Wild Lime Dr 2/2 $280K, 989 Dixie Beach Blvd 3/2 $550K, 981 Main St 4/2.5 $562K, 1266 Isabel Dr 3/3 $1.7M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 1182 Sand Castle Rd $199.9K.

2 price changes: 1336 Eagle Run Dr now $245K, 1311 Par View Dr now $285K.

1 new sale: 3338 West Gulf Dr listed for $410K.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Sunset Beach Villas 2/2 $$575K.

1 price change: Lands End Village #1610 3/3 now $1.885M.

1 new sale: Bayside Villas #4212 1/2 listed for $275K.

No closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 16249 Captiva Dr 3/2.5 $2.375M.

No price changes, 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.

flip-flopsHappy Friday, everyone! SanibelSusan

It’s Been a Summer-Like Week on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


Island Traffic & Real Estate Activity

SanCapAssnLogoThough the traffic on Sanibel and Captiva Islands noticeably picked up over the last few days (mostly with service/contractor vehicles and winter residents coming back early), there do not seem to be buyers here this week. SanibelSusan had the only sale announced at our Association of REALTORS® Caravan Meeting yesterday. See the report at the bottom of today’s blog for all of the activity posted in the island Multiple Listing Service this week.

Island Beach ClubI continue to visit our listings to get new photos as some of them get pre-season improvements. I visited Island Beach Club this afternoon where the work is progressing albeit slowly on the window replacement work.

While his morning, in-between tenants and cleaners, I also got into our listing at Loggerhead Cay in time to snap a few photos of the new carpet and living room sofa/love seat. This condo earns excellent income, if you are an investor looking for a condo where the numbers make sense. It is unit #353, 3rd floor looking down the courtyard to the gulf. Priced at $499,000, it also grosses nearly $40K/year in rental income!

Island Happenings

After a teaser day of low humidity and cooler temperatures, weather has been back to bright sunny summer temperatures for most of the week.

FruitOpening day of the Sanibel Farmers Market last Sunday, though a whole month earlier than past years, was packed. Almost all of the previous vendors are back as well as some new ones. I checked it out late morning and found it to be as busy as it usually is in high season. Some new finds for me were with the smoothie makers and the exotic fruit vendor (samples included dragon fruit & lechees.)

Upcoming Events

With “season” just around the corner, this week I received lots of organization emails and calendars touting events scheduled in the upcoming months. So many, in fact, that if you know when you will be enjoying the islands, you may want to plan ahead and check out the link above to “Upcoming Events“. Some events have limited seating and require advance tickets or reservations. I will continue to post new events as we hear about them. It’s gonna be a fun busy winter!

News Corp Bets on REALTORS®

realtor logoThere are varying opinions on the below article. However, at a group meeting this afternoon with some of the brokers, leaders, and movers/shakers of the Sanibel/Captiva real estate community, there definitely was a consensus that the real estate consumer (buyer or seller) is best served by a REALTOR®.

A special guest who drove across the state to chat with us is someone also passionate about the REALTOR® remaining at the center of the transaction. Big thank you to our friend and colleague from Miami, Moe Vessi, for sharing his thoughts with us. Moe was 2002 President of Florida REALTORS® and 2012 President of the National Association of REALTORS®, and is a working REALTOR® like the rest of us.

IMG_2959

L to R, Martha Smith (Director, SanCap Assn of Realtors), David Schuldenfrei (2014 President, SanCap Assn of Realtors), Robin Humphrey (Past President, SanCap Assn of Realtors), Moe Vessi (Past President, National Assn of Realtors & Florida Realtors), Peggy Hummel, CEO SanCap Assn of Realtors), Susan Andrews (Past President, SanCap Assn of Realtors), Shane Spring (Director, SanCapAssn of Realtors)

Particularly on these unique and small islands where our MLS is not syndicated, we often hear about third party web sites that offer incomplete or inaccurate information – all the more reason to rely on a REALTOR® and realtor.com® where cooperative sales occur. Here is the article about the future of realtor.com, posted Wednesday on REALTOR®Mag.

“The global media and information services company that owns such venerated titles as The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s announced Monday its intent to purchase Move Inc., operator of realtor.com®.

The company is News Corp, a top-in-class media and publishing business with experience in real estate through its newspapers and its majority ownership of the REA Group Ltd, the leading Australian residential property website, which also has a presence in Europe and Asia. With Monday’s announcement, News Corp made clear its intent to plant a major stake in the U.S. online real estate space. And the company is putting its considerable weight behind the REALTOR® brand.

““This partnership will help shape the future of real estate,” said National Association of REALTORS® President Steve Brown. “News Corp’s ability to reach and engage consumers, combined with realtor.com®’s quality content and the real insights REALTORS® provide will transform the current landscape.”

“In 2013, News Corporation separated into two distinct, publicly traded companies—News Corp and 21st Century Fox. Rupert Murdoch is executive chairman of News Corp, a multinational news and information company headquartered in New York. The company reported more than $8.5 billion in revenue in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014. “We intend to use our media platforms and compelling content to turbo-charge traffic growth and create the most successful real estate website in the U.S.,” said Robert Thomson, Chief Executive of News Corp. “We are building on our existing real estate expertise and expect to leverage the potential of Move and its valuable connections with REALTORS® and consumers around the country.” (See the presentation News Corp shared in an investor call this morning.)

“Move, Inc. draws nearly 35 million visitors each month to its network of real estate sites for consumers and real estate professionals. The company’s flagship site is realtor.com®.  “We provide people with the information, tools and professional expertise they need to make the best and most informed real estate decisions, and we work to uphold the indispensable role of the professional in the real estate experience,” said Steve Berkowitz, chief executive officer of Move. “News Corp shares our vision, which is one of the many reasons this combination is such good news for our customers, consumers and the industry as a whole.”

“The realtor.com® domain is owned by the National Association of REALTORS®, and the site is operated by Move through an agreement between the REALTORS® Information Network, a NAR subsidiary, and RealSelect, a Move subsidiary. NAR leadership and the RIN board, meeting over the weekend, voted to approve the acquisition, which is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. News Corp and Move are both traded on the NASDAQ. On Monday, September 29, Move’s stock closed at $15.29 and News Corp closed at $16.80.

