I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. It is a pretty quiet day at the office today, though there is lots of activity going on across the street at the Sanibel Masters Art Festival. It is truly a gorgeous day to be outside, nothing like 78 degrees and clear skies the day after Thanksgiving.
This is the time of the year when island real estate activity usually slows down to a crawl as folks transition from November to December holidays. I am always hopeful that our listings will be exceptions and often remind colleagues that I once sold a house on Christmas Day. Unlikely though that we will see many sales from now until early to mid January which is when SW Florida always becomes more appealing to those from cold weather locales.
A pal managing one of the island’s rental organizations tells me that bookings at the islands’ two largest accommodations firms are off considerably compared to last year. Hopefully, this just means that the public is waiting to make last-minute reservations. About 30 percent of units are booked for Christmas week, with closer to 50 percent booked for New Years. There still is plenty of good availability if you know of someone wanting to spend the upcoming holidays island-style.
The Community House
In their recent newsletter, the Sanibel Community Association announced that plans to redevelop The Community House are well on their way to fruition. After 30+years, a facelift at the facility will modernize the physical aspects yet restore the historic north room to its 1927 glory, a fire-placed parlor with piano, perfect for weddings & small gatherings. The kitchen will be tripled in size to accommodate multiple events, while the stage in the main hall will be extended to include an outdoor stage, expanding its uses for open air entertainment. Check out their plans & follow progress at www.SanibelCommunityHouse.net
The South Florida Water Management District Chairman reported on-line this week that with the rainy season over, it has been remarkable to note just how dry it has been across South FL. October was the driest since record keeping began here in 1932. To water managers, these conditions require keen attention to water resources during the upcoming dry season. The District’s newsletter called “The Ripple Effect” can be found at www.sfwmd.gov
Sanibel Trails & Tales Coalition
A new visitor experience has been announced, produced by a unique partnership based on a shared vision to protect and preserve the island through education. It is presented by CROW (Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife), J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel/Captiva Conservation Foundation, Bailey Matthews Shell Museum, and The Sanibel Historical Museum and Village. Once a month complimentary presentations will be offered at Ding Darling’s Visitor Center. To register and learn more, go to www.crowclinic.org/events
The Sanctuary Golf Club
Wishing you could belong to Sanibel’s premier golf club? with par 72 championship Arthur Hills-designed golf course, driving range, putting green, chipping area, 50,000 sq. ft. clubhouse with fine and casual dining, five Har Tru tennis courts, and fitness center with pool? I can arrange a tour of the facility for you, maybe golf or lunch too. Memberships are available: Introductory (for 1 year) and Social memberships for $10K, while Associate and Equity memberships are $50K and $100K respectively. Monthly visitors also may be interested in Temporary memberships which are $5K for one month, $7.5K for two. More info at www.sanctuarygc.net
National Association of Realtors Wants FICO Credit Scoring Model Revised
“The LA Times” reported this week that 1.1-million-member NAR is calling on Fair Isaac Corp., developer of the FICO score, to take immediate action to mitigate the negative impact on consumers when banks suddenly cancel or reduce credit lines to non-delinquent customers. These borrowers may suddenly find themselves unable to qualify for the best interest rates and could have difficulty purchasing a home or selling an existing one. In a bold policy move, NAR is demanding that Fair Isaac “amend its formulas to avoid harming consumers whose utilization rates increase because their available lines of credit” are slashed despite a history of timely payments. NAR wants FICO to either disregard the utilization rate altogether for these consumers or tabulate the score as if the credit max had not been lowered. Tom Salomone, broker-owner of Coral Springs, FL-based Real Estate II and President of Florida Realtors in 2003, said “it’s undisputable that credit card and home equity line reductions are undermining deals and arbitrarily raising users’ interest rates.” He said in an interview that he witnessed many scenarios where homebuyers lost as many 30 points on FICO scores “but had done nothing wrong – the banks just lowered their lines.” Salomone says that the inability of FICO’s software to differentiate between innocent victims and people whose behavior genuinely merits reductions demonstrates that “FICO’s model is archaic.”
Florida Condo Groups Push for Foreclosures
The “Washington Post” reported this week that a lawyer representing Miami condo associations is taking a new approach with lenders in order to prevent the associations from being saddled with unpaid dues while banks put off foreclosure because they do not want to be responsible for those costs. The attorney is giving banks two choices: foreclose now or have the mortgage terminated, a process known as reverse foreclosure. When an owner falls behind on condo fees, associations can file a lien against the unit, demand the balance of the yearly assessment or foreclose; but the latter option generally means that they own the unit and likely will be unable to sell it because the mortgage balance is greater than the unit value. However, the mortgage lender often does not want to foreclose in these cases because it will then become responsible for the condo fees, real estate taxes and insurance. Ben Solomon, an attorney with the Association Law Group in Miami Beach, recently filed suit against Citibank after the association foreclosed on an owner who was delinquent on her condo fees. The lawsuit cited a “restraint on alienation,” meaning that the outstanding first mortgage and the fact that the mortgage balance was greater than the fair market value of the unit impeded the unit’s sale. Citigroup ultimately released the mortgage so the association could sell the unit for whatever price it could fetch on the open market, with the new owner taking over the condo fees and real estate taxes.
