Sanibel Achieves Another #1

I don’t know about you, but it sure is hard to believe that it is already another Friday. Time sure flies here on sunny Sanibel. We are just finishing up another week of wonderful 80-degree weather, with more of the same expected next week. That Gulf Stream sure is contributing to us having a near-perfect winter so far. Above is a photo that I snapped earlier in the week of Gramma Dot’s Restaurant at the Sanibel Marina. Love the colors!

 Below is one taken this afternoon when I returned to the office and found someone else parked in my usual parking spot. Wonder what their feathered friend is up to? Maybe just as well that I found another spot.

And here is yet another photo, taken overlooking Pine Island Sound & San Carlos Bay on February 1st at sunset. It was about 80 degrees at the time. The weather sure doesn’t get much better than this!

Sanibel sunset "sailors' delight", 2/1/2012

Sanibel School #1 in State

A Fort Myers “News-Press” article this week announced that “The Sanibel School is the best place to get an elementary/middle school education in the state according to Florida’s first-ever school rankings released Monday. The state Department of Education posted its best-to-worst ranking of Florida’s 3,078 public schools, and the Sanibel Island school was the only Lee and Collier County institution to get a top-10 ranking. Sanibel was the top-ranked combination school for elementary and middle school students. The state ranked the schools based on the number of school grade points they received for the 2010-11 school year as part of the state’s school grading formula. For elementary, middle and combination schools, points are earned based solely on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, with points given for the percentages of students scoring at grade level or better on the FCAT or making learning gains…The state is touting the new rankings as an easy-to-read list that lets parents, taxpayers and others know how well their school or district is performing. Last week, the state released a similar ranking for school districts: Lee placed 22nd of the 67 school districts; Collier 33rd….The Sanibel School, which has been an A school for 11 consecutive years, has a 16% free and reduced price lunch rate and a 10% minority rate. Sanibel, which has 375 students, earned high ranking thanks in large part to its sterling FCAT scores and its work with its lowest 25% of learners in reading and math…At the high school level, Fort Myers High was Southwest Florida’s top school….”

Sanibel Brazilian Pepper, Final Zone Pick-Up Scheduled

The following announcement is posted on As background, Zone 6 is the last area of the island to be completed in the City’s Brazilian Pepper Eradication Program. Through the program, island property owners are first given an opportunity to remove their pepper voluntarily.

“In coordination with the City of Sanibel’s island-wide Brazilian Pepper Eradication Program and the City’s waste hauler, Veolia, a free curbside pickup for Brazilian pepper debris is scheduled for February 16 and 17 for all properties in Zone 6. Zone 6 includes all properties between Rabbit Road and Jamaica Drive from the gulf to the bay and was designated by City Council as a voluntary removal zone in July 2010. All property owners within Zone 6 wishing to take advantage of this service should plan to have their pepper debris curbside the evening of February 15th prior to pick-up. Unbundled debris (i.e. no bags, string, etc.) should be cut to a reasonable size (less than 6 feet) and placed in organized piles at the curb. Debris should not be located directly under overhead utility lines. Remember, this service is for Brazilian pepper debris only. If other vegetative debris is mixed with pepper, waste management crews will not pick up the pile. This will not change your regularly scheduled pick-up of vegetative waste. This will be the FINAL free Brazilian pepper curbside pickup for Zone 6. Shortly thereafter, Natural Resources will be seeking City Council’s authorization to designate Brazilian pepper removal in Zone 6 as mandatory and will begin Code Enforcement action on all properties with Brazilian pepper remaining. We encourage all Zone 6 residents to act now to take immediate advantage of this cost saving incentive. To learn more about the City’s Brazilian Pepper Eradication Program or to obtain a list of licensed Brazilian pepper removal contractors, please click here or contact Holly Downing in the Natural Resources Department at (239) 472-3700.”

NAR’s Confidence Index Shows Upswing

Here is a positive article that was posted on Florida Realtors® this week. “The National Association of Realtors® conducts a monthly study on Realtors outlooks about the housing market, and the Realtors Confidence Index for single-family home sales in December increased to 31.6 from November’s 30.4. However, it increased 7.1 points in one year – since December 2010 – when it was 24.5. Overall, the Index has shown a slowly improving market outlook.

