Sharing Roadways, Eating Spaghetti, & Selling Real Estate on Sanibel/Captiva Islands


It’s been a week of warm temperatures, but a few cloudy/foggy/drizzly days on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Don’t usually have many of those in the winter. The overcast days continue to cause traffic delays when visitors turn to retail therapy and restaurant dining, instead of enjoying the great outdoors. The SanibelSusan Team like challenges, so it has been an interesting week scheduling showings, opening properties for viewings, and being on time for appointments.

Gulf-front properties have been exceptionally fun to show as there actually has been some serious wave action this week – Sanibel surf.

SanibelSurf Feb 2015

There has been another flurry of real estate activity this week too. It is described more fully in the weekly report of the Sanibel/Captiva Multiple Listing Service action below. We have had showings, open houses, been out showing, written offers, received offers, announced sales, and also heard about a few disappointed prospective buyers because they didn’t make their showing arrangements before their travel plans or because they were too late in making offers.

It’s “season” with hot properties getting activity. You know we are full service when we show our listings at night using a flashlight. That was SanibelSusan’s role Wednesday night! Wrote an offer though, so it was productive!

Upcoming Sanibel/Captiva Events

It’s again that time of the year when multiple events are happening often simultaneously. Lots of choices if you are looking for social events. Here are a few favorites coming up:

kiwanis logoAnnual Kiwanis Spaghetti Dinner – February 28, tomorrow night, 4 to 8 p.m., followed by after party and auction at the Sanibel Community House, proceeds to benefit scholarships & local youth programs. It’s a great evening of island-style camaraderie, CU there!

Shell show photo78th Annual Sanibel Shell Show & Festival – March 5, 6, & 7, Thursday & Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Community House (adjacent to SanibelSusan Realty).

Captiva ABC Campaign Dinner & Auction – March 5, Thursday, at 5:30 p.m. at Captiva Civic Center. Limited seating, call 239-472-2111 for more info.

BIG Arts logoBIG ARTS Concert Band Spring Concert – March 6, Friday, at 7 p.m. in Schein Performance Hall, BIG ARTS. Tickets at the Marks Box Office, 900 Dunlop Rd.

The Hottest Winter Home Markets

Since our winter real estate market is busy too, it was with interest that The SanibelSusan Team read the below article posted on-line at “Realtor®Mag” on Tuesday:

Realtor.com logos“While most of the United States is currently under a deep freeze, real estate markets in many cities across the country are heating up, according to the recent Hotness Index compiled by realtor.com®. Not surprisingly, warm locations continue to be hot spots for winter buyers. Miami, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Raleigh, and San Diego rank highest on the Hotness Index, and see busy Spring level home-buying activity earlier than other cities across the country.

“To compile the Hotness Index rankings, economists from realtor.com® looked at 2014 monthly search volume on realtor.com®, adjusted for population, and combined climate data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “The correlation between warmer metropolitan areas and more January searches makes sense, as it’s easier to get out and go house hunting in these cities,” said Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist for realtor.com®. “In these markets, looking for a home in November or January makes as much sense as August.”

“Winter home-buying activity isn’t just booming in cities with balmy climates. Chicago is a surprisingly hot real estate market in the winter months, according to the Hottest Index. Despite Chicago’s frigid temperatures, their prime buying season actually begins in January and home showings during snowstorms are the norm.

Some suggest that what’s driving this push towards an earlier Spring buying season is the lack of inventory in many metropolitan areas. “Prices are appreciating and homes are selling more quickly,” Smoke said. “These are the criteria that we use to define a healthy market. When inventory is growing as well, the hot market can keep its momentum, which benefits both sellers and buyers.””

If this hotness index was based on 2014 data, SanibelSusan can hardly wait to see the data for 2015. After the brutal weather this year, more buyers should be flocking to the sunshine state. It is a little early in the year to be comparing statistics, but already on Sanibel in 2015, 20 condos have sold/closed, compared to just 11 in 2014. That’s healthy improvement. Now if we could only get into those units that are heavily booked, we could see more activity. Those sales likely will not occur until spring when units become easily viewable again. It’s going to be a good year!

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity Feb 20-27 

Sanibel

CONDOS

3 new listings: Sundial #F306 1/1 $379K, Sundial #P404 2/2 $899K, Gulfside Place #123 2/2 $1.25M.

4 price changes: Sanibel Arms #E7 1/1 now $376.5K, Pointe Santo #B46 2/2 now $825K, Shell Island Beach Club #5A 2/2 now $864.9K, Kimball Lodge #306 2/2 now $1.139M.

Sandalfoot from beach

4 new sales: Sanibel Arms West #B5 2/2 listed for $499K, Sandalfoot #5C1 2/2 listed for $699K (our listing), Sundial #E408 2/2 listed for $925K, Gulfside Place #318 2/2 listed for $1.25M (our sale).

Gulfside Place

2 closed sales: Sundial #J203 1/1 $385K, Kinzie Island #A 4/3.5 $2.3M.

HOMES

5 new listings: 656 Anchor Dr 3/2 $690K, 2210 Camino Del Mar 3/2 $695K, 4458 Waters Edge Ln 3/2 $829K, 819 Lindgren Blvd 4/3.5 $1.149M, 1101 Schooner Pl 3/2.5 $1.189M.

11 price changes: 4109 SanCap Rd 2/1 now $289K, 2407 Shop Rd 2/1 now $299K, 1774 Bunting Ln 3/2 now $565K, 220 Palm Lake Dr 3/3 now $585K, 9446 Beverly Ln 3/3.5 now $595K (short sale), 9032 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 now $599.9K, 9012 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 now $669.9K, 1710 Sand Pebble Way 3/2 now $749K, 1173 Kittiwake Cir 4/2 now $749.9K, 547 N Yachstman Dr 4/3 now $935K, 2388 Wulfert Rd 3/4 now $1.98M.

10 new sales: 581 East Rocks Dr 3/2 listed for $495K (short sale), 240 Southwinds Dr 3/2 listed for $549K, 4279 Gulf Pines Dr 4/3 listed for $699.95K, 625 Sea Oats Dr 3/3 listed for $769K, 218 Daniel Dr 2/2.5 listed for $829K, 190 Violet Dr 3/2.5 listed for $1.05M, 600 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2.5 listed for $1.2945M, 6170 Dinkins Lake Rd 3/3 listed for $1.595M, 4204 Dingman Dr 5/4.5 listed for $1.995M, 960 Whelk Dr 3/3 listed for $2.299M.

10 closed sales: 1550 Bunting Ln 2/2 $375K, 543 Chert Ct 3/2 $450K, 1026 Bird Watch Way 3/2 $555K, 548 Chert Ct 3/2 $562K, 1477 Albatross Rd 4/3 $565K, 5753 Pine Tree Dr 3/4 $679K, 251 Daniel Dr 3/2 $768K, 2470 Harbour Ln 3/3 $950K, 1800 Woodring Rd 2/2 $1.24735M, 2964 Wulfert Rd 5/5.5 $1.7M (short sale).

LOTS

1 new listing: 497 Sea Oats Dr $539K.

4 price changes: 3013 Poinciana Cir now $244.9K; 6411 Pine Ave now $339,999; 6519 Pine Ave now $995K; 6505 Pine Ave now $995K.

3 new sales: 2380 Wulfert Rd listed for $199K, 1316 Par View Dr listed for $320K, 4334 West Gulf Dr listed for $899K.

2 closed sales: Beverly Ln $170K, 6486 Pine Ave $359.9K.

Captiva 

CONDOS

1 new listing: Marina Villas #707 2/2 $695K.

1 price change: Sunset Beach Villas #2318 2/2 now $589,974.

2 new sales: Lands End Village #1601 2/2 listed for $1.259M, Lands End Village #1610 3/3 listed for $1.865M.

1 closed sale: Captiva Bay Villas #C 3/3.5 $2.2M.

HOMES

No new listings.

2 price changes: 15009 Binder Dr 4/5.5 now $3.995M, 16910 Captiva Dr 4/4 now $4.725M.

1 new sale: 16249 Captiva Dr 3/2.5 listed for $2.375M.

1 closed sale: 11520 Laika Ln 2/2 $2.45M.

LOTS

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: 925 South Seas Plantation Rd $4.5M.

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. Data maintained by the association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market. The information provided represents general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.

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(Photo above by our photographer, pal, Jim Anderson with JMA Photography.)

Until next Friday, warm weekend wishes to all,

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

A Cold Snap, But Still Happy Visitors on Sanibel/Captiva Islands


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It is a crisp but sunny Friday on Sanibel. With some record cold temperatures in Southwest Florida last night, islanders are happily enjoying a warm-up to the low 60’s today. It is expected to be back to the mid-70’s tomorrow and through the weekend.

Happenings at SanibelSusan Realty

SANSLogoThere was good sales activity on both Sanibel and Captiva over the last few days, we had one listing go under contract and another sale close, but our requests for showings are down from last weekend, mostly because there are long-term tenants in many of the properties we have listed.

Near-beach home sales continue to dominate the market as baby boomers continue to transition from income-producing condos to more residential properties.

The action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service over the last week follows a couple of news items below.

Sanibel’s Vegetation Standards Protect Homeowners

Sanibelcityseal logoGood reminders from the City – good for sharing – came with recent quarterly sewer bills. Below is the one titled “Sanibel’s Vegetation Standards Protect Homeowners”:

“For decades, Sanibel residents have sought to maintain the island’s sanctuary character by protecting our native environment. To help in this effort the City has adopted vegetation standards for homeowners and businesses. These include:

  • A requirement that at least 75% of all vegetation (trees, shrubs, and ground cover) on a property be native plants; up to 25% may be non-invasive, exotic species.
  • Property must be kept clear of 8 specific invasive exotic plants such as Brazilian pepper.
  • Pruning of native plants is limited to 25% of the total leaf area in any one year.
  • The type and use of fertilizer is carefully regulated to protect our water. This includes a ban on fertilizer use during the summer rainy season.
  • A permit is always required to trim mangroves, to trim in the beach zone (dune), and to move or remove any native protected plant.
  • All landscape contractors or persons hired to work on landscape must have a Sanibel Vegetation Competency Card. All professional fertilizer applicants must also be certified by the City.

“Native plants survive and thrive in our highly variable weather conditions (summer heat and rain and winter droughts), alkaline soil and proximity to salt water. They require little or no supplemental irrigation, do not need fertilizer and provide habitat for native wildlife.

“The Natural Resources Department section of the City’s website, www.mysanibel.com, offers information and photos of native plants, a listing of licensed contractors, Sanibel’s vegetation standards and codes, the Environmental reference Handbook prepared by the City’s Vegetation Committee, and much more. The Vegetation Committee also offers free native plant tours of the grounds at City Hall at 10 a.m. on the 2nd Wednesday and 4th Saturday of the month from November to April. Additional information is available by contacting the Sanibel Natural Resources Department at (239) 472-3700. “

Move Inc. Ready to Take on Zillow-Trulia

Realtor.com logosWednesday’s “Daily Real Estate News” had the latest on the Zillow-Trulia merger. It’s going to be an interesting year:

“The real estate portal space is heating up with Zillow and Trulia finalizing their merger Tuesday. The number of major competitors serving this market has been reduced to two big titans: Move Inc., which operates realtor.com®, and Zillow-Trulia.

“Following the Zillow-Trulia announcement, Move released a statement saying, “2015 will mark Zillow’s year of the merge and realtor.com®’s year of the surge.”

“In an e-mail yesterday to Move employees, CEO Ryan O’Hara elaborated. “My expectation is that the two of us will wage a spirited battle for the hearts and minds of consumers and the industry, and we will push each other to be better performers – more focused on the customer, quicker to innovate, more committed to adding value at every stage of the real estate cycle. In this way, everyone wins.”

“Zillow finalized its acquisition of Trulia Inc. for $2.5 billion in a stock-for-stock transaction Tuesday. The acquisition forms Zillow Group Inc., which also houses New York-based StreetEasy and rental search brand HotPads. The company faces increased competition now that realtor.com®’s operator has the force of News Corp behind it. This past November the global media company, which operates real estate portals internationally and owns such titles as The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s completed its acquisition of Move Inc., tying its name to the REALTOR® brand.

““There is no digital replacement for the human touch,” Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of News Corp said during the Real Estate Connect conference in New York in January. “No technology can meet all of someone’s needs. It takes a real person. … We want the shortest distance between the American Dream and a family’s reality to be realtor.com®.”

“The acquisition has already proved a boon to Move’s traffic. Move Inc.’s web and mobile traffic jumped more than 30%. In January, Move reported an all-time high of 37 million unique visitors to realtor.com®.

“Move/realtor.com® is extremely well-positioned to compete and thrive in this environment of industry consolidation and data-driven customers,” O’Hara said in his e-mail to employees. “Competing in business typically involves trying to be better, cheaper, faster or different than your competition. How will we compete?  By continuing to build the best web and mobile experiences for consumers and the best and most valuable tools for brokers and agents, and by providing the market with the most comprehensive, most accurate, and most up-to-date listings in the U.S.  I can also promise you we will quicken the pace of product innovation and apply more marketing muscle to our consumer and industry outreach.””

