TGIF from sea


Thanks to SanibelSusan teammates, Elise & Dave, this Friday Update is coming to you from Haiti where I am enjoying the final days of of a Caribbean cruise while they & Lisa have handled things in the office & at home.

Here is a picture of my view in Labadee where it is a breezy 84 degrees as I pen this at 4:30 p.m.

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Dave & Elise say it has been a quiet week on Sanibel as far as showing requests and inquiries about our listings, but they have been busy finishing up our 8000-piece newsletter mailing. If you’d like a copy, let us know.

They offer the following news items & then the Sanibel Captiva MLS activity since last Friday.

But first since I know Sanibel photos are your favorite, here are some taken by our friend Scott who had a busy day on Monday  with some Pelicans! (You saved me again, Scott.)

Clear Your Gear Stations

As reported in the Island Sun this week, last week a volunteer representing the Monofilament Busters conservation group oversaw the installation of five new monofilament fishing line recycling stations completed by the City of Sanibel’s Department of Public Works, expanding the scope of the three-year-old Clear Your Gear Campaign. Clear Your Gear is a collaborative effort among Sanibel & Captiva conservation organizations aiming to reduce the amount of monofilament line and fishing gear left in our environment, which is often detrimental to wildlife. New locations are: Bowman’s Beach main beach access, Bowman’s beach kayak launch, Clam Bayou box culvert, Blind Pass, City Boat Ramp.

Shells Needed For Museum Crafts

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum needs shells. The daily Shell Crafting is so popular that the museum is running low. Shells do not need to be perfect and can be from any Southwest Florida beach. They do need to be clean and they must not be what the museum calls “live collected”. In other words they only want shells that are empty when found. The types of shells the program prefers are: lightning whelks under three inches long, paper figs, tulips, rose petal telins, buttercup lucins, apple murexes, paired cockles, dosinias, coquinas, large scallops, kitten paws, turkey wings and button snails. Shell Crafting classes are offered every afternoon in the museum’s auditorium. Classes are free with paid museum admission. Donations accepted at 3075 SanibelCaptiva Rd.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity July 15-22, 2016

Sanibel
CONDOS
2 new listings: Blind Pass #B207 2/2.5 $515K, Sanibel Arms West #M3 2/2 $547.5K.
2 price changes: Mariner Pointe #712 2/2.5 now $525K, Moonshadows #2C 3/3 now $1.897M.
2 new sales: Lighthouse Point #122 2/2 listed at $499K, Sundial West #A205 2/2 listed at $829K.
No closed sales.

HOMES
2 new listings: 9209 Kincaid Ct 3/2 $499K, 533 Rabbit Rd 3/2 $548K (our listing).

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0016.JPG

Our new listing at 533 Rabbit Road

2 price changes: 918 Lindgren Blvd 3/3.5 now $1.325M, 598 Kinzie Island Cct 3/3.5 now $1.785M.
3 new sales: 421 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 listed at $829K, 739 Pyrula Ave 3/3 listed at $1.245M, 6491 SanibelCaptiva Rd 2/2 listed at $1.795M.
2 closed sales: 2150 Egret Cir 3/2 $479K, 1702 Sand Pebble Way 3/2.5 $500K.

LOTS
1 new listing: 9232 Dimmick Dr $212,555.
No price change or new sales.
1 closed listing: 6217 Starling Way $1.159M.

Captiva
CONDOS
No new listings, price changes, or new sales.
1 closed listing: Tennis Villas #3231 2/2 $395K.

HOMES & LOTS
Nothing to report.

Until, next Friday, I borrowed another photo from Scott! Even at sea, we don’t see sunsets like on Sanibel. This was Wednesday night Tarpon Bay side!  Thank you, Scott!

TGIF, Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

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Sanibel Summer & Ospreys, oh my…


It is Susan reporting that it has been another “quiet” week on the islands. No Association of Realtors® caravan meeting yesterday, but the activity in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service over the last seven days follows a few news items below.

First a few photos  from our friend, Scott, who shares his pictures with us – for the blog. These ospreys love his dock! Thank you, Scott!

Sea Turtle Nests Break Record on East Sanibel

kemp turtleFollowing up on last week’s post about sea turtles, SCCF’s (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) blog on Wed, July 13, posted the following:

“Today SCCF’s Sea Turtle Program confirmed that Sanibel’s East End has broken the record for nest numbers since we began recording. We officially have 122 loggerhead nests on the East End.

“2015 was the previous record holder with 120 nests. Prior to that, the average for nests on the East end was 38 per year! We are having an excellent season!

“Here’s how you can ensure all those nests, hatchlings, and momma’s stay safe:

  • Respect all staked nests.
  • Turn off all lights – Nesting females and hatchlings primarily emerge after dark so remember to turn off all lights. Sea turtles use the brightest horizon to navigate towards the water. Any artificial lighting will cause confusion and steer turtles in the wrong direction. This includes beachfront lighting, flash lights, flash photography, and even iPhones.
  • Remove all beach furniture and toys – Clear everything off the beach from 9 p.m. – 7 a.m. Obstacles on the beach can cause nesting females and hatchlings to become entangled.
  • Fill in all holes on the beach – if you dug a hole on the beach please fill it in. Nesting females and hatchlings can fall into holes, causing them to be vulnerable to predators.
  • Never approach a nesting sea turtle – if approached the sea turtle will likely abandon her nesting attempt

sea-turtle-eggsLoggerhead Sea Turtle Facts

  • Loggerheads are one of seven species of sea turtles in the world
  • Nesting/hatching season occurs from April 15 through October 31
  • Adult loggerheads can grow to more than 3-feet long and weight 200 to 350 lbs
  • A female loggerhead may nest around 3-6 times per season
  • Each nest contains 100 or more leathery ping-pong ball sized eggs
  • Incubation takes about 55 to 65 days depending on sand temperature
  • It may take 30 years or more for loggerhead hatchlings to reach maturity.”

2016 Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate

realtor logoThe National Association of Realtors® (NAR) just issued the results of the annual survey by their Research Division which measures the share of U.S. residential real estate sales to international clients. The report divides those international or foreign clients into two types:

  • Non-resident foreigners who are non-U.S. citizens with permanent residences outside the U.S. They typically purchase for investment, vacations, or other visits of less than six months.
  • Resident foreigners who also are non-U.S. citizens, but are recent immigrants (or in the country for less than two years) or temporary visa-holders residing for more than six months for professional, educational, or other reasons.

The report contains some interesting information. Here are a few excerpts:

  • “Amid slower economic growth in many countries and the strengthening of the U.S. dollar, fewer non-resident foreigners purchased U.S. residential properties while resident foreigners stepped up their purchases. Meanwhile more U.S. domestic clients searched for properties abroad…
  • Foreign buyers purchase $102.6 billion of residential property from April 2015 – March 2016, a decrease from $103.9 billion in the previous 12-month period…
  • Non-resident foreigners accounted for 41% of foreign buyers while resident foreigners made up 59%. In past years, the number of foreign buyers was split almost evenly between resident and non-resident foreign buyers…
  • Foreign buyers typically purchase more expensive properties…
  • 45% of foreign buyers who purchased residential property came from China ($27B), Canada ($8.9B), India ($6.1B), the United Kingdom ($5.5B), and Mexico ($4.8B)…
  • Non-resident foreign buyers made up the bulk of buyers from Canada and the United Kingdom while resident foreign buyers came from China, India, and Mexico…
  • Although foreigners purchased property nationwide, five states accounted for 51% of total residential property purchases: Florida (22%), California (15%), Texas (10%), Arizona (4%), and New York (4%)…
  • 72% of non-resident foreigner buyers purchased the property as a vacation and/or residential rental property for investment while 21% of resident foreign buyers purchased the property for vacation and/or rental use…
  • 50% of reported transactions were all cash…
  • Previous client contacts and referrals accounted for 47%….”
  • Florida and Arizona attracted buyers from Latin America, Europe, and Canada who tend to purchase properties in warm climates for vacation purposes…
  • The outlook for international real estate activity in the U.S. remains positive. The decline in the value of the British Pound following Brexit is likely to mean fewer buyers from the United Kingdom. However, businesses and foreign real estate investors may choose to stay away from the United Kingdom, and the United States could become an attractive alternative.”

Corps to Cut Back Lake O Releases

SCCF logoAs reported on line yesterday (July 14) by the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF):

“Some good news — the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has granted the request made during this week’s Periodic Scientists Call to reduce flows from Lake Okeechobee to 2,800 cfs measured at the Franklin Lock from last week’s average 4,158 cfs. Flows to the St. Lucie will be reduced to 650 cfs.  There should be some improvement in water clarity because of the reduction — but that would also require that rainfall not be heavy enough to increase the amount of runoff from the Caloosahatchee’s own watershed.

“SCCF participates in a weekly conference call with the Army Corps and South Florida Water Management District as part of a local stakeholders group, which also includes J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, the City of Sanibel, Lee County, the Town of Fort Myers Beach and the City of Cape Coral.  As part of this process, the partners prepare a weekly Caloosahatchee Conditions Report.  During this week’s call, stakeholders requested a slowdown on the lake releases.

You can find the reports on our website.”

In other SCCF news, their Natural Resource Policy Director Rae Ann Wessel spoke at a congressional hearing yesterday in DC on the water quality crisis in Southwest Florida and St. Lucie, Martin and Palm Beach counties on Florida’s east coast. In part, she said:

“We need to recognize this is a national issue requiring science that informs and directs public policies to protect the natural resources in our backyard,” Wessel testified. “This is an economic crisis as well as an environmental one, with 47,000 jobs in our $3 billion tourism industry at stake. We must act now to stop the harmful algal blooms that extend over 35 miles of the Caloosahatchee as we speak. We ask four things of Congress today. Bring greater science to bear in seeking solutions. Pass WRRDA (The Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2016). Continue the Tamiami Trail bridging. Accelerate the implementation of the CERP (Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan) project to store water in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) south of Lake Okeechobee. These four actions will provide the greatest impacts for resolving the water quality crisis on Florida’s two coasts.”

The Interagency Working Group hearing was the start of “Lagoon-Gulf Action Day” on Capitol Hill. Participating agencies included:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

United States Geological Survey (USGS)

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity July 8-15, 2016

Sanibel

CONDOS

No new listings.

3 price changes: Sanibel Arms #F2 1/1 now $515K, Sandpiper Beach #203 2/2 now $699K, Tanglewood #1A 3/2 now $1.1479M.

No new or closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 4428 Waters Edge Ln 3/2.5 $1,299,999.

5 price changes: 1746 Windward Way 3/2 now $540K, 810 Elinor Way 3/2 now $649K, 519 Kinzie Island Ct 3/2.5 now $1.395M, 513 Lighthouse Way 3/3 now $1.929M, 1306 Seaspray Ln 3/4 now $3.895M.

3 new sales: 726 Cardium St 3/3 listed at $775K, 760 Windlass Way 3/3 now $979K, 2251 Starfish Ln 4/3.5 listed at $1.295M.

2 closed sales: 2407 Shop Rd 3/1 $330K, 1317 Eagle Run Dr 4/3.5 $1.075M.

LOTS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 1242 Anhinga Ln listed at $525K.

1 closed sale: 2988+2993 Wulfert Rd $799K.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Bayside Villas #4214 1/2 $317.5K.

No price changes, new or closed sales.

HOMES & LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

Scott shared this sunset photo too! It’s a beauty!

Sunset 07-09-16

Thanks again, Scott ! Here’s hoping everyone’s weekend sunsets are beautiful too!

TGIF! Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Friday After the 4th on Sunny Sanibel


SanibelSusan is happy to report that it has been another week of wonderful weather on the islands. The occasional summer shower has been at night, with the beaches and bike paths busy during the days with visitors and vacationers “out and about”.

The July 4th parade on Monday morning was well attended and once again a fabulous example of Sanibel’s small town camaraderie. Big thank you goes out to all those participating and watching, especially the members of the Cypress Lake High School Marching Band who made their first appearance. I posted more pictures on my personal Facebook page plus a video clip of the band passing my office.

The only complaints since Monday: it is hot – has been in the low 90’s most afternoons – and the negative press about the algae on the east coast has caused some confusion about the water here. More about that in the following news articles. After the news is the activity posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service since last Friday.

Know Your Rights Before Opening Your TRIM Notice

henderson-franklinThis article was posted on line June 16, 2016 by the local law firm of Henderson Franklin in their post “The Legal Scoop on Southwest Florida Real Estate”. It mentions some important upcoming deadlines for local Lee County property owners wanting to appeal their property classification or assessment. It says:

“As a property owner in Florida, you have a right to appeal the property appraiser’s assessment of your property’s value, a denial of your application for an exemption (homestead, veterans, or senior citizen), a portability denial, and a denial of our application for property classification such as agricultural or historic….

“Typically, once a taxpayer decides to bring a challenge based on any of the above-mentioned grounds, a request for an informal conference will be made with the County’s property appraiser to discuss the value or to discuss the denial of an application for a property exemption or classification. Following an informal conference, in the event that the issues cannot be favorably settled, taxpayers (or their representatives) can file a petition with the local Value Adjustment Board (VAB). Alternatively, Florida law allows taxpayers to bring such challenges in circuit court.

Appeals to the Value Adjust Board (VAB) – Each VAB is comprised of five members, with two members from the board of county commissioners, one member from the school board, and two citizen members. Many counties in Southwest Florida (such as Lee County) have appointed a special magistrate to conduct hearings and recommend decisions to the VAB. Special magistrates are trained neutral arbiters who are oftentimes local licensed appraisers.

Deadlines for Filing a Petition – Under Florida law, the deadlines for filing a petition are explained in detail. For appeals of the property appraiser’s assessment of your property, a petition must be filed within 25 days after the property appraiser mails the notice of Proposed Property Taxes (TRIM Notice), which is typically in mid-August. The filing deadline can be found on the TRIM notice itself. Moreover, petitions appealing the portability of your ad valorem taxes must be filed with 25 days after the property appraiser mails your TRIM notice.

