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).

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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!

 

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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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Baywaters Back to a Glistening Blue


It has been another nice weather, low traffic week on Sanibel. The Sanibel/Captiva Realtors® Caravan Meeting held yesterday had light attendance with several colleagues from the local leadership team and office staff being in DC as described in the write-up below.

After a few other news items is a summary of the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service over the last seven days. Note our new listing at Loggerhead Cay. Known as Sanibel’s Rainbow, it earns phenomenal income!

Realtors® Gathered in Washington This Week

NAR_midyear_logo_hp2014_conventionThousands of Realtors® from across the nation met with legislators, regulators and industry leaders this week during their annual Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo. More than 8,500 Realtors and guests have been in Washington, D.C. attending these meetings which began Monday and run through tomorrow. As posted earlier on “FloridaRealtors®”:

“There is a wide range of residential and commercial real estate issues that are of high importance to Realtors and are coming to a head right now, so we’ll be using the strength of our combined voices to remind members of Congress to maintain sound real estate markets,” says National Association of Realtors (NAR) President Tom Salomone, broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Coral Springs, Fla., who served as Florida Realtors president in 2003. “Furthermore, we’ll be setting the stage for next year, after the elections, when House and Senate leaders on both sides of the aisle are expected to move tax reform proposals,” Salomone adds.

“Conference attendees will hear from industry and political leaders, including Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro, who will discuss student loan debt. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), will share perspectives on housing finance and student debt; political pollsters Peter Hart and Bill McInturff will offer insights into the mood of the country and its impact on the 2016 presidential and congressional campaigns; investigative journalist and author Bob Woodward will share his thoughts on the presidential elections; and Wells Fargo economist Mark Vitner will discuss financial and commercial real estate markets. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun will also share residential and commercial real estate market updates and forecasts.

“Throughout the week, Realtors will also visit Capitol Hill and meet directly with members of Congress and their staff to discuss the legislative and regulatory environment’s effect on residential and commercial real estate. Among the high-profile policy issues that Realtors will raise:

  • Extending the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act
  • Maintaining important real estate tax policies
  • Federal Housing Administration reforms
  • Ensuring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage guarantee fees aren’t extended, increased or diverted for unrelated government spending

“Attendees will also be conducting in-person meetings with officials and staff at the White House and more than a half dozen regulatory agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Housing Finance Agency, Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service, Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

Sanibel Plays Flood Insurance Points Game

santiva chronicleIt can be challenging describing to prospective island property owners how Sanibel fits into the federal flood insurance equation. These buyers often think that because Sanibel is a barrier island that flood insurance is not an option and if available it would be cost prohibitive. Homeowners and lenders, however, often want the protection of this insurance.

The below article was posted on line yesterday by “Santiva-Chronicle”. Written by their Editor David Staver, it is a good explanation of the changes that went before Sanibel Planning Commission this week.

“Flood insurance. It’s a points game. That means keeping score and it should be simple. It’s anything but simple.

NationalFloodInsuranceProgr“The Sanibel Planning Commission gave its approval Tuesday, May 10, to the removal from the city code of a pair of flood insurance-related restrictions that are no longer required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. They are the five-year cost accumulation period and the 50% rule for substantial improvements.

There’s no use going into what those two restrictions are since they will come off the books in July when the City Council can give final approval to their removal. No one will have to worry about them after July and anyone who has been hampered by them knows how they work. But the complexity of them is a microcosm of flood insurance – the points game.

“The points game begins with a community’s rating which is somewhere between 1 and 10. Hitting it with a broad brush, a community with a 1 will never flood and a community with a 10 not only will flood, but doesn’t care either.

“Sanibel obviously cares and its rating is 5. That gives property owners here a 25% discount on flood insurance premiums. Recently the consulting firm TetraTech did a detailed analysis of the city’s flood insurance status. What the city learned is that 5 is about as good as its going to get here. TetraTech identified what Sanibel would have to do to achieve a 4, and, for that matter, a 3 and a 2 too. Most of that was out of the question. Hitting it with a broad brush again, any development in the city would basically have to go three feet more in the air than it is now. That’s something the City Council doesn’t think Sanibel can stomach without undue hardship.

“It’s all about points. Raising everything in the air would get a bunch of points in the Community Rating System. Towns and cities that aren’t flood prone get a bunch of points for just being where they are. Sanibel is an island. It will never score well in this critical category. So it has to go looking for points elsewhere to make sure it keeps its Class 5 rating in the CRS, which is constantly adjusting what and how many points it awards for this and that.

There are some low-hanging points. The CRS changed the way it provides points for telling prospective buyers more about the floodplain risk. TetraTech said the city could snag 20 points by preparing a flood depth map and then making it available and publicizing it. Sanibel has already contracted with Johnson Engineering to make the map and no city does publicity better than Sanibel, so that’s 20 points to be had.

“More points are also to be had with better public outreach, says TetraTech. Again, Sanibel is on the case. The city has coordinated with Lee County and surrounding communities to form a Multijurisdictional Program for Public Information. The MJPPI requires an annual commitment for public outreach and obligates the city to print brochures and do mailings throughout the year. That’s money and more work, but it’s points that can be had.

The TetraTech report found that the cost accumulation and 50% rules were no longer applicable and by July they will be gone. That won’t hurt the city’s rating. In the meantime Sanibel is trying to build up its point total from its sea level location. It’s all about location and when it comes to flood insurance, it’s about points too.”

Progress on Projects on Sanibel Island

SCA-View-2.jpg

Rendering of the new Sanibel Community House renovation

Community House Renovation – With its $3 million capital campaign nearly complete, the Sanibel Community Association board and staff members gathered Monday at The Community House to officially break ground on a six-month reconstruction, restoration, renovation and expansion project. Improvements to the nearly 90-year old structure will include: restoration of historic North Room; new exterior olde-Florida design including new roof, porch-style entry/drop-off area; redesign inside creating a more open flexible floor plan; kitchen redesign/update and expanded restrooms; new conference room; redesign of offices/storage spaces updating audio, video, – in 1927, more than 50 island organizations and over 50,000 attendees use The Community House each year. Congrats to my friend, fellow-BIG ARTS Chorus alto, and architect Amy Nowacki who completed the renovation design.

1927 Community House North Room

The Community House in 1927

 

AT&T Donax cell towerAT&T Cell Service – Gotta love it when you get info about island happenings from FaceBook. Tuesday, City Manager Judie Zimomra posted this photo of the work underway on the cell phone tower (aka tall flag pole) on Donax Street. AT&T is adding their equipment there. Those of us living on Sanibel’s east-end are all anxious for the work to be complete. For years, my home has required its own min-cell tower to get coverage. Hopefully when this is done, east-end cell service will improve.

LCVCB logoLee County Visitor & Convention Bureau – Yesterday, City Manager Zimomra also posted a photo taken at the local tourism board where she said they “voted to approve $2.43 million in grants from bed taxes to the City of Sanibel to protect and maintain our beaches in their natural state…thanks to our Mayor Kevin Ruane for his support through the process and the excellent work by all the staff on the teams that prepared our grant applications…our Friends at Ding Darling were awarded an addition $35,000 for educational purposes.”

Summer Vegetation Trimming Begins – On Monday, May 16, from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., vegetation along the west side of Tarpon Bay Road will be trimmed from Island Inn Road to West Gulf Drive.

Water Quality Continues to Improve

bay May 2016

1st week of May 2016 – San Carlos Bay toward the causeway

 

Good news reported this week by the “Islander” when it was posted that “The clarity of the waters surrounding Sanibel Island continue to see improvements as less flow is released from Lake Okeechobee.

“James Evans, Director of Natural Resources said as of Monday, May 2, the elevation of Lake O was 14.15 feet dropping approximately 0.93 feet during the past month. He said as long as the dry conditions persist the lake should be 13.5 feet by June 1, which should put them in good position going into the rainy season.

“”There’s different weather patterns that are starting to form. The water managers are really focusing on a potential strengthening La Nina pattern and that could mean a drier wet season,” Evans said. “Obviously as we move into the raining season with a dryer pattern, there could be some concerns about water supply. It’s the balance between getting water out of the lake, but not too much water to make sure we have water for dry season flows next fall and winter and having water supply for the Everglades agricultural area and other parts of the system.”

“Because of the drier conditions in April, the Corps have steadily been cutting back on the release of Lake O. On April 22, they reduced the pulse released from 3,000 to 2,500 CFS. On April 29, further reductions were made from 2,500 to 2,000 CFS.

“If you have noticed driving across the causeway the water is getting quite clear out there and along our gulf beaches are really starting to clear up,” Evans said, which is great.

“He said although the target flows are around 2,000 CFS, they are seeing slightly higher average flows. Evans said the flows are closer to 2,700 CFS, so it is surprising that the water is as clear as it is out in the bay right now.

“He said about 90% of the water they are receiving right now is coming from the lake because there is no rainfall in the watershed. With the improved water clarity, he said they are seeing better salinity, which in turn is helping the oyster beds and sea grass.

“Mayor Kevin Ruane said they have divided responsibilities among the council to talk about water quality. He said the “white paper” walks about what they would like and what is necessary, all science based and adopted by Florida entities.

“Vice Mayor Mick Denham said one of the misunderstandings is that even if they could completely stop the flows from Lake O coming down the Caloosahatchee they would still get some issues with water in the estuaries that they do not want. He said they get a good amount of water from the Caloosahatchee Basin when there is a rain event.

“”If we could stop flows from Lake O we would still get flows from the Caloosahatchee Basin. A flow way south is part of the solution. I think call the flow way south is an incorrect statement. It really should be described as a storage treatment and conveyance system,” he said. “That would be part of the solution, but not the complete solution,”

“Ruane said their job is to be advocates and educate people.

“A revised draft of the “white paper” will be on the agent for consideration in June.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity May 6-13, 2016

Sanibel

CONDOS

ExpandedAerialFromGangl3 new listings: Loggerhead Cay #264 2/2 $598.3K (our listing), Mariner Pointe #943 2/2.5 $649K, Loggerhead Cay #174 2/2 $869K.

3 price changes: Seashells #14 2/2 now $379K, Loggerhead Cay #331 2/2 now $499K, Tanglewood #1A 3/2 now $1.179M.

3 new sales: Sundial West #H110 1/1 listed at $299K, Coquina Beach #5F 2/2 listed at $495K, Heron at The Sanctuary II #2B 3/3.5 listed at $665K.

6 closed sales: Kimball Lodge #244 1/1.5 $330K, Sand Pointe #213 2/2 $570K, Pointe Santo #C41 2/2 $795K, Tanglewood #3 3/3 $1.25M, Gulfside Place #117 2/2 $1.25M, Gulfside Place #306 3/2 $1.3575M.

HOMES

3 new listings: 242 Christofer Ct 3/2 $745K, 421 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $829K, 984 Oyster Ct 3/3 $2.1M.

7 price changes: 956 Dixie Beach Blvd 2/1 now $399K, 5105 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 4/3 now $679K, 3941 Coquina Dr 3/2 now $699K, 1429 Jamaica Dr 3/3 now $789K, 660 Oliva St 3/3 now $938.5K, 2311 Starfish Ln 4/3 now $1.249M, 1306 Seaspray Ln 3/4 now $3.945M.

5 new sales: 848 Rabbit Rd 3/2 listed at $379.9K; 2150 Egret Cir 3/2 listed at $489K; 3927 Coquina Dr 3/2 listed at $599,995; 830 Limpet Dr 4/4.5 listed at $1.545M, 1245 Isabel Dr 3/3.5 listed at $1.548M.