“NAR has posted a FAQ at realtor.org and will continue to communicate with its members as information becomes available. But one thing is certain, according to NAR CEO Dale Stinton. This change in ownership will only strengthen realtor.com®’s core mission: to serve consumers with the best, most accurate real estate data while keeping REALTORS® central to the real estate transaction. “Throughout the 20th century, NAR worked to ensure that REALTORS® were indispensable to consumers and the real estate transaction,” Stinton said. “This partnership is yet another 21st century example of this effort.  NAR will continue to seek opportunities such as this for REALTORS® to flourish in today’s marketplace by remaining first and foremost in the consumer’s mind.””

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity October 3-10

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Colonnades #1 1/1 $195K, Compass Point #101 3/2 $1.169M.

3 price changes: Seashells #33 2/2 now $329K (short sale), Lighthouse Point #323 3/2 now $899K, Clam Shell #C 2/2 now $1.195M.

View3 new sales: Sanibel Moorings #611 2/2 listed for $449K, Sayana #202 2/2 listed for $859K, Island Beach Club #P6D 2/2 listed for $990K (our listing & buyer).

2 closed sales: Sundial #D207 1/1 $230K, Tarpon Beach #203 2/2 $659K.

HOMES

2 new listings: 3251 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 $629K, 1130 Seagrape Ln 4/3 $827K.

3 price changes: 490 Christine Rd 2/2 now $569,555; 5753 Pine Tree Dr 3/4 now $749K; 749 Pyrula Ave 3/3 now $1.225M.

5 new sales: 320 Palm Lake Dr 2/2 listed for $439K, 1221 Par View Dr 3/2 listed for $758K, 1329 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 listed for $849K, 5427 Osprey Ct 3/3.5 listed for $1.2472M, 1266 Isabel Dr 3/3 listed for $1.795M.

No closed sales.

LOTS

1 new listing: 1332 Eagle Run Dr $255,555.

1 price change: 6486 Pine Ave now $444.9K (foreclosure).

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 1504 Angel Dr $679K.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Land’s End Village #1660 3/3 now $1.535M.

No new or closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 16897 Captiva Dr 5/5.5 $3.49M.

1 price change: 15891 Captiva Dr now $2/949M.

No new or closed sales.

LOTS

1 new listing: 16915 Captiva Dr $1.39M.

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.

Until next Friday, TGIF, SanibelSusan

Colorful Leaves, Temperatures Dropping, & Snow – NOT HERE!


 

096

Islander Realtors® usually can tell when the weather changes up north by an increase in the number of real estate inquiries. This week was no exception. Leaves must be turning, temperatures dropping, and/or snow falling somewhere as SanibelSusan Realty all-of-a-sudden had busy days both yesterday and today with buyer inquiries.

Sun

Island weather has been exceptional for the last few days too, mostly summer temperatures mid-80′s and sunny. Enough clouds sometimes for some beautiful Sanibel sunsets too!

SanibelSunset 02-01-12

SanCapAssnLogoThe local Association of Realtors® again had no weekly caravan this week. Business activity has not picked up enough for that yet, but the caravan schedule will change back to weekly in early November.

Below are a couple of other news items followed the recent action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.

Upcoming Island Events

Farmer MarketSanibel Farmer Market – October 5 – Sunday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., every Sunday through April on the grounds of Sanibel City Hall. See you there!

US Power SquadronsU.S. Power Squadron Safe Boating Class – October 25 – Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Sanibel Public Library. More about the Sanibel-Captiva Power Squadron at www.usps.org/localusps/sancap/

Bailey's merchant assocBailey Fest – October 26 – Sunday – from noon to 4 p.m. at Bailey’s Shopping Center featuring live entertainment, games, raffles, give-aways, face painting, pony rides, food & refreshments, local service organization info, & more. The opening singers again this year are with the Sanibel BIG ARTS Community Chorus.

SCCF logoWine in the Wild – November 8 – Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m. at SCCF, on the grounds of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Nature Center.

Children center of islands logoBeach Ball – November 16 – Sunday at The Dunes from 5 to 9 p.m. This is the ninth year for this Children’s Education Center of the Islands fundraiser for facility improvements and to benefit local families for scholarships.

Profile of International Home Buyers in Florida

Florida Realtors logoFlorida REALTORS® Research Division just released its 2014 Report (dated September 2014) showing the profile of International Home Buyers in Florida. For this report, foreign buyers are defined as non-resident foreigners – individuals who are citizens of another country and who purchase property in the U.S. but live in the U.S. only part of the year, typically using the property as a rental unit, vacation unit, or both. International sales are sales to these non-resident foreigners. Here are a few interesting excerpts from the report:

“Florida is one of the major U.S. destinations of international residential real estate buyers. Approximately 25% of foreign home buyers in the U.S. purchase property in Florida…Nationally, internationally home buying activity of non-resident foreigners was estimated at $46.7 billion during the period April 2013-March 2014…Florida’s sales to non-resident foreigners are estimated at $7.97 billion, accounting for 17% of total non-resident foreigner sales.

“The increase in international home buying activity was driven by the continued recovery of the world economy and the affordability of the U.S. properties. Both U.S. and Florida residential prices remain affordable to most international buyers. In fact, international clients continued to purchase properties that are on the average above the mean price paid by domestic buyers.

canada flag“Canadian buyers accounted for the largest share of international clients (32%), followed by buyers from Western Europe (24%; primarily from the United Kingdom, France, and Germany); buyers from Latin America/Caribbean (23%; primarily Brazil, and Venezuela), and buyers from Asia (10%p primarily from China).

Florida_state_map2“Florida’s location has been cited as the most important factor affecting the home purchase. Suburban areas appear to be gaining favorability with foreign buyers with an increasing share of buyers locating in suburban areas. Resort areas accounted for about a fourth of reported purchases, down from about a third in 2008.

“About half of foreign buyers in Florida bought a detached single-family home. Foreign buyers are more likely to purchase condominiums and townhouses/row houses since the owners are not staying at their property year-round….About 82% of Florida REALTORS® respondents reported all cash sales to foreign buyers….

