Many island restaurants are featuring special menus on Sunday to honor Moms. With our weather expected to be picture perfect right through the weekend, it’s a terrific time to bring them out on their special day.
We had a long and much-needed downpour on the islands last night. It has been dry for many weeks, so perhaps this is an indication that rainy season is beginning. Real estate activity has slowed down, typical for May as the last of the snowbirds depart but before schools are out and summer vacations begin. It is actually a terrific time to be here, though a tad hot early this year. May is when locals always again enjoy zipping up and down Periwinkle Way, and being able to get into restaurants without a wait.
REALTOR® Caravan Meetings
With slowdown, our Thursday morning REALTOR® meetings are moving to summer schedule. After the meeting next week, they will be held bi-weekly rather than weekly, probably through September, or until business picks up again.
The Jarhead Fire
On Wednesday and again this afternoon, we noticed a heavy smoke smell from this fire in the Big Cypress National Preserve, just east of Naples. The fire started by lightning on April 26 and fire management was assumed by the Southwest Area Incident Management Team at the request of the National Park Service on May 1. The fire, now encompassing more that 25,000 acres with 20% containment, is expected to be fully contained by May 18. With so much damage already including several panther cub deaths, we hope rain will move that date up. Here’s a link to more info www.inciweb.org/incident/2212/
Kentucky Derby Horse With Sanibel Ties
For those watching the Derby tomorrow be sure to let out a cheer for “Santiva”, a horse with ties to restaurateur Matt Asen (owner of The Timbers and Sanibel Grill, among others). You can be sure that the Grill will be rocking with excitement during this annual race for the roses. Bet they can expect to see some patrons sporting their fancy hats worn just last week for the royal wedding.
New Italian Restaurant to Open in Fall
The former Ellington’s Jazz Bar and Restaurant, also formerly Dolce Vita, will reopen this fall by celebrity chef and culinary teacher Loretta Paganini. Called “Il Cielo” (The Sky), reports are that it will be authentic Italian in an elegant European setting featuring fresh local products and offering lunch, dinner, live music, and cocktails. Paganini owns the professional International Culinary Arts and Sciences Institute, Sapore Restaurant, and the Loretta Paganini Cooking School in Chesterland, Ohio. She has offered an annual series of cooking classes on the island for the past 15 years.
Wondering Which International Buyers Are Purchasing in Florida?
Sales to global buyers are good here, particularly in the summer. Florida REALTORS® recently posted the following stats from a profile study showing the source of 2010 international buyers: Canada 36%, Latin America (including Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, & South America) 16%, United Kingdom 15%, and Western Europe 14%.
Vacation & Investment Homes Hold EVEN in 2010
According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), market share of vacation- and investment-home sales held steady in 2010, although sales volume declined with the overall market. “NAR’s 2011 Investment & Vacation Home Buyers Survey, covering existing- and new-home transactions in 2010, shows vacation-home sales accounted for 10% of transactions last year while the portion of investment sales was 17 percent, both unchanged from 2009…A sizeable number of buyers made deals with all-cash offerings. All-cash purchases have become prevalent in the second-home market in recent years: 59% of investment buyers paid cash in 2010, as did 36% of vacation-home buyers…36% of vacation homes purchased in 2010 were in the South, 27% in the West, 19% in the Northeast and 15% in the Midwest; 3% were located outside of the U.S. NAR’s analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data shows there are 7.9 million vacation homes and 41.6 million investment units in the U.S. compared with 74.8 million owner-occupied homes.”
Population Shift Swells Southern & Western Cities
According to an article published this month in SW REALTOR®, “Cities in the South and West grew the most over the past decade, reflecting a trend that has seen Americans leave colder climes in the North for warmer and faster-growing economies in other parts of the country, according to Census data. “Among the 10-fastest growing metropolitan areas over the decade, nine were in the South or Mountain West, while cities throughout the Midwest and Rust Belt continued to lose population. Among metro areas with more than 500,000 people, Las Vegas grew the fastest over the decade… though migration there has flat-lined since 2008.
“BIGGEST GAINERS – Las Vegas, NV 41.8%, Raleigh, NC 41.8%, Fort Myers, FL 40.3%, Provo, UT 39.8%, Austin, TX 37.5%.
“BIGGEST LOSERS – New Orleans, LA 11.3%, Youngstown, OH 6.2%, Detroit, MI 3.5%, Cleveland, MI 3.3%, Pittsburg, PA 3.3%.
“The 2010 Census tally of metro area tells only part of the decade-long story. While fast-growing cities amassed considerable economic and political muscle from 2000 to 2010, many have seen their economies ravaged by the housing bust during the past few years. With the real-estate market still stuck in the doldrums, migration between states has slowed sharply and a number of once fast-expanding cities have seen more people move out than move in.”
REALTORS® Meet Tallahassee Lawmakers
As part of their annual Great American REALTOR® Days, more than 1,000 members of Florida REALTORS® spent time in the state capital on April 12/13, meeting with lawmakers and promoting issues of importance to state homeowners and the real estate industry. Lawmakers are working on many real-estate related issues this year, including more equitable property taxes for businesses and new residents from out-of-state, property insurance and housing aid. I will be attending our annual meetings in Orlando in August where we will be providing more input on these important subjects.