Even the Pelicans Are Happy on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

It was another very quiet real estate week on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. The weather has been wonderful with the beaches, bike paths, and local attractions busy – perhaps indicative of local families getting in a few vacation days before the Lee County schools begin on August 8th. Following a few real estate items below are the details on this week’s Sanibel & Captiva Islands real estate action.


Best Islands for a Family Vacation

Family Vacation Critic, part of “The Independent Traveler” recently posted on-line an article describing the top ten best islands in the U.S. for family vacations. They are:

  1. Amelia Island, FL
  2. Sanibel & Captiva Islands, FL
  3. Catalina Island, CA
  4. Galveston Island, TX
  5. Hilton Head Island, SC
  6. Key West, FL
  7. Mackinac Island, MI
  8. Martha’s Vineyard, MA
  9. Nantucket, MA
  10. San Juan Islands, WA

Here’s a link to the article: http://www.familyvacationcritic.com/10-best-islands-in-us/art/

Florida Real Estate Gets High Marks in Fed’s Latest Economic Review

A “Miami Herald” article yesterday says “Florida emerged as something of a stand-out student in the Federal Reserve’s latest report on real estate in the Southeast. Amid gloomy reports from brokers in the Fed’s Atlanta district, authors of the closely watched economic report card noted Florida was bucking the trend and reporting positive news. This has been a running theme in the Fed’s monthly Beige Books, with sales of Florida homes outperforming the rest of the South. In tempered language for its July report, the Fed said the Atlanta district’s reports of modest growth in home sales over the prior year came thanks to the Sunshine State. “Gains continued to be driven largely by reports from Florida brokers. Outside Florida, the majority of contacts reported sales declined,” the report stated. “The outlook among Florida brokers was somewhat positive, but elsewhere sales are expected to remain weak.” Tourism fared the best in the Atlanta district’s write up, with Fed authors calling it “strong.” The report noted high-end retail seemed to be gaining traction, though the retail industry as a whole is less optimistic than a year ago. In all, the Fed described the Southeast’s economy as basically flat compared to June. That’s a bit worse than the description for the national economy as a whole, which the Fed said continued to grow, but at a more modest pace.”

Vacation Homes: Why It May Be Time to Buy

This was the heading of a “Wall Street Journal – Weekend Investor” article last Saturday. It said “The clouds hanging over upscale vacation-home markets are starting to lift. While prices are still falling in most regions, the luxury segment is picking up, and brokers are reporting more inquiries than they have had in years. The upshot: If you have the money and plan on staying put for the long term, now may be a good time to buy.

“Five years after housing’s peak, markets that once were out of sight even for well-heeled buyers are now in range….Overall, the median second-home price was $150K in 2010, down 11% from 2009 and roughly 25% from 2006, according to the National Association of Realtors®. That isn’t pretty, but it is only slightly worse than the 22% drop for the overall housing market. The higher end of the market—homes in the $5 million-plus range—has held up better…. At the top of the market, particularly luxury homes, prices have proven very elastic, and have sprung upward quickly….

“Buyers are taking heed….The number of people looking at properties is up as well….This isn’t to suggest the boom is back. In general, properties situated in prime locations—on the water or near a ski slope—are selling well, but homes in less desirable spots are languishing on the market. Banks are increasingly wary of making second-home mortgages, particularly “jumbo” loans above federally guaranteed limits; 10% of banks raised their standards on such loans last year, according to the Federal Reserve. And the tax deduction for mortgage interest on 2nd homes is at risk of being cut back….Geography is the best guide to today’s vacation markets: In some places prices are holding up, while in others they are still tanking. The blue-chip market consists of a handful of spots where prices have stabilized and could soon rebound as sales pick up….With the broader housing market still so sick, it might seem the height of folly to jump into such unpredictable investments now. Even in blue-chip markets there isn’t a guarantee of price appreciation anytime soon. Indeed, over time vacation-home markets don’t do noticeably better than primary-home markets…Then again, most vacation-home buyers aren’t looking to make big investment profits. More than 80% of second-home buyers surveyed by the National Association of Realtors® in May reported that they bought for consumption reasons—to live in the house and enjoy it.

“And many 2nd-home buyers are wealthy enough to pay in cash, sidestepping the restrictive and time-consuming mortgage process. Last year, 36% of vacation-home transactions were all-cash deals up from 29% in 2009 according to the National Association of Realtors®…If you are thinking of taking the plunge, here is a look at some prominent markets across the country.

Blue Chips

These markets are stabilizing and, in some, prices already have started to rise.