6 closed sales: 1631 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex $435K, 1139 Buttonwood Ln 2/1 $595K, 600 East Rocks Dr 3/2 $655K, 1258 Par View Dr 3/2 $700K, 1111 Schooner Pl 3/3 $885K, 6011 Clam Bayou Ln 3/3 $1.2M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 2133 Starfish Ln $439K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 6217 Starling Way listed at $1.295M.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 new sale: with Bayside Villas #5106 1/2 listed at $289K.

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 Friday, here’s hoping the wonderful weather continues…Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Beach (Medium)

Another Weekend of Beautiful Weather Expected


All’s well again this week on sunny Sanibel Island. After days of seemingly summer-like weather, Wednesday brought the first shower of the rainy season. After much-needed downpours for most of the afternoon, a low-humidity cool front arrived which resulted yesterday in plenty of sun, but temperatures into the low 70’s with a nice breeze. Today temps crept back up to the high 70’s, then it likely will bump back up into the low 80’s for the weekend, which should be perfect for those here celebrating Mothers’ Day.

Both phone and island traffic were light this week. With the end of the school spring breaks, visitor traffic likely will be off until these same schools are out for summer breaks. The locals look at this as the perfect time to again enjoy The Over Easy Café, Gramma Dot’s, and other island eateries that can have long lines “in season”.

Many agree that May and October are their favorite months – little hustle bustle and the best weather.

This week at SanibelSusan Realty, several of our listings had showings, with a few more scheduled this weekend, and we had two closings. Some post-season celebratory events are happening now too. A few tidbits about them and some news items are below, followed by a report of the activity posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service over the last seven days.

“Ding” Darling & Doc Ford’s Tarpon Tournament

Ding-Darling-Doc-Fords-Tarpon-Tourney-5th-anniversaryTonight and tomorrow are the 5th annual “Ding” Darling & Doc Ford’s Tarpon Tournament. The weather couldn’t be better and the water quality is good, so hopefully the first tarpon of the season have arrived.

The event begins with a captains’ meeting, anglers’ dinner, and auction tonight (5-9 p.m.) with the actual fishing tomorrow from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. All sponsorships and gifts go to the “Ding” Darling Wildllife Society, while 100% of the entry fees go to tournament winners. Last year, it netted more than $50K for conservation and education at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

We have several friends and clients participating in the tournament. Here’s hoping that this year’s event brings more success and that our pals catch winners. (Note this is a “catch, release, & care” tournament. Tarpon weight/size is estimated by photo or video only, with all tarpon immediately released.)

Ding Darling Society logoFifty boats participate, with four to six anglers per boat. These anglers come from all over.

This year, there again are a couple of teams from the UK, including one called “Fish & Chips” and some of the local teams advertise their sponsors in their team names, like “RS Walsh Landscaping”, “Florida Weekly”, and “Diversified Yacht Services”.

Jensen-logoJensen’s Marina/Operation Open Arms always dedicates their team to veterans.

Then, there is the team of gals, called “Fishin’ Divas”. Follow the tourney and their results at http://www.dingdarlingsociety.org/tarpon-tourney.

Sanibel & Captiva Island Association of Realtors®

rpacYesterday afternoon/evening was the 21st annual local association of Realtors® “after season” celebration which this year included a golf scramble, Cinco de Mayo party, and auction, all benefitting RPAC (Realtors® Political Action Committee).

Often held at The Sanctuary, this year because of their ongoing clubhouse remodel, it was moved to The Dunes where attendees, golfers particularly, were thankful that the deluge was the day before. It was a great day for golf – even with the cooling breezes.

RPAC 2016

A few colorful pals exiting RPAC event last night. L to R: Past-President of Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors Bruce Cochrane & his wife Lisa (also affiliate member); 2016 Association President Lori Pierot, & Realtor Marlene Donaldson.

The total amount raised has not been announced yet, but the Sanibel & Captiva Association of Realtors® takes great pride in garnering awards each year from Florida Realtors® for their RPAC participation.

 

RPAC Lobsters 2016RPAC contributions by island Realtors® are high as we have seen the results of these dollars used close-to-home to support Realtor®- friendly legislators who protect property rights, to protect against ordinances which could harm real estate and promote those with positive influence (like build-back), to clean waterways, to provide competitive/affordable flood insurance, to protect the environment, and for beach re-nourishment. Another grant currently is in the works for another water quality study too. We love to see RPAC dollars at work!

For the auction, SanibelSusan Realty donated a jumbo Maine lobster bake dinner for six (gotta honor those Maine roots). It sold for a pretty penny and I purchased a couple of items too, both at the live and silent auctions.

DunesEntrySignAll-in-all, it was a fun time – super nice way to celebrate the end of “season”, and for a cause that helps us all.

The Dunes, our local RPAC committee, and our Association of Realtors staff, all did an excellent job.

Thanks to everyone involved, including fellow contributors!

Summer Hours at Sanibel Historical Village

Touring-the-Sanibel-Historical-Village-MuseumSummer hours have begun at the Sanibel Historical Museum & Village. It is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and it will close from July 30 until October 18th when it will reopen again with full-time hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

Wonder why? These buildings go back to pioneer days and are not air conditioned.

The Museum and Village were founded in 1984 to preserve, share, and celebrate Sanibel history. Its buildings and thousands of artifacts tell the story of the island from the Calusa and Spanish eras to the early pioneer families who settled on Sanibel in the 1800s.

Nine historic buildings have been moved from their original island sites and brought to the village with each building restored to its original state. More info at www.sanibelmuseum.org

Current Events Will Meet Through Summer

Island Sun logoAs posted in today’s “Island Sun”:

“For more than 34 years, men and women of Sanibel and Southwest Florida have met weekly to enjoy civil discourse on domestic and international news. The group meets every Monday year-‘round for two hours in Phillips Gallery at BIG ARTS starting at 10 a.m. Current Events will continue to meet during the summer months….”

City May Eliminate Cost Accumulation & 50% Restrictions

Sanibelcityseal logoAs reported in the “Santiva-Chronicle” on Wednesday:

“Sanibel took a step Tuesday, May 3, toward removing a pair of restrictions that will allow property owners to more easily make repairs without losing the city’s rating for flood insurance.

“The City Council directed the Planning Department to draft an ordinance that would remove the five-year cost accumulation period for improvements and what is known as the 50% rule for substantial improvements.

“The council sent the matter to the Planning Commission with a view toward an ordinance returning to the council for a first reading at the June 7 meeting followed by a public hearing and vote at one of two meetings in late July.

“Both the five-year cost accumulation period and the 50% rule were once part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency requirements for flood insurance, which Sanibel has been a part of since 1979. Both have been removed and the city’s consultant has advised the city that it will not lose its Class 5 flood insurance rating with FEMA if it removes both restrictions.

““We anticipate that this will help homeowners in projects such as impact windows, shutters and other things to make structures more sound,” Planning Director Jim Jordan told the council. “It removes a lot of the obstacles for homeowners to make improvements.”

“Mayor Kevin Ruane made the motion to send the ordinance to the Planning Commission with the “enhancements” of removing the restrictions.”

Causeway Traffic Numbers About the Same As Last Year

Although we all did plenty of complaining about traffic this winter, the numbers published this week in the local papers say that causeway traffic was not much more than 2015. Here are a few excerpts from today’s “Santiva-Chronicle”:

sanibel causeway“March is Sanibel’s busiest month, the month when the traffic is at its peak. It’s the month when, all else being equal, Sanibel can gauge how well it got through with its traffic campaign. The city has to like what it sees from the Sanibel Causeway.

“The causeway is a leading traffic indicator and numbers from Lee County for March show that traffic on the bridge during the busiest month showed only a slight increase over 2015. The numbers show that 356,633 vehicles used the causeway in March compared to 355,695 in March 2015. That’s an increase of 938 vehicles, a miniscule 0.26%.

“The three-month totals show a less than 1% increase in traffic for the year. Through three months last year, the causeway total was 963,446 and through March of this year it’s 965,586, an increase of 2,140 vehicles.

“Sanibel has taken several steps to calm the traffic on the island during the peak season. As it regards the causeway, the most important steps were the city’s messages to day-tripping tourists. Instead of coming here and driving around, come get a bicycle and stay awhile has been the crux of the city’s plea. It was delivered in a variety of ways, including a video with Mayor Kevin Ruane. The city also mounted three live traffic cameras that can be viewed at www.mysanibel.com.  One of them is on the causeway.

“The causeway numbers aren’t perfect indicators through three months. January was plagued with 16” of rain and that put a damper on tourism on several days. Causeway traffic fell 2.53% in January. The numbers show 299,519 vehicles went through the toll plaza in January and that’s down from 307,302 in January, 2015. It was the first time in 22 months causeway traffic fell. But city officials were hesitant to celebrate that number because of all the rain.

“Figures from Lee County show that 309,434 vehicles used the causeway in February. That’s up 8,985 vehicles from 2015 and technically goes down as an increase of almost 3%. But 2016 is a leap year and the 29th day skews the numbers.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity April 29-May 6, 2016

Sanibel

CONDOS

6 new listings: Sundial West #F105 1/1 $399K, Ibis at The Sanctuary #A302 2/2 $485K, Loggerhead Cay #592 2/2 $549K, Tarpon Beach #201 2/2 $745K, Sandy Bend #6 2/2 $950K, Pine Cove #102 3/2 $1.495M.

1 price change: Island Beach Club #210B 2/2 now $589K.

2 new sales: Sanibel Arms #E2 1/1 listed at $375K, Lighthouse Point #325 listed at 2/2 $830K.

10 closed sales: Mariner Pointe #951 1/1 $410K, Sanibel Arms West #J4 2/2 $425K, Sundial West #B207 1/1 $470K, Sanibel Arms West #A6 2/2 $525K, Compass Point #203 2/2 $651K, Cottage Colony West #126 1/1 $620K (our buyer), Sanctuary Golf Village I #2-2 3/3 $650K, Nutmeg Village #309 2/2 $765K, Snug Harbor #113 2/2 $900K, Snug Harbor #121 3/2 $970K.

 

CCW 126

Cottage Colony West #126

 

HOMES

10 new listings: 2150 Egret Cir 3/2 $489K; 1439 Albatross Rd 3/2 $499,994; 3927 Coquina Dr 3/2 $599,995; 1585 Serenity Ln 3/3 $599K; 752/754 Cardium St 4/2 multi-family $639.9K; 5292 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/2 $669K; 726 Cardium St 3/3 $795K; 8995 Mockingbird Dr 3/3.5 $990K; 2479 Blind Pass Ct 3/2 $1.3M; 1528 San Carlos Bay Dr 3/3 $2.295M.

5 price changes: 9475 Beverly Ln 3/2 now $529.5K, 5749 Pine Tree Dr 3/3 now $699K, 760 Windlass Way 3/3 now $979K, 1326 Seaspray Ln 4/4.5 now $2.395M, 4190 Dingman Dr 4/3.5 now $2.5M.

4 new sales: 1717 Sand Pebble 3/2 listed at $449K, 2114 Egret Cir 3/2 listed at $498K, 1410 Causey Ct 3/2 listed at 599K, 1658 Sabal Palm 2/2 listed at $875K.

14 closed sales: 1717 Sand Pebble Way 3/2 $400K, 1125 Captains Walk St 3/3 $560K, 958 Cabbage Palm Ct 2/2 $590K, 1475 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $725K, 689 East Rocks Dr 3/3 $745K, 577 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $750K, 249 Daniel Dr 2/2.5 $755K, 236 Palm Lake Dr 3/2 $845K, 3711 Agate Ct 3/2.5 $885K, 460 East Gulf Dr 2/2.5 $1.289M, 907 Kings Crown Dr 4/3 $1.95M, 2518 Tropical Way Ct 3/3.5 $2.15M, 1018 Whisperwood Way 3/5 $2.2M, 1196 Bay Dr 4/4.5 $2.59M.