“The top destinations for international homebuyers in Florida were Miami-Miami Beach, Orlando-Kissimmee, Fort Lauderdale, Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Naples-Marco Island, Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice, Tampa-St Petersburg-Clearwater, and Palm Beach.

Cape Coral Ft MyersIn the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area, the origin of the reported international home buyers include:

Canada (45%), Germany (14%), United Kingdom (6%), Mexico (6%), Columbia (4%), Israel (4%), Norway (4%), and Switzerland (4%).

In the Naples-Marco Island area, the reported origins differ a little: Canada (55%), United Kingdom (7%), Germany (5%) and Russia (5%).”

TRC LOGOIcrea logoThe good news for SanibelSusan Sellers is that as a Realtor® with the TRC designation (Transnational Referral Certified), SanibelSusan listings are featured prominently on WordProperties.com which promotes and advertises properties through an international consortium of real estate associations and translates the listings into the languages of the member organizations. I am one of only ten Realtors®) on Sanibel/Captiva with this designation.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity September 27 – October 3

Sanibel

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Sundial D307 1/1 now $239K.

2 new sales: Coquina Beach #4F 2/2 listed for $429.9K, Sanibel Inn #3425 2/2 listed for $664.9K.

1 closed sale: Compass Point #112 2/2 $1.11M.

HOMES

5 new listings: 1238 Par View Dr 3/3 $799K, 566 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2 $989K, 5427 Osprey Ct 3/3.5 $1.2472M, 2400 Los Colony Rd 3/3 $1.595M, 3911 West Gulf Dr 5/5.5 $5.295M.

No price changes.

2 new sales: 1777 Serenity Ln 5/4.5 listed for $759K, 800 Birdie View Pt 3/3.5 listed for $1.099M.

5 closed sales: 667 Nerita St 3/2 $719K, 529 Lighthouse Way 3/3 $965K, 785 Birdie View Pt 3/2.5 $1M, 766 Sand Dollar Dr 4/5.5 $1.312M, 1307 Seaspray Ln 4/3.5 $1.6M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 201 Robinwood Cir $759K.

No price changes.

2 new sales: 223 Robinwood Cir listed for $195K, 1246 Sand Castle Rd listed for $225K.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Sunset Beach Villas #2417 1/1 $525K.

No price changes, new or closed sales.

HOMES

2 new listings: 16861 Captiva Dr 5/5 $1.99M, 17101 Captiva Dr 6/7.5 $3.198M.

No price changes, 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.

2013 StarsUntil next Friday, happy weekend to all!

Susan

 

Almost-October Real Estate Happenings on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


It has again been quiet on the islands this week – few phone calls, only a handful of showings, no real estate caravan, and no new listings or closings for us. What are we doing you might ask? Yesterday, my pals and I had to make three stops before we found a restaurant available for lunch! We sure are looking forward to October!

IMG_0846copye

The islands had several cloudy/rainy days early on in the week, but nothing like the flooding reported on the other side of the state. Here we have had blue skies and sunshine for at least two days in a row now with the weekend weather expected to be much of the same. They have been not so lucky in inland Lee and Collier counties where afternoon and evening showers continue to prevail.

Island Beach ClubLots of deep-clean and maintenance/repair action continues at plenty of island properties, gearing up for “season”. Work around the floor-to-ceiling windows in a few Island Beach Club units is expected to be completed in early October. That has made for interesting showings at our new listing there.

sundial-logoAt Sundial Beach Resort & Spa, the second phase of their renovation is well underway with completion expected sometime in early November of a new state-of-the-art Fitness Center, Pizza Kitchen, on-site market and deli, and new soft tennis courts, as well as changes to the pool bar and main pool deck area.

Below are a couple of other news items followed by the action posted this week in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.

Some New Openings

The “Island Sun” reported this week that City permit approval was given for a new business going in at The Bailey Center. In the location formerly occupied by “Nick’s Yogurt” and next door to “Billy’s Bikes” new rental spot, will be “Beach Piez” featuring pizza for take-out and delivery.

Another eatery soon to open in the former location of “Island Barbeque” on Palm Ridge Road, next door to “Subway”, is “The Pecking Order” which will feature comfort and soul food.

lobster rollSanibel Farmers MktOpening next Sunday, Oct 5 (a whole month earlier than in previous years) is “Sanibel Island Farmers Market“. On the grounds of City Hall from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Sunday through April, it is my favorite stop on the way to the office!

farmers mkt lobsterThis is beyond fresh fruit and vegetables, cheeses, meats, baked goods, and more.

We are talking Maine lobster and lobster rolls!

The Scoop on Sanibel Homes as of 9/26/14

In doing some file clean-up this week, I found the below tables with data from mid-summer 2013. Always a fan of statistics, I updated them with today’s info. Divided by the same geographic areas as our Multiple Listing Service, this illustrates low Sanibel home inventory.

Bay-Front
Status Number Median Price $ DOM
For Sale as of 9/26 7 1,995,000* 648
Under Contract as of 9/26 1 1,795,000* 955
2014 Sales to 9/26 5 1,695,000 183
2013 Sales 7 2,190,000 679
2012 Sales 8 2,144,500 335

 

Bayou-Front
Status Number Median Price $ DOM
For Sale as of 9/26 6 1,470,000* 1,193
Under Contract as of 9/26 0 N/A N/A
2014 Sales to 9/26 10 860,000 425
2013 Sales 6 990,500 267
2012 Sales 5 1,649,000 472

 

Canal-Front
Status Number Median Price $ DOM
For Sale as of 9/26 19 1,273,500* 373
Under Contract as of 9/26 8 990,000* 365
2014 Sales to 9/26 30 912,000 272
2013 Sales 28 864,000 312
2012 Sales 37 749,000 275

 

Gulf-Front
Status Number Median Price $ DOM
For Sale as of 9/26 6 4,042,500* 311
Under Contract as of 9/26 1 3,900,000* 234
2014 Sales to 9/26 4 3,095,000 342
2013 Sales 16 3,245,000 335
2012 Sales 11 2,350,000 309

 

