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

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®, 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? 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®. 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®. But for homes above $30 million, the median time to market dropped to 139 days.

Jonathan Smoke,®’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



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.


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.


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.


Nothing to report.


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).


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 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 (

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 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, 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



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.


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.


No new listings.

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

No new or closed sales.



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.


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).


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!

September Real Estate Scoop on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

It is SanibelSusan reporting that the holiday weekend was soooo quiet that we did not expect to see much real estate action this week either, but surprise-surprise, we had several listings shown – some multiple times – as well as several email inquiries about listings.

At the local Realtor® bi-weekly Caravan Meeting yesterday, attendance was low. There were only two properties on tour (including our new listing at Pointe Santo #D45 – see photos below). Only one new sale was announced. It was our home sale last week in Gulf Shores (a cooperative effort between Dave and me). The SanibelSusan Team is happy to have our business well represented.

Below is the activity posted in our Multiple Listing Service over the last week. First, a few news items:

SCCF Annual International Coastal Cleanup

SCCF logoSaturday, September 20, SCCF (Sanibe-Captiva Conservation Foundation) invites residents and visitors to participate in an international volunteer effort to rid coastlines and waterways of marine litter, pollution, and debris. SCCF’s partner in the Ocean Conservancy’s 28th Annual Coastal Cleanup is Keep Lee County Beautiful. To participate go to SCCF (3333 Sanibel-Captiva Rd) between 9 a.m. and noon on the 20th to check in and pick up Coastal Cleanup data cards and trash bags. Bring water and work gloves. Lunch and snacks on the Nature Center porch will be available from 10 a.m. until noon. There will be a dumpster for all trash. Worldwide last year, volunteers picked up 12.3 million pounds of trash on 12,000 miles of coast. If you have questions, want to reserve a favorite cleanup spot, or get data cards early, call SCCF at 239-472-2329.

Millennials and Boomers Trading Places

wall street journalSourced to “The Wall Street Journal”, “Daily Real Estate News” posted this on Tuesday. More good news for Florida!

“As the economy improves, Millennials and Baby Boomers are on the move, but they’re heading in opposite directions, according to a new analysis by real estate data firm RealtyTrac. Each year, 17 million Americans (or about 6% of the population) move into a different county, according to Census Bureau data. RealtyTrac’s analysis found Millennials (considered born between 1977 to 1992, in this survey) to be the most mobile generation, moving away from counties with populations of 178,000 or fewer and moving into counties with larger populations (500,000-plus).

““The Millennial generation is generally moving from lower-priced to higher-priced markets for both buying and renting, with the tradeoff being more jobs (lower unemployment) and higher median incomes in the markets they are moving to,” the report revealed.

“On the other hand, Baby Boomers (defined as being born between 1945 to 1964) are moving away from higher-priced markets with large populations to lower-priced markets in smaller counties. Baby Boomers are gearing up for retirement and are less concerned about the job market and more concerned with living in an affordable place, the report says.

“According to RealtyTrac’s analysis, here’s where Millennials are heading:

  • Fayette, Ga. (Atlanta)
  • Citrus, Fla. (Homosassa Springs)
  • El Dorado, Calif. (Sacramento)
  • Yavapai, Ariz. (Prescott)
  • Clair, Mich. (Detroit)
  • Livingston, Mich. (Detroit)
  • DeKalb, Ill. (Chicago)

“RealtyTrac’s analysis shows Baby Boomers are moving away from at the fastest rates:

  • Fulton, Ga. (Atlanta)
  • Arlington, Va. (Washington, D.C.)
  • DeKalb, Ga. (Atlanta)
  • Wayne, Mich. (Detroit)
  • Clayton, Ga. (Atlanta)
  • Alexandria, Va. (Washington, D.C.)
  • Milwaukee, Wis. (Milwaukee)

“Where are the Boomers heading then? The highest percentage of Baby Boomers are moving to Florida, near Punta Gorda, Orlando, and Cape Coral, according to the report. Also, a high percentage of Boomers are heading to counties near Prescott and Phoenix, Ariz., and Hilton Head, S.C., according to the report.”