LOTS

No new listings.

2 price changes: 1311 Par View Dr now $294.9K, 4538 Bowen Bayou Rd now $299,555.

No new sales.

NewStraight

View from 837 Limpet Dr

2 closed sales: 6159 Starling Way $608K, 837 Limpet Dr $725K (our listing).

 

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Bayside Villas #5316 3/3 now $599K.

No new sales.

2 closed sales: Bayside Villas #5208 1/2 $280K, Lands End Village #1641 2/2 $1.3M.

HOMES

No new listings.

3 price changes: 11526 Laika Ln 4/4 multi-family now $1.85M, 16464 Captiva Dr 8/8.5 now $6.395M, 16151 Captiva Dr 4/3 now $8.8M.

1 new sales: 15 Seascape 3/2.5 listed at $995K.

1 closed sale: 11535 Andy Rosse Ln 4/4 $2.225M.

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.)

Dave & Mom 08-1976

When Dave & I were a lot younger, 1976

’til next week…Happy Mothers’ Day!

 

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

mothers-day-border-clip-art-5

Another Picture-Perfect Friday on Sanibel Island


Another Friday has arrived with the islands settled into a steady post-season routine – essentially no traffic delays on Periwinkle, no lines at local restaurants, but still vacationers here enjoying summer-like weather at the beaches, on the bike paths, and outdoors in general. They are benefiting from lower off-season accommodation rates too.

dolphins 11-6-15

Overall, inventory remains fairly low and sales activity is a little slow. At our last “season” weekly Realtor® Caravan meeting yesterday, only a couple of new sales were announced and just six new listings were open for viewing.

The schedule of these Thursday morning caravan meetings has now switched to the ever-other-week summer schedule which will apply until new listing activity picks up again in the fall. The next meeting on May 12 will be an “Open Caravan” – meaning property that either east or west-end properties may be included. That “open” schedule flexibility will continue until fall.

Sanibel Inventory in Perspective

sancap GO MLS logoUsing the data from the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service as of April 29 and comparing the activity year-to-date with the sales during the same timeframe last year, here are the standings. Also included are the same statistics for 2006 – the year of the market “peak”. Though ten years ago, it is interesting how those statistics compare to the same 4-month period (January 1 through April 29).

# for Sale                         # Sold/Closed 2016  # Sold/Closed 2015   #Sold/Closed 2006

Median Asking Price     Median Sale Price     Median Sale Price     Median Sale Price

SANIBEL CONDOS:

96                                       56                                   64                                   73

$662,450                          $664,500                    $662,000                      $799,000

SANIBEL HOMES:

154                                       59                                  94                                  59

$997,000                          $795,000                    $764,000                      $899,000

What does this mean? Though inventory is low, particularly when compared to previous years, there still is a lot. At the current rate of sales, there are about seven months of condo inventory and over ten months for homes.

Typically, there are fewer island sales in the spring and summer, with more last quarter and first quarter, but this year is a bit of an anomaly. The median sale price is up, but the number of units sold is down, both for condos and homes. If election year jitters calm down, it certainly will help.

A couple of the articles below about the economy and predictions for the rest of the year offer more insight. The action posted over the last week in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service follow the news.

Work To Upgrade AT&T Signal Under Way at Donax Tower

flag cell towerAccording to an article posted in last Friday’s “Santiva Chronicle”, “AT&T appears to be getting closer to the long-awaited signal upgrade on Sanibel. Heavy equipment is presently on the site along Donax Street where the cellphone tower that doubles as a heavy-duty flagpole sits. AT&T told the city early this year that the upgrade would occur in the second quarter of 2016.

““The city issued a building permit to the AT&T subcontractor well more than a month ago and the city had been previously advised that AT&T planned to install its communications equipment during the second quarter of 2016,” City Attorney said in an e-mail on Thursday, April 21.

AT&T_logo_svg““Our understanding is that the AT&T subcontractor has now commenced construction of the ground building that will house the generator and ground equipment which supports the communications equipment to be installed within the tower,” Cuyler said.

“Finally getting the new equipment running on the Donax tower will help alleviate the frustration AT&T customers have experienced with weak signals and dropped calls….”

Islanders Briefed on Blind Pass at Stakeholders Meeting

santiva chronicleAs reported in the “Santiva Chronicle” this week – “Keep Blind Pass open and keep it open in a correct way – That was the consensus of about 100 people attending the Blind Pass Inlet Management Study meeting at The Sanctuary clubhouse Thursday evening, April 21.

“The meeting was hosted by the Lee County Natural Resources Division to discuss the status of the ongoing study of Blind Pass and to take input from stakeholders. It drew a cross section ranging from Sanibel and Captiva officials, to members and officials of island non-profits and residents of the immediate area.

““Everything is on the table. We have powerful tools to develop this model,” Steve Boutelle, operations manager of the Lee County DNR, said.

“The meeting was to take community input to supplement the vast amount of data that is being gathered to determine the best way to keep one of the key inlets open and the water within it circulating as it should be.

Blind Pass is the inlet that separates Captiva and Sanibel. Its history, which was reviewed by B&I, the consulting firm hired by the DNR, is one of closing, opening and moving around as a result of natural forces and human intervention.

BlindPass_1953_4H_75

“Michelle Pfeiffer of B&I presented a number of slides and charts, and she also had aerial shots of the various shapes the volatile inlet has taken through the years. The most dramatic was in 1972 when Hurricane Agnes marched through, “forever altering Blind Pass,” according to B&I’s Tom Pierro.

Blind pass 2002

“Blind Pass has been dredged and one more dredging is scheduled before the current permit to do so expires. Presently the pass is in extremely shallow condition with people easily wading across and causing boats with shallow drafts to struggle.

blind pass sanibel

“Ann Vanderbilt spoke for the 300 members of the Bayous Preservation Association, a citizens group that works to restore and maintain the water quality in the area, including Blind Pass. She was the first of several to point out the recent cooperation between stakeholders when it comes to Blind Pass.

“The DNR got valuable input from knowledgeable residents of the surrounding neighborhoods, including Harvey Padewer and John McCabe. Both men spoke for others in the hope that whatever decision is arrived at for Blind Pass, that it will keep the water circulating and improve water quality.

““Blind Pass has a history of opening and closing. The decision has been made to keep it open. Our goal is to determine how best to do that,” Boutelle said.

““The study is in the very early stages, so it is very important to get input from you at this time,” Pierro told the stakeholders.

“Tidal inlets that connect the ocean to estuaries are important to the ecology of estuaries. Decreased water flows in the estuaries generally lead to increased sedimentation and accumulation of nutrients.

“Thursday’s meeting was the first of three. The DNR team said it expects a second meeting in two months with a third to follow.”

4 Housing Predictions for the Rest of 2016

FreddieMacLogo_3From Monday’s “Daily Real Estate News” on line, sourced to: Freddie Mac

“Freddie Mac economists are still upbeat about the housing market’s outlook for the rest of the year, despite recent data that showed a gloomier first quarter in economic growth than originally projected. According to Freddie Mac’s April outlook, housing will “maintain its momentum in 2016 and be an economic engine of growth.”

“”We’ve revised down our forecast for economic growth to reflect the recent data for the first quarter, but our outlook for the balance of the year remains modestly optimistic for the economy,” says Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “However, we maintain our positive view on housing. In fact, the declines in long-term interest rates that accompanied much of the recent news should increase mortgage market activity, particularly refinance.”

“Economists made the following predictions for the remainder of 2016:

  • Employment: The labor market is expected to stay strong. The unemployment rate is projected to drop back below 5% for 2016 and 2017. “Stronger economic growth for the remainder of 2016 and reduced slack in the labor market will drive wage gains above inflation, though the gains are likely to be modest,” Freddie’s report notes.
  • Mortgage originations: Loan originations are estimated to rise by $50 billion in 2016 and reach $1.7 billion. The forecasted boost is a result of low mortgage rates that are fueling a refinancing boom.
  • Mortgage rates: Low mortgage rates are expected to stick around longer. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.7% in the first quarter. “After lowering the forecast for subsequent quarters by a tenth of a percent, expect rates to average 4% in 2016,” Freddie Mac researchers note.
  • Housing prices: Home prices will rise by 4.8% in 2016 and by another 3.5% in 2017, Freddie Mac researchers predict. These rising home prices will lead home owners’ to see more equity gains.”

Why the Economy Is Slowing

NAR gray-logoBy my favorite economist as posted in RealtorMag” last Thursday, this article is sourced to “Forbes”, April 19, 2016:

“The economy has been on a roller coaster ride the past few years. Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, points to two main reasons behind the latest slowing of the economy: Constrained homebuilding and business spending.

“Homebuilders have been slow to up their production of new homes. They’ve been plagued with labor shortages and a shortage of suitable land for development. They’re also facing new housing permit rules and new financial regulations on small-sized banks. All of these factors are contributing to an “abnormally sluggish homebuilding recovery in this cycle,” Yun notes in his column at Forbes.

“What’s more, this contraction in home building is contributing to an overall sluggishness in the economy, Yun says.

“Housing starts in March were about 1.09 million units at an annualized pace. While it is up 14.1% from a year ago, it’s still far from historical levels.  Normal activity is usually about 1.5 million housing starts a year. Yet, builders have been producing fewer than 1.1 million units since 2008. Prior to that, housing starts had not dipped below that level since 1981 and 1982, when mortgage rates were near 20%, and in 1991 when the economy was in a recession.

““Had the housing starts rebound been like in past cycles – that is, quickly getting back up to 1.5 million new units – then broad economic growth would have been markedly stronger,” Yun notes in his recent column at Forbes.

““With soft housing starts, GDP growth is similarly expected to be soft, barely above the zero growth line in the first quarter. … Had the economy moved along at the normal historical growth rate of 3% average annual GDP growth compared to what we actually experienced over this past decade, the typical American would have an additional $7,000 this year.”

“But homebuilding isn’t the only factor leading to a slowing economy. The economy also has been slowing due to “an unusual trend in recent years of business spending being below corporate profits,” Yun says.

“He explains: “For most of U.S. history, business spending (defined as the sum of spending for non-residential equipment and intellectual property products in GDP accounting) was higher than corporate profits. Borrowing, typically by new small businesses, had permitted more spending. That is, America always had more entrepreneurial ideas than money. But in recent years, ideas are apparently no longer in abundance and corporate cash is sitting on the sidelines and not doing much.”

“Yun notes that he believes an increase in homebuilding and business spending are key to getting the economy back on track.”

Turtle Nesting Season Begins Sunday

Turtle CrawlAs reported in “The News-Press” on Wednesday: “Although nesting season doesn’t start until Sunday, there have been two nests this year, on Captiva and Fort Myers Beach.

“Turtle nesting season runs from Sunday, May 1, through Oct 31.

“Turtle nesting season begins Sunday and experts are hoping the four-year trend of high nesting continues.

After almost a decade of a low count of nests, females have been coming ashore in higher numbers since 2012. But Eve Haverfield, president and founder of Turtle Time, says that doesn’t mean 2016 will be another top year.

Sea Turtle Nest

“We are hoping for the best,” she said. “Last year was a good season and we are hoping for another one.”

She said a real pattern has not been established with nesting numbers.

““They are better, but they are not out of the woods yet,” Haverfield said. “Just because you had one or two or three good years, that does not mean the species has recovered. You don’t want to draw conclusions over a few years.”

“Still Haverfield is always positive about turtles. “We are eternally optimistic,” she said.