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity Feb 13-20 

Sanibel

CONDOS

4 new listings: Sundial #I301 1/1 $389K, Sundial #F303 2/2 $495K, Sundial #S404 3/2 $837K, Kings Crown #101 2/2 $1.195M.

10 price changes: Casa Blanca #6 1/1 now $254.9K, Sunset South #9D 2/2 now $399K, Mariner Pointe #813 2/2 now $469K, Ibis at The Sanctuary #201 2/2 now $475K, Blind Pass #G203 2/2 now $495K, Blind Pass #G203 2/2 now $495K, Sundial #R304 2/2 now $799K, Pointe Santo #B46 2/2 now $825K, Tanglewood #1A 3/2 now $1.149M, Sedgemoor #206 3/3.5 now $2.499M.

4 new sales: Sundial #C306 1/1 listed for $329K, Sanibel Siesta #105 2/2 listed for $424.5K, Donax Villlage #8 2/2 listed for $449K, Seawindd II #2 2/2.5 listed for $685K.

2 closed sales: Seashells #15 2/2 $319.5K, Sandpebble #3C 2/2 $327K.

HOMES

8 new listings: 475 Sea Walk Ct 3/2 $524.9K; 1322 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $565K; 580 Chert Ct 2/2 $580K; 4241 Old Banyan Way 3/2 $779K; 755 Pen Shell Dr 3/2 $899K; 1328 Seaspray Ln 4/4 $998,995; 1253 Anhinga Ln 4/4 $3.9M; 4241 West Gulf Dr 5/4.5 $3.995M.

14 price changes: 702 Donax St 2/2 now $399K; 982 Main St 3/2.5 multi-family now $445K; 1521 Wilton Ln 3/2 now $549K; 1228 Anhinga Ln 3/2 now $629K; 987 Sand Castle Rd 4/3.5 now $699K; 5406 Osprey Ct 3/2 now $729K; 1291 Sand Castle Rd 5/3.5 now $779K; 5424 Shearwater Dr 3/2.5 now $859K; 1188 Harbour Cottage Ct 3/3 now $925,555; 1138 Harbour Cottage Ct 3/2.5 now $1.295M; 375 East Gulf Dr 4/3 now $1.395M; 842 Limpet Dr 4/3.5 now $1.495M; 830 Limpet Dr 4/4.5 now $1.645M; 1490 Middle Gulf Dr 3/4.5 now $1.795M.

Front111 new sales: 1613 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex listed for $449K, 744 Martha’s Ln 2/2 listed for $479K (our Seller), 475 Sea Walk Ct 3/2 listed for $524.9K, 1294 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed for $529K, 3168 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 listed for $549.9K, 728 Windlass Way 3/2 listed for $649K, 248 Daniel Dr 3/2 listed for $749K, 8999 Mockingbird Ln 3/2 listed for $775K, 2582 Wulfert Rd 3/3.5 listed for $789K, 4037 Coquina Dr 3/3 listed for $799K, 1056 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed for $899K.

6440 Pine4 closed sales: 999 Dixie Beach Blvd 3/2 $585K, 1337 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 $1.025M, 6440 Pine Ave 3/3 $1.0875M (our Buyer), 1520 San Carlos Bay Dr 4/3.5 $1.92M.

LOTS

2 new listings: 540 East Lake Dr $197K, 3354 Barra Cir $319K.

1 price change: 6419 Pine Ave now $799K.

4 new sales: 9426 Sage Ct listed for $229,555; 3792 Coquina Dr listed for $329K; 6411 Pine Ave listed for $329,999; 4988 Joewood Dr listed for $459K.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Captiva Bay Villas #B 3/3.5 $2.095M.

1 price change: Gulf Beach Villas #2031 2/2 now $645K.

1 new sale: Gulf Beach Villas #2012 2/2 $615K.

1 closed sale: Beach Homes #18 4/3 $2.34M.

HOMES

2 new listings: 1105 Tallow Tree Ct 3/3 $2.195M, 16464 Captiva Dr 8/8.5 $7.495M.

No price changes.

2 new sales: 11491 Dickey Ln 4/4 listed for $1.799M, 17020 Captiva Dr 7/8/2 listed for $6.75M.

1 closed sale: 15301 Captiva Dr 4/3.5 $1.9625M.

LOTS

No new listings.

2 price changes: 956 South Seas Plantation Rd now $2.49M, 15879 Captiva Dr now $2.695M.

No 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. Data maintained by the association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market. The information provided represents general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.

Until next Friday, here’s a nice flock of roseate spoonbills to keep things cheerful!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

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Sanibel Island Real Estate Is Moving, Traffic Not So Much


It is hard to believe that more people are expected to be on the islands next week for the President’s Day holiday. Suffice it to say, that Sanibel is busier now than The SanibelSusan Team ever remembers it and we are trying to “nicely” share with the many vacationers, snowbirds, and owners here enjoying it too.

No one seems to mind that the daily temperatures this week have, for the most part, only been in the mid-60’s. Bikers in their shorts and tee-shirts continue to fly by our office on the bike path, while we locals have rare chances to wear sweaters and jackets. Here are a few photos taken by our client/friend Ellie Hayward and others during some of the recent breezy days when the shelling has been amazing.

SanibelSusan had lunch this week with VIP’s Vacation Rentals Manager, and he said they do not have a single accommodation left that is available between now and Easter. Other companies and accommodations likewise report 100% occupancy. That is great news for the local economy, but tough traveling for us trying to keep showing appointments on schedule.

We also heard this week that the “Sports Illustrated” annual swim suit edition has hit the streets with some of the photos taken on the islands. Do suppose that could bring even more traffic to Southwest Florida?

SCCF 2015 Life Member/Benefactor Luncheon

SCCF logoTuesday, we attended SCCF’s 2015 Life Member/Benefactor Luncheon which concluded with a terrific presentation by Director Eric Lindblad on current and future conservation plans. This organization does so much for the islands, we should all be strong supporters.

Eric advised that thanks to cooperation with Tarpon Bay Explorers, SCCF in early April will begin construction of a new marine lab on the grounds of Tarpon Bay, facing the water, in the location of the former concession stand.

SCCF work at rehabbing and reconfiguring The Bailey Homestead continues with preliminary plans in-the-works for eventually moving the Native Plant Nursery there. It has already increased usage of the connected paths that now go from the Chamber of Commerce through the Shipley Trail to Pond Apple Park and City Park via the Starr D. Thomas Boardwalk. A colleague recently saw an eagle there. Here’s a link to the trails: http://www.sccf.org/content/86/SCCF-Walking-Trails.aspx

Other Island Happenings

rotary logoThe Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club’s 32nd Arts & Crafts Fair is tomorrow and Sunday at the Community House across the street from SanibelSusan Realty. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, they expect to have 7,000 attendees.

I’ll be at the office then, hoping they want to buy real estate to go with their other purchases. Here’s a link to the fair website: http://www.sanibelartfair.com/visiting-the-fair/

Happenings at SanibelSusan Realty

SANSLogoNext week again will be busy. We have some Open Houses planned and have a big (over 6,000-piece) bulk mailing going out. It’s our annual inventory lists for owners of all of the property for sale on the islands, plus for comparison, recent sales.

If you would like a copy too, just give us a call (888-603-0603 or 239-472-HOME (4663)) or send us an email (Susan@SanibelSusan.com).

Below after a few more news items is the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service since last Friday.

Vacation Home Tax Deductions

taxesTax time is here and though it is best to consult your tax advisor, here is a handy summary that was posted on-line by HouseLogic and reprinted in NAR’s “Real Estate News” on Monday.

“The rules on tax deductions for vacation homes are complicated. Do yourself a favor and keep good records about how and when you use your vacation home.

  • If you’re the only one using your vacation home (you don’t rent it out for more than 14 days a year), you deduct mortgage interest and real estate taxes on Schedule A.
  • Rent your vacation home out for more than 14 days and use it yourself fewer than 15 days (or 10% of total rental days, whichever is greater), and it’s treated like a rental property. Your expenses are deducted on Schedule E.
  • Rent your home for part of the year and use it yourself for more than the greater of 14 days or 10% of the days you rent it and you have to keep track of income, expenses, and allocate them based on how often you used and how often you rented the house.”

Read more about home tax deductions at http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/tax-deductions/home-tax-deductions/#ixzz3RRnJm200

‘Domino Effect’ to Set Off 2015 Housing Wave

clear capital logoInteresting concept recently described in the “Daily Real Estate News”, sourced to a Clear Capital report of February 2, 2015 titled “Traditional Home Buyers, Make Your Move”:

“Home prices between the top and bottom segments of the housing market are rising, which could unleash a “domino effect” that builds first-time and move-up buyer momentum this year, notes a new real estate report by Clear Capital. But the build-up in traditional home buyers is coming at the cost of declines in the luxury home market.

“”The rate of appreciation for top tier homes is stalling, which is a more direct reflection of waning fair market demand,” says Alex Villacorta, vice president of research and analytics at Clear Capital. “While this is a concerning development, there is a silver lining. The moderating upper tier may give traditional buyers a moment to catch their breath, and entice move-up buyers to enter this segment of the market. The ripple effect of opening up inventory all the way down the price spectrum could provide opportunity and motivation across all segments, including first-time buyers, to enter the marketplace.”

“The lower and middle-range ends of the housing market is stabilizing, allowing traditional home buyers to re-emerge. “The next phase of the housing recovery is dependent on healthy demand from this segment,” Villacorta says.

“The lower-end of the housing market was once driven mostly by investor activity, but now doors are opening for first-time home buyers to break in.  Also, as the number of underwater mortgages steadily decreases, home owners in the mid-tier of the home pricing segment can finally trade up to a larger, more expensive home.

Lower-end properties have been outpacing price growth in the luxury market, Clear Capital reports. The low-tier has posted double-digit gains year-over-year of 10.2%, compared to the top tier, which saw the lowest price growth rate among the three tiers, at 3.6% year-over-year.

““This divide between a healthy low tier and stalling top tier could kick-off a domino effect,” Clear Capital notes in its report. “Stalling prices in the top tier of the market could create the perception of a good deal. This instills confidence in mid-tier home owners, motivating them to move-up to the top tier. In turn, this opens up more opportunity for low tier home owners to move-up to the mid-tier. … This domino effect could be the catalyst for balanced demand across all sectors of the market.

“The Midwest is leading the pack, according to Clear Capital. The Midwest posted double-digit gains in the low-tier segment at 13.6 percent, while seeing its top-tier of the market fall 3.3% with prices. The Midwest is the only region currently seeing price appreciation in the low and mid tiers, growing above 1%. As such, Clear Capital economists are predicting the Midwest to be the first region in U.S. to realize full buyer momentum among first-time and move-up buyers, due to its moderating top tier.”

“Bleu Rendezvous” Coming to Sanibel

Bue windowsMany islanders call it a “road trip” when we venture off island for dinner. A favorite spot for that since discovering it a few years ago is Blue Windows French Bistro in South Fort Myers which is a small classic French restaurant. Though tiny and only visited occasionally, I always see other islanders there enjoying it too, so it is great news that Christian and Mari Vivet are planning to open a second restaurant, Bleu Rendezvous, on Sanibel in May. It will be in the space of the former Sangria Grill at 2430 Periwinkle Way just up the street from our office.

According to a posting in the “News-Press” this week, “The Vivets, who usually close Blue Windows during the summer, plan to keep both restaurants open throughout this year. Christian hinted they might have other plans for the south Fort Myers store, but said it was too early to disclose anything. As for Blue Rendezvous’ menu, fans of Blue Windows won’t be disappointed. “We’re taking exactly what we’re doing here and doing the exact same thing there, even the same wine list at this point,” Christian said. “It’s worked for us so well, we didn’t see any reason to change it.”

“Blue Windows serves dinner Monday to Saturday at 15250 S. Tamiami Trail, south Fort Myers. Call 849-0622 or visit mybluewindows.com for more info.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity Feb 6-13 

Sanibel

CONDOS

6 new listings: Sundial #C306 1/1 $329K, Sundial #D312 1/1 $349K, Donax Village #8 2/2 $449K, Lighthouse Point #231 2/2 $670K, Sundial #F201 2/2 $829K, Tigua Cay #489 3/3.5 $2.595M.

6 price changes: Captains Walk #A2 1/1 now $239.9K, Sanibel Siesta #105 2/2 now $424.5K, Loggerhead Cay #411 2/2 now $490K, Sanibel Arms #E8 2/2 now $499.9K, Sanibel Surfside #211 2/2 now $798K, Sundial #Q205 3/2 now $825K.

3 new sales: Seashells #15 2/2 listed for $324.9K, Sanibel Arms West #G5 2/2 listed for $525K, Kings Crown #317 2/2 listed for $940K.

4 closed sales: Loggerhead Cay #453 2/2 $439K, Sand Pointe #235 2/2 $665K, Island Beach Club #330E 2/2 $783K, Wedgewood #204 3/3.5 $2.0625M.