“For appeals of an exemption or classification of your property, a petition must be filed with 30 days after the property appraiser mails the denial notice, which the property appraiser must mail before July 1st. Once the petition has been filed, the taxpayer will receive a notice with the date, time, and location of the hearing at least 25 days before the hearing date. An exchange of evidence will occur thereafter, whereby the taxpayer must give the property appraiser a list and summary of evidence that will be presented at the hearing. Likewise, if a written request is made to the property appraiser by the taxpayer, the property appraiser is required to provide a list and summary of the County’s evidence that will be presented at least seven days before the hearing.

“As a reminder, it is important to note that even though a petition may have been filed with the VAB, the petition must be denied if the taxpayer has not paid his or her non ad valorem assessments and ad valorem taxes before they become delinquent.

Take Away – Each year, the local property appraiser establishes the value of your property as of January 1st. Since TRIM notices will soon be delivered to property owners around Southwest Florida, it is important to know your rights and the procedures for pursuing an appeal to your local VAB….”

Sea Turtle Nest Hatches on Sanibel

Turtle hatching 07-01-16As reported this week in the “Santiva Chronicle”: “The first loggerhead sea turtle to hatch on Sanibel was Thursday, July 1. Visible along with the small tracks is the mesh SCCF places over nests to protect them from coyotes. Photo by Carol Strange

“Last year was a year to remember for sea turtles on Sanibel and Captiva. Turtles set a record for nests in a season. A year later, 2016 is on pace to do even better.

“In its weekly report issued Friday, July 1, the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation said 486 loggerhead sea turtle nests have been found, recorded and staked off by the cadre of volunteers that combs the beaches each morning during nesting season.

“That total is ahead of last year’s nest total on the corresponding date from last year. On July 3 last year, SCCF had found 468 nests.

“Two of SCCF’s three nesting zones are ahead of 2015. Sanibel West, always the most populated area for nests, has 261 nests and slightly lags 2015 when there were 280 nests. Sanibel East, the area near the lighthouse, is seven ahead of last year with 98. Meanwhile Captiva continues at a torrid pace with 127 nests. That’s 20 more than last year and appears ready to threaten the Captiva record of 179 nests set in 2000.

Captiva wears the honor of having the first nests of the season to hatch. The first two were on Captiva. During the past week, Sanibel has recorded its first hatched nest. That happened June 30 and was reported by volunteer Carol Strange, who also took photographs.

“Meanwhile, the overnight turtle-tagging team, on duty for the first time this year, has come across 158 sea turtles during their surveys. Some of them are previously encountered turtles, providing valuable data about nesting habits.

“Here are the numbers from SCCF as of Friday, July 1, with last week’s numbers in parenthesis:

  • Sanibel East – 98 (82) nests, 219 (197) false crawls
  • Sanibel West – 261 (211) nests, 514 (421) false crawls
  • Captiva – 127 (109) nests, 184 (131) false crawls
  • Totals: 486 (402) nests, 917 (749) false crawls”

No Slime on Sanibel Beaches, but Dark Water Doing Damage

Good write-up explaining the water situation here was published on-line Wed by the “Santiva Chronicle”:

June 2 & 22 2016 Bay City of Sanibel

“The phone is ringing at Sanibel City Hall. The people on the other end want to know about the water. “The calls are coming in from all over – Ohio, New Jersey, all around,” James Evans, Sanibel director of Natural Resources, said Tuesday, July 5. “People want to know about the quality of the water and they are disappointed to hear that it is dark.”

“Evans is forced to report that the water is brown, but is also able to report that it is not slimy from blue-green algae blooms. An explosion of blue-green algae blooms has hit the East Coast of Florida in Martin County. When Lee County was added to Gov. Rick Scott’s declaration of a state of emergency over the algae blooms, the assumption was that the blue-green algae is on Lee County’s beaches, including Sanibel and Captiva.

““Our beaches are in a very different situation from those on the East Coast,” Evans said. “What we are experiencing is a plume of dark water. There is no blue-green algae on the beaches, but we are seeing some in stagnant areas of the Caloosahatchee River.”

“Evans’ assessment is re-enforced by Rick Bartleson, marine biologist at the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation. “The water is brown, but the cyanobacteria numbers were down some today (Tuesday) and we aren’t seeing blue-green algae blooms here right now,” Bartleson said.

“The blooms are fed by the ongoing high levels of water being released from Lake Okeechobee down the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers as a result of historic rains that drenched South Florida in January. Sixteen inches fell on Sanibel when the historical average is less than two inches. Both rivers are receiving too much water, as much as three times desired flows, in order to protect Lake Okeechobee’s aging Herbert Hoover Dike. But the situations are different.

““The St. Lucie is a smaller river and the estuary is small. So when there is a bloom there is a really big effect, and that’s what we are seeing,” Bartleson said. “We have a larger estuary and there is more dilution.”

“It’s comparing apples and oranges,” Evans said. “The St. Lucie is a much smaller system and another big difference is that we are 70 miles from the lake. The Caloosahatchee has a much more extensive marsh that can dilute the algae. We’re lucky because the nutrient levels we are getting are just as high.”

““It’s two different systems and they react in two different ways,” he said. “We are very concerned about excess nutrient loading.” Blue-green algae blooms occur naturally, but are fed by nutrients in water runoff. Blue-green algae makes its own nitrogen but needs phosphorus.

The beaches in Martin County are covered with slime from the blue-green algae. The situation on the Treasure Coast near Stuart and other beach communities has made national news, including a recent report in the New York Times and a report Tuesday morning on The Weather Channel.

““I’ve seen it on the national news and its very damaging,” Evans said. “It’s on social media that the water quality is bad. Those things linger and stick around for a long time. We are not seeing blue-green algae, but we are seeing dark water all along Sanibel’s beaches. It’s a big concern for all of us. It hurts people’s ability to enjoy the beaches. It hurts business. It affects our quality of life.”

“Also likely to linger for a long time are the effects on the Caloosahatchee’s estuary in San Carlos Bay. The estuary is clouded, a fact that does more than just chase tourists away. The beaches are safe to visit and don’t pose a health problem for healthy people, but the water is brown.

““The flows from Lake Okeechobee have been way too high for the critters and the seagrass in the estuary,” Bartleson said. “It’s been way above the harm level and that kills a lot of things in the estuary. Lots of oysters and other critters are dying.”

“Evans takes note of the city’s telling pictures at the top of this page. (Will repost on SanibelSusan.com blog later today)

““On June 2 the bay was a beautiful blue green. Three weeks later it’s dark brown, almost black,” Evans said.

“We are really concerned about the ecological effects,” he said. “Seagrasses are dying and floating to the surface and washing up on the beach. We’ve received too much fresh water and the estuary is in salinity shock that’s causing important habitat destruction.

“The brown water also blocks light from seagrass, which below one meter is currently not getting enough light, Bartleson said. The roots die when the leaves can’t produce oxygen for them.

““People come to enjoy our beaches. They come to fish and enjoy our other natural treasures. All that is affected by the excess water releases,” Evans said.

“The blue-green algae bloom on the Treasure Coast, the governor’s emergency order and the resulting media coverage once again highlight the overall problem. The dike around the lake is aging and needs work. But the bigger issue is where the water goes. Once it flowed naturally out of Lake Okeechobee south into the Everglades. Man changed that by connecting the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee to the north end of the lake to create farmland to the south of the lake. That happened a century ago and the long term effects are being felt now.

“Gov. Scott’s emergency order prompted the South Florida Water Management District to seek land to store water on. That’s something that water quality advocates are always pushing for.

““A new study by the University of Florida says that water storage is needed both north and south of the lake,” Evans said. “The governor’s order has brought attention to the issues.”

““South Florida used to be 50 percent wetlands,” Bartleson said. “It’s hard to find the wetlands now.””

Mayor Ruane Sees Dirty Water & Silver Lining

santiva chronicleThere was a good follow-up today to the above article. Again from the “Santiva Chronicle”:

“Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane doesn’t like what he sees when he drives across the Sanibel Causeway these days. He knows the brown water below him in San Carlos Bay is causing serious economic damage and he knows without being able to see through it, that the water is causing serious harm to oysters, seagrass and other marine life that lives here.

“The view also gives the mayor hope and stiffens his resolve.

“I’m disappointed and disheartened,” Ruane said Thursday, July 7. “I’ve seen this movie before. In 2013 we had the same problems, but now I feel there is more political will than ever before.”

“Ruane’s remarks came about an hour before he released through mysanibel.com the city’s latest update on the South Florida water crisis that has fostered blue-green algae blooms on the east coast, millions of gallons of dirty water to both coasts, a state of emergency from Gov. Rick Scott and finger-pointing at the Obama Administration.

Read the mayor’s latest update here

“Sanibel has been water-conscious since before its founding. The unprecedented rainfall in January raised the awareness of everyone in South Florida and Sanibel was ready. Its white paper “Caloosahatchee Watershed Regional Water Management Issues” written by James Evans, Sanibel director of Natural Resources, offers short- and long-term solutions for storage and treatment of water and states Sanibel’s position. Ruane drew heavily on the white paper in his update to Sanibel citizens Thursday.

Read the Caloosahatchee Watershed white paper here

““We just all need to get on the same page,” Ruane said. “If there is a silver lining here, that may be it.”

In the days since the algae-bloom wrecked beaches on Florida’s Treasure Coast in Martin County, Ruane has seen the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announce that it will be releasing less water from Lake Okeechobee and the South Florida Water Management District announce that it is seeking more land to store excess water on.

““We asked for those things back in February. They are doing nothing more today than what we have been asking for all along. I don’t know why we have to get to an emergency standpoint before things happen,” Ruane said.

“But it’s not like nothing was going on before the latest algae blooms. The coalition of Lee County mayors, in which Ruane plays a leading role, continues to press for public awareness and political action. Together with the Florida League of Cities, the mayors hosted a water quality symposium in Fort Myers that brought together 19 counties.

““We had 19 counties represented there, and that represents about $1.3 trillion. It was very successful, so successful that it will be repeated in Stuart on the East Coast in August,” Ruane said. “Credit the mayors for bringing this to the forefront and keeping everyone’s eye on the ball.”

“Sanibel City Hall, Ruane said, has been hit with phone calls from around the country. Lee County was included along with East Coast counties Martin, St. Lucie and Palm Beach in Gov. Scott’s state of emergency declaration. Even though Lee County and Sanibel don’t presently have blue-green algae blooms, the general impression from national news coverage is that it does.

““We are having people writing and calling. We cannot deny that we’ve had excess water releases, but unlike the other coast, we have 70 miles along the river to dilute the algae blooms and we don’t have blue-green algae,” Ruane said.

““We’ve been explaining that a lot. It wasn’t a quiet Fourth of July,” he said.”

NAR Pressures Senate Over Flood Insurance

realtor logoAs reported last Friday by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR):

“The rising costs of flood insurance are posing “significant hurdles” to small businesses and home owners, David McKey, 2016 Vice Chair of the National Association of REALTORS®’ Insurance Committee, testified to a Senate committee this week. Potentially, up to 1 million properties may be affected.

“”Despite everything that’s been done on this issue, the threat of a $30,000 flood insurance premium still looms,” McKey testified to the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee on Thursday. “A few years ago, the uncertainty over future rate increases was enough for buyers to direct REALTORS® not to show them any listings in the floodplain. That’s enough to worry business owners and home owners alike, and it’s something that needs to be addressed.”

“McKey said that rates continue to rise significantly by up to 25% each year until policy-holders reach their “full-cost rate.” In order for businesses and home owners to prove they’ve reached that threshold, they must hire a licensed surveyor and provide the Federal Emergency Management Agency with an elevation certificate. Once the certificate shows the property owner has reached the full-cost rate, the owner can then request an optional full-risk rating to end the 25 percent increases, or the increases will continue, NAR explains.

“McKey testified that it is an “endless escalator” of rising costs, and he asked the committee to consider changes.

“McKey offered NAR’s support for several possible solutions, such as reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program, which sunsets in October 2017. McKey also said NAR supports using advanced technology to improve the accuracy of flood maps, which can help better determine who will face escalating rates and reduce the number of property owners who have to file pricey appeals.

“McKey also asked the committee to consider authorizing the use of funds to proactively mitigate properties in hazard areas, such as by flood proofing, elevating, or strengthening a property against the risk.

“”Unfortunately, while funding is currently available for mitigation efforts, funds typically aren’t accessible until after a flood event, when costs are higher and the damage has already occurred,” McKey stated.

“”REALTORS® see the effect of rising flood insurance rates firsthand in their businesses and in the local communities. But commonsense solutions to the problem are well within reach.””

sancap GO MLS logoSanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity July 1-8, 2016

SANIBEL

CONDOS

1 new listing: Tennisplace #C21 2/1.5 $385,555.

1 price change: Tigua Cay #487 3/3.5 now $1.899M.

3 new sales: Island Beach Club #210B 2/2 listed at $589K, Villa Sanibel #1B 2/2 listed at $595K, Oceans Reach #1A1 2/2 listed at $999.9K.

1 closed sale: Sanibel Moorings #421 2/2 $449K.

HOMES

No new listings.

4 price changes: 956 Dixie Beach Blvd 2/1 now $385K, 588 Hideaway Ct 3/2 now $699K, 243 Southwinds Dr 4/2.5 now $999K, 4440 Waters Edge Ln 3/3 now $1,290,010.

1 new sale: 9292 Belding Dr 3/2.5 listed at $429K.

4 closed sales: 1410 Causey Ct 3/2 $510K, 645 Lake Murex Dir 3/2 $780K, 841 Lindgren Blvd 2/2 (for statistics) $885K, 1245 Isabel Dr 3/3.5 $1,500,125.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price changes: 4566 Buck Key Rd now $199K.