“The index for townhouses was 18.5 in December down slightly from November’s 18.7. A year earlier, however, it was 12.6. The index for condos also decreased to 14.3 from November’s 15.3, but one year earlier it was only 10.3.

“The index also measured Realtors’ outlooks by region. Overall, the West had the highest outlook at 35.0, but the South – which includes Florida – came in second at 33.3. One year earlier, the South’s index stood at 25.1.

“Overall, 55% of Realtors surveyed expect prices to rise over the next year, an increase from 50% only one month earlier; and 7% of Realtors expect prices to rise 5% or more compared to November’s 6%. On the flip side, 38% of Realtors expect prices to fall, but that’s less than the 43% who said the same thing one month earlier.

“In an analysis, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said 2012 kicks off with “a significant amount of good news. … Existing home sales in December were up from a year ago. Pending sales – that is, contract signings – were 5% ahead of a year ago. Housing inventory – the number of homes available for sale – has declined (both for existing and newly built homes). Housing affordability continues at record high levels.” Yun says that one major problem still hangs over the housing market, however: Many middle-class buyers have been shut out of the market because they cannot obtain a mortgage. “Loan qualifications have become so strict since 2009 that only borrowers with super-high credit scores and spotless credit history are able to obtain mortgages,” Yun says. According to one-third of the Realtors surveyed, access to credit was the most important factor limiting clients’ ability to buy a home.”

The Minimum Credit Score

In keeping with the above article, a local lender recently sent an e-mail to Realtors clarifying what their bank requires for a credit score for a home loan. It said: “The minimum credit score we require is a 640 for most of our programs where the loan amounts are under $417,000. Each applicant has 3 scores:  Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. We take the middle credit score of each borrower. Then borrower’s lower middle score is the score an underwriter uses to both underwrite and price a loan.”

Baby Boomers Geared Up To Move

Interesting statistics were posted in the below article that I read this morning on Florida Realtors®. I hope this means “Sanibel, here they come”.

 “Where will baby boomers go to retire? A new survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research for the Consumer Federation of the Southeast finds one in three could move out of their home state in search of low taxes, low housing costs, pleasant climates and quality health care. They also want diverse recreational activities, supportive senior services, arts and cultural opportunities, nearby beaches and access to education.

“The baby boom generation has 78 million members, and the first wave – those born in 1946 – reach the full age for Social Security retirement benefits this year. According to the survey, a full third of baby boomers are open to moving across state lines to find the assets they are looking for, including a mid-size town that welcomes a diverse population. “According to this survey, substantial numbers (of baby boomers) are interested in relocating in retirement,” says Walter Dartland, president of the Consumer Federation of the Southeast. “The decisions they make about where they will retire will have a huge impact not only on their families’ finances but on the communities to which they move.”

“Attracting even a small percentage of boomers can significantly impact a community. If just 0.3% move to a single area, it adds an estimated 1 billion per year in new economic income through jobs and new business. “This important survey, one of the most extensive of its kind in a decade, underscores the tremendous contribution that Americans aged 50 and older can offer to communities wherever they choose to live,” says Jeff Johnson, AARP Florida’s interim state director. “AARP Florida believes this research will help inform the efforts of many communities to better equip themselves to address issues important to a 50-plus population.””

Sanibel Real Estate Activity This Week

Our SanibelSusan listings had reasonable showing activity this week. We had a nice condo listing go under contract last weekend too. That makes five sales so far in 2012 for SanibelSusan. Not bad for five weeks into the year.

In the general condo market, Sanibel is not gaining much ground. There are 260 units for sale. This week, there were 5 new listings posted, 5 price reductions, 5 new sales, and 3 closed sales. At the current sale rate, that equates to nearly two years of inventory.

Sanibel homes continue to move a little better. With 7 new listings, 14 price reductions, 5 new sales, and 5 closed sales this week, inventory is dwindling a tad. About 15 months of inventory remain.

