Tropical December on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

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Delightful weather this week helped make the Sanibel and Captiva Islands holiday festivities extra special. It was a tad chilly yesterday (only reached 70 degrees) and there have been a few cold evenings, but for the most part, the islands have had sunshine-filled days and typical-December tropical 80-degree weather. The forecast into the middle of next week remains the same. There is not much real estate action to report this week. The photos above were taken this week by Jim Anderson of JMA Photography when he filmed one of our listings at Lighthouse Point condominium. When I told Jim that I love posting his pictures on my blog, he offered a few more. Some of those are posted above too. More to follow in the weeks to come!

Here are a few real estate news items, followed the activity posted in our islands Multiple Listing Service this week.

Sanibel Public Library Earns Top Honors 

The Sanibel Public Library has been named a 5-Star Library in the Library Journal Annual American’s Star Libraries 2011 Survey. The Library Journal Index of Public Library Service measures the service levels of 7,153 public libraries in the U.S. based on circulation, visits, internet use, and program attendance. This is the 2nd year Sanibel’s library has been honored as a Star Library and the first year as a 5-Star Library, the highest rating. Last year, it received a 3-Star rating. The Sanibel Public Library is the ONLY Florida library to be named a Star Library.

Leading U. S. Economists Say Florida’s Housing Market is Bouncing Back

Finally some good news! An article posted Wed by Florida Realtors® says: “Despite national and global headwinds, Florida’s real estate market is entering 2012 on an upward trend, according to three leading U.S. economists. “Our state is in a mini-recovery,” said Florida Realtors® Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo at the state association’s 2012 Real Estate and Economic Forecast Conference in Orlando. “Sales are trending up, listing inventories are falling, the supply of lender-related properties has stabilized, and we are seeing multiple offers on homes in some local markets.” “In fact, Florida homes today may be undervalued,” Tuccillo added. “That may seem like a drastic statement,” he said. “But a buyer who plans to own the home for five to seven years can get some great bargains today.”

“Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wells Fargo in Charlotte, N.C., said the U.S. economy will continue to face significant challenges, particularly financial concerns related to the European debt crisis. But he expects the U.S. economic recovery will continue next year, making it easier for Midwesterners, for example, to buy Florida homes. “Florida’s economy is recovering, with tourism and healthcare leading the way,” Vitner said. “International tourism has been particularly strong in Miami and Orlando.” Looking around the state, Vitner said Jacksonville’s unemployment rate has dropped and home prices are stabilizing. In Orlando, prices have not yet reached bottom, he said, but the winter tourism season should help the regional economy. Tampa and Southwest Florida have seen solid job growth, with little new home construction. South Florida’s economy is growing thanks to trade relationships with Latin America and the Caribbean, while in the Panhandle, Fort Walton Beach is outperforming Panama City and Pensacola, according to Vitner.

“Dr. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors®, said many Florida markets are showing sharp drops in inventories of homes for sale – a sign that demand is picking up and prices are stabilizing. “That’s a major change from just a year ago,” he said. “Buyers have stepped back into the Florida market.” Noting the state’s powerful appeal to international buyers, Yun said he was particularly optimistic about the outlook for South Florida. “Don’t be surprised to see a gain in home prices in the Miami and Naples markets in the next 18 months,” he said. “From there, the recovery is likely to roll northward to Central Florida and then North Florida.”

“Tuccillo noted that foreclosed and distressed properties will remain a significant part of the Florida market in 2012, but lenders are feeding these properties into the market at a gradual pace rather than pushing them out all at once. The event also featured a panel of Florida real estate professionals, who discussed the 2012 outlook for several sectors of the state’s real estate market from a practitioner’s point of view. Panelists were Clark Toole, president and COO, Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate Inc. in Florida, discussing residential real estate; Cynthia Shelton, 2009 president of Florida Realtors and a director at Colliers International in Orlando, discussing the commercial market; and Dean Saunders, accredited land consultant and broker-owner of Coldwell Banker Commercial Saunders Real Estate in Lakeland, covering the market for land and undeveloped property. Florida Realtors real estate and economic summit was webcast to 32 local association or satellite sites around Florida. “Turnout was high for our statewide event,” said 2011 Florida Realtors President Patricia Fitzgerald, manager/broker-associate with Illustrated Properties in Hobe Sound and Mariner Sands Country Club in Stuart. “We hope to hold more of these forums on a regular basis – sharing knowledge of market trends is a powerful way for our Realtor members to connect with buyers and sellers.”

