Sanibel & Captiva Real Estate – All Decked Out for the Holidays

Luminary SantaThe islands are in full holiday mode. With successful luminaries last weekend, the palm trees are decorated and local businesses are ready for the added traffic from the visitors and families who will spend Christmas and New Years here. Heaviest check-ins are expected on the 22nd.

A few of our listings were shown this week and our Realtor Caravan meeting yesterday (held at The Sanctuary Clubhouse) reported a handful of sales.

Dave and I were out showing homes today to some visitors from Vermont! They loved the weather here today – 79 degrees and sunny this afternoon, while we were out and about.

The Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service activity for the last seven day is posted below, after a few real estate-related items.

2013: A Continued Year for Real Estate Growth

FLRealtors_newlogoOn Wednesday, Florida Realtors® hosted its second economic summit which I attended. The four speakers were Leslie Appleton-Young, California Association of Realtors® chief economist; Doug Duncan of Fannie Mae; Pat Reass, a Realtor member who specializes in appraisals; and John Tuccillo, Florida Realtors® chief economist. I took a few notes so here are some items that I found interesting. Some may be out of context, but are good reminders nonetheless of today’s real estate situation.

  • More people nationally now can buy median priced homes than ever.
  • Nationally the real estate market bottomed in mid-2010 with the home-buyers tax credits.
  • In the west, there currently is less than a 2-week supply of REO properties (A REO is a property that goes back to the mortgage company after an unsuccessful foreclosure auction.)
  • The credit freeze impacted 2008.
  • In CA, the percentages of properties in the three markets discussed nationally have shifted. Traditional non-distressed equity sales are 76% of the market. REO’s are 12%. Short sales are 12%. (A short sale is a sale in which the proceed from selling the property will fall short of the balance of debts secured by liens against the property, and the property owner cannot afford to repay the lien’s full amounts, and whereby the lien holders agree to release their lien on the real estate and accept less than the amount owed on the debt.) Last year the split included 60% REO’s. That’s a huge change.
  • Looking at the price trends from 1970 to today in CA and nationally, they are both back on the “up” trend.
  • (MY FAVORITE:) “Homeowner without equity is not a homeowner.”
  • Like FL, in CA the higher priced properties are moving again.
  • (ANOTHER GOOD QUOTE:) “We can’t again reach the 2005 prices (which were created by the credit situation) for another decade!”
  • The numbers of CA underwater properties are down but there are still 29% underwater, compared to 35% in 2009. Since some areas are seeing appreciation, these numbers should change as time goes on.
  • There is only a 5.4-month supply of inventory for sale nationally. The long-term trend in a balanced market is 6-7-month supply.
  • In CA, 43% of the REO buyers are cash. Multiple offers are up from 25% to 35% in CA. In all ways, there is overall strength in the CA market. Heavy numbers of CA investors now buy to rent versus flip.
  • In 2013, a 9% increase in CA sales is expected, but the long-term viability of the real estate market is based on jobs, which will probably increase slowly. The fundamentals are attractive – there is no way to go but up (I sure hope that is right.)
  • There is a pent-up demand for housing. The number of new units being built is too low for this pent-up demand.
  • Real estate today has a fractional mindset. It’s a bipolar market. (Love that one)
  • Nationally the number of Realtors® has gone from 1.4 million to 1 million. (Probably a good shake out)
  • CA lost 60,000 Realtor® members in the last few years. Probably would have lost more if other jobs had been available.
  • Nationally and in CA dollar volume is improving.
  • In Florida, there are a few wild cards for 2013, but over all 2012 will be better than 2011, and 2013 should be better than 2012.
  • Florida saw a 40-45% drop in single-family home prices in the first recession. The end of 2008 was the real bottom.
  • Since beginning 2009, Florida has seen regrouping and recovery. All pressures are on prices moving upward.
  • The upward price trend line was broken through in 2005/2006 and broken the other way in 2008/2009. These actual changes in values were missed by most but not by many investors.
  • Florida has seen a huge jump in cash investors. A lot are from foreign countries, with the price change differential being a double bonus for some – as much as 36% or better for Brazilian buyers.
  • Florida investors scarfed up most of the low-end inventory. For many, there was a ready-made rental demand and in some cases people haven’t even moved (those underwater).
  • Beginning in 2009 the FL market was ripe. Now the lowest price range is in lowest supply.
  • Today in FL there are a lot of distressed properties and there are going to be a lot more, though the market overall is abating and stable.
  • The last few years caused a lot of confusion to both lenders and real estate professionals. In three years, both have learned a lot.
  • Over 50% of FL sales are now traditional sales. REO’s and short sales have changed positions. Banks have figured out that a 2-year-plus foreclosure process costs them more than the short sale process, so short sales have become more prevalent that foreclosures and REO’s.
  • In FL average price trends are starting to go up.
  • FL shadow inventory peaked in 2009, though we currently have 40% of the national in FL. Trend of this shadow inventory down is very very slow and there is no guarantee of that. It used to be a real market threat, not so much now that it can be handled.
  • In 2013 where will FL be? Even slow job growth will help commercial growth. FL Realtors® chief economist thinks only 5% grown can be expected, though some other economists say 10%.
  • Market growth will push inventory up, i.e., those barely underwater will go to the positive side.
  • A big issue remains, that homeowners can stay in their property for up to two years without paying their mortgage before they get pitched out. That process needs to change.
  • Lack of financing opportunities due to changes in borrower qualifications is now a problem, especially for first time buyers/those just out of college.
  • Failure to deal with recession issues is the biggest factor in housing recovery.
  • Realtors® were all called to action again this week, concerning the mortgage interest deduction.