Santa Monica, CA; Median home price: $695,000; Median home price five years ago: $1,000,000

Aspen, CO; Median home price: $781,000; Median home price five years ago: $802,000

Hilton Head, SC; Median home price: $307,000; Median home price five years ago: $574,000

Depressed Markets

These areas are still suffering—but bargains abound.

Martha’s Vineyard, MA; Median home price: $403,000; Median home price five years ago: $638,000

Vail, CO; Median home price: $385,000; Median home price five years ago: $562,000

Miami, FL; Median home price: $130,000; Median home price five years ago: $302,000

Palm Beach, FL; Median home price: $254,000; Median home price five years ago: $758,000….”

Debunking Popular Real Estate Myths

A “Los Angeles Times” posting this week caught my eye. “Misconceptions include notions of a ‘perfect’ house; that length of time on the market means easier negotiating; that lowball bids are OK in a buyer’s market; that distressed property sales are easy and cheap options; and that prices will continue to fall in down markets. When it comes to real estate, all is not always as it seems.

“Many buyers – and some sellers – labor under misconceptions that could sink their housing aspirations. Take the notion that you will hunt for a house until you find the “perfect” one. Sorry. There is no such thing as the perfect house. Even gently used houses come with blemishes. And new homes rarely, if ever, have absolutely everything you want at the price you want to spend.

“Another popular myth is that the longer a house is on the market, the more willing the seller will be to negotiate. Not necessarily. A long time on the market could be a sign that the seller has dug in his heels. He could be hardheaded about the price, unwilling to come down and unwilling to bargain. Perhaps it means the seller is unmotivated. Or it could be an indication that the seller is just tired of the long, drawn-out process….

“Speaking of offers, many people believe they can make any bid they want, no matter how ridiculous, because it’s a buyer’s market. False. Even foreclosures and short sales are never priced at half their value…. Besides, starting exceptionally low because you can always go higher could offend the seller to the point that he won’t respond. Or if he does and you end up buying the place, you could be in for a difficult transaction because the seller just won’t like you….

“Another popular misconception involves distressed properties and the notion held among many folks that buying one would be cheaper and easier than working with a seller who’s under no particular pressure to ink a deal. Not so…. In fact, distressed sales often take much longer than normal to close if they close at all. And they are far more difficult….

“Then there’s the notion, especially among first-time buyers, that they need the advice of their parents or friends before making a decision. After all, Dad or best buddy knows as much about the real estate market as their agents, if not more. Wrong — especially if these relatives or friends haven’t dabbled in real estate for years.”

Sanibel & Captiva MLS Activity July 22- 29

4 new listings: Coquina Beach #5D 2/2 $369.9K, Sand Pointe #133 2/2 $579K (short sale), Beachcomber #A101 2/2 $1.649M, Gulfside Place #116 3/3 $1.895M.
7 price changes: Seashells #26 2/2 now $295K, Blind Pass #B102 2/2 now $399K, Ibis at The Sanctuary #A102 2/2 now $430K, Seawind #104 2/2.5 now $499K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #3-2 3/3 now $525K, Kings Crown #212 2/2 now $599K (our listing), Kimball Lodge #304 2/2 now $679K.
No new sales.
3 closed sales: Colonnades #41 1/1 $160K, Island Beach Club #210F 2/2 $410K, Sandpiper Beach #204 2/2 $560K.
2 new listings: 935 Lindgren Blvd 3/2 $649K, 3861 Coquina Dr 3/2.5 $799K.
3 price changes: 978 Greenwood Ct 3/2.5 half-duplex now $359K, 1204 Harbour Cottage Ct 3/3 half-duplex now $749K, 2749 Wulfert Rd 3/3.5 now $1.145M.
4 new sales: 9248 Belding Dr 3/2 listed for $269K, 491 Rabbit Rd 2/2 listed for $339K, 1866 Ardsley Way 3/2.5 listed for $579K, 2555 Coconut Dr 3/2 listed for $698K, 970 Victoria Way 3/3 listed for $995K.
3 closed sales: 976 Greenwood Ct S 3/2.5 half-duplex $335K, 827 Angel Wing Dr 3/2 $685K, 4501 Waters Edge Ln 4/5/2 $1.8M (short sale).
1 new listing: 4198 Dingman Dr $349K.
1 price change: Coconut Dr now $369K.
No new or closed sales.
No new listings or price changes.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: Sunset Beach Villas #2223 1/1 $417.5K.
Nothing to report.
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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