Inland
Status Number Median Price $ DOM
For Sale as of 9/26 28 599,000* 198
Under Contract as of 9/26 4 527,250* 208
2014 Sales to 9/26 41 499,000 281
2013 Sales 52 512,497 252
2012 Sales 32 493,000 168

 

Near-Beach
Status Number Median Price $ DOM
For Sale as of 9/26 65 829,000* 267
Under Contract as of 9/26 8 744,000* 621
2014 Sales to 9/26 72 676,950 201
2013 Sales 79 685,000 269
2012 Sales 86 567,000 330

DOM = days on market

* Asking price

Citizens Put an Early End to Storm Tax

Florida Realtors logoYesterday, Florida Realtors® posted an article sourced to “The Palm Beach Post” and distributed by MCT Information Services:

Citizens nixes storm tax, may expand clearinghouse

Citizens_logo“A 1% assessment or “storm tax” to pay off 2005 losses is ending two years early at state-run insurer Citizens, under a plan reported by The Palm Beach Post last week and approved by its board Wednesday. That will save customers of Citizens and other property insurers 1% on their bills starting July 1, 2015. The assessment, with a total cost of $1.38 billion, originally was scheduled to run until July 2017 but was collected from a broader base of customers than initially planned, making its early retirement an option.

“Meanwhile, executives turned to goals for 2015. Among them: put commercial properties including condos and apartment buildings into a clearinghouse designed to steer policies to private insurers. The clearinghouse, a computer system used by agents, began processing homeowner policies this year.

Citizens President Barry Gilway said he intends to work with state legislators to expand the system. The clearinghouse is intended to block new customers if a private insurer is offering coverage priced up to 15% more and kick out renewing customers if a private carrier is offering policies priced the same or less.

Twelve private insurers are in the clearinghouse for new customers and eight for renewing customers, counting two companies coming on board Wednesday.

“Another goal Gilway cited: Eliminate all risk of assessments from a 1-in-100 year storm, which Citizens has already reduced from more than $11 billion several years ago to about $2.3 billion now. Assessment risk has been falling in large part because Citizens has shrunk from 1.5 million customers three years ago, swelled by a pullback of large national insurers, to about 933,000 now. Transfer offers from private insurers, mostly small Florida-based companies, and clearinghouse activity are expected to reduce that to about 825,000 customers by year’s end and 750,000 by the end of 2015, Gilway projected.

“Smaller size alone reduces risk exposure, but one debate is whether to expand the purchase of private reinsurance, or back-up coverage, from firms in Bermuda and other places abroad. That is controversial in part because of foreign trips company officials say are necessary to buy reinsurance. The oversight of such travel has been criticized in an inspector general’s report and was the subject of Florida Cabinet scrutiny last month in the wake of reporting by The Post.

“But it’s also a question of whether big sums of money should go offshore or stay in the state-run company’s $7.6 billion surplus at home, where it can grow and remain available to pay claims year after year.

“Citizens, backed by its own surplus and a state hurricane fund, bought no private insurance at all as recently as four years ago, but has spent more than $1 billion on it since, including $311 million in 2014. The coverage it buys would reduce possible future assessments if historically rare storms hit. But there’s a slim chance it is needed in any given year and if not used in short-term contracts, it represents a transfer of $1 billion from its ratepayers to private hands.”

Jumbo Mortgages Are Cheaper, Easier to Get

CNN MoneyFrom “Realtor®Mag” on Monday and sourced to Sunday’s “CNNMoney” article titled “For Rich People, Mortgages are Getting Cheaper and Easier”:

“Wealthy home buyers are paying lower average rates on high-dollar loans (known as jumbo mortgages) and in some cases, they don’t even have to worry about a large down payment or mortgage insurance,

“For the last several months, interest rates on jumbo loans—mortgages that are $417,000 or more (or $625,000 or more in high-priced markets—have been lower than what average borrowers pay. For example, the average rate on jumbo loans last week was 4.24% compared to 4.36% for a 30-year, fixed-rate conventional mortgage, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

“In some cases, lenders also have reduced their down payment requirements as well, requiring as little as 10%, which is about half the normal rate. Some lenders are waiving the private mortgage insurance requirement, too.

“Many banks have lowered their credit standards for jumbo loan originations. For example, many jumbo borrowers used to need at least a 700 credit score to qualify, but now lenders are considering applicants with credit scores of 650, says John Walsh, owner of lender Total Mortgage Services.

“Banks are on the hunt for jumbo customers in order to win them over as clients for other banking services too such as retirement planning, says Malcolm Hollensteiner, head of retail lending for TD Bank. Jumbo borrowers tend to have better track records in repaying their loans and have lower default rates, so more banks are willing to take the gamble on them.”

Household’s Net Worth Hits Record High

Here is an interesting tidbit from “Daily Real Estate News” last Friday. It says:

2000px-US-FederalReserveBoard-Seal.svg“Recent gains in the stock market and higher home prices helped Americans’ net worth soar to a record high in the second quarter, according to a new report by the Federal Reserve. Net worth was up 1.7% during the quarter, reaching a record high of $81.5 trillion.

“American’s gains in wealth have helped to lift consumer confidence and allowed them to ramp up their borrowing, which could soon prove a boon for the economic growth too. During the second quarter, household debt rose to its fastest pace since 2007, increasing at an annual rate of 3.6%, compared to 2.2% in the first quarter.

wall street journal“Most of the nation’s largest wealth gains have gone to the affluent, who tend to own stocks, The Wall Street Journal reports. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index rose about 5% in the second quarter, while Americans also benefited from more modest gains in the real estate market. Home prices ticked up for the 12th consecutive quarter, rising 0.8% in the second quarter, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s home price index.”

Source: “U.S. Household Net Worth Rises to Record $81.5 Trillion,” Reuters (Sept. 18, 2014) and “U.S. Household Wealth Hits Fresh Record,” The Wall Street Journal (Sept. 18, 2014)

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity September 19-26

Sanibel

CONDOS

4 new listings: Colonnades #51 1/1 $184K, Sanibel Moorings #611 2/2 $449K, Sanibel Moorings #1512 2/2 $478.5K, Sanibel Inn #3425 2/2 $664.9K.