HOMES

7 new listings: 2220 Camino Del Mar 3/3 $699K, 1710 Sand Pebble Way 3/2 $769K, 3840 West Gulf Dr 3/2.5 $849K, 401 Lagoon Dr 4/4 $ 875K, 4620 Rue Bayou 3/2 $979K, 1314 Par View Dr 4/3 $1.1M, 757 Windlass Way 3/2.5 $1.149M.

7 price changes: 1938 Roseate Ln 3/2 now $329K, 1211 Periwinkle Way 3/2 now $530K, 420 East Gulf Dr 3/3 now $725K, 4037 Coquina Dr 3/3 now $799K, 1351 Middle Gulf Dr #1A 3/3 now $939K, 6015 Clam Bayou Ln 4/3.5 now $2.249M, 696 Kinzie Island Ct 4/5 now $2.359M.

13 new sales: 240 Southwinds Dr 3/2 listed for $549K, 1075 Blue Heron Dr 3/2 listed for $629K, 497 Lake Murex Cir 4/3 listed for $715K, 732 Durion Ct 3/2 listed for $719.9K, 8999 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 listed for $775K, 3840 West Gulf Dr 3/2.5 listed for $849K, 1287 Par View Dr 3/2 listed for $89.5K, 566 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2 listed for $939K, 857 Birdie View Dr 3/2.5 listed for $995K, 630 Periwinkle Way 4/3 listed for $999.9K, 297 Ferry Landing Dr 3/3 listed for $1.295M, 1309 Seaspray Ln 5/5 listed for $1.898M.

2 closed sales: 490 Christine Rd 2/2 $534K, 1748 Jewel Box Dr 4/4 $1.058M.

LOTS

No new listings.

7 price changes: 0 Bowmans Beach Rd now $125K, 9239 Dimmick Dr now $139K, 9277 Belding Dr now $179.9K, 2324 Starfish Ln now $449K, 1242 Anhinga Ln now $525K, 1770 Dixie Beach Blvd now $699K, 4334 West Gulf Dr now $899K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

2 new listings: Bayside Villas #5222 1/2 $322K, Sunset Beach Villas #2418 2/2 $650K.

1 price change: Sunset Beach Villas #2337 2/2 now $674.9K.

2 new sales: Captiva Shores #5C 2/2 listed for $898K, Captiva Bay Villas #C 3/3.5 listed for $2.395M.

1 closed sale: Marina Villas #603 2/2 $585K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 11520 Murmond Ln 5/5.5 $2.075M.

No price changes, new or closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market. The information provided represents general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.

valentineUntil next Friday, best wishes for a great Valentines Day.

P.S. There’s no gift like a property in paradise for the one you love. SanibelSusan is working all day tomorrow for your last minute gift shopping!

Woohoo…it’s another sunny 70-degree Friday on Sanibel Island


beach with shellsIt’s another happy Friday for The SanibelSusan Team. The sun is out, the sky is blue, the temperatures are a pleasant 70 degrees, and we are told that the shelling is great after several breezy days this week. Lots of real estate is being shown and contracts written too.

Following a couple of news items, below is the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service over the last seven days.

Sanibel & Captiva Island Association of Realtors® Thursday Caravan Meeting

SanCapAssnLogoIt was unusual to have only four properties on our Association of Realtors® East-End Caravan yesterday. Maybe an indication that few new listings are coming on the market this year. Usually there is a flurry of new listings each January, but not so many this year.

Beach Erosion Near Blind Pass

Sanibelcityseal logoAt Sanibel City Council Meeting on Tuesday, the City’s Director of Natural Resources advised that he and staff have been closely monitoring the sand being lost along the Sanibel shoreline adjacent to San-Cap Road across from The Sunset Grill and Lazy Flamingo Restaurant. He reported that the 4’ escarpment is only about 30’ from the roadway. After discussion on a number of solutions, Council approved City staff taking “appropriate action” if conditions worsen in the affected area. With two cold fronts forecast, with increased wind having the potential to accelerate the escarpment, Council also authorized the use of emergency funds if needed. City staff will provide Council members with daily status reports on the situation.

Road Trips

edison festival of light logoiSometimes islanders call it a “road trip” when they venture off-island, whether it be for chores or to partake of what else Southwest Florida offers. This week, I noticed a few fun February “road trip” events, some that I have enjoyed in past years. Maybe you will like these reminders too:

Feb 7-8             ArtFest Fort Myers, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days at the waterfront in downtown Fort Myers, www.artfestfortmyers.com

Feb 15              Edison Festival of Light 67th Junior Parade at 2:30 p.m. in the downtown Fort Myers River District, www.edisonfestival.org

Feb 20              MusicWalk Fort Myers, 6 to 9 p.m., monthly event on the 3rd Friday where there is live music in various the River District locations, www.fortmyersmusicwalk.com

Feb 21              Edison Festival of Light 75th Grand Parade & Fireworks, beginning at noon at Centennial Park, parade at 7 p.m., www.edisonfestival.org

Feb 22              Edison Festival of Light “Mutt Strutt, noon, corner of Hendry & Edwards in downtown Ft Myers, www.edisonfestival.org

Feb 28              Burrowing Owl Festival at Rotary Park, Cape Coral, day-long event.

Island Crime Down 40%

police badgeAs reported in today’s “Island Sun”:

“During his annual presentation to the city council, the chief of the Sanibel Police Department reported a dramatic 40% decrease in criminal activity on the island in 2014, reduced from 210 federal reportable crimes (UCR) in 2013 to 125 last year.

““Within the federally reportable crimes, there were several noteworthy statistics,” Chief Bill Tomlinson told the council on Tuesday morning. “There was a 50% decrease in the report of thefts, a 40% decrease in the reported burglaries and a 75% decrease in vehicle theft.”

“The crimes category includes all non-UCR, such as trespass, drug violations, DUI, criminal traffic violations, criminal mischief, harassment, city ordinance violations and criminal citations.”

Dated Kitchens Get Long Overdue Makeovers

realtor logoRecently, I have had more than one conversation with clients considering remodeling their kitchens and wondering if that renovation will make their property more saleable when the time comes. The answer usually is “yes”, so when I saw the below article posted in “REALTOR®” Magazine on January 19, it reminded me of those conversations.

“Dated kitchens are getting a makeover in many homes this year. About a quarter of about 3,500 home owners recently surveyed say they are remodeling kitchens that are more than 30 years old and another 41% are updating kitchens that are 16 to 30 years old. Wow, have styles changed in three decades too – when red oak cabinets, laminate countertops, and brass fixtures were “in.”

houzz logo“Here’s an interesting stat: Home owners seem to be more committed to their kitchen than their spouse. Most kitchens last two to four times longer than the typical U.S. marriage – which is 8 years, according to Houzz’s Kitchen Remodeling Survey. That means when home owners remodel a kitchen, they devote a lot of time to making sure it’s just right since they’ll likely stick with it for many years to come.

““We already know that kitchens are the biggest driver of discretionary spending in the remodeling market,” says Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at Houzz. “As the economy has improved, many home owners who delayed spending on kitchen updates feel like they now have the means to remodel. We should continue to see an uptick in discretionary spending on home improvements into 2015.

“So, what are home owners’ kitchen renovation plans?

  • Classic finishes: Home owners mostly are sticking to the classics, with finishes like white cabinets (49%) in shaker (37%) or raised-panel (22% styles. They’re also staying loyal to granite countertops (45%) and stainless steel appliances (83%).
  • Added storage: Ease of storage (65%) is a top priority driving remodeling trends. Organization features like a built-in pantry (44%), pull-out shelves (62%), deep cabinet organizers (38%), and built-in pet bowls (6%) are popular.
  • Entertainment spaces: An open-concept layout (52%), bar with seating (27%), and built-in wine storage (21%) are making kitchens a gathering place for family and friends.
  • Big makeovers with big dollars: When home owners choose to undergo a kitchen remodel, the majority are going big with projects requiring substantial construction (68%). As such, home owners are spending big too, with 36% planning to spend between $25,000 and $75,000 on updating their kitchens. More than half of home owners budget $25,000 or less for their upcoming remodels.
  • Complimenting the rest of the house: Home owners want their kitchens stylish and beautiful (59%), but they also want to make sure that the remodel integrates with the rest of the home too (55%). Other characteristics they say are important is that it is filled with natural light, adds to the resale value of their home, energy-efficient appliances, and pro-style cooking set-up.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity Jan 30-Feb 6 

Sanibel

CONDOS

5 new listings: Seawind II #2 2/2.5 $685K, Lighthouse Point #127 2/2 $699.9K, Island Beach Club #P2E 2/2 $799.9K, Sundial #E408 2/2 $925K, Kings Crown #118 3/2 $1.299M.

6 price changes: Casa Blanca #6 1/1 now $259.9K, Sundial #H411 1/1 now $272.5K, Sundial #I104 1/1 now $369K, Sanibel Arms West #M8 2/2 now $495K, Loggerhead Cay #574 2/2 now $549.9K, Compass Point #111 2/2 now $1.149M.

3 new sales: Loggerhead Cay #191 2/2 listed for $660K, Yacht Haven #1 4/3 listed for $1.495M, Kinzie Island #A 4/3.5 listed for $2.495M.

5 closed sales: Spanish Cay #F6 1/1 $260K; Seashells #11 2/2 $321K; Sanctuary Golf Villages I #4-6 2/2.5 $684K; Compass Point #101 3/2 $1.13M; Wedgewood #204 3/3.5 $2,062,500.

HOMES

8 new listings: 766 Donax St 2/2 duplex $415K, 2065 Wild Lime Dr 3/2.5 $579K, 2582 Wulfert Rd 3/3.5 $789K, 0 Sea Pines 3/2 $849K, 276 Ferry Landing Dr 3/2 $999K, 4308 West Gulf Dr 3/3.5 $1.879M, 6019 Clam Bayou Ln 4/3 $1.999M, 2963 Wulfert Rd 4/6.5 $2.795M.

9 price changes: 1452 Sandpiper Cir 2/2 half-duplex now $325K, 868 Rabbit Rd 3/2 now $385K, 450 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 now $549K, 625 Sea Oats Dr 3/3 now $769K, 1258 Par View Dr 3/2 now $775K, 566 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2 now $939K, 428 Bella Vist Way E 4/4 now $1.749M, 2969 Wulfert Rd 6/6/2 now $2.19M, 696 Kinzie Island Ct 4/5 now $2.359M.

6 new sales: 548 Chert Ct 3/2 listed for $585K, 590 Lake Murex Cir 2/1.5 listed for $635K, 201 Violet Dr listed for $869.5K, 8987 Mockingbird Dr 3/3 listed for $749K, 6433 Pine Ave 4/3 listed for $875K, 1309 Seaspray Ln 5/5 listed for $1.898M.

4 closed sales: 1596 Bunting Ln 2/2 $375K, 735 Donax St 3/2 $450K, 1207 Par View Dr 3/2 $715K, 1130 Seagrape Ln 4/3 $815K.

LOTS

4 new listings: 1316 Par View Dr $320K, 0 Sabal Sands Rd $349K, 9023 Mockingbird Dr $399K, 2494 Blind Pass Ct $695K.

4 price changes: 9232 Dimmick Dr now $215K, 1820 Farm Trail now $229K, 247+255 Robinwood Cir now $229K, 3723 West Gulf Dr now $2.995M.

1 new sale: 6486 Pine Ave listed for $359.9K (foreclosure).

2 closed sales: 864 Birdie View Pt $345K, 860 Birdie View Pt $350K.

Captiva

CONDOS

Nothing to report.

HOMES

1 new listing: 953 South Seas Plantation Rd 5/5 listed for $6.499M.

2 price changes: 16183 Captiva Dr 4/3.5 now $3.985M, 16910 Captiva Dr 4/4 now $4.73M.

3 new sales: 43 Oster Ct 2/2.5 listed for $784.9K; 16585 Captiva Dr 5/4/2 listed for $2,799,585; 15747 Captiva Dr 6/6.5 listed for $5.995M.

No closed sales.

LOTS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 925 South Seas Plantation Rd listed for $5M.

No 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. Data maintained by the association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market. The information provided represents general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.

Until next Friday, here’s hoping your weekend is bright & sunny too!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Beach

The Sky is Blue & Real Estate is Selling on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


It is another sunny Friday on Sanibel – what we call, “another picture-perfect day”. It reminds me of yesterday when I complimented an island pal on her Sanibel photos and she said “use them anytime”. So, before the rest of Friday’s blog, here are a few feathered friend pictures – thanks to Ellie Hayward. She took the alligator pix too!

 

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

SanCapAssnLogoMore winter sales were announced at our local Association of Realtors® Caravan Meeting yesterday and calls for showings are picking up too.

Below are a couple of news items followed by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service action over the last seven days. “Season” is shaping up to be a good one. The statistics below indicate the few sales already in process. During the next three months, the number of sales should jump.