Jumbo Mortgage Rates Hit New Record Low

The following was posted today in Florida Realtors®. “The jumbo 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell to a new record low of 4.68%, according to’s weekly national survey. The average jumbo 30-year fixed mortgage has an average of 0.4 discount and origination points. According to Bankrate’s weekly survey, the average conforming 30-year fixed mortgage inched lower to 4.24% while the 15-year fixed mortgage held steady at 3.48%. Adjustable rate mortgages were mostly lower, with the average 5-year ARM sliding to 3.18% and the 10-year ARM inching down to 3.8%. Mortgage rates are low, but based on the ultra-low levels of benchmark interest rates such as 10-year Treasury notes mortgage rates could be even lower. Since August, the European debt crisis has pushed the spread between risk-free U.S. government bonds and those of other bonds, such as mortgage-backed bonds, to the highest levels since the spring of 2009. At that time, financial tensions were at a fever pitch, particularly surrounding the health of the U.S. banking system. This time, it is Europe’s banking system in the crosshairs, but the result is much the same – a higher-than-typical cost of borrowing when compared to the rock-bottom government rates. Bankrate’s national weekly mortgage survey is conducted each Wednesday from data provided by the top 10 banks and thrifts in the top 10 markets.

New Sanibel Restaurant – Il Cielo

I noticed in driving home from the office last night that a new sign is up at the former Dolce Vita location at 1244 Periwinkle Way. The opening of Il Cielo (which is “the sky” in Italian) has been rumored since last spring. Opening was expected in October, but obviously that did not happen. It will be interesting to find out if Loretta Paganini, host of “Simply Gourmet” on the Discovery Channel and proprietor of the International Culinary Arts & Sciences Institute, who was invited by Shoreline Investments, the financial backer of the eatery, is involved in what she earlier described as “the definitive Italian restaurant.” We will be watching for their grand opening.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity December 2-9:

9 new listings: Sundial #G107 1/1 $274.9K, Lake Palms #7 2/2.5 $318K, Loggerhead Cay #422 2/2 $419K, Signal Inn #12 1/1 $419K, Sanibel Arms #A1 2/2 $435K, Sanibel Moorings #142 1/1 $450K, Sunset South #9D 2/2 $499K, Sundial #K203 2/2 $789K, Pointe Santo #E32 2/2 $799K.
6 price changes: Sundial #D207 1/1 now $279.9K, Sundial #F408 1/1 now $299K, Ibis at The Sanctuary #A102 2/2 now $410K, Loggerhead Cay #422 2/2 now $422.5K, Sandalfoot #3D1 2/2 now $449.9K, Mariner Pointe #131 3/2 now $549K.
3 new sales: Tennisplace #D23 1/1 listed for $155K (short sale), Tennisplace #C21 1/1 listed for $238K (short sale), Tarpon Beach #110 2/2 listed for $639K.
2 closed sales: Tennisplace #B31 2/1 $258K, Loggerhead Cay #333 2/2 $390K.
6 new listings: 1797 Serenity Ln 2/2 $299K (our listing), 1617 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 half-duplex 375K, 1585 Serenity Ln 3/2 $419K, 3812 Coquina Dr 3/2 $445K, 3229 Twin Lakes Ln 2/2 $499K, 1429 Jamaica Dr 4/3 $499K.
5 price changes: 1121 Skiff Pl 3/2 now $579K, 545 Lake Murex Cir 3/3 now $599K (short sale), 913 Kings Crown Dr 4/3 now $995K, 5810 Pine Tree Dr 4/3 now 1.295M, 3401 West Gulf Dr now $4.788M.
2 new sales: 1133 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed for $499K, 4449 Waters Edge Ln 3/3 listed for $3.9M.
3 closed sales: 9239 Kincaid Ct 2/2 $240K, 721 Cardium St 2/1 $292K, 1046 Sand Castle Rd 2/2 $355K.
No new listings.
1 price change: 659 Anchor Dr now $549K.

1 new sale: 2355 Wulfert Rd listed for $169K.
No closed sales.
1 new listing: Lands End Village #1637 2/2 $1.299M
1 price change: Captiva Bay Villas #2 3/3.5 now $2.095M
No new or closed sales.
3 new listings: 16742 Captiva Dr 3/3 $2.795M, 16910 Captiva Dr 4/4 $4.85M, 1121 Schefflera Ct 4/4.5 $6M.
No price changes.
2 new sales: 11537 Andy Rosse Ln 4/4 listed for $1.725M, 16849 Captiva Dr 6/6/2 listed for $2.695M.
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.

1 thought on “Tropical December on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

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