There’s Still Time to Buy Sanibel & Captiva Island Real Estate for Your Valentine

valentine-clipartcom-free-valentine-clip-artIt’s another beautiful Friday on Sanibel Island – yet another one of those days where we watch the weather in other parts of the country and remain thankful that we are here in sunny Florida where the forecast for the next seven days remains in the low 80’s.

We have a buyers arriving this week in time to buy their sweethearts a vacation retreat in paradise. What a great Valentine’s Day gift that will be!

Last weekend was a busy one with showings to three sets of buyers and we were smiling on Monday after two contracts presented, were accepted as written on Sunday (early Valentines for those folks).

A few other sales were announced at our Realtor® Caravan meeting yesterday. A report of the weekly Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service activity is posted after a few news items below.

Dave brought his new camera along when we viewed a property overlooking Roosevelt Channel yesterday. Here are a few shots taken there and during his island other rounds.

View toward Blind Pass & Roosevelt Channel

View toward Blind Pass & Roosevelt Channel (where Teddy Roosevelt used to fish).

Just a few sea oats along the Gulf of Mexico beach

Just a few sea oats along the Gulf of Mexico beach

One of the mangrove-fringed waterways behind Periwinkle Park

One of the mangrove-fringed waterways behind Periwinkle Park

Bougainvillea are still blooming here everywhere...

Bougainvillea are still blooming here everywhere…

Sundial Resort’s Upgrades on Fast Track

Sundial gallery-th-03Yesterday’s “Fort Myers News-Press” posted an update on the ongoing improvement project at Sundial Beach Resort and Spa. (New name & new amenities.)

“The Sundial Beach & Golf Resort had seen better days when it was purchased in July by an investor group – now it’s renovating at lightning speed and expects to have its $5-7 million facelift complete by March 1. That would have been a daunting task a few years ago but thanks to new streamlining of the permitting process by Sanibel officials, the city’s aging resorts are finding it’s feasible to make major renovations without spending prohibitive amounts of time and money, said Ric Base, president of the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce. In the case of Sundial, the renovations will make striking differences in how the resort operates and in what it offers to the community.

Waterview is expected to open March 31, 2013.

Waterview restaurant is expected to open March 31, 2013.

“For example, it will have a restaurant and spa with views of the Gulf of Mexico and a lighter, more contemporary look overall,” said Brett Lindsay, director of sales and marketing at Sundial.

Sea Breeze Cafe also expected to open March 31.

Sea Breeze Cafe also expected to open March 31.

He added that the spa and restaurant will be open to the public for the first time in years since Blackstone cut off public access after it took over in 2006.

Turtles Cafe to open March 31, too.

Turtles Cafe to open March 31, too.

The new Sundial also will be able to go after conventions, corporate retreats and weddings, which Lindsay expects to be major sources of income that will also stimulate the local economy with spillover spending by the guests. Weddings were once a mainstay of the resort, he said. “In 2006 they did 200 weddings then it slowly declined.”

“Last week the resort, which was developed in 1972, was a beehive of activity, with construction crews ripping up old tile floors and reconfiguring the inside to take advantage of Gulf views….Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane said the new approach started after Hurricane Charley clobbered the island in 2004 and city officials realized that if a major storm destroyed a resort built years ago, it might not be possible to restore it to the same size under modern rules and regulations. The city enacted a build-back ordinance allowing the resorts to come back intact. “We wanted to be fair and to give somebody exactly what he had in the past.” But mainly, Ruane said, the change has come in how the city treats permits: for example, offering informal pre-application meetings where the applicant can discuss the project with all the city officials who have to sign off on it.

“City Manager Judie Zimomra said it’s important now to make renovations more practical because most of Sanibel’s resorts are decades old and ready to be modernized. “Our big growth period was after the causeway was built (in 1963),” she said. “In the ’70s and ’80s Sanibel was essentially built out.”

“The Sundial renovations are the first major test of the city’s changed procedures, but Chris Davison, general manager of the Island Inn on Sanibel, said that over the past two years he’s done $2.5 million in rehabilitation of aging accommodations and expects to do another $4-5 million. “Right now we’re in the process of preparing and getting ready to submit a complete redevelopment of our site, a complete master plan,” he said. It’s not just his resort that needs updating, Davison said. “Sanibel has become a spot where, yes, it’s pristine, yes, there are no buildings over three stories, but your TV and facilities and rooms are from the 1980s. People want their wi-fi to work. They want granite tops.”

This charming corner resort suite is available for just $349,900. It gets terrific rental income too!

This charming corner resort Club Suite is available for just $349,900. It gets terrific rental income too!