CONDOS                      HOMES                         LOTS

                      #  / Avg $ / Avg DOM    # / Avg $ / Avg DOM     # / Avg $ / Avg DOM

SANIBEL

Available        117 / 751,571 / 403       155 / 1,258,601 / 243    79 / 499,905 / 722

Pending         27 / 755,406 / 373          43 / 1,086,499 / 320     6 / 496,250 / 663

Sold/closed in:

2015 to 1/30  8 / 491,094 / 398           10 / 784,468 / 365         1 / 352,000 / 192

2014              164 / 650,418 / 286        206 / 838,672 / 265       27 / 424,198 / 495

CAPTIVA

Available       43 / 885,909 / 372          50 / 3,503,921 / 318      6 / 2,280,000 / 330

Pending        4 / 1,113,500 / 118         4 / 7,337,250 / 442        1 / 1,390,000 / 116

Sold/closed in:

2015 to 1/30  0 / N/A / N/A                  0 / N/A / N/A                  0 / N/A / N/A

2014              22 / 624,068 / 421         23 / $2,826,717 / 364     0 / N/A / N/A

Island Happenings

SANSLogoSanibelSusan.com continues to bring us listing inquiries and this week one came from a follower of the “Upcoming Events” also posted on our web site. Tracking island happenings keeps us current. Here are a couple of new items recently noticed.

  • SCCF logoWater Quality Exhibit at SCCF Nature Center – Water quality is a subject key to our real estate business and an item often discussed at our state Association of Realtors® Land Use Committee meetings. A new 5-panel exhibit at SSCF’s Nature Center is the first on the island about water quality. Educational and fun for all ages, the centerpiece of this SCCF exhibit includes a touchscreen with an in-depth RECON overview. RECON is the River Estuary Coastal Observing Network which was launched in 2007. RECON sensors along the Caloosahatchee River, Pine Island Sound, Tarpon Bay, and San Carlos Bay gather data which aids in research and management of the water in these areas. The Nature Center at SCCF is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sanibelcityseal logoMayor’s Report to CASI – Last Friday, Sanibel Mayor Ruane updated CASI (Condominium Associations of Sanibel, Inc.) on the progress City Council has made this year in its goals of improving water quality, stabilizing city finances, and encouraging sensitive redevelopment. A few statistics he mentioned include that 27% of Lee County’s tax revenues come from Sanibel. Of each Sanibel property owner’s tax bill, 15 cents is retained by Sanibel, while 85 cents goes to the county. With some carefully selected projects like the Sanibel Civic Core which is being planned for the city hall/library area and expected to include BIG ARTS, the Senior Center, and the Sanibel Community Association, City-owned property may be eligible for bringing some of those tax dollars back to the island.
  • CROW logoCROW’s New Speaker Series – Beginning in February and running through March, CROW is offering more interactive and educational programs. As they are announced, dates will be posted on SanibelSusan.com “Upcoming Events”. More info at www.crowclinic.org.

Existing-Home Sales Rebound: 5 Stats to Know

for sale signBelow is a summary article from “Daily Real Estate News” last Friday. It’s a good synopsis of the real estate market nation-wide.

“Home sales picked up at the end of 2014, closing off a year that had a sluggish start but then showed encouraging signs in the second half, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest housing report, released Friday.

“Existing-home sales rose 2.4% in December month-over-month, bouncing back after a dismal November. Total home sales –reflecting completed transactions of single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops – reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million in December. “Home sales improved over the summer once inventory increased, prices moderated, and economic growth accelerated,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Sales were measurably better in the second half – up 8% compared to the first six months of the year.”

“Overall for 2014, the median national existing-home price was $208,500, reaching the highest level since 2007, and a 5.8% increase from 2013 when it was $197,100. However, total existing-home sales were 3.1% lower in 2014 compared to 2013, NAR reports. Here’s a closer look at five housing stats from NAR’s latest report — reflecting December 2014 data — to gauge the market:

“1. Home sales: Single-family home sales rose 3.5% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.47 million compared to 4.32 million in November. Single-family home sales are 4% above the pace a year ago. Existing condo and co-op sales, on the other hand, dropped 5% in December.

“2. Home prices: The median existing-home price for all housing types in December was $209,500 – 6% higher than year ago levels. This marks the 34th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains.

3. Days on the market: Properties typically stayed on the market in December for 66 days, a slightly shorter time frame than a year ago when the average was 72 days. Short sales were on the market the longest amount of time at a median of 98 days in December, while foreclosures sold in 61 days. Non-distressed homes averaged 66 days on the market. About 31% of homes that were sold in December were on the market for less than a month, according to NAR.

“4. Distressed sales: Foreclosures and short sales edged up slightly in December, reaching 11% of sales compared to 9% in November. However, distressed sales are down from 14% a year ago. Of December existing-home sales, 8% were foreclosures and 3% were short sales. On average, foreclosures sold for a discount of 15% below market value while short sales were discounted 12%.

“5. Inventory: Total housing inventory at the end of December fell 11.1% to 1.85 million existing homes available for sale. That represents a 4.4-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from 5.1 months in November. Unsold inventory is now 0.5% lower than a year ago.

““A drop in housing supply in December raises some affordability concerns in the months ahead as minimal selection and the potential for faster price appreciation could offset the demand from buyers encouraged by a stronger economy and sub-4 percent interest rates,” says Yun. “Housing costs – both rents and home prices – continue to outpace wages and are burdensome for potential buyers trying to save for a down-payment while looking for available homes in their price range.”

“By Region: The following is a look at how existing-home sales performed across the country in December:

  • Northeast: existing-home sales fell 2.9% to an annual rate of 660,000. Sales are 3.1% above year ago levels. Median price: $246,600, up 3.2% above a year ago.
  • Midwest: existing-home sales dropped 3.5% to an annual level of 1.09 million in December. Sales are 2.7% below December 2013. Median price: $159,100, up 5.3% from a year ago.
  • South: existing-home sales in the South climbed 3.8% to an annual rate of 2.17 million in December. Sales are 7.4% above December 2013. Median price: $184,100, up 6.6% from a year ago.
  • West: existing-home sales surged 9.8% to an annual rate of 1.12 million in December. Sales are 2.8% above a year ago. Median price: $299,600, up 5.6% year-over-year.”

Housing Demand Rises, Supply Is Bigger Issue

realtor logoAs the market rebounds another concern was highlighted by Realtor.com in another recent article. We are already seeing signs of not enough inventory on Sanibel and Captiva too. We all know that shrinking inventory often results in rising prices.

“Several signs in the housing market point to higher demand for real estate, but the big question remains whether the supply will be able to meet the rise in demand, writes Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at realtor.com®, in new commentary at realtor.com®. “Supply is quickly becoming the biggest concern for healthy growth in home sales in 2015,” Smoke notes.

“Smoke points to the following three positive signs showing higher demand in the housing market:

Builders are more confident: Builders are remaining upbeat about the new-home market. The National Association of Home Builder’s Housing Market Index recently showed builder sentiment on the rise, with builders optimistic about the six-month outlook in the new-home market. New construction is starting to follow suit. Housing starts rose 4.4% in December, with that rise driven by an uptick in single-family construction. Single-family starts are at the highest number in six years, reaching a pace of 728,000 units in December. “That is a good early sign that homebuilders are gearing production for greater demand in the spring,” Smoke notes.

Low mortgage rates: Mortgage rates continue to hit new yearly lows, bringing borrowing costs down for home buyers and refinancers. As such, mortgage application activity rose to its highest level since June 2013 recently. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.63% last week, its lowest weekly average since May 2013, according to Freddie Mac. But economists are warning that the low rates won’t likely stick around much longer and could move up to 5% by the end of the year.

Existing-home sales rebounding: Demand has been growing in the existing-home sales market too. The annual pace of existing-home sales was 5.04 million in December, 3.5% higher than last year, according to the National Association of REALTORS® latest report.

“Housing supply remains the biggest issue, Smoke says. The inventory of existing-homes is at a 4.4-month supply at the current sales pace – well-below the 6-month supply that most economists consider healthy, according to NAR’s December report. “We need more markets to see listing growth over the next several weeks to keep appreciation at healthy, normal levels,” Smoke says.  “With three years of positive price appreciation behind them, existing-home owners in most areas should see conditions as very favorable for trading up. That is what the market needs to set the stage for significant growth this spring.””

Why I Bought Realtor.com®

Realtor_comlogoAs a Realtor® who has had successful results from Realtor.com, but many frustrations from inquiries from viewers looking at other third party real estate search sites, I have patiently been waiting for more news about Rupert Murdoch’s recent purchase. Here is the article posted on “Daily Real Estate News” yesterday. Love the last sentence!

“News Corp founder and executive chairman Rupert Murdoch took the stage at Real Estate Connect in New York on Thursday to explain why Move Inc., the operator of realtor.com®, was a better acquisition than its chief rivals in the online real estate space. Murdoch said Move and realtor.com® have a trifecta of powerful marketing points over Zillow and Trulia. “Move has the most up-to-date and accurate listings in the market,” Murdoch said, noting that realtor.com®’s listings are updated every 15 minutes.

““Move has a close relationship with the National Association of REALTORS®, and I believe real estate agents are crucial to every home sale in America,” he said. “Realtor.com® attracts transaction-ready consumers — they’re not just window shoppers — and that’s attractive to advertisers,” Murdoch said.

“Most people who begin their real estate search online eventually need human interaction and guidance, Murdoch said, and realtor.com® facilitates those connections. “There is no digital replacement for the human touch,” he said. “No technology can meet all of someone’s needs. It takes a real person. Realtor.com® helps bring home buyers, sellers, and agents together. We want the shortest distance between the American Dream and a family’s reality to be realtor.com®.”

“Murdoch reassured critics that News Corp’s goal is not to turn Move into a media company and take realtor.com® away from its mission of connecting agents with consumers. Instead, he said, he wants to enhance the realtor.com® user experience to help it better fulfill its mission. “We’re going to add to the user interface, make it more obviously friendly for agents and consumers,” Murdoch said. “We’ve got to make a better product, and then when we’re satisfied, we need to get out and market it hard. We understand that there’s a different business model in America,” continued the Australian-born media magnate, who owns media properties all over the world. “We don’t want to replace agents — we think they’re absolutely central.”

“Murdoch also predicted that the U.S. housing market would continue to expand and recover — another reason he was interested in buying a real estate company. He said the data he’s been seeing from Move thus far is encouraging, and the U.S. market offers the best bet for long-term growth in the world.

“Murdoch ended on a note that easily became the most talk-about moment of his appearance at Real Estate Connect. He said he believed in the ability of the realtor.com® name to attract consumers away from the site’s rivals because “we all know what ‘REALTOR®’ means.” And then he quipped: “What the hell does ‘Zillow’ mean?””

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity January 23-30 

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Sanibel Arms West #L5 2/2 $524.9K, Sanibel Sunset #202 3/2 $1.795M.

3 price changes: Captains Walk #C7 1/1 now $244K, Sanibel Arms West #J4 2/2 now $459K, Sanddollar #A104 2/2 now $819K.

4 new sales: Sundial #F406 1/1 listed for $359.9K, Sanibel Arms West #L5 2/2 listed for $524.9K, Loggerhead Cay #191 2/2 listed for $660K, West Shore #6 3/3 listed for $1.795M.

1 closed sale: Pointe Santo #A2 2/2 $782.25K.

HOMES

8 new listings: 4109 SanCap Rd 2/1 $324K, 4619 Brainard Bayou Rd 3/2 $599.9K, 1085 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $669K, 1182 Kittiwake Cir 3/3 $739K, 923 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2 $889K, 1331 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 $985K, 5418 Osprey Ct 4/3.5 $1.195M, 4525 Waters Edge Ln 3/3.5 $4.495M.

8 price changes: 2621 SanCap Rd 3/2 now $279K; 1602 Serenity Ln 3/2 now $499K; 9032 Mockingbird Ln 3/2 now $619,995; 741 Nerita St 3/2 now $679K; 3131 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $704,999; 1224 Par View Dr 3/3 now $1.099M; 518 N Yachtsman Dr 3/3 now $1.179M; 2255 Troon Ct 4/5.5 now $1.55M.

6 new sales: 320 Palm Lake Dr 2/2 listed for $424K, 590 Lake Murex Cir 2/1.5 listed for $635K, 5753 Pine Tree Dr 3/4 listed for $749K, 1337 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 listed for $1.149M, 6440 Pine Ave 3/3 listed for $1.295M (our sale), 536 Lighthouse Way 4/4.5 listed for $3.395M.

1 closed sale: 960 S Yachtsman Dr 3/3 $1.299M.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 1311 Par View Dr now $269.9K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

2 new listings: Tennis Villas #3115 1/1 $294.9K, Beach Villas #2614 2/2 $620K.

2 price changes: Bayside Villas #4114 1/2 now $269.9K, Bayside Villas #5316 3/3 now $619K.

No new or closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 928 S Seas Plantation Rd 5/5.5 $4.175M.

1 price change: 17130 Captiva Dr 4/4 now $4.499M.

2 new sales: 43 Oster Ct 2/2.5 listed for $784.9K; 16585 Captiva Dr 5/4/2 listed for $2,799,585.

No closed sales.

LOTS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 16915 Captiva Dr listed for $1.39M.

No closed sales.

