The Sun is Out & There Still Is Time to Come to the Islands for the Holiday. Plenty of Vacancies Here!

We were hoping that the islands would be busy during the upcoming 3-day weekend, but today when we checked the bookings for our seasonal-rental condo listings, we found plenty of vacancies. Perhaps that is weather related as it rained here much of this week. It’s bright and sunny out now though!

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There has been plenty of action today from the work crews and construction equipment working on the new bike path directly in front of our office. When the work is done our Listing Coordinator Elise is going to have a first-hand view of every biker that passes by. Bet that brings us more business! Meanwhile, we are open all weekend for those buyers looking to make their island purchases before “season”.

Sanibel Scoop

It’s a good indication that “season” is just around the corner when the local papers start reporting more upcoming events. Here are a couple of newsworthy items from the “Island Sun” this week:

  • Sanibel 1927 Community House rendering showing proposed improvementsSanibel Community Association launches $3.5 million campaign to preserve, renovate, and modernize The Community House (The 1927 House). It’s exciting. To learn more, visit or log on to the website especially designed for the capital campaign at
  • International Coastal Cleanup is September 17. This year, the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation will coordinate the cleanup on the beaches of Sanibel and Captiva, working with the Ocean Conservancy, Keep Lee County Beautiful, and The City of Sanibel. In this international effort, hundreds of thousands of volunteers around the world will form the largest one-day event on behalf of clean oceans and waterways. Just report for duty at 9 a.m. on the Saturday, the 17th at the SCCF Nature Center at 3333 Sanibel-Captiva Road or at Captiva Kayak at 11401 Andy Rosse Lane on Captiva. Cleanup lasts until noon. Then, bring your bags of trash and debris back to SCCF and join fellow volunteers for hotdogs on the porch!
  • Mark your calendar: CROW’s (The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife) has announced that the 30th Annual Taste of the Islands will be on Sunday, November 13 at Sanibel Community Park (right across the street from our office on Periwinkle Way).

National Debt Ceiling Agreement

According to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) “The Washington Report”, the debt ceiling agreement signed into law on August 2 has no direct impact on real estate tax rules or spending provisions. No tax laws of any kind were changed, nor were any housing programs cut. The legislation provides very broad dollar targets for overall spending reductions over 10 years, through 2021. The broad categories of reduced spending are defense and some so-called “discretionary” domestic spending. Beyond the target dollar amounts, no specifics are provided. Even though the package has no revenue provisions and makes no changes to the mortgage interest deduction (MID), carried interest or any other tax/revenue rule, we are not out of the woods yet. The next 100 days could be the most important part of the battle over MID and carried interest. NAR will be engaged actively in lobbying Congress on the importance of preserving real estate tax provisions.

New Appraisal Rules Effective September 1

A posting by Florida Realtors® yesterday reminded us that appraisers must now follow new rules beginning yesterday, providing the appraisal goes to government-sponsored enterprises (GSE) Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. A required Uniform Appraisal Dataset (UAD) effective September 1, 2011, also was supposed to impact Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans, but FHA postponed compliance until January 1, 2012. The FHA delay confused some industry observers who expected Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to follow suit, and rumors followed. However, the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) told appraisers on August 26 that it confirmed no change for the GSEs even though FHA postponed its compliance deadline. “Appraisal reports submitted to the GSEs on or after (September 1, 2011) are required to be UAD compliant,” NAR said. “You can get more information on UAD requirements by visiting the Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac UAD web pages.” For many appraisers, the change means they must use different software if they have not already made the change. The change affects single family and condominium exterior and full forms only. In general, the new rules say:
• Appraisers must use UAD compliant software.
• Appraisers must standardize the abbreviations they use and values for many form fields.
• They also must use standardized ratings and definitions for quality, condition, view and location sections on the appraisal.

Foreign Investors Will Not Save U.S. Housing Market But May Help Some States

I am frequently asked what percentage of my business comes from foreign buyers. Though that number has increased slightly in recent years, the article I read today in the September 2011 issue of SW Realtor® by Krista Franks offers more insight.

“The combination of declines in home prices and in the value of the dollar is making U.S. homes very affordable for some foreign buyers, according to a Capital Economics report released Thursday. However, the research firm says foreign demand is not likely to bring recovery to the American housing market in the near future.

