Dodging Summer Storms & Wonderful Sunsets on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


Florida Realtors logoFollowing the Florida Realtors 2015 Convention, The SanibelSusan Team and I are back into the swing of things on Sanibel. Though the islands are pretty quiet now – sometimes no cars passing by on Periwinkle Way – we all will be anxiously watching the weather this weekend hoping that Tropical Storm Erika heads away from Florida. Heavy but occasional showers this week have “greened” the island up, while there have been reports of minor flooding in some of the heavily traveled areas off island.

SanibelSusan Realty Associates

Sanibelsusan LogoWe are happy to report that though there was only one new listing on Sanibel this week, it was a new condo listing at SanibelSusan Realty.

A few of our listings had good showings this week too, but not much sales action was reported. Below are a few news items followed by the activity posted since last Friday in the Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing Service.

Barrier-Island-Title-Web-bannerToday we had an advance signing for an upcoming closing. Barrier Island Title Services, Inc. who holds our company escrows and performs most of SanibelSusan’s closings, usually, with notice, can prepare closing documents in advance. In this case, the sellers’ signing coincided with their last island visit before the actual closing date. The sale will not officially occur until later, but signing ahead eliminates the need for a mail-away for that half of the sale. Thanks to Barrier’s Closing Officer Angie Martin for facilitating this convenience.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

SanCapAssnLogoOur local Sanibel & Captiva Association of Realtors® held its August membership breakfast meeting yesterday. Members were updated on the leadership team’s meetings in Orlando last week and the educational segment of the meeting included a presentation by Board Certified Real Estate Attorney Ned Hale on the new Consumer Protection Financial Bureau Rules that become effective October 3. Known as the Integrated Mortgage Disclosure Rule, here are some highlights.

Integrated Mortgage Disclosure Rule

Federally-mandated changes affect residential sales with mortgage financing and apply to any loan application taken by a lender on or after October 3. They are the result of the Dodd-Frank-Act of 2010.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an entity created by the Dodd Frank Act, issued a new Truth in Lending Act (TILA) final regulation that, among other things, created two new forms (each with many variations) and new 3-business day delivery requirements.

Beyond possibility adding more time to the window from contract to closing, the changes also involve new terminology. For example, a new form called the “Loan Estimate” replaces the former Good Faith Estimate (GFE) and Initial Truth-in-Lending Disclosure (TIL). More importantly, a new “Closing Disclosure” will replace the HUD-1 Settlement Statement and Final Truth-in-Lending Disclosure (TIL).

Under the new rule, the consumer is required to receive the new “Loan Estimate” three business days after application. What constitutes application? 1. Consumer’s name, 2. Consumer’s income, 3. Consumer’s social security number, 4. A property address, 5. An estimate value of the property, 6. The mortgage loan amount sought. The “Loan Estimate” will be issued by the lender or mortgage broker.

The consumer also is required to receive the new “Closing Disclosure” three business days before the closing or when the loan is consummated. The “Closing Disclosure” will be issued by the lender or settlement agent if the lender delegates that responsibility to them.

How is this going to impact a Realtor® and their business?

  • Closings may take longer because of the 3-business day review periods.
  • Different forms will be used for most transactions.
  • Realtor® contact information and license numbers will be on the new “Closing Disclosure”.
  • Buyers may receive multiple “Loan Estimates” due to changed circumstances, multiple applications, or multiple applications with different loan products with the same lender.
  • Clients may receive multiple “Closing Disclosures”, some with a three business-day waiting period and some without, and some before closing and some after.

Like all new rules, there will be a learning curve, but I think that we can assume that the closing process will take longer if there is a mortgage. If a transaction, with bank financing, normally would take 30-45 days to close, it likely will take longer. If expenses are to be included on a “Closing Disclosure”, the lender and the title company will need the invoices well in advance of the closing date. Contact information for home- and condo-owners associations will need to be provided earlier too. Realtor® communication will remain key, particularly with lenders and title companies regarding any potential delays, out-of-state signings, powers-of-attorney, or seller credit adjustments. Getting from contract to closing always takes Realtor® attention and diligence – but after October 3, it will be even more important.

Upcoming Realtor Events

Wondering what local Realtors® are doing to help the community? Many of us have marked our calendars for the upcoming events.

  • SCCF logoCoastal Clean-up – Sep 19 – Realtor® teams will participate in this world-wide Coastal Clean-up event which here is organized by SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation).
  • Habitat for Humanity – Date TBD in Sep – In May, Sanibel Realtors® prepped and painted a new Habitat for Humanity home in San Carlos Park. It was especially rewarding because the Mom, who with her children would be moving into the home, worked hand-in-hand. A date for some new home building tasks soon will be assigned to Sanibel’s Realtors®.Habitat_for_humanity logo
  • Meals of Hope – Date TBD in Nov – Meals of Hope is a local non-profit that arranges for the packaging of nutritional meals by volunteers. The food packages then are distributed by accredited food bank partners. Last summer, Elise and I joined other real estate association colleagues from Southwest Florida in one of these food packaging events in Bonita Springs where over 20,000 meals were put together in an afternoon. Many of these meals went to children and their families who were not getting school-provided meals because of the summer school break. meals of hopeSince its start in 2007, Meals for Hope has packaged and distributed more than 27 million meals. The upcoming Sanibel/Captiva Islands Realtor® event will be held at the association’s meeting room where we hope to package at least 5,000 meals.
  • american heart logoHeart Walk – January 31 – Realtors® again will participate in this early-2016 fundraiser where the Sanibel/Captiva Heart Walk goal is to raise $50K for the American Heart and American Stroke Associations.

Where to Dine in September?

diningIf you are planning to be on the island next month, remember that is when many of the local restaurants and stores perform their annual housekeeping and repairs, while many employees get well-deserved vacations. Here are a few of the temporary closings that we heard about this week.

  • Bleu Rendez-Vous French Bistro – Closes after dinner on tomorrow (8/29) and will be closed the month of September.
  • Over Easy Café – Will be closed for just ten days, September 14-24.
  • Traders Café & Store – Closes after dinner on tomorrow (8/29) and will be closed most of September (until 9/29). They will, however, be open for dinner the evening of September 28 from 5 to 9 p.m. for the annual Celebrity Island Dinner to benefit The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum. Tickets are required, www.shellmuseum.org

Winter-Weary Home Buyers Heading to Florida

wall street journalThanks, Scott, for sharing the following article from the August 19th “Wall Street Journal”.

“In terms of real estate, the winter of 2014-15 may be the best thing that ever happened…to Florida.

The Sunshine State is No. 2, behind California, in jumbo volume for both primary and secondary homes at Quicken Loans, says Bill Banfield, vice president at Quicken, one of the country’s largest jumbo lenders. “When you have got people who get cold in the wintertime, they start thinking about places they would rather be. And that places Florida at the top of the list,” he says.Florida the sunshine state

“In June, sales of single-family homes were up 19.6% and condo sales 14.6% in Florida compared with a year ago, according to Florida Realtors, the state’s largest trade association for residential real-estate professionals.

“The median home-sale price for single-family homes in Florida is $203,500, well under the $417,000 limit for government-backed loans in all but two counties in the state. Driving jumbo lending are markets like Miami Beach, where conforming loans are capped at $417,000 but the median sale price of a bay-front home is $2.7 million and waterfront estates can reach $40 million.

florida“At Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, the top metro area in Florida for jumbo lending is Naples-Marco Island, located in Collier County, where the conforming loan limit is $425,000. (The only other county that exceeds the $417,000 limit is Monroe County in the Florida Keys, where conforming loans are capped at $529,000.)

“Other Florida metro areas with high jumbo volume include Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach area (median sales price $295,000), North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota ($245,000), Cape Coral-Fort Myers ($212,250) and Jacksonville ($212,000), says Andre Brooks, Florida regional sales manager for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, which holds the largest volume of jumbo mortgages in the U.S.

“Lenders say that many borrowers in Florida are retirees moving south or out-of-state residents buying vacation homes. But another big demographic is self-employed entrepreneurs, says Tom Wind, executive vice president of home lending at Jacksonville, Fla.-based EverBank. Small-business owners like the fact that Florida has no state income tax and a business-friendly environment, he adds.

“EverBank also does most of its Florida jumbo lending in the south and southwest coastal regions, with the majority of loans in the $800,000 to $1 million range, Mr. Wind says. “We see a lot of people coming from the Northeast to the east side of Florida, and from the Midwest to the West Coast,” he says.

“Foreign buyers, mostly from France and South America, are also big in the Miami area, where more than half of sales this summer have been cash transactions, says Ines Hegedus-Garcia, an agent with Miami-based RelatedISG International Realty. In hot areas like Miami Beach, home buyers should be prepared for bidding wars and final sale prices above listing prices, she adds. In competitive markets, borrowers are sometimes losing out to cash buyers even when they bid higher.

“Here are a few more tips for Florida jumbo borrowers:

  • Higher down payments. While jumbo mortgages typically require a 20% down payment, some Miami sellers will also make that mandatory even when the buyer’s lender has looser requirements, Ms. Hegedus-Garcia says. “The seller wants to see a stronger buyer,” she adds. Many Florida borrowers put down even more, 30% or 40%, on homes in the $1 million range, Mr. Banfield says.
  • Cash now, finance later. One way that jumbo borrowers compete with cash buyers is to purchase with cash and then refinance a few months later, Mr. Brooks says. Roughly half of Quicken’s Florida jumbos are refinances, Mr. Banfield says.
  • Consider an ARM. About 40% of Wells Fargo’s jumbo mortgages in Florida are adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) compared with only 10% of the general mortgage population, Mr. Brooks says. Quicken also sees a lot of ARM borrowers who aren’t quite at retirement but want to buy a second home. They get a jumbo with low rates for the initial five years, for example, then use the proceeds from the eventual sale of their primary home to pay off the ARM before higher rates kick in, Mr. Banfield says.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity August 21-28

Sanibel

CONDOS

Pool

Compass Point pool

1 new listing: Compass Point #221 2/2 $699K (our listing).

3 price changes: White Caps South #5 1/1 now $520K, Mariner Point #813 2/2 now $549K, Seascape #301 3/3 now $1.139M.