REALTORS® Expect Modest Price Growth in Next 12 Months

Here is a positive post about Florida real estate from the National Association of REALTORS® Economists’ Blog on Tuesday. The actual post includes the map of the United States below, with each state marked to show their median price change expected in the next year. Though most of the increases are modest, Florida, Texas, and Hawaii are projected to have the highest increases – greater than 5% to 6%.

REALTORS® expect home prices to increase modestly in the next 12 months, with the median expected price increase at 3.4% [1]. The expected price change is modest compared to the strong price growth in 2012-2013. Local conditions vary, but concerns about how borrowers are finding it difficult to obtain a mortgage and weak job recovery appear to be underpinning the modest price expectation.

Price Increases

“[1] The median expected price change is the value such that 50% of respondents expect prices to change above this value and 50% of respondents expect prices to change below this value. A median expected price change is computed for each state based on the respondents for that state.”

More About Where to Dine

In addition to the restaurant temporary closings (for staff vacations and physical improvements) mentioned in last week’s blog, a couple of others were announced. Here is a summary:

  • Blue Coyote Supper Club at Sanibel Golf Club/Beachview is closed until September 16. Then, it will be closed Sundays and Mondays through the rest of the month.
  • cips-place-mastCip’s Place will be open for dinner only (4 to 9:30 p.m.) until October 1.
  • Over Easy Cafe will be closed September 8-18.
  • Traders Cafe & Store is closed all of September.
  • traditionslogo1Traditions on the Beach at Island Inn is closed until September 18.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity August 29-September 5



2 new listings: Sundial #D407 1/1 $230K, Sundial #J203 1/1 $425K.

1 price change: Poinciana #2C 3/2 now $1.1M

2 new sales: Tarpon Beach #203 2/2 listed for $668K, Seascape #204 3/3.5 listed for $1.895M.

2 closed sales: Breakers West #B1 2/2 $418.5K, Loggerhead Cay #373 2/2 $510K.


2 new listings: 1717 Windward Way 3/2 $689K, 1056 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $899K.

6 price changes: 2098 Wild Lime Dr 2/2 now $280K, 2615 Tamarind Rd 2/2 now $379K, 701 Durion Ct 3/2 now $530K, 1674 Bunting Ln 3/2 now $549K, 739 Elinor Way 3/3 now $579K, 8987 Mockingbird Dr 3/3 now $799K.

6 new sales: 3965 Coquina Dr 2/2 listed for $399K, 169 Southwinds Dr 2/2 listed for $798K, 940 Lindgren Blvd 3/2 listed for $898K, 529 Lighthouse Way 3/3 listed for $985K, 785 Birdie View Pt 3/2.5 listed for $1.099M, 1203 Isabel Dr 2/3 listed for $1.495M.

3 closed sales: 490 Elizabeth Dr 2/2 $350K, 1377 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $469K, 1225 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 $760K.


No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 1504 Angel Dr listed for $745K.

No closed sales.



1 new listing: Captiva Shores #C 2/2 $898K.

No price changes, new, or closed sales.


1 new listing: 15133 Captiva Dr 2/3 $3.695M.

No price changes, new, or closed sales.


1 new listings: 926 South Seas Plantation Rd $5M.

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.

RoseatesAnhingaHere’s to another fabulous weekend!

Labor Day Weekend 2014 on Sunny Sanibel & Captiva Islands

Summer weather abounds on the islands and The SanibelSusan Team is gearing up for the holiday weekend. There still are not many visitors here, but we started to see more action both at the beach and at restaurants yesterday with families arriving for the long weekend.



Even with the limited traffic, we had listings shown this week, with others scheduled over the weekend. It is the time of the year when lower price range properties tend to get more action, so we have our fingers crossed that some of these showings will be productive.

