Last night was the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® annual fundraising event which for years was called “The Over-the-Hump” Party”. This year the name has been changed since the old name reflects that “season” is over, and we prefer to think that our business continues right through the year. The event includes a golf tournament plus silent and live auctions, all to benefit RPAC, the Realtors® Political Action Committee.
Before coming to the islands, as a long-time resident of Northern Virginia and daily visitor to the nation’s capital, I was not a fan of PAC’s. It was during one of my first years on Sanibel as a Realtor®, more than 20 years ago, that I learned that without the support of RPAC funds many important homeownership issues that protect consumers would not be what they are today. Since 1969, RPAC has successfully help advance the interests of property owners, including many issues here on Sanibel, like beach renourishment, build-back and redevelopment. Now, I am a true believer and one of the islands biggest RPAC supporters.
Dave and Lisa contributed to the event through the golf scramble, while my donation of my famous homemade carrot cake plus six months of SanibelSusan desserts was purchased for the outrageous sum of $550. We still await the final tally, but once again the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® hopes to secure the top state fundraising position for a small board. We proudly have held that record for several years.
‘Tween Waters Inn Joins National Register of Historic Places
‘Tween Waters Inn on Captiva Island commemorated its historic designation at the resort last Sunday. The resort was officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places on December 15, 2011. The resort’s unique, rich history and dedication to preserving Florida’s cultural resources helped it earn this designation. ‘Tween Waters Inn was established by F. Bowman and Grace B. Price in 1931. The inn began with a single building and expanded over the next 30 years with more cottages and other buildings. They built the remote tourist facility with its small cottages and restaurant into a social center and favorite winter resort of wealthy northerners.
Other historic landmarks within the resort include the Old Captiva House – the fine dining restaurant first built as a one-room school for children of Captiva’s pioneer settlers. Known to have inspired artists, authors and countless others with its beach-to-bay exposure and award-winning sunsets, the resort features modern facilities, plus historically preserved, but luxurious and contemporary cottages, some named after its famous guests.
Well-known guest J.N. “Ding” Darling, conservationist and renowned editorial cartoonist for which he won two Pulitzer Prizes in 1924 and 1943, drew cartoons and wrote a book at ‘Tween Waters Inn. Some of his work lines the walls at the Old Captiva House today. Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of famed aviator Charles Lindbergh, also drew inspiration for her bestselling book “Gift from the Sea” (1955) during her time on Captiva.
The SanibelSusan Team congratulate our friend, Tony Lapi, President of ‘Tween Waters Inn and Chairman of VISIT Florida (and his wife, our Realtor® colleague, Angie) for gaining this historic designation. The Florida state historical marker is at the middle entrance to the resort, in front of the Old Captiva House restaurant.
County to Pay for Blind Pass Dredging Project
Posted in the “Island Sun” today, an article says “The Lee County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the maintenance dredging of Blind Pass at their May 1 meeting…. Lee County is funding the entire project. Equipment will begin to appear around the Blind Pass area by the end of this week and county officials have said the contractor will begin pumping sand the first week in June. Work should be completed by the end of August.” Good news for those west-end property owners!
Florida Realtors® President in Spain With the Governor
“Florida Realtors® President Summer Greene is in Spain this week as part of a business mission by Governor Rick Scott. “It is vital to our future to encourage business investment and diversification,” said Greene, the regional manager of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Florida 1st in Fort Lauderdale. “Development missions like this one offer a prime opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of establishing a business — and home — in Florida.” Scott is leading a 60-member delegation of Florida business executives for a five-day trip across Spain.”
Since I am also Summer’s Facebook friend, I have enjoyed her postings from abroad. On Tuesday, she said: “This is an amazing experience. Interesting to see Spain now is where we were a few years ago. They just announced the takeover and bailout of their biggest bank – Bankia. Just met with some industry folks talking about how long it took…(and is still taking) to get banks on board with short sales etc. By the way, they have 25% unemployment – although Madrid does not seem as affected. Also, almost 400 Spanish companies have operations in Florida! Did you know I-595 is being built out by a Spanish company?”