1 new sale: Sundial B408 1/1 listed at $465K.

4 closed sales: Sundial #H302 2/2 $550K, Island Beach Club #P2E 2/2 $720K, Sundial #A301 2/2 $845K, Lighthouse Point #323 3/2 $830K.

HOMES

No new listings.

1 price change: 1004 Fish Crow Rd 4/3 now $899K.

2 new sales: 580 Chert Ct 2/2 listed at $580K, 2255 Troon Ct 4/5.5 listed at $1.55M.

4 closed sales: 9439 Coventry Ct 2/2 $515K, 1314 Tahiti Dr 2/2 $525K, 1409 Albatross Rd 3/2 $565K, 554 East Rocks Dr 3/2 $680K.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 2486 Wulfert Rd now $205,555.

1 new sale: 247+255 Robinwood Cir listed at $229K.

1 closed sale: 9239 Dimmick Dr $133K.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Bayside Villas #5310 3/3 now $580K.

1 new sale: Captiva Shores #1A 3/2.5 listed at $1.55M.

1 closed sale: Beach Homes #30 3/2 $2.1M.

HOMES

1 new listing: 11546/48 Wightman Ln 3/2.5 $3.8M.

1 price change: 11520 Andy Rosse Ln 5/5 now $2.29M.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 11516 Andy Rosse Ln 6/6 $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.

Until next Friday, here’s hoping that Erika heads out to sea & misses Florida completely!

Fingers crossed, Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Friday at 2015 Florida Realtors Convention


Florida Realtors logoToday’s Friday blog is a little late and comes to you from the Florida Realtors Convention in Orlando. SanibelSusan teammates Elise and David have been covering things on the island this week since I headed north on Tuesday.

I spent all day Wednesday auditioning instructors for state-approved classes. We recommended several which we will vote on in commitee meeting tomorrow.

Yesterday, I attended a variety of technology and broker classses, plus attended the annual Keynote Awards Luncheon with entertainment by funny guitar virtuoso Mike Rayburn. There are some good recordings of him on YouTube.com.

Thanks to Florida Realtors and our convention work with Forms Simplicity, The SanibelSusan Team will be joining the electronic-signature age when I return to the island. Anyone with an email address will be able to sign our listing and sale contracts electronically, from computer, laptop, iPad, or smart phone. It’s pretty cool!

At the awards luncheon yesterday, several pals from Southwest Florida were recognized. Fort Myers Beach Realtor and friend, Cynthia Shafer, was awarded the state 2015 Humanitarian Award. For more than 20 years, Cynthia has volunteered helping children in Southwest Florida. Through the Guardian Ad Litem Foundation, 20th Judicial Circuit’s http://www.Voicesforkids.org, some years ago Cynthia started Beds for Kidz. With her husband, she spends weekends providing beds, sometime for the first time, to children in foster care. It was great to see this humble gal acknowledged for her efforts. Writing a check to Beds for Kidz makes me feel good as I know every penny and then some goes to children, often in dire need.

Today after acting this morning as Education Ambassador for two classes about financing, I attended the General Session where Lengendary Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz was the motivational speaker. What a great presentation!

image

The Professionalism Forum met later this afternoon, while tomorrow, I have three more committee meetings (Professional Standards, Professional Development, and Resort & 2nd Home Specialist Forum) before heading back to Sanibel Sunday morning. To say, we come away from these meetings fired-up and inspired is an understatement.

This year our local leadership team convinced several real estate newbies to come to the convention. Great to hear them say “they are glad they came and have learned so much already.” With multiple educational sessions occurring simultaneously all-day every-day for four days, not to mention the numerous forums, subcommitte and committee meetings, everyone here has plenty of opportunity for personal development and business growth. I’ve already collected a couple of referrals.

Elise and Dave prepared the remainder of this update, which includes a new listing we received yesterday. Not a lot of local real estate sales action was reported this week, but our local association has a membership meeting next Thursday, where we hopefully will have more.

All over the state in the other resort markets, reports are that business is brisk, inventory is low, and many are worried that we won’t have enough product to sell this winter. Good news for our listings!

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity August 14-21

Sanibel
CONDOS
1 new listing: Sundial #B206 2/2 $579K (our listing).
1 price change: Tennispalce #E31 2/1.5 now $349.5K.
4 new sales: Sanibel Arms #B7 1/1 listed at $334,999; Mariner Pointe #951 1/1 listed at $449K; Island Beach Club #F230 2/2 listed at $649K; Nutmeg Village #209 2/2 listed at $720K.
3 closed sales: Sundial #C301 1/1 $282.5K, Captains Walk #B4 2/2 $305K, Oceans Reach #1A4 2/2 $925K (stats only).

HOMES
2 new listings: 1661 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex $499K, 575 Piedmont Rd 3/2 $535K.
3 price changes: 1717 Sand Pebble Way 3/2 now $469K, 1644 Atlanta Plaza Dr 2/2 now $479K, 2010 Sunrise Cir 5/3 now $999K.
5 new sales: 987 Sand Castle Rd 4/3.5 listed at $675K, 430 Surf Sound Ct 3/2 listed at $805K, 1198 Harbor Cottage Ct 3/3 listed at $899K, 2981 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 listed at $1.54M, 1137 Golden Olive Ct 5/3.5 listed at $2.175M.
1 closed sale: 1409 Causey Ct 3/3 $575K.

LOTS
2 new listings: 5706 Sanibel Captiva Rd $499K, 5048 Joewood Dr $625K.
No price changes.
1 new sale: 592 Sea Oats Dr listed at $339K.
No closed sales.

Captiva
CONDOS
No new listings, price changes, or new sales.
1 closed sale: Marina Villas #707 2/2 $555K.

HOMES
No new listings or price changes.
1 new sale: 16785 Captiva Dr 3/3.5 listed at $1.395M.
1 closed sale: 1105 Tallow Tree Ct 3/3 half-duplex $1.75M.

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

Dog Days of Summer on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


dog-days-of-summer-clip-art-627565It’s SanibelSusan reporting that the dog days of summer continue on Sanibel/Captiva Islands with a big shower this morning. More rain is expected over the weekend and into early next week.

dog days of summerThe humidity is off the charts, but hopefully not for long.

Luckily not many vacationers will be disappointed about the weather, as I understand that beginning tomorrow, it really will be “off-season” with occupancy way down – for the first time since last year at this time. Happens every year when it’s nearly back-to-school time.

SanibelSusan Realty Associates

SANSLogoSeveral of our listings had showings this week and we had another nice closing today – both sides (list and sell). Two of our listings got price reductions too.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

SanCapAssnLogoOur local Association of Realtors® had a Caravan meeting yesterday (first one in several weeks). Just two new listings were on tour (one of Sanibel, one Captiva), and just a couple of sales were announced which are described in the 7-day report from the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listings Service which follows a couple of news items below.

New Pavilion Constructed at SCCF Bailey Homestead Preserve

sccfThis week, the “Island Sun” reported that one of the final remaining projects to be completed at the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation’s Bailey Homestead Preserve was the addition of a large open-air pavilion behind the main house.

Here's a throw-back photo from 2012 of teammate cleaning the sign at the Native Plant Nursery

Here’s a throw-back photo from 2012 of teammate Lisa cleaning the sign at the Native Plant Nursery

It is nearly completed and “the foundation is looking at a November opening date for the Native Plant Nursery, which will relocate there from its current home along Sanibel-Captiva Road.

“The pavilion is planned as the site for SCCF’s Landscaping for Wildlife program, along with other activities hosted by the nursery….The Bailey Homestead had originally been a row farm, growing crops such as tomatoes, squash, eggplant and other vegetables, until the hurricane of 1926 ruined the island’s rich soil. Later, the site included citrus trees such as orange, grapefruit and lime. The property also includes what members of The Hammerheads call the “Honey House”. Built after the original structure, the small building is where workers would process the row crops and honey farmed onsite.

“Over the next few months, work to be completed at the Bailey Homestead Preserve includes adding final touches to the pavilion, grading of the properties’ pathways and parking areas, installing fencing and finishing the interior layout of the house itself….SCCF will announce the grand opening date for the Bailey Homestead Preserve in the future. For additional info, visit www.sccf.org.”

Lee County Day at The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum

bailey-mathews shell museum signAugust 20, Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lee County adults get half-off museum admission and Lee County kids get in free.

For one day only and sponsored by LCEC (Lee County Electric Co-op), this is a great opportunity to see the WaterVentures Mobile Science Lab.

Yun Joins “Forbes” as Regular Contributor

ForbesAs a long-time fan of NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, it was good news to read the following article about him in yesterday’s “Daily Real Estate News” on line:

“Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, has become a regular contributor to Forbes.com, sharing his latest thoughts on the housing market. He will be posting two to four articles every month related to housing and the economy at Forbes.com.

“Yun’s columns will offer insights into the wide range of research activity he oversees at NAR, including NAR’s existing-home sales statistics, NAR’s Affordability Index, and the Home Buyers and Sellers Profile Report. Yun regularly provides commentary on real estate market trends to NAR’s 1 million REALTOR® members as well as to media outlets across the country.

“In his first column at Forbes.com, Yun highlights the drop in the home ownership rate to a near 50-year low, and how that doesn’t necessarily mean the housing recovery is headed for trouble. “This does not mean that the housing market is in a funk,” Yun writes. “Rather it is quite the opposite, with home sales and home prices rising solidly in recent times. Existing-home sales were up eight% year-to-date to June from the same period a year ago, while new home sales were higher by 21%.”

“The home ownership rate has fallen because of the dwindling number of first-time home buyers and the tightening of mortgage underwriting standards in recent years, he says. The drop in first-time home buyers is the most alarming trend for the housing market, Yun writes.

“In 2014, the first-time home buyer share dropped to 33%, the lowest level in nearly three decades. What’s more, the tighter lending environment has prompted an estimated 1.2 million missing mortgages to would-be qualified borrowers based on historic norms, according to a report by the Urban Land Institute.