No new sales or closings.

CAPTIVA

CONDOS

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

HOMES

No new listings.

1 price change: 16447 Captiva Dr 6/5.5.5 now $3.75M.

No new sales or closings.

LOTS

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closing: 16298 Captiva Dr $4.9M.

(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,

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

266.JPG

Happy Birthday, America, from Sanibel Island


waving flagIt’s SanibelSusan reporting another week of beautiful weather on sunny Sanibel. Unfortunately, it again has been a week of little real estate action. There was no Association of Realtors® Caravan meeting yesterday, but the activity in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service is posted below after a few news items.

The SanibelSusan Team has Monday off for the holiday, but I’ll be covering the office through the weekend and will be here early on Monday for the parade. More on that below also.

First those few news items, though they will not be about the water. Social media and the news have gone crazy over the last few days, many either exaggerating conditions or reporting untruths. As of today, none of the beaches in Lee County are closed, but it is summer and the rainy season, so the fight for clean water continues in Florida and we hope the press negativity does not affect real estate sales, but instead helps in reducing the releases coming from Lake Okeechobee.

The photos below were taken at 1 p.m. this afternoon from the Fulgur Street beach access which is between Sanibel Siesta and Compass Point condominiums where many were enjoying the beach. Plenty more vacationers are expected to arrive tomorrow as the rumor mill says that most accommodations are full!

Fulgur 1 7-1-16Fulgur 2 7-1-16Fulgur 3 7-1-16Fulgur 4 7-1-16

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Real Estate Sales – First Half of 2016

Since half the year is over, it is a good time to take a snapshot of the islands’ inventory and sales-to-date this year, compared to the sales during the first six months of the year last year. These stats are from the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Multiple Listing Service.

CONDOS                                    HOMES                                    LOTS

No.     Avg $ Price                   No.     Avg $ Price                   No.     Avg $ Price

SANIBEL

For sale:

98       748,349                        145       1,562,845                      66       471,945

Closing pending:

10        594,400                        22        1,020,923                        3        812,967

Sold & closed in 2016 thru 6/30:

91        759,065                        114        997,052                         15       531,417

Sold & closed in 2015 thru 6/30:

101      690,967                        161        891,541                          27       326,330

CAPTIVA

For sale:

29        812,324                        32          3,417,081                      3        2,015,000

Closing pending:

4          798,725                        4            4,108,000                    1       4,999,000

Sold & closed in 2016 thru 6/30:

11           1,021,227                     17         3,017,500                     1       1,400,000

Sold & closed in 2015 thru 6/30:

22         1,057,432                     11         2,927,955                      2      2,847,500

To-date on Sanibel, 220 properties have sold/closed this year, compared to 289 that sold during the first six months of last year. That’s a significant difference. On Captiva, 29 properties have sold/closed, compared to 35 that sold last year.

Generally, it is higher priced properties that go under contract first and last quarters, with the closings occurring during the first six months of the year. Though half the year remains, it is unlikely that the second half of the year will be as productive as the first half, particularly with it being an election year. But, I’d love to be wrong!

AT&T Antenna Activated on Donax Street Cell Tower

Donax Cell TowerHooray for the news release by Sanibel’s City Manager yesterday which said “The City of Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane has been notified by the AT&T engineers that the AT&T antenna located on the Donax Cell Tower has been fully activated as of this afternoon. The mono pole installed on Donax Street at the City of Sanibel Donax wastewater facility was activated for Verizon Service on May 2, 2014…To minimize the number of cell towers on the island the City of Sanibel requires multiple carriers to co-locate on a single tower. The Donax mono pole also functions as a lighted flag pole. The lights are dark and the flag lowered during turtle nesting season except daylight on the patriotic holidays.”

‘Brexit’ Could Give U.S. Real Estate a Brief Boost

The key word here is “brief”. This article posted last Friday on “Daily Real Estate News” on line is as good as any that I’ve seen about the Brexit vote last week.

“Britain’s vote yesterday to exit the European Union will likely have a long-term impact on the world economy, but in the short-term, U.S. real estate could be flooded with investors flocking to the U.S. as a safe haven, pushing up the dollar and sending down mortgage rates.

realtor logo“”Demand for U.S. real estate could rise,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. On the commercial side, global corporations could show additional interest in U.S. real estate as they come to see the U.K. as a less certain place to set up or maintain their businesses, Yun says, “especially in London, as it becomes a less attractive place to conduct global business.”

“While a rise in the dollar could hurt U.S. exports, it’s also expected to put downward pressure on long-term mortgage interest rates. “Mortgage rates will tumble,” says Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com, “possibly hitting new record lows. If you’re a borrower, don’t wait to lock in your rate, as this opportunity may not last long.”

fannie-mae-logo“However, Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan says low rates because of economic uncertainty could last for a while. “The Fed will very likely be on hold for some time as it observes the impact on U.S. and global financial markets and economic activity,” he says.

“If mortgage rates — already at historic lows — drop even further, that could help drive up sales of all types of U.S. real estate, including on the residential side. Foreign households who might have otherwise looked to London to buy might turn to U.S. residential real estate, although U.K. citizens, who historically are among the top buyers of investment and vacation homes in the U.S., could pull back. “The British economy will be disrupted, and hence we should expect fewer Brits able to buy in the U.S.,” Yun says.

“Steve Rick, chief economist at CUNA Mutual Group, was quoted in a Bankrate.com article saying a further drop in mortgage interest rates could give new life to home-mortgage refinancing, which started to cool early this year after several years of big growth. “This would create another mini refinance mortgage boom at financial institutions, as homeowners rush to lock in near-historic low interest rates,” he said.

“In the long run, though, the uncertainty stemming from the vote could cause broad global weakening, which would hurt jobs, income, and consumer confidence. That would be a net-negative for U.S. real estate, even if it sees gains in the short-term.”

Mortgage Rates in Free Fall Since Brexit Vote

real estate daily newsThe following article from Tuesday’s “Daily Real Estate News” further confirms their prognosis from last Friday.

“Ever since Britain’s surprising vote to leave the European Union, U.S. home buyers and home owners have been reaping an expected benefit — mortgage rates that are quickly dropping. Mortgage rates are now at the lowest average in more than three years, and economists expect them to head even lower.

“On Monday, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.46%, near the lowest average since late 2012, realtor.com® reports.

““Lower rates produce lower monthly payments and greater buying power—those who are well qualified can afford a home that’s 8% more expensive than at the beginning of the year,” Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com®’s chief economist, writes in a recent column. “That’s more than enough to offset the rise in prices during that time.”

“That said, low mortgage rates can prompt lenders to get more strict with underwriting standards, Smoke says.

“As mortgage rates declined this year, we’ve seen that credit access has gone down too,” he notes. “That’s because lenders have become more risk-averse as their profit margins have been whittled down by the double whammy of lower rates and higher origination and servicing costs.” “

Six Sanibel Street Cams

Sanibelcityseal logoIn a press release earlier this week from Sanibel’s City Manager, it was announced that “three additional “Sanibel Street-Cams” are now providing residents and visitors real-time road conditions at the intersection of Periwinkle Way and Tarpon Bay Road… Click here to view the City of Sanibel’s “Street-Cams”.”

The locations now include:

  • Sanibel Causeway Span C (bridge closest to the island)
  • Periwinkle Way & Casa Ybel Road looking east (intersection at Jerry’s heading off-island)
  • Periwinkle Way & Casa Ybel Road looking west (intersection at Jerry’s heading toward Captiva)
  • Periwinkle Way & Tarpon Bay Road looking south (intersection at George & Wendy’s toward beach)
  • Periwinkle Way & Tarpon Bay Road looking east (intersection at George & Wendy’s heading off-island)
  • Periwinkle Way & Tarpon Bay Road looking north (intersection at George & Wendy’s toward Captiva).

Check the City’s web site www.mySanibel.com for more info on Sanibel’s 2016 Traffic Communications strategy.

For Island Foodies

Looking for something new?

Totally Baked on Sanibel – Sanibel Planning commission this week approved a new bakery coming to the Islander Center in the location of the former MacIntosh Book Store. The owner Virginia Wagner grew up vacationing on Sanibel with her goal to move here. She came to the island four years ago from Virginia where she operated a bakery and has been an award-winner baker at Bailey’s General Store. Totally Baked on Sanibel will prepare and serve pastries, cookies, cupcakes, cakes, biscuits, confections, and breads, and will offer carved on the bone ham, turkey, and roast beef as well as homemade salads, soups, and specialty items. It will not have seating, but may in the future.

joeys custard logoJoey’s Custard – Fellow Sanibel Chorister and owner of Sanibel Blue Financial, Debi Almeida has bought the ice cream, yogurt, custard, and panini shop (formerly Zebra Yogurt) in Bailey’s Center where she has partnered with her son Joe who will run it day-to-day.

 

Doc Ford’s – In that same corner of the island, FYI the new Doc Ford’s building across the street from the Bailey’s Center is almost done. This week’s progress includes installation of the new landscaping and parking lot pavers. It’s looking great. I met their new chef today while having lunch at their Rabbit Road location which will close when they move into their new digs. He’s from Austin, TX.

Doc Fords 7-1-16

Parade Central – on July 4th

If you are here and looking to watch the parade on Monday, SanibelSusan Realty is always a good vantage point with parking behind the office, grassy lawn roadside, and shade trees across the street, not to mention access to our air conditioning, a bathroom, and a frig with plenty of water. Be sure and come early to grab a spot. Periwinkle Way closes at 9 a.m. and the parade begins next to Bailey’s Center at 9:30. I’ll be opening up at 8:30.

BonneParade

An oldie from our parade entry in 1997.

 

Looking for the full schedule of events for the holiday weekend? Here you go…

TODAY – Friday – July 1st

9 a.m. – “Family Beach Walk“, “Ding” Darling, at Gulfside City Park.

noon – “8th Annual Hot Dog Eating Contest” at South Seas Resort at the overlook at the Pointe Restaurant, Resort Pool Complex, North Pointe.

5 p.m. – “Home Run Derby” at South Seas Resort at the West Lawn, North Pointe.

9 p.m. – “Seaside Cinema” & s’mores at South Seas Resort at King’s Crown Lawn at North Pointe.

TOMORROW – Saturday – July 2nd

11 a.m – “Wildlife Wonders“, “Ding” Darling at Visitor & Education Center.

noon – “Golf Cart Scavenger Hunt” at South Seas Resort.

4 p.m. – “Go! Fish Tournament” at South Seas Resort at the T-dock.

7 p.m. – “Casino Night” at South Seas Resort in the Captiva Conference Center at the South Village.

Sunday – July 3rd

6 p.m. – “Star Spangled Celebration” at South Seas Resort with Patriotic Golf Cart Parade leaving Captiva Conference Center, South Village, traveling down Plantation Road, ending at West Lawn & Sunset Beach.

9 p.m. – “Captiva Fireworks” at South Seas Resort.

Monday – July 4th

7:30 to 9:30 a.m. – Free Pancake Breakfast at Sanibel Community Church.

8:30 a.m. to noon – Community Celebration at Bailey’s Shopping Center.

9:30 a.m. – “26th Annual Independence Day Parade“, begins at intersection of Tarpon Bay Rd & Island Inn Rd, travels up Periwinkle & ends at Casa Ybel Rd. Theme is “Sweet Island of Liberty”.

10:30 a.m. – Celebration at Jerry’s Shopping Center to coincide with the end of parade. Includes water slide, food & refreshments.

Noon – “36th Annual Optimists Club Road Rally”, begins at noon at parking lot of The Timbers/Sanibel Grill.

Noon to 2 p.m. – “Red, White, & Boom Pool Party” at South Seas Resort.

6 p.m. – July 4th at Huxter’s with live music.

Dusk – Sanibel Fireworks (rain or shine) at dusk launched from bayside end of Bailey Road over San Carlos Way. Good viewing from the causeway islands or bayside of the island, but get there early.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity June 24-July 1, 2016

Sanibel
CONDOS
2 new listings: Blind Pass #205 2/2.5 $425K, Sanibel Inn #3522 2/2 $699K.
2 price changes: Heron at The Sanctuary #1B 3/2.5 now $619K, Sundial East #P205 2/2 now $780K.
1 new sale: Tarpon Beach #201 2/2 listed at $745K.
5 closed sales: Sundial West #H110 1/1 $259.5K, Seashells #14 2/2 $361.6K, Sundial West #H407 1/1 $455K, Compass Point #151 3/3 $1.055M, Sanibel Seaview #A1 3/3 $1.15M.
HOMES
2 new listings: 5751 Baltusrol Ct 3/4 $1.149M, 900 Almas Ct 3/3.5 $1.495M.
4 price changes: 980 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 half-duplex now $499K, 1746 Windward Way 3/2 now $555K, 677 Durion Ct 3/2 now $728K, 3402 West Gulf Dr 3/2 now $1.995M.
4 new sales: 4737 Rue Belle Mer 3/2 listed at $629.9K, 5279 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/2 listed at $648K, Oceans Reach #1A1 2/2 listed at $999.9K, 824 Limpet Dr 3/3 listed at $1.395M.
4 closed sales: 535 Birdsong Pl 3/2 $490K, 3927 Coquina Dr 3/2 $590K, 702 Oliva St 3/2 $622K, 513 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $800K.
LOTS
No new listings.
1 price change: 2400 Blue Crab Ct now $250K.
No new or closed sales.
Captiva
CONDOS
No new listings or price changes.
1 new sale: Bayside Villas #4206 1/2 listed at $285K.
No closed sales.
HOMES & LOTS
Nothing to report.

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

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusanjuly 4th flip flops

Another Week of Fabulous Island Weather


All is well again this week at SanibelSusan Realty. Another seven days of beautiful sunny warm weather have kept most visitors busy with outdoor activities. The following photos, I snapped with my cell phone this morning at Beach Access #6 on Sanibel’s West Gulf Drive.