Sundial Approved Spa, Wedding Facilities

Sundial Resort was in the news a couple of times this week.

On Tues night NBC-2 posted “For the first time in decades, some Sanibel resorts are getting a facelift. City leaders are tweaking rules that have been in place since the 1970’s to make it easier for property owners to update amenities. During their latest trip to Sanibel, Sue Deuber and her sister, Cathy, reflect on years of memories.” The shells… at that point, you could reach over and pick up huge shells of any kind,” Sue Deuber said. The island’s natural beauty continues to draw the family back. “There must be an anxiety for the people who live here that you don’t want to change what’s been a good place,” said Cathy Deuber Bengson.

“But some argue a little change will boost tourism. “People love this island and people love coming here, but the accommodations island-wide have really deteriorated over the last 20 or 30 years,” said Steve Hatfield of the Sanibel Island Inn. Hatfield says thanks to recently relaxed codes, the 117-year-old inn is getting much-needed work. “[The work gives] our accommodations the modern comforts of the modern age,” Hatfield said.

Sundial stairs

Sundial bar    sundial dining 2

Sundial pool 

“This month, the Sundial resort became the second island property to undergo renovation when they kicked off a two year project that will cost nearly $5 million. (Artists rendings are shown above.) City planning director Jim Jordan says renovations will help businesses who compete with other Southwest Florida destinations to attract visitors. “It also sets the initiative for the other properties to come in and improve their sites as well,” Jordan said.

“The lack of development draws Deuber back. But she doesn’t mind the fixing-up, so long as the island’s resources stay preserved. “Balancing the tourism and the welcoming with the appreciation of the natural system,” she said.

Also on Tues, the Sanibel Planning Commission approved an application by the new owners of Sundial Beach and Golf Resort for a permit to establish a spa treatment and wedding preparation facility.

Restaurant Rumblings

The Sanibel rumor mill has been rampant the last few days with possible changes of interest to the foodies. Several work vehicles have been parked outside both the former Stone Crab Restaurant on West Gulf Drive and the new Windjammer Restaurant on Periwinkle Way this week making the locals think that both of those establishments are opening soon under new ownership. I also heard yesterday that the restaurant at the Holiday Inn is opening soon with a new name and chef.

