Real Estate Inventory & What’s Happening Now on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

We are seeing more and more traffic on Periwinkle Way every day – even had an all-stop in front of SanibelSusan Realty Associates for a few minutes late afternoon a couple of times this week, either signs that “season” is coming or that the local ibis and turtles are road-walking again. 

I showed a few condos on Monday (including at Tennisplace, their canalside dockage shown above). The complexes we viewed did not appear to have many occupants. We probably will see those condos start to fill up as we get closer to the holidays. The prospective buyers have visited here for many years on vacation and found me as a referral from a local condo manager. Love it when that happens.

Here are a few island news items followed by the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service activity over the past week.

Sanibel Real Estate Inventory

Photo by Jim Anderson, JMA Photography

Island inventory remains low and many Realtors® are out beating the bushes for good listings. Here’s an update of availability today, compared to sales to-date, and last year totals. (Note: DOM = days on market)

SANIBEL          Condos                       Homes                           Lots                         

                         # /Avg Price/DOM        # /Avg Price/DOM         # /Avg Price/DOM

Available            169/$633,530/452       186/$1,257,747/397       88/$621,659/830

Under contract       6/$309,317/660         17/$869,965/381           3/$315,967/124

Sold & closed:

  2012 to 10/18  134/$566,057/407        151/$782,914/285          28/$401,582/568

  2011                142/$591,861/325        179/$826,130/369          19/$363,729/491

3.8% Tax: What’s True, What’s Not

Rumors about the 3.8% Medicare tax continue to circulate. Here’s the definitive word on what’s true and what’s not on how the tax impacts real estate. It is from the October issue of the “Realtor®Mag by Robert Freedman:

“Ever since health care reform was enacted into law more than two years ago, rumors have been circulating on the Internet and in e-mails that the law contains a 3.8% tax on real estate. The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) quickly released material to show that the tax doesn’t target real estate and will in fact affect very few home sales, because it’s a tax that will only affect high-income households that realize a substantial gain on an asset sale, including on a home sale, once other factors are taken into account. Maybe 2-3% of home sellers will be affected.

“Nevertheless, the rumors persist and the latest version that’s circulating falsely say NAR is advocating for the tax’s repeal. But while NAR doesn’t support the tax (it was added into the health care law at the last minute and never considered in hearings), it’s not advocating for its repeal at this time.

The characterization of the 3.8% tax as a tax on real estate is an example of an Internet rumor, says Heather Elias, NAR’s director of social business media. Elias and Linda Goold, NAR’s director of tax policy, sat down for a discussion of how the tax works and how Internet rumors work and you can find their remarks in a 6-minute video (The 3.8% Tax Is Not a Real Estate Transfer Tax). (

“Goold says the tax will affect few home sellers because so many different pieces must fall into place a certain way for the tax to apply. First, any home sale gain must be more than the $250,000-$500,000 capital gains exclusion that’s in effect today. That’s gain, not sales amount, so you really have to reap a substantial amount for the tax to even come into play. Very few people are walking away with a gain of more than half a million dollars today, even in the high-end home market, so right off the bat only a few home sellers would be a candidate for the tax.

“For the few households that do see a gain of more than the $250,000-$500,000 exclusion (that’s $250,000 for single filers and $500,000 for joint filers), only the amount above the exclusion would be factored into the tax calculation, and that would still only apply to high-income households, which the law defines as single people earning $200,000 a year and joint filers earning $250,000 a year.

“So, if you are a household with annual income of $250,000 or more and you earn a gain of more than $500,000 on your house (again, that’s after the $500,000 exclusion), any amount of gain above the exclusion would be plugged into a formula to see if it’s taxable. If it turns out that it’s taxable, then the amount could be subject to the 3.8% tax. If the household had a gain of more than $500,000 but only earned $249,000 a year in income, the tax wouldn’t apply.

“(Note that these are just hypothetical examples. To know if a case would really be subject to the tax, a professional tax preparer or tax attorney has to look at all the particulars of the tax filer’s case. Only a tax professional is in a position to say the tax is applicable, but the examples cited here could help you get a sense of how the tax works.)

“The other thing about the tax worth noting is that, although it takes effect in 2013, any impact on taxes wouldn’t happen until 2014. That’s because the tax filer would do the calculation in 2014 for the 2013 tax year. Because it’s not a tax on a real estate sale but rather on a capital gain, it’s not calculated at the time of an asset sale, whether that asset is a house or something else. It’s calculated at the time the filer figures his or her tax.

“This is all explained clearly in the video, so if you have questions about how the tax works, or if you’re still hearing rumors about the tax and you’re not certain of the accuracy of what you’re hearing, the video should prove helpful.”

Stone Crab Season Is Here

Florida’s recreational and commercial stone crab claw harvest season officially opened this week (October 15) in state and federal waters. It’s always a treat to see them again on restaurant menus.

To be harvested, the claws must be at least 2-3/4″ in length. The season will be open through May 15, 2013. If you want to try harvesting yourself, see more info online at (click on “Saltwater”).

