It has been so quiet here this week that even the locals are getting antsy for all of the restaurants, shops, and businesses that are doing their annual maintenance/spruce ups and taking their pre-season vacations to reopen again. Most will be back in service the week of September 27.
The weather continues to be just glorious, already feeling like fall island-style. Still warm but with nice breezes and low humidity. Just the way we like it. Occasional showers continue to keep the island vegetation green, growing like crazy, and in beautiful bloom.
Here are a few real estate-related news items, followed by the activity posted since last Friday, in our Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Multiple Listing Service.
BILL COULD SPEED UP SHORT SALES
Homeowners underwater on their mortgages may find relief through a bill strongly supported by the National Association of Realtors®. The bill, if passed by Congress & signed by the President, would force lenders to respond to a short sale request within 45 days. The legislation, H.R. 6133, “Prompt Decision for Qualification of Short Sale Act of 2010,” was filed yesterday in Congress by U.S. Reps. Robert Andrews (D-NJ) and Tom Rooney (R-FL). “The short sale, which requires lender approval, is an important instrument for homeowners who owe more than their home is worth,” says NAR President Vicki Cox Golder. “While the lending community has worked to improve the size & training of their short sales staffs, they still have a long way to go on improving response times. As the leading advocate for homeownership issues, NAR believes that quicker attention to the short sales process is vital to help homeowners … as well as the nation’s economy.” The number of potential short sale properties is rising across the country. According to NAR data, in the 2nd quarter of 2010, four states have a significant share of properties with short-sale potential: Florida has 27%, Nevada 32%, California 28%, & Arizona 24%. “Unfortunately, homeowners who need to execute a short sale are severely hampered because lenders (loan servicers) are unable to decide whether to approve a short sale within a reasonable amount of time,” Golder said. “Potential homebuyers are walking away from purchasing short sale property because the lender has taken many months & still not responded to their request for an approval of a proposed short sale price. Many consumers have mentioned that the delay in short sale price approval exceeds 90 days, & in many cases never arrives.” Golder says she commends Reps. Andrews and Rooney for their efforts on the bill and urges Congress to pass the bill quickly. Foreclosures down, but Fla. second nationally.
FORECLOSURES FALL FOR 5TH STRAIGHT MONTH
Florida foreclosures fell in August for the 5th straight month, but the state still ranks among those with the highest foreclosure rates in the nation, RealtyTrac reported Thursday. Florida ranked 2nd behind Nevada in the percentage of housing units receiving foreclosure notices during the month, with one in every 155 homes receiving one – more than twice the national average, according to the Irvine, Calif. company’s monthly survey of the U.S. housing market. Two Florida metropolitan areas – Cape Coral/Fort Myers (3rd) and Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach (5th) – ranked among the top 10 metro areas around the country in terms of the frequency of foreclosures for the month. Nationally, default notices, auctions & bank repossessions fell 5% from August 2009 but were 4% higher than in July, a figure RealtyTrac CEO James Saccacio attributed to a convergence of factors including stepped-up bank repossessions & fewer initial default notices. “On the front end, seriously delinquent loans are rolling into foreclosure at an unusually slow rate, while on the back end, the dammed-up inventory of properties already in foreclosure is moving to (lender ownership) in a steady stream rather than a flood, presumably to prevent further erosion of home prices,” Saccacio said in a statement. Many states, including Florida, have enacted laws or made voluntary arrangements with lenders to extend the period before which mortgage loans become delinquent in an effort to give homeowners as much help as possible to keep their properties. Sluggish home prices & a glut of inventory on the market, however, continues to put pressure on some mortgage holders who find themselves “upside down,” paying mortgages on property worth significantly less than what they paid for it. Nationally, Nevada continued to lead all states in the percentage of homes in some state of foreclosure proceedings. One in every 84 housing units in Nevada received a foreclosure notice in August, more than four times the national average. August marked the 44th straight month Nevada held the dubious position, despite a 25% drop in foreclosure activity compared to August 2009. In all, five states – California, Florida, Michigan, Illinois and Arizona – accounted for more than half of the 338,836 homes in the U.S. to fall into default.
KNOW YOUR OPTIONS
Fannie Mae has created a web site called KnowYourOptions.com for homeowners who are struggling with mortgage payments or facing foreclosure. It explains the homeowners options as well as provides helpful resources.
is tomorrow from 9 a.m. to noon starting from the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Nature Center. Just show up to get your assignment and take part in this international event.
STATUS OF SANIBEL CITY BUDGET
Anne Mitchell reported in the “Island Sun” today that Sanibel’s City Council, in a special budget session last Sat, set a mileage rate of 2.1561 to fund the City’s $44.7M budget. Council could have opted for the roll-back rate of 2.3204 that would have generated the same revenue as last year. The mileage, if passed at the final budget hearing, lops $700K off the 2011 budget, but will not result in a reduction of services. The Sanibel portion of our local property taxes is only 18%, with the remainder going to schools, the county, the water management district, & others. At the City Manager’s request, Council also dropped a plan for a 3% sewer rate increase.
Sanibel’s Planning Commission passed a resolution this week that if approved by City Council would allow up to 60 new docks between Woodring Point & the Lighthouse. We haven’t heard the last about this issue. Stay tuned.
The Florida Wildlife Commission has decided to keep snook season on Florida’s Gulf Coast closed until further notice. On the East Coast, however, snook season reopens today. Snook fishing on both coasts has been closed since record January freezes. Snook on the West Coast took a greater hit than the Atlantic side since fish here do not have the same easy proximity to deeper warmer water.
MLS Activity from September 10 to 17.
1 new listing: Captains Walk #B4 2/2 $340K.
6 price changes: Sanibel Siesta #108 2/2 now $339K, Coquina Beach #5C 2/2 now $379K, Coquina Beach #5A 2/2 now $389K, Lighthouse Point #318 3/2 now $499K, Ibis at The Sanctuary #B301 2/2 now $499K, Island Beach Club #350B 2/2 now $569K.
2 new sales: Gulfside Place #104 2/2 listed for $997.5K, Blue Gulf #102 3/2 listed for $1.195M.
4 closed sales: Tennisplace #A26 2/1.5 $240K, Mariner Pointe #733 2/2 $240K (our listing & sale), Coquina Beach #5D 2/2 $350K, Sanibel Inn #3524 2/2 $395K.
3 new listings: 5289 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/2 $595K, 1214 Par View Dr 2/2 $599K (our listing), 261 Ferry Landing Dr 2/2 half-duplex $1.395M.
4 price changes: 1278 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 now $699K (short sale), 970 Victoria Way 3/3 now $999K (short sale), 5810 Pine Tree Dr 4/3 now $1.375M, 1232 Isabel Dr 3/2 now $1.399M.
3 new sales: 2407 Shop Rd 3/1 listed for $248.5K, 9312 Kincaid Ct 3/2 listed for $329K (short sale), 753 Cardium St 4/2 listed for $369.9K (short sale).
1 closed sale: 1409 Albatross Rd 3/2 $400K.
1 new listing: 721 Cardium St $299K.
No price changes or new sales.
2 closed sales: 1340 Eagle Run Dr $150K, 3762 Coquina Dr $240K.