Access 6 #1Access 6 #2

Below are a few news items, followed by the action posted since last Friday in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.

Realtors June Membership Meeting

San Cap LogoYesterday was the June monthly breakfast membership meeting at the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®, a good opportunity for me to announce our new listing at Casa Ybel Resort. The condo was photographed professionally this week so it now is officially on the market.

The following slide show includes the unit and several resort amenities. Click the “Cottage Colony West #136” tab above for more details and a streaming video. This beach-front condo grossed over $92K last year in the easy on-site rental program.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The educational part of yesterday’s Realtor® meeting was a presentation by Sanibel City Manager, Judie Zimomra, and Lt. Bill Dalton of the Sanibel Police Department. Covering “hurricane season preparedness”, they offered some good and timely advice. Here are some of my take-aways:

Lt. Dalton described a study which determined the five areas of the nation that are the hardest to leave during a mandatory evacuation. Here are the worst five – a good example of when it’s not good to be in 1st position – but our area is, so this is a good reminder to leave early when a storm is heading this way.

  1. Southwest Florida – because of few east/west roadways & limited north/south evacuation routes.
  2. Tampa Bay area – high population & also few ways of egress
  3. Maryland/Northern Virginia/DC area – population
  4. New York/New Jersey – population
  5. Southeast Florida – population.

Another interesting tidbit is that there is a Lee County ordinance that says all county bridges must be closed when wind speed reaches 40 mph. That info brought a question from the floor which was “How do we get over the Caloosahatchee River bridges after leaving the islands.” Answer: “Leave early – before they are closed.” Yikes! That may be a good reason to leave when evacuation is recommended, but before it is mandatory.

Hurricane Charley in 2004 brought high wind to Southwest Florida. (Lt. Dalton reported that the City wind gauge broke when it recorded 143 mph, so the exact top wind speed is unknown.) Charley was a relatively small fast- moving storm. When compared to other larger and slower-moving past storms, if Charley had stayed longer, the storm surge here could have been as much as 17-23 feet, and damage could have covered a much broader area. Good reason to check your insurance coverage now! Hurricane season has begun!

Sanibelcityseal logoIf you are interested in receiving emergency Sanibel notifications, go to the City’s website at www.MySanibel.com and click on the link in the right hand column called “Code Red”. Code Red, Rapid Emergency Notification System, is an emergency telephone network which will text, call, or email you with information whenever the City turns the system on to report an emergency situation. Examples could include: evacuation notices, bio-terrorism alerts, boil water notices, and missing child reports.

If you are here in the summer or fall, now also is a good time to get your island reentry passes. These have not been needed since after Hurricane Charley, but you will need an up-to-date pass to get back on the island following an evacuation. There are separate passes for residential and commercial and these hang from your rear view mirror (or remain safely in your glove box until needed – hopefully never). Info about these passes also on www.MySanibel.com and at the Sanibel Police Department.

1st Annual National Shell Day a Success

The 1st Annual National Shell Day, a marketing effort in partnership with the Lee County Visitors and Convention Bureau and promoters of tourism at the Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel, was the talk of the islands on Monday.

“Good Morning American” weather gal, Ginger Zee, reported live over a 2-hour span from the beach at Sundial Resort where she not only reported the country’s weather, but also introduced their national audience to the “Sanibel stoop”, to Lola (a disabled American kestrel who lives at CROW (Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, and to mollusks from the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum.

Garnering the most attention was the Shell Love Bug, which is a used Volkswagen Beetle convertible which was transformed into a sailor’s valentine on wheels thanks to Pam Rambo of ILoveShelling.com and a group of volunteers. (The photos below are from Pam’s web site.)

The Shell Love Bug is traveling around the county this week to promotional events. Here are some fun facts about its creation:

  • $7,000 cost of the 2005 Beetle
  • 20,000+ shells glued onto car
  • 65+ varieties of local shells
  • 60+ volunteers who transformed the car
  • 60+ tubes of “Marine Goop” adhesive for attaching the shells!

Americans Are Feeling Wealthier, More Upbeat

realtor logo“Realtor®Mag” on line on Monday has the following article sourced to “Daily Real Estate News” and “Fannie Mae”:

“Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index zoomed to an all-time high in May as consumers get more upbeat about their paychecks and home selling. In May, the index reached a reading of 85.3, which follows an 18-month low reached in March.

“Three of six components the index measures registered increases last month, led by a 7 percentage point increase in the number of consumers reporting significantly higher income than a year ago. Also, the number of consumers who expect home prices to increase over the next 12 months rose 5 percentage points. Consumers were also upbeat that mortgage rates would decrease over the next year as well.

fannie-mae-logo“That said, the index indicator on whether it’s a “good time to buy” dropped 1 percentage point to an all-time survey low in May.

““Continued home price appreciation has been squeezing housing affordability, driving a two-year downward trend in the share of consumers who think it’s a good time to buy a home,” says Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “The current low mortgage rate environment has helped ease this pressure, and fewer than half of consumers expect rates to go up in the next year. While the May increase in income growth perceptions could provide further support to prospective home buyers as the spring/summer home-buying season gains momentum, the effect may be muted by May’s discouraging jobs report.”

“Here’s a closer look at additional findings from Fannie Mae’s latest index reading:

  • 29% of Americans say now is a good time to buy a home, a drop of 1 percentage point from March and an all-time survey low for the second consecutive month.
  • 52% of consumers believe now is a good time to sell a home – an all-time survey high.
  • 42% of Americans believe that home prices will go up.
  • 72% of Americans say they are not concerned with losing their job, a drop of 2 percentage points from March.
  • 18% of Americans say their household income is significantly higher than it was a year ago, up 7 percentage points from March and at an all-time survey high.”

Buyers Gaining Upper Hand in Luxury Market

wall street journalPosted last week in “Daily Real Estate News, sourced to “The Wall Street Journal”, June 15, 2016:

“The number of luxury homes for sale is growing, and that is unlocking some deals for potential buyers, The Wall Street Journal reports. Indeed, inventory of homes priced between $500,000 to $750,000 increased nearly 16% in March compared to a year ago, according to data from NAR. What’s more, inventory for real estate priced more than $1 million increased 12.6% year-over-year.

“As more expensive homes linger on the market, buyers are finding more bargaining power.

“For sellers, this may be a tough realization that the power is shifting. Shannon Baird, a broker with Living Room Realty in Portland, Ore., says that a major challenge is changing the mindset of home sellers who are hearing news of quick sales and bidding wars. But that’s not the case in the upper price bracket in many markets.

“Stock market volatility has made some wealthy buyers more cautious to jump into a big home purchase at the moment. Also, fewer foreign buyers are on the market as the dollar strengthens, says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “The stock market has come back up, but we don’t know yet if that means the upper-end home buying market will begin to return,” Yun says.”

Do You Vote in Lee County?

Ding Darling Society logoIt “yes”, “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society’s June 23, 2016 newsletter asks that you “Keep Conserving Lee” and posted the following notice:

“Vote YES for Conservation 20/20.  Support the continued use of tax dollars to conserve important wildlife habitat and outdoor recreational opportunities in Lee County by voting YES for Conservation 20/20 in the November 8, 2016, election. Thanks to 20/20, we were able to fulfill our goal to purchase and protect property at Woodring Point in 2013. We hope to work with the county again in the future on such preservation partnerships.”

Here for July 4th?

4th-of-july-clip-artA few more July 4th events have been announced. Click on the “Upcoming Island Events” tab above for more details.

Here are some photos of where the fireworks could be viewed, including the end of Bailey Road (1st group of photos) and the end of Dixie Beach Boulevard (2nd group)– or anywhere on the bay side of the island.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity June 17-24, 2016

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Loggerhead Cay #462 2/2 $539K, Cottage Colony West #136 1/1 $649K (our listing).

3 price changes: Seashells #38 2/2 now $372K, Mariner Pointe #943 2/2.5 now $619K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #3-3 2/2.5 now $650K.

1 new sale: Compass Point #151 3/3 listed at $1.195M.

2 closed sales: Bayview Village #2A 3/3 $675K, Island Beach Club #330C 2/2 $760K.

HOMES

2 new listings: 3792 Coquina Dr 3/3 $1.049M, 6111 SanibelCaptiva Rd 5/4/3 $27M.

2 price changes: 1429 Jamaica Dr 3/3 now $769K, 243 Southwinds Dr 4/2.5 now $1.075M.

3 new sales: 676 Emeril Ct 3/2 listed at $729.9K, 2311 Starfish Ln 4/3 listed at $1.249M, 1520 Angel Dr 4/3/2 listed at $1.279M. 

1 closed sale: 1658 Sabal Palm Dr $852.5K.

LOTS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 2988+2993 Wulfert Rd listed at $899K.

1 closed sale: 1310 Par View Dr $331.25K.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Tennis Villas #3238 2/2 $435K.

No price changes, new, or closed sales.

HOMES & LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

July 3 2015 5Until next Friday, when SanibelSusan Realty Associates will be all decked out for the holiday weekend!
(more pix next week)
Susan Andrews
aka SanibelSusan

Sanibel & Captiva Fathers’ Day Weekend 2016


It has been another quiet few days on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. The weather has improved over last week, as the days have been mostly rain-free, but it definitely has been typical pre-summer routine.

BeachPath

There was no Realtor Caravan meeting yesterday, but SanibelSusan got a new listing that will be posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service (MLS), once professional photography is done. It is Cottage Colony West #136, which is a top-floor gulf-front unit in the condo section of Casa Ybel Resort. If you know anyone looking for a good investment property, these 1-bedroom units are definitely that. Most gross $80K-90K/year with the resort fully handling the rentals and owners getting half. Since the resort is the venue for many weddings and parties, the units can be difficult to view, so often sell sight-unseen – making the internet presence and that photography so important. (Photo above of the beach in front of Casa Ybel Resort & photo below of the lawn before the beach.)

AnotherView

After a few news items, below is the action posted in the Sanibel/Captiva MLS over the last seven days.

 Restaurants & More

diningVisitors are forever asking Realtors® for dining recommendations, so we try to scoop out what’s happening, particularly during the off-season. Sometimes that’s not easy, even for locals, but here’s a little.

The former Sanibel Steakhouse has been empty for months, the sign is down, and their web site says that restaurant is retired, but we occasionally see activity there. This week, I noticed a Benchmark Construction sign posted. Maybe a newly remodeled restaurant will be springing up there in the months to come. We’ll be watching.

The new Doc Ford’s on Tarpon Bay Road now is moving along quickly. Rumor has it that their CO (certificate of occupancy) is expected in a few weeks, with the restaurant probably opening later this summer or when their staff is trained in their wonderful new location.

1st Annual National Seashell Day is Monday

National Seashell Day 2016Don’t forget, that Monday June 20, has been proclaimed the 1st annual National Seashell Day. A new promotional vehicle, The Shell Love Bug, will debut then on the “Good Morning America” national broadcast. The Volkswagen Beetle will be driven by Pam Rambo, Sanibel shelling expert, who designed the vehicle with a team of shellers in partnership with the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau.

The Shell Love Bug is decorated with more than 19,000 local shells. It will be on display at Bailey’s General Store from 11 a.m. to noon and 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum. The Shell Love Bug will be on a county-wide tour the entire week. As it is illegal to collect live shells in Lee County, no live shells were used in the creation of the car.

Travelers who visit on National Seashell Day will have access to special travel deals and seashell activities including a social media-driven scavenger hunt. Visit the Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau site, nationalseashellday.com to enter the Shell Yeah! Sweepstakes and view a full list of activities and accommodations participating in the 4th-night free deal.

Many Baby Boomers Plan to Move Again

baby boomersThis was posted on “Daily Real Estate News” on-line on Monday, June 13, 2016:

“About 60% of home owners age 55 or older say they would prefer to age in place if they had complete control over their living arrangements. That said, nearly 40% indicate they would prefer to move at least one more time.

“That means nearly 27 million home owners may move again, according to the Freddie Mac 55+ Survey. Of those baby boomers who expect to move, 13% say they will likely move within four years.

“”The decisions the nation’s baby boomers and other older home owners make will have an enormous impact on the demand for housing and new mortgage credit for the foreseeable future,” says Dave Lowman, executive vice president of Single-Family Business at Freddie Mac. “Whether they buy new homes or decide to refinance and renovate their current ones, the size of this generation and the fact that they hold close to two-thirds, approximately $8 trillion, of the nation’s home equity makes it very important that we watch what they do.”

“Twelve percent of those baby boomers who would consider moving say they expect their next home to be more expensive than their current one. The survey showed that 37% believe their next home purchase will be in the same price range as their current home, and half say that it will be less expensive.

“Here are some additional findings from the survey:

  • 76% of baby boomers surveyed say they are confident they will be financially comfortable in retirement.
  • 59% of home owners say they are “very satisfied” with their communities, 64% with their current home, and 54% with their quality of life.
  • Nearly 25% of the respondents say they have already helped someone financially with a down payment for a home.
  • The top factors influencing whether to move and where to live: affordability of living in a particular community (46%); having the amenities needed to live there for many years after I retire (44%); less maintenance (41%); having a place where I was no longer responsible for caring for the property (e.g. yard work, snow removal) (30%); proximity to other family members (31%); being in a walkable community (28%); having abundant services for adults my age (25%); access to public transportation (17%); warmer climate (19%); having a place that is smaller than my current home (e.g. downsizing) (19%).”

SANTIVA TODAY: Rooms Need Constant Upgrading, Study Says

santiva chronicleThis article was posted yesterday on line by the “Santiva-Chronicle”:

“The beaches of Sanibel and Captiva are renowned around the world for their beauty. That’s why vacationers come in droves. But what about the time that isn’t spent at the beach, like time back in the room?

Lee Visitors Convention Bureau logo“The Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau has asked that question and then went seeking the answer. The result is the Highland Study.