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

Until next Friday – best weekend wishes to all – from Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Sanibel & Captiva Real Estate News from Orlando to the Islands


Fl Realtors Mid-Winter 2015 logoIt’s a group effort today. I (Susan) am in Orlando at the Florida Realtors® Mid-Winter Business Meetings, while David and Elise are in the office minding the store.
Several of our listings had showings this week and island traffic picked up appreciably again over the holiday weekend, though many of those here on Monday seemed to be day-trippers.
I was out showing canal-front property both Saturday and Sunday and teammate Dave has been fielding several inquiries both last week and this from several entry-level buyers.
Open house signAnother cooperative group Open House is scheduled at The Sanctuary on the afternoon of February 4. We will have our listing at 5743 Balstusrol Court open then as The SanibelSusan Team continues to host open houses there and at other vacant listings as they are available.
After a few news items below is the action posted over the last seven days in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.
Florida Realtors® 2015 Mid-Winter Meetings
Florida Realtors logoThe Florida Realtors® Mid-Winter Meetings in Orlando each January are when the state leadership team sets the stage for the year. I arrived in time for Wednesday’s Economic Summit where the future of the economy internationally and nationally, was further broken down to the state level, then by county.
Indications are that 2015 will be a good one for real estate sales in most of Florida. Lee County is one of the top areas experiencing a growth spurt again.
The profile of the prospective Florida buyer still varies greatly from east to west coast with little activity here from Asian and South America buyers which are a huge component on the east coast. Florida’s terrific weather, low gas prices, Panama Canal expansion, consumer confidence, general increased savings by the population, and pent-up demand are the biggest contributors to the bright outlook for future sales here.
(Interestingly, as we were preparing this update, teammate Dave pointed out the recent reports by Reuter and others about the weakening of the euro against the dollar and how that likely will affect European business which plays a key role in the economy of South Florida (both coasts). Additionally, with other recent reports this week of Russians looking to back out of U.S. sales contracts because of the fall of the ruble, it will be interesting to see how the year advances. The SanibelSusan Team’s business with international buyers has increased over the years, sometimes because of referrals through our sphere of influence, networking, and memberships in international real estate organizations. These economic snapshots are just that, so important to watch, and ever changing.)
SanCap2015RPAC awardsLast night, The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® again took home four of five state awards for RPAC contributions. We keep trying to win that 5th one too. Maybe next year!
government_affairs_rpac_logo_homeSanibel & Captiva continually earn the state prize for highest-percentage participation over goal mostly because our members recognize how important those contributions are. Realtor associations® get state and national support and monies back when they are needed for issues that affect real estate and property rights locally.
In past years, the islands have benefited from these dollars in efforts to improve water quality, promote beach re-nourishment, and ensure build-back.
realtor logoLater today, I am participating in a Professionalism Forum which is covering a new Ombudsman Program that has been mandated nationally for all local associations to adopt by 2016. This program averts the filing of ethics complaints through enhanced communication and problem-solving techniques.
SanCapAssnLogoAs the 2015 Chairman of Sanibel/Captiva’s Grievance Committee, this new program on the islands likely will make my job easy. Fortunately, the islands association rarely gets complaints from either the public or Realtors, but we are prepared just the same. More importantly we educate our members that strong ethics and the doing business by the golden rule are key.
Tomorrow, the Professional Development Committee meeting in the morning will cover motions from the Curriculum Subcommittee, Faculty Subcommittee, and Faculty and Program Development Subcommittee. This Committee is the group that handles all of the education for our members. No work for me on the Audition Panel this time, I have been appointment as a full committee member.
Late morning, I will play a role at the Professional Standards Forum where new national Core Standards including Citation Programs will be presented in a series of short vignettes. No costumes this year as these standards are serious changes. Sanibel and Captiva Islands Association has already adopted a Citation Program too. For a small association, we are very pro-active.
RSPS LogoIn the afternoon, I am a member of the Resort and Second-Home Specialists Forum where in addition to the information shared, it results in networking that brings The SanibelSusan Team business. Owners of real estate in resort areas often purchase more than one property. This state exposure, keeps in the minds of colleagues around the state who similarly work the resort and second-home market.
Tomorrow night after the District meetings (our District also covers Naples, Marco Island, Bonita/Estero, Fort Myers & The Beach, and Cape Coral), I will attend the Inaugural Banquet featuring the installation of the Florida Realtors® 2015 Officers, District Vice Presidents, and Presidents of Florida’s Chapters of National Association of Realtors® Institutes, Societies, and Councils.
Wondering how this convention-type stuff helps business? I am a firm believer that volunteering time and giving back to your profession brings rewards. It has worked so far and it keeps us ahead of the curve in industry happenings. I am pleased to be appointed to these state committees and happy to bring back all of the news and handouts to share with our local association members.
Sunday morning will have me on the road heading back to the island where I likely will be in the office by mid-afternoon. Meanwhile, teammates Elise and Dave are in the office today, with Lisa and Dave covering tomorrow, and Sunday morning. (Of course, I have been doing some wheeling and dealing by email/phone while here too.)
LCEC Rate Decrease
Lcec logoGood news from Lee County Electric Co-op. In their January newsletter, it says “While many utilities are increasing electric rates, LCEC is reducing rates for the second year in a row. 2015 begins the seventh year LCEC has not raised electric rates….The LCEC Board of Trustees approved a decrease in the PCA from $16.65 per 1,000 kWh to $14.60 per 1,000 kWh….”
In the same newsletter were some reminders of some no-cost ways to help keep even more money in your pocket:
  • “Manage your thermostat – no lower than 78 degrees in summer; no higher than 68 degrees in winter.
  • Use ceiling fans only when you are in the room..
  • Turn lights off when you aren’t in the room.
  • Clean fridge coils regularly.
  • Only run dishwasher/clothes washer when they are full.
  • Use microwave, toaster oven, crock pot more often.”
Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity January 16-23 
Sanibel
CONDOS
3 new listings: Sundial #O201 2/2 $749K, Kings Crown #317 2/2 $940K, Kinzie Island #A 4/3.5 $2.495M.
2 price changes: Sandpiper Beach #504 2/2 now $669K, Sand Pointe #214 2/2 now $729K
7 new sales: Captains Walk #E5 2/2 listed for $299K, Lighthouse Point #215 3/2 listed for $575K, Pointe Santo #B4 2/2 listed for $664K, Loggerhead Cay #522 2/2 listed for $695K, Sand Pointe #228 2/2 listed for $799K, Gulfside Place #125 2/2 listed for $1.17M, Wedgewood #305 3/3.5 listed for $1.369K.
2 closed sales: Loggerhead Cay #322 2/2 $495K, Sundial #Q202 2/2 $650K.
HOMES
9 new listings: 1550 Bunting Ln 2/2 $399K, 9475 Bunting Ln 3/2 $547.9K, 240 Southwinds Dr 3/2 $549K, 3724 Agate Ct 2/2 $585K, 1460 Court Pl 6/5.5 (multi-family) $699K, 9445 Beverly Ln 3/2 $799K, 6101 Castaways Ln 4/2 $880K, 461 Lighthouse Way 4/4 $1.995M, 2980 Wulfert Rd 4/6.5 $2.995M.
8 price changes: 702 Donax St 2/2 now $415K, 3716 Coquina Dr 3/2 now $459K, 1347 Jamaica Dr 2/2 now $615K, 9446 Beverly Ln 3/3.5 now $629K (short sale), 190 Violet Dr 3/2.5 now $1.05M, 1990 Sunrise Cir 4/3.5 now $1.295M, 2981 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 now $1.595M, 1272 Isabel Dr 4/4.5 now $3.575M.
14 new sales: 1452 Sandpiper Cir 2/2 half-duplex listed for $359K, 1550 Bunting Ln 2/2 listed for $399K, 938 Palm St 3/2 listed for $425K, 315 East Gulf 3/2 half-duplex listed for $449K, 317 East Gulf 3/2 half-duplex listed for $449K, 739 Elinor Way 3/3 listed for $579K, 1026 Bird Watch Way 3/2 listed for $589K, 6001 Clam Bayou Ln 3/2 listed for $789K, 228 Hurricane Ln 3/2.5 listed for $799K, 2470 Harbour Ln 3/3 listed for $999.9K, 1748 Jewel Box Dr 4/4 listed for $1.098M, 3744 West Gulf Dr 4/4 listed for $1.595M, 561 Lighthouse Way 5/4 listed for $1.895M, 4577 Waters Edge Ln 4/3 listed for $2.995M.
5 closed sales: 589 Rabbit Rd 2/2 $435K; 1644 Bunting Ln 3/3 $460K; 4599 Brainard Bayou Rd 3/2/2 $520K; 1710 Middle Gulf Dr 3/2 $691,675; 9448 Cotten Ct 3/2 $864K.
LOTS
No new listings or price changes.
1 new sale: Beverly Ln (Lot 19) listed for $196K.
No closed sales.
Captiva
CONDOS
3 new listings: Bayside Villas #4206 1/2 $299K, Lands End Village #1601 2/2 $1.259M, Captiva Bay Villas #D 3/3.5 $3.595M.
No price changes.
2 new sales: Tennis Villas #3232 2/2 listed for $499K, Beach Homes #18 4/3 listed for $2.675M.
No closed sales.
HOMES
2 new listings: 11520 Andy Rosse Ln 5/5 $2.34M, 13550 Palmflower Ln 4/3.5 $5.495M.
No price changes.
1 new sale: 15301 Captiva Dr listed for $2.249M.
No closed sales.
LOTS
1 new listing: 956 South Seas Plantation Rd $2.5M.
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.

The Forecast Missed…It’s Another Gorgeous Day on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


It is another sunny Friday afternoon on Sanibel Island. The weathermen forecast a high today of only the mid-60’s so some of us are wearing turtle necks, longs sleeves, and scarves with their flip flops. Ha, they were wrong again. It’s a bright 70 degrees mid-afternoon with blue skies and temperatures rising! January can be funny here though, we could still see a few days of island winter.

Pool to golfBelow are a couple of real estate news items followed by the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service this week. Several of our listings were shown and David/Elise hosted our Realtor Caravan Open House yesterday from 9 a.m. until noon in The Sanctuary. Since they were getting good walk-in traffic, Dave continued the Open House until 4 p.m. and got some good walk-in activity then too.

Though the roadway and bike paths were busy again this week, just 11 new sales were announced on Sanibel, one on Captiva (a big one).

Our friends in the accommodations business describe this week as setting records for reservations. That probably means that February and March will be standing room only on the islands. We can expect more sales then.

2015 Sanibel & Captiva Association of Realtors Installation & Awards Banquet

Program Pg 2Last Saturday night, this annual event was a success and well attended with the banquet room full and the sunset spectacular from Sundial Beach Resort’s new open deck. It’s great to see the resort bounce back following its recent renovations.

This year the theme was “Carnival”, so attendees were asked to dress in white.

As the evening’s emcee again, it was fun to present the awards to this year’s winners:

Administrative Support award to Jessica Elliott with VIP, Rookie of the Year to Chris Johnson with Pfeifer Realty, Affiliate of the Year to Nanci Berlin with Barrier Island Title, Community Service award to Shane Spring with VIP, and Realtor of the Year to Dave Schuldenfrei also with VIP. Both Shane and David worked hard in the association’s continuing goals to help to improve water quality and keep flood insurance affordable.

Chris HeidrickDavid, also 2014 President, gave a special award to Chris Heidrick with Heidrick & Company Insurance. Chris, also a Sanibel Planning Commissioner, is Chairman of the National Flood Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, and he sits on the Flood Insurance Producers National Committee which is an advisory committee to FEMA/National Flood Insurance Program.

Congratulations to all on their awards!

2015 Florida Realtors Mid-Year Business Meetings

Florida Realtors logoThe Florida Realtors Mid-Winter Business Meetings in Orlando begin next Wednesday with Florida’s Economic Summit. Here is the write-up posted on Florida Realtors yesterday about the upcoming summit:

“The real estate market plays a vital role in Florida’s economy, and figuring out what lies ahead in 2015 is key to policymakers, residents and Realtors®. Several respected economists will share their insights on the state’s business climate and economy at Florida Realtors®2015 Economic Summit on Jan. 21, 2015, from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m….The summit kicks off Florida Realtors’ Mid-Winter Business Meetings, which take place Jan. 21-25, 2015.

“”We anticipate the positive trends that developed last year to continue into 2015,” says Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “Florida’s economy is producing significant numbers of jobs, in-migration is strong and the housing market will benefit. Florida Realtors expects home sales to increase by about 10% in 2015, and values to move upward at the historical average rate of 4.5-5%. Because of inventory shortages at the lower price levels of the market, measured median and average prices will rise by 10-15% – about the same as their performance in 2014.

“”Both the economy and real estate will benefit from lower gas prices, which are expected to continue through the first half of the year,” he adds. “This will give consumers more spendable income, but will also allow them to consider buying homes farther from metropolitan centers, where home prices are lower. Florida’s economy also will benefit from both the expansion of the Panama Canal, which will bring new trade and employment opportunities to Florida, and from numerous transportation projects that are now underway or planned around the state.”

“Summit speakers include Jesse Panuccio, executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity; Ted Jones, chief economist and senior vice president, Stewart Title Guaranty Company; and Dr. John Tuccillo, Florida Realtors chief economist. Attendees also will hear a discussion of regional development and economic trends from a panel of civic and business leaders….”