“Yun notes the drop in the home ownership rate has caused the country’s wealth distribution to become more unequal today — mostly because the drop in the home ownership rate is occurring at a time of rising home values. “Homeowners and property-owning investors are participating in the housing equity recovery but there are fewer in number,” Yun notes.”

sancap GO MLS logoSanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity August 7-14

Sanibel

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Sundial #R401 2/2 now $799K (our listing).

1 new sale: Sanddollar #A203 3/2 listed at $1.015M.

1 closed sale: Spanish Cay #F2 1/1 $225K (our listing & sale).

HOMES

3 new listings: 789 Pyrula Ave 4/2.5 $1.275M, 411 Lighthouse Way 4/3 $1.495M, 1552 San Carlos Bay Dr 4/5.5 $3.75M.

2 price changes: 420 East Gulf Dr 3/3 now $679.9K, 5743 Baltusrol Ct 3/3.5.5 now $1.35M (our listing).

4 new sales: 1388 Tahiti Dr 3/2 listed at $639K, 546 East Rocks Dr 3/2 listed at $789K, 169 Southwinds Dr 2/2 listed at $798K, 249 Daniel Dr 2/2.5 listed at $834.9K.

5 closed sales: 4636 Buck Key Rd 2/2 $375K, 1400 Albatross Rd 3/3 $510K, 1710 Sand Pebble Way 3/2 $607.5K, 4620 Rue Bayou 3/3 $835K, 2915 Wulfert Rd 5/6.5 $2.575M.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 1048 Fish Crow Rd now $399K.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 3354 Barra Cir $295K.

Captiva

CONDOS

3 new listings: Tennis Villas #A205 1/1 $259K, Captiva Shores #1A 3/2/2 $1.55M, Beach Homes #27 5/3 $2.599M.

No price changes or new sales.

1 closed sale: Beach Homes #3 3/2 $1.86M.

HOMES

1 new listing: 16447 Captiva Dr 7/6/2 $3,999,999.

No price changes, new sales, or closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

Until next Friday, enjoy your weekend! Here the turtles are still nesting & the baby sea turtles are still hatching! Cheers! Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

August Arrives – Summertime on Sanibel & Captiva Island


Redfish Pass between Captiva & North Captiva

Redfish Pass between Captiva & North Captiva

This week, the rainy weather experienced on the islands last week turned around, with hot sunny days in the low 90’s and just an occasional quick shower. If you are here on vacation this week, it’s a winner weather-wise!

school busFlorida schools go back early with teachers in Collier starting on Monday, Lee the following week, so it is pretty much a summer wind-down beginning here. Many condo fall projects already are beginning and restaurants/shop workers are talking about when they will be closing for their pre-season breaks.

Vacation rental bookings have dwindled down too and will continue for the next few weeks until we see the snowbirds start to come back, usually mid-October.

The good news is that although there is not much real estate activity now, the buyers who are here looking, generally are serious.

There was no Realtor® Caravan Meeting this week, but The SanibelSusan Team had a handful of showings and another closing. The activity posted in the Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing Service over the last seven days, follows a couple of news items.

If you are on our mailing list, this week we mailed an island inventory booklet dated July 22, 2015. It is organized by island (Sanibel and Captiva) and property type (condos, homes, lots) and subdivision/complex. Included are the properties for sale and recent sales. If you want to be added to our mailing list, please call 888-603-0603 or 239-471-HOME (4663), or email Susan@SanibelSusan.com.

Where Do Buyers Come From?

Econ outlookThe following comes from the National Association of Realtors® Economists’ Outlook blog on July 15:

“Getting involved in your community once only meant volunteering for a civil group, joining a sports club, or running for local governance. People stayed connected through face to face interactions. In an industry like real estate that thrives on friendly interactions and personal connections, building online communities through websites, social media, and digital communication is now one of the most efficient ways that REALTORS® can build and expand their network to generate new business.

“The majority of business for real estate professionals comes from referrals and repeat business, which makes sense since the industry is built upon personal relationships. At first, the idea of expanding online communities to grow the real estate industry seems like a no-brainer. All businesses these days rely on digital connectivity or they get left behind. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)’s Research department flipped through its survey data to take a deep look at how its members value online communities for their business. Here is what the surveys said:

“The NAR 2015 Member Profile, an in-house survey that gathers demographic data on its 1 million real estate members, reports that:

  • 65% of REALTORS® use social media for their business.
  • 64% said that open houses brought no business.
  • 40% of business for younger agents are from referrals and repeat business and 64% for more experienced agents.

“Naturally, word of mouth remains the largest source of income for NAR members and only grows by the number of years REALTORS® stay in the game. What is interesting to note is that open houses are almost a dead avenue for REALTORS® – they brought two-thirds of NAR members no business. Websites do not appear to bring in new clients on their own. However, two-third of members said they actively use social media as a means to market their brand and showcase their listings.

“The NAR 2014 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, NAR’s profile of the buying and selling process, states that:

The first step in the home-buying process for 43% of home buyers was looking online for properties and 12% looked online for information about how to buy a home.

“Ninety-two percent of buyers use the internet in some way in their home search process and 50% of buyers use a mobile website or application in their home search.

“Real estate agents were viewed as a useful information source by 98% of buyers who used an agent while searching for a home.

“Eighty-eight percent of buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker—a share that has steadily increased from 69 percent in 2001. As a frame of reference, in 1964, 61% of buyers contacted agents, 40% read newspaper ads, and seven percent drove around when looking for a home. In 2014, 43% looked for properties online. While the initial process may start online, when buyers seek to make a home purchase, they turn to the advice from a real estate agent that they connected with from a trusted friend or family member.”

Sanibel Considers Increases for Beach Parking, Rec Center Fees

From the “Santiva Chronicle” on Tuesday, August 4, 2015:

Sanibelcityseal logo“Beach parking prices and Recreation Center fees are about to go up on Sanibel. The Sanibel City Council will consider an ordinance at its September meeting that would raise the hourly fee for public beach parking from $3 to $4. Also to be considered at that meeting will be an ordinance that would raise fees for the various programs at the Sanibel Recreation Center in a range up to 20%.

“Both ordinances were proposed at the council’s meeting Tuesday, Aug. 4, as part of ongoing process of finalizing the 2016 fiscal year budget. “It’s important that taxpayers of Sanibel, the ones who are here all the time, not pay for increases in tourism on the island. The tourists should pay,” said Vice-Mayor Mick Denham, who moved to have the parking fee increase come before the council in September in the form of an ordinance. Beach parking fees pay for beach related expenses and Denham said the increase could be used to fund beach erosion projects, security cameras and other improvements.

““Beach parking pays for itself, but the beaches have other issues, like traffic and security,” Councilman Chauncey Goss said. He has advocated an increase in the parking fee since he came on the council this year.

“It’s a supply and demand issue,” Goss said. “If the beach parking lots are always full, then they may not be priced right.” “It’s a user fee, is what it is,” Councilman Marty Harrity said. “Let it pay for itself.” Denham urged that the council take Tuesday’s action in order to get the ordinance in front of the council in September for a first reading.

““Our population hasn’t changed. What’s changed is the number of visitors. It is reasonable to ask visitors to pay,” Denham said following the meeting. “We’ve already got $2.5 million going into our beaches, but that doesn’t pay for all of the expenses. We’ve got to live within our means.”

“Recreation Center – The council, at the urging of Mayor Kevin Ruane, sought ways of saving money at the Recreation Center and in response to that it received a report from Recreation Director Andrea Miller outlining ways to save $121,700. Among them is an across-the-board 10% increase in fees that would raise $60,000 more.

“Instead the council asked for an ordinance to be prepared that would evaluate programs at the Rec Center and determine appropriate increases in each up to 20%. “What programs are being heavily subsidized?” Goss asked. “We should identify those.”

“Presently the year individual rate for a resident is $157.50. A 10% increase would raise that to $173.25 and a 15% increase would take it to $181.13. “This gives us flexibility. Residents will still find that even with increases that our Rec Center is very competitive,” Ruane said.”

NAR Survey Finds Like-Kind Exchanges Promote Job, Economic Growth

realtor logoAccording to a recent press release: “Real estate like-kind exchanges are an important vehicle for disposing of and acquiring properties and support the nation’s financial growth, job creation and economy, according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors®.

“The Like-Kind Exchanges: Real Estate Market Perspectives 2015 survey of NAR’s commercial and residential members found that real estate investors and commercial property owners place a very high priority on current like-kind exchange tax rules; 40% indicated that transactions would not have occurred in the absence of the tax provision, and 56% said even if the project would have occurred it likely would have been smaller in scale.

“Realtors® are active participants in like-kind exchanges; 63% of Realtors® participated in a like-kind exchange transaction between 2011 and 2015. The survey found that like-kind exchanges in which Realtors® participated created between 10 and 35 new jobs, mostly resulting from spending on building improvements following acquisition.

“”Like-kind exchanges that allow investors and businesses to defer capital gains taxes on the exchange of similar properties bring great advantages to investors, real estate markets and the economy,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Realtors® and their clients often look for better economic use of existing properties that are underutilized, which helps promote local economic development and increase the nation’s gross domestic product.”

“Internal Revenue Code Section 1031, a provision that has been in the tax code since 1924, provides individuals and businesses with critically needed tax deferment on gains after the disposition of a property as long as the proceeds are reinvested in a similar property through a like-kind exchange. Replacement properties must be identified in 45 days and the transaction completed within 180 days.

“Survey respondents said the primary reason that they or their clients participated in a like-kind property exchange, aside from the deferral of capital gains taxes, was for equity to acquire additional properties. Other reasons were for estate planning, portfolio diversification and completion of a development project.

The tax savings resulting from like-kind exchanges are also helping bring more capital into local markets. Eighty-six percent of respondents said the savings from tax deferment allowed them or their clients to invest additional capital and make improvement in their acquired properties; these investments are generally responsible for the creation of new jobs, such as in construction and property management.

“According to the survey, in 68% of like-kind transactions, Realtors® acted as a broker or agent, and 24% participated as an owner or investor in the transaction. A larger percentage of commercial members (76%) reported engaging in a like-kind exchange transaction compared to residential members (45%). Of the total, 40% participated in between 1 and 3 transactions, and 23% participated in 4 or more transactions.