Seaturtlehatchlings

“Last year Bonita Beach had the first nest of the season, but this year that honor goes to Captiva that had a nest laid on April 21. That is just one day short of the record for the earliest nest laid there on April 20, 2012.

“Kelly Sloan, turtle coordinator for the Sanibel/Captiva Conservation Foundation, is excited about having the first nest and also about a new program piloting on Sanibel. For the first time Sanibel will have two volunteers that patrol the beach four or five nights a week to tag the mother turtles.

“Tagging has been done for years on Keewaydin Island in Collier County and by Mote Marine. Sloan said tagging on Sanibel will add to the pool of knowledge and let researchers see if there are changes in patterns and the genetics of the turtles that come on shore. “Part of the reason is to see if there is a genetics break at San Carlos Bay,” Sloan explained. Her 120 volunteers will also be patrolling Sanibel and Captiva in the morning and putting screens around the nests to prevent coyotes from eating the eggs. Sloan said this program was very successful last year. “We are hopeful for another great year,” Sloan said.

“Maura Kraus, senior environmental specialist for Collier County Natural Resources is also hopeful for another great turtle season. “We are hoping it is all the work we have been doing all these years. Everything we have been doing, hopefully we are seeing an upward trend,” Kraus said. Kraus said for the last three decades there has been a strong push to help sea turtles, from more public awareness to turtle excluder devices on shrimp boats to the work done on beaches around the state.

loggerhead_sea_turtle_baby_blog““Loggerheads take 30 years to reach maturity. So hopefully we are seeing the results of our hard work,” she said. Kraus is feeling a lot better about turtle season now than she did in the past. “In 2002 we were getting a little nervous. It was pretty worrisome,” she said about the low number of nests then.

“Kraus said most people in Collier County comply with keeping lights from shining on the beach and pulling furniture from the sand at night. But one problem she does see is people who dig holes in the sand and then don’t fill them in. “So we want to make sure people fill in the holes,” Kraus said. “People should stay off the beach at night. Everyone has their lights on their phones and their cameras on the phones and we don’t want that on the beach at night.”

“Although nesting season doesn’t start until Sunday, volunteers have been monitoring the beaches since April 15. So far there have only been two nests this year, the one on Captiva and one laid on April 25 on Fort Myers Beach.

“Now that nesting season is beginning, Haverfield wants people living along the beach to use amber LED lighting and to close their drapes at night. Hatchlings follow the lights of the horizon to find the water and can be disoriented by unnatural light.  She said most people do comply, but there are some that still shine too much light on the beach. “People have been very supportive,” Haverfield said. “People love the fact that sea turtles nest on our beaches.”

FACT BOX

*Loggerheads are the most common sea turtles in Florida

*Adults grow to more than 3-feet long and weigh 200-350 pounds

* They may travel thousands of miles from feeding grounds to nesting beaches

* Female turtles nest on the same beaches where they were born.

* A female loggerhead may nest 1-7 times during a season at about 15 day intervals

* Incubation takes 55-65 days

* The temperature of the nest determines the sex of the hatchlings. Cooler sand produces mostly males, while warmer sand produces mostly females.

* Hatchlings are about 2 inches long

* Hatchlings emerge at night and are guided by the lighter Gulf horizon to the water

THE LAW

Both interior and exterior lights must not be visible on the beach.

People can explore the different options of LED fixtures at: http://myfwc.com/conservation/you-conserve/lighting/certified

Beach furniture must be removed from the beach from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. (must be behind the dunes and vegetation or up against the house)

The rule is in effect from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. May 1 to Oct. 31.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity April 22-29, 2016

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Lighthouse Point #122 2/2 $499K, Sanibel Arms West #B8 2/2 $548.9K.

3 price changes: Beach Road Villa #105 2/2 now $424K, Blind Pass #A102 2/2 now $429K, Sanibel Surfside #127 2/2 now $1.065M.

3 new sales: Donax Village #14 2/2 listed at $529K, Sanctuary Golf Villages 1-1 2/2.5 listed at $595K (our sale), Clam Shell #E 3/2.5 listed at $995K.

3 closed sales: Sanibel Moorings #211 1/1 $365K, Shell Island Beach Club #5A 2/2 $790K, West Shore #3 3/3 $1.637M.

HOMES

5 new listings: 956 Dixie Beach Blvd 2/1 $410K, 3118 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 $619.9K, 810 Elinor Way 3/2 $679K, 2313 Wulfert Rd 4/3 $1.15M, 243 Southwinds Dr 4/2.5 $1.195M.

8 price changes: 2407 Shop Rd 3/1 now $349K; 1635 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex now $464K; 535 Birdsong Pl 3/2 now $499,999; 5306 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/2 now $625K; 5299 Ladyfinger Rd 3/3 now $749K; 588 Hideaway Ct 3/2 now $779K; 563 Hideaway Ct 3/2 now $795K; 1238 Isabel Dr 5/3/2 now $3.864M.

6 new sales: 1322 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed at $529.9K, 441 Lake Murex Cir 3/3 listed at $569K, 702 Oliva St 3/2 listed at $649K, 1858 Farm Trail 3/2 listed at $649K, 676 Emeril Ct 3/2 listed at $749K, 841 Lindgren Blvd 2/2 listed at $899K.

3 closed sales: 1565 Bunting Ln 3/2 $585K, 911 Strangler Fig Ln $2.219M, 3421 West Gulf Dr 5/4.5 $6.8375M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 1329 Par View Dr $349K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 1310 Par View Dr listed at $359,555.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Seabreeze #1251 3/3 $2.25M.

No price changes, new, or closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 15 Seascape Ct (Sunset Captiva) 3/2.5 $995K.

2 price changes: 1135 Longifolia Ct 4/4.5 now $4.295M, 16560 Captiva Dr 7/7.5 now $6.5M.

1 new sale: 19 Urchin Ct 2/2.5 listed at $879K.

No closed sales.

LOTS

1 new listing: 956 S Seas Plantation Rd $2.1M.

1 price change: 16298 Captiva Dr now $5.049M.

No new or closed sales.

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

Until next Friday, Susan Andrews aka SanibelSusan

Sanibel’s April Flowers Waiting for May Showers


Hibiscus

The SanibelSusan Team continues to enjoy the island’s post-season limited traffic and wonderful weather. Our news this week is short due to a busy schedule in the office…showings…more showings…even more showings…lots of internet inquiries…and then a nice closing today.

Our weekly report of the activity posted over the last seven days in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service follows the below article from Sunday’s edition of the “Santiva-Chronicle” about how Sanibel fared in the recent Florida legislative session.

Sanibel Saw Success in Florida’s Legislative Session

Sanibelcityseal logo“Sanibel came away from the recently concluded session of the Florida Legislature with flying colors, Dan DeLisi, the city’s legislative consultant, told the City Council at the council’s recent meeting on April 5.

The city received funding for two projects at the Donax Wastewater Reclamation Plant on the island and, along with the rest of Florida, made great strides on broader water quality issues involving the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee.

““You won’t see a city this size get money like this,” DeLisi told the council. He noted the projects first had to clear both houses and then dodge a gubernatorial veto. Projects like Sanibel’s usually get cut at some point, he said.

“DeLisi said State Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, and State Rep. Ray Rodrigues, R-76 which includes Sanibel, did “the heavy lifting” with a big assist from State Rep. Matt Caldwell, R-79 which includes northern Lee County.

“Sanibel received $825,000 for the two projects at the Donax plant.

“Also of major significance to Sanibel were the legislature’s handling of the Legacy Florida bill and the Water Policy bill.

“A key part of the Legacy Florida bill is getting the Amendment 1 documentary stamp revenues appropriated in the right direction. The bill requires that $100 million be dedicated to funding the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan.

““Segregating money for CERP helps to move forward with large construction contracts, specifically for the C-43 Reservoir, and provides a basis for our federal partners to consider how they meet their cost-share obligations through constructing other projects,” DeLisi said.

“The Water Quality Bill, which almost got through in the dysfunctional 2015 legislative session, did pass this time and addressed five major areas, among them water quality in the Lake Okeechobee watershed.

““Changes to how water quality in the Lake Okeechobee watershed will be enforced is the section that has the most impact on the City of Sanibel,” DeLisi said.

““It was an historic session,” he said. “They really got a lot done. We had tempered expectations and got historic results.””

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

Sanibel

CONDOS

3 new listings: Sundial West #I207 1/1 $315K, Pointe Santo #C36 2/2 $875K, Tamarind #A102 2/2 $1.695M.

4 price changes: Donax Village #14 2/2 now $529K, Kings Crown #208 2/2 now $799K, Pointe Santo #B25 2/2 now $799K, Atrium #201 3/3 now $1.595M.

4 new sales: White Caps South #5 1/1listed at $520K, Sealoft Village #106 2/2 listed at $599K, Bayview Village #2A 3/3 listed at $693K, Sanibel Seaview #A-1 3/3 listed at $1.199M.

5 closed sales: Compass Point #221 2/2 $585K (our listing), Sundial West #A305 2/2 $799K, Kimball Lodge #306 2/2 $800K, Shorewood #2 3/3 $1.195M, Sedgemoor #102 3/3.5 $2.4M.

HOMES

2 new listings: 1112 Olga Ave 6/2.5 multi-family $885K, 276 Ferry Landing Dr 3/3 $974.9K.

13 price changes: 9292 Belding Dr 3/2.5 now $439K, 1390 Middle Gulf Dr 3/3 half-duplex now $529K, 1410 Causey Ct 3/2 now $599K, 5279 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/2 now $648K, 4648 Buck Key Rd 3/2 now $649K, 1487 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 now $799K, 1321 Par View Dr 3/2.5 now $875K, 792 Birdie View Pt 3/3.5 now $999K, 1740 Dixie Beach Blvd 3/3.5 now $1.095M, 1126 Harbour Cottage Ct 3/2 now $1.495M, 1052 Whisperwood Way 3/3 now $1.524M, 2118 Starfish Ln 4/5 now $1.799M, 584 Kinzie Island Ct 3/4 now $1.945M.

2 new sales: 9027 Mockingbird Dr 4/3 listed at $799K, 283 Ferry Landing Dr 3/2 listed at $1.995M.

5 closed sales: 656 Anchor Dr 3/2 $585K, 3301 Twin Lakes Ln 2/2 $585K, 485 Peachtree Rd 3/3 $712.5K, 345 East Gulf Dr 3/2.5 $899K, 4355 West Gulf Dr 4/3 $3.4M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 644 Sea Oats Dr $329K.

No price changes or new sales.

1 closed sale: 0 Dinkins Lake Rd $215K.

Captiva 

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Beach Villas #2517 1/1 now $497.5K.

No new or closed sales.

HOMES

2 new listings: 11411 Old Lodge Ln 4/3 $1.895M, 16163 Captiva Dr 3/2 $2.695M.

2 price changes: 11523 Wightman Ln 4/4 now $1.895M, 15161 Captiva Dr 4/4.5 now $2.295M.

No new sales.

2 closed sales: 15000 Binder Dr 3/2 $1.0325M, 11535 Wightman Ln 3/3 $1.105M.

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 week, here are a few favorite blooms found on the island! TGIF!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusanfrangipaniDrift rosebougainvillea

 

What’s Happening After “High Season”


SanibelSusan Realty from Periwinkle WayWinding up the second 2016 post-season week, The SanibelSusan Team already is itching for more action. We appreciate being able to drive down Periwinkle at the end of the workday without delays, but several days this week, even the phones have been too quiet.

More of our condo listings were vacant this week, for the first time in months, so my team has held a few open houses, but very few prospects visited. Even the island Realtor® Caravan meeting yesterday was lightly attended. Details on the week’s action in the Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing Service follow some news items below.