Loan Demand Posts Biggest Leap in 6 Years

CNBC_Logo_FlatAlthough most Sanibel & Captiva Island sales are cash transactions, it was encouraging to read about the uptick in the mortgage activity this week. The below article was posted Wednesday on “Daily Real Estate News” and sourced to CNBC. Whenever there is good news like this, it has positive impact throughout the market.

“Plunging mortgage rates sent mortgage applications skyrocketing last week, the Mortgage Bankers Association reports in its weekly survey released Wednesday.

“Mortgage application volume reflecting demand for home purchases and refinances soared 49.1% in the week ending January 9, compared to the previous week, the MBA reports. Most of that jump was attributed to a 66% seasonally adjusted increase in applications to refinance. Refinance applications are now at the highest level since July 2013.

“Applications for home purchases, viewed as a gauge of future home-buying activity, rose to a seasonally adjusted 24% from the previous week. Applications for home purchases are now 2% higher than they were a year ago. The MBA said a new 3 percent down payment option for qualified buyers at Fannie Mae contributed to the gain. “Purchase application volume was at its highest level since September 2013 … and notably increased across most loan size categories, particularly for the conforming, middle of the market loan segments that had been weak for much of the past year,” says Michael Fratantoni, the MBA’s chief economist.

“The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped to a 3.89% average last week, its lowest level since May 2013. “In addition to the drop in rates, and news of improvement in the job market, there was additional positive news for prospective home buyers with evidence that credit availability has increased somewhat, and with the FHA’s announcement of a decrease in their mortgage insurance premiums,” Fratantoni said.”

“Sanctuary Sound”

The Sanctuary club aerialYesterday’s email brought the January issue of the “Sanctuary Sound” from Sheryl Tatum, Director of Membership and Marketing at The Sanctuary Golf Club. Here is an excerpt:

The Sanctuary Sign2July08“What an amazing beginning to 2015! We are selling Equity Memberships like crazy. There is a Waiting List for the Social Memberships, but an Application will secure a spot on the Waiting List. The number of inquiries has doubled from last year.”

Sheryl plays an important role in getting our prospective Sanctuary clients on the golf course, tennis court, or dinner, so it is always good news when she shares what is happening in her office.

Sanctuary membership categories are: Equity Membership – $110,000; Introductory Membership – $10,000; Temporary Membership – $5,000 for 1 month or $7,000 for 2 months; Social Membership: $15,000.

Below is an aerial photos of our listing at 5743 Baltusrol Court in The Sanctuary. The lot next door is available too. Click the tabs above to access a full-page of information about each of our listings – streaming videos too!

zpfile009

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity January 9-16 

Sanibel

CONDOS

5 new listings: Captains Walk #E5 2/2 $299K, Sanibel Arms #E8 2/2 $509K, Blind Pass #G105 3/3 $769K, 630 Periwinkle Way 4/3 $999.9K, Signal Inn #18 3/2 $1.089M.

1 price change: White Pelican #123 2/2 now $799.9K.

2 new sales: Lighthouse Point #215 3/2 listed for $575K, Sandpiper Beach #202 2/2 listed for $624.9K.

2 closed sales: Sundial #D307 1/1 $225K, Sandpebble #E 2/2 $410K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 1521 Wilton Ln 3/2 $559K.

5 price changes: 1380 Jamaica Dr 3/2 now $599.9K; 2984 Island Inn Rd 3/2 now $599,999; 9012 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 now $689K; 600 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2.5 now $1.2945M; 1204 Isabel Dr 3/3.5 now $3.995M.

8 new sales: 320 Palm Lake Dr 2/2 listed for $424K, 3001 Singing Wind Dr 3/2 listed for $449K (short sale), 1717 Windward Way 3/2 listed for $649K, 1710 Middle Gulf Dr 3/2 listed for $699K, 251 Daniel Dr 3/2 listed for $809K, 749 Pyrula Ave 3/3 listed for $1.225M, 836 Sand Dollar Dr 3/2/2 listed for $1.295M, 2400 Los Colony Rd 3/3 listed for $1.495M.

2 closed sales: 660 Durion Ct 2/2 $540K, 1674 Sabal Palm Dr 3/3 $790K.

LOTS

1 new listing: 1301 Par View Dr $249.555.

3 price changes: 2372 Wulfert Rd now $209K, 6486 Pine Ave now $359.9K, 3723 West Gulf Dr now $3.089M.

1 new sale: 2562 Coconut Dr listed for $349K.

1 closed sale: 218 Violet Dr $325K.

Captiva

CONDOS

3 new listings: Tennis Villas #3232 2/2 $499K, Bayside Villas #5324 3/3 $595K, Lands End Village #1654 3/3 1.685M.

No price changes, new sales or closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 16660 Captiva Dr 5/5.5 listed for $14.85M.

No closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

Until next week, here is another favorite Sanibel beach photo.

Many visitors here this winter are saying the beach looks better than ever!

The SanibelSusan Team agrees!

Pointe Santo beach

It’s 70 Degrees, with Real Estate Popular on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


It’s SusanSusan reporting that it has been another good week here on the islands. With Sanibel and Captiva weather reported to have some of the warmest temperatures in the nation, real estate here once again has become seasonally popular! The below photo was taken earlier this week at Sundial Beach Resort.

Boardwalk aBelow are a few news items, followed by the activity posted over the last seven days in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® 1st Caravan of 2015

SanCapAssnLogoAfter a 2-week reprieve with the Thursday holidays, yesterday’s Association of Realtors® Caravan meeting was well attended. With close to 20 east-end properties on tour, it was tough for lookers to see them all, but both David and Elise had good turnouts in Gumbo Limbo and at Sundial. At the meeting, I also announced our new listing in The Sanctuary, advising that it will be open next Thursday morning when the Caravan rotates to west end.

sundial-logoTomorrow night is our annual Installation and Awards Banquet which is being held in Sundial’s new upstairs conference facilities. As the emcee again this year, it is always fun to welcome leadership teams from our surrounding associations in District 5 (Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs/Estero, Fort Myers & The Beach, and Cape Coral).

Florida Realtors logoWe also have Florida Realtors® 2015 President, Andrew Barber coming to install our new Board of Directors, while Florida Realtors® 2013 President and now National Association of Realtors® District Vice President, Dean Asher will install the officers.

My script is ready; now I just need to keep the names of the annual award winners a secret until tomorrow night.

6 Market Types You Will See This Year

I got a kick out of the below article which was posted Tuesday on Realtor®Mag’s “Daily Real Estate News”. Sanibel and Captiva Islands don’t exactly fall into the “Comeback Kids” category, but our market is coming back!

REDFIN logo“From the stalwarts to the tech magnets and comeback kids, the new year is likely to see several types of markets. Redfin recently highlighted six “housing market personas” that the real estate brokerage believes will be driving the continued recovery in 2015. Here’s an overview of the personas and the pros and cons of each:

Stalwarts: “Strong economies, lots of Millennial buyers, yet still affordable.” Good news: Lots of jobs and booming economies. Bad news: Picky buyers and lack of selection. Markets that fit this persona: Chicago, Houston, and Dallas.

Topping Out: “Sky-high prices that will peak and even dip into negative territory this year.” Good news: Strong economies and well-paying government jobs. Bad news: Bidding wars and low inventories. Markets that fit this persona: San Francisco; San Jose, Calif.; and Washington, D.C.

Tech Magnets: “Tech-driven economies, young wealth; getting more expensive, with growth limited by zoning or geography.” Good news: Lots of wealthy households. Bad news: Little room to expand, and suburbs losing popularity. Markets that fit this persona: Boston, Seattle, and Denver.

Comeback Kids: “Markets hit hard by the financial crisis that will see a pickup in sales in 2015.” Good news: Lots of investors and broad-based job growth. Bad news: Few affordable single-family homes, and new construction mostly limited to the luxury market. Markets that fit this persona: Miami; Atlanta; and Orlando, Fla.

Sleepers: “Not in the news much, but mid-priced cities with good economies and job opportunities.” Good news: Lots of new development and big tech-job gains. Bad news: Not many affordable homes available. Markets that fit this persona: Baltimore; Philadelphia; and Raleigh, N.C.

Down But Not Out: “Hit hardest by housing crisis, fewer jobs, still working through foreclosures.” Good news: Lots of homes for sale. Bad news: Overzealous builders and cookie-cutter remodels. Markets that fit this persona: Las Vegas; Phoenix; and Tampa, Fla.”

Speed Limit Reduced to 20 mph in The Dunes

DunesEntrySignAt Tuesday’s Sanibel City Council Meeting following a presentation which detailed the results of a traffic study in The Dunes subdivision, the speed limit was reduced by unanimous City council vote to 20 mph effective immediately.

Those looking to avoid the Periwinkle Way traffic by scooting through The Dunes had better do it slowly!

Zillow, ListHub to End Listings Agreement

Zillow logoAn Inman News article on Tuesday, “Rupert Murdoch Playing Hardball with Zillow”, resulted in the following posting on Wednesday’s “Daily Real Estate News”:

“The real estate website Zillow will soon stop receiving feeds of hundreds of thousands of for-sale home listings from ListHub within the next three months, as it expects to transition to its own listing syndication tool.

Zillow’s contract with ListHub expires on April 7. ListHub is a listing syndicator owned by Move Inc., operator of realtor.com®. Zillow officials say they plan to get more listings directly from multiple listing services and brokers through a new service called “Data Dashboard.”

In a statement, Move Inc. said that “ListHub has been negotiating in good faith a new listing distributing and reporting agreement with Zillow on terms that reflect the best interests of the brokerage industry. As communicated in public announcements, Zillow decided to end those negotiations and announced the launch of their own platform. Zillow chose their own route for their business model and interests.”

“Zillow’s has been receiving listing data via ListHub since April 2011. Since Move’s acquisition by News Corp in December, there has been speculation about whether the agreement would be extended.

“With the ListHub contract ending, Zillow’s continued flow of listings will hinge on the appeal of Data Dashboard and broker and MLS participation with it. “A few hundred thousand listings” of the 3.6 million currently displayed on Zillow would be disrupted if the ListHub contract ended today,” said Katie Curnutte, a Zillow spokeswoman, in a report on Inman News. So Zillow officials are now reaching out to MLSs and brokers to participate in Data Dashboard. Since many of Zillow’s MLS partners with Data Dashboard, so far, are located in large urban areas, Curnutte told Inman News that rural areas initially may be the most affected by the end of the agreement with ListHub.”

The Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service does not syndicate its listings so they are not specifically part of this ListHub/Zillow discussion. But, many island Realtors®, me included, also have their listings posted in the regional database (covering areas from Cape Coral to Naples) through a secondary affiliation membership with the Association of Realtors of Fort Myers & The Beach. I do this to broaden the local exposure of my listings and to give them double national exposure because by having two memberships each of our listings gets two postings on Realtor.com. Those second listings, the ones inputted into the regional database, are the ones that are syndicated to a variety of other real estate search sites, like Zillow, because the Fort Myers association does syndicate its listings through a third party, called Point2.

The evolution of how the internet is affecting real estate sales and the future of the profession is interesting and obviously changing, but the local island association (me too) still subscribes to the notion that it takes someone here with first-hand knowledge of the islands to best serve both sellers and buyers on Sanibel and Captiva. After all, real estate on a barrier island is significantly different from that in most home towns.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity January 2-9 

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Loggerhead Cay #522 2/2 $695K, Sand Pointe #228 2/2 $799K.

2 price changes: Dugger’s Tropical Cottages #4 1/1 now $279K, Seascape #105 3/3 now $1.895M.

5 new sales: Spanish Cay #F6 1/1 listed for $275K, Lighthouse Point #113 2/2 listed for $499K, Sand Pointe #235 2/2 listed for $699K, Kings Crown #307 3/2 listed for $899K, High Tide #A101 3/2 listed for $1.199M.

4 closed sales: Colonnades #51 1/1 $170K, Spanish Cay #A6 1/1 $252.5K, Tennisplace #C35 2/1.5 $290K, Sanibel Surfside #133 2/2 $824K.

HOMES

8 new listings: 2984 Island Inn Rd 3/2 $599.9K, 1409 Causey Ct 3/3 $624.9K, 1173 Kittiwake Cir 4/2 $789.9K, 625 Sea Oats Dr 3/3 $799K, 1351 Middle Gulf Dr 3/3 $989K, 657 Birdie View Pt 3/3 $999K, 1740 Dixie Beach Blvd 3/2.5 $1.29M, 836 Sand Dollar Dr 3/2/2 $1.295M.

9 price changes: 702 Donax St 2/2 now $424K, 3168 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $549.9K, 590 Lake Murex Cir 2/1.5 now $635K, 732 Durion Ct 3/2 now $719.9K, 218 Daniel Dr 2/2.5 now $829K, 1287 Par View Dr 3/2 now $889.5K, 6440 Pine Ave 3/3 now $1.295M, 1520 Angel Dr 4/3/2 now $1.398M, 842 Limpet Dr 4/3.5 now $1.595M.

3 new sales: 1712/1714 Sand Pebble Way 4/2 duplex listed for $399K, 457 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 listed for $475K, 999 Dixie Beach Blvd 3/2 listed for $599K.