With temperatures in the low 90’s most days, it was a welcomed relief when the humidity dropped midweek giving way to bright sunny days with just occasional showers some evenings.


Dave and I were both out showing this week, homes by me, off-island investment condos by Dave. I also responded to several emails from prospective island condo buyers just beginning their search and we had a nice closing today!

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

Where to Have Lunch?

We always get inquiries this time of the year about what restaurants are open and which ones are closed. Here’s the latest from our travels this week:

Doc Fords SanibelDoc Ford’s was already closed for a few days for their pre-season work and have reopened.

Over Easy logoThe Over Easy Cafe will close for their deep clean and employee vacations from September 8-18.

Blue Coyote Supper Club logoThe Blue Coyote is closed on Sundays and Mondays through September.

Traders Store & CafeTraders Cafe will close after dinner service tomorrow night and be closed through September.

Sanibel Island Farmers Market

Sanibel Farmers MktWow, time is flying! I saw a posting this week that the Sanibel Island Farmers Market will be reopening for “season” on October 5. It also had a reminder that it was established in 2007.

That was the fastest summer and fastest seven years, I can remember! That’s my Sunday morning stop before the office, so see you there in a just a few more weeks! There’s nothing like eating fresh and buying local.

Taste of the Islands

taste of the island logo_2014Speaking of future events, if you enjoy CROW’s annual “Taste of the Islands”, mark your calendar for Sunday, November 9, when it will be held at The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This is the 33rd year for this fun event for the whole family that benefits CROW (Clinic for Rehabilitation of Wildlife)

FISH is Moving

FishAs reported today in the “Island Sun”: “FISH, the 32-year-old non-profit, non-sectarian human services organization, will relocate from its current 2,192-square-foot space – at 1630B Periwinkle Way – to the

building currently occupied in the front by The Sangria Grill, at 2430 Periwinkle Way. The planning commission unanimously approved an application for conditional use approval that will allow FISH of Sanibel-Captiva, Inc. to move its headquarters to a new 3,500-square-foot office space.”

Sanibel Sprout Relocating to Bailey’s Center

Sanibel sproutAlso as reported in the “Island Sun” and at Tuesday’s Sanibel Planning Commission Meeting: “The owners of The Sanibel Sprout received conditional use approval to relocate their business to an approximately 1,000-square-foot space within the Bailey’s Shopping Center, which provides the health food store and juice bar with 20 indoor dining seats….Currently, the business operates from a space in the Palm Ridge Place Shopping Center, located at 2330 Palm Ridge Road.”

3 Reasons Mortgage Demand Is Dropping

loan approvedFrom “Daily Real Estate News” on Monday:

“Fixed-rate mortgages sank to the lowest average of the year last week, yet mortgage origination activity remains lackluster. Why aren’t more home buyers taking advantage of the lower borrowing costs? In a recent blog post, Freddie Mac analysts point to three main factors behind the decrease in mortgage originations:

  1. The refinancing boom has ended. From 2013 to 2014, mortgage applications for refinancings have fallen about 60%. Freddie Mac projects refinance applications will drop by another 50% from 2014 to 2015. When mortgage rates rise—as they are expected to soon—borrowers will have less incentive to refinance. Applications for home purchases are not expected to be able to fill the void from the refi boom.
  2. Home sales are down. Sales of existing and new homes have fallen about 5% during the first six months of 2014 compared to the first half of 2013, according to Freddie Mac. “A period of higher mortgage rates, a harsh winter, and slower economic growth compared to a year earlier contributed to the slowdown,” researchers explain.
  3. More buyers are paying cash. The number of borrowers who took out a mortgage to purchase a home is down compared to last year, but that could be due to more buyers using cash. In the first six months of this year, all-cash home sales were up slightly from 31% to 33%, according to National Association of REALTORS® data. Yet, “with rising home values and fewer distressed homes coming the market, expect the available inventory for all-cash buyers to trend down in the coming year,” researchers note.