Residential properties comprised the largest portion of recent deals, accounting for 27% of disposed properties and 24% of acquired properties, followed by apartments (17% of dispositions and 22% of acquisitions). Land assets accounted for 19% of dispositions and 17% of acquisitions; retail properties accounted for 8% of dispositions and 13% of acquisitions; and office buildings comprised 11% of dispositions and 10% of acquisitions.

“Investors tend to hold on to their properties for several years; 47% of respondents reported their holding period was between 5 and 9 years, and 27% indicated a holding period of 10 to 14 years.

“NAR believes like-kind exchange transactions are fundamental to the real estate investment sector, and repealing the tax provision would have negative effects across real estate markets and the industry.

“Like-kind exchanges help investors more efficiently allocate capital and resources with less borrowed money into new investments that drive economic activity in communities across the nation,” said NAR President Chris Polychron, executive broker with 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Ark. “Any tax reform plan repealing like-kind exchanges would hurt investors and small businesses, increase financial leverage, weaken growth and the economy, and result in the loss of jobs.”

“Survey respondents indicated that repealing like-kind exchange tax provisions would reduce equity in real estate; 67% indicated repeal would lead to a large increase in financial leverage. Realtors® said the negative result would be reduced purchase money and new construction loans, and increased property holding periods. Ninety-six percent of Realtors® also said real estate values would decrease if like-kind exchange provisions were repealed….”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity July 31 to August 7

Sanibel

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Sanibel Inn #14 2/2 now $739K.

1 new sale: Captains Walk #F7 2/1.5 listed at $310K.

3 closed sales: Captains Walk #F6 2/2 $285K, Sunset South #9C 2/2 $425K (our listing), Sundial #R304 2/2 $735K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 249 Daniel Dr 2/2.5 $834.9K.

3 price changes: 999 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 now $547K; 9032 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 now $549,999; 1188 Harbor Cottage Ct 3/3 now $899,555.

2 new sales: 1744 Bunting Ln 4/2 listed at $649K, 734 Sand Dollar Dr 3/3.5 listed at $1.195M.

1 closed sale: 1521 Wilton Ln 3/2 $520K.

LOTS

1 new listing: 5821 Pine Tree Dr $599K.

No price changes or new sales.

1 closed sale: 4626 Buck Key Rd $178K.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Beach Villas #2618 2/2 now $659.9K.

1 closed sale: Lands End Village #1660 3/3 $1.35M.

HOMES

Nothing to report.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

Happy NY

Rain, Rain Go Away…Finally Sunshine Again on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


Another wet week here on the islands,but the sun was shining today.

Photo Thinkstock beach

Island Sun logoBelow is an article from the “Island Sun” this week, followed by the activity posted in the Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing Service since last Friday.

Release Sites Needed For Native Wildlife

CROW signThe “Island Sun” reports that CROW currently has a variety of native birds, Virginia opossums, raccoons and otters that are ready to return to the wild and establish their own territories. It takes weeks or months for the babies to mature enough to survive in the wild. With baby season in full swing, the clinic’s staff, students and volunteers are working around the clock to feed them.

Yves OspreyOnly a certain amount of animals can be released on one property. If anyone has private property with a lot of land and would be interested in having wild mammals, birds, or turtles released on it, call CROW at 472-3644. The clinic will review the set of guidelines with property owners to determine if their place is suitable.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity July 24-31

sancap GO MLS logoSanibel
CONDOS
1 new listing: Sundial #N301 2/2 $739K.
1 price change: Sundial #F308 1/1 now $380K.
2 new sales: Sundial #H211 1/1 listed at $269K, Sundial #O201 2/2 listed at $699K (our listing).
3 closed sales: Loggerhead Cay #353 2/2 $480K (our listing), Sandpiper Beach #504 2/2 $642.5K, Sanibel Sunset #202 3/2 $1.68M.

HOMES
3 new listings: 546 East Rocks Dr 3/2 $789K, 1198 Harbor Cottages Ct 3/3 half-duplex $899K, 1052 Whisperwood Way 3/3 $1.648M.
1 price change: 2540 Coconut Dr 4/3.5 now $999.5K.
1 new sale: 1774 Bunting Ln 3/2 listed at $539K.
5 closed sales: 9106 Mockingbird Dr 2/2 $465K, 750 Martha’s Ln 3/2 $550K, 963 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $618K, 1085 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $650K, Moonshadows #1A 3/3 $825K.

LOTS
No new listings, price changes, or new sales.
3 closed sales: 223 Robinwood Cir $168K, 4308 West Gulf Dr $890K, 3411 West Gulf Dr $3.05M.

Captiva
CONDOS
No new listings.
2 price changes: Captiva Bay Villas #B 3/3.5 now $1.875M, Bayside Villas #5310 3/3 now $582.5K.
No new or closed sales.

HOMES
Nothing to report.

LOTS
1 new listing: 16298 Captiva Dr $5.149M.
No price changes, new or closed sales.

Hybiscus

Until next Friday, here’s hoping for sunny days! Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Summer In Full Swing on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


It’s a little overcast this afternoon on Sanibel and Captiva Islands, but as Floridians know, if we wait a minute in the summer, the sun will be out. If that is late day, it usually results in a beautiful sunset.

July 22 2015 sunset

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

Progress on Sanibel’s Civic Core

During Tuesday’s City Council Meeting, the most recent Sanibel Civic Core conceptual plan, which has been in the works for over a year, was presented. The architect has been meeting with city officials and stakeholders associated with the project – i.e. BIG ARTS, Sanibel Community Association, Sanibel Historical Museum and Village, and The Center 4 Life.

The plan would consolidate the island’s most frequented facilities on a 25-acre site adjacent to City Hall. The latest version of the project layout includes a hub of five buildings – a performance hall, theater, gallery, Lifelong Learning facility, and Center 4 Life – surrounding a central courtyard with stage. It would be elevated between a large community green to the west and parking to the east, surrounded by a shared-use path and including both stairs, access ramps and public seating and gathering spaces.

Sanibel Civic Core 07-23-15

According to an article in today’s “Island Sun”, “the community green would be located to the north of a smaller green space (where the Herb Strauss Theater is currently located) and would include two pavilions and public restrooms, which would allow two events to be held simultaneously.”

69 Acres of Mangroves Protected on Captiva

Good news reported this week in the “Island Sun” about the end of long-time wrangling with developers of South Seas Plantation and those opposing the destruction of mangrove wetlands in a basin area of Captiva. This case went all the way to the “U.S. Department of Justice who defended the case on behalf of the United States in May 2014…Following months of negotiations, a final settlement has been reached and publicly filed with the court…The U.S. Government, in order to avoid further litigation expense, agreed to compensate PDL (Plantation Development LTD) in the amount of $2.4 million (plus interest and legal costs) in exchange for PDL’s agreement to transfer 69 acres, comprising the potential Harbour Pointe development site, to the United States….The property has now been transferred.

black mangroves captiva

It will be managed as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, JN Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Kudos to the Captiva Civic Association, SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation), and the Conservancy of Southwest Florida for not giving up!

Here’s Where Buyers Are Paying All-Cash

core logic logoGood article posted on Monday’s “Daily Real Estate News” online. Sourced to CoreLogic (July 16, 2015):

“While the number of all-cash transactions is dropping nationwide, a few pockets across the country are still seeing a large share of buyers paying all-cash for their home purchase.

“Nationwide, the number of all-cash sales making up transactions has plummeted since peaking in January 2011 when cash transactions made up 46.5% of total home sales nationally. Now, that percentage has dropped to 33.7% of total home sales, according to CoreLogic’s cash sales report.

“The year-over-year share of cash sales has fallen each month since January 2013. Despite the drops, cash sales still remain elevated by historical standards. Prior to the housing crisis, cash sales made up about 25% of home sales, according to CoreLogic. If cash sales continue to fall at the most recent pace, the share should hit 25% by mid-2017.

“The largest number of cash sales are through real estate-owned sales, with nearly 57% of cash sales being from REOs. Resales followed with the highest cash share at 33%, followed by short sales at 30% and newly constructed homes at 15%.

money-bag-clip-art-53457“The following states had the highest share of cash sales in April, the latest data available from CoreLogic:

  • Florida: 51.4% of transactions were from cash sales
  • Alabama: 48.5%
  • West Virginia: 48.3%
  • New York: 45.4%
  • Kentucky: 41.4%.

“By metro level, the following cities had the largest number of cash sales:

  • West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach, Fla.: 59.1%
  • North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla.: 58.5%
  • Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.: 58.1% (SanibelSusan note: it’s much higher on Sanibel/Captiva)
  • Detroit-Dearborn-Livonia, Mich.: 58%.
  • Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, Fla.: 56.9%.

“Meanwhile, Syracuse, N.Y., had the lowest share of cash sales at 11%, according to CoreLogic.”

Sanibel Draft Budget Presented for FY 2015-16

Sanibelcityseal logoThe initial draft FY 2015-16 budget was presented to City Council this week. Council unanimously approved a proposed operating millage rate of 1.939 mills, identical to last year’s approved and adopted rolled-back rate. The first budget public hearing will be on Saturday, September 19 at 9 a.m. when they will discuss and adopt the tentative millage rate and budget. The second and final budget hearing will be on Tuesday, September 22 at 5:01 p.m.

Turtle Madness

Seaturtlehatchlings

The August-September 2015 “SCCF Member Update” received this week included statistics on sea turtle nesting, including the byline “So Far, An Amazing Season”. Here are a few more details as penned by Kelly Sloan, SCCF Sea Turtle Coordinator:

“Historically, the East End of Sanibel (Lighthouse Beach to Tarpon Bay Road) has been the lowest density nesting beach survey by SCCF’s Sea Turtle Program. An average of 38 nests per year have been laid on the East End between 1996 and 2013.

“2014 was a record year for the East End, with 110 nests laid on the five-mile stretch of beach. This year, in mid-June, the East End had already documented 70 nests. Loggerheads (Caretta caretta) typically nest from May-August, so we anticipate many more to come!

