Although it was a fairly quiet holiday on Monday, this week flew by. While on our rounds today, Dave and I stopped in at Tarpon Bay Explorers. Below are a few photos snapped from their observation deck.
Happenings at SanibelSusan Realty Associates
We are happy campers at SanibelSusan Realty. Some of the team had the holiday off (actually Dave and Lisa were in the office with me over the weekend). Then, Dave put an off-island property under contract on Monday. Then, we had a big closing on Wednesday, plus received a nice new condo listing that day too.
Though island real estate activity has slowed down, some buyers are here and others coming.
The action posted over the last seven days in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service follows a couple of news items below.
Summertime Means Summer Storms
Last Saturday, we had our first good summer thunder buster which caused a short power outage. As part of the normal routine here in the summer, it’s a good time to be reminded that LCEC (Lee County Electric Coop) is known for its reliability. Not to mention that they have reduced their rates for the past two years and not had a rate increase in seven years. Their May newsletter mentioned that their rates are the lowest among Florida cooperatives.
That newsletter included the following reminder which also gets the approval of this certified Eco-Broker:
“You can be an energy star! Energy is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program designed to help you save money. An Energy Star label means the product or appliance will deliver great service and use less energy. This will not only reduce your electric bill, but it will also help the environment.
- Energy Star air conditioners are 15% more efficient.
- Energy Star televisions are 25% more energy efficient.
- Energy Star refrigerators can save as much as $300 on energy costs over their lifetime.
- Energy Star clothes dryers use 20% less energy.”
NOAA Predicts Below-Normal Atlantic Hurricane Season
We love it when clients send us ideas for our weekly updates. Thanks to Scott, here’s a repeat of an article that was posted online Wednesday by “The Wall Street Journal”:
“Weather agency predicts 3-6 hurricanes from June 1 through Nov. 30
“A below-normal Atlantic hurricane season is likely this year, according to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. For the hurricane season spanning June 1 through Nov. 30, NOAA predicts in its latest report a 70% likelihood of six to 11 named storms—of which three to six could become hurricanes and up to two may become major hurricanes.
“Named storms have winds of at least 39 miles an hour and become hurricanes when winds reach 74 mph. At 111 mph, a hurricane is designated category three or higher.
““A below-normal season doesn’t mean we’re off the hook. As we’ve seen before, below-normal seasons can still produce catastrophic impacts to communities,” said NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan.
“El Niño is the main factor expected to suppress hurricane season this year, according to Ms. Sullivan. NOAA also said it expects sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic to be near normal. Warmer waters support storm development.
“NOAA said it would issue an updated outlook for the Atlantic hurricane season in early August, ahead of the historical peak of the season.
“For the Eastern Pacific hurricane basin, NOAA predicts a 70% chance of an above-average hurricane season with seven to 12 hurricanes including five to eight major hurricanes. The Central Pacific hurricane basin is expected to see an above-normal five to eight tropical cyclones this year, the agency said.”
REALTORS® Upbeat on Housing Outlook
A Realtor®Mag article posted on-line yesterday offered the following from “DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS”:
“REALTORS® remain mostly confident in the next six months of the real estate market, thanks to 30-year fixed rates still below 4%, continued job growth, and recent measures that have made credit more accessible and cheaper, according to the April 2015 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey, which is based on responses from more than 1,000 REALTORS® about their latest transactions.
“Across all property types (single family, townhomes, and condos), the number of respondents indicating the market as “strong” outnumbered those who viewed the market as “weak.”
“With stronger buyer demand and tight supplies, homes continue to sell relatively quickly, typically within 39 days in April, according to the survey. Also, REALTORS® increased their price expectations last month. Those surveyed expect prices to increase at a faster pace in the next 12 months with the median expected price growth to be 3.9% (up from 3.5% expectation in March’s survey). REALTORS® in Colorado were the most upbeat about price increases in the U.S., with median expected price growth at 6 percent, followed by the District of Columbia at 5%.
“REALTORS® also cited recent measures to open the credit box as having a profound impact on the housing market, such as with the Federal Housing Administration to lower its mortgage insurance premiums and the re-introduction from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to back 3% down payment loans.
“REALTORS® are the most upbeat about the overall housing market in states like North Dakota, Texas, Oklahoma, California, Oregon, Washington, Florida, New York, and Massachusetts, according to the survey.
“Also, REALTORS® outlook over the townhome and condo markets remained highest in Colorado.
