It is a partly cloudy Friday here on Sanibel Island, but we are thankful that our temperatures still hover between the low 70s and mid 80s during the day. More good – but sunny – weather is expected right through the weekend. As our phones continued to ring during the week, we heard from many of our friends on the northeastern seaboard, many who remain without electricity after the storms last weekend.
I was out showing homes and condos yesterday to a couple here for their first visit. It is always fun when someone comes to Florida to find the perfect winter get-away and after searching up and down the entire West Coast, decides that this is the place for them. It is easy to understand why and very satisfying to be their island ambassador.
This morning I completed the 3-hour Grievance and Professional Standards training needed annually to continue as a member of that committee next year. This is the Realtor® group in each association that provides the panel members to evaluate and hear ethics and arbitration cases. We are very lucky on Sanibel and Captiva Islands to have very few complaints – yet another benefit of being a member of a small board in a small geographic area where we have a very cooperative membership.
SanibelSusan Realty received a new listing at Gulfside Place this week and just this afternoon, we had another one of our condo listings go under contract. Hopefully this is the beginning of a busy season.
Here are a few news items, followed by the MLS activity for the past week.
Sanibel Island Farmers Market Re-Opens
Great news, the Sanibel Island Farmers Market opens this Sunday, Nov 6, and will be open every Sunday, except Christmas, until Apr 29. Over 30 vendors participate, selling local fruits and vegetables, flowers, honey, seafood, breads, cheeses, soups, pastas, organics, jams, nuts, salsa, & more. It is located at City Hall, 800 Dunlop Rd, next to the Sanibel Library and BIG Arts. Hours are 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. During the first few Sundays, FISH (Friends in Service Here) will have a table at the market to collect non-perishable food items for the needy. It is a good time to clean out your hurricane supply boxes and donate those canned and boxed goods to a good cause. You can follow the market on Facebook.
Paving on Sanibel
Locals wondering when the paving on Gulf Drive will be completed will be happy to know that this afternoon we witnessed them finishing the segment running all the way from East Gulf through Middle Gulf at Casa Ybel Road. The more westerly segments probably will be done next week.
More Than Half of Florida Homeowners in Default are 2 Years Overdue
An article in the “The Palm Beach Post” yesterday had a sobering article which said that “More than half of Florida homeowners in foreclosure have not made a mortgage payment in two years or more. That’s higher than the national average and one indication of why banks are paying borrowers up to $20,000 to execute a short sale.
“A new report from Jacksonville-based LPS Applied Analytics found that as of September, 56% of Florida’s mortgages in foreclosure are 24 months or more behind in payments, compared with 39% nationwide. About 84% of Florida foreclosures are more than 18 months in arrears. Considering recent figures that estimate the time from initial filing to auction at 676 days in Florida, LPS Senior Vice President Herb Blecher said, he’s not shocked by the mounting late payments.
“In January 2010, just 19 percent of Florida’s foreclosures were 24 months or more delinquent. Blecher said the longer delinquency rates are more evidence of a foreclosure bottleneck that could hinder a housing recovery. “The longer the homes are out there and the borrower isn’t paying, the more properties will tend to deteriorate,” Blecher said. “It’s on the high end in Florida because inventories are bigger and foreclosure processing is slower.”
“Florida’s courts are mired in an estimated 350,000 foreclosures. Cases continue to be delayed as lenders and bank lawyers sort through last fall’s robo-signing scandal. The lengthy delays could be a boon for some struggling borrowers as banks look for alternatives to languishing in foreclosure court, said Jack McCabe, chief executive of McCabe Research & Consulting in Deerfield Beach.
“Last month, Bank of America quietly began a Florida-only campaign that gives homeowners up to $20,000 for a short sale rather than letting their homes linger. Wells Fargo and J.P. Morgan Chase have similar short-sale programs, sometimes called “cash for keys.” McCabe said a woman he knows was told by Chase it would give her $35,000 for a short sale after she was only 60 days behind on payments. “I think the banks are finally starting to see that foreclosures are a very long, dragged-out process and it’s to their advantage to do a short sale,” McCabe said. “They don’t want to incur the expense of a vacant home. They’re cutting their losses.” Another benefit to living mortgage free for two years or more is a bump in expendable cash to buoy the economy, said William Stronge, a senior fellow at the Economic Development Research Institute in West Palm Beach. But Stronge acknowledged that dropping excess cash at stores and restaurants would apply mostly to people who choose to stop paying their mortgage, not borrowers struggling because of job loss or other hardships. “Presumably, they are continuing to spend that money on goods and services instead of handing it over to the bank,” he said. “It keeps the money in the local economy.””
Realtor.com Goes Global With Launch of International Site
With more Realtors working with foreign buyers seeking U.S. properties, the National Association of Realtors® and Move Inc. have launched an international website. The new site delivers the millions of for-sale property listings displayed on Realtor.com to buyers across the globe, as well as residential properties fed to the site by foreign content providers. Residential real estate listings from Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Spain are currently featured on the site, which can also be accessed from the Realtor.com homepage. In the past three months, nearly 2.6 million international visitors searched for U.S. real estate on Realtor.com, according to officials. The top five countries where searches originated from are Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and India.