“The Highland Study was completed in early 2015 by The Highland Group Hotel Investment Advisors of Atlanta and is intended as a tool to help Lee County, including Sanibel and Captiva, keep and build its market share and grow lodging revenue. Within the past year the Highland Study has been presented at, among other places, Sanibel City Council and most recently the Sanibel Captiva Chamber of Commerce.

“Using data compiled through the end of 2014, the Highland Study begins with five important numbers:

  • $16,627 – Vacation rental units in excellent condition average $16,627 more revenue annually than units that are in fair to poor condition, according to the Highland Group unit pair analysis. Renovation pays.
  • $2 – Lee County only gained $2 in hotel average daily rate between 2009 and 2013, well below gains in comparable counties. The national and Florida average increases were more than five times higher, according to Smith Travel Research. Improving revenue management can benefit both property owners and the county.
  • 24% – Only 24% of Lee County visitors are visiting for the first time and this figure has been dropping, according to Davidson-Peterson Associates.
  • 52 – Average age of visitors to Lee County is 52 and has been rising, according to DavidsonPeterson Associates. This is unusually high and puts the county at risk of aging out of a viable clientele and becoming identified as obsolete.
  • 10% – Only 10 percent of visitors identify Lee County as more expensive than anticipated, according to Davidson-Peterson Associates. This is unusually low and means that the county is missing revenue opportunities.

“The Highland Study puts it all together with the conclusions that the demographics of vacationers are changing. If we want younger visitors to continue to replace older ones then we can’t sit still. This means updating the rooms. It doesn’t have to be done all at once, but it needs to be done and the best way is a plan or program that keeps putting money back into updates.

Read the Highland Study here

“Everyone, no matter what age, wants a nice, clean, bright room. That always has been important. But needs of the younger generation are different. While older visitors might never expect, or even care, if their room is equipped with a flat screen television, the new generation of vacationers does. Older visitors have come here for years and never had Wi-Fi in their rooms and don’t care. The new visitors expect Wi-Fi and will start tweeting immediately that their room doesn’t have it.

“Lee County was compared to four other counties in the Highland Study. Hotel lodging inland in Lee County and on Fort Myers Beach tended be newer that other parts of the county, and that includes Sanibel and Captiva, whose “product is uniquely concentrated from the late 1960s and 1970s.”

“We suspect most hoteliers in Lee County have read the Highland Study, which flatly states, “lodging requires constant upgrading. Lee County lodging will need to be upgraded to be competitive in the future.””

The Real Estate Profession is Getting Younger

realtor logoIt’s always good news to hear that the Realtor profile is changing in the right direction. According to statistics released earlier this month by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the real estate profession – is getting younger! It says “There’s been big change in the average age of real estate professionals. In just one year, the median age of Realtors® dropped – from 57 last year, to 53 this year! That’s according to the 2016 NAR Member Profile…What’s driving the decrease? Well, Realtors under the age of 30 have more than do0ubled in the last year, from just 2% of all members to 5%, and the share of Realtors 65 and older dropped significantly—from 25% to just 16%”.

“As a result of the change, 20% of Realtors today—that’s one out of every five—have been in the business just one year or less. And a third of all Realtors have been in the business three years or less….”

Sanibelsusan LogoThat doesn’t mean that SanibelSusan is retiring any time soon, but it hopefully means that there will be more new members contributing to the health of the real estate family. As a member of the Sanibel & Captiva Association of Realtors® Nominating Committee again this year, it can be challenging finding young members willing to volunteer their time for committee work which makes them eligible for our Board of Directors and future officer positions. Explaining to candidates how networking is key to a successful business helps.

EliseinShirt

BetterSusan

Wondering how many years The SanibelSusan Team has in this business?

Together, we have a whopping 72 years! And they really have been together too!

Four professionals for the price of one!

Dave CroppedLisa1Susan Andrews – 27 years licensed, 21 as a broker

 

 

Elise Carnes – 19 in real estate, licensed for 13

Dave Anderson – 17 in real estate, licensed for 4

Lisa Murty – licensed and in real estate for 9 years.

 

What Dads Want in Their Homes (all hail the man cave)

fathers-day-clip-art-HappysFathersDayClipArt1024x1024PB1Thanks to our client pal, Scott, for emailing me the following article that he shared with us in honor of the upcoming Father’s Day weekend. It was published on line today in the “Wall Street Journal” – “MarketWatch”. Best wishes to Scott and all those other man-cave loving Dads!

“This Father’s Day, when it comes to what dads want in a home, the answer seems clear: their own space.

While moms appear to be more practical when it comes to home design, dreaming of features like mud rooms so kids can change out of grubby clothes before tracking dirt into the house, or open floor plans so they can keep tabs on kids who are hanging out in the living room while they’re in the kitchen, dads want to get away from it all.

““We’ve been asked to search for homes with a separate snack kitchen, cigar lounge, a quiet napping room just for dad,” said Bruce Elliott, a Realtor with Regal Real Estate Professionals in Orlando, Fla. “Even room for a home brewery.”

“Barring the cigar lounge, at the top of the list for dads is — not surprisingly — the original man cave, namely the garage, said Elliott. Dads have also asked for cabinets on porches big enough to install a small fridge, a shaded platform for a grill, or storage sheds for pool games and floating toys, he said. Dads spend time really evaluating the potential a garage has and “will it fit their jet skis or other toys, a workbench or, of course, that mountain of kids’ stuff,” he said.

“Of course, plenty of dads, like Chad King, a 42-year-old marine biologist who lives in Gilroy, Calif., are all about being practical when it comes to what they want in a home. “Good school district, not near busy streets so there’s no noise pollution, low crime rates, quality construction materials and everything up to code and permitted,” he said. Still, King looked for a house with a large garage for at least three cars “plus a man-cave or office far from the kids rooms so I don’t keep them up at night,” he said.

“And if dads can’t find the ideal space in a home, they’ll make it. Or at least have somebody else do it, said Frederick Wilson, an architect who co-founded the firm Morgante Wilson in Evanston, Ill.

“Wilson, a father of three who himself, created a separate space in his house for his Lionel trains and railroad memorabilia, and reported that he’s been asked to create special spaces for dads, including one for a client who wanted to mount his trophies from big game hunting trips. “[His] wife didn’t want the stuffed heads anywhere near the house,” he said. So Wilson designed a one-and-a-half-story study off the main floor with lots of natural light but kept it separate from the main floor.

“Another client wanted to mount his guitars and have a place to jam. Yet another wanted the wall of his study knocked out so he could stare at his classic cars in the garage. “Most guys have something they want to celebrate, but they don’t know how,” Wilson said.

“And if it’s not a man cave, it’s access to the great outdoors that fathers want, said Jerry James, president of Glenview, Ill.–based Edward R. James Homes, a residential developer. His company’s town house designs outside Chicago feature a square private outdoor deck on the main level that’s easily accessible from the kitchen and family room and is accessed through a den.

““The connected den can be used as a kids’ playroom where dad can keep an eye on them while relaxing and reading a book on the deck,” said James. “Or, if the den is used as a home office, the deck makes a nice change of scenery if dad is working from home for the day and wants to work outside on his laptop.”

“Karen Schmid, sales manager at Red Seal Homes in Northbrook, Ill., said the company’s Willow Lake development, which includes waterfront homes with deck and water rights along two natural lakes, was particularly popular with dads. “That’s been a huge pull for the guys,” she said, many of whom prize it for fishing and kayaking.

“A little more down-to-earth dad amenity is the outdoor kitchen. “It’s a popular upgrade for dads who not only want a fully equipped, dedicated space where they can show off their skills as family ‘grill master,’ but also have a great area for outdoor entertaining,” Wilson said.

“Greg Lukianoff, a 41-year-old attorney and father in Washington, D.C., is one of those budding grill masters. He said any outdoor grill needs to be connected to the house’s gas line so you don’t risk running out of gas while in the process of cooking or have to swap out propane cylinders. It’s also important to have the outside grill area connected to the kitchen, he said. “As someone who loves blackened fish, it’s also great for keeping your house smelling good,” he added.

“Lukianoff’s wife, Michelle, declined to comment.” (I love that last sentence.)

sancap GO MLS logoSanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity June 10-17, 2016

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Kimball Lodge #263 1/2 $415K, Sundial #F208 1/1 $439K.

No price reductions.

3 new sales: Sanibel Arms West #H1 2/2 listed at $529K, Compass Pointe #222 listed at $689K, Sundial #M301 2/2 listed at at $749K.

1 closed sale: White Caps #5 1/1 $505K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 6111 San-Cap Rd 5/4.3 $27M

6 price changes: 956 Dixie Beach Blvd 2/1 now $395K, 9292 Belding Dr 3/2.5 now $429K, 676 Emeril Ct 3/2 now $729.9K, 9468 Peaceful Dr 3/2 now $759K, 726 Cardium St 3/3 now $775K, 2479 Blind Pass Ct 3/2 now $1.1M.

4 new sales: 242 Christopher Ct 3/2 listed at $729K, 3335 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 listed at $779K, 641 Lake Murex Cir 4/3 listed at $975K, 513 Lighthouse Way 3/3 listed at $2.4M.

4 closed sales: 746 Cardium St 4/2 $599,998, 480 Peachtree Rd 3/3 $660K, 5753 Pine Tree Dr 3/4 $950K, 746 Windlass Way 4/3 $1.135M.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 2501 Wulfert Rd now $199K.9K.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 5639 Baltusrol Ct $235K.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings or price reductions.

1 new sale: Captiva Bay Villas #B 3/3.5 listed at $1.875M.

2 closed sales: Bayside Villas $5106 1/2 $275K, Bayside Villas #4301 3/3 $584K.

HOMES & LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

Enjoy your weekend & Happy Fathers Day to all the Dads!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

fathers-day-clip-art-FATHERS_DAY_HEADER

Lotsa Rain & Lotsa Shells


It has been another quiet few days on Sanibel. Luckily Tropical Storm Colin passed to the north, though it brought some much needed rain which has continued off and on through much of the week. By today, most of us are over it, but the rain continues. Certainly not a good week to be here on vacation if you are a sun-worshipper, but the shelling is amazing!

Rainy lighthouse sanibel-island

A few turtle and snowy plover nests were damaged from high water, but many remain on Sanibel’s both east and west end and Captiva. Turtle patrols are out checking nests every day. Interestingly those sea turtles do not lay all of their eggs at one time, so Mother Nature planned for events like these.

SanCapAssnLogoUnfortunately, it was another slow week for real estate too. Attendance was down yesterday at the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® meeting and the nine properties open for Caravan after the meeting had to deal with the buckets of rain that continued most of the day. No condos went under contract this week on either island, just two homes sold on Sanibel, none on Captiva. More details on the week’s action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service follow some news items below.

Hurricanes

santiva chronicleMost islanders do not like to think about hurricanes, but there was a nice article with some island history published in the “Santiva-Chronicle” on Monday, June 6.

rotary logoWith June the start of hurricane season, the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club had SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) Education Director Kristie Anders as their speaker at their meeting last week. This is the report that they provided to the paper.

SCCF logo“Well here it is the first week of June and we’re already talking about a tropical disturbance in the Caribbean.  Watchful eyes are keeping a lookout on this storm and are tracking it’s movements in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.  After all, we are now officially in Hurricane Season…June 1 through Nov. 30 and although early in hurricane season, these tropical disturbances can take unexpected twists and turns intensifying into full-blown hurricanes, at any time.

“Our Rotary speaker this week was Kristie Anders, SCCF education director, talking about hurricanes. She started out by giving us this statistic:  50% of our Island residents have never been through a hurricane season here on the Islands.  This is important to note, since this year the predictions “The 2015 hurricane season was somewhat benign in the Atlantic, but if La Nina kicks in this coming summer (as predicted), it could be a troubling season,” according to NASA climatologist Bill Patzert.  By the numbers: 14 named storms, 8 of those storms becoming hurricanes and 4 of those hurricanes becoming major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher)

“Anders said, “Hurricane season is a roll of the dice.”

“Kristie gave us a look-back at previous storms that have hit our area:

  • 1873 NO NAME a hurricane hit Punta Rassa wiping away all the buildings and demolishing the area with raging winds and a 14’ storm surge.
  • 1910 “The BIG STORM” hit the Islands destroying all the crops.
  • 1919 “Key West Hurricane” washed over the islands, salting the soil.
  • 1921 “The Tampa Bay Hurricane” Category 3 Captiva was split at Red Fish Pass.
  • 1926 “The Great Miami Hurricane” Category 4 This storm was very destructive to the Islands.  Captiva was severed from Sanibel when a hurricane storm surge created a new channel – Blind Pass.
  • 1960 “Hurricane Donna” Category 4 The dry hurricane.  Damage to the roads was caused by the tides that “crested four to six feet above normal.  Australian pines, insecurely anchored by wide-spreading but shallow roots, fell like tenpins across the main road that travels down the center of Sanibel and along the Captiva Gulf. Much of the Captiva road was impassable, parts of the Sanibel road were blocked under sand drifts, and tree falls. Upper Captiva washed away.”
  • And Now to Hurricane Charley – 2004 Hurricane Charley Category 4… winds of 131 mph.  Turns from simple tropical Storm to Hurricane…changes course from going to Tampa… hits dead on North Captiva, Captiva, and Sanibel.  Mandatory evacuation of Islands…some stayed…Islands closed.  Although 18-foot storm surge was predicted, luckily that wasn’t the case.  Wind and tornadoes disseminated fauna, foliage, and homes on the islands. The Islands had no functioning sewer system, electricity, or water.  Phone lines were downed.  Electricity was knocked out and not restore for about five days.  Roads were blocked with fallen trees and debris.  North Captiva Island was split in two by the hurricane.  Residents could not return to the Islands until roads were cleared.  Kristie and her husband Red lived on North Captiva and were caught off guard by Hurricane Charlie, they did not evacuate in time.  The National Weather Service and local meteorologists gave confusing information as to the direction of the storm and at some point, it was too late.  The damage to North Captiva was incredible, roofs were destroyed, windows blew in, and walls collapsed.  No electricity and no communication channels.  Boats and planes were destroyed; there was no way off the Island.  It wasn’t until the Monday after the storm that the National Guard arrived by boat to assess the damage to island property and secure property from vandalism. They realized Kristi and Red were not looters but residents of North Captiva. The soldiers helped in the cleanup of the Island.