“Freddie Mac researchers say the key to an increase in mortgage origination activity will be “sustained economic growth and jobs.” “Overall, recent economic and employment improvements should help bolster household formation and contribute to gains in construction, home sales—and also mortgage originations,” Freddie Mac researchers note. “However, even with these improvements, expect new and refinance mortgage origination volume for this year to be the lowest since 2000 at about $1.15 trillion.””

Strategies for Setting a Price for Your Home

wall street journalI love it when clients share articles they have seen that they think apropos for my blog. This one comes from “Wall Street Journal” Real Estate on line last week (thank you, Scott):

” What’s the perfect price when selling your home? Nobody knows. List too low and watch your investment slip away. List too high and drive potential buyers away.

BLINDED BY LOVE Sellers often overestimate the value of their homes for emotional reasons. To get top dollar for his Portland, Ore., home, Alex Hickman played lowball. He set his asking price below that of comparable homes nearby—and got six offers in four days. “We strategically listed it under market and tried to create kind of a frenzy,” says Mr. Hickman, a 26-year-old credit union examiner. Mr. Hickman purchased the home in 2005 for $325,000 and listed it for $497,000. He says a $505,000 asking price would have been more reflective of the market, especially since the property’s first-floor apartment could generate rental income. Mr. Hickman had also finished the basement of the home, which is in desirable Southeast Portland, an older neighborhood with few new construction projects. So his go-low pricing strategy was a gamble, one his real-estate agent initially counseled against.

PRICED TO THE NINES Research has found that pricing at $999,900 rather than $1 million influences buying decisions on a subconscious level. The home ‘seems way cheaper,’ one professor says. “It creates a havoc that doesn’t serve anyone well,” says Rebecca Walter, Mr. Hickman’s agent at Redfin. A low asking price doesn’t necessarily increase what buyers offer, she says, since they are more willing to compete on other terms of the contract, such as paying all cash for the purchase or waiving the inspection to speed the sale. “In residential real estate, the asking price is often as much about psychology as it is reality. Michael Seiler, professor of real estate and finance at The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va., said that most home buyers don’t realize that setting an asking price is primarily a negotiating tactic. “When you set a list price, you’re sending a signal to the market,” he says.

Mike McCann, a real-estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, Fox & Roach in Philadelphia, says pricing can be “a delicate balance.” Most sellers overestimate the worth of their home, he says, and some agents will start with a too-high price to avoid hard feelings. Others agents may start high just to get the seller’s business or, conversely, they’ll price too low for a quick sale and commission, he adds.

NOT BUDGING A precise asking price, such as $795,475, indicates that the seller is less open to negotiation. Most agents say that getting sellers to start with a realistic asking price is one of their biggest challenges. Steve Beckman spent $150,000 on renovations to his 100-year-old farmhouse in Ojai, Calif., which he purchased for $325,000. When selling five years later, Mr. Beckman, a 61-year-old retired landscape designer, asked $500,000—with both financial and emotional factors coming into play. It sat on the market for almost 1½ years, eventually selling for $242,000, far less than he and his wife, Mary, had wanted. “We didn’t even get a nibble at the asking price,” says Mr. Beckman. “Nobody cares what you paid for it.”

“Large gaps between the asking and sale price are somewhat uncommon, says Stan Humphries, chief economist at real-estate website Zillow. In May, median sale prices were only 3% lower than asking prices in 35 metro areas across the U.S., according to a Zillow analysis. Separately, real-estate agents surveyed by the National Association of Realtors said that only 3% of homes sold for less than 23% below the asking price in 2013; and only 2% of homes sold at 12% or more above asking price.

“Homes without comparable sales data often see the widest price gaps, says Prof. Seiler. If the property has historic value, for example, is set on a unique plot of land or has a one-of-a-kind design, it can be more difficult to price. Without comparables, “an appraiser will have no clue what a property is worth and a buyer wouldn’t know either,” he said.