3 closed sales: 1661 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex $350K (foreclosure), 1203 Isabel Dr 2/3 $995K, 2302 Wulfert Rd 4/5 $1.25M.

LOTS

No new listings.

2 price changes: 1304 Eagle Run Dr now $249K, 6411 Pine Ave now $329,999.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Tennis Villas #3234 2/2 $427K.

No price changes, new or closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 16177 Captiva Dr 7/7 $6.95M.

No price changes, new or closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

IMG_0846copyeUntil next Friday, above is one of my favorite photos of our island feathered friends (thank you, Hans),

Susan Andrews (aka SanibelSusan) at 239-472-HOME (4663), 888-603-0603, Susan@SanibelSusan.com, SanibelSusan Realty Associates Realtor/Broker/Owner

Real Estate New Year Begins on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


It’s SusanSusan reporting that it has been another busy holiday week on the islands. The check-ins last Saturday brought island occupancy to as close to 100% as I remember and the “day trippers” early in the week added to the traffic madness. The traffic tie-ups subsided as the week as progressed. Likely things will get back to normal tomorrow when the New Year revelers check out and head back home. Following a few general news items below is the activity posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service over the past seven days.

Happenings at SanibelSusan Realty

SANSLogoWe had a handful of showing requests this week, though not many, considering the traffic. Our colleagues report the same, indicating that many here during holidays make the trip to have fun and enjoy the islands. Experience shows that more serious lookers will be here later in the month, then it should stay hoppin’ until Easter.

SanCapAssnLogoNext week our Association of Realtors® is back to their Thursday morning meeting schedule (Jan 8th), following which our two new east-end listings, 9477 Peaceful Drive and Sundial Resort #R401, will be open for Realtor® Caravan from 9 a.m. until noon. 5743 Baltusrol Court will be on Caravan the following week (Jan 15th), when the tour rotates to west end.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Real Estate Statistics

Below is a comparison of how island sales in 2014 stack up with the previous two years. Current inventory and properties under contract, but not yet closed, also are included. Real estate market recovery here continues at a nice solid pace.

SANIBEL        CONDOS                        HOMES                            LOTS

Avg.            Avg.               Avg.           Avg.             Avg.          Avg.

                        #     Price           DOM     #      Price            DOM     #     Price         DOM

Available         120  $716,119   436       152   $1,259,596  266       84   $512,690  802

Pending sales 20     $640,848  256       32     $976,767    305       6     $497,250  598

Sold/closed in:

2014                163   $653,365  287       205   $841,055   265       27  $424,198  495

2013                161   $573,557  326       197   $910,321    287       26  $416,502  475

2012                151    $551,244  407       183  $823,598   289       33   $487,687   521

CAPTIVA        CONDOS                        HOMES                            LOTS

Avg.            Avg.               Avg.           Avg.             Avg.          Avg.

                        #     Price           DOM     #      Price            DOM     #     Price         DOM

Available         37    $868,603    432       48    $3,598,835   336       7    $2,510,000 292

Pending sales  2     $640,000     24        2      $6,125,000    231      0     N/A             N/A

Sold/closed in:

2014               22    $624,068    421       23    $2,826,717   364       0     N/A             N/A

2013               36    $659,185    421       18    $2,522,056   355       2     $675,000   1,080

2012               35    $836,129    381       26    $1,536,019   609       3     $1,221,667 208

Island Events

CROW signIf you are on island and looking for things to do, be sure and check out the additional and varied programs and events being offered this year. The “Upcoming Events” tab above brings up a calendar list. I have updated it to include the new 2015 education programs at CROW.

Community House logoUpcoming Audubon lectures at The Community House will be added as they are advertised too.

Captiva Beach to Be Tilled

Captiva Beach

As part of the conditions of the beach renourishment project on Captiva that finished up last year, the renourished beach must be tilled at the end of the project and for three years after.

SeaturtlehatchlingsTilling lessens the impact of compacted sand on sea turtle nesting and hatching activities as turtles like soft sand for digging their nests.

The first tilling was done last December at the end of the project. The next one is scheduled to begin January 5, so as not to interfere with piper plover nesting which begins February 1 and sea turtle nesting which begins May 1.

The project will do the renourished portion on Sanibel first, then move to the north end of Captiva. From there, it will work south toward Blind Pass. The entire process is expected to take just a week, working from dawn to dusk, weather permitting. Residents and beach goes are required to remove all obstructions from the beach during the process and to stay a safe distance away from the tractor which is performing the work. See more info at www.mycepd.com

Legal Hot Line Re: Full Disclosure

Florida Realtors logoFlorida Realtors® Legal Hot Line often posts questions and answers in their magazine. Here’s a good one from the Jan/Feb 2015 edition:

“What are the minimum facts that a seller of residential property is required to disclose to a buyer in Florida when completing a seller’s disclosure form? The Florida Supreme Court held, in Johnson vs. Davis, that a home seller who knows of facts materially affecting the value of the property, which are not readily observable and are not known to the buyer, is under a duty to disclose them.”

Law & Ethics

CCW 119 LR FurnitureHere is some additional info from the same Florida Realtors® mag. This article is geared toward a Realtor® reader, but this info is important for Buyers and Sellers too.

“Are you the selling agent of a fully furnished home? If so, that sale may be subject to sales tax, which your broker is obligated to collect. While the sale of real property in Florida is not subject to sales tax, a sale that includes tangible personal property may be. If sales tax is due, the Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) requires the seller’s broker to register as a dealer and collect and remit the tax.

“Whether sales tax is owed depends on how the transaction is structured. Sales tax is due when the personal property items, such as furniture, artwork, lamps and area rugs, are listed separately in the purchase sale contract, bill of sale or other document…A real estate broker is obligated to collect sales tax only when the tangible personal property is described and priced separately. The total sales tax collected must include both the state 6% sales tax and the applicable discretionary sales surtax, if any, levied in the county where the property is located….”

Top Real Estate Stories of 2014

2014-pale-blue-beautiful-clip-art-reflection_0From Florida Realtors® on-line:

“The real estate industry changed in 2014 – in some ways, significantly. Florida Realtors® has put together its annual recap of the top news stories that impacted Florida’s real estate….

http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/2014-Top-News-Stories.cfm

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity December 26-January 2 

Sanibel

CONDOS

4 new listings: Sanibel Arms #E7 1/1 $380K, Blind Pass #A102 2/2 $439K, Sundial #A301 2/2 $869.9K, Kings Crown #216 2/2 $940K.

1 price change: Sedgemoor #206 3/3.5 now $2.675M.

4 new sales: Sundial #D307 1/1 listed for $239K, Captains Walk #A2 1/1 listed for $245.9K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #6 2/2.5 listed for $684K, Gulf Beach #102 2/2 listed for $749K.

1 closed sale: Sundial #G101 2/2 $420K.

HOMES

2 new listings: 1188 Harbor Cottage Ct 3/3 $945,555; 518 N. Yachtsman 3/3 $1.2M.

4 price changes: 2407 Shop Rd 2/1 now $320K, 1825 Ardsley Way 3/2 now $515K, 3168 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $559K, 5076 Joewood Dr 3/2 now $949K.

3 new sales: 320 Palm Lake Dr 2/2 listed for $424K, 1130 Seagrape Ln 4/3 listed for $827K, 5721 SanCap Rd 3/3/2 listed for $1.595M.

4 closed sales: 1426 Causey Ct 3/2 $670K, 501 Sea Walk Ct 3/2 $790K, 1717 Jewel Box Dr 3/3.5 $1.7M, 1520 San Carlos Bay Dr 4/3.5 $1.92M.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

Captiva

CONDOS

Nothing to report.

HOMES

1 new listing: 16183 Captiva Dr 4/3.5 $3.995M.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 16428 Captiva Dr 7/8/2 listed for $9.5M.

No closed sales.

LOTS

1 new listing: 15879 Captiva Dr $2.995M.

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 new yearHAPPY NEW YEAR!

Until next Friday,

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

It’s The Day After Christmas 2014 on Sanibel Island


It’s SanibelSusan reporting a warm, but cloudy, day-after-Christmas on Sanibel. Periwinkle Way, the bike paths, and shopping centers are busy, but the beach not-so-much. I just checked in with son Dave who is holding an Open House at one of our gulf-front condo listings that has a rare vacancy today, before tenant check-in tomorrow. He has only had a single visitor so far. Appears that everyone is out just having island fun today!  I had lunch with a rental company manager who reports that the islands should be close to 100% booked next week, following the turn-overs and new arrivals coming in tomorrow for New Year’s week. Here are a few island-style holiday photos:

What’s Happening in the Office

Since last Friday, The SanibelSusan Team received two terrific new listings, one in Gumbo Limbo and the other in The Sanctuary. Dave and I will hold the new listing at 5743 Baltusrol Court open during a cooperative Open House at The Sanctuary on Tuesday (Dec 30) from 1 to 4 p.m. It offers a great opportunity to see not only our unique new listing, but also many of the other properties currently for sale in The Sanctuary.

Here are two photo collages. The first is 9477 Peaceful Drive in Gumbo Limbo.

Below are photos of 5743 Baltusrol Court in The Sanctuary. The lucky prospective buyer here also will be given the opportunity to purchase the adjacent lot next door.

Our new listings are included below in the report of the Sanibel/Captiva MLS activity posted over the last seven days. First, here are a few year-end and New Year news items. Next Friday, I will be posting the year-end statistics. It’s all good! The market is coming back and it looks to be a productive 2015 on Sanibel and Captiva!

Will Recovery Be Steadier in 2015?

2015House predictions for 2015 are varied. Here is a report posted this week in “Daily Real Estate News” which is sourced to an article published on Forbes.com:

“The housing market this year has been on a roller coaster. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, existing-home sales are expected to fall short of 2013’s total, and price gains have slowed significantly. However, builder confidence in the new-home market has been on the rise, even as new-home sales have barely budged — at just a 1.8% increase in October compared to a year earlier.

Economists say the housing market is showing mixed signals because it’s normalizing, leveling off after a much more rapid recovery last year that was unsustainable.

“Forbes.com recently highlighted several 2015 predictions from housing experts:

  1. Home appreciation will continue to slow. Prices didn’t increase as fast this year, and they are expected to stick to that trend into the new year. “Easing housing inventory levels and the exit of investors from the market are helping to put the brakes on home-price escalation,” Forbes.com reports. “At a deeper level, this change represents a fundamental shift in the market: We’ve moved out of rapid recovery phase and into a new normal.” Gone are the double-digit gains of 2013. Realtor.com® predicts an annual gain in home prices of 4% to 5% next year.
  2. Buying frenzy becomes more muted. The home-buying process is expected to be less chaotic in the new year, with for-sale inventories easing and credit loosening, which could make it easier for first-time home buyers to enter the market. Investors have also pulled back in many markets. NAR statistics from October show that individual investors purchased 15% of homes, a drop from 19% year-over-year. Also, as more homes come on the market, buyers will have more choices and sellers may face more of the competitive pressure. Housing analysts note that this can help create a more balanced market for everyone: buyers in search of a competitive advantage and sellers who turn around and become buyers themselves.
  3. Mortgage interest rates will finally be on the rise. The Mortgage Bankers Association still predicts that mortgage rates will increase to 5% by the end of 2015. Freddie Mac expects a 4.5% average in 2015. However, in 2013, economists had predicted mortgage rates to reach 5% by the end of this year. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has averaged below 4% in recent weeks. But with the end of the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing, MBA believes that a short-term fund rate hike is more likely by mid-2015, which would then push interest rates up.
  4. Rent rises will outpace home value growth. Rents likely will continue to keep rising in the new year, and many housing analysts predict that an increase in rental costs in 2015 will outpace annual home-price gains. The rental market will likely remain a “landlord’s market” in 2015, with vacancy rates expected to stay below 5% in the new year, according to NAR forecasts. That should lead to demand pushing rents up even higher and keeping them above inflation, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun notes. Apartment rents are projected to increase 4% in 2014 and 4.1% in 2015. The rise in rents could push more Millennial renters to become home owners. Realtor.com® analysts predict that households headed by Millennials will drive household formations in the new year. Millennials are expected to drive two-thirds of household formations over the next five years, according to realtor.com®’s predictions. “Next year’s addition of 2.75 million jobs and increased household formation will be the two key factors driving first-time buyer sales,” realtor.com® notes.
  5. Builders shift to building less expensive homes. In the last few years, builders have been building fewer, more expensive homes. But that trend may change in the new year, as more builders look to target less-expensive markets. New-home sales are expected to top the 500,000 mark in 2015, but in order to do that, builders may have to sell less expensive homes, housing analysts note. Earlier this year, representatives from D.R. Horton, the nation’s largest home builder, said they planned to capture more of the entry-level market with its newly launched brand called Express Homes. The properties will be priced between $120,000 and $150,000, and they will be concentrated in Texas, Georgia, and Florida. “We wouldn’t be getting into Express Homes if we didn’t think it was the next segment of the market to recover,” D.R. Horton CEO Donald Tomnitz told CNBC in April.
  6. Foreclosures fall back to pre-recession levels. Foreclosure filings have been on the decline this year and are expected to continue their descent well into 2015. From January through November, foreclosure filings fell about 172% compared to the same period one year prior, according to RealtyTrac. “Every month so far this year, we’ve been down from a year ago,” says Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac. The only uptick has been in foreclosure auctions, which are up 5% in November compared to one year earlier. Foreclosures will likely fall to pre-crisis levels in 2015, Blomquist predicts.”