“For-sale inventories remain tight in many states but seller traffic was reported as improving in many areas, particularly Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, Texas, Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, and New Hampshire.
“While real estate professionals remain generally optimistic about housing’s outlook for the next six months, real estate professionals’ continued to have the following concerns about the market:
- Tight inventory in most states especially for move-in ready and “affordable” units;
- Financing issues, such as qualifying for a mortgage still remains tough and the underwriting process is slow, leading to delayed closings;
- Appraisal valuation concerns and delays due to “questionable” comps, particularly for FHA/VA loans, use of “out-of-town appraisers”, and second appraisal requirements;
- Impact of the new mortgage procedures (RESPA-TILA) on closings;
- Negative impact of low oil prices in states with oil/gas production;
- Slowing demand from international buyers (e.g., Canadians) due to strong US dollar;
- Uncertainties associated with flood insurance rates;
- Impact of upcoming interest rate increase on demand.”
Window Costs Likely to Spike After June
This article in The “Island Reporter” this week caught my eye. Did you know about the new Florida Energy code?
“The Fifth Edition Florida Energy Code is a title not known by many, but it is something which will affect anyone with a house or business come June 30.
“It’s the new energy cost savings for Florida, which resulted after the state updated its commercial and residential building energy codes in accordance with federal law, and it’s significant.
“”We are pulling permits now for our jobs in September and October,” said Kevin Munden, owner of Sanibel Glass and Mirror, Inc. “There is zero information out there about the Fifth Edition Florida Energy Code and if we don’t have our permits secured by July 1, the price of glass is going up.
“So how much will windows be going up after June 30?
“Try a 56% increase, due to the addition of insulated windows, which will be triple-silver-glazed, along with the already required high-impact glass.
“All this goes back eight years, when they passed a law which was going to reduce the consumption of energy in Florida,” said Dennis Chappell, who is Munden’s window contractor with Chappell Sales, LLC. “All homes need to get a certain number in a rating system, which involved air conditioning, insulation, etc. Each one is assigned a number. It is driven by the federal government to help reduce carbon emissions.”
““The ultimate goal is getting down to zero energy used in the home.”
“The new insulated glass which will be required after June 30, is the highest-priced which can go into windows. The new windows, will have a mirror-like look to it, which results from the triple-silver-glazed glass.
“That will be placed on the outside to reflect the sun and heat from entering the house, and goes along with the single high impact glass, which is already required of homes and commercial businesses.
“It’s been a code which has been in the making since 2010, but there have been postponements over the years delaying its enactment.”
“After June 30, all new construction will need to implement the high-energy efficient windows, which will force a rise in costs. But new construction is not where the problems will start popping up in the Fifth Edition Energy Code.
“Even if a window needs to be replaced in a current home or business, it needs to go through the property permitting process. That means, after June 30, to obtain a permit, the new energy efficient insulated windows will have to be used.
“It makes 100% perfect sense for new construction,” Munden said. “But the code also pertains to retro-fitting, meaning changing windows already installed in the house or business. It’s not going to be a cheap thing to change and could mean up to a 25% increase in a project.”
“For example, if a homeowner is deciding to replace their dozen windows in their home, they will need to replace them with the much more energy efficient insulated ones, which leads to another potential lurking problem – illegal installation.
“What this is going to create are illegal installations,” Munden said. “Unlicensed installers don’t have the property testing, the property installation and they don’t pull permits.”
“If a home or business owner cuts the corner and doesn’t properly obtain the permits to install windows, they will not be covered by insurance companies, which require the documentation before a claim can be settled.
“Now, if we get a hurricane, and those windows are not properly permitted, they will be denied their claim,” Munden added. “Claims will be denied without property permits.”
“The only way to gain the proper permits again, is to install the new insulated windows required by the Fifth Edition Florida Energy Code.
“”We are having to give double proposals now, the first being the current price before June 30, and the other estimate post-June 30,” Munden said. “As long as you get your permit before June 30, you are fine.”
“There are some leeways the state is giving and that is the code is subject to authority having jurisdiction by the local building department.
“Sanibel Building Department’s Harold Law, couldn’t comment about the Fifth Edition Florida Energy Code, because officials are still learning about it, but he did say June 30 is the current deadline for the enactment of it.
“Which, of course with government, that isn’t a certain even.
“The Legislature of Florida went home already and the Builder’s Association submitted a bill to postpone implementation of the code for a year,” said Chappell, who has attended every association meeting about the new code this past year. “It wasn’t voted on and it looked dead. But now, the Governor has called a special session, and there is a possibility this bill could pass. It’s not likely, but a possibility.”