“There were definite lessons learned by the residents that stayed on the Islands during the storms…don’t mess with Mother Nature.  Most of them definitely will not do that again.

“Resident hurricane passes are now available at Sanibel City Hall…don’t wait.  Hurricane forecasts give indications of the path of these storms…when it looks like the storm is coming this way, make hotel reservations…Kristie’s suggestion…somewhere near I-75.  Take forecasts of storm surges seriously.

Sanibel-Captiva Rotary will not be meeting at the Dunes Golf & Tennis Club for the next two months. On Friday, June 10, our meeting will take place at the Sanibel Shell museum starting with breakfast at 7 a.m.  Further meeting information, can be found at http://www.sanibelrotary.org or check our Facebook page Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club.  Guests are always welcomed at all of our San-Cap Rotary meetings.”

America’s Favorite Towns

Though it’s undoubtedly good for business, sometimes the locals cringe when Sanibel makes another “list”. Here’s one recently posted by “Travel + Leisure” magazine. According to the article:

“Travel + Leisure’s America’s Favorite Places survey opened on 10/8/2015 and closed on 04/15/2016. It was open to everyone, and ran alongside a sweepstakes. The open-response survey asked respondents to submit their favorite place and rate it in over 65 categories, including affordability, notable restaurants, and public parks. Towns were defined as governed bodies with a population less than 100,000. After discarding incomplete ballots and cities that received less than 8 votes, each entry was ranked according to an average score.”

Here are the top 30 favorite towns:

30. Sedonz, AZ
29. Hilton Head, SC
28. Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
27. Naples, FL
26. Key West, FL
25. Duluth, MN
24. Laguna Beach, CA
23. Charlottesville, VA
22. Santa Barbara, CA
21. Newport, RI
20. Williamsburg, VA
19. Aspen, CO
18. Red River, NM

Lighthouse1

Sanibel Island

 

17. Sanibel Island, FL
16. Durango, CO
15. Cape May, NJ
14. Pigeon Forge, TN
13. La Jolla, CA
12. Sarasota, FL
11. Sonoma, CA
10. Asheville, NC
9. Traverse City, MI
8. Staunton, VA
7. Portland, ME
6. Harrisonburg, VA
5. Atlantic City, NJ
4. St. Augustine, FL
3. Sante Fe, NM
2. Provincetown, MA
1. Park City, UT

Sanibel StoopNice to see that five of the top 30 are in Florida. The write-up about Sanibel Island says, it “scored highly as a beach vacation and vacation getaway, but it enhanced both of these standings by getting a perfect score for free things to do.

“Indeed, the most popular thing to do here costs nothing: browsing the multitudes of seashells (there are reportedly 200 different kinds) on the beaches, an action known as the Sanibel Stoop…The island also ranked well for affordable cuisine….”

What is Your Opinion of Sanibel’s Civic Core Project?

As posted this week in several local publications, the Sanibel Civic Core group wants to know your opinion of the project and has created a website (sanibelccp.org) where citizens may see details and comment.

Civic Core Concept 02-16

The Civic Core project would rebuild BIG ARTS and move the Center-4-Life to the Civic Core campus near BIG ARTS, City Hall, and the Library. It would be a multi-purpose facility designed to host a variety of different events. It would add about 400 parking spaces and have the benefit of relieving some of the traffic congestion on Periwinkle Way during events.

The Civic Core project weighs in with a hefty $42 million price tag with the money coming from – grants totaling $22 million, $12 million from BIG ARTS, and $8 million from Sanibel taxpayers which would have to be approved in a ballot referendum.

The community’s ultimate opinion on the Civic Core project will be decided in the voting booth, but before that happens the Civic and Cultural Core Working Group has posted the website to ensure that voters are informed. Check it out at www.sanibelccp.org.

Property Values Up Throughout Lee County

Good news posted on-line at CaptivaSanibel.com on Wednesday. It says:

“For the fourth year in a row, property values in Lee County continue to increase according to the preliminary estimated Taxable Values for 2016 released late last month and that increase is 6.62% countywide.

LeePALogo.png“We have 91 taxing authorities in Lee County and there are no negative percentages anywhere in the county,” said Lee Property Appraiser Ken Wilkinson. “I think they will all be pleased. Of course, we have another month to work on the figures so the value could still go up some as we check for errors.”

“The total taxable value on new construction countywide rose from $972.5 million in 2015 to over $1.3 billion for 2016. New construction figures in Sanibel rose from more than $13 million last year to more than $18 million this year.

“We had a surge in new construction from 2015 to 2016,” Mayor Kevin Ruane said. “I think when the economy improves more people take advantage of that.” He said there are around 170 lots on Sanibel that are still buildable.

“Wilkinson’s office faces a July 1 deadline to notify the taxing authorities of their final estimate value figures, which will then be used by government agencies to set the millage rate through two required public hearings.

Those figures also will be sent to Tallahassee for approval, but, Wilkinson said, the state has never not approved the figures. The final estimate figures will be mailed to every property owner in the form of TRIM notices in mid-August.

“After the TRIM notices arrive, property owners then have 25 days to contact the appraiser’s office to appeal their taxable value if they think it is too high.

“Cape Coral’s total taxable property values are up 6.64% over 2015. Fort Myers Beach values rose by 6.72%, Sanibel by 3.98% and Fort Myers increased by 8.44%.

“Ruane said Sanibel did not go down 45 to 50% like other places did in 2007 and when considering an increase in percentage it is hard to go up as much when the decrease is not as large. “We historically have a better percentage between June and July,” he said, adding that he believes they will be closer to 5% once July comes.

“Ruane said the difference between Sanibel’s increase and Cape Coral and Fort Myers is those cities are still down 25%.

Sanibelcityseal logo“We are in single digits. They have to make up more than 20% than I do,” he said. Ruane said the percentage is kind of exactly where he thought they were going to be. “Would I like property values to go up more, yes, (but) Sanibel values continue to rise,” he said. “We continue to be noted as a great place to come.”

“The City Council will discuss a preliminary budget at its Tuesday, June 7 meeting, which Ruane said includes a budget planned around 3 and 4% for property values.

“Among the local fire districts, Upper Captiva increased the least, just 0.25%, and Fort Myers Beach rose the most at 6.06%. Captiva Fire District increased just 0.44%, Matlacha-Pine Island by 5.06, North Fort Myers by 5.47 and Sanibel by 3.84%. Lehigh fire district opted out of the county tax roll for 2016 by passing a Fire Service Assessment tax instead.

“Property values started to rise in Lee County overall three years ago while some communities still saw decreases. Most property in the county increased for 2013 with few exceptions. These last two years every city, town and taxing district in the county is seeing higher values. The Lee County market lost half of its total value between 2007 and 2013 when the market started to turn around.

“The annual process is complete when tax bills start arriving in property owners’ mailboxes in November.”

4th of July on Sanibel

In less than a month, the islands again will be celebrating another holiday. Wondering what’s in store for July 4th here this year? Morning, noon, and night, the line-up is below:

  • 2003 BonneParade

    An oldie

    26th Annual Independence Day Parade – Beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the corner of Tarpon Bay Road and Periwinkle Way, the parade travels down Periwinkle Way to Casa Ybel Road. It is small town fun at its finest with many local businesses, organizations, community members and families participating in decorated vehicles and tossing goodies and holiday mementos to parade watchers. A good vantage point is the lawn in front of SanibelSusan Realty or just across the street under the shade trees bordering Community Park. Wear your red, white, and blue, and bring your lawn chair or blanket to join in the festivities!

  • 2016 July 4 Road Rally37th Optimists Club July 4th Road Rally – Register your team to rally against others as you follow a predetermined course around both islands while solving puzzles and guessing clues. A team includes a vehicle, driver, navigator, and spotter(s). The event begins at noon in The Timbers/Sanibel Grill parking lot with staggered start times (a vehicle begins every 2 minutes). It also ends there with an afterglow party where prizes are awarded for time, mileage, the most correct answers to the quiz, best decorated vehicle, and the team that traveled the farthest to get there. More info and entry forms on the club’s website and on their Facebook page at Sanibel-Captiva Optimist Club, or at Bailey’s General Store, Sanibel Café, Sanibel-Captiva Community Bank, in the local papers, or at the starting line just before the event. Don’t think you have to know the island to win, following the directions and being observant are key!
  • fireworks clip artFireworks – At dusk, the causeway islands are where many residents and visitors gather to watch the fireworks which are launched right at dark from the bayside end of Bailey Road. Better get there early to get a spot. Or, see them from the water. Adventures in Paradise has a Sanibel Fireworks Cruise. You can book on-line at www.AdventuresinParadiseInc.com.

Sanibel Historical Museum Free Admission Day

Museum LogoFor the 3rd year, The Sanibel Historical Museum and Village is offering free admission for all visitors on Saturday, June 18. This time of the year, the Museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a full guided tour at 10:30 a.m.

The museum closes for the summer on August 1, reopening October 18. More info at http://www.sanibelmuseum.org.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity June 3-10, 2016

Sanibel

CONDOS

1 new listing: Tarpon Beach #110 2/2 $799K.

2 price changes: Sanibel Inn #3512 2/2 now $689K, Sundial East #M301 2/2 now $749K.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: Clam Shell #E 3/2.5 $995K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 1114 Captains Walk St 3/3 $1.095M.

7 price changes: 1746 Windward Way 3/2 now $569K, 3118 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $599.9K, 5749 Pine Tree Dr 3/3 now $675K, 726 Cardium St 3/3 now $775K, 1501 Sand Castle Rd 5/3.5 now $999K, 792 Birdie View Pt 3/3.5 now $999K, 1238 Isabel Dr 5/3/2 now $3.499M.

2 new sales: 2115 Sunset Cir 3/2 listed at $459K, 1487 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 listed at $799K.

6 closed sales: 441 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $550K, 938 Strangler Fig Ln 2/2 $571.5K, 1858 Farm Trail 3/2 $610K, 1130 Junonia St 3/2 $669K, 9027 Mockingbird Dr 4/3 $755K, 882 Beach Rd 4/3 $1.3M.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 5121 SanibelCaptiva Rd now $215,555.

1 new sale: 1837 Buckthorn Ln listed at $439.9K.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

Nothing to report.

HOMES

1 new listing: 31 Urchin Ct 3/3 $975K.

2 price changes: 35 Sea Hibiscus Ct 3/2 now $350K, 11500 Chapin Ln 4/4.5 now $1.795M.

No new or closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

(This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market. The information provided represents general real3 estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.)

 Until next Friday, bring on the sun! 

(Oops, it’s 3:10 p.m. & the sun just peeked out, let’s hope it stays!)

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

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Another Happy June on Sanibel/Captiva


sun & rainIt’s SanibelSusan reporting that in typical fashion, the islands’ 23rd Annual Sam Bailey Islander Night at Hammond Stadium Wednesday night again was rained out. After several weeks of beautiful weather, it should have been no surprise when the first big downpour of the rainy season began just as the parade was scheduled to start. It has happened many times before and June 1 is the beginning of hurricane season.

Continuing the summer trend, more showers are expected later today and through the weekend with all of us watching the tropical storm expected to develop in the gulf early next week. That certainly will not make next week’s vacationers happy, but may result in good shelling and more folks wanting to view property.

At SanibelSusan Realty

Activity-wise in the office, it has been quiet. Even the holiday weekend was very quiet, probably weather-related, as all days were fabulous for the beach. A few listings shown and some phone/email inquiries, but not many – certainly nothing like when it’s snowing somewhere!

Yesterday, The SanibelSusan Team was happy to receive a new listing at Beachcomber (gulf-front ~2600 sq. ft.) which will be posted in the islands’ Multiple Listing Service as soon as we receive a couple of clarifications from the sellers.

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View from our new listing at Beachcomber #A102

 

May is always an in-between month here, post “high” season, but pre “summer” season. A quick snapshot of the islands’ May real estate sales show that it was not a month with much real estate action.

May Sanibel Sales

In May, were just five new Sanibel home sales with no contingencies (three inland priced under $530K, one on a deep-water canal (asking price $1.545M) and one bay-front in Ferry Landing (asking price $1.995M)).

Another 13 Sanibel homes went under contract with contingencies (four inland priced under $535K, five near the beach (priced from $569K to $600K), one in Beachview (asking $1.195M), one in Gulf Pines (asking $1.479M), one deep-water canal (asking $1.548M), and a unique one across the street from the beach (asking $1.595M)).

In May, Sanibel condos did not have as much action as homes. Just two Sanibel condos went under contract with no contingencies: a 1-bedroom at Sundial (asking $299K) and a recently-remodeled Lighthouse Point bay-front unit (asking $830K).

Another four condos went under contract with contingencies: a Seashells unit (asking $379K), a 1st floor Sanibel Moorings 2 bedrm with peek of gulf (asking $449K), a 3-bedrm Heron-model at The Sanctuary (asking $665K), and a beach-front 2-bedroom at Sanddollar (asking $870K).

During the same time, in May, just two Sanibel lots went under contract: one near beach (asking $244.9K) and one on the bayou (asking $1.295M). Both contracts have contingencies.

May Captiva Sales

In May on Captiva, four homes went under contract with contingencies (two at Sunset Captiva asking $885K and $995K, one gulf-front asking $3.998M, and one on Roosevelt Channel asking $4.8M).

Also in May, three Captiva condos in South Seas Plantation went under contract, all with contingencies. Asking prices ranging from a 1-bedroom Bayside Villas for $289K to a 2-bedroom Tennis Villas for $405K, to a Bayside Villas 3 bedroom for $629.9K

A Captiva gulf-front lot went under contract (with contingencies) in May too, asking price $4.999M.