21 Hot Housing Trends for 2015

realtor logoIf you are wondering what housing trends are predicted for 2015, here is a fun article that was posted on Tuesday’s Realtor®Mag on line.

“Everyone wants to be hip, and the latest trends in design can help distinguish one home from another. And it’s not all flash; many new home fads are geared to pare maintenance and energy use and deliver information faster. Here’s a look at what’s coming.

“This time of the year, we hear from just about every sector of the economy what’s expected to be popular in the coming year. Foodies with their fingers on the pulse of the restaurant industry and hot TV chefs will tell us to say goodbye to beet-and-goat cheese salad and hello roasted cauliflower, and there’s no end to the gadgets touted as the next big thing.

“In real estate, however, trends typically come slowly, often well after they appear in commercial spaces and fashion. And though they may entice buyers and sellers, remind them that trends are just that—a change in direction that may captivate, go mainstream, then disappear (though some will gain momentum and remain as classics). Which way they’ll go is hard to predict, but here are 21 trends that experts expect to draw great appeal this year:

  1. Coral shades. A blast of a new color is often the easiest change for sellers to make, offering the biggest bang for their buck. Sherwin-Williams says Coral Reef (#6606) is 2015’s color of the year because it reflects the country’s optimism about the future. “We have a brighter outlook now that we’re out of the recession. But this isn’t a bravado color; it’s more youthful, yet still sophisticated,” says Jackie Jordan, the company’s director of color marketing. She suggests using it outside or on an accent wall. Pair it with crisp white, gray, or similar saturations of lilac, green, and violet.
  2. Open spaces go mainstream. An open floor plan may feel like old hat, but it’s becoming a wish beyond the young hipster demographic, so you’ll increasingly see this layout in traditional condo buildings and single-family suburban homes in 2015. The reason? After the kitchen became the home’s hub, the next step was to remove all walls for greater togetherness. Design experts at Nurzia Construction Corp. recommend going a step further and adding windows to better meld indoors and outdoors.
  3. Off-the-shelf plans. Buyers who don’t want to spend time or money for a custom house have another option. House plan companies offer myriad blueprints to modify for site, code, budget, and climate conditions, says James Roche, whose Houseplans.com firm has 40,000 choices. There are lots of companies to consider, but the best bets are ones that are updating layouts for today’s wish lists—open-plan living, multiple master suites, greater energy efficiency, and smaller footprints for downsizers (in fact, Roche says, their plans’ average now is 2,300 square feet, versus 3,500 a few years ago). Many builders will accept these outsiders’ plans, though they may charge to adapt them.
  4. Freestanding tubs. Freestanding tubs may conjure images of Victorian-era opulence, but the newest iteration from companies like Kohler shows a cool sculptural hand. One caveat: Some may find it hard to climb in and out. These tubs complement other bathroom trends: open wall niches and single wash basins, since two people rarely use the room simultaneously.
  5. Quartzite. While granite still appeals, quartzite is becoming the new hot contender, thanks to its reputation as a natural stone that’s virtually indestructible. It also more closely resembles the most luxe classic—marble—without the drawbacks of staining easily. Quartzite is moving ahead of last year’s favorite, quartz, which is also tough but is manmade.
  6. Porcelain floors. If you’re going to go with imitation wood, porcelain will be your 2015 go-to. It’s less expensive and wears as well as or better than the real thing, says architect Stephen Alton. Porcelain can be found in traditional small tiles or long, linear planks. It’s also available in numerous colors and textures, including popular one-color combos with slight variations for a hint of differentiation. Good places to use this material are high-traffic rooms, hallways, and areas exposed to moisture.
  7. Almost Jetson-ready. Prices have come down for technologies such as web-controlled security cameras and motion sensors for pets. Newer models are also easier to install and operate since many are powered by batteries, rather than requiring an electrician to rewire an entire house, says Bob Cooper at Zonoff, which offers a software platform that allows multiple smart devices to communicate with each other. “You no longer have to worry about different standards,” Cooper says.
  8. Charging stations. With the size of electronic devices shrinking and the proliferation of Wi-Fi, demand for large desks and separate home office is waning. However, home owners still need a dedicated space for charging devices, and the most popular locations are a corner of a kitchen, entrance from the garage, and the mud room. In some two-story Lexington Homes plans, a niche is set aside on a landing everyone passes by daily.
  9. Multiple master suites. Having two master bedroom suites, each with its own adjoining bathroom, makes a house work better for multiple generations. Such an arrangement allows grown children and aging parents to move in for long- or short-term stays, but the arrangement also welcomes out-of-town guests, according to Nurzia Construction. When both suites are located on the main level, you hit the jackpot.
  10. Fireplaces and fire pits. The sight of a flame—real or faux—has universal appeal as a signal of warmth, romance, and togetherness. New versions on the market make this amenity more accessible with more compact design and fewer venting concerns. This year, be on the lookout for the latest iteration on this classic: chic, modern takes on the humble wood stove.
  11. Wellness systems. Builders are now addressing environmental and health concerns with holistic solutions, such as heat recovery ventilation systems that filter air continuously and use little energy, says real estate developer Gregory Malin of Troon Pacific. Other new ways to improve healthfulness include lighting systems that utilize sunshine, swimming pools that eschew chlorine and salt by featuring a second adjacent pool with plants and gravel that cleanse water, and edible gardens starring ingredients such as curly blue kale.
  12. Storage. The new buzzword is “specialized storage,” placed right where it’s needed. “Home owners want everything to have its place,” says designer Jennifer Adams. More home owners are increasingly willing to pare the dimensions of a second or third bedroom in order to gain a suitably sized walk-in closet in their master bedroom, Alton says. In a kitchen, it may mean a “super pantry”—a butler’s pantry on steroids with prep space, open storage, secondary appliances, and even a room for wrapping gifts. “It minimizes clutter in the main kitchen,” says architect Fred Wilson of Morgante-Wilson.
  13. Grander garages. According to Troon Pacific, the new trends here include bringing the driveway’s material into the garage, temperature controls, sleek glass doors, specialized zones for home audiovisual controls, and a big sink or tub to wash pets. For home owners with deeper pockets, car lifts have gone residential so extra autos don’t have to be parked outside.
  14. Keyless entry. Forget your key (again)? No big deal as builders start to switch to biometric fingerprint door locks with numerical algorithms entered in a database. Some systems permit home owners to track who entered and when, says Malin of Troon Pacific.
  15. Water conservation. The concerns of drought-ravaged California are spreading nationwide. Home owners can now purchase rainwater harvesting tanks and cisterns, graywater systems, weather-controlled watering stations, permeable pavers, drought-tolerant plants, and no- or low-mow grasses.
  16. Salon-style walls. Instead of displaying a few distinct pieces on a wall, the “salon style” trend features works from floor to ceiling and wall-to-wall. Think Parisian salon at the turn of the century. HGTV designer Taniya Nayak suggests using a common denominator for cohesiveness, such as the same mat, frame color, or subject matter. Before she hangs works, she spaces them four to five inches apart, starting at the center and at eye level and working outward, then up and down. She uses Frog Tape to test the layout since it doesn’t take paint off walls. Artist Francine Turk also installs works this way, but prefers testing the design on the floor like a big jigsaw puzzle.
  17. Cool copper. First came pewter; then brass made a comeback. The 2015 “it” metal is copper, which can exude industrial warmth in large swaths or judiciously in a few backsplash tiles, hanging fixture, or pots dangling from a rack. The appeal comes from the popularity of industrial chic, which Restoration Hardware’s iconic style has helped promote, says designer Tom Segal.
  18. Return to human scale. During the McMansion craze, kitchens got so big they almost required skates to get around. This year we’ll see a return to a more human, comfortable scale, says Mark Cutler, chief designer of design platform nousDecor. In many living or family rooms that will mean just enough space for one conversation grouping, and in kitchens one set of appliances, fewer countertops, and smaller islands.
  19. Luxury 2.0. Getting the right amount of sleep can improve alertness, mood, and productivity, according to the National Sleep Foundation. With trendsetters such as Arianna Huffington touting the importance of sleep, there’s no doubt this particular health concern will go mainstream this year. And there’s no space better to indulge the desire for quality rest than in a bedroom, says designer Jennifer Adams. “Everyone is realizing the importance of comfort, quality sleep, and taking care of yourself,” she says. To help, Adams suggests stocking up on luxury bedding, a new mattress, comfortable pillows, and calming scents.
  20. Shades of white kitchens. Despite all the variations in colors and textures for kitchen counters, backsplashes, cabinets, and flooring, the all-white kitchen still gets the brass ring. “Seven out of 10 of our kitchens have some form of white painted cabinetry,” says builder Peter Radzwillas. What’s different now is that all-white does not mean the same white, since variations add depth and visual appeal. White can go from stark white to creamy and beyond to pale blue-gray, says Radzwillas. He also notes that when cabinets are white, home owners can choose bigger, bolder hardware.
  21. Outdoor living. Interest in spending time outdoors keeps mushrooming, and 2015 will hold a few new options for enhancing the space, including outdoor showers adjacent to pools and hot tubs along with better-equipped roof decks for urban dwellers. Also expect to see improvements in perks for pets, such as private dog runs and wash stations, says landscape architect Jean Garbarini of Damon Farber Associates.

“While it’s fun to be au courant with the latest trends, it’s also wise to put what’s newest in perspective….”

The ‘Naughtiest, Nicest Housing Market’ List

RealtyTracLogo_166x32Sourced to RealtyTrac last week, this “Daily Real Estate News” article came from one called “The 10 Naughtiest & Nicest Housing Markets”:

“Researchers have been checking their lists, trying to find out which housing markets have been naughty or nice this year. RealtyTrac analyzed 334 U.S. cities with populations of at least 100,000 to compile lists of the nicest — those markets with some of the lowest crime rates and foreclosures, highest employment, and best school scores — and to fish out those that have been the naughtiest.

“RealtyTrac’s analysis found that in the 10 “nicest” housing markets school scores were nearly twice the national average, crime rates were one-third the national average, and the unemployment rate was at an average of 4.6%. They also found that foreclosures were lowest — 24 foreclosures per 10,000 housing units.

“The 10 cities that made RealtyTrac’s “nicest” list this year are:

  • Cary, N.C.
  • Fairfax, Va.
  • Pearland, Texas
  • Irvine, Calif.
  • Frisco, Texas
  • Sugar Land, Texas
  • Richardson, Texas
  • Katy, Texas
  • College Station, Texas
  • Fremont, Calif.

“On the other hand, in the “naughtiest” cities this year, RealtyTrac found that school scores were one-half the national average; crime rates were nearly twice the national average, and the average unemployment rate was 7.8%. Milwaukee, Detroit, and Stockton, Calif., topped RealtyTrac’s list as the “naughtiest” this year.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity December 19-26

Sanibel

CONDOS

1 new listing: Sanctuary Golf Villages I #6 2/2.5 $684K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: Sanddollar #C101 2/2 listed for $880K.

2 closed sales: Sealoft Villages #103 2/2 $519K, Sayana #103 2/2 $692.5K.

HOMES

9 new listings: 320 Palm Lake Dr 2/2 $424K, 982 Main St 3/2.5 $465K, 457 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $475K, 9477 Peaceful Dr 3/2 $499K (our listing), 4546 Buck Key Rd 4/2 $599K, 603 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2 $688.5K, 1990 Sunrise Cir 4/3.5 $1.359M, 5743 Baltusrol Ct 3/3.5 $1.45M (our listing), 1309 Seaspray Ln 5/5 $1.898M.

2 price changes: 2010 Sunrise Cir 5/3 now $1.239M, 2969 Wulfert Rd 6/6/2 now $2.29M.

6 new sales: 1596 Bunting Ln 2/2 listed for $399.9K; 735 Donax St 3/2 listed for $479K; 778 Cardium St 3/3 listed for $499K; 5753 Pine Tree Dr 3/4 listed for $749K; 1671 Hibiscus Dr 4/3 listed for $998,899; 4265 West Gulf Dr listed for $4.395M.

3 closed sales: 701 Durion Ct 3/2 $515K, 3251 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 $590K, 1429 Sanderling Cir 3/3.5 $1.525M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 5321 Punta Caloosa Ct $394.5K.

No price changes.

2 new sales: 2380 Wulfert Rd listed for $199K, 2403 Blue Crab Ct listed for $499K.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Beach Villas #2322 1/1 now $549K.

1 new sale: Marina Villas #903 2/2 listed for $640K.

No closed sales.

HOMES

3 new listings: 11535 Chapin Ln 3/3 $1.549M, 11523 Wightman Ln 4/4 $2.18M, 11516 Andy Rosse Ln 6/6 $2.449M.

No price changes, new or closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

New YearUntil next Friday – when it will be 2015 – HAPPY NEW YEAR!

SanibelSusan