You probably have heard about Florida in the news this week. It was the warmest state in the nation several times and set records some days for some of the highest recorded January temperatures in SW Florida. Gorgeous bright blue skies and sunny days with 80 degree weather have kept islanders – and visitors and vacationers – smiling.
The roads and bike paths thinned out a little this week when the holiday visitors departed, but my pals in reservations tell me that they had a few record days with bookings this week – undoubtedly thanks to our terrific weather – and the opposite in other parts of the world. Be sure and tell your friends/family planning an island visit this winter that they should not delay in making reservations. Rumor has it that many popular peak nights already are fully booked.
Check-ins are expected to be light again tomorrow and the following Saturday, with the big influx of winter visitors expected to arrive on the 26th. The island will be busy from then until Easter.
Here are a few real estate and island news items followed by the activity reported in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service this week.
Traveling from Sanibel to Captiva
Teammates Dave and Lisa viewed some Captiva properties that were open for Realtor® Caravan yesterday. During their travels, they took a few pictures of the wildlife in Clam Bayou and along Sanibel-Captiva Road.
Quite a few upcoming happenings were added to my island events calendar too. Check them out if you are looking for things to do on particular day. It’s going to be busy winter here, http://sanibelsusan.com/island-events-calendar/
Beginning the New Year at The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®
David, Lisa, and I attended the local Association of Realtors® Installation and Awards Banquet on Saturday night. Incoming Florida Realtors® President Dean Asher came to Sanibel to perform the induction ceremony. I was one of twenty local Realtors® to receive an Honor Society Award – perhaps the only one for the 20th year in a row. Honor Society awards are presented annually to those of our ~300 Realtor® members earning recognition for their professionalism through education, participation, and community service. Our leadership’s goal this year is to get more of those Realtors® involved.
In 2013, I again am chairing the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Professional Development Committee. Several educational events already are scheduled and others planned.
My other committee work this year will be with the Professional Standards Committee. That group is the Realtors® governing body that hears ethics and arbitration cases that have passed Grievance Committee and need resolution. The beauty of working on these small islands, where most business is handled professionally, is that Professional Standards usually hears few if any cases. I sure hope that applies this year too.
Another New Sanibel Restaurant – The Sandbar
Islanders always get excited when we hear a new restaurant is opening. If you have seen the many contractor vehicles parked at the 2761 West Gulf Drive location of the former Stone Crab restaurant, it was purchased in December by the same island residents who own the nearby Shalimar Cottages and Motel. Called “The Sandbar”, the new restaurant opened this week with hours from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. It features a new open-view kitchen and retail market. The general manager who has previously managed other popular island restaurants advises they will feature creative entrees of fresh fish and choice beef, plus menu staples like King crab, shrimp, Maine lobster, and mile-high mud pie. They have a full liquor license too.
Another Coffee Shop Also Coming
This week, Bennett’s Roast was cleared for a City Permit for a 40-seat coffee shop with outdoor seating at 1020 Periwinkle Way, the former Century 21 office east of the Lazy Flamingo. You may remember, I mentioned it several weeks ago, that their permitting process had a few hurdles. The challenges include the property being located in a bald eagle nest buffer zone, wetlands in the back, and being on Sanibel’s highest traffic area near the 4-way stop. Kudos were handed out from both sides for the way the applicants and city staffers worked together to overcome the hurdles.
Island Water & Piping Work Done at The Dunes
The big project to replace old water pipes in The Dunes subdivision is complete ahead of schedule. All Island Water member water meters were replaced with radio-read meters too. The second phase of this two-phase project was not expected to begin until this year, but instead was fully accomplished before Christmas! Way to go Island Water! Did you know that Island Water was incorporated 47 years ago, in 1965, and franchised by Lee County as a member-owned not-for-profit association? As part of our Realtor® education, many of us have toured the facility, seen how the reverse-osmosis water is made, its usage and conservation. It’s a fascinating process. Island Water’s winter newsletter says they will be putting more info on their website this year, check it out at http://www.islandwater.com.
Where The Jobs Will (And Won’t) Be In 2013
Here is part of an interesting forecast that was posted in December on-line at www.Forbes.com.
“Though Florida is still recovering from the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008 and the state unemployment rate sits at 8.5% (almost a point higher than the national rate of 7.7%), some pockets of the state are experiencing strong job growth. In fact employers in the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area are projecting a net job increase of 23%, the highest in the nation, according to the latest employment outlook survey by the employment services firm, ManpowerGroup. One other Florida metropolitan area, Lakeland-Winter Haven, also landed in the top 15 cities for job growth, according to Manpower….
“In Cape Coral, employment has gotten a boost from the recovering housing market and the fact that the city has a low density rate, at 45%, so there is plenty of room to grow. As home construction has revived, property values have climbed, going up 18%-20% since the trough, says Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce President Mike Quaintance. Housing growth has also fueled growth in restaurants and retail chains…. Cape Coral is getting a new Wal-Mart and a Sam’s Club store. Jobs at those budget retailers don’t tend to pay well, concedes Quaintance. But the housing recovery is also funding better-paying construction-related jobs and home-based businesses like landscaping.