Below are a few other news items followed by the action posted in the Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing Service since last Friday.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Specialist Designation

ASSOC LogoWednesday, for the fifth year, SanibelSusan taught the Resort & Second-Home module to those Realtors® training to receive their Sanibel & Captiva Islands Specialist designation. This designation is a 12-part educational series, offered each summer by the local Association of Realtors. The coursework needs to be completed over a 2-year period and provides instruction to those looking to specialize in working the Sanibel/Captiva market.

2016 Resort ClassI authored the module that I teach, update it each year, and always enjoy the teaching experience – getting as much in return as I give. It was especially fun this year since my students ranged from some new Realtors® to those with many years of real estate experience, but in other parts of the country.

Here are my students adorned in the funny resort-wear they earned for answering questions correctly in my pop quiz.

1st National Seashell Day

As reported in Monday’s “Santiva-Chronicle”:

2016 National Seashell Day“As the Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau said, it’s official. June 20 has been proclaimed National Seashell Day. The news is also out that the first National Seashell Day will be on Good Morning America.

“The VCB (Visitors Convention Bureau) already has a National Seashell Day page on its website. Visitors to the page can enter the “Shell Yeah! Sweepstakes,” for which the grand prize is three nights for four at Sanibel Inn, a Captiva Cruises shelling cruise to Cayo Costa and the chance to go shelling with Pam Rambo. The grand prize is enough to make any Sanibel sheller nod with approval.

“Rambo had the news about Good Morning America on her amazing blog iloveshelling.com. The blog says Ginger Zee, Good Morning America and ABC’s chief meteorologist, will be here on June 20. We don’t know the exact details yet other than it will be in the morning….

“The VCB’s idea for National Seashell Day will get the word out to people of all places about the wonders of shells on our beaches, which is good for anything having to do with shells. The VCB also hopes it will be a driver for tourism….”

Fishing Pier Rehab Project

sanibel fishing pier.jpgOn Tuesday next week (June 6), the Sanibel Fishing Pier at Lighthouse Beach Park will be closed temporarily due to a necessary rehabilitation project. Construction is expected to continue through August 2016.

Top 10 Outdoor Features, Where Most Are, & What They’ll Pay

realtor.comPosted in Tuesday’s “DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS”, you will see Naples, FL on the list below. Buyers all over Southwest Florida like outdoor kitchens!

“As temperatures heat up, more home owners and buyers are taking a closer look at their home’s outdoor features. Realtor.com®’s research team took a look at 10 popular outdoor home features to find the premium that owners will pay. They also identified the regions of the country that are most likely to feature these popular outdoor amenities.

Amenity                        Premium           Where You’ll Most Likely Find Them

Tree houses                     5.2%                Asheville, N.C.

Gazebo                              7.6%                McAllen, Texas

Putting green                 11.4%               Phoenix

Hot tub                             11.8%               Bend, Ore.

Tiki bar                             13.8%               Key West, Fla.

Tennis court                   14.6%               Los Angeles

Outdoor fireplace           21.5%               Dallas, Texas

Outdoor kitchen             26.2%               Naples, Fla.

Private dock                     44.7%               Traverse City, Mich.

Infinity pool                      56%                 Kahului, Hawaii”

Red-Hot South Florida Home Prices Are Cooling Off

miami herald logoMuch like island Realtors® often look to activity in larger complexes and communities here as bellwethers of the local market, we also look to bigger East Coast communities to foretell what may be in the future. The below article is from the May 31 “Miami Herald”.

“So far in 2016, South Florida home prices are growing at the slowest pace since the real-estate market began to recover four years ago.

“Home prices in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties rose 6.2% between March 2015 and March 2016, according to the closely watched S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Indices. They grew 8.7% between March 2014 and March 2015, and at a double-digit clip for much of 2013 and 2014, fueled mainly by red-hot demand from foreign investors. But a strong dollar and troubled economies abroad have stymied the flow of cash into local real estate.

“Residential home sales fell in Miami-Dade in April, according to Realtors’ data. Weak demand could help make homes more affordable for locals — if wage growth keeps picking up and developers start building more units for the lower tiers of the market.

“The nation’s hottest housing markets are in Portland (12.3%), Seattle (10.8%), Denver (10%), San Francisco (8.5%) and Dallas (8.5%). Home prices in the Tampa area (7.6%) also grew faster than they did in Miami in March.”

Sanibel Prescribed Burns Begin Today

Sanibelcityseal logoAs described in an earlier update, Sanibel will have prescribed burns in six different areas this summer, so if you are on the island today do not be surprised if you smell smoke.

SCCF logoSCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation and the City of Sanibel are scheduled to perform a prescribed burn of about 19 acres of the Sanibel Gardens Preserve today. (That’s just west of Tarpon Bay Rd. on Island Inn Rd.)

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity May 27-June 3, 2016

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Colonnades #8 1/1 $229K, Sandalfoot #5A1 2/2 $799K.

1 price change: Tanglewood #1A 3/2 now $1,163,999.

1 new sale: Blind Pass #A102 2/2 listed at $399K.

3 closed sales: Sanibel Arms #E2 1/1 $347.5K, Loggerhead Cay #474 2/2 $489.9K, Donax Village #14 2/2 $505K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 732 Windlass Way 4/3.5 $1.395M.

5 price changes: 1478 Albatross Rd 3/2 now $679K, 242 Christofer Ct 3/2 now $729K, 232 Robinwood Cir 4/3 now $1.195M, 932 Whelk Dr 3/3 now $1.449M, 1743 Venus Dr 4/3.5 now $1.75M.

3 new sales: 376 Lake Murex Blvd 3/2 listed at $598K, 1245 Isabel Rd 3/3.5 listed at $1.548M, 4257 West Gulf Dr 4/4.5 listed at $4.495M

9 closed sales: 575 Piedmont Rd 3/2 $410K, 2114 Egret Cir 3/2 $475K, 1322 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $500K, 1380 Jamaica Dr 2/2 $570K, 5303 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/2 $622K, 5267 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/2 $750K, 595 Birdsong Pl 4/2 $835K, 2388 Wulfert Rd 3/4 $1M, 283 Ferry Landing Dr 3/2 $1.675M.

LOTS

3 new listings: 9426 Sage Ct $287K, 223 Robinwood Cir $299K, 2288 Starfish Ln $499K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 3013 Poinciana Cir listed at $244.9K.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

2 new sales: Tennis Villas #3231 2/2 listed at $405K, Bayside Villas #5302 3/3 listed at $629.9K.

No closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

3 closed sales: 19 Urchin Ct 2/2.5 $855K, 15 Seascape Ct 3/2.5 $985K, 16500 Captiva Dr 5/5 $4.225M.

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.)

rain‘til next Friday, here’s hoping the raindrops stay away & the sunsets continue like the one below!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

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Hibiscus, Frangipani, Bougainvillea, oh my…


It’s SanibelSusan reporting that even with the upcoming 3-day holiday weekend, it has been another quiet week on the islands.

This year, many prospective visitors and buyers have inquired about water quality. This week, surrounding waters – both bay and gulf – are back to a clear glistening bright blue. Social media is full of terrific photos. Here’s a favorite.

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Below are a few news items, followed by the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service over the last seven days.

Island Abloom

In addition to the sparkling waters creating some wonderful photo opportunities, many trees here are in bright bloom. May is always a special month for that.

In my travels this week to Sanibel Moorings, the crab apple, orchid, and Royal Poinciana trees were just past their prime, while in The Dunes I spied flowering hibiscus and frangipani.

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Hibiscus tree on Sand Castle Road in The Dunes.

 

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Sanibel Moorings where their grounds officially became a botanical garden in 2009. Public tours are available Tuesdays at 9 a.m., but advance appointments needed.

 

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Frangipani blooming in The Dunes.

 

My yard too is busting out in bloom.

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My favorite tree is the flowering bougainvillea, but the smaller bougainvillea, drift roses, & geraniums are happy in May too!

Quiet May

I try to get out of the office every day for a short lunch with business colleagues. Being in a small office and involved in the Realtor® leadership team, it’s a good way to stay in the loop and up-to-date on island scoop. When workload permits, it has been my routine for years. Through that time I’ve found that noon-time occupancy at island restaurants is a good gauge of how busy the islands are. When popular spots have few patrons, and the out-of-the-way spots are empty, you know things are slow. Those were the findings this week.

So, if you are planning a future trip to the islands, be sure and add May as an optimum time. Not only is it beautiful and the weather great, but it is quiet too! Also a good time to look at real estate since fewer properties are occupied.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

Sanibel realtors logoThe islands Association of Realtors® met yesterday for a Caravan Meeting. Attendance was light at this meeting too.

Since through the summer, the Association meets only every two weeks, there were several announcements including our new listing at Loggerhead Cay #264 (which this year should gross a whopping $60K).

View.jpg

View from Loggerhead Cay #264, top floor, asking $598,300

I announced two listing price reductions too (Coquina Beach #3G to $499K and Sanibel Moorings #822 to $449K).

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The gulf in front of Coquina Beach.

 

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Sanibel Moorings is like a mini-resort, this is just one of the pools.

 

Other Realtor® announcements included several other new listings. It’s an unusual time of the year for those.

Today, Sanibel condo inventory is back up over 100 units again, 78 have sold/closed year-to-date. There are 159 Sanibel homes for sale, with 89 sold/closed this year. Average condo asking price is $792K. Average home price $1.365M.

In Captiva, 33 condos are for sale, 9 have sold/closed this year. There also are 33 Captiva homes for sale, with 14 sold/closed so far in 2016. Average condo asking price is $871K. Average home price $3.421M.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity May 20-27, 2016

Sanibel

CONDOS

5 new listings: Mariner Pointe #813 2/2 $449K, Compass Point #222 2/2 $689K, Sundial West #A203 1/1 $724.5K, Loggerhead Cay #103 2/2 $1.079M, High Tide #A302 3/2 $1.795M.

5 price changes: Blind Pass #A102 2/2 now $399K, Coquina Beach #3G 2/2 now $499K (our listing), Surfside 12 #B1 3/2 now $899K, Surfside 12 #B3 3/2 now $1.124M, Pine Cove #102 3/2 now $1.479M.

2 new sales: Seashells #14 2/2 listed at $379K, Sanibel Moorings #421 2/2 listed at $449K.

5 closed sales: Coquina Beach #5D 2/2 $353K, Sanibel Siesta #402 2/2 $515K, Lighthouse Point #325 2/2 $815K, Yacht Haven #2 3/2 $925K, Seascape #301 3/3 $1.15M.

HOMES

6 new listings: 610 Donax St 5/3 multi-family (lease-hold) $450K, 5240 Caloosa End Ln 3/3 $1.0799M, 615 Hideaway Ct 3/2.5 $1.195M, 2251 Starfish Ln 4/3.5 $1.295M, 519 Kinzie Island Ct 3/2.5 $1.45M, 1842 Woodring Rd 3/3.5 $2.449M.

5 price changes: 340 East Gulf Dr 2/2 now $599K, 4648 Buck Key Rd 3/2 now $619K, 588 Hideaway Ct 3/2 now $744.5K, 1112 Olga Ave 6/2.5 duplex now $874.5K, 584 Kinzie Island Ct 3/4 now $1.795M.

3 new sales: 441 Lake Murex Cir 3/3 listed at $569K, 938 Strangler Fig Ln 2/2 listed at $599K, 4014 West Gulf Dr 3/2/2 listed at $1.595M.

5 closed sales: 1216 Par View Dr 3/2 $715K, 1438 Albatross Rd 4/3 $770K, 841 Lindgren Blvd 2/2 $850K, 767 Sand Dollar Dr 3/2 $1.3M, 830 Limpet Dr 4/4.5 $1.46M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 2479 Harbour Ln $535K.

1 price change: 6519 Pine Ave now $895K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

Nothing to report.

HOMES

Nothing to report.

LOTS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 16298 Captiva Dr listed at $4.999M.

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.)

Memorial Day Eagle FlagHappy Memorial Day Weekend!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

It’s a Happy May on Sanibel & Captiva


SanibelSusan here reporting another quiet week on the islands. There were no traffic directors at the Periwinkle intersections today and even the resorts have vacancies – a typical pre-summer pattern – but also a wonderful time to be here. Most locals swear that May and October are the best months on the islands – great weather and easy maneuvering when enjoying “all” of the things to do here – and the Royal Poinciana are in bloom in all their splendor!

 

LakeMurexRoyal1

In the island real estate world, there was no Realtor® Caravan Meeting yesterday. Considering that it is “after season” though, a surprising number of new Sanibel listings came on the market this week (12 over the last seven days). There also were nine price reductions, and ten closings. Not so much real estate action on Captiva, however, where there were no new listings, but four price reductions, and three new sales.

Sanibel realtors logoIt’s a terrific time to be come to look at property as most listings are easy to view and probably will be until schools are out and summer vacationers start arriving.

The details of the activity posted since last Friday in the Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing Service follow a few news items below.

23rd Annual Sam Bailey’s Island Night

islands-night-logoOn Wednesday, June 1, Island Night will return to Hammond Stadium at CenturyLink Sports Complex when the Fort Myers Miracle play the St. Lucie Mets. This is the 23rd year of this annual community tradition that encourages islanders to come together for a fun evening of baseball and camaraderie. Pre-game festivities with parade begin at 5:30 p.m. with the game at 7:05 p.m. Tickets are free and available at Bailey’s General Store (both in Bailey’s Center and at Sundial Beach Resort & Spa) and at event sponsors which include island service organizations. Again this year, the Sanibel-Captiva Kiwanis Club and the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club will be in a friendly competition to support local charities.