“Mid-season nest counts also suggest that the West End and Captiva are on track for an above-average nesting season.

“We are also excited to report that green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) have returned to nest on our beaches in 2015. You may remember that a record 23 green nests were laid on Sanibel and Captiva in 2013. Sea turtles nest at intervals of about every two years, so another pulse of green nests in 2015 coincides with their biennial nesting pattern.

“But it gets even better – early in the 2015 nesting season, a leatherback (Dermochelys corriacea) nest was laid on Sanibel! Leatherbacks do not commonly nest on the west coast of Florida. The largest nesting population for Atlantic loggerheads is French Guiana, and there are also nesting colonies in the Caribbean and the east coast of Florida. The only other leatherback nest documented on Sanibel was laid in 2009.

“Leatherbacks are the largest species of sea turtle, weighting up to 2,000 pounds. They can dive deeper than any other sea turtle (up to 3,900 feet) and they migrate extreme distances. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to protect a nest laid by this remarkable species!

“Throughout the nesting season, volunteers and staff have been screening nests to protect the eggs from predation by coyotes. As we enter the hatching season, the City of Sanibel and SCCF will partner to promote the “lights out” message in an effort to reduce hatchling disorientation. A grant award from the Sea Turtle Conservancy, funded by the specialty sea turtle license plate (SanibelSusan has one of those), has provided support for educational materials to remind beachgoers and beachfront property owners…Stay tuned for the final nesting and hatching statistics. You can find the current nesting stats at seaturtle.org, accessible from the sea turtle pages at www.scc.org .”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity July 17-24

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Sanibel Arms #B7 1/1 $334,999; Sundial #J402 1/1 $465K.

3 price changes: Captains Walk #F7 2/1.5 now $310K, Sanibel Moorings #1512 2/2 now $475K, White Caps #5 1/1 now $535K.

3 new sales: Captains Walk #C7 1/1 listed at $229.9K, Nutmeg Village #209 2/2 listed at $720K, Pointe Santo #B46 2/2 listed for $825K.

No closed sales.

HOMES

2 new listings: 1410 Causey Ct 3/2 $729K, 734 Sand Dollar Dr 3/3.5 $1.195M.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 2915 Wulfert Rd 5/6.5 listed at $2.898M.

6 closed sales: 778 Cardium St 3/3 $435K, 1599 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex $475K, 1586 Century Ct $610K, 489 Lake Murex Cir 4/2 $860K, 5402 Osprey Ct 4/3 $950K, 1204 Isabel Dr 3/3.5 $3.65M.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: Lands End Village #1660 3/3 listed at $1.535M.

1 closed sale: Marina Villas #706 2/2 $588K.

HOMES

No new listings.

1 price change: 953 South Seas Plantation Rd 5/5.5 now $6.299M.

No new sales.

3 closed sales: 11537 Andy Rosse Ln 4/4 $2.15M, 1131 Longifolia Ct 4/4 $3.075M, 1121 Schefflera Ct 4/4.5 $3.94M.

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.

sun & rainUntil next Friday, raindrops or sunny, have a great weekend!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Mid-July Happenings on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


HybiscusIt was a week of reverse summer weather on the islands, mostly hot days but with daily showers in the mornings, rather than late afternoon. The only exception was yesterday when we had rain “off and on” pretty much all day. A similar summer forecast continues with humid 90-degree days, more showers, and high 70’s at night expected for the next week. The good news is the island is green and “blooming”.

Although the island is not as busy this week as during the two weeks either side of the July 4th holiday, our listings had more showings and our Multiple Listing Service reported a couple of sales. The activity posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands MLS follows a couple of news items below, including a report about our July Association of Realtors® Membership Meeting.

SanibelSusan Realty Happenings

SanibelSusan Realty from Periwinkle WayThe SanibelSusan Team is busy finishing the annual update of our database. Since most of the “season” sales now are closed, we soon will be printing and mailing our island inventory list booklet.

This booklet is organized by island (Sanibel and Captiva), property type (condo, home, lot), and community or subdivision. It includes details on current inventory, as well as recent sales – good info whether you want to protect your investment, learn about the market, or if you are thinking of buying or selling. If you are not on our mailing list, but want to be, just give us a call or send us an email.

Though the last few weeks have been unusually slow, island inventory is low. Back in 2004, though that August was the month of several hurricanes, it also was one of my highest production months. Sometimes island real estate activity is driven by different outside elements including early fall weather somewhere or island-lovers remembering how the weather was back in their hometown the previous winter. Sales will pick up again so if you want to be up-to-date on the real estate happenings here, contact us now for your no-obligation copy of the booklet.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

SanCapAssnLogo2015 Nominating Committee – Monday had me finishing up my obligations on the local 2015 Association of Realtors® Nominating Committee. We interviewed several applicants for two upcoming board vacancies and have submitted recommendations for officers and candidates to the current Board of Directors. Election will be at our October annual meeting.

July Membership Meeting – During the professional development portion of the July membership meeting yesterday were two speakers:

  • SCCF logoJenny Evans, SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) Native Plant Nursery Manager, updated us on the progress at the 28+acre Bailey Homestead Preserve property which SCCF acquired in 2011. She knew we have been wondering when it will open and what has been going on there. That is the parcel across the street from the Donax Street/Periwinkle Way intersection. The back 19 acres of the property, which go as far back as The Dunes subdivision, will be undeveloped for wildlife habitat, while the front 9 acres bordering Periwinkle and where the old homestead sits, will be open by this fall (they hope). This is where drivers-by have observed plenty of activity over the last few years.
  • SCCF native Plant nurseryJenny said that much of the land was covered with invasive exotics – not so much Brazilian pepper which has been mostly removed thanks to the island-wide City Brazilian Pepper Eradication Program enacted in 1996. But, rather, covered with what she called secondary exotics which had choked out the native vegetation and the resulting wildlife habitat. So, their focus has been on removing invasives, repairing the old homestead structure itself (thanks to the Sanibel Hammerhead carpenters), building a new rest room (was interesting that SCCF had the same permitting problems that others experience here when trying to improve older non-conforming structures), preparing the parking areas, and building/planting around a large pond. The Native Plant Nursery will eventually be completely moved to this location with their new site plan providing for a variety of sample garden areas followed by the plants for sale. There also will be an open pavilion for classes and presentations. Although the Bailey home will be open for viewing too, the focus of the preserve will be conservation.
  • Pond-Apple-Park-071614_largeEntrance to the property will be shared and is where Pond Apple Park parking area is. The interior Homestead Preserve road once inside the property runs parallel to Periwinkle Way, which is why observers have seen so much activity there. Already open is the Shipley Trail which connects two City parks, Roadside City Park on Periwinkle and Pond Apple Park/Trail which begins at the Chamber of Commerce. The trails are connected by the Starr D. Thomas Memorial Boardwalk which was built in partnership with SCCF and the City.
  • Jenny reminded our members that each new island property owner receives a free 1-year membership to SCCF. They can get a property visit from a Landscaping for Wildlife expert too, to help them join in SCCF’s mission.
  • Sanibelcityseal logoJames Evans, Sanibel’s Director of Natural Resources (& no relation to Jenny), further updated us on invasives and offered some excellent tips on what to look-out for when working with new Sanibel buyers. Unfortunately, his presentation was cut short because of time limits, so we hope to have him back again soon.

rpacRealtor® Political Action Committee – Our local Realtor® association was mentioned in the Florida Realtors® July PAC update which came out last week. Although state goals are based on a calendar year with a few months to go, it was great news to read the following:

“Another Milestone for Florida…Each year the Realtor community sets new goals and challenges for each other to surpass – 2015 is no different! This year, the Sanibel and Captiva Island Association of Realtors (SCIAR) has set a new standard by raising $41,875 for the PAC. While this may seem small to some of our larger boards around Florida it represents raising 1193% of their goal AND 100% participation of SCIAR membership; this is a first in Florida and potentially a first for the REALTOR community nationwide.

Congratulations to SCIAR on their success in 2015!”

Our Sanibel/Captiva Association believes in this PAC because we have seen direct results. Our contributions support cleaning waterways, beach renourishment, competitive and affordable flood insurance, protecting the environment, protecting against ordinances harmful to real estate, and electing Realtor®-friendly legislators who protect property rights.

LCEC Reduces Rates Again

Lcec logoLCEC should put me on their payroll since I mention them so often, and it is always positive news. Here’s the latest from their July “News”.

“During the summer, electric costs can sometimes rise due to high temperatures and increased use of air conditioning. But for the second time this year, LCEC customers will see their bills going down thanks to a rate decrease that will go into effect July 1. LCEC is passing on savings from a reduction in the cost of power, resulting from a 2.1% rate decrease for residential customers. LCEC rates are the lowest amount electric cooperatives in Florida. LCEC rates fall 11.6% below the state average of all utilities.

“This is LCEC’s third rate reduction in the past 18 months. Last year, customers saw a reduction and earlier this year rates were reduced again. LCEC has not raised rates in the last seven years. We are committed to providing excellent service and continuing to maintain and upgrade the electric system while managing costs.”

Mayor Ruane Joins in Announcing Water Projects

Ruane & scottAs reported in the “Santiva Chronicle” yesterday:

“Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane joined Gov. Rick Scott in Bokeelia on Tuesday, July 14, to announce the funding of eight local projects within the Caloosahatchee watershed aimed at protecting and improving local water resources.

“Attending the announcement at the invitation of Gov. Scott, Ruane took note that watershed runoff accounts for more than 50% of the water volume that we receive annually and therefore is one of our greatest challenges to restoring the quality flows to the Caloosahatchee Estuary.

““Our unprecedented collaborative efforts on all working together, State, local and regional governments has resulted in the funding of these important projects.” The $1.7 million in funding from the State of Florida for these projects will require a dollar to dollar match from Lee County.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity July 10-17

Sanibel

CONDOS

No new listings.

3 price changes: Tennisplace E31 2/1.5 now $359K, White Caps South #5 1/1 now $525K, Heron at The Sanctuary II #1B 2/2.5 now $650K.

1 new sale: Tennisplace #D31 1/1 listed for $239K.