“Increasingly, more and more Realtors are working with international clients who want to buy property in the U.S. and the new Realtor.com International website will not only allow Realtors to offer their expertise and knowledge to a broader audience, but will also bring buyers and sellers together across the globe,” said NAR President Ron Phipps. “Foreign buyers understand the value of owning a home in the U.S. and can rely on a Realtor because of their global perspective and understanding of different cultures and real estate practices. This collaboration with Move is just one of many ways Realtors can expand and grow their business globally.”
To help international and foreign-born buyers as they search for U.S. residential real estate, the new Realtor.com International search offers enhanced translation options in 11 languages including Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
NAR’s 2011 Profile of International Home Buying Activity reports the U.S. remains a top destination for foreign buyers with international purchases surging $16 billion in the last year. According to the survey, total residential international sales last year in the U.S. equaled $82 billion. Total international sales were split evenly between non-resident foreigners and recent immigrants.
International buyers of U.S. residential real estate came from 70 countries; the top five (Canada, Mexico, China, U.K., and India) accounted for 53% of all transactions from March 2010 to March 2011. Most states in the U.S. had at least one international transaction, while Arizona, California, Florida and Texas accounted for 58% of all U.S. residential transactions completed by international buyers.
Operated by Move Inc., Realtor.com is the official website of NAR and offers potential homebuyers access to millions of property listings.
Veterans Day Ceremony at Sanibel City Hall
If you are on Sanibel next Friday, Nov 11, there will be a Veterans Day program to honor our military veterans. Held around the flagpole on the grounds of City Hall, it begins with military music at 10:45 a.m. If you have not attended one of these events, one of the most touching aspects of the ceremony is “Remembrances” when veterans recall their military experiences and how they and others were affected by them. Hope to see you there.
Sanibel & Captiva MLS Activity October 28-November 4
6 new listings: Loggerhead Cay #481 2/2 $425K; Sundial #I304 1/1 $439K; Oceans Reach #3A1 2/2 $829,990; Gulfside Place #319 2/2 $999K (our listing); Tamarind #B202 2/2.5 $1.675M; Sedgemoor #101 3/3.5 $2.45M.
7 price changes: Sundial #D412 1/1 now $325K, Sundial #H402 2/2 now $449K, Sundial #H102 2/2 now $492.5K, Nutmeg Village #310 2/2 now $549.9K, High Tide #A101 2/2 now $1.395M, Junonia #301 3/2 now $1.675M, Wedgewood #203 3/3.5 now $1.95M.
2 new sales: Captains Walk #D4 2/2 listed for $224K (our listing), Sunward #101 3/2 listed for $775K.
No closed sales.
8 new listings: 555 Chert Ct 3/2 $429K, 1773 Bunting Ln 3/2 $579K, 560 Boulder Dr 3/2 $645K, 561 Lake Murex Cir 3/2.5 $679K, 4041 Coquina Dr 4/3 $995K, 1520 San Carlos Bay Dr 4/3/2 $2.495M, 3441 West Gulf Dr 5/4/2 $5.995M.
11 price changes: 1133 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $499K, 280 Southwinds Dr 3/3.5 now $530K, 585 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 now $639K, 476 Las Tiendas Ln 3/2 now $649K, 1208 Harbour Cottage Ct 3/3 half-duplex now $749K, 228 Hurricane Ln 3/2.5 now $769K, 1287 Par View Dr 3/2 now $774.9K, 2367 Wulfert Rd 4/3.5 now $1.395M, 6190 Henderson Rd 3/2 now $1.399M, 2118 Starfish Ln 4/5 now $2.295M, 4340 West Gulf Dr 5/3.5 now $2.5M.
6 new sales: 1454 Sandpiper Cir 2/2 half-duplex listed for $299K, 683 Emeril Ct 2/2 listed for $449K, 1234 Seagrape Ln 3/2 listed for $679K, 4714 Rue Belle Mer 3/2 listed for $649K, 1240 Middle Gulf Dr 3/2 listed for $650K, 4405 West Gulf Dr 2/1.5 listed for $1.95M (short sale).
6 closed sales: 533 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2 $425K, 617 East Rocks Dr 3/2 $497K, 1182 Kittiwake Cir 3/3 $650K, 6076 Castaways Ln 3/2 $722K, 600 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2.5 $825K (short sale), 2332 Troon Ct 4/5 $1.05M (short sale).
No new listings.
2 price changes: 1299 Par View Dr now $199K, 4771 Rue Helene now $524.5K.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: 537 Lighthouse Way $525K.
Nothing to report.
No new listings.
1 price change: 11461 Dickey Ln 3/2 now $1.149M.
2 new sales: 11536 Wightman Ln 3/3 listed for $799K, 16585 Captiva Dr 5/4/2 listed for $2.3M (short sale).
No 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.