2016 Sanibel Prescribed Burns

Sanibelcityseal logoYesterday, Sanibel’s Natural Resources Department issued the following news release about the upcoming prescribed burns:

“During the 2016 spring/summer season, the Sanibel Prescribed Fire Partnership will be looking to conduct prescribed burns on the following conservation lands:

  • Bailey Tract (USFWS J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge)
  • Frannies/Johnston Tract (SCCF)
  • Sanibel Gardens Preserve (City of Sanibel/SCCF)
  • South Center Tract & Postell Tract (SCCF & City of Sanibel)
  • Gulfside City Park Extension (City of Sanibel)

To view a map of the conservation lands, please click here.

“We would like to invite the public to an informational meeting on Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. in the “Ding” Darling Visitor and Education Center to discuss the burn plans and address any questions or concerns.

“When forecasted conditions are favorable, the Sanibel Prescribed Fire Partnership will issue further notification that a prescribed burn is possible and identify the specific location of the burn.  All prescribed fires must be authorized by the Florida Forest Service on the morning of the scheduled burn.  A change in the forecast conditions may result in cancellation of the planned burn.  A prescribed fire will NOT be conducted if the prescription conditions cannot be met prior to ignition or if conditions change after the prescribed fire has been ignited.

“A burn plan, or “prescription,” has been established for the priority areas within these conservation lands.  The prescription details the required conditions that must exist in order for a prescribed burn to take place.  These include environmental conditions such as soil moisture, fuel conditions, and recent rainfall as well as forecasted and actual weather conditions including temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and wind direction.  Following a predefined prescription allows fire management officers to establish the desired fire behavior (intensity, flame length, direction of fire spread and smoke).  The prescription also identifies the number of qualified fire personnel needed to conduct the burn as well as the types and number of equipment required to safely complete the burn.

Why are prescribed fires needed?

“Fire is a natural part of Florida’s ecosystem, historically set by lightning. Because of this history of periodic fires many of Florida’s natural communities are adapted to burning. Fire removes old vegetation, promotes new growth of native vegetation and suppresses the growth of non-native invasive plants. In the absence of fire many plant communities are displaced by dense, woody vegetation which can reduce plant diversity and eliminate foraging opportunities for the island’s wildlife. Species such as the gopher tortoise, eastern indigo snakes, and the Sanibel rice rat all depend on a fire maintained ecosystem.  In addition to the natural benefits of fire, carefully planning and conducting managed burns can prevent the likelihood of catastrophic wildfires and help preserve the natural ecology of the area.   This technique, called “prescribed fire,” reduces the amount of vegetation – or “fuel”-that would be available in the event of a wildfire.

Why can’t prescribed burns be conducted some other time?

“The window of opportunity for conducting prescribed burns in southwest Florida is very narrow and may vary from year to year.  By mid to late spring, soils and fuels are often too dry and prescribed fires may be prohibited by State authorities.  By mid- to late summer, soils on Sanibel are often too wet, humidity is high, and afternoon thunderstorms render wind conditions unsuitable.  Plus, on any given day all the conditions detailed in the prescription must be met and personnel and resources must be available to conduct the burn.  To maximize our opportunities for conducting prescribed fires, the Sanibel Prescribed Fire Partnership has identified a number of priority burn sites for 2016.  Because the prescription requirements for each site are different, this provides us with the flexibility to determine if the forecast conditions will meet the prescription requirements for any of the priority burns sites and then to schedule the prescribed fire accordingly.

What can I expect on the day of a prescribed burn?

“Depending on the wind direction and strength, it may be possible to see or smell smoke.   The fire prescription identifies the specific wind conditions necessary to achieve the burn objectives while minimizing smoke impacts to roads and communities.  However, smoke and ash associated with a prescribed burn cannot be prevented.  Smoke sensitive individuals should keep their windows closed and avoid outdoor activities in the affected areas.  If you would like to be registered on the City’s list of smoke sensitive individuals, please contact Joel Caouette in the City’s Natural Resources Department at (239) 472-3700.  Once registered, the City will notify you in advance of any prescribed burn on Sanibel.

“During the prescribed burn operations, residents and visitors are encouraged to:

  • close windows
  • cover pools
  • move cars and furniture indoors
  • stay indoors to minimize the impacts from smoke
  • visit other areas of the Island away from the burn site
  • abide by all signs, road closures, and instructions about closed areas provided by law enforcement and fire personnel

“After the prescribed burn has been completed, there may be occasional smoke or burning embers seen from the burned area for several days.   Fire personnel will monitor the burned area and adjacent roads, day and night, taking all precautions and maintaining readiness to minimize fire activity and smoke impacts to the public.  Do not be alarmed if you see smoke or burning embers within a burned area.

Is Sanibel at risk for wildfires?

“Of course!  However, prescribed fires, planned and carefully conducted by well-trained and experienced fire personnel are a cost-effective way to reduce fuel loads on Sanibel and reduce the risk of a catastrophic wildfire.  To address safety and wildland fire issues on Sanibel, the City of Sanibel, the Sanibel Fire and Rescue District, the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge formed the “Sanibel Firewise Task Force.”  To reduce the risk of wildfire around your home, the Sanibel Firewise Task Force recommends that you:

  • Trim dead palm fronds from trees
  • Trim tall grasses near the home
  • Prune large, leafy hardwood trees so the lowest branches are six to ten feet above the ground
  • Do not store combustible materials such as gasoline containers, firewood, and building supplies under or around the home, and
  • Keep mulch and other landscaping material well watered

“For additional information regarding fire and prescribed burning on Sanibel, please contact the City of Sanibel Natural Resources Department at (239) 472-3700.

Watch Out for Inflation

realtor logoAs follow-up to the 2016 National Association of Realtors® (NAR) Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo in Washington, DC last week, here are some predictions from NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun as reported in Friday’s “Daily Real Estate News”:

“Home sales will grow modestly this year, but a continuing inventory shortage will keep upward pressure on prices and make it hard for many people to buy, even though interest rates remain low…

“Yun predicted existing home sales will rise to 5.5 million at the end of the year, up slightly from 5.4 million last year. New-home sales will rise to 540,000 units from half a million, but because that segment of the market is currently so far below historical levels, the gains won’t come close to closing the inventory gap, Yun said.

What’s more, most new homes are at higher price points, exacerbating affordability struggles for first-time and moderate-income home buyers. Yun said larger homes are the most profitable for builders, who have to worry about meeting local ordinances and other costs. He added that most new homes come on the market at more than $300,000.

“The West saw home prices rise 35% over the last three years, making that the least affordable part of the country and dampening sales there, he said. While sales increased almost 20% last year in the Northeast, they dropped almost 10% in the West.

“Inventory shortages continue to be a main driver of price increases, which were almost 7% nationally last year. The increase far outpaced wage gains, which were up only about 2%. Yun is forecasting prices to rise another 4.5% this year.

“Continuing low interest rates are a bright spot, but Yun warned that when inflation picks up, mortgage rates will follow suit. Yun said today’s low consumer price index (CPI), at about 1.7%, doesn’t reflect the rise in prices people are seeing on everyday items because low gas prices are keeping the broader index down.

“But CPI won’t stay low forever. Yun said the monthly rental rate tenants pay is going up (almost 4% this year, a seven-year high) and that will send the broader index up. When that happens, the Federal Reserve will raise the short-term interest rate it charges banks, which in turn will impact mortgage rates.

“Right now he’s forecasting mortgage rates to be at 3.9% at the end of this year, about where they were last year, and to rise to 4.6% in 2017. Yun identified 6% as a mortgage-rate threshold, noting anything much higher than that will curb home sales. “If rates get to 7 or 8%,” he said, “watch out.”

“Bottom line: Look for modest market growth this year and next, but as long as inventory shortages persist, homes will become increasingly unaffordable. Once mortgage rates start going up, which they could do as rental rates continue rising, sales will be hurt.”

What Makes a Smart Home Smart?

smart-home-essentials-for-living-85947231Interesting info posted last week on FloridaRealtors® and sourced to “Smart Home Glossary,” and “Smart Home and Internet of Things FAQ,” CRT Labs (May 2016)

“More consumers than ever see the benefits of buying a home with smart technology. A 2016 Coldwell Banker survey found that owners believe smart home technology makes their home safer, saves them money and saves them time.

“The same survey also found that 54% of homeowners would buy or install smart home products if they were selling their home because they believe it would make the home sell faster.

“In order to help agents and consumers understand the common smart home benefits and buzzwords, CRT Labs put together a guide. Here are some highlights:

Smart home terms and facts

What are the benefits of smart home technology?

“Smart home technology automates household tasks like adjusting a home’s temperature, unlocking the front door or opening the garage door using voice-activation devices. Smart devices can work together to offer owners safety by alerting them if something in their home seems amiss, and it can save owners money by automatically controlling the temperature and energy of a home. Insurance companies and utility companies may offer reduced rates and rebates for homes with smart devices.

Who owns the data, how is it used and are there security risks?

“A home’s smart home data can be used in a variety of ways, according to CRT Labs. Data is “generally used by smart device companies to improve product development and provide additional services to their customers,” but: “You should also read the vendor’s privacy policy to see what they are legally allowed to do with the data. They may allow themselves to sell your data to third parties, so read carefully.”

What’s the impact on selling prices?

“On a large scale, the financial impact is yet to be seen since the technology is so new, but survey results showed that 72% of millennial owners would spend $1,500 or more to add smart home technology. Fifty-nine percent of parents with children would also pay more for a smart home, according to Coldwell Banker’s survey.

3 smart home phrases to know:

IoT (Internet of Things): This buzzword describes automated devices like lights, thermostats and locks that work together and are connected by the Internet. IoT products use data to simplify things that previously weren’t automated.

Hub: In the world of smart homes, a hub is almost like a universal remote, according to CRT Labs. A hub is the main device that connects all of the different smart home products together so they’re all automated.

SmartMeter: These electric and gas meters help owners monitor their utility usage by sending real time meter readings.”

Leaving Your Property for the Summer

Lcec logoSome excellent tips were posted this month in “LCEC News” (Lee County Electric Cooperative):

“If you are leaving your home for the summer, there are some very important tasks you should consider to keep your home in tip-top shape while you’re gone:

  • Enroll in LCEC kiloWATCH so you can be alerted of any unusual electricity usage. Sign up at www.lcec.net.
  • Avoid mildew damage by installing a timer on the air conditioner to cycle the air for two hours per day. Or install a humidistat and set it to cycle when indoor humidity reaches 65%.
  • Unplug the water heater.
  • Leave all interior doors open to promote airflow. Space out clothing, shoes, and other stored materials for the same reason.
  • Fill jugs of tap water to put inside the refrigerator/freezer – a full unit will use less power than an empty one.
  • Finally, have a neighbor, friend, or professional house sitter check your home periodically during your absence.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity May 13-20, 2016

sancap GO MLS logoSanibel

CONDOS

3 new listings: Tennisplace #D22 1/1 $249.9K, Loggerhead Cay #152 2/2 $999K, Pine Cove #104 3/2 $1.495M.

3 price changes: Sanibel Moorings #822 2/2 now $449K (our listing), Mariner Pointe #733 2/2 now $519K, Loggerhead Cay #211 2/2 now $615K.

(Photos below are some of the community amenities at Sanibel Moorings. Click the tab above for more info on this listing.)

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1 new sale: Sanddollar #C101 2/2 listed at $870K.

2 closed sales: White Caps South #7 1/1 $520K, Sanibel Arms West #L4 2/2 $520K.

HOMES

8 new listings: 984 Greenwood Ct 3/2 half-duplex $462K, 376 Lake Murex Blvd 3/2 $598K, 1426 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $675K, 1333 Par View Dr 3/2 $879K, 931 S Yachtsman Dr 4/2.5 $880K, 641 Lake Murex Cir 4/3 $975K, 598 Kinzie Island Ct 3/3.5 $1.895M, 1137 Golden Olive Ct 5/3.5 $2.695M.

5 price changes: 1746 Windward Way 3/2 now $580K, 3364 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $750K, 4775 Rue Helene 4/3 now $845K, 5075 Joewood Dr 4/4.5 now $3.7497M, 4449 Waters Edge Ln 3/3 now $4.65M.

8 new sales: 2407 Shop Rd 3/1 listed at $349K; 5131 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 2/2 listed at $465K; 535 Birdsong Pl 3/2 listed at $499,999; 9475 Beverly Ln 3/2 listed at $529.5K; 1702 Sand Pebble Way 3/2.5 listed at $535K;  676 Emeril Ct 3/2 listed at $749K; 1317 Eagle Run Dr 4/3.5 listed at $1.195M; 4353 Gulf Pines Dr 3/2.5 listed at $1.479M.

6 closed sales: 748 Martha’s Ln 3/2 $500K, 1460 Court Pl 6/5.5 multi-family $610K, 1970 Wild Lime Dr 4/3 $690K, 775 Birdie View Pt 3/2.5 $900K, 5773 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 2/2 $950K, 819 Lindgren Blvd 4/3.5 $1.24M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 2441/2453 Los Colony Rd $179K.

1 price change: 497 Sea Oats Dr now $499K.

No new sales.

2 closed sales: 5749 Sanibel-Captiva Rd $600K, 3723 West Gulf Dr $2.6M.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

2 price changes: Tennis Villas #3227 1/1 now $279.9K, Bayside Villas #4202 1/2 now $305K.

No new sales.

2 closed sales: Beach Villas #2632 2/2 $675K, Beach Homes #20 3/3 $2.4M.

HOMES

No new listings.

1 price change: 11523 Wightman Ln 4/4 now $1.949M.

3 new sales: 57 Sandpiper Ct 2/2 listed at $885K, 17130 Captiva Dr 4/4 listed at $3.998M, 16665 Captiva Dr 2/2 listed at $4.8M.

1 closed sale: 16665 Captiva Dr 2/2 $4.55M.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 16298 Captiva Dr now $4.999M.

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 Memorial Day weekend, Happy Friday!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

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