2 closed sales: Seascape #201 3/3 $1.705M, Seascape #205 3/3 $1.705M.

HOMES

2 new listings: 760 Windlass Way 3/2 $1.089M, 1083 Bird Ln 4/3 $3.795M.

2 price changes: 1806 Ibis Ln 3/2 now $450K, 1525 San Carlos Bay Dr 3/2 now $1.675M.

5 new sales: 976 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 half-duplex listed for $495K, 499 Leather Fern Pl 3/2 listed for $625K, 554 East Rocks Dr 3/2 listed for $699K, 1291 Sand Castle Rd 5/3.5 listed for $779K, 657 Birdie View Pt 3/3 listed for $999K.

No closed sales.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 0 Sabal Sands Rd now $329K.

1 new sale: 1815 Ardsley Way listed for $197,555.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: Lands End Village #161 3/3 $1.85M.

HOMES

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 11516 Andy Rosse Ln 6/6 listed for $2.349M.

1 closed sale: 16428 Captiva Dr 7/8/2 $8.6M.

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.

cute-umbrella-clipart-Umbrella-Clip-art-17Until next week, keep the umbrella handy – or just wait a minute – that’s about how long it takes for the summer weather to change here on the islands!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Summertime Real Estate Report from Sanibel & Captiva Islands


It’s SanibelSusan reporting the third week of “summer quiet” in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands real estate business. I have heard some interesting behind-the-scenes comments about how things have changed here this year. There definitely is a change in occupancy with accommodations mostly at capacity and the island busy, just busy having fun and not viewing or buying or listing real estate.

This week the “Periwinkle Way late-day traffic jam” reappeared. That usually is only during the winter months from about 3 to 7 p.m. when the islands are full and day workers are leaving. It is when traffic gets backed up at the 4-way stop. Typical late afternoon summer showers may have contributed to this extra summer traffic with more visitors on the road once the sun disappears.

The July 4th festivities last weekend were well attended, with a big turn-out at SanibelSusan Realty for the parade. Here are a few photos, some taken by my cell phone, but the good ones are credited to our pal, Scott Shew, who always is great about sharing his pictures. Thank you, Scott.

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As the week progressed, Scott shared a few more photos. These two at Ding Darling he said were taken when the no see-ums were out in full force so the bird in the second one might be dunking to avoid them.

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Below are a few news items followed by the action posted in the Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing Service over the last seven days, there wasn’t much!

Heat Wave Sweeps Through Housing Market

realtor.comFrom Realtor®Mag’s “DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS”:

“The housing market is getting hotter this summer, according to a preliminary analysis of June data from realtor.com®. The median list price nationwide in June rose 7% year-over-year, reaching $233,000. The median days on the market is 66 days, also down 7% year-over-year. Also, inventories are growing faster – 4% higher in June over May, but still down over last year. (That’s the case nationally, but not on Sanibel and Captiva where inventory is very low.)

“”Our early read of real estate trends in June suggests good news ahead for the U.S. residential real estate market, especially in the hottest markets with healthy growth in supply,” says Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com® Chief Economist. Traffic and searches on realtor.com® continued to set new highs in June. Unique users for June are now on pace for at least a 40% growth year-over-year and visits and searches at realtor.com® are expected to surge more than 50% and 30%, respectively, Smoke says.”

Economists Pinpoint Inventory Shortage Causes

wall street journalAs follow-up to the last article, this one based on The Wall Street Journal, June 26, has some answers:

“Inventories of homes for-sale remain low due to home owners staying put and homebuilders still keeping supplies tight, economists said during a panel discussion at the National Association of Real Estate Editors’ annual conference.

“Homes listed for resale in May were at a 5.1-month supply at the current sales pace. Most economists consider a supply of six to seven months to be balanced and healthy for the market.

NAR gray-logo“Economists at the National Association of Real Estate Editors’ annual conference pointed to several factors that are preventing sellers from putting their homes up for sale. Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of REALTORS®, blamed the bulk of the inventory shortage on the lack of new construction. “We will still have an inventory shortage if builders won’t build,” Yun said. “It is just simple math.”

“Other economists during the panel also said the persistent lack of equity four years into the housing recovery for a large number of home owners continues to prevent many would-be sellers. About 5 million homes in the U.S. — or 10% — are underwater, valued at less than the mortgage.

“Also, some home owners may be reluctant to sell partly because they refinanced in recent years at interest rates of less than 4% and they don’t want to give up those low rates, says Frank Nothaft, CoreLogic’s Chief Economist.

“The economists also noted a significant increase in single-family homes being offered for rent that have dented the overall supply of homes for-sale too. Nothaft estimates that since the downturn investors have purchased 3 million single-family homes and converted them into rentals.

“Other economists at the session also noted that stringent mortgage standards, prohibitive land costs, and limited lending to small builders was also prompting a lower supply of homes for sale.”

Study: Biggest Opportunities in Boomer Market

We aren’t giving up on those baby boomers just yet. They definitely are the largest market segment on the islands. Here’s what “DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS” said about them last Wednesday:

House canary logo“Though the real estate industry has made it a mission to bring Millennials into home ownership in recent years, a new study by research firm HouseCanary suggests we not ignore an inconvenient truth: Baby boomers have the buying power.

“The study raises questions about how wise it is to focus on Millennial buyers, given their economic limitations. If interest rates — which are expected to keep ticking up this year — were to increase to 6%, more than one in three Millennials would no longer be able to afford a home at their current prices, HouseCanary found. Millennials are carrying high debt with limited savings, and their career growth has been slow.

But baby boomers have fueled the housing market for decades as the biggest drivers of growth in the entry-level market in the 1970s and ’80s, as well as the move-up market in the ’90s and 2000s. Boomers aren’t slowing down: They’re expected to continue to drive household growth over the next 20 years “due to significant wealth and high home ownership rates,” according to HouseCanary. Over the past year alone, baby boomers accounted for 244% of household growth annually.

“”The vast imbalances in wealth and home ownership among baby boomers and Millennials are resulting in wide disparities in the demand for home buying versus renting,” says HouseCanary President JP Ackerman. “Our analysis indicates that rising interest rates and home prices will exacerbate the situation, as the Millennials’ ability to purchase homes will be severely jeopardized as monthly payments get further out of reach.”

“HouseCanary CEO Jeremy Sicklick says his company’s research indicates greater opportunity for developers to target the aging population with for-sale inventory while targeting the younger generation for-rent inventory.”

New Fire Station on Captiva

new-Captiva fire stationThe grand opening of the new fire station on Captiva is scheduled for Sat, July 18, from 10 a.m. until noon. The public is invited. It also is the 60th anniversary of the creation of the Captiva Island Fire District. During that time, it has transformed from a volunteer bucket brigade to a squad of highly-trained professionals with equipment for not just fighting fires but also for advanced life support. Congratulations!  www.CaptivaFire.com

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity July 3-10

Sanibel

CONDOS

3 new listings: Tennisplace #D31 1/1 $239K, Heron at The Sanctuary III #1B 3/2.5 $650K, Nutmeg Village #309 2/2 $799K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: Colonnades #15 1/1 listed for $225K.

3 closed sales: Sunset South #2D 2/2 $500K, Breakers West #C2 2/2 $522.5K, Nutmeg Village #214 2/2 $920K.

HOMES

2 new listings: 976 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 half-duplex $495K, 3402 West Gulf Dr 3/2 $2.2M.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 1774 Bunting Ln 3/2 listed for $539K.

1 closed sale: 1325 Par View Dr 3/2.5 $695K.

LOTS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 2460 Library Way listed for $324.9K.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

2 new listings: Bayside Villas #5144 1/2 $299.9K, Ventura Captiva #1B 2/2 $1.35M.

1 price change: Bayside Villas #5310 3/3 now $585K.

No new or closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings.

2 new sales: 16785 Captiva Dr 3/3.5 listed for $1.395M, 1105 Tallow Tree Ct 3/3 half-duplex 3/3 listed for $2.0449M.

1 closed sale: 16512 Captiva Dr 7/5.5 $6.525M.

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.

Good weekend wishes to all. Little rain is expected here over the next few days, so no traffic jams expected! Here’s hoping the sunsets are as beautiful as this one. (Thanks, Melissa!)

Melissa Sunset 07-09-15

Cheers! Susan Andrews (aka SanibelSusan)

Happy Birthday, America! From Sanibel & Captiva Islands


Lots of families are vacationing on Sanibel and Captiva Islands this week, but not much real estate action. The market here continues to improve, albeit it slowly now that most of the “in season” sales have closed and not many buyers are in town. Below is a sampling of the statistics today compared to prior year sales.

Only 263 properties currently are available for sale on Sanibel; 397 sold last year. Considering those under contract too, there are 350 Sanibel sales already this year, a record number with only half the year over. Once those snowbirds get back, this might turn into a banner year!

Before a report of the activity posted over the last seven days in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service, here is some other summer, holiday, and real estate news.

Celebrating July 4th on Sanibel

Here for the 4th? The City website www.MySanibel.com posted the following special event permits:

  • 7 – 9 a.m. – Pancake Breakfast, Sanibel Community Church, 1740 Periwinkle Way, info (239) 472-2684
  • 9:30 a.m. – Independence Day Parade – “For the Fun of It” – Parade begins at Tarpon Bay Rd on Periwinkle Way to Casa Ybel Rd, info (239) 246-2981 (Good watching from SanibelSusan Realty if you are in the neighborhood.)
  • 10:30 a.m. Boy Scouts Independence Day Celebration (after parade), Jerry’s Shopping Center, 1700 Periwinkle Way, water slide, food, & refreshments; info (239) 472-9300
  • 12 noon – San-Cap Optimist Club’s 36th Annual Road Rally, Timbers Restaurant, 703 Tarpon Bay Rd, info (239) 472-0836
  • 9:00 p.m. – Fireworks Display (rain or shine) – Sanibel & Captiva Islands’ Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring this year. Fireworks will be launched from the north end terminus of Bailey Rd. Best viewing from Sanibel Causeway Islands and bay side of the island.
  • Holiday Sidewalk Sales – The following retailers and shopping centers obtained annual Retail Holiday Sidewalk Sales permits, so may be holding special sidewalk sales over the holiday:
  • Sanibel Square, 2200-2250 Periwinkle Way
  • Olde Sanibel Shoppes, 630 Tarpon Bay Road
  • Tahitian Gardens Shopping Center, 1975-2019 Periwinkle Way
  • The Village Shops, 2340 Periwinkle Way
  • Periwinkle Place Shopping Center, 2075 Periwinkle Way
  • Gene’s Books, 2365 Periwinkle Way
  • Palm Ridge Plaza, 2330 Palm Ridge Road #1
  • Ickle Pickle, 2427 Periwinkle Way
  • Bailey’s Center, 2477 Periwinkle Way

Weather Service Again Recognizes Sanibel as Storm Ready

2000px-US-NationalWeatherService-Logo_svgHere on the islands we don’t like to use the “h” word, but we also know it’s best to be prepared for those events. Posted on Monday on the “Santiva Chronicle” on-line”:

“The City of Sanibel has again been recognized by the National Weather Service as a “Storm Ready” community. This special recognition was first achieved in June 2009 and the City of Sanibel was the 8th community of the 410 Florida municipalities to be recognized as Storm Ready. Today, only 22 communities in Florida have received this designation.