3 price changes: Spanish Cay #A6 1/1 now $259.5K, Loggerhead Cay #411 2/2 now $505K, Sandalfoot #4D2 2/2 now $619K.

2 new sales: Sundial #D207 1/1 listed for $239K, Poinciana #2C 3/2 listed for $1.1M.

2 closed sales: Sundial #D407 1/1 $227.5K, Sundial #H102 2/2 $425K.

HOMES

No new listings.

4 price changes: 4606 Brainard Bayou Rd 2/1 now $399K, 3168 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $559K, 1800 Woodring Rd 2/2 now $1.595M, 2981 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 now $1.625M.

1 new sale: 1266 Isabel Dr 3/3 listed for $1.795M.

1 closed sale: 1206 Bay Dr 4/4.5 $2.45M.

LOTS

No new listings.

3 price changes: Lot 27, Leisure Acres now $179.9K, 2933 Wulfert Rd now $399K, 5830 SanCap Rd now $399,555.

1 new sale: 861 Birdie View Pt listed for $339K.
No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Sunset Beach Villas #2337 2/2 now $679.9K.

No new sales.

2 closed sales: Sunset Beach Villas #2332 2/2 $667.5K, Captiva Shores #7B 3/2 $1.2M.

HOMES
Nothing to report.

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 picture of my favorite birds…

IMG_0737copye

Girls love those pink Roseate Spoonbills!

SanibelSusan

Counting Our Blessings at SanibelSusan Realty


Banyan BeachIt sure was fun yesterday to be recognized again at the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® September membership meeting for my “big” closing on Monday.

At nearly $8.5M, “Banyan Beach” it is the record year-to-date sale on Sanibel and Captiva. The team and I are very thankful for it, as well as our other closings Monday and today.

After posting the new sales of two condo listings last Friday, it was a wonderful surprise to also find the paperwork for another terrific condo listing in my email on Friday night. It’s the top-floor west-corner unit at Island Beach Club, so the views of the gulf and the beach are spectacular. Even though much of the complex, including this unit, is not fully accessible this month because the association is doing their annual exterior repair work, this condo already has had a showing of the rooms that can be seen and a couple of Realtor® viewings.

Luckily the photos that we borrowed from their rental organization, Select Vacation Properties, show it in total. Big thank-you to their employee, Patience, for sharing! If you want to see this one-of-a-kind income-producing condo, here are her photos.

Below are a few other news items followed by the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands MLS since last Friday.

Where Buyers Face Steepest Competition

CashSometimes island buyers and sellers are surprised when we tell them how high the percentage of cash buyers is on the island. Here is an article posted yesterday in “Daily Real Estate News”, sourced to “24/7 Wall Street. Looks like the islands are not the only place in Florida where cash sales prevail.

“All-cash transactions remain high, but they are showing signs of dropping, which could be good news for traditional home buyers with financing who find they are unable to compete against cash buyers.

Nearly 38% of home and condo purchases in the second quarter were from all-cash transactions, according to RealtyTrac’s data. That marks a drop from the first quarter, when all-cash transactions reached a three-year high of 42%.

“However, the share of all-cash purchases varies widely in markets across the country. For example, in the Miami metro area, more than 64% of home sales were cash in the second quarter, but in Madison, Wis., that figure was only 18.5%.

“Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, explained to 24/7 Wall St. that some of the highest number of cash sales are occurring in recovering markets that have the highest activity of institutional investors. Also, all-cash sales tend to be highest in areas with still-elevated levels of foreclosures and short sales. Blomquist further notes that all-cash sales are higher for both low-end and luxury properties. Cash sales make up two-thirds of home purchases for up to $100,000 and 45% of purchases for more than $2 million.

“24/7 Wall St., using RealtyTrac data, reviewed the cities that had the largest percentages of all-cash sales in the second quarter of this year. The following metros showed the highest concentration of all-cash transactions:

  • “Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL – Percent of cash sales: 64.1%
  • Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL – Percent of cash sales: 62.1%
  • Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice, FL – Percent of cash sales: 61.5%
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL – Percent of cash sales: 54.6%
  • Lakeland, FL – Percent of cash sales: 53%
  • Orlando-Kissimmee, FL – Percent of cash sales: 52.2%
  • McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX – Percent of cash sales: 52%”

There’s An App for That – Discover Ding Game App Premieres for “Ding” Days

Discover DingHere’s info from a recent press release from “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge:

“If you noticed a giant cell phone walking around the island recently, don’t have your bifocals checked. It’s just the latest costumed character at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. “Happy Appy” is helping to promote the unveiling of the Discover Ding app on Sunday, Family Fun Day, Oct 19, 2014 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of “Ding” Darling Days.

“A collaboration among the refuge, the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society – Friends of the Refuge (DDWS), and app developer, Discover Nature Apps (DNA), the Discover Ding app is designed to adapt to the public’s expanding reliance on smart devices by creating a positive interaction experience that encourages smart-phone users of both Apple and Android products to immerse themselves into their natural surroundings.

“DNA is developing similar apps for other refuges and national parks, but “Ding” Darling will be the first to go live.

“”The first-of-its-kind Discover Ding app will offer the public a few new way to experience the refuge, further enhancing our effort to integrate new technology and social media into our interpretive programming,” said Paul Tritaik, refuge manager.

“The refuge will host a public unveiling and “download-in” to kick off the three Family Fun Days and weeklong eco-festival at 10 a.m. on Oct 19 in the Visitor & Education Center Auditorium. The first 250 people to show staff their download get a special free T-shirt. Happy Appy will be on hand throughout the day to give free tutorials on downloading and using the app which combines nature, gaming, social media, and GPS technology for an entirely new experience. Throughout the week, the costumed character also will be in the Education Center parking lot each morning at 9:25 a.m. to offer help and instruction….”

To support DDWS and the refuge, go to dingdarlingsociety.org.