FTC on Attack Against Relief Scams
The Federal Trade Commission last week announced new rules that prevent mortgage foreclosure rescue firms and loan modification services from collecting fees until homeowners have an acceptable written offer from their lenders. “Peddlers of so-called mortgage relief services have taken hundreds of millions of dollars from hundreds of thousands of homeowners without ever delivering results,” FTC Chair Jon Leibowitz said. “By banning providers of these services from collecting fees until the customer is satisfied with the results, this rule will protect consumers from being victimized by these scams.” The new rules also require that companies disclose that:
- They are not associated with the government, and their services have not been approved by the government or the consumer’s lender.
- The lender may not agree to change the consumer’s loan.
- If companies tell consumers to stop paying their mortgage, they must also tell them that they could lose their home and damage their credit rating.
5 new listings: Lighthouse Point #325 2/2 $699,996; Sundial #L202 2/2 $721K; Sundial #P403 2/2 $779K; Nutmeg Village #108 2/2 $795K, Seascape #105 3/3 $2.995M.
7 price changes: Captains Walk #A1 2/1.5 now $247K, Tennisplace #B21 2/1.5 now $265K, Blind Pass #D205 2/2 now $289K (short sale), Sanibel Siesta #203 2/2 now $319K, Pointe Santo #D36 2/2 now $624K, Tarpon Beach #204 2/2 now $689K.
2 new sales: Sanibel Siesta #703 2/2 listed for $499.9K, Sanibel Siesta #209 2/2 listed for $299K (short sale).
3 closed sales: Tennisplace #D32 1/1 $175K (short sale), Sundial #F308 1/1 $285K, Sanibel Siesta #104 2/2 $285K.
7 new listings: 9426 Kava Ct 3/2 $399,993, 1653 Bunting Ln 3/2 $425K, 474 Surf Sound Ct 3/2 $575K (short sale), 549 East Rocks Dr 3/2.5 $799K, 1001 Lindgren Blvd 2/2 $865K, 4150 Dingman Dr 5/5 $995K (short sale), 4701 Rue Belle Mer 4/4 $3.25M.
10 price changes: 535 Piedmont Rd 3/2 now $369K, 446 Lagoon Dr 2/2 duplex now $399K (short sale), 1105 Skiff Pl 3/2 now $484K, 5289 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/2 now $549K, 994 Whelk Dr 2/2 now $589K (foreclosure), 1302 Par View Dr 3/3 now $649K, 1121 Skiff Pl 3/2 now $649.5K, 722 Sand Dollar 3/3 now $1.295M, 720 Periwinkle Way 3/3.5 now $1.579M, 1314 Isabel Dr 4/3.5 now $2.995M.
5 new sales: 1012 East Gulf Dr 4/2 duplex listed for $335K (short sale), 962 Donax St 3/2 listed for $615K, 9028 Mockingbird Dr 4/3 listed for $795K (short sale), 5116 Joewood Dr 4/3 listed for $1.295M, 540 East Rocks Dr 3/2 listed for $579.9K.
1 closed sale: 1073 Skiff Pl 3/3 $640K (short sale).
1 new listing: 4405 & 4407 West Gulf Dr $4.6M.
5 price changes: 5618 Baltusrol Ct now $224K (our listing), 5148 Sea Bell Rd now $239K, 708 Durion Ct now $385K, 5439 Osprey Ct now $386.5K (foreclosure), 4415 Gulf Pines Dr now $399K.
1 new sale: 9345 Dimmick Dr listed for $299K.
No closed sales.
1 new listing: Sunset Beach Villas #2223 1/1 $475K.
2 price changes: Marina Villas #703 2/2 now $599K, Lands End Village #1629 2/2 now $1.195M.
No new or closed sales.
2 new listings: 11515 Chapin Ln 3/2 $995K, 11530 Chapin Ln 3/2 $1.225M.
4 price changes: 11550 Laika Ln 4/3.5 now $1.795M, 4 Sunset Captiva Ln 3/3 now $2.499M, 16778 Captiva Dr 4/3 now $4.495M, 16428 Captiva Dr 7/8.5 now $15.9M.
No new or closed sales.
No new listings.
1 price change: 11517 Wightman Ln now $695K.
No new or closed sales.NOTE: 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 the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.