“It is the goal of the National Weather Service to use the program to prepare communities for all dangerous weather. Storm Ready communities are better prepared to save lives from the onslaught of hazardous weather through advanced planning, education and awareness.  Click here to see the notice received from the National Weather Service.

“”It is important to remember that this designation does not render us storm proof, but as a barrier Island in the sub-tropics it is important we prepare collectively for the worst Mother Nature can send us. There is no substitution for preparation and planning,” stated City Manager Judie Zimomra upon receiving notice of the designation.

“The City of Sanibel’s 2015 Hurricane Seminar can be viewed by clicking here.

Turn Out the Lights! Sea Turtles Starting to Hatch

Jewel JensenA great a photo posted on-line by Florida Atlantic University researcher Jake Lasala of Sanibel homeowner and SCCF Turtle Patrol volunteer, Jewel Jensen. It shows her checking a green sea turtle nest. Jewel and her hubby bought one of our listings a couple of years ago. Here’s the turtle news that was posted on the “Santiva-Chronicle” on Tuesday.

“Turn out the lights! It’s not because the party is over. It’s because the party is in full swing.

“The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation reports that three of the reported 417 sea turtle nests on Sanibel and Captiva have hatched and in two of those nests hatchlings were disoriented by light and didn’t head into the Gulf of Mexico.

SCCF logo““Please observe Lights Out For Sea Turtles!” SCCF said in its weekly sea turtle report issued Monday, June 29, for the period ending Friday, June 26. “Three nests hatched last week but hatchlings from two of the three nests were disoriented.  Please shield lights on the beach; hatchlings head to the lightest horizon (which is normally the water).”

“The rest of SCCF’s report is good news. SCCF breaks down turtle nesting into three zones and all three showed healthy nesting activity in the past week for a total of 417 nests and false crawls approaching 1,000 for the season at 994. Here is the breakdown for the June 26 report, with the previous week’s statistics in parentheses:

  • Sanibel East: 82 (71) nests, 216 (176) false crawls
  • Sanibel West: 247 (193) nests, 617 (458) false crawls
  • Captiva: 88 (71) nests, 161 (110) false crawls
  • TOTAL:  417 (335) nests, 994 (744) false crawls

“Last year produced 535 nests, tied for second best since 1996 and just two off the record 537 recorded in 2000.

“SCCF also reports that 12 green sea turtle nests have been discovered, with 11 of them on Sanibel West and one on Captiva.

“SCCF continues to cover as many nests as possible to prevent raids by coyotes.”

The “Sanibel Plan” Now Available Electronically

Sanibelcityseal logoIf was great to read this news release on Tuesday from the City Planning Department:

The City of Sanibel’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan, also known as the “Sanibel Plan,” is now available electronically in its entirety on the City of Sanibel webpage at www.mysanibel.com . To access the Sanibel Plan Click here.

“The original Sanibel Plan was adopted in 1976. The plan was amended and extensively revised in 1985, 1989, 1997 and 2007. In 2007, the American Planning Association recognized the Sanibel Plan with the National Planning Landmark Award.

“In 2013, the Evaluation and Appraisal Report (EAR) for the Sanibel Plan was completed and adopted. This report concluded that the Plan is consistent with all State requirements including changes made to State Statutes contained in the Community Planning Act of 2011. In 2013, the State of Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Division of Community Development, issued a finding that the Sanibel Plan, as adopted by City of Sanibel Ordinance 12-010, is in compliance with Section 163.3184(4) of Florida Statutes.

Questions regarding the Sanibel Plan should be directed to City of Sanibel Planning Director James Jordan at jimmy.jordan@mysanibel.com or 239-472-4136.”

The second volume of the plan includes what is called the “Future Land Use Map Series”. Realtors often refer to several of these maps, so it is great news to find that they are now handy on-line. The maps include: Ecological Zone Maps (remember, Sanibel’s different zones allow different development and coverage), Commercial Zoning Map, Resort Housing District Map (showing areas where short-term rentals are allowed), Wetlands Conservation Lane Maps, Environmentally Sensitive Lands Conservation District Map, and Development Intensity Maps. All good stuff. Thank you, Sanibel, for making these so easily available.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity June 26-July 3

Sanibel

CONDOS

3 new listings: Colonnades #51 1/1 $219K, Sanibel Arms #B1 2/2 $525K, Sundial #E205 2/2 $859K.

5 new sales: Colonnades #51 1/1 listed for $219K, Spanish Cay #F2 1/1 listed for $250K (our listing & sale), Captains Walk #F3 2/1.5 listed for $289.9K, Sundial #H302 2/2 listed for $599K, Sanibel Sunset #202 3/2 listed for $1.745M.

At Spanish Cay

At Spanish Cay

2 closed sales: Seashells #27 2/2 $315,375, Pelicans Roost #101 2/2 $745K (our sale).

 

HOMES

3 new listings: 499 Leather Fern Pl 3/2 $625K, 1148 Shell Basket Ln 4/2 $699K, 3728 West Gulf Dr 5/5 $1.995M.

1 price change: 1806 Ibis Ln 3/2 now $465K.

1 new sale: 4636 Buck Key Rd 2/2 listed for $419K.

9 closed sales: 2407 Shop Rd 2/1 $272.5K, 982 Main St 3/2.5 $420K, 4515 Bowen Bayou Rd 3/2 $540K, 2220 Camino del Mar 3/3 $570K, 4241 Old Banyan Way 3/2 $660K, 1136 Golden Olive Ct 4/4.5 $2.35M, 4203 Dingman Dr 4/3 $2.8M, 2980 Wulfert Dr 4/6.5 $2.8M, 4525 Waters Edge Ln 3/2.5K, $3.725M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 2400 Blue Crab Ct $309K.

No price changes, new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: 3117 Tennis Villas 1/1 $244K.

1 price change: 3131 Tennis Villas 2/2 now $415K.

1 new sale: Beach Homes #30 3/2 listed for $2.195M.

No closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings or sales.

2 price changes: 11490 Old Lodge Ln 3/3.5 now $1.329M, 11521 Laika Ln 3/3 now $1.395M.

1 closed sale: 11513 Wightman Ln 5/5 $1.64M

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

Best wishes from Susan & The SanibelSusan Team for a safe & happy 4th!

2003 BonneParade

From Biking to the Economy to Events & Investment – Sanibel Island Is Top-Notch!


It’s SanibelSusan again reporting that it was another quiet week in the island real estate world. Not as quiet as it likely will get in late August until about mid-October when the island typically is at its lowest occupancy, but quiet just the same. We are thinking forward to the July 4th holiday and hopefully the visitors arriving this weekend and next. Mostly vacationing families are in town now, not many listings are getting shown or new sales reported. But, our phones rang with some unusual requests this week which were reminders that it takes time for real estate news to trickle down to the general public. That news is that island inventory is low, both for sale and for rent.

Before a couple of news items, followed by the action posted in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Services over the past seven days, here are some photos shared by client friends who know that I am always looking to share pictures of the islands. These first two were taken by Scott Shew and overlook Pine Island Sound. Though snapped just minutes apart, they show what a wonderful light show sunsets bring and how quickly the colors change.

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SZ6A9883This next photo came from Susanna and Yves-Pascal Salzedo and was taken during their last visit when they were fishing in Ding Darling. These osprey may have been on the outlook for fish too!

Yves Osprey

Florida’s Sanibel Island Shared-Use Paths

Photo from RailsNTrails 6/15/15

Photo from RailsNTrails 6/15/15

Kudo’s to Sanibel City Manager, Judie Zimomra and all involved for another great posting about the island on June 15. Articles like this only make our area more desirable.

Sanibel’s Shared Use Path System is featured as the “Trail of the Month” on the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy site. The article mentions the street where I live too!

“Trail of the Month: June 2015 – “It’s truly part of our transportation network.”

Bike Trail on Middle Gulf Dr

Bike Trail on Middle Gulf Dr

“Sun, sea, and sandy beaches: Florida’s Sanibel Island is a summer sanctuary. Better yet, the island’s extensive shared-use path system—totaling 24 paved miles—provides access to it all: beaches, a wildlife refuge and rehabilitation center, a historical lighthouse and village, a renowned seashell museum, restaurants, shops and just about everything else in this laid-back community on the Gulf Coast. It’s the type of place where nary a building stands taller than a palm tree, and many of the streets are named after types of shells or mariner terms like Anchor Drive and Captains Walk.

“I call it Mayberry by the Sea,” says Tom Sharbaugh of the idyllic City of Sanibel, which encompasses the entire island. “The focus is on the beach; it’s on nature; it’s on riding a bike, so a lot of families come here. And, if you live here, you never have to get in your car. You can cycle every place you want to go.”

Sanibel Bicycle Club marching in the July 4, 2012 parade

Sanibel Bicycle Club marching in the July 4, 2012 parade

“Sharbaugh is an active member of the Sanibel Bicycle Club, which began two decades ago for social and recreational get-togethers and has evolved into an advocacy group for the trail and cycling. Recently, the club launched a well-received educational video to help both tourists and locals bike on the island safely.