There’s An App for Real Estate Too

GoMLSLogoThe Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® announced this week that they are taking the next step forward in Multiple Listing Service mobility with a new App too. Within the next few weeks, the new GoMLS mobile app will be available for island Realtors® and their clients. With this app, there will be access to real-time MLS data with listing search capability by city, zip code, address, MLS number, geo-location, or by drawing a search area on a map; multiple map views including street, satellite and hybrid; driving directions; ability to schedule a viewing or contact the listing agent; share listings via text, email, Facebook® and Twitter®; and more!

Flood Insurance Overview

SanCapAssnLogoThe speakers at our monthly Realtor® membership meeting yesterday were a panel of affiliate-member professionals in the insurance business.

They were there to update us on recent Flood Insurance changes. Panelists were:

  • David Arter with Private Client Insurance Services
  • Chris Heidrick with Heidrick & Co.
  • Angie Larson with Rosier Insurance

To understand flood insurance lingo, here are a few definitions.

The most hazardous flood zones are V (usually first-row beachfront properties) and A (usually, but not always properties near water.) According to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and the National Flood Insurance Program, any building in A or Z zones are considered to be in a Special Flood Hazard Area.

V zones generally include the first row of beachfront properties. The hazards in these areas are increased because of wave velocity – hence the V designation. If your home is in a “V” zone, adhere to the following recommendations:

  • The bottom of the lowest horizontal structural member of the lowest floor elevation must be at or above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE).
  • Enclosed areas below the lowest floor cannot be used for living space. The building must be elevated on piles, piers, posts or column foundation.
  • Electrical, heating ventilation, plumbing, air conditioning equipment and other service facilities must be elevated to or above the BFE.

The next most volatile of the Special Flood Hazard Areas is the A zone. These areas are subject to rising waters and are usually near a body of water with a high potential of flooding. If your home is in an A zone, follow these important recommendations:

  • The lowest floor elevation must be at or above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE).
  • Enclosed areas below the lowest floor cannot be used for living space.
  • Electrical, heating, ventilation, plumbing, air conditioning equipment and other service facilities must be elevated to or above the BFE.

On Sanibel and Captiva, the flood zones that apply are either the VE Zone or the AE Zone, with the AE zone being a place with potential for a 1%-annual-chance flood event.

In the flood insurance business, it also is important to know if Pre-FIRM insurance rates apply. Pre-FIRM properties on Sanibel were those permitted prior to April 1979. On Captiva, Pre-FIRM properties were permitted before September 1984.

What else is important for these professionals to know is whether a property will be used as a primary residence or non-primary residence. The definition of a “primary residence” for policy rating purposes is: The property must be occupied by the insured and/or the insured’s spouse more than 50% of the 365 days following the policy renewal date.

If you have more specific questions about flood insurance, be sure to talk to an insurance professional.

Economist Calls for National Policy to Reinforce Home Ownership

realtor logoIn a recent column for “HousingWire”, Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist at Realtor.com®, breaks down the good and the bad of the housing recovery. In the article titled “Economist: Here’s Why Mortgage Supply & Demand Isn’t Normal”, he notes:

“Certain areas are close to a complete recovery, such as employment, home prices, distressed existing home sales, multifamily new construction, and rents. On the other hand, Smoke says the recovery is far from normal levels in terms of single-family new-home construction, mortgage applications and originations, household formation, and home ownership.

“The most negative sales signal comes from the new-home market, where new-home sales came in at an estimated annualized rate of 412,000 in July, the second lowest rate in the last 10 months,” Smoke notes. New-home permits and starts have failed to reach a pace that economists consider healthy for the sector, which is generally above one million.

Smoke points to another troubling area: Mortgage applications, which fell to the lowest level in 14 years at the beginning of September. Mortgage applications remain low despite the fact that rates are hovering near yearly lows. “Mortgage applications are considered a leading indicator for future home sales, but I believe the decline is not so much a signal of another downturn in demand but rather an indication of a seriously hobbled housing credit market,” Smoke writes. He says many buyers are being sidelined due to a very “small credit box,” where only consumers with easily documented incomes, strong credit scores, and large down payments are able to qualify for financing on a home.

“Another housing hurdle Smoke notes is the abnormal levels of supply and demand. “Affordable homes aimed at the first-time buyer segment are not being built,” he says. “Hedge funds bought up most of the affordable distress inventory over the last three years and have turned them into rentals. Home values have recovered the least in affordable price points, resulting in higher numbers of existing owners with negative equity and therefore unable to sell.”

“Smoke says that the continuing declines in areas of home ownership will portend to bigger problems ahead for the overall economy. “Without a strong housing policy, the mortgage market is incapable of adequately addressing risk-appropriate access to credit that supports home ownership,” Smoke writes. “Fundamentally, we need new directions for national housing policy to address the broken credit market, find solutions for affordability housing across all income levels, reinforce home ownership as the cornerstone of financial security, and fulfill the housing needs of older households.”

Priced to Sell at $30M? & Even $68M?

Realtor.com logos“Daily Real Estate News” last Friday posted the following. It was sourced to a “The Wall Street Journal” article from Sept 10, 2014, titled “Luxury Homes: Priced to Sell at $30 Million”. Just after I read that article, I heard on the news about the $68M mansion just listed for sale in neighboring Naples.

“Luxury homes are selling faster than last year, and the homes fetching some of the heftiest price tags are spending less time lingering on the market, according to new data from Realtor.com®. An uptick in the stock market and improving economy may be helping to boost the luxury market in recent months.

“The High-End Market is Booming: For homes listed less than $1 million, the median age of listings ranged from 80 days to a median of 180 days for homes just under $30 million, according to Realtor.com®. But for homes above $30 million, the median time to market dropped to 139 days.

Jonathan Smoke, Realtor.com®’s chief economist, says the faster times are often because these high-ticketed homes are marketed quietly before hitting the open market. This market segment is attracting a more engaged group of buyers lately, he says. For example, in Vail, CO., homes above $15 million used to sit on the market for more than two years, but now are selling in “months, not years, and sometimes in weeks,” Tye Stockton, a real estate professional with Ascent Sotheby’s International Realty, told The Wall Street Journal. In Greenwich, CT, Tamar Lurie with Coldwell Banker told The Wall Street Journal that she is expecting about 20 sales above $10 million this year – double the number sold last year. A $2 million listing in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles sat on the market last year before it was removed after never hooking a buyer. But this month, the owners put the home back on the market and sold above the asking price in just one day, says Billy Rose, co-founder of the Agency, a real estate brokerage in Beverly Hills, CA.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity September 12-19

Sanibel

CONDOS

5 new listings: Mariner Pointe #951 1/1 $449K, Nutmeg Village #107 2/2 $659.9K, Sandalfoot #5A3 2/2 $849K, Kings Crown #307 3/2 $925K, Island Beach Club #P6D 2/2 $990K (our listing).