Luc Century & his new glass etchings at Il Cielo

Luc Century & his new glass etchings at Il Cielo

Sanibel’s five-star restaurant, Il Cielo, reopened yesterday featuring new eclectic menu items and interior upgrades. Here’s an article in part from  “Meaning “the sky” in Italian, Il Cielo is located at 1244 Periwinkle Way on Sanibel Island. It opened last January. “While our patrons can still enjoy a fine-dining experience in our main dining area, we now also offer a more casual atmosphere in our Cloud Nine Grille for our seasonal residents, tourists and families who are seeking a nice, yet relaxed meal,” said General Manager Bruce Ronty in a news release. According to Ronty, this season, diners will be able to enjoy a more casual atmosphere in the new Cloud Nine Grille which features an aesthetic, three-quarter dividing wall featuring a signature Luke Century glass sculpture running along the top. Comfortable booth seating has been added inside the lounge area, while a number of corner booths have replaced the stand-alone tables in the main dining room. Outdoor patio dining will now be available as well. Diners will no longer be required to wear long pants; instead, dress shorts and collared shirts will be allowed. The interior changes also allow space separate from the main dining room for private functions or community events. The Il Cielo menu has been revamped with grilled additions such as Yellow Fin tuna, local catch, pork tenderloin and free-range chicken. Specialties now include Colorado lamb, Yellowtail Snapper, Blue-Crab-crusted Black Grouper, Zinfandel-braised short ribs and jumbo shrimp and grits in addition to a number of favorites from last season’s menu such as mussels, traditional meatballs, linguini and clams, pastas, filet and lamb. New items featured on the Cloud Nine menu include Baja fish tacos, lobster mac and cheese, a 6-ounce New York strip, wild-caught salmon and more. “Our goal is to deliver superb food that meets the highest standards of quality, freshness and seasonality and combines both modern-creative and traditional Mediterranean styles of cooking,” said Il Cielo’s new executive chef, Neil Griffin, in the release. “In addition to the most popular favorites from last season, we wanted to evolve the menu for our diverse clientele into the addition of lighter selections featuring local and regional fish and locally grown sustainable vegetables.” Il Cielo will still feature a full liquor bar with a wide selection of wines as well as desserts. Menu items range from $4 to $38. Hours are daily from 5 to 10 p.m. For more information, visit”Beachview

It was announced today, that Beachview Steakhouse is reopening tonight. Chef Mike Price is back! Beachview Restaurant is open for lunch 7 days a week. Dinner is available Monday through Saturday.

Refund for Loggerhead Cay?


New pavers at Loggerhead Cay

We have had only positive comments from recent visitors to our new listing at Loggerhead Cay where the community is in the process of replacing its solid asphalt parking areas with permeable pavers. It was with interest that we read the following article in today’s “Island Sun” about that project:

            “Due to wording in the new resort redevelopment guidelines, enacted to encourage renovation of aging lodgings, Loggerhead Cay had to undergo an expensive variance application procedure to enable it to replace asphalt with permeable pavers. It didn’t sound right to Planning Commission Chairman Michael Valiquette, nor to Vice Chairman Phillip Marks. “Why are we even seeing this?” asked Valiquette. City codes favor permeable surfaces which allow rain to filter back down. Impermeable surfaces such as asphalt send polluted water into drains and such. So, why was a variance required for such an environmentally-friendly move? That’s what some commissioners wondered on Tuesday. “This is a substantial gain of permeability,” said City Planner Ben Popple, who noted that staff recommended granting the variance. Marks noted, “The price tag is $2,000 for the variance.” He added that the services of a consultant were not free either. “We need to change it. This is a perfect example of over-regulation.” He suggested refunding “$500 or $1,000 of the application free,” to which Valiquette said the applicant “might want to ask the council to address the issue.” Planning Director Jim Jordan said because of a portion of the driveway being paved is in the Gulf Beach Zone, it is not a permitted use and as such requires a variance. “It is the way the code was designed,” Jordan added.”

