Midway Thru June With Summer in Full Swing on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

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It has been another week of glorious weather on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. With one of our teammates vacationing at Pointe Santo with her family, we have heard some terrific reports about the children’s programs there, from movie night with pizza and popcorn to island-style arts and crafts projects. Their family has also enjoyed Bubble Room desserts (bet you did not know it was filmed this week for a segment on the Food Channel), golf at The Dunes, plus shelling and Segway adventures. They are having plenty of fun with sunny skies, beautiful sunsets, and temperatures in the low 90’s! The above photos are from our Pointe Santo archives! 

Florida Voters

Thousands of property owners stand to save millions of dollars collectively every year if enough voters approve Amendment 4 during the general election in Florida this November. Amendment 4 will provide much-needed property tax relief to non-homestead owners (commercial, vacation/second home and investors) and first-time buyers. The measure requires approval by 60% of voters. To learn more, visit www.floridataxpayersfirst.com.

International Sales Continue to Climb in U.S. Market

Florida Realtors® posted this article on Monday. It illustrates again why it is important to stay in the forefront with international buyers. SanibelSusan is one of only two Sanibel and Captiva Realtors® with the Transnational Referral Certified (TRC) designation and the only one with “platinum” standing or top-billing when a prospective buyer searches on-line at www.WorldProperties.com for a local Realtor® trained in working with international buyers.

“Due to low prices and the relative weakness of the dollar, international buyers continue to identify the U.S. as a desirable place to own property and make a profitable investment. According to the National Association of Realtors® 2012 Profile of International Home Buying Activity, total residential international sales in the U.S. for the past year ending March 2012 equaled $82.5 billion, up from $66.4 billion in 2011. Total international sales were evenly split between non-resident foreigners and recent immigrants. The survey asked Realtors® to report their international business activity within the U.S. for the 12 months ending March 2012.

““Today’s advantageous market conditions have drawn more and more foreign buyers to the U.S. in recent years, signaling how desirable and profitable owning property in this country can be,” said NAR President Moe Veissi, broker-owner of Veissi & Associates Inc. in Miami and 2002 President of Florida Realtors®. “Low housing prices, a good inventory condition and increased buying power with today’s exchange rates help attract international clients. Foreign buyers also have the advantage of working with a Realtor. Realtors who specialize in serving international clientele have a truly global perspective; they know what hurdles foreign buyers face when purchasing property in the U.S., and have the expertise and knowledge that comes from working with clients from different cultures and real estate practices.”

“International buyers bought homes throughout the country, but four states accounted for 51% of the purchases – Florida, California, Texas and Arizona. Florida has been the fastest growing destination of choice, accounting for 26% of foreign purchases. California was second with 11% and Texas and Arizona accounted for seven percent. Proximity to the home country, the presence of relatives and friends, the convenience of air transportation, and climate and location are all important considerations to prospective foreign buyers. Locations on the East Coast generally attract European buyers, while Asian buyers tend to purchase on the West Coast, particularly California.

“Florida attracts a diverse set of international buyers including South Americans, Europeans and Canadians. Meanwhile, Texas remains popular among Mexican buyers. Within markets in an individual state, it is not unusual to find concentrations of people grouped by nationality.

““Foreign buyers recognize that owning a home in the U.S. has many benefits, both financial and social,” said Veissi. “Many purchase property as an investment, vacation home or to diversify their portfolio. In addition, many recent immigrants view homeownership as an important accomplishment. They believe that being a homeowner is one of many ways they become established in the U.S. and attain stability, security and a sense of community.”

“International buyers came from all over the globe, but Canada, China (The People’s Republic of China including Hong Kong), Mexico, India and the United Kingdom accounted for 55% of all international transactions, according to the survey. Canada and China remain the fastest-growing home countries. Canada accounted for 24% of international sales while China accounted for 11%, up from nine percent in 2011. Mexico was third with eight percent of sales and India and the U.K. both accounted for six percent.

“Forty-five percent of international purchases were under $250,000. In addition, there appears to be a gradual increasing trend toward purchases in the $250,000 to $500,000 price range. In 2012, this range accounted for 30% of purchases, up from 28% in 2011. The average price paid by an international buyer was $400,000 compared to the overall U.S. average of $212,000.

“Several reasons account for why the average international home price is higher than the average overall price. The international client is typically wealthier than the domestic buyer and is looking for a property in a specialized niche, for example, a larger property suitable for multi-generational living or a property that establishes the individual’s presence and standing in the community. Many homes purchased by foreign buyers are used as a primary residence. Vacation and rental use are also major reasons for a purchase. More than half – 66% – of survey respondents reported international buyers purchased detached single-family homes. About half of international buyers, 52%, preferred to buy in a suburban area and about a quarter, 23%, bought in a central city/urban area.

“Sixty-two percent of international purchases were all cash, which has increased since 2007. International buyers still experience many financing challenges when purchasing a home in the U.S. In fact, among transactions that failed, Realtors reported that in 26% of the cases financing issues were the problem. The difficulties facing foreign buyers in trying to obtain a mortgage include lack of U.S.-based credit history and hurdles in meeting mortgage requirements. Other reasons for not purchasing properties were cost/taxes/insurance and immigration laws.

“Twenty-seven percent of Realtors reported having worked with international clients this year. Fifty-two percent of Realtors reported that international transactions accounted for one to 10% of their total transactions, while 27% reported that they made up more than 10% of total transactions. Realtor specialization on the buyer’s side of the market – such as foreign language capabilities, cultural affinity or orientation with the prospective purchaser and experience in explaining the U.S. real estate – appear to be important in working with foreign buyers.”

Why Do Lenders Require More Documentation Than Before?

In an e-blast from a local lender, the following was offered as explanation for the need for so much documentation when securing a bank mortgage today:

“So often, clients complain about the amount of documentation that banks are requiring today when a borrower applies for a home mortgage.

“Explanation:  Banks obtain most of the money they lend from the agencies known as “Fannie Mae” or “Freddie Mac”.  After the loan closes, the loan is packaged up and sold to the investor (Fannie or Freddie). These investors have checklists of documents that MUST be in the loan package when it is delivered to them.  Buyers should be advised that banks now require much more documentation than ever before, because these investors require it. This extra documentation adds time to loan processing too. Conventional loans need a minimum of 30 days, usually longer.”

The article also included the following information tips:

“1.   All files are documented equally.  It doesn’t matter if a buyer is putting down 5% or 50%, the same documentation is required from each borrower.

2.   All unusual or large deposits must be documented and sourced.

3.   Verbal verifications of employment are conducted on all loans 48 hours prior to closing.

4.   Tax transcripts requested by a lender from the IRS are required in all files and must be received from the IRS before a loan is underwritten.

5.  Appraisals and purchase contracts are checked for accuracy.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity June 8-15:

3 new listings: Sanctuary Golf Villages #2 3/3 $599K, Pointe Santo #C43 3/2 $949K, Pointe Santo #A2 2/2 $982K.
2 price changes: Loggerhead Cay #232 2/2 now $547.5K, Kimball Lodge #304 2/2 now 599K.
No new sales.
4 closed sales: Sundial #B207 1/1 $269K, Sandpebble #4E 2/2 $340K, Snug Harbor #311 2/2 $439K, Junonia #202 2/2 $775K.  
1 new listing: 3968 Coquina Dr 3/2 $749K.
6 price changes: 613 Sea Oats Dr 2/2 now $375K, 1390 Middle Gulf Dr 3/3 now $485K, 1271 SandCastle Rd 3/2.5 now $589K, 5820 Pine Tree Dr 2/2 now $649.9K, 1339 Par View Dr 3/2 $651.5K, 780 Birdie View Dr 5/4.5 now $1.899M.
4 new sales: 1001 East Gulf Dr 2/2 listed for $399K, 701 Nerita St 3/2 listed for $519K, 1274 Par View Dr 3/3 listed for $644K, 2964 Wulfert Rd 5/5.5 listed for $2.464M (short sale).
4 closed sales: 533 Rabbit Rd 3/2 $415K, 335 East Gulf Dr 3/2 $759,050, 5864 Pine Tree Dr 3/3.5 $805K, 3401 West Gulf Dr 4/4.5 $4.1M.
Nothing to report.
No new listings.
1 price change: Bayside Villas:  #5134 1/2 now $274.5K.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: Bayside Villas #5338 3/3 $557.5K.HOMES
Nothing to report.

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.

Happy Fathers’ Day & happy weekend to all.