The below article posted in the “Santiva Chronicle” last Saturday resonates a similar tone about the market. It was written by Realtor® colleague Sarah Ashton who brought the buyer for our listing at Compass Point, scheduled to close soon. We kibitzed then about island sales.

Does The Market Seem Slow?

santiva chronicle“This is a recurring question about Island Real Estate that has been circulating for the last month or so.

“Both 2014 and 2015 saw a return to an active market and an absorption of a good deal of our outstanding inventory. At the end of 2015, we were at lows in inventory that rivaled historic for the Islands. With this reduced inventory and the economy moving into recovery, we faced the real possibility that 2016 was not only going to be another active year, but also one with some measurable price increases. We were expecting “A Pop.”

“With the first quarter of 2016 over, and these questions about the pace of the market expressed, let’s take a look at where we are, by the numbers.

“In 2015 there were 68 houses and 48 Condos that closed in the first quarter. In 2016 we have seen 44 house and 40 Condos closed. Thus far in 2016, we have experience a roughly 30% reduction in the number of closed sales as compared to the same timeframe in 2015 and prices have remained primarily flat over last year.

“Will this trend continue for the rest of 2016? Great question and a crystal ball might help. What we do know is that a confluence of El Nino warm weather produced the wettest January on record which affected the water quality. Combine that with the warmest winter in the Midwest and Northeast in many years. Combine both of these with an Early Easter and perhaps a bit of pre-presidential election jitters and we may just have created the perfect storm for a mini-pullback in our Real Estate market.

“These conditions will all pass. However it may be that until we get to the 4th quarter of 2016 we won’t experience the “Pop”.”

Here’s An Interesting Statistic

realtor logoAccording to National Association of Realtors® President Tom Salomone’s message in the March/April issue of “Realtor” magazine, “one in every 220 adults in the U.S. is a Realtor®.”

For years, some colleagues jokingly have said that when a person retires here – right after getting their Florida driver’s license, they also take the real estate exam. With this national statistic, it must be happening elsewhere too.

The Upside to a Changing Market

Florida Realtors logoAs described in the April 2016 issue of “Florida Realtor®”, there has been a change in the international buyers and sellers doing business in Florida. As the article says “the international market is changing, but there are still opportunities….”

“International buyers and sellers accounted for 11% of the state’s residential transactions in 2015. The largest countries for global buyers were Canada, the U.K., Germany, France, China, Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, and Venezuela….Because global buyers tend to buy higher-priced homes and condominiums, they had a 24% share of total residential sales volume.

“International buyers love Florida’s real estate market. It’s an attractive vacation destination with convenient air access from Canada, Europe, and Latin America…But Florida’s appeal to those buyers is affected by many factors, particularly changes in foreign exchange rates that can make Florida properties more expensive or reduce their cost. The recent strengthening of the U.S. dollar has slowed the pace of foreign purchases by Canadians, Europeans and residents of some Latin American countries.

“Immigration and visa restrictions can be problematic for potential buyers, who also pay close attention to U.S. attitudes toward immigrant groups….Here is a closer look at Florida’s most important global markets.

canada-flagCANADA –In 2015, Canadians were only 11% of international buyers, a steep drop from 32% the prior year, primarily because of a less favorable exchange rate. Canadian buyers in all income segments like buying homes in the Sunshine State. Traditionally, French-speaking Canadians from Quebec have bought along the I-95 corridor, while English speakers from Ontario and the western provinces have gravitated to Central Florida and the Gulf Coast….

UK FlagUNITED KINGDOM – U.K. buyers were 5% of the state’s international market in 2015, down from 7% in 2014 and 15% in 2010. A stronger U.S. dollar has led to a decline in sales to buyers from the U.K. and other northern European countries…That trend had had a greater impact on U.K. buyers investing in rental properties…But lifestyle buyers who want to spend six months in Florida are still purchasing here…U.K. buyers traditionally favor Central Florida and often buy relatively inexpensive vacation homes near Orlando’s theme parks….

Germany flagGERMANY – German buyers were 2% of the state’s international market in 2015, down from 5% in the prior year…In Germany, Belgium, Austria, and Switzerland, a real estate transaction is not valid until a notary signs the document in the presence of both parties….” So some education is involved here.

french-flag-largeFRANCE – French buyers were 3% of the state’s international market in 2015, unchanged from 2014. In the past decade, French buyers and investors have significantly increased their presence in the Florida market…When property values dropped during 2008-09, many European investors saw an opportunity here…Now, South Florida has a significant number of French, Italian, Spanish, Belgian and Swiss owners…. French buyers tend to purchase in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties….French buyers like Europeans are looking for residences with special features such as landscaping or interior design…They do not want cookie-cutter houses or condos…The quality of construction and the details of the architecture are very important.

china flagCHINA – Chinese buyers have increased their presence in recent years and now constitute 4% of international buyers, up from 1% in 2011. In the past few years, South Florida has attracted a growing number of buyers from China, as well as Korea, Vietnam, India, the Philippines and other Asian countries….In some cases,… parents will buy a home close to a campus, planning to hold it for four years or longer….Access to quality education and clean air are top priorities for Chinese buyers….

Brazil flagBRAZIL – Brazilian buyers were 9% of the state’s international market in 2015, up from 6% in 2014. For the past five years, Brazil has been one of Florida’s strongest international markets. Many affluent buyers purchased new condominiums and resales in the Miami market in all-cash transactions for personal use or investment. But the inflow of buyers from South America’s largest economy has been slowing over the past year, due to an economic recession, a political corruption scandal and the devaluation of the Brazilian real, which has fallen to record lows compared with the U.S. dollar.

Argentina flagARGENTINA – Argentine buyers were 7% of the state’s international market in 2015, up from 3% in 2014….

Flag_of_ColombiaCOLUMBIA – Columbian buyers were 7% of the state’s international market in 2015, up from 4% in 2014….

venezuela flagVENEZUELA – Venezuelan buyers were 18% of the state’s international market in 2015, up from 3% in 2014…. As Venezuela is one of the world’s major oil producers, its economy has been hit hard by the 2015 downturn in oil prices…and their recession is expected to deepen this year…”

What Does This Mean for the Sanibel/Captiva Market? And SanibelSusan Realty Associates?

Narrowing Florida’s recent international business to just the area of Sanibel and Captiva, European countries continue to dominate the islands’ buyer market. Most recent transactions with Canadians have been with them selling, usually because of the exchange rate. There is little business here with residents of Asia and South/Central America, but that could and, likely will, change.

Proxio logoProxioPro.com – SanibelSusan has a long-standing profile on www.ProxioPro.com which is a site known as the international MLS and global real estate network for referrals and sales. Comprised of mostly real estate professionals with internationally-recognized designations, through ProxioPro, I have personal connections with offers to pay referral fees to over 450 world-wide real estate professionals who have reached out to me indicating that they have buyers interested in Sanibel and Captiva.

My most recent ProxioPro out-of-country referral requests came from France and Canada, followed by Brazil, Greece, the Netherlands, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic. In-country requests have come mostly from agents on the other coast of Florida, particularly Miami. California and Texas are the two states that also have brought many recent requests.

world properties logo.jpgWorld Properties.com – Also powered by Proxio, www.WorldProperties.com is the official website of the International Consortium of Real Estate Associations – similar to a global version of www.Realtor.com. The consortium is comprised of real estate associations in 117 member countries which have set standards to facilitate real estate transactions and agreed to abide by specific codes of conduct. Here too, our listings are posted and translated into the various languages of the member countries.

juwai logoJuwai.com – This summer, my plan is to get a company profile and our listings posted on Juwai which is an international property portal for Chinese-speaking buyers looking to purchase property outside their country. On a national level, last year Chinese buyers surpassed Canadians in U.S. purchases, though most of these buys were on the west coast or in New York. Like most everywhere today, the Chinese economy is settling into a new normal. Considering that China has never been as large or powerful as it is now, my guess is that investment property here will appeal to them – if only they knew about it. Many in China are seeking not only safe monetary harbors, but also better educational opportunities for their children, so you can be sure that I will be touting the success of nearby Florida Gulf Coast University as well as other schooling opportunities here.

Why More Americans Are Heading South

From a recent posting on “Daily Real Estate News”:

RealtyTracLogo_166x32“A rising number of Americans are heading to southern states, lured by a combination of warmer weather, affordable housing, lower taxes, and less congested cities, according to a new report published by RealtyTrac called “The Next Great Migration of ‘Housing Refugees’ On the Move.”

“New census data confirm the findings. Since 2014 alone, more than 1.4 million people have moved to the Sun Belt, mostly from the Northeast and Midwest, according to Census Bureau data.

“That marks a stark difference to previous mobility trends. For more than a century, Americans predominantly headed west to cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and Seattle. But lately, that migration trend is taking a turn south.

““This 20th century movement west, which has dominated American demographic patterns for decades, may now be reversing itself in the 21st century as rising housing costs, stagnant job creation, restrictive land-use laws and no-tax states, pull Californians, Midwesterners and Northeasterners eastward and southward to less costly regions and more business-friendly states in the Sun Belt,” RealtyTrac’s report notes.

“Americans are fleeing pricey coastal states like California and New York and heading to states considered more affordable, such as Texas, Florida, and the Carolinas, according to a recent United Van Lines report.

During the Great Recession, populations in the Sun Belt saw a decline, but now analysts are saying there’s a renewed “Snow Belt–to–Sun Belt migration pattern,” notes William H. Frey, a demographer and senior fellow at The Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

“Florida is especially feeling a heat wave of new residents. For the first time in nearly a decade, Florida added more people than California between July 2014 and July 2015, according to Census Bureau data. That helped Florida emerge as the third most populous U.S. state, jumping ahead of New York (and following California and Texas).”

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

Sanibel

CONDOS

4 new listings: Captains Walk #A8 2/2 $365K; White Caps South #5 1/1 $520K; Loggerhead Cay #373 2/2 $595,555; Sealoft Village #106 2/2 $599K.

3 price changes: Mariner Pointe #712 2/2.5 now $549K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #1-1 2/2.5 now $595K, Heron at The Sanctuary II #1B 2/2.5 now $610K.

1 new sale: Island Beach Club #330C 2/2 listed at $795K.

3 closed sales: Seawind #A101 2/2.5 $495K, Sundial West #G404 2/2 $559K, Sanibel Seaview #C3 4/4 $1.615M.

HOMES

5 new listings: 340 East Gulf Dr 2/2 $625K, 1710 Sand Pebble Way 3/2 $715K, 5749 Pine Tree Dr 3/3 $749K, 6188 Henderson Rd 3/2 $779K, 841 Lindgren Blvd 2/2 $899K.

7 price changes: 5131 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 2/2 now $465K, 1322 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $529.9K, 1772 Serenity Ln 3/2 now $679K, 5757 Pine Tree Dr 3/2.5 now $875K, 232 Robinwood Cir 4/3 now $1.285M, 6491 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 2/2 now $1.795M, 513 Lighthouse Way 3/3 now $2.4M.

7 new sales: 848 Rabbit Rd 3/2 listed at $379.9K, 441 Lake Murex Cir 3/3 now $569K, 5303 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/2 listed at $649K, 3711 Agate Ct 3/2.5 listed at $899K, 2459 Harbour Ln 3/3.5 listed at $949K, 460 East Gulf Dr 2/2.5 listed at $1.289M, 882 Beach Rd 4/3 listed at $1.395M.

4 closed sales: 1521 Wilton Ln 3/2 $538.5K, 557 N Yachtsman Dr 4/3 $700K, 280 Ferry Landing Dr 3/2 $875K, 169 Southwinds Dr 3/2 $1.234M.