2 price changes: Sundial #I103 1/1 now $345K, Sunset South #9D 2/2 now $425K.

5 new sales: Sundial #D207 1/1 listed for $239K, Kimball Lodge #304 2/2 listed for $499K, Pointe Santo #E22 2/2 listed for $749K, Nutmeg Village #308 2/2 listed for $769K, Pointe Santo #D45 2/2 listed for $799K (our listing).

6 closed sales: Dugger’s Tropical Cottages #5 1/1 $283.25K, Sundial #G407 1/1 $325K, Spanish Cay #A4 2/2 $325K (our listing), Loggerhead Cay #583 2/2 $510K, Sandpiper Beach #302 2/2 $590K, Shell Island Beach Club #5A 2/2 $597K.

HOMES

No new listings.

4 price changes: 1825 Ardsley Way 3/2 now $538K, 732 Durion Ct 3/2 now $749K, 1777 Serenity Ln 5/4.5 now $759K, 501 Sea Walk Ct 3/2 now $889K.

1 new sale: 419 Lighthouse Way 4/3 listed for $849.9K.

5 closed sales: 1364 Jamaica Dr 2/2 $470K, 620 Hideaway Ct 3/2.5 $570K, 4500 Waters Edge Ln 2/2 $769K (our buyer), 676 Anchor Dr 3/3 $887K, 466 Sea Oats Dr 4/3.5 $937.5K.

LOTS

No new listings.

3 price changes: 1246 Sand Castle Rd now $225K, 6411 Pine Ave now $345K, 1048 Fish Crow Rd now $415K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS
Nothing to report.

HOMES

1 new listing: 0 on Captiva-Village Area 4/4 $1.799M.

No price changes or new sales.

1 closed sale: 16682 Captiva Dr 10/12.5 $8.48M (our buyer).

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.

Here’s to another great week!

Weekend good wishes from the team at SanibelSusan Realty

September Real Estate Happenings on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


The SanibelSusan Team has been surprisingly busy again this week. Who said that September is the slowest month of the year? We had several listings shown, some multiple times. We got one condo listing under contract (sold by SanibelSusan) and are working an offer on another one. The team and I too are now ready for three closings coming up next week. This business is always full of surprises and we are thankful for any and all action, particularly as summer winds down.

That rainy season weather continues with bright blue skies and wonderful popcorn clouds most days until late afternoon and evening when the rain and lightning storms roll in. Sounds like we are in for a rainy weekend, however, with earlier storms expected beginning today. Yesterday when Dave and I stopped for a quick lunch at Normandie (West Wind Inn) the storm clouds were just rolling in. See photo below.

WW Beach

A report of the Multiple Listing Service action is below; but, first a couple of news items.

Sanibel City Council Approves Rolled-Back Rate of 1.9995

Island Sun logoToday’s “Island Sun” reports that:

Sanibelcityseal logo“During last Saturday’s first budget hearing, Sanibel City Council unanimously approved lowering the operating millage rate for fiscal year 2015 to the rolled-back rate of 1.9995 mills, with Sanibel’s revenues estimated at $50,480,097. The tentative budget presentation, delivered by the city’s Finance Director and City Manager offered council members and about a dozen local residents gathered at city hall an in-depth analysis of Sanibel’s property values (which increased 4.82% to $4,300,931,329)…. The rolled-back rate is the millage rate that will bring in the same amount of dollars as the current millage rate after adjusting for new construction. Approximately $19.9 million in new construction occurred on Sanibel in fiscal year 2014…. At the approved rolled-back millage rate, the average residential taxpayer will pay $1,255.23 for all city services, $45.02 less than the previously budgeted millage rate. The average residential taxable property value on Sanibel for fiscal year 2015 is $519,871….The city’s final budget hearing will be held on Tuesday, September 16 at 5:01 p.m. at MacKenzie Hall.

2014 Galloway Captiva Triathlon This Weekend

south seas logoThe spring triathlon tomorrow and Sunday is a family fun fitness weekend held at South Seas Island Resort. The first day includes children fun races: the 6-8 and 9-10-year olds complete a 100-yard swim, 1.5-mile bike, and 0.5-mile run, while the age 11-13 racers face a 200-yard swim, 3-mile bike, and 1-mile run. The next day, adults will swim .25 miles, bike 10 miles, and run 3.1 miles. Elite amateur athletes (who posted qualifying times at a USAT sanctioned event) will be sent off first in their own wave. The triathlon which is sanctioned by USA Triathlon is organized by Southwest Florida Events, a tax-exempt Florida not-for-profit corporation. Info is available online at wwwCaptivaTri.org or on Facebook under Captiva Tri.

Billy’s at Bailey’s Now Open

Billy's-logo-bikesThose who have enjoyed renting bikes from Billy’s on Periwinkle over the last 15 years may find it more convenient to now rent from his new expanded location in the Bailey’s Center, 2437 Periwinkle Way. The new location offers almost everything available at their original location, including may sizes and styles of bicycles, bike trailers, helmets, and even Fat Boy cruiser bikes. Certain rentals – like scooters and surreys – will still need to be arranged through their original location at 1470 Periwinkle Way.

Additionally, Billy’s at Bailey’s now offers customers the opportunity to rent YOLO stand-up paddle boards through partnership with YOLO Board Adventures of Sanibel (www.yoloboardadventuressanibel.com).

BIG ARTS 2014-2015 Ticket Brochure

BIG Arts logoAs a big supporter of BIG ARTS, it was great to get their new brochure this week. Whether you fancy classical, dance, forum, family entertainment, visual arts, jazz/pop/contemporary, theater, film, or community creations, BIG ARTS really is your home for all the arts!