It was good to see some Sanibel lot activity this week too. There were 2 new sales and a price reduction this week. 103 lots remain on the market which is from two to five years work of inventory depending on how you look at it. That’s a tough market to predict.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity January 27 – February 3

5 new listings: White Caps South #2 1/1 $474.9K, Sunset South #6B 2/2 $499K, Tarpon Beach #308 2/2 $635K, Sundial #A408 2/2 $749K, Bougainvillea #4 3/3 $1.295M (house on condo grounds).
5 price changes: Blind Pass #E102 2/2 now $419.9K, Sunset South #9D 2/2 now $489K, Sandalfoot #3C3 2/2 now $519K, Snug Harbor #311 2/2 now $569K, Kimball Lodge #304 2/2 now $629K.
5 new sales: Seashells #20 2/2 listed for $349K (our listing), Donax Village #18 2/2 listed for $369K, Sanibel Moorings #321 2/2 listed for $415K, Loggerhead Cay #481 2/2 listed for $425K, Gulfside Place #116 3/3 listed for $1.895M.
3 closed sales: Sanibel Moorings #1512 2/2 $392.5K, Clam Shell #C 2/2 $685K, Gulfside Place #318 2/2 $892.5K.
7 new listings: 1120 Junonia St 3/2 $629K, 4775 Rue Helene 4/3 $729.9K, 5427 Osprey Ct 3/3.5 $1.272M, 1102 Harbour Cottage Ct 3/2 $1.429M, 2429 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 $1.495M, 1290 Bay Dr 3/2 $1.595M, 842 Limpet Dr 3/3.5 $1.795M.
14 price changes: 984 Sand Castle Rd 4/3.5 now $353K, 458 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 now $419K, 6467 Pine Ave 3/3 now $495K, 5740 SanCap Rd 2/2 now $499K, 731 Nerita St 3/2 now $519K, 9440 Begonia Ct 3/2 now $530K, 955 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2 now $595K, 1750 Dixie Beach Blvd 3/2.5 now $599K (short sale), 1233 Middle Gulf Dr 3/2 now $679.9K, 542 N Yachtsman Dr 2/2 now $749K (our listing), 9470 Balsa Ct 3/2 now $794K, 4041 Coquina Dr 3/3 now $949K, 228 Violet Dr 4/2/2 now $1.395M, 2118 Starfish Ln 4/5 now $1.994.9M.
5 new sales: 848 Rabbit Rd 3/2 listed for $295K (short sale), 1427 Sandpiper Cir 2/2 half-duplex listed for $339K, 994 Whelk Dr 2/2 listed for $589K, 1290 Par View Dr 4/2 listed for $649K, 244 Daniel Dr 3/3 listed for $799K.
6 closed sales: 766 Donax St 2/2 duplex $275K, 1800 Ardsley Way 3/2 $534.5K, 244 Christofer Ct 3/3 $575K, 450 Sea Walk Ct 4/3 $600K, 1538 Royal Poinciana Cir 3/3 $600K (short sale), 411 Lighthouse Way 4/3 $1.25M.
No new listings.
1 price change: 2988/2993 Wulfert Rd now $949K.
2 new sales: 847 Casa Ybel Rd listed for $164,555, 513 Sea Walk Ct listed for $325K.
No closed sales.
1 new listing: Bayside Villas #5210 1/2 $299K.
1 price change: Marina Villas #603 2/2 now $525K.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: Lands End Village #1651 2/2 $881.5K.
1 new listing: 11530 Paige Ct 4/4.5 $3.995M.
2 price changes: 14980 Binder Dr 3/3 now $1.465M, 1 Sunset Captiva 2/2.5 now $1.595M.
1 new sale: 941 South Seas Plantation Rd 3/3.5 listed for $4.995M.
2 closed sales: 11531 Andy Rosse Ln 4/4 $1.3M, 11522 Andy Rosse Ln 4/4.5 (foreclosure) $1.96M.
No new listings.
2 price changes: 11535 Murmond Ln now $649K, 15295 Captiva Dr now $649K.
No new or closed sales.

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.


Sending good Super Bowl wishes your way, SanibelSusan