“In neighboring Fort Myers, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Colleen DePasquale says job growth may in part be seasonal, because the population always swells in the winter months, and two baseball teams, the Twins and the Red Sox, go to Fort Myers for spring training. At the same time, clothing chain Chico’s is based in Fort Myers and doing well, and the city just opened a new waterfront development, with plans for a hotel and other businesses.
“Second on Manpower’s list after Cape Coral-Fort Myers: two Arizona metro areas in a tie, Phoenix Mesa-Scottsdale, and Tucson, with a net employment outlook of 20%…. At the other end of the spectrum, St. Louis has the worst employment outlook in the country at -5%. The next-worse is Portland, ME, at ‑2%, followed by Wichita, at -1%….”
Florida Releases Info on State Insurance Companies
“The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) has released its 2012 Fast Facts report, created to give interested parties statistical data about Florida’s insurance market. The report compiles financial and regulatory information, insurance premium volume, number of domestic insurance companies and related entities, enforcement actions/consumer recoveries, public hearings and more. The Fast Facts report also includes four “Top 20” lists with information about insurance companies in Florida for personal residential, personal automobile, life and annuity, and accident and health lines of business. For residential homeowner policies, Florida-owned Citizens Property Insurance tops the state list with 1.4 million policies, or more than the number covered by the four largest private insurers combined.
“The latest report includes the following breakdown for residential insurance writers by size, followed by number of Florida policies in December 2012:
1. Citizens Property – 1,423,160
2. Universal Property & Casualty – 578,825
3. State Farm Florida – 453,997
4. St. Johns Insurance – 174,021
5. Security First – 147,080
6. USAA – 142,733
7. Castle Key Indemnity (Allstate) – 131,759
8. Castle Key Insurance (Allstate) – 127,540
9. Homeowners Choice – 122,737
10. ASI Assurance – 113,603
11. Florida Peninsula – 112,372
12. American Integrity – 106,052
13. Tower Hill Prime – 104,594
14. American Bankers – 96,381
15. United Property & Casualty – 95,036
16. Florida Family – 87,059
17. ASI Preferred – 78,977
18. Tower Hill Signature – 78,816
19. Universal Insurance – 76,559
20. Southern Fidelity – 74,556
The Fast Facts report can be downloaded through the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation website.”
Vote Sanibel as “Happiest Seaside Town”
Coastal Living Magazine listed Sanibel Island as one of ten of its “Happiest Seaside Towns” of 2013. The locations chosen were based on criteria like well-being index, percentage of sunny days, healthiness of beaches and “coastal vibe”.
Starting yesterday (Jan 10) and running through February, you can go online and cast your vote to make it number one at www.coastalliving.com/happytowns2013.
Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity January 4 – 11
2 new listings: Sundial #G106 1/1 $292.9K, Seawind #A102 2/2.5 $439.9K.
5 price changes: Tennisplace #D31 1/1 now $179K, Tennisplace #B32 2/1 now $249K, Blind Pass #D205 2/2 now $291K (short sale), Ibis at The Sanctuary #A202 2/2 now $384.9K, Island Beach Club #220B 2/2 now $499K.
3 new sales: Tennisplace #C35 2/1.5 listed for $249K, Blind Pass #B103 3/2 listed for $469K, Oceans Reach #1B4 1/1 listed for $698K.
1 closed sale: Coquina Beach #1D 2/2 $362K.
7 new listings: 1809 Farm Trl 3/2 $499K, 525 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2 $579K, 5431 Shearwater Dr 3/3 $825K, 1213 Par View Dr 3/2.5 $890K, 4709 Rue Belle Mer 3/2 $2.1M, 4461 Waters Edge Ln 5/5.5 $5M.
7 price changes: 2079 Wild Lime Dr 3/2 now $460K, 5650 San-Cap Rd 2/2 now $635K, 928 Pepper Tree Place 2/2 now $639.9K, 977 Black Skimmer Way 3/2 now $649K, 569 Lighthouse Way 3/3 now $795K, 9007 Mockingbird Dr 3/3 now $1.1M, 1826 Woodring Rd 3/2 now $1.595M (foreclosure).
4 new sales: 2985 Island Inn Rd 3/2 listed for $399K (our listing), 2560 Coconut Dr 3/3 listed for $495K, 967 Beach Rd 2/2 half-duplex listed for $498K, 1032 Lindgren Blvd 3/2.5 listed for $615K.
3 closed sales: 3050 West Gulf Dr 3/2 $542K, 963 Kings Crown Dr 3/3 $700K, 4689 Rue Belle Mer 3/2 $1.975M.
No new listings.
2 price changes: 3005 Turtle Gait Ln now $249K, 1898 Woodring Rd now $2.695M.
No new or closed sales.
No new listings.
1 price change: Bayside Villas #4106 1/2 now $295K.
1 new sale: Bayside Villas #5326 3/3 listed for $639.5K.
No closed sales.
No new listings.
3 price changes: 16838 Captiva Dr 6/7.5 now $5.995M, 15747 Captiva Dr 5/6.5 now $6.95M, 15172/174 Wiles Dr 12/1 multi-family now $11.5M.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: 15783 Captiva Dr 5/5.5 $8.5M.
No new listings, price changes, or new sales.
1 closed sale: 11516 Wightman Ln $650K.
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.
Hooray for the weather in Sanibel & Captiva Islands on January 11, 2013!