LOTS

1 new listings: 1304 Eagle Run Dr $339K (same lot that closed earlier in the week).

2 price changes: 2486 Wulfert Rd now $189,555; 6217 Starling Way now $1.295M.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 1304 Eagle Run Dr $205K.

Captiva

CONDOS

3 new listings: Tennis Villas #3231 2/2 $405K, Sunset Beach Villas #2316 1/1 $510K, Bayside Villas #5302 3/3 $629.9K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: Bayside Villas #4302 3/3 listed at $605K.

No closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 6790 Captiva Dr 5/5  multi-family listed at $5.25M.

1 closed sale: 16251 Captiva Dr 7/4.5 $2.15M.

LOTS

Nothing to report

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

Until next Friday, here’s a photo like the one so many folks post on social media, saying “It’s the road to paradise”.

It is… TGIF, Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Causeway bridge

“High” Season Over on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


Yes, in the blink of an eye, it’s over. Early Easter this year made for an early end to “high season” here. This week, several of our normally-booked condo listings were vacant – the first time in months. Once the last of the spring breaks are over, it likely will be quiet here again until schools are out and summer visitors start to arrive.

The Realtor® Caravan Meeting yesterday was well attended. The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® now has 31 broker offices with 284 Realtor® members. Announcements included a handful of new listings and a few sales, but mostly price reductions. The SanibelSusan Team had a new gulf-view condo listing go “live” last weekend. A few photos are below. It’s Nutmeg Village #303, top-floor, remodeled 2 bedroom 2 bath, with bright open kitchen, and views of the beach/gulf from all windows on both sides of the property!

View b

Kitchen bFront ViewMore snowbirds are departing daily and the recently-installed traffic cams are working, so roadways are easing up. I ran into the City Manager yesterday and as we were commiserating about “season”, she shared an email that she had just received from a happy winter visitor commending her and her staff and sharing some personal positive thoughts on the wonders of the island. Even in the throes of “season”, Sanibel is the “the best”. We too appreciate all the City does to make it that way.

After a couple of news items below is the activity posted in the Sanibel/Captiva Multiple Listing Service over the last seven days.

2016 Predicted to Be Housing’s Golden Year

Posted last Friday on “Realtor®Mag”:

“Officials from mortgage giant Freddie Mac have made a bold prediction: This year housing starts and home prices will reach their highest levels since 2006.

FreddieMacLogo_3 “The main reasons behind its bullish forecast is low mortgage rates, an improving job market, and a gradual increase in housing supply. “Housing markets are poised for their best year in a decade,” says Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “In our latest forecast, total home sales, housing starts, and home prices will reach their highest levels since 2006.”

“The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage remains well-below 4% this year. This week it averaged 3.71%. “Expect the 30-year mortgage rate to remain very attractive throughout the spring home-buying season, staying below 4% until the second half of the year,” according to Freddie Mac’s monthly Outlook for March.

“For home sellers, they’ll be able to enjoy more home price increases. “In 2015, house prices increased about 6% on a year-over-year basis,” Freddie notes in its outlook. “Expect house prices to continue to rise, but at a moderating pace, with annual price appreciation slowing to 4.8% in 2016.”

“Also, gains in employment across the country will help to fuel hotter housing markets, according to Freddie Mac. The unemployment rate dropped below 5%.

That said, challenges remain for the housing market, particularly with wage growth. Wages remain “anemic, barely keeping pace with inflation,” Freddie Mac officials caution. “If wages and incomes do not start rising, then rising interest rates, home prices, and rents will squeeze households and ultimately slow housing markets,” Freddie Mac notes.

“Despite some headwinds, officials remain mostly upbeat. The “nation’s housing markets should sustain their momentum from 2015 into 2016 and 2017,” the outlook notes.”

Flood Insurance Rates Up April 1

NationalFloodInsuranceProgrThe below article was posted last week in the “Sun Sentinel” Fort Lauderdale and reprinted in FloridaRealtors® on-line last Friday, April 1. It’s long, but a good explanation of the changes this month in flood insurance rates.

“Flood insurance rates are set to increase for all policyholders today as the National Flood Insurance Program continues to dig itself out of $24 billion in debt incurred in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Sandy and other recent emergencies.

“That means policyholders and their insurance agents will once again be forced to wade through a bewildering barrage of bureaucratic lingo like “Lapsed and reinstated pre-Flood Insurance Rate Map (Pre-FIRM) policies,” “Pre-FIRM primary residences,” “preferred risk,” “standard rated,” “Biggert-Waters” and “Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014.”

“And those phrases are from just two paragraphs of a news release Thursday from state Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty’s office alerting Florida residents of the coming rate increases. McCarty says it’s important for Florida residents to carry flood insurance on their property. Of the National Flood Insurance Program’s 5.1 million policies, about 1.8 million are in Florida.

“”Although Florida’s hurricane season has been mild over the last 10 years, it is important that we not forget how easy it is for one storm to cause a great deal of damage and destruction from flooding,” the news release quoted McCarty as saying. “Tropical Storm Fay is a good example of a storm that made slow progress through the state leading to massive flooding problems for several Florida counties back in 2008.”

“Flood insurance premiums will increase an average of 9% nationwide, excluding some surcharges and fees, said Susan Hendrick, spokeswoman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“But those increases will vary depending on whether buildings are primary homes, built prior to the 1980s, in flood hazard zones, or have been paying artificially low premiums since flood zone maps were first created in the 1980s.

“Flood insurance rates are based on flood zone maps developed and revised by FEMA for each county in the U.S. The maps estimate how high flood waters will rise after a storm likely to occur once every 100 years.

Homeowners with mortgages backed by a federal lending guarantor such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are required to carry flood insurance if they live in a special flood hazard zone. Flood hazard zones are typically near the ocean, the Intracoastal Waterway or canals, or in low-lying areas….

“In 2012, after hurricanes Katrina, Sandy and other major storms plunged the flood program deeply into debt, Congress enacted the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, which was intended to remove government discounts and bring insurance rates charged for risky properties up to levels reflecting actual risk. But many owners of those risky properties were enraged by the increases in their renewal notices in 2014, and they pressured Congress to throttle back on the rate of increases.

“The result was a 25% annual limit on rate increases for properties in flood hazard zones, paid for with a new surcharge imposed on all property owners.

“Here’s a breakdown of the most-common property types and rate increases their owners will face as of Friday:

“Properties in flood hazard zones that were grandfathered into the program with subsidized rates will see premiums increased by 25% this year – and each year into the future until they are no longer paying subsidized rates.

“Totaling roughly 20% of the 5 million properties insured by the National Flood Insurance Program, these grandfathered, subsidized properties are called “pre-Flood Insurance Rate Map (pre-FIRM)” properties because they were built before their communities’ first FEMA flood zone maps were created in the 1980s.

“”When the program first started, the government decided not to penalize homes built before the 1980s” by forcing them to pay actuarially sound (or fair market) rates, FEMA spokesman Butch Kinerney said. Instead, the government allowed them to pay discounted rates until 2012.

“Properties subject to 25% increases include non-primary residences and business properties. Grandfathered-in primary homes will see increases up to 18%, as will properties that are neither homes nor businesses – such as churches, non-profits and schools.

“Preferred-risk policies – which are policies written for properties within moderate- or low-risk zones B, C or X zones and not required with government-backed mortgages – will see premium increases of up to 15%.

“The Federal Policy Fee introduced last year will increase from $22 to $25 for preferred-risk policies and from $45 to $50 for standard-risk policies, which are policies in flood hazard zones.

“Another charge known as the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act Surcharge will remain at $25 for houses, townhomes and condo units used as primary residences by their owners and $250 for all other buildings, including vacation homes and businesses. This is the surcharge approved in 2014 to help offset the cost of distributing policy rate hikes over several years for properties in flood hazard zones.

“The Reserve Fund Assessment will increase from 10% to 15% for Preferred Risk Policies. The assessment is already at 15% for all other types of policies.

“Property owners should purchase insurance by May 1 if they want to be covered at the start of hurricane season on June 1, according to the news release from the state insurance commissioner. Coverage is now offered by several private insurers at rates comparable to the National Flood Insurance Program, and to cover values exceeding the federal program’s limit of $250,000 per home and $500,000 per business, the release said.

“For more information, flood insurance customers are urged to contact their agents or go to floodsmart.gov.”

The Dunes Will Get Four Speed Bumps

DunesEntrySignAs described in Tuesday’s “Santiva Chronicle”

“Sand Castle Road in The Dunes neighborhood of Sanibel will have four speed bumps on it next tourist season following a request by the Dunes Board of Directors and action by the Sanibel City Council on Tuesday, April 5.

The removable speed bumps are the second tier of traffic control recommended to the city and they will be in place during the peak tourist and traffic season. The Dunes is used as an alternate route off and on the island during peak traffic times via Dixie Beach Road on one end and Bailey Road on the other end….

“The city identified the problem of motorists cutting through The Dunes and contracted with Johnson Engineering to gather data and recommend solutions. Johnson recommended two tiers of traffic control. The city implemented Tier 1 in January 2015 by reducing The Dunes speed limit from 25 to 20 mph and reducing the speed in the curves on Sand Castle from 20 to 15 mph.

“Increased police patrols were part of Tier 1. Police Chief Bill Tomlinson said that in 14 months since the reduction in the speed limit that his department has spent about 10 hours a week patrolling traffic in The Dunes and has issued 206 traffic citations.

“The four speed bumps will be 14 feet long and will rise to a height of 4 inches above the road surface. On each side of the bumps will be a 2.5-foot buffer to allow passage of pedestrian and bicycle traffic….At its junction with Albatross and Bailey roads, Sand Castle goes both directions in a circle. Motorists can go either way and two speed bumps will be installed on each of the north and south portions of Sand Castle.”

Sanibel Farmers’ Market To Stay Open Through May

Sanibel Farmers MktFarmers Market Brussels SproutsBy unanimous vote on Tuesday, Sanibel City Council voted to allow the Sanibel Farmers’ Market to stay open this season through the last Sunday in May.

The popular market was slated to close down for the season at the end of April, but owners of market operator Local Roots, asked the city to extend to May 31 due to its great success this season.

The market is open Sundays from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. See you there!

Stage a Baby Boomer Home the Millennial Way

The Washington PostAn article posted on “Daily Real Estate News” this week was sourced to “The Washington Post”, March 31, 2016. It has some good tips.

“Like every generation, millennials’ needs and tastes differ from their parents’ generation, as plenty of surveys have attested to. But as millennials become home owners, how can your baby boomer home sellers amp up their homes’ appeal to this younger generation’s tastes?

“David Charron, president and chief executive of the multiple listing service MRIS, offered up a few tips on presenting a home to appeal to millennials in a recent column in The Washington Post. Here are a few of his suggestions:

Entryway: “Millennials prefer their living spaces to be streamlined,” Charron notes. “A home’s entryway is one of the easiest places to make a good first impression.” For example, builders are adding shelves next to electrical outlets for charging stations in new construction. Sellers can do the same. Set up a dedicated command center near the door with a place to stow keys, mail, coats, and bags, and add a tastefully styled power strip or charging center.

“Common areas: Millennials place a high emphasis on socializing, so make sure the kitchen and living room show the spaces as great places to host a party. For example, a taller-than-usual kitchen table with bar chairs may offer up that picture. An open layout arranged with several seating areas also can help buyers visualize how the home can accommodate big group gatherings without feeling too crowded. For an open house, offer up a beverage and snacks station so that visitors can see and experience the entertaining aspect of the home.