GOING LOW Asking below market price can generate a ‘frenzy’ of offers—but doesn’t necessarily translate to a higher sale price. Comparable prices become less relevant when inventory in a desirable neighborhood is unusually low. “This creates a real feeding frenzy for real estate,” Mr. Humphries says.

No one claims to fully understand the psychology of pricing. But some common practices have emerged. For example, research has found that an exact asking price, such as $795,475, often indicates that the price is less negotiable than a round number, such as $800,000, Prof. Seiler says. “Those using precise pricing show confidence in the price,” he says. Additionally, pricing at $999,900 rather than $1 million influences buying decisions on a subconscious level. The home “seems way cheaper,” according to Prof. Seiler. And even when a home sells above asking price, the initial lower asking price can make buyers feel like they are getting a great deal. “The goal is to make it stick in your head that you’re getting a bargain,” he says. “It’s the way our brain looks at numbers.”

“Developer Sebastian Rein took that approach when he priced a home in the Mar Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles at $2.995 million—just $5,000 less than the intended $3 million price tag. The strategy got the property “a wider audience,” he says. The 4,400-square-foot home sold within a week at $3.1 million. “When you come to market, you have a month or six weeks before it starts to fade in people’s minds,” said Mr. Rein, who listed the property with L.A.-based Partners Trust. “There’s a velocity you have to achieve when you come to market.”

“Of course, unplanned events can sometimes trump price. This January, Karen and Curtis Spillers put their five-bedroom, 1910 home in Wilmette, Ill., on the market for $835,000, a price they considered aligned with the market. Then, a winter storm dumped close to a foot of snow on the ground during the open house. Despite the weather, over 100 people showed up, says Ms. Spillers, 53, a technology public-relations executive who bought the home almost 25 years ago. Within 24 hours, the couple had five offers, eventually accepting a $900,000 bid. They credit the timing: Coming on the market in January meant there was only one other home for sale in their Chicago suburb, which has highly rated schools. The couple, now living in St. Louis, didn’t expect to get a premium on their asking price. “We couldn’t have been happier with the results,” she said.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity August 22-29



1 new listing: Sanibel Moorings #1622 2/2 $450K.

3 price changes: Sundial #C301 1/1 now $315K, Sanibel Arms West #M8 2/2 now $479.9K, Kimball Lodge #304 2/2 now $499K.

1 new sale: Tennisplace #A26 2/1.5 listed for $349,555.

2 closed sales: Mariner Pointe #711 3/2 $535K (our listing), Sundial #D101 3/2 $765K.


1 new listing: 228 Hurricane Ln 3/2.5 $799K.

No price changes.

3 new sales: 989 Dixie Beach Blvd 3/2 listed for $595K, 1504 Angel Dr 4/3 listed for $745K, 1307 Seaspray Ln 4/3.5 listed for $1.595M.

2 closed sales: 1434 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $543K, 1225 Junonia St 3/2 $610K.


1 new listing: 971 Main St $219.9K.

1 price change: 2411 Blue Crab Ct now $479K.

No new or closed sales.



No new listings.

1 price change: Beach Villas #2511 2/2 now $575K.

1 new sale: Sunset Beach Villas #2332 2/2 listed for $699K.

No closed sales.

Nothing to report.


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 great Labor Day weekend! If you want to talk Sanibel or Captiva real estate, please call The SanibelSusan Team (Susan, Dave, Lisa, & Elise)

Another Summer Sale by The SanibelSusan Team

SANSLogoIt’s great to be back on the island after a busy few days of meetings in Orlando. The SanibelSusan Team also was busy while I was away last week with Dave showing homes last weekend which resulted in a nice sale that was finalized today. Way to go, Dave!

Elise and Lisa fielded inquiries and listing showing appointments. Surprisingly for it being the first week of school here, there was a fair amount of action. Island traffic is expected to change significantly tomorrow though, when only a handful of check-ins are expected.

Here are a couple of news items followed by the action posted in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service since last Friday.