Best Places to Buy a Foreclosure in 2013

cnnmoney-logoAn on-line article posted this week at “Daily Real Estate News” sourced a “CNNMoney” article from Jan 31, it said:

“If you’re looking for big foreclosure deals, Florida may offer the most, according to a new study by RealtyTrac. Palm Bay, Florida, topped its list of the best places to buy a foreclosure in 2013. Foreclosures accounted for nearly 24% of all sales in Palm Bay last year, and buyers tended to pay 28% less for a home in foreclosure than other homes. The following are the markets with the high number of foreclosures available and some of the largest price discounts for foreclosures, according to RealtyTrac.

“Palm Bay, FL – Average foreclosure discount: 28%

Rochester, NY – Average foreclosure discount: 26%

Albany, NY – Average foreclosure discount: 35%

New York City – Average foreclosure discount: 40%

Lakeland, FL – Average foreclosure discount: 15%

Tampa, FL – Average foreclosure discount: 27%

Jacksonville, FL – Average foreclosure discount: 32%

Poughkeepsie, NY – Average foreclosure discount: 28%

Orlando, FL – Average foreclosure discount: 19%

Chicago – Average foreclosure discount: 46%.”

What About The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Real Estate Market?

SANSLogoClients know that SanibelSusan Realty produces weekly lists of the island real estate for sale. These lists are broken down by island (Sanibel or Captiva), property type (condos, homes, or lots), and subdivided by complex or subdivision. For comparison, they also include recent sales. (These are easy to e-mail, if anyone out there is blog land wants copies.)

With Sanibel and Captiva being a relatively small market area, compared to the major cities discussed in the article above, sometimes it takes a keen eye to observe when the trends change here. Here are my latest observations. 

Was it good news when last year on Sanibel, 367 properties sold compared to 340 in 2011? You bet. It looks even better compared to 2010 when only 265 Sanibel properties sold.

On Captiva, was there a similar trend? Yes, in 2012, 64 properties sold; in 2011 only 47; and in 2010 just 37.

What about this year, 2013? Some may say that it is too early to tell. But I think we are seeing some momentum. Here it is just the first week in February and already 74 Sanibel properties are sold or under contract (28 condos, 43 homes, & 3 lots); while on Captiva, 12 properties have closed or are under contract (5 condos, 6 homes, & 1 lot). (These amounts are 20% and 19%, respectively, of what sold last year!) Usually our busiest sale months are February and March, but it appears that activity started sooner this year.

Do we have short sales and foreclosures on these two little islands? Sure, but we do not have many. Today, on Sanibel, there are three homes and one condo available in the Multiple Listing Service as “short sales” and one home in foreclosure. On Captiva, two homes (no condos) are in “short sales”, none are in foreclosure.

With limited alternate investment opportunities, Sanibel and Captiva’s niche market has become attractive to not just those that love their environmental offerings, ambience and life-style. Investors and builders recognizing the unique opportunity for appreciation again are buying. I think we are going to have a busy few weeks, probably a better winter selling season than we have seen in a long time.

Lee Memorial Hospital

Lee Memorial logoThough I have always known that we have terrific medical facilities in Southwest Florida, it has always amazed me how many snowbirds get all of their health care here. Maybe this recent on-line posting by Lee Memorial has something to do with it. Local hospitals are always getting kudos: “Lee Memorial Hospital is a #Healthgrades Five-Star recipient for back and neck surgery (spinal fusion), seven years in a row (2007-2013)!”

Are Home Prices Rising Too Fast?

FLRealtors_newlogoFlorida Realtors® posted this article yesterday. Who thought we would be hearing this and so soon?

“In a historical context, home prices typically increase about 3 to 4% a year. But in the years preceding the housing crash, prices in 2002 started soaring 7% a year, then 8% in 2004, and 12% by 2005, reports.

“A “new bubble” may be forming, CNBC columnist Diana Olick writes. CoreLogic’s latest housing data shows home prices rose 8% in December year-over-year, the largest gain in more than six years. In some places, home prices are up by double digits from a year earlier; in Phoenix, prices are up 26% year-over-year.

“Inventories of for-sale homes are very tight, and experts point to the tight inventories as a cause of rapidly rising home prices. Inventories of for-sale homes are at their lowest supply since May 2005, according to the National Association of Realtors®. “The greatest concern in the market is the inventory situation,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Even if we see an increase in the spring and summer, if home sales hold at the [current] level or even a five- to six-month supply, price increases are guaranteed. We don’t want to see rapid appreciation in prices faster than income.”

““Healthy housing market gains are historically driven by increasing employment and income, not by lack of supply,” reports CNBC reporter Diana Olick. “The latter leads to price bubbles.” But low inventory is not the only cause of rising prices. In many markets, a flood of investor demand has also caused a shortage of listings. Investors are cashing in on once hard-hit markets by the foreclosure crisis. Many investors are hedge funds turning single-family homes into rentals.