“Children areas: Millennials span the ages of 20 to 35, and many are starting families or plan to soon. They are looking for places where they can keep an eye on young children as they play indoors along with kid-friendly areas. Display maps with nearby playgrounds, parks, and bike paths outlined to show the area has plenty to offer children.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity April 1-8, 2016

Sanibel

CONDOS

Spa

Beachside amenities at Nutmeg Village on Sanibel

 

3 new listings: Nutmeg Village #303 2/2 $799K (our listing), Clam Shell #E 3/2.5 $995K, Pointe Santo #E6 2/2 $1.25M.

4 price changes: Mariner Pointe #522 2/2 now $499K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #3-3 2/2.5 now $675K, Surfside 12 #B1 3/2 now $999K, Sanbel Surfside #127 2/2 now $1.095M.

4 new sales: Coquina Beach #5D 2/2 listed at $375K, Sundial West #B207 1/1 listed at $489.9K, Sanibel Siesta #402 2/2 listed at $559K, Shorewood #2B 3/3 listed at $1.349M.

7 closed sales: Sundial West #H408 1/1 $385K, Mariner Pointe #1073 2/2 $425K, Sunset South #6B 2/2 $477.5K, Sunset South #4C 2/2 $750K, Sundial West #E205 2/2 $764K, St. Croix #4 2/2.5 $890K, High Tide #A301 2/2 $1.895M.

HOMES

6 new listings: 1722 Serenity Ln 3/3 $525K, 980 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 half-duplex $525K, 702 Oliva St 3/2 $649K, 4760 Rue Helene 3/2 $1.1M, 1360 Eagle Run Dr 5/3.5 $2.495M, 900 Snowberry Ln 4/3 $3.595M.

5 price changes: 1635 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex now $469K, 1322 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $534.9K, 1024 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2 multi-family now $569K, 2311 Starfish Ln 4/3 now $1.299M, 2405 Blue Crab Ct 4/4.5 now $2.595M.

7 new sales: 575 Piedmont Rd 3/2 listed at $425K, 1631 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex listed at $479K, 535 Birdsong Pl 3/2 listed at $535K, 1125 Captains Walk St 3/3 listed at $649.9K, 5753 Pine Tree Dr 3/4 listed at $998K, 746 Windlass Way 4/3 listed at $1.149M, 819 Lindgren Blvd 4/3.5 listed at $1.295M.

5 closed sales: 3870 Coquina Dr 3/2 $575K, 2499 Harbour Ln 3/3 $675K, 1259 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 $840K, 532 Sea Oats Dr 3/4 $1.2M, 1688 Hibiscus Dr 3/4 $1.82M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 690 Birdie View Pt $399.9K.

No price changes or new sales.

2 closed sales: 2933 Wulfert Rd $260K, 5407 Osprey Ct $465K.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

2 new sales: with contingencies: Bayside Villas #5208 1/2 listed at $287K, Beach Villas #2632 2/2 listed at $710K.

1 closed sale: Beach Homes #27 5/3 $2.395M.

HOMES

1 new listing: 11537 Laika Ln 4/3 $1.695M.

2 price changes: 15161 Captiva Dr 4/4.5 now $2.495M, 11530 Paige Ct 4/5.5 now $3.585M.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 11525 Chapin Ln 4/4 $1.4M.

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 Friday, Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Singing, Selling, & Other Fun on Sanibel Island


It has been a busy week on the islands and for The SanibelSusan Team.

Occupancy is high with it being the last real week of “season”. Many accommodations also are booked for the next two weeks, but some winter residents already have headed home.

We had busy days in the office and SanibelSusan made it through our three BIG ARTS Community Chorus performances too. Tuesday was an especially productive day with another nice closing, an offer negotiated on a listing, and an offer written and accepted on a replacement property.

Teammate Dave held an open house all day on Wednesday, I showed property Thursday, and on various days Dave opened listings for showings too. All-in-all, a great week. I won’t mention the traffic.

Below are a few news items followed by the activity posted in the Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing service this week.

PAWS (Protection of Animal Welfare Society)

PAWS quiltWednesday evening was a fundraiser for PAWS (Protection of Animal Welfare Society) at The Community House. PAWS is a non-profit that cares for stray and abandoned animals on Sanibel and Captiva.

Next time you at SanibelSusan Realty, check out the colorful beach-scene quilt hanging near our entry. I was the successful bidder for that piece which was made and donated by our friend, Sheila Rodriguez.

PAWS has cared for over 1000 animals (mostly cats and dogs) since it began in 1987. If you are interested in helping them too, call Pam 239-472-4823 or Diane at 484-574-6419. They are always happy to accept donations and looking for those willing to foster and/or adopt.

Upcoming Island Events

CROW Mason-Jars-2CROW’s Southern Comfort Benefit – Tomorrow night (Sat, April 2) from 6 to 9 p.m. at The Community House.

SCCF’s Beer in the Bushes Fundraiser – Next Sat (April 9) from 6 to 10 p.m. on the grounds of SCCF’s new Nature Center.

Lighthouse Day Celebration at Sanibel Historical Village – Wed (Apr 13) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Civic & Cultural Core Project (CCP) Community Working Group Presents Plans at City Council

Artist concept of civic core project

Good news here…the below press release was issued on Monday.

“A volunteer community working group comprised of leaders from the following organizations presented  updated plans for the creation of a new Civic and Cultural Core campus and community green at a special workshop of the Sanibel City Council on March 28, 2016:  The Sanibel Community House/Community Association (SCA), represented by Board members Tom Sharbaugh and Richard Johnson; Katie Reid and Shirley Schulz of Island Seniors, Inc.; and Ralph Clark and Chuck Ketteman, Board members of BIG ARTS.  The volunteer group worked closely with City staff in developing the proposal.

“The vision of the CCP is to create a place consistent with the Sanibel Plan where people of all ages can gather to celebrate community, the arts, culture, life-long learning and healthy living.

“The Civic Core project is an extremely positive move by major non-profit organizations working together, to provide a better quality of life for all Sanibel residents and visitors.  It will meet the social, educational, cultural and recreational needs of the total community,” said Katie Reid of Island Seniors, Inc.

“The civic and cultural core campus would be constructed on approximately 25 acres of land owned by the City of Sanibel and other participants, stretching east and south of The Sanibel Library.

“Under the current design concept, the new Center 4 Life building, the performance hall, theater, and learning center would be inter-connected to the existing Library, City Hall and Sanibel Historical Museum by meandering walkways and generous  bike and pedestrian paths. It includes additional green space and a large community green for public gatherings.

“The inter-connected campus design creates new and easier access to all these public facilities, significantly increased parking and much-needed new homes for BIG ARTS and The Center 4 Life, whose current buildings have exhausted their useful life and are incurring increasing annual maintenance costs in the face of growing  community need for services.  Two new outdoor pavilions on the community green will allow SCA’s major outdoor events to be moved away from Periwinkle Way, resulting in improved pedestrian and vehicular safety.

““One of the challenges we face as a community is congestion during our peak season. The Civic and Cultural Core design addresses this issue by moving traffic off Periwinkle Way to convenient, shared parking.  Without pedestrian crossings, traffic will flow effectively and safely for all our residents and guests,” said Richard Johnson, SCA Board member.

“The current CCP construction cost is projected at $42M, not including the value of land being designated to the project by the City. The construction cost of the new facilities would be paid for from public and private sector funding and, once built, would be owned by the City and leased to the nonprofit organizations.

“The CCP vision, concept, budgets and design have been honed over a two and ½ year period marked by multiple public workshops and numerous revisions in response to community comments, City requirements, and sensitivity to smart traffic planning and safety. Multiple site access points, as well as ongoing comprehensive and detailed analysis of current and projected attendance and traffic patterns at all times of year and in all parts of the day, have been integral to the design.

““The working group of the Civic Core has been carefully listening to our residents every step of the way as we work together. We are convinced that what is developing is a community resource that will help solve serious existing problems and provide a wonderful gathering place for citizens and visitors,” said Ralph Clark, Vice President of the BIG ARTS Board of Directors

“The purpose of the March 28 special workshop was to afford Council members and the community a chance to learn more about and discuss the project. Next steps include approval of the revised project master plan at the Council’s planned April meeting, and pursuit of additional funding partners. The project will require a referendum vote by Sanibel citizens for final approval.”

End of Internet Tax Will Boost Real Estate

Recently posted on “Daily Real Estate News” on line:

“Ten states today levy what are known as Internet access taxes.

“That might come as a surprise to many people, since the taxes are largely invisible. They’re levied on companies like Verizon and Comcast, the Internet service providers (ISP) that manage the infrastructure through which Internet traffic flows. These companies pass the taxes on to consumers in the form of higher fees.

“Back in 1998, Congress limited the taxes to just the 10 states—Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin—by passing the Internet Tax Freedom Act. Since then, Congress has gone back and reauthorized the law every few years, because the original ban was only temporary.

“That will change now. Congress just a few weeks ago passed the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act, and, as the name implies, makes further bans unnecessary. What’s more, the 10 states that levy the taxes will have to stop by June 30, 2020. The National Association of REALTORS® has been one of the biggest advocates for making the ban permanent and ending the taxes because of the importance of the Internet to the industry.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity March 25-April 1, 2016

Sanibel

CONDOS

3 new listings: Sanibel Arms West #L4 2/2 $524.9K, Atrium #201 3/3 $1.695M, Atrium #203 3/2 $1.795M.

7 price changes: Sandpebble #2B 2/2 now $424.9K (our listing), Coquina Beach #4C 2/2 now $489.9K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #1-1 2/2.5 now $635K, Bayview Village #2A 3/3 now $693K, Sundial East #S404 3/2 now $825K, Tanglewood #1A 3/2 now $1.1999M, Shorewood #2B 3/3 now $1.349M.

Front View b.jpg

At Sandpebble overlooking the Sanibel River

 

4 new sales: Cottage Colony West #126 1/1 listed at $649K (our buyer), Sanctuary Golf Villages I #2-2 3/3 listed at $710K, Nutmeg Village #309 2/2 listed at $799K.

BeachPath

View of the gulf from Cottage Colony West at Casa Ybel Resort

 

5 closed sales: Sundial East #O402 2/2 $615K, Surfside 12 #A2 3/2 $632K, Wedgewood #306 3/3.5 $1.28M, Gulfside Place #317 2/2 $1.4M, Atrium #302 2/2 $1.5575M.

HOMES

4 new listings: 2114 Egret Cir 3/2 $498K, 9468 Peaceful Dr 3/2 $769K, 500 Periwinkle Way 3/3 $1.248M, 4449 Waters Edge Ln 3/2/3 $4.795M.

16 price changes: 575 Piedmont Rd 3/2 now $425K, 9292 Belding Dr 3/2.5 now $449K, 535 Birdsong Pl 3/2 now $535K, 1602 Serenity Ln 4/2 now $539K, 1410 Causey Ct 3/2 now $649K, 5303 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/2 now $649K, 1125 Captains Walk St 3/3 now $649.9K, 1133 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $679K, 677 Durion Ct 3/2 now $748K, 2549 Harbour Ln 3/2 now $779K, 3335 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $779K, 9027 Mockingbird Dr 4/3 now $799K, 1121 Skiff Pl 3/3 now $949K, 1317 Eagle Run Dr 4/3.5 now $1.195M, 932 Whelk Dr 3/3 now $1.495M, 513 Lighthouse Way 3/3 now $2.26M.

4 new sales: 1258 Par View Dr 3/2 listed at $749K, 557 N Yachtsman Dr 4/3 listed at $749K, 645 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 listed at $789K, 4355 West Gulf Dr 4/3 listed at $3.8M.