“The 33% decline in housing values since the beginning of 2006 translates to an even greater decline when the dollar value is compared with some foreign currencies, such as the Chinese renminbi, Canadian dollars, and the euro. In fact, for Canadians, the U.S. homes are more affordable now than any time in the past 35 years. The 33% decline represents at 45% decline when converted to Chinese renminbi and a 43% decline for Canadian dollars. While these percentages relate to average prices, “if overseas buyers are attracted to the many foreclosed properties, which tend to be sold with an extra discount of around 25%, then U.S. housing looks even more attractive,” states the Capital Economics report.

“For the 12-month period ending March 2011, international buyers made up 3.8% of existing homes sales values. This is down from 4.6% during the same period last year. The decline may be more a result of falling prices and the lower dollar value than a decline in foreign interest. According to Capital Economics, the actual number of homes bought by foreign clients has either fallen slightly or not at all. Similarly, the percentage of Realtors® who worked with at least one overseas client for the year remained the same as the previous year – 28%.

“Nevertheless, restoring international sales to their 1998-to-2010 value levels would require a fivefold increase, which is highly unlikely, especially in the short term, according to Capital Economics. While foreign investors may not restore the U.S. housing market over the next few years, they may boost some states’ real estate markets.

“According to the National Association of Realtors®, 58% of all international transactions in the 12-month period ending March 2011 took place in Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas. The lion’s share – 43% – occurred in Florida and California. Florida is seeing an increase in Canadian buyers, while California is experiencing increases from China. Florida’s high number of foreclosures – and thus high number of discounted homes – is likely part of the draw for Canadian buyers. Barring another global financial crisis, foreign investing in the U.S. housing market is likely to increase over the next 10 to 20 years. However, the increase over the next five years will not be enough to recover the market.”

Sanibel & Captiva MLS Activity August 26 – September 2

This is the east-end of Sanibel Island looking west

4 new listings:  Spanish Cay #B1 2/2 $299K, Seawind #A103 2/2.5 $485K, Loggerhead Cay #234 2/2 $575K, Sandpiper Beach #504 2/2 $729.9K.
4 price changes:  Colonnades #9 1/1 now $160K, Mariner Pointe #1062 2/2 now $299K, Sanibel Moorings #1622 2/2 now $350K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #3 3/3 now $699K.
4 new sales:  Blind Pass #D205 2/2 listed for $289K (short sale), Mariner Pointe #1012 2/2 listed for $299K (our listing), Village of Sanibel #R-1 3/2.5 listed for $339K (foreclosure), Coquina Beach #3E 2/2 listed for $419K.
2 closed sales:  Dugger’s Tropical Cottages #5 1/1 $222K (short sale), Sanibel Arms #D8 2/2 $399.9K.

3 new listings: 721 Cardium St 2/1 $297.5K, 531 Piedmont Rd 2/2 $329K, 5841 Pine Tree Dr 3/2 $549.9K.
5 price changes: 4632 Rue Belle Mer 3/2 now $549.9K, 940 S Yachtsman 3/2.5 now $595K, 3050 West Gulf Dr 3/2.5 now $750K, 2294 Wulfert Rd 4/4 now $1.139M, 1765 Venus Dr 3/3 now $1.299M.
3 new sales: 495 East Lake Rd listed for $399K, 5659 SanCap Rd 2/2 listed for $549K, 4628 Rue Belle Mer 3/3 listed for $739K.
5 closed sales: 1674 Bunting Ln 3/2 $450K, 3017 Turtle Gait Ln 3/2 $541.5K, 617 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $550K, 676 Anchor Dr 3/3 $750K, 1670 Dixie Beach Blvd 3/2 $875K.
No new listings.
1 price change: 4077 Coquina Dr now $289K.
No new or closed sales.
No new listings, price changes or sales.
1 closed sale: Sunset Captiva #202 2/2 $725K.
No new listings.
1 price change: 11516 Andy Rosse Ln 6/6 now $2.69M.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: 16167 Captiva Dr 3/3 $1.2M.
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.


Best wishes from The SanibelSusan Team for a pleasant Labor Day weekend.