Songwriters Bringing Tunes to Captiva

MusicThe 1st Annual Island Hopper Songwriter Fest will bring nationally-acclaimed singer-songwriters to Captiva and Fort Myers Beach this fall. The festival will take place over two weekends with dozens of free shows. The Captiva weekend will be Sept 26 to 28, it then will shift to Ft Myers Beach for Oct 3 to 6. The complete schedule will be released soon, but Captiva venues already confirmed include South Seas Island Resort, ‘Tween Waters Inn (Crows’ Nest, Old Captiva House and the Canoe & Kayak Club), Captiva Island Inn, Keylime Bistro, Cantina Captiva, RC Otter’s, The Mucky Duck, and Doc Ford’s Captiva.

Contest Deadline Approaching

Ding Darling Society logoSept 15 is the deadline for the 27th Annual “Ding” Darling Days Amateur Nature Photography Contest. Sponsored by the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society – Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) it is held in conjunction with “Ding” Darling Days, which runs from Oct 19 to 25. More info on

The SanibelSusan Team always enjoys receiving photos taken on the island by clients and friends. So get out your best photos, folks, and give the contest a try. Here is a photo that an island friend emailed us a couple of weeks ago. We call it “up close and personal with a red-shouldered hawk” (hope our bird identification is correct).

red shouldered hawk

SanCap Motor Club, Inc.SCMC-LOGOS-4CFinal

There is a newly-formed club on Sanibel. Members of the community are invited to meet with other car enthusiasts on Monday, Sep 1 for a “Cruise In” in the front parking lot of Periwinkle Place Shopping Center. If you have a passion for automobiles – antique to muscle, class to hot rods – join the SanCap Motor Club. This is their inaugural event!

Spring Was Healthiest Market in 3 Years

realtor logoYesterday’s “Daily Real Estate News” posted the following positive news, sourced to®:

“July housing data shows that price appreciation and inventory increases during the peak home-buying season helped the market to post the largest spring gains in three years,® reports in its National Housing Trend Report. “In July 2012 and 2013, we saw external economic factors overwhelm the healthy gains established in the housing market during the spring home-buying season,” says Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for®. “This year, we’re ending the traditional season with high buyer and seller confidence demonstrated by price appreciation, increases in inventory, and quick home sales.”

“In July, housing inventories rose 2.3% year-over-year, as the median list price posted a 7.5% increase year-over-year,® reports. The median list price was $214,900 nationwide in July. “Despite higher prices and more homes on the market, buyers are snatching up properties faster than last year,”® reports. The median age of inventory in July was 82 days, three days less than 2013.

“This is the first time since the beginning of the recovery that we expect to see positive momentum throughout the second half of the year,” Smoke says. “While seasonal patterns are emerging in July month-to-month comparisons, all other metrics point to fundamental market health and a build-up of momentum.””

What About Sanibel & Captiva?

San Cap LogoLooking at the sales on Sanibel and Captiva Islands January through July, there was not such a huge jump in the number of sales, but good steady progress.

Here is how those statistics stack up – unit sales year-to-year.


Sales         Sanibel                                           Captiva                                          GRAND

1/1 to 7/31 Condos  Homes  Lots   TOTAL     Condos  Homes  Lots    TOTAL   TOTAL

2014           111         145       20     276           13           19          0         32          308

2013           109          142      14     265          23            14          1         38          303

2012           113          122      22     257          25            20          1         46          303

2011           106          113      12     231          19            15          0         34          265

Wondering how these sales compare to current inventory? We need listings – especially homes!

# for sale

8/22/14      126          149       88     364          43            34          4         81          445

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity August 15-22



2 new listings: Tennisplace #A26 2/1.5 $349,555; Sanibel Siesta #502 2/2 $595K.

2 price changes: Spanish Cay #A7 1/1 now $249.9K (our listing), Pointe Santo #B4 2/2 now $669K.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: Sanibel Arms #C1 2/2 $485K.