30-Year Mortgage Rates at New All-Time Low

realtor logoAn article posted this week on “RealtorMag” sources an article by Reuters “U.S. Mortgage Applications Rise in Latest Week; Rates Fall“:

“Mortgage applications for home purchases reached a new high for the year for the 3rd consecutive week, as 30-year mortgage rates sank to a new all-time low, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday. The MBA’s index which measures mortgage application activity for both home purchases and refinancing soared 6.2% for the week ending Dec 7.  Applications for home purchases viewed as a leading indicator of future home sales, rose 0.7% and hit another high point of the year. Applications for refinancing — which make up the biggest bulk of the MBA’s index — rose 8% last week. Home owners and buyers are rushing to take advantage of record low mortgage rates. Fixed 30-year mortgage rates dropped to the lowest point in history, averaging 3.47% for the week ending Dec 7, down from 3.52% the previous week, according to the MBA.”

Sanibel & Captive Multiple Listing Service Activity December 7-14

5 new listings: Tennisplace #A34 2/1.5 $239.9K; Sandpiper Beach #302 2/2 $625K; Oceans Reach #1B4 1/1 $698K; Sand Pointe #235 2/2 $699K; Atrium #101 3/3 $1,147,555.
7 price changes: Beach Road Villa #106 2/2 now $299K, Sundial #H308 1/1 now $369K, Mariner Pointe #1052 2/2 now $485K, Island Beach Club #220B 2/2 now $525K, Loggerhead Cay #121 2/2 now $699K, Sundial #K205 2/2 now $775K, Sundial #L305 2/2 now $850K.
1 new sale: Duggers Tropical Cottages #6 1/1 listed for $259K.
2 closed sales: Sanibel Arms #A5 2/1 $367K, Sanddollar #C302 3/2 $1.07M.

10 new listings: 1415 Sandpiper Cir 2/2 half-duplex $339K, 3196 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 $589K, 1744 Bunting Ln 3/2 $649K, 977 Black Skimmer Way 3/2 $675K, 576 Hideaway Ct 3/2 $749K, 214 Palm Lake Dr 3/2.5 $775K, 789 Pyrula Ave 4/2 $1.18M, 1743 Venus Dr 4/3.5 $1.498M, 1480 Angel Dr 3/3 $1.595M, 1083 Bird Ln 3/2.5 $3.795M.
5 price changes: 1193 Kittiwake Cir 4/3 now $649K, 450 Leather Fern Pl 3/2 now $649K, 3960 West Gulf Dr 3/2 now $699.9K, 1826 Woodring Rd 3/2 now $1.695M (foreclosure), 1878 Woodring Rd 3/2.5 now $2.19M.
5 new sales: 4057 Coquina Dr 2/2 listed for $286K (foreclosure), 750 Nerita St 3/2 listed for $499K, 1060 White Ibis Dr 3/2 listed for $549.9K, 1032 Lindgren Blvd 3/2.5 listed for $615K, 3239 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 listed for $784K.
1 closed sale: 688 Cardium St 5/4 $350K.

No new listings.
1 price change: 1242 Anhinga Ln now $499.9K.
2 new sales: 1340 Eagle Run Dr listed for $279K, 3761 Coquina Dr listed for $350K.
No closed sales.

No new listings.
1 price change: Captiva Bay Villas #2 3/3.5 now $1.948M.
1 new sale: Ventura Captiva #2A 3/3 listed for $699K.
1 closed sale: Sunset Beach Villas #2336 2/2 $668K.

1 new listing: 16459 Captiva Dr 8/7.5 $3.495M.
2 price changes: 15166 Wiles Dr 3/2.5 now $3.75M, 16251 Captiva Dr 4/5.5 now $3.95M.
No new sales.
1 closed sales: 17061 Captiva Dr 4/3.5 $1.5M.
No new listings or price changes.
1 new sale: 11516 Wightman Ln listed for $699K.
No 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.