“However, quickly rising prices could cause these investors to take profits quicker than they originally planned by selling the rental homes now. That would add inventory to the market and slow price increases, Olick says. “What we had thought were safer, long-term buys, may now turn into flips of the last decade,” Olick says. “The question will be if there are enough non-investor buyers out there to support those sales?”

“But the home price gains may be sustainable, others say. Consumer confidence is increasing, employment is improving, and price gains may soon allow more homeowners who are seeing equity to once again trade-up.”

Source: “Housing Market Already Shows Signs of New Bubble,” (Feb. 5, 2013) and “New Housing Fears: Home Prices Are Rising Too Fast,” (Jan. 22, 2013)

Sanibel Library – What It Has To Offer

Sanibel library signThis afternoon, I received a nice email from an island owner and fellow blogger who also reads these Friday real estate blogs. She offered her recent blog about the Sanibel Library. Here is a link. I enjoyed it and I bet you will too. There are some great tips here that could apply to any library. (Thank you, Helen; we love sharing too!)

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity February 1-8

3 new listings: Sundial #D408 1/1 $359K, Blind Pass #E207 2/2.5 $399K, Sanibel Arms West #I1 2/2 $435K.
10 price changes: Sundial #I104 1/1 now $369K, Loggerhead Cay #411 2/2 now $542.5K, Loggerhead Cay #521 2/2 now $559K, Heron at The Sanctuary II-2A 2/2.5 now $609K, Shorewood #1D 3/2 now $795K, Surfside 12 #B4 3/2 now $869K, Sanddollar #B104 2/2 now $897K, Compass Point #181 2/3 now $899K, Junonia #203 3/2 now $974K, Seascape #302 3/3.5 now $1.344M.
7 new sales: Colonnades #12 1/1 listed for $129K, Tennisplace #C33 2/1.5 listed for $260K, Blind Pass #D205 2/2 listed for $291K (short sale), Sanibel Moorings #1042 2/2 listed for $419K, Heron at The Sanctuary #1-1A 2/2.5 listed for $489K, Sunset South #6B 2/2 listed for $499K, Pointe Santo #B44 2/2 listed for $699K.
2 closed sale: Blind Pass #A105 2/2 $380K, St.Croix #3 2/2.5 $800K.

7 new listings: 567 Rabbit Rd 2/2 $485K; 9418 Moonlight Dr 3/2 $499,994; 1319 Tahiti Dr 3/2 $549K; 1342 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $589K; 1662 Dixie Beach Blvd 3/2 $839K; 6433 Pine Ave 4/3 $1.495M; 5721 SanCap Rd 3/3/2 $1.595M.
6 price changes: 1610 Sabal Sands Rd 3/2 now $459K, 6138 Castaways Ln 3/2.5 now $654.9K, 1130 Seagrape Ln 4/3 now $1.049M, 2367 Wulfert Rd 4/3.5 now $1.188M, 1826 Woodring Rd 3/2 now $1.549M (foreclosure), 4215 West Gulf Dr 4/4/2 now $4.749M.
10 new sales: 2985 Island Inn Rd 3/2 listed for $399K (our listing), 754 Donax St 4/2 duplex listed for $399K, 2560 Coconut Dr 3/3 listed for $495K, 1045 Blue Heron Dr 3/3 listed for $599K, 1031 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 listed for $690K, 765 Conch Ct 5/4 listed for $750K, 4996 Joewood Dr 3/3 listed for $760K, 569 Lighthouse Way 3/3 listed for $795K (our buyer), 1660 Bunting Ln 4/3.5 listed for $945K (our buyer), 780 Birdie View Pt 5/4.5 listed for $1.749M.
3 closed sales: 750 Nerita St 3/2 $420K, 1350 Tahiti Dr 3/2 $540K, 6190 Henderson Rd 3/2 $1.25M.

1 new listing: 4318 West Gulf Dr $1.25M.
1 price change: 1637 Sabal Sands Rd now $295K.
No new sales.
2 closed sales: 6006 White Heron Ln $650K, 1028 Bayview Dr $1.6M.

1 new listing: Tennis Villas #3138 1/1 $425K.
No price changes, new or closed sales.

2 new listings: 11525 Chapin Ln 4/4 $1.589M, 16897 Captiva Dr 5/5.5 $3.59M.
2 price changes: 17201 Captiva Dr 4/5.5 now $3.698M, 16428 Captiva Dr 7/8/2 now $12.35M.
No new or closed sales.

1 new listing: 16915 Captiva Dr $1.59M.
No price changes, new or 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.

Nemo I'm comingUntil next Friday, sending warm wishes and happy thoughts to our friends and family dealing with Nemo and snow!

Here’s hoping you can come to Sanibel and Captiva soon!