NAR President Kicks-off 5-Year Flood Insurance Coalition Push
NAR’s e-Newsletter update this week posted the following: “As part of an historic “Flood the Hill” coalition of real estate, construction, financial services, insurance, consumer, taxpayer and environmental groups, the National Association of Realtors® stepped up pressure on Congress to pass the 5-year Flood Insurance Reauthorization Bill. On May 9, NAR President (& our friend from Miami) Moe Veissi testified before Congress. That same day President Veissi co-wrote an Op-Ed which ran in Capitol Hill’s major publication Roll Call. NAR simultaneously ran ads, co-sponsored by nearly 20 coalition partners, in all the Hill newspapers. The Coalition also recently wrote Senate leaders calling on them to bring up the bill for floor consideration.”
Flood Insurance Moves in Congress
“The good news: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said his chamber would consider a five-year extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) similar to one already approved by the U.S. House.
“The bad news: It won’t happen by the program’s current deadline, May 31, 2012. Reid has suggested Congress approve another short-term extension of 60 days to give lawmakers time to fully consider the longer-term solution.
“The long-term package seems to have bipartisan support and would include terms to make it more financially stable, such as gradually increasing flood insurance premiums. “It is “critical that we do something on flood insurance,” Reid said. “We need to get something done on a more permanent basis.””
Amen to that. Many Realtors®, including SanibelSusan, are in favor of a broader program than just flood insurance. What about disaster insurance? And what about coverage in states that had floods last year that are not in typical flood zones, like Vermont and North Dakota? A positive move for both the consumer and the provider would be to make the flood insurance pool larger, perhaps by making the coverage more expansive in both type of disaster and coverage area.
Citizens’ Hurricane Mitigation Inspections Pick Up
“Florida’s state-backed property insurer, Citizens Property Insurance Corp., is taking a second look at wind mitigation incentives put in place a decade ago, part of its effort to raise premiums to match its risk. For many of its customers, that means higher rates.
“Citizens plans to take a look at 209,000 residential policies by the end of the year to see if the homeowners’ current wind mitigation credits are deserved. As of April 30, Citizens inspectors had completed 180,503 residential inspections, and almost 71% of homes saw a premium increase because they didn’t have the necessary hurricane mitigation measures in place.
“By nixing the discounts associated with mitigation efforts, Citizens has increased its premium income so far by $107 million. Individual homeowners’ without the claimed mitigation elements saw their premiums jump an average $600 per year, or 23%. In a few cases – 7.5% – inspectors discovered that a homeowner had unclaimed hurricane mitigation components. Those homeowners received a credit, reducing Citizens income by about $4.4 million.
“The hurricane mitigation incentives that net a discount include things such as tie downs, shutters and other upgrades. They were offered starting in 2002 in an attempt to lower risk for the state-backed pool, which now handles nearly 1.5 million policies. The wind mitigation program has come under fire from industry groups and the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, who have said the program eroded the company’s premium base while not significantly reducing its exposure, especially after credits were dramatically increased in 2007.
“Private insurers have also given mitigation credits to homeowners, but a 2010 study by the Department of Financial Services found that, despite good intentions, the programs cost companies money in lost premiums while only modestly decreasing potential losses.
“Last year, lawmakers passed and Gov. Rick Scott signed SB 408, which struck some language relating to mitigation credits and gave insurers more flexibility in establishing rates and applying discounts. As a result, Citizens officials ordered re-inspections of homes that claim more than $650 in credits.
“Robin Westcott, Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate, said she understands Citizens’ objective to get accurate information on proper wind mitigation credits, but she’s worried homeowners may not always be ready with proper documentation on their mitigation efforts and may unnecessarily lose out on benefits. She said Citizens could do a better job of letting homeowners know what inspectors are looking for. “In some cases, you are looking at pretty hefty increases,” Westcott said. “That is really a big part of our concern.””
Florida’s Housing Market Continues Positive Signs in April 2012
More good news posted this week by Florida Realtors®: “Florida’s housing market had increased pending sales and higher median prices in April, along with a greatly reduced inventory of homes and condos for sale, according to Florida Realtors® latest housing data.
“Here in Florida, we’re seeing some strong numbers that show positive momentum for the state’s housing recovery and our economy,” said 2012 Florida Realtors® President Summer Greene. “Home prices continue to rise in many markets. Inventory is down to extremely low levels while pending sales are on the rise – almost 38% for single-family homes and 25% for townhouses and condos. It is not unusual to see multiple offers. Now the challenge will be for appraisals to catch up. Overall, we are very happy to see the market move in this direction and expect this trend to continue.”
“Pending sales refer to contracts that are signed but not yet completed or closed; closed sales typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.
“The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in April was $144,350, up 10.2% from the year-ago figure, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department, and vendor partner 10K Research and Marketing. The statewide median for townhome-condo properties was $108,000, up 16.1% over April 2011.
“The national median sales price for existing single-family homes in March 2012 was $163,600, up 1.9% from the previous year, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in March was $291,080; in Massachusetts, it was $267,500; in Maryland, it was $225,601; and in New York, it was $215,000.
“The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less. Housing industry analysts note that sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties continue to downwardly distort the median price because they generally sell at a discount relative to traditional homes.
“Statewide sales of existing single-family homes totaled 17,544 in April, down slightly, 0.7%, compared to the year-ago figure. Looking at Florida’s year-to-year comparison for sales of townhomes/condos, a total of 9,765 units sold statewide last month, down 4.9% from those sold in April 2011. NAR reported the national median existing condo price in March 2012 was $165,200.
“In April, there was a 5.8-month supply of single-family homes in inventory and a 5.7-month supply for townhomes/condos, according to Florida Realtors.
““The housing numbers for the state of Florida continue to signal recovery,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “Sales in 2012 are above where they were in 2011, a harbinger of a third straight year of improvement. More importantly, pending sales are up dramatically, and inventory is still falling. Financing constraints still mean that a significant percentage of these will not lead to closed sales, but with the numbers up, we are confident that closed sales will continue to rise.
““The increase in both median and average prices suggests that investors are having a strong impact on the market, soaking up lower priced inventory and causing buyers to move up the price ladder.”
“The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.91% in April 2012, down from the 4.84% average during the same month a year earlier, according to Freddie Mac.
“To see the full statewide housing activity report, go to Florida Realtors website at http://www.floridarealtors.org, and click on the Research page; then look under Latest Housing Data, Statewide Residential Activity and get the April report. Or go to Florida Realtors Media Center at http://media.floridarealtors.org/ and download the April 2012 data report PDF under Market Data at: http://media.floridarealtors.org/market-data.”
Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity May 18-25:
1 new listing: Sundial #S404 3/2 $755K.
5 price changes: Colonnades #9 1/1 now $147.9K; Colonnades #12 1/1 now $149,995; Sundial #C206 1/1 now $297K; Sea Pines #D 3/3 now $449K; Heron at The Sanctuary #3B 2/2.5 now $599K.
5 new sales: Blind Pass #D205 2/2 listed for $263.4K (short sale), Tennisplace #C31 2/1.5 listed for $279K, Sandpebble #4E 2/2 listed for $369K, Cyprina Beach #9 3/2.5 listed for $599K, Oceans Reach #2D2 2/2 listed for $749K.
4 closed sales: Tennisplace #C36 2/1 $250K, Lighthouse Point #332 2/2 $440K (our listing), Sandalfoot #1C2 2/2 $575K, Sundial #T404 2/2 $589K.
4 new listings: 1000 Greenwood Ct 3/2.5 half-duplex $347.5K, 2991 Singing Wind 3/2 $398.9K, 1787 Serenity Ln 3/2 $595K, 450 Leather Fern Pl 3/2 $675K.
5 price changes: 2130 Sunset Cir 3/2 now $519K, 585 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 now $575K, 1339 Par View Dr 3/2 now $655.5K, 1233 Middle Gulf Dr 3/2 now $699.9K, 1950 Woodring Rd 4/3.5 now $2.895M.
3 new sales: 1415 Sandpiper Cir 2/2 half-duplex listed for $329K, 955 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2 listed for $559K, 4791 Rue Helene 3/2 listed for $599,995.
1 closed sale: 1731 Venus Dr 3/3 $930K.
No new listings or price changes.
1 new sale: 637 Sea Oats Dr listed for $299K.
No closed sales.
No new listings.
1 price change: Bayside Villas #5308 3/3 now $579K.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: Beach Homes #13 3/3 $2.285M.
No new listings.
4 price changes: 11461 Dickey Ln 3/2 now $1.199M, 16849 Captiva Dr 7/7 now $2.195M, 11530 Paige Ct 4/4.5 now $3.495M, 16251 Captiva Dr 4/5.5 now $3.599M.
2 new sales: 11523 Wightman Ln 4/4 listed for $1.565M, 16310 Captiva Dr 4/5.5 listed for $4.5M.
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.