““A ton of people come for vacation, and a lot of them live in places that aren’t so cycling friendly,” says Sharbaugh, noting that the peak tourist season typically runs from mid-January to late spring. “So it’s a big attraction for them to come here and rent bikes and get out on the trail. We have grandmas and grandpas and kids of all ages, so there’s a range of skillsets on the trail.”

“Just this year, FamilyFun magazine ranked Sanibel as the number one tourist town for families in the country. But this is no Disney World. Nature takes center stage in this corner of Florida, and the island’s J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge—perhaps second only to its beaches—is a main attraction. The massive refuge, sprawling over 6,400 acres, is part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the United States and offers unparalleled opportunities for viewing wildlife, including alligators, bobcats, river otters, turtles and more than 245 species of birds. The paved pathway leads to its doorstep, and then visitors can bike through the refuge with an on-road route, or opt for a hike or explorations by kayak or canoe.

““We’re an extremely environmentally conscious community,” says Judie Zimomra, Sanibel’s city manager. “Nearly 70% of the island is set aside in perpetuity for environmental conservation.”

Billy's-logo-bikes“Salli Kirkland, who co-owns an island bike shop called Billy’s Rentals with her husband, agrees. “The city wrote up a plan to keep development to a minimum. There are no bright lights here, no neon. We don’t even have traffic lights. You can see the stars at night.” The Kirklands started their bike rental shop just off the bike path 15 years ago, and Salli says business has continued to grow every year. “Because it’s an island, the roads can get congested,” she says. “You can actually get to places faster by bike, and almost every business has bike racks.”

The vision for the island’s pathways dates back to 1972, when four local housewives sought to create a way for their children to get to and from elementary school safely. A lack of sidewalks, coupled with narrow roads with no bike lanes or shoulders, made getting around by bike or foot nearly impossible. Together, Grace Whitehead, Mariel Goss, Sherry Vartdal and Starr Thomas formed the Sanibel Bike Path Committee and fundraised for the development of a new bike path. In 1976, thanks to their efforts, the first 2.5-mile section of the bike path was built along Periwinkle Way, the island’s main street.

sanibelmapbike“Today, biking or walking to school, work or for other errands is safe, convenient and—due to the island’s flatness—very easy. In 2014, the city was designated a bike-friendly community at the Silver Level by the League of American Bicyclists, a feat matched only by three other (much larger) Florida communities.

“Zimomra notes that the city is continually improving and expanding on the network—investing more than $1.1 million into the path system since 2007—making it possible to now get from one end of the 12-mile island to the other entirely by bike. Numerous unpaved spurs also branch off its main paved spine to link to parks and other attractions; a new connection to popular Bowman’s Beach will begin construction this year. “It’s truly part of our transportation network,” says Zimomra.

12 Metros with Fastest-Growing Economies

bloomberg businessweekGood news about Florida on Bloomberg last week and repeated on Tuesday in “DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS”

florida“Florida is emerging as the new leader for economic growth, fueled by baby boomers and retirement communities. Oil towns had dominated in recent years but as the energy boom fades, growth has been tapering off. Instead, Naples, Fla., emerged as the leader on a list of metro areas that are expected to see the most economic growth next year, according to a new report from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, prepared by IHS Global Insight. Naples is expected to see its economy grow 4.9% in 2016. Metro areas in Florida made up half of the top 19 economic performers. For example, The Villages, a senior community, ranked third and has been the fastest-growing city by population for two consecutive years.

“Here’s a list of the metros expected to see the most economic growth in 2016:

Naples – Immokalee – Marco Island, Fla.: 4.9%

Sebring, Fla.: 4.8%

The Villages: 4.7%

Cape Coral – Fort Myers, Fla.: 4.5%

Austin-Round Rock, Texas: 4.4%

Raleigh, N.C.: 4.3%

Ocala, Fla.: 4.2%

Fayetteville – Springdale-Rogers: 4.2%

Dallas-Fort Worth – Arlington: 4.1%

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.: 4.1%

Laredo, Texas: 4.1%

Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla.: 4.1%”

Foreign Buyers Spend More on U.S. Real Estate

realtor logoA few more interesting statistics in Realtor®Mag on-line June 18. That “DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS” article says:

Fewer international buyers are flocking to the U.S. to purchase real estate, but those who are, tend to spend more on their home purchases. The total sales dollar volume from international home buyers climbed 13% this year compared to last year – at a time when the total unit sales from international home buyers decreased, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2015 Profile of Home Buying Activity of International Clients.

“From April 2014 through March 2015, total international sales were estimated at $104 billion, trumping last year’s $92.2 billion. This represents 8% of the total existing-home sales dollar volume, according to NAR’s report. “In 2014, sales transaction to buyers outside of the U.S. dropped 10%, possibly due to the strengthening of the U.S. dollar in relation to international currencies and weakening foreign economies,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “However, the amount of money spent has increased; this means international purchasers in the U.S. have become an upscale group of buyers, spending more money on fewer homes.”

“Last year, five countries alone accounted for 51% of all purchases by international buyers: China, Canada, Mexico, India, and the United Kingdom. Buyers from China exceeded all other countries in terms of their appetite for U.S. real estate, purchasing an estimated $28.6 billion worth of U.S. property, according to NAR’s report. Canada buyers followed with $11.2 billion in purchases and then India at $7.9 billion; Mexico with $4.9 billion; and the United Kingdom at $3.8 billion.

“International buyers tended to spend more on their home purchases than the average U.S. home buyer. International buyers spent, on average, $499,600 on their home purchases compared to the overall U.S. average home price of $255,600. Chinese buyers were found to most often spend the most, with an average price of $831,800 on their U.S. home purchases.

“More REALTORS® are reporting working with international clients, up from 28% in 2013 to 35% in 2014. Four states accounted for half of all international sales: Florida, California, Texas, and Arizona, according to NAR’s report.”

Reading this article, reminded me to count up where SanibelSusan’s non-US buyers and sellers are from. I have not really seen much difference through the years, usually having just one or two clients each year that are from outside the country. The latest were from France and Austria, prior to that more frequent buyers (and sellers) were from the United Kingdom and Canada, with occasional business with buyers from Sweden and Switzerland.

Upcoming Events

south seas logoIn an earlier report, the traditional Sanibel July 4th events were listed from the morning parade to the noon scavenger to the fireworks at dusk. Captiva Island has a fun-filled holiday celebration planned too.

fireworks clip artSouth Seas Resort is holding its 7th Annual Hot Dog Eating Competition followed by a Red, White, & “Boom” Party featuring music, children’s activities, and food/beverage options. On Saturday, the Star Spangled Celebration includes a patriotic golf cart parade, live DJ entertainment, “Sunset Shellabration”, and fireworks display. More info at www.southseas.com.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

SanCapAssnLogoAlthough we did not have an Association of Realtors® Caravan meeting this week, I was at the Association Office a couple of times for meetings.

On Monday, our local leadership team got an update from Dave Garrison, Florida Realtors® Vice President of Finance, Professional Development, and Internal Operations.

Florida Realtors logoAs background, 2015 marks the 99th anniversary of Florida Realtors® which began in 1916 with 68 real estate brokers from 16 Florida communities gathering in Jacksonville for the first convention. Today Florida Realtors® membership is over 140,000 and growing. Dave said the 2016 budget looks ahead to 150,000+members, probably 160K+ by 2017. Florida Realtors® has 120 paid positions, strong reserves, and a positive outlook for the future. The mission of Florida Realtors® is to advance Florida’s real estate industry by shaping public policy on real property issues; encouraging, promoting and teaching consistent standards for ethical practice and professionalism; and building on the efforts of local Boards/Associations to provide the information and tools members need to succeed. Florida Realtors is the largest trade association in the state.

Florida Realtors Headquarters, Orlando

Florida Realtors Headquarters, Orlando

The Association headquarters is in Orlando, and the legislative Office of Public Policy is in the heart of Tallahassee.

On Wednesday at the 2015 Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Nominating Committee meeting, I worked with fellow past presidents on coming up with a slate of candidates for our officer and board of director election later this year.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity June 19-26

Sanibel

CONDOS

1 new listing: Colonnades #15 1/1 $225K.

3 price changes: Sanibel Moorings #1512 2/2 now $477K, Tarpon Beach #204 2/2 now $745K, Tigua Cay #489 3/3.5 now $2.295M.

2 new sales: Captains Walk #B4 2/2 listed for $315K, Sundial #C301 1/1 listed for $315K.

5 closed sales: Dugger’s Tropical Cottages #2 1/1 $285K, Sanibel Arms #E7 1/1 $320K, Mariner Pointe #121 1/1 $332.5K, Sundial #C207 1/1 $400K, Pointe Santo #C4 1/1 $508K.

HOMES

3 new listings: 999 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 $575K, 501 Lagoon Dr 2/3 $789K, 1537 Sand Castle Rd 4/3 $829K.

1 price change: 1322 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $549K.

6 new sales: 1835 Ardsley Way 2/1 listed for $309K, 9439 Coventry Ct 2/2 listed for $525K, 600 East Rocks Dr 3/2 listed for $535K, 1521 Wilton Ln 3/2 listed for $549K, 963 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed for $599.9K, 1085 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed for $650K.

3 closed sales: 632 Lake Murex Cir 2/2 $435K, 2984 Island Inn Rd 3/2 $587K, 3351 Barra Cir 3/2.5 $750K.

LOTS

1 new listing: 971 Main St $199K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 4626 Buck Key Rd listed for $188K.

2 closed sales: 9277 Beldling Dr $163K, 2133 Starfish Ln $366K.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Marina Villas #709 2/2 $629K.

No price changes or new sales.

1 closed sale: Bayside Villas #4114 1/2 $255K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 16167 Captiva Dr 3/3 $1.795M.

No price changes or new sales.

1 closed sale: 15009 Binder Dr 4/5.5 $3.525M.

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.

waving flagUntil next Friday, we’ll be digging out the July 4th decorations & looking forward to more real estate action & holiday festivities!