““They could extend it one year, if that bill passes. The reality is, though, until the session is over with, we don’t know when the code will be enacted.”
“Another big problem which could occur if the code is enacted June 30, deals with condominiums. With condo associations almost always requiring a uniform exterior, when the different windows start being put in, that will upset those rules.
“”Sanibel has a couple thousand units and they are stringent on outside appearance of building,” Munden said. “Ninety-percent of them have tinted glass, which is gray in appearance. With the new windows, the glass will look entirely different. The state is telling them they can use only one kind of glass. Now, you’ll see all of these windows which are going to be gray, and this new glass will be mirrored. It’s going to create a lot of problems with association, because the glass won’t be matching now.”
“With Chappel being Sanibel Glass and Mirror’s window salesman and informing his clients of the change, Munden said he has been preparing for it, when it comes. The permits he has been pulling now for his September and October jobs, can be extended for another six months, so his company should be prepared.
“”I just want people to be aware of this,” Munden said. “There isn’t a lot of information out there about it.”
“To learn more about the Fifth Edition Florida Energy Code go to https://www.energycodes.gov/adoption/states/florida.” or here’s the code: shop.iccsafe.org/media/wysiwyg/material/5681L14-TOC.pdf
Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity May 15-22
View of Sanibel River from Sunset South #9C
4 new listings: Sunset South #9C 2/2 $449K (our listing), Sundial #F103 2/2 $465K, White Caps South #5 1/1 $549K, Wedgewood #104 3/3.5 $2.395M.
2 price changes: Nutmeg Village #307 2/2 now $675K, Nutmeg Village #209 2/2 now $720K.
3 new sales: Sundial #C207 1/1 listed for $429K, Breakers West #C2 2/2 listed for $535K, Island Beach Club #F230 2/2 listed for $649K.
3 closed sales: Spanish Cay #B2 2/2 $378K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #4-4 2/2.5 $650K, Seascape #104 3/3 $1.9M (our sale).
1 new listing: 1599 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex $489K.
5 price changes: 5131 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 2/2 now $499K, 9032 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 now $598.65K, 5749 Pine Tree Dr 3/3 now $695K (short sale), 9445 Beverly Ln 3/2 now $699K, 2010 Sunrise Cir 5/3 now $1.149M.
8 new sales: 982 Main St 3/2.5 listed for $439K, 220 Palm Lake Dr 3/3 listed for $565K, 750 Martha’s Ln 3/2 listed for $579K, 2984 Island Inn Rd 3/2 listed for $619K, 9470 Balsa Ct 3/2 listed for $825K, 0 Sea Pines 3/2 listed for $849K, 489 Lake Murex Cir 4/2 listed for $899K, 1204 Isabel Dr 3/3.5 listed for $3.795M.
8 closed sales: 766 Donax St 2/2 duplex $385K, 1677 Sabal Sands Rd 3/2 $400K, 3724 Agate Ct 2/2 $520K, 238 Southwinds Dr 3/3 $570K, 3968 Coquina Dr 3/2 $675K, 2514 Blind Pass Ct 4/3/2 $1.23M, 2720 Coconut Dr 3/3.5 $1.5M, 4809 Tradewinds Dr 3/3.5 $1.575M.
No new listings or price changes.
1 new sales: without contingencies: 915 Main St listed for $199K.
No closed sales.
1 new listing: Lands End Village #1611 2/2 $1.275M.
1 price change: Tennis Villas #3115 1/1 now $284.5K.
2 new sales: Bayside Villas #4114 1/2 listed for $265K, Beach Homes #3 3/2 listed for $1.879M.
No closed sales.
No new listings.
1 price change: 1121 Schefflera Ct 4/4.5 now $3.99M.
3 new sales: 11537 Andy Rosse Ln 4/4 listed for $2.345M, 15009 Binder Dr 4/5.5 listed for $3.595M, 1131 Longifolia Ct 4/4 listed for $3.69M.
No closed sales.
No new listings.
1 price change: 11545 Wightman Ln now $1.245M.
No new or closed sales.
This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market. The information provided represents general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.
In addition to wishing you all a great weekend, remember SanibelSusan will be in the office if you want to buy or sell any island real estate.
In the meantime, please enjoy this adorable photo of a baby blue heron – looks like a baby dinosaur.
(Pix borrowed from a Facebook posting by Eric Weiss, who is Executive Producer at “Better Living”.)