Winding up a Holiday Week on Sanibel Island


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It was a great July 4th on Sanibel Island from the parade right through to the fireworks. Unfortunately, since then we have had rain almost every day, though today we have lucked out so far and the space shuttle was able to take off.

Sanibel School Earns “A” for 13th Straight Year

It was announced last week that for the 3rd straight year, the Lee County School District achieved an “A” grade for its district-wide achievement by earning 537 points. An “A” grade is awarded for 525 points. Also for the 13th consecutive year, The Sanibel School earned an “A” grade, garnering 692 points. The Sanibel kindergarten through 8th-grade facility reported 97% of its students met the high standard in reading, 95% in math, 93% in writing and 86% in science. According to Sanibel School Principal Barbara Von Harten, The Sanibel School also has received notification that they have been ranked the top K-8 educational facility in the entire state of Florida. Pine Island Elementary is the only other school in the local district to earn an “A” grade since the school grade reports began in the 1988-89 academic year. To see a complete listing of the school grades visit www.leeschools.net.

Shelling & Fishing

Locals and visitors alike have commented that the fishing and shelling over the past holiday weekend were both excellent. It is always fun to see the newspaper reports with photos of the “finds”. The good ones this week included: several rather large prized junonia shells, a couple of foot-sized whelks, snook up to 42″, and even a 150‑lb tarpon.

32nd Annual July 4th Road Rally

If you are thinking of making your plans now for the 4th of July holiday next year, consider the Road Rally after the parade. This was my first year and though the prizewinners haven’t been announced yet, it was a lot of fun. Sponsored as a fundraiser by our local Optimists Club, it begins at The Timbers Restaurant parking lot at noon, with staggered start times. It is not a race, but rather a game of timing, mileage, and wit. Once provided with detailed driving directions around the island, and instructions that include “no backing up”, entrants are given question and answer sheets with more than 100 questions to answer. It is much like a scavenger hunt but without picking up items (well maybe a few). Most of the questions can be answered by carefully following the driving directions and being “very” observant. One would think that a carload of island Realtors® would have a good advantage, but we found at The Timbers Afterglow Party that several of the visiting vacationers beat us on some of the questions. How the Optimists could come up with so many difficult questions after 31 years is a surprise too. Some of the entries have been participating since the beginning. Maybe we will do better next year.

Captiva Beach Re-Nourishment Project

I heard from one of my Captiva pals that plans are underway for another beach re-nourishment project on Captiva in 2013/2014. That is always a pricey undertaking, but also great news for Sanibel as we always manage to get the sand eventually. Sometimes, it is just best to be an east-west oriented island.

Not Enough Done on Housing

Florida REALTORS® reposted an article yesterday from the “Washington Post” where “President Obama made a rare admission of a policy misstep, acknowledging that his administration failed to provide enough support to struggling homeowners and recognize the scope of the nation’s housing crisis. Despite predictions by Obama’s advisers that the housing market would rebound by now, real estate prices are falling once again. And the administration’s efforts to push banks to modify the mortgages of families who missed their monthly payments have been widely criticized as lacking. Obama first raised the issue Wednesday when a questioner during a town hall event asked what mistakes the president had made in handling the economy. “The continuing decline in the housing market is something that hasn’t bottomed out as quickly as we expected,” Obama responded. Later, he added, that his administration’s efforts to help struggling homeowners were “not enough. And so we’re going back to the drawing board,” he said.

“The housing issue threatens to loom over Obama’s re-election campaign, with foreclosures piling up and real estate markets in turmoil in pivotal swing states such as Florida and Nevada, which voted for him in 2008. Obama has not often discussed the housing crisis with much of his time in Washington and on the campaign trail focused on job creation and deficit reduction. But the issue repeatedly came up Wednesday as Obama conducted his first ever town hall meeting via Twitter. One person asked in a tweet: “How will admin work to help underwater homeowners who aren’t behind in payments but are trapped in homes they can’t sell?” Later, another questioner – whose Twitter handle was @Shnaps – asked a follow-up question about whether the market could heal itself. Obama responded that “given the size of the housing market, no federal program is going to be able to solve the housing problem.” He later added: “Some folks just bought more home than they could afford and probably they’re going to be better off renting.”

“Much of the criticism of the administration’s housing policy has focused on the Treasury Department’s foreclosure prevention initiative called the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP. The program was funded by the financial bailout and carved out tens of billions of dollars to pay banks to modify the mortgages of distressed homeowners, or at least lower their monthly payments. The administration has said that HAMP helped more than a million families in this way. But critics say that the aid was not long lasting, and that the initiative’s design was too complicated for the industry to implement effectively.

“During Wednesday’s town hall, Obama said his administration would press banks to modify loans more quickly and, where possible, reduce the principal owed by homeowners. The questions submitted to the president were wide ranging, though Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who moderated the event, noted that 6 percent of the tweets focused on housing. Other hot topics included jobs, the economy and education.

“The president spent much of the time responding to questions verbally, leaving it to his staff and officials from Twitter to parse his words down to 140-character tweets, the maximum allowed on the micro-blogging Web site. Obama sent a live tweet only once, patting himself on the back for being the first president in history to do so.

“While the event was billed as a “discussion,” the format provided a platform for Obama to repeat his positions on the economy with little follow-up from the moderator and Twitter users. Obama got a laugh, though, when he took a question from House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), who is known as @speakerboehner on Twitter. Boehner asked, “Where are the jobs?” Obama joked: “This is a slightly skewed question.” He then acknowledged that job growth has been slow. But he also accused Republicans of standing in the way of infrastructure and public works programs that would have created work for Americans. “Eventually, I’m sure the speaker will see the light,” Obama quipped.”

Island Real Estate Scoop This Week

Attendance was down yesterday at our biweekly Realtor® Caravan Meeting and just a handful of new listings were on tour. Even with the holiday vacationers and rain hampering outside activities, not many properties were shown and little real estate action was reported. Here are the MLS changes since last Friday.

Sanibel & Captiva MLS Activity July 2-8

Sanibel
CONDOS
1 new listing:  Signal Inn #18 2/2 $949K.
1 price change:  Sanctuary Golf Villages I #3 3/3 now $719K.
1 new sale:  Sundial #R203 2/2 listed for $499K.
5 closed sales:  Sanibel Moorings #241 1/1 $260K, Sanibel Siesta #403 2/2 $340K, Sanibel Arms West #M4 2/2 $375K, Compass Point #243 2/2 $460K, Atrium #306 3/2 $1.1M.
 
HOMES
4 new listings:  491 Rabbit Rd 2/2 $339K; 1439 Albatross Rd 3/2 $439,555; 1470 Middle Gulf Dr 4/5.5 $2.395M; 4431 Waters Edge Ln 4/4 $2.85M.
2 price changes:  3145 Twin Lakes Ln 3/3 now $499,994; 2479 Blind Pass Ct 3/2 now $1.1M.
2 new sale:  1035 South Yachtsman Dr 5/4.5 listed for $799K, 1360 Eagle Run Dr 5/3.5 listed for $1.039M (short sale).
1 closed sale:  9292 Belding Dr 3/2.5 $350K.
 
LOTS
1 new listing:  761 Donax St $189K.
1 price change:  2562 Coconut Dr now $399K.
No new sales.
1 closed sale:  5618 Baltusrol Ct $180K.
 
Captiva
CONDOS
1 new listing:  Tennis Villas #3219 1/1 $245K.
4 price changes:  Tennis Villas #3229 1/1 now $240K, Bayside Villas #3406 3/3 now $638K, Beach Villas #2618 2/2 now $685K, Beach Villas #2628 2/2 now $699K.
No new or closed sales.
 
HOMES
No new listings.
1 price changes:  15631 Captiva Dr 5/4.5 now $2.95M.
No new 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 the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.  If your property currently is listed with another broker, this is not intended as a solicitation of that listing.

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