Florida Realtors® Supports the Following Amendments

I know that it makes good business sense to stay out of the political fray, but there are several amendments on the Florida ballot this year that relate to real estate. Florida Realtors® supports the following amendments and hopes you vote “yes” on November 6 

  • Amendment 2 – would expand property tax exemptions to all combat-disabled veterans living in the state, not just disabled veterans who lived in Florida prior to military service.
  • Amendment 3 – would establish a new state revenue limit based on inflation and population changes.
  • Amendment 4 – would strengthen Florida’s economy, create new jobs and boost the housing market recovery. This three-pronged amendment: would provide a way to stop recapture, bringing relief to thousands of Floridians who have experienced a dramatic decline in their property values while suffering from a steady increase in their property-tax bills; would lower the maximum valuation increase on non-homestead property from an alarming 10% to a more sensible 5% which would bring predictability to small business and allow more investment in local economies; and would boost Florida’s housing market by creating an additional homestead exemption for first-time homebuyers which would bring more qualified buyers off the sidelines and lower the number of deteriorating foreclosed homes that are holding housing values down.
  • Amendment 9 – would authorize the Legislature to totally or partially exempt surviving spouses of military veterans or first responders who died in the line of duty from paying property taxes.
  • Amendment 10 – would provide an exemption from ad valorem taxes levied by local governments on tangible personal property with a value greater than $25,000 but less than $50,000.
  • Amendment 11 – would authorize counties and municipalities to offer additional tax exemptions on homes of low-income seniors.

So, if you are a Florida voter, please remember “yes” on 2-3-4 and 9-10-11.

Island Events

10/21 – 27th BaileyFest, the annual gathering of islanders and visitors celebrating community spirit is this Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. at Bailey’s Shopping Center. I’ll be singing with the BIG ARTS Chorus opening the event and again performing 1:30 to 2 p.m. after the Kellyn Celtic Arts Irish Dance Academy.

Other entertainment includes the Country Rhythm Cloggers, Frank Torino who is Frank Sinatra & Tom Jones-style singer, The Sanibel School cheerleaders, The Sanibel School Band, and the popular local rock band, The Troubleshooters.

10/26 – Howl-O-Ween Party, Island Paws in the Olde Sanibel Shoppes is having its annual pet costume party next Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. on the patio at its sister business, the near by Over Easy Cafe.

Even if you don’t have a pet to enter, this event is fun to watch. Puptails and yappetizers will be service.

Judging is at 6:30 p.m. with prizes awarded to the winning pets in costumes. Each $10 admission donation goes to Lee County Domestic Animal Services.

10/31 – Fall Family Carnival, which began in 2001 as a way for local children to have a safe Halloween, will be indoors at The Community House on Wednesday Halloween night from 5 until 7 p.m. with candy, games, crafts, dining at family-friendly prices, and a free hay ride donated by Billy’s Bike Rentals. Costumes encouraged and prizes will be awarded. Get more info at

11/3 – 19th Annual Esperanza Woodring Memorial Castnet Rodeo, is two weeks away on Saturday at The Bait Box, 1041 Periwinkle Way. A photo from a previous event is shown above. This fun family event has free lessons and demonstrations from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Youth competition begins at 10:30 (contestants must be under age 16) with divisions determined by age/size and prizes awarded to all entrants.

A New Boom by 2015?

An article this week in “Daily Real Estate News” citing “CNNMoney” as it source says:

“The housing market has been showing several signs of recovery, including home prices and home sales on the rise, new construction up, foreclosures falling, and mortgage rates near record lows. Some economists are getting very bullish about the housing recovery and even predicting that the market will return to its “boom” level days in just three years.

“In a recent report, Barclays Capital predicts that home prices could be back to peak levels by 2015. Barclays is predicting home prices to rise 5% to 7.5% a year. “In our view, the housing market had undergone a dramatic over-correction during the prior five years, resulting in pent-up demand for housing purchases that would spark a rapid rise in housing starts,” says Stephen Kim, an analyst with Barclays.

“Home construction is also expected to soar, rising 20% or more a year for the next year, according to some economists’ forecasts. The new-home market could return to its pre-bubble average of about 1.5 million new homes a year by 2016, CNNMoney reports. That would double the construction level expected this year.  “That turn in the [housing] market is occurring now and it should become a boom by 2015,” Roger Altman, chairman of Evercore Partners and former deputy Treasury secretary, told CNNMoney.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity October 12-19 

4 new listings: Sundial #J207 2/2 $549K, Pine Cove #1A 2/2 $799.9K, White Pelican #111 2/2 $1.045M, Tanglewood #1A 3/2 $1.179M.
1 price change: Pointe Santo #A21 2/2 now $749K.
3 new sales: Blind Pass #D205 2/2 listed for $315K (short sale), Sandpiper Beach #303 2/2 listed for $599K, Pelicans Roost #104 2/2 listed for $649K.
2 closed sales:  Loggerhead Cay #232 2/2 $450K, Sundial #H306 2/2 $459K.

1 new listing:  1599 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex $425K.
4 price changes:  5841 Pine Tree Dr 3/2 now $479.9K, 4570 Bowen Bayou Rd 2/2 now $675K, 6138 Castaways Ln 3/2.5 now $699K, 6211 Starling Way 4/4.5 now $2.295M.
1 new sales: 490/460 Old Trail Rd 3/2 listed for $390K (short sale).
5 closed sales:  531 Piedmont Rd 2/2 $305K, 1647 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex $315K, 1603 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 half-duplex $365K, 9454 Calla Ct 3/2 $565K, 982 Whelk Dr 3/2 $690K.  

1 new listing: 5321 Punta Caloosa Ct $420K.
No price changes or new sales.
1 closed sale: 1114 Seagrape Ln $370K.

2 new listings: Tennis Villas #3137 2/2 $399K, Bayside Villas #5342 3/3 $629K.
1 price change: Marina Villas #603 2/2 now $515K.
No new or closed sales

No new listings.
3 price changes: 14980 Binder Dr 3/3 now $1.465M, 11517 Wightman Ln 4/3 now $1.745M, 15891 Captiva Dr 5/4 now $2.795M.
1 new sale: 17061 Captiva Dr 4/3.5 listed for $1.75M.
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.