5 closed sales: 847 Casa Ybel Rd 2/2 $395K, 9012 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 $492K, 1065 Fish Crow Rd 2/2 $655K, 5743 Baltusrol Ct 3/3/2 $1.35M (our listing), 1656 Hibiscus Dr 4/3.5 $2.1M.

20150813_140700.jpg

Home sold at Augusta Greens in The Sanctuary

 

LOTS

1 new listing: 1837 Buckthorn Ln $439.9K.

No price changes.

2 new sales: 6159 Starling Way listed at $619K, 837 Limpet Dr listed at $749K (our listing).

straight view.jpg

View from 837 Limpet Dr

 

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: Beach Homes #20 3/3 listed at $2.499M.

No closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings.

1 price change: 16979 Captiva Dr 7/6.5 now $4.485M.

No new or closed sales.

LOTS

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: 16297 Captiva Dr $1.4M.

(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.)

tgif 2.jpgHappy Friday!

Susan Andrews aka SanibelSusan

Sanibel/Captiva Real Estate Scoop, Easter 2016


WildFlower

Just a little beach flower by our photographer pal, Jim Anderson, JMA Photography

After a chilly Monday and Tuesday, likely the last days to wear light jackets until next winter, island weather this week has been almost picture-perfect – bright sunny days and moonlight nights. A little shower and a few clouds today is what similarly is expected Forecast 3-25-16through the holiday weekend with daytime temperatures reaching the low to mid 80’s.

 

There have been some complaints this week about traffic. We view that as an inconvenience that should disappear the snowbird head north.  It might be worse next week when Lee County Schools are out for spring break.

Sanibel traffic directors’ work is compounded when there are heavy bike-path traffic and joggers. Now is a good time to be extra vigilant on the roadways.

SanibelSusan Realty & Real Estate Happenings

SanibelSusan Realty from Periwinkle WayThis week, I heard more chatter from colleagues about sales slowing down and them not working with as many buyers this year. Others complained about their listings occupied with renters who have extended their 2016 stay because of the tough winter weather in 2015. Seems that many were not happy that it wasn’t spring when they went home.

The good news is that usually after “season”, many of those serious buyers return – those wanting investment property and were unable to view properties during the winter months of heavy rentals. In the meantime, here’s a quick update of Sanibel’s residential inventory today. Prices continue to swing up and the amount of inventory continues to swing down.

# For Sale: Condos = 102; Homes = 160

Average Asking Price:  Condo = $741,609; Home = $1,342,327

# Sales Pending: Condos = 36; Homes = 45

Average Asking Price Units Pending: Condos = $959,253; Homes = $1,108,893

# Sold & Closed This Year: Condos = 33; Homes = 37

Average Sale Price Sold This Year: Condos = $680,875; Homes = $957,740

#Sold & Closed in 2015: Condos = 160; Homes = 236

Average Sale Price Sold Last Year: Condos = $701,088; Homes = $912,744

The Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple System action this week follows a few news items below.

A Troubling Shortage of Homes

realtor logoAs a long-time fan of Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research at the National Association of REALTORS®, here’s his take on the housing as posted in his March column in “Realtor®Mag”:

“Inflation may be in check, but the lack of inventory around the country is fueling a sharp rise in housing cost.

“There is no inflation, says the federal government. The consumer price index rose by only 0.4% in 2015 so there will be no cost-of-living adjustment to Social Security checks this year. However, as most real estate professionals know, housing costs are still climbing. Rents rose at their highest pace in seven years and home prices nationally increased by 6%. That would be three times the pace of average wage growth. Housing costs are expected to keep rising in 2016 simply because not enough homes are being built.

“From 2009 to today, new construction of single-family homes, condominiums, and apartment units totaled 5.6 million. Over the same period, approximately 1.7 million housing units were deemed uninhabitable or obsolete and were demolished and removed from the housing stock. These two figures result in a net addition of 3.9 million housing units to the country’s stock. Is that adequate in light of 17.3 million additional people living in the country over the same period?

“Clearly, the answer is no. Given the average household size of 2.5 persons, a total of 6.9 million new housing units would be needed to accommodate the country’s rising population. The 3.9 million units that were actually created fall far short of the demand—by some 3 million homes.

“That explains why rental vacancies are falling and housing inventories are shrinking. Of course, local market conditions vary. States with declining populations, including Connecticut, Illinois, and West Virginia, may have a less pressing need for additional home construction. But those places are exceptions. Housing shortages are the rule in most states and there’s no reason to expect anything to change this year.

“There are essentially two major consequences of a persistent housing shortage: a continuing steep rise in housing costs and people needing to double or triple up to afford a home. Young adults may have to find multiple roommates or else live with their parents.

“That latter scenario is probably not what most young people dream about, but it’s what the American dream of home ownership could turn into if we don’t spur more housing development in the country soon.”

6 Ways to Explain Low Inventory

houses-clipartfree-christian-clip-art--image-of-a-house-a-home---cropped-image-xoshp3lsFrom “Daily Real Estate News” on Wednesday, this is a good summary about inventory:

“Everywhere you turn, there’s a new story about how the lack of homes on the market is driving up prices and driving buyers crazy. But what’s the reason behind this trend? There are a number of factors, according to a recent article at Real Estate Economy Watch….

“Many home owners are still underwater. One of five homeowners with a mortgage still doesn’t have enough equity to sell. This isn’t the same situation as we saw during the depths of the housing crisis, but it’s still making its mark on inventory levels. Although rising prices may slowly reduce the number of home owners who owe more than their property is worth, Real Estate Economy Watch predicts that significant numbers will continue to be equity-challenged for several years to come, especially in Arizona, California, Florida, and Nevada.

“Boom buyers are still holding out. About 16 million families bought homes in the peak of the boom around a decade ago, and many are still waiting around to make a profit, even if they aren’t underwater. Even if CoreLogic’s prediction that the national median price will reach the peak of 2007 in the next year or so does come to fruition, Real Estate Economy Watch says many of these peak buyers will have to wait another five years or more before they realize much profit on their homes.

“The inventory shortage is squeezing move-ups. Owners who may be ready to move into a larger or more expensive home are often considered hidden drivers of the market. But right now, price instability and the lack of available homes is causing this group to hold off. But Real Estate Economy Watch says that stability is coming, despite the inflationary impact of market shortages, and predicts that this “vicious cycle” will ease.

“Investors aren’t ready to sell single-family homes they’re renting. They’re making money from both rising rents and home price appreciation. And that’s why Real Estate Economy Watch cautions against assuming they’ll “sell their mini gold mines to homeowners anytime soon.” The upside? At least some young prospective owners have access to a relatively affordable alternative to apartments, where they can start families while they wait for entry-level homes to come on the market.

“New-home construction is still very low. It may be tempting to blame this on the builders, but Real Estate Economy Watch points out that after the crash in 2007, thousands of smaller builders closed down, and many of those who survived did so by selling off their inventories of prime real estate earmarked for future construction. They predict that builders will make a dent in the higher-tier housing soon, but that they would help the inventory problem more if they concentrated on the lower-end demand.

“Baby boomers are running behind. Everything from later retirement ages, longer careers, better health, and loss of household wealth/equity during the Great Recession have contributed to a slower-than-expected timeline for this generation. But Real Estate Economy Watch predicts that this will change as many must convert their equity into cash while they can still enjoy it, and says others won’t be able to afford the costs to retrofit current homes in order to age in place.”

Home Features Most Desired by Age

baby boomersThis article from the March 8, 2016 “Daily Real Estate News” has a few interesting tidbits. Nice also to know that a baby boomer is not a senior.

“Home buyers are demanding more home features that help them save energy and keep the home organized, a new study released by the National Association of Home Builders, “Housing Preferences of the Boomer Generation: How They Compare to Other Home Buyers” reveals.”

“However, the generations – millennials (born 1980 or later); Gen X’ers (born 1965-1979); baby boomers (born 1946-1964); and seniors (born 1945 or earlier) – do show some differences in what home features they value the most. In a nationwide survey.., NAHB pinpointed those differences and which features each generation most desires.

energy starThe following are the home features most wanted by each generation:

Millennials

  • Laundry room
  • Exterior lighting
  • Living room
  • Patio
  • Front porch
  • Both shower stall and tub in master bathroom
  • Ceiling fan
  • Hardwood on main floor
  • Deck
  • Energy Star-rated appliances
  • Dining room

Gen X

  • Laundry room
  • Energy Star-rated appliances
  • Exterior lighting
  • Energy Star rating for entire home
  • Energy Star-rated windows
  • Ceiling fans
  • Front porch
  • Hardwood on main floor
  • Patio
  • Living room

Baby boomers

  • Energy Star-rated appliances
  • Energy Star rating for entire home
  • Laundry room
  • Energy Star-rated windows
  • Exterior lighting
  • A full bath on the main level
  • Ceiling fan
  • Insulation higher than required by code
  • Patio
  • Hardwood on the main floor

Seniors

  • Laundry room
  • Energy Star-rated appliances
  • Energy Star rating for entire home
  • A full bath on the main level
  • Table space for eating in the kitchen
  • Ceiling fan
  • Double kitchen sink (side-by-side)
  • Energy Star-rated windows
  • Insulation higher than required by code”

Source: “Housing Preferences Across Generations (Part I),” National Association of Home Builders’ Eye on Housing Blog (March 7, 2016)

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity March 18-25, 2016

Sanibel

CONDOS

1 new listing: Seashells #14 2/2 $385K.

3 price changes: Donax Village #14 2/2 now $549K, Sunset South #15B 2/2 now $999K, Tanglewood #1A 3/2 now $1.247M.

7 new sales: Kimball Lodge #244 1/1.5 listed at $349K, Sunset South #4C 2/2 listed at $784K, Pointe Santo #C41 2/2 listed at $815K, Kimball Lodge #306 2/2 listed at $989K, Gulfside Place #117 2/2 listed at $1.285M, Kings Crown #105 3/2 listed at $1.289M, Gulfside Place #306 3/2 listed at $1.395M.

2 closed sales: Loggerhead Cay #202 2/2 $530K, Loggerhead Cay #223 2/2 $530K.

HOMES

6 new listings: 1772 Serenity Ln 3/2 $699K, 975 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $769K, 998 Beach Rd 3/3 $929.9K, 2459 Harbour Ln $949K, 4155 Dingman Dr 3/3 $1.099M (short sale), 4995 Joewood Dr 4/3 $3.175M.

7 price changes: 9292 Belding Dr 3/2.5 now $459K, 5303 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/2 now $679K, 4215 Old Banyan Way 3/3 now $795K, 4775 Rue Helene 4/3 now $849K, 2010 Sunrise Cir 5/3 now $949.9K, 1665 Sabal Palm Dr 3/2 now $1.195M, 739 Pyrula Ave 3/3 now $1.245M.

5 new sales: 748 Martha’s Ln 3/2 listed at $509K, 656 Anchor Dr 3/2 listed at $595K, 958 Cabbage Palm Ct 2/2 listed at $599K, 1139 Buttonwood Ln 2/1 listed at $625K, 2518 Tropical Way Ct 3/3.5 listed at $2.395M.

2 closed sales: 1328 Seaspray Ln 4/4 $780K, 411 Lighthouse Way 4/3 $1.445M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 3965 Coquina Dr $399K.

3 price changes: 2400 Blue Crab Ct now $299K, 6505 Pine Ave now $895K, 6519 Pine Ave now $925K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Beach Homes #20 3/3 now $2.499M.

No new or closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings.

1 price change: 11530 Paige Ct 4/5.5 now $3.68M.

No new sales.

2 closed sales: 11461 Dickey Ln 3/2 $1.2M, 11521 Laika Ln 3/3 $1.25M.

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.)

happy easterHappy Easter!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan