Mid-August Real Estate Scoop About Sanibel & Captiva Islands

It’s the end of another week of wonderful weather on Sanibel. Here are a few news items, followed by the real estate activity posted this week in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.

Did You Know?

Here’s another terrific reason to be on Sanibel Island. These statistics really put things in perspective. The summer issue of the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village newsletter “Sanibel’s Village Voice” says: “Sanibel (17.5 sq. mi.) and Manhattan (22.96 sq. mi.) are close to the same size, yet Sanibel’s population is 6,469 and Manhattan’s is about 1.6 million.”

In other news about the Museum, coming soon to the Village are Shore Haven, a Sears kit home, and its caretaker cottage. They are hoping to welcome them to the Village in September.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Continuing Education

Our local association of Realtors®-sponsored 14-hour continuing education class was this week.  Since my license renewal is next winter, this off-season event was a great time to get these education requirements out-of-the-way early.

On Tues morning at o’dark-thirty, 17 of us boarded a Captiva Cruises vessel with Kristie Anders, Education Director of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF). In addition to getting a terrific boat ride around Captiva, North Captiva, and up/down Roosevelt Channel, Kristie updated us on recent island development from an environmental standpoint, building code changes, mangrove trimming, and preservation issues. As a daily commuter by boat from her home on North Captiva to Sanibel, Kristie has a keen eye for manatees and dolphins, so she spotted several for us to enjoy along the way.

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That morning education session wrapped up at Island Water with a tour of their facility, a presentation on the state of the reverse-osmosis plant, its history, water sources, statistics on how much water islanders use today, how to better conserve, and their plans for the future.

One of the first signs from J.N. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge. As the story goes, Ding himself was seen nailing one of these to a tree in the Refuge.

The afternoon session presented again by Kristie but at SCCF’s Education Center included statistics from the local Visitor and Convention bureau about current sources of county and island visitors, their vacation preferences, and time of year/length of stays. She also gave us her presentation “The City That Almost Wasn’t” which is a new one offered periodically at SCCF and describing how Sanibel came to be. (I post SCCF’s schedule each month on my website and blog, so check them out if you would like to attend this presentation too. It’s definitely a winner!)

2-day Loggerhead turtle with cord still attached where it connected to egg sac

To answer some questions from the floor, Kristie brought in local SCCF animal expert, Dee Serage Century who brought us up-to-day on the travels of the Sanibel Bear, a coyote family that now resides on Sanibel, the new female crocodile, and other tales of island wildlife coexisting with humans.

The last black indigo snake on Sanibel (per SCCF). Species is endangered in Florida.

We also received a tour of the live turtle exhibits, an up-close-and-personal visit with Sanibel’s only black indigo snake which is a protected species, and a chance to photograph a 2-day-old baby Loggerhead turtle. It is amazing how these tiny hatchlings, make it into the gulf, and survive to grow into such huge creatures.

Mangrove diamond-backed turtles

Kristie also updated Realtors® on state and local water quality issues, ongoing projects at the Marine Lab, and SCCF’s current land preservation projects. SCCF offers a free one-year membership to any new island property owner. Local Realtors® help SCCF in facilitating them.

The 2nd day of class covered Negotiations and Core Law. Though these are not usually fun subjects, our instructor, Mel King from the Royal Institute of Real Estate in Fort Myers, made it more enjoyable by including several case studies particularly suited to our island market and today’s real estate challenges. I think he was impressed that island Realtors® demonstrated strong business practices and ethics. (A true plus from working on a small barrier island!)

4 Strong Reasons to Buy a Home Now

An article posted this week in the “Daily Real Estate News” says:

“It’s hard to argue against buying a house now, assuming you can get a loan,” writes John Waggoner, a columnist with USA Today. Sure, Waggoner says that getting a credit check for approval of a mortgage can be a “only slightly less intrusive than a CIA background check,” but for those who are able to qualify, a lot of analysts say that now can be a good time to purchase a home.

1. The price is right. The median single-family home price hit its lowest in more than a decade when it reached $154,600 in January, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. That was the lowest since October 2001. During the height of the housing market in July 2006, the median home price for a single-family home was $230,900.

2. It’s cheaper to buy than rent. In nearly every major metro market, it is cheaper to buy a home than rent. Rents have been on the rise the last few years and are predicted to continue to rise. Meanwhile, home affordability is at record highs, which means that buying a home is more within reach to the median income family.

3. Inventories of for-sale homes are shrinking. Ned Davis Research estimates that excess inventories of homes to be eliminated by the end of next year. “When excess supply dries up, people start building more new houses, which has the virtuous effect of reducing the unemployment rate and increasing the economy generally,” according to the USA Today article.

4. Mortgage rates are at record lows. Mortgage rates have hovered near record lows for weeks which have helped push housing affordability higher. For example, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, which is the most popular among home buyers, is 3.59%, according to Freddie Mac—just above its record low set on July 26 of 3.49% average. “It’s conceivable that at some point in the next 30 years, your interest rate would be less than the rate of inflation,” writes Waggoner for USA Today.”

Sanibel Summer Dining

Last week, I mentioned a couple of new island restaurants. Today I noticed the first announcements of Sanibel restaurants closing for their annual vacations and pre-season spruce-ups. Trader’s Cafe & Store will be closing for seven weeks after dinner tomorrow (reopening Oct 3).

The Over Easy Cafe will be closed from Sept 10-20. Still plenty of time to in fit a few meals at The Over Easy before they take their break. Dog lovers particularly like the outdoor seating at The Over Easy where pets are welcome. Today I spotted an adorable Maltese enjoying the patio.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity August 10-17

4 new listings: Casa Blanca #6 1/1 $274.9K, Sanibel Moorings #1042 2/2 $449K, Sundial #G201 2/2 $539K (foreclosure), Sundial #L202 2/2 $695K.
6 price changes: Ibis at The Sanctuary #A202 2/2 now $348.9K, Sundial #J103 1/1 now $397K, Sundial #I203 1/1 now $439K, Cottage Colony West #101 1/1 now $498K, Island Beach Club #220B 2/2 now $529K, Shell Island Beach Club #5B 2/2 now $744K.
No new sales.
2 closed sales: Sand Pointe #212 2/2 $602K, Beachcomber #A101 2/2 $1.175M.

1 new listing: 1824 Woodring Rd 4/4 $1.175M.
2 price changes: 1001 Lindgren Blvd 3/2 now $634K, 6009 Clam Bayou Ln 4/3 now $877K.
4 new sales: 2134 Egret Cir 3/2 half-duplex listed for $369K, 613 Sea Oats Dr 2/2 listed for $375K, 963 Kings Crown Dr 3/3 listed for $795K, Plantation Village #103 4/3 listed for $1.29M.

1 closed sale: 3229 Twin Lakes Ln 2/2 $435K.

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.
1 closed sale: 2299 Starfish Ln $303.5K.

3 new listings: Bayside Villas #5144 1/2 $339.5K, Beach Villas #2433 $698.5K, Sunset Beach Villas #2238 3/3 $850K.
No price changes.
2 new sales: Tennis Villas #3120 1/1 listed for $215K, Bayside Villas #5228 1/2 listed for $299K.
No closed sales.

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.