It’s Summertime & The Living’s Easy…on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

Sanibel River Estates deeded beach access

It is the end of another pretty quiet week on the islands. We had a few listings shown this week and I was out showing property too. It couldn’t be a better time to look – easy access, great prices, and low interest rates for those looking for financing.

Calls to Action

On Tues, I attended a presentation at our local Association of Realtors® office by our Realtor® state and national political representatives. It was interesting to hear how slow the wheels of motion are moving in both Tallahassee and Washington on the important issues that are affecting the real estate market both locally and throughout the country. I also answered “calls to action” this week on continuing the National Flood Insurance Program and FHA loan limits. Please keep your state representatives aware of your feelings on these important issues too.

Last summer I became Transnational Referral Certified (TRC) and am one of only two island agents to hold that designation. The designation is sponsored by the International Corsortium of Real Estate Associations (ICREA) which is a global referral network which recently expanded from 41 to 121 countries, including the United States. ICREA is a group of the world’s leading real estate associations and sets standards for international real estate practice and facilitates worldwide real estate transactions through its website, The website is being revised and recently was posted in new Beta version. Listings will only be entered as Realtors® pay to subscribe. SanibelSusan’s listings will be among the first! As the global version of the national website, is an excellent source of prospective buyers, particularly those looking to Florida for investment. Over the course of the summer as our listings get posted, I will be updating the listing information to include multiple photos and descriptions more in keeping with international buyers. When they are fully up and running, it will be fun to search for property and then have it translated into one of the many languages that will be offered. Here’s hoping this endeavor brings us more international buyers. We have done a fair amount of business with them already this year and look forward to more.

NAR Home Ownership Matters

Our National Association of Realtors® bus promoting home ownership is back on the road this weekend with July stops scheduled in Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee. Previous stops covered most of the western and mid-western states, including at our Realtor® headquarters in Chicago.



What Does It Really Mean When You Hear That Foreclosure Activity Is Down? 

An Associated Press article posted yesterday said that “the number of homes taken back by lenders in the first half of this year fell 30% compared with the same 2010 period, the result of delays in foreclosure processing that threatens to stall a U.S. housing recovery…. The decline reflects lenders taking longer to move against homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments. The banks are working through foreclosure documentation problems that first surfaced last fall and an ensuing logjam in some state courts. Lenders also have put off on taking action against delinquent borrowers as U.S. home sales have slowed this year. As the processing delays mount, however, so has the backlog of potential foreclosures – homes that otherwise would have been repossessed by lenders this year. RealtyTrac estimates that 1 million foreclosure-related notices that should have been filed by banks this year will be pushed to next year….The delayed filings buy more time for many borrowers behind in payments to remain in their homes, perhaps giving them time to catch up or simply to stall their inevitable eviction. But it also means any eventual foreclosures will happen next year, extending the shadow of distressed properties that hovers over the market.
““The best-case scenario is we don’t get back to normal levels of foreclosure activity until 2015, which means the housing market recovery gets delayed by at least a year,” said Rick Sharga, a senior vice president at RealtyTrac. “And given delays in the time it’s taking lenders to move a home from default to foreclosure and then sell the property, the housing turnaround could conceivably be pushed out to as late as 2016”, Sharga said. “It could be the new reality is we’re going to have to accept the fact that home prices in most markets aren’t going to budge much for the next several years while this overhang gradually, painfully makes its way into the market and gets purchased,” he said.
“In all, some 1.2 million U.S. homes received a foreclosure-related notice in the first six months of this year, RealtyTrac said…Put another way, one in every 111 U.S. households received a foreclosure filing between January and June. Foreclosures typically sell at a discount to other types of homes, weighing down home values. As a result, housing experts say U.S. home prices are unlikely to recover until the glut of foreclosed homes on the market is cleared out. Lenders have been careful not to unload all of their foreclosures on the market at once, and have financial incentives to continue doing so. But the prospect of more foreclosures hitting the market for years to come makes it difficult to predict when home values will stabilize. And that keeps many would-be homebuyers on the sidelines. Between April and June, it took an average of 318 days for a home to go from the first stage of foreclosure to the point where it was sold at auction or taken back by the lender, RealtyTrac said….The foreclosure process took longest to play out in New York at an average of 966 days, or 2.6 years, during the second quarter. New Jersey was second-slowest at an average of 944 days, RealtyTrac said. Homes were on a relative foreclosure fast-track in Texas, taking an average of 92 days to go through the process, the fastest turnaround time in the nation. Despite slowdown in foreclosure activity, several states continue to have outsized foreclosure rates. Nevada continued to lead the nation, with one in every 21 households receiving a foreclosure notice in the first half of this year. Rounding out the top 10 states with the highest foreclosure rate in the first half of this year are Arizona, California, Utah, Georgia, Idaho, Michigan, Florida, Colorado and Illinois.”

What’s Happening With Citizens Property Insurance Corp?

A Tallahassee posting yesterday by News Service of Florida said: “Admonishing lawmakers for making a shaky insurance pool even more precarious, the chairman of the Citizens Property Insurance Corp. on Wed said the insurer should be allowed to sell off a large chunk of its business to private interests. Citizens Chairman James Malone says the move would reduce exposure and allow it to continue offering coverage to the state’s riskiest property. The change would probably raise rates dramatically for hundreds of thousands of policyholders, but Malone says it must be done because the insurer is expected to have 1.4 million policies under its umbrella before the end of next week. Of those 1.4 million Citizens policies, up to 900,000 are likely uninsurable in the private market because they cover older homes, mobile homes and residences along the coast. Malone estimated that the remaining policies could be marketed to some private entity because they involve billions of dollars in assets and a widely dispersed premium base. He envisioned a return to Citizens’ roots – a true insurer of last resort. “That has a value someplace in this open market,” Malone said. “The state of Florida needs money and (some Citizens policies) could be turned into an asset that had a value that people were willing to purchase in the private sector.” Created as the insurer only for those who couldn’t get policies from private companies, Citizens has gone beyond that role to become the largest property insurer in the state. The insurer continues to charge rates that are actuarially too low, many say. Coupled with carrier insolvencies and private market decisions to reduce books of business, Citizens adds about 1,000 policyholders every day. Because taxpayers back the company, critics say the addition of so many policies leaves the state a major hurricane away from financial fiasco. Florida officials have been trying to depopulate Citizens for years. With premium rates held artificially low by lawmakers, however, the gap between Citizens’ insurance rates and private insurance rates continues to widen. So far, lawmakers have tried to provide financial incentives for private insurers to take Citizens policyholders from the pool.”

Sanibel & Captiva MLS Activity July 8-15

1 new listing: Tennisplace #D23 1/1 $175K (short sale).
4 price changes: Sundial #B301 1/1 now $315K, Sundial #C303 2/2 now $499K, Pelicans Roost #302 2/2 now $830K, Wedgewood #305 3/3.5 now $1.475M.
1 new sale: Sundial #G207 1/1 listed for $245K (short sale).
6 closed sales: Spanish Cay #C1 2/2 $332K (our buyer), Heron at The Sanctuary #1B 2/3.5 $500K, Sandy Bend #2 2/2 $535K, Nutmeg Village #206 2/2 $540K, Sundial #E104 2/2 $686K (foreclosure), Signal Inn #13 4/3 $800K.
2 new listings: 954 Donax St 3/3 $425K, 909 Snowberry Ln 3/3 $2.15M.
4 price changes: 9248 Belding Dr 3/2 now $269K, 317 Palm Lake Dr 3/3 now $645K, 970 Victoria Way 3/3 now $995K, 1052 Whisperwood Way 3/3 now $1.495M.
No new sales.
5 closed sales: 535 Piedmont Rd 3/2 $305K, 1133 Schooner Pl 5/2 duplex $350K, 1528 Angel Dr 3/2 $500K, 1162 Kittiwake Cir 3/3.5 $1.2M, 4443 Waters Edge Ln 3/2.5 $2.1M.
No new listings.
1 price change: 2418 Blue Crab Ct now $164.9K.
No new or closed sales.
No new listings.
1 price change: Beach Homes #15 4/3 now $1.995M.
1 new sale: Sunset Captiva #202 2/2 listed for $789K.
No closed sales.
1 new listing:  15009 Binder Dr 4/5.5 $4.495M.
1 price change:  17061 Captiva Dr 4/3.5 now $1,799,999.
No new or closed sales.
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.