5 new listings: 2615 Tamarind Rd 2/2 $425K, 4606 Brainard Bayou Rd 2/1 $434K, 3990 Coquina Dr 3/2 $599.9K, 169 Southwinds Dr 2/2 $798K, 1525 San Carlos Bay Dr 3/2 $2.175M.

1 price change: 1266 Isabel Dr now $1.795M.

5 new sales: 6451 Pine Ave 3/2 listed for $489K, 1364 Jamaica Dr 2/2 listed for $489K, 701 Durion Ct 3/2 listed for $549K, 667 Nerita St 3/2 listed for $739K, 4500 Waters Edge Ln 2/2 listed for $799K (our sale).

3 closed sales: 5841 Pine Tree Dr 3/2 $425K, 475 Sea Oats Dr 3/3 $715K, 4444 Waters Edge Ln 3/2 $925K.


2 new listings: 5749 SanCap Rd $399K, 6486 Pine Ave $459.9K.

1 price change: 861 Birdie View Pt now $339K.

No new or closed sales.



1 new listing: Captiva Shores #7B 3/2 $1.249M.

1 price change: Beach Villas #2628 2/2 now $639K.

1 new sale: Captiva Shores #7B 3/2 listed for $1.249M.

No closed sales.


Nothing to report.


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.

Enjoy your weekend! It’s gonna be another sunny warm one on the islands! SanibelSusan


Florida Realtors® & Sanibel/Captiva Real Estate Happenings

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

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

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

View from our new listing at Pointe Santo

View from our new listing at Pointe Santo

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

“Homeless to Harvard”

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

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

A Fast Ten Years

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

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

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

Changing the Game

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity August 8-15



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

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

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

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

No new listings.

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

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

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


Nothing to report.



No new listings.

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

No new or closed sales.


No new listings.

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

No new or closed sales.


1 new listing: 15295 Captiva Dr $850K.

No price changes, new or closed sales.

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

Happy weekend to all! Susan


Summertime on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

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

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


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

Short-Term Closings

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

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

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

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

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

Cyclists Focus on Sanibel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Florida Has Most Visitors Ever

floridaThis is a repeat of a special report on by Karl Etters on Wednesday, August 5, 2014:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity August 1-8



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

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

No new sales.

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


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

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

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

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


Nothing to report.


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

No price changes.

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

No closed sales.


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

No price changes or new sales.

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


Nothing to report.

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

Happy Weekend to all! SanibelSusan

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Permit Approved for Wulfert Pointe Estates

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

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

The Long View on Recovery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

America’s 132 Million Homes

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

How Old Are They?

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

U.S. housing stock by age

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

Understanding and Combating the Rate Lock-in Threat

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Lock-in Might Look Like

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

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

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

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

It’s About More Than Numbers

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

It’s Never Too Early To Think About December

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

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

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


No new listings.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: 5407 Osprey Ct $435K.



No new listings or price changes.

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

No closed sales.


No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

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


Nothing to report.

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

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

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan


Summer Brings Popcorn Clouds to Sanibel & Captiva Islands

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Differences in Coastal Control/Setback/Erosion Control Lines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 Challenges Still Facing the Housing Market

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

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

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

Growing Optimism?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity July 18-26


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

No price changes, new or closed sales.



No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

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


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

No price changes or new sales.

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


Nothing to report.

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

Til next Friday,  Susan

Mid-Summer Scoop from Sanibel Island

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

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

Sea Turtles Nesting in Record Numbers

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

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

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

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

BIG ARTS Then/Now & Their Fall Schedule

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sanibel Rec Center – Brief Closing for Maintenance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Despite Predictions, Baby Boomers Aren’t Downsizing Yet

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

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

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

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

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

More Chinese Buyers Coming to America

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Energy-Saving Tips from LCEC

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

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

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

For more green energy tips visit”

Prescribed Burns are Done

SCCF photo

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

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

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

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity July 11-18


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

No price changes.

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

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


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

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

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


No new listings.

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

No new sales.

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


Nothing to report


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

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

No new or closed sales.


Nothing to report.

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

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