Herb Strauss Theater productions coming up include: The Divas, Holiday Spectacular 2014, Freud’s Last Session, The Fourth Wall, Godspell, and A.R. Gurney’s Sylvia.

The Monday Night film series runs from October 20 through April 27 with a variety of other films too, include the BIG ARTS Film Academy’s Not-For-Monday-Night Series, “Great Themes” Film Discussion Groups, and a Critically Acclaimed Documentary Series Wednesdays in March.

Classical music performances include: Kinga Augustyn, The Merling Trio, Amphion String Quartet, Emalie Savoy, Third Coast Percussion, Svetlana Smolina, and The Souothwest Florida Symphony.

The Forum Lecture series features: Arthur Brooks, Ph.D., American Enterprise Institute; Kevin Carey, M.P.A. from New America Foundation; Andy McAfee, Ph.D., MIT Sloan School of Management; Ivo H. Daalder, Ph.D., Chicago Council on Global Affairs & U.S. Ambassador; Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, Pulitzer Prize – Journalism; Dennis Ross, Ph.D., The Washington Institute for Near East Policy & U.S. Ambassador; Karen Tumulty, M.B.A., The Washington Post; Nicholas Burns, M.A., Harvard University & U.S. Ambassador.

Jazz/Pop/Contemporary performances include: Riders in The Sky, Jack Jones, So Good for the Soul, and Tom Chapin. There also is a National Geographic “Live” family program and “The Second City” comedy.

Visual Arts include a variety of exhibits right through “season”, plus the Photography Scavenger Hunt that SanibelSusan sponsored last year. I will be the sponsor again this year too, with proceeds to benefit the BIG ARTS scholarship programs.

Community Creations include poetry events, play readings, a Wendy Webb concert, and the BIG ARTS Concert Band concerts. I still sing with the BIG ARTS Community Chorus which also has Holiday and Spring Concert performances. There is more info at www.BIGARTS.org. If you want tickets, do not delay, one of the Forum events already is sold out.

6 Tips for Choosing the Best Offer

House logic logoHere is an article with some good advice from “HouseLogic” on-line. The author, G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who has survived several closings. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

“Have a plan for reviewing purchase offers so you don’t let the best slip through your fingers. You’ve worked hard to get your home ready for sale and to price it properly. With any luck, offers will come quickly. You’ll need to review each carefully to determine its strengths and drawbacks and pick one to accept. Here’s a plan for evaluating offers.

“1. Understand the process

All offers are negotiable, as your agent will tell you. When you receive an offer, you can accept it, reject it, or respond by asking that terms be modified, which is called making a counteroffer.

“2. Set baselines

Decide in advance what terms are most important to you. For instance, if price is most important, you may need to be flexible on your closing date. Or if you want certainty that the transaction won’t fall apart because the buyer can’t get a mortgage, require a prequalified or cash buyer.

“3. Create an offer review process

If you think your home will receive multiple offers, work with your agent to establish a time frame during which buyers must submit offers. That gives your agent time to market your home to as many potential buyers as possible, and you time to review all the offers you receive.

“4. Don’t take offers personally

Selling your home can be emotional. But it’s simply a business transaction, and you should treat it that way. If your agent tells you a buyer complained that your kitchen is horribly outdated, justifying a lowball offer, don’t be offended. Consider it a sign the buyer is interested and understand that those comments are a negotiating tactic. Negotiate in kind.

“5. Review every term

Carefully evaluate all the terms of each offer. Price is important, but so are other terms. Is the buyer asking for property or fixtures—such as appliances, furniture, or window treatments—to be included in the sale that you plan to take with you?
Is the amount of earnest money the buyer proposes to deposit toward the downpayment sufficient? The lower the earnest money, the less painful it will be for the buyer to forfeit those funds by walking away from the purchase if problems arise.
Have the buyers attached a prequalification or pre-approval letter, which means they’ve already been approved for financing? Or does the offer include a financing or other contingency? If so, the buyers can walk away from the deal if they can’t get a mortgage, and they’ll take their earnest money back, too. Are you comfortable with that uncertainty?
Is the buyer asking you to make concessions, like covering some closing costs? Are you willing, and can you afford to do that? Does the buyer’s proposed closing date mesh with your timeline?
With each factor, ask yourself: Is this a deal breaker, or can I compromise to achieve my ultimate goal of closing the sale?

“6. Be creative

If you’ve received an unacceptable offer through your agent, ask questions to determine what’s most important to the buyer and see if you can meet that need. You may learn the buyer has to move quickly. That may allow you to stand firm on price but offer to close quickly. The key to successfully negotiating the sale is to remain flexible.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity September 5-12

Sanibel

CONDOS

1 new listing: Kings Crown #108 2/2 $695K.

2 price changes: Sundial #D207 1/1 now $239K, Sanibel Inn #3512 2/2 now $699K.

5 new sales: Sundial #D407 1/1 listed for $230K, Sundial #H102 2/2 listed for $440K, Island Beach Club #310F 2/2 listed for $474K (our listing & sale), Sanibel Siesta #502 2/2 listed for $595K, Compass Point #112 2/2 listed for $1.135M.

2 closed sales: Blind Pass #D204 3/2 $375K, Seascape #204 3/3.5 $1.735M.

HOMES

No new listings or price changes.

5 new sales: 2098 Wild Lime Dr 2/2 listed for $280K; 5289 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/2 listed for $499,995; 981 Main St 4/2.5 listed for $599K; 420 East Gulf Dr 3/3 listed for $749K, 1021 Fish Crow Rd 4/3 listed for $749K.

No closed sales.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 592 Sea Oats Dr now $339K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: Ventura Captiva #5B 3/3.5 listed for $965K.

1 closed sale: Sunset Beach Villas #2313 1/1 $520K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 11520 Laika Ln 2/2 $2.75M.

1 price change: 15747 Captiva Dr 5/6.5 now $6.495M.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 16447 Captiva Dr 7/6/2 $2.668M (short sale).

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.

Even if it rains on the islands, it’s still paradise! Weekend wishes to all!