2013 Real Estate Market on Sanibel Island

It was another busy week for those of us lucky enough to be on Sanibel Island, and finally with beautiful weather again! We are now in for a week of picture-perfect sunshine which makes real estate show better, the visitors happy, and the Realtors® too. (Here’s a photo taken by teammate Lisa Murty – palm trees from her sunroof. Followed by one taken by teammate David Anderson – of an osprey nest in Lake Murex. Always fun to take photos during our real estate rounds!)



I will be out working with buyers again this weekend. It’s an “in-season” habit that often produces results.  The Multiple Listing Service activity posted over the last seven days follows a couple of news items below.

The 2013 Real Estate Market on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

ASSOC LogoThe term “feeding frenzy” was used more than once yesterday at our Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® February membership meeting. That may be a bit extreme, but it is interesting that many island Realtors® are booked well in advance to show property, are writing and negotiating more contracts than during this time last year, and then are working harder to hold them together.

It is difficult to keep deals on track in a recovering market. Appraisals are not substantiating sales prices. Lenders are fussier than ever. While, buyers still want a steal, but sellers don’t have to sell. Challenges are good, but I also have heard more than once this week, “I thought I’d heard it all, until ____”. Someday, I should write a book. Meanwhile, here is some good news.

Several loan officer affiliate-members of our Association of Realtors® provided a panel presentation at our membership meeting yesterday. As part of our continued training and to keep our members aware of the ever-changing market conditions and requirements of our profession, this year our local Professional Development Committee, which I chair, is arranging for and moderating training sessions like this each month.

Though some of the traditional big-name banks do not have offerings attractive to island buyers looking for a vacation home or investment-type condominium or to build their residence here, our Association has active affiliate members from at least four local lending institutions with a variety of attractive offerings. They range from portfolio loans to Federally-backed financing, no-closing-cost equity lines, and a variety of cross-collateralized loans. Hopefully, this session with bring business their way.

Another huge step in the right direction was the announcement that Lee County has recently been removed from the “declining market” list of several of these banks.

Regions Bank logoThank you to the following panelists for their expert advice: Robin Cook, Vice President with Regions Bank;

Mutual of Omaha bank logoDan Krispinsky, Senior Loan Officer with Mutual of Omaha Bank;

Finemark Bank logoDan Royal, Vice President with FineMark Bank and Trust; and

Sancapbank logoDavid Wright, Senior Vice President with Sanibel-Captiva Community Bank.

The Sanibel and Captiva Association of Realtors® appreciates their affiliate business members!

Wondering What Sanibel Real Estate is Selling?

Sanibel LighthouseAs of today, 62 Sanibel homes have sold or are under contract (four by Susan). So far this year, 40 Sanibel condos have similarly sold (two by Susan). Only two Sanibel lots have sold, with another closed today (our listing). All-in-all, 2013 is looking good. February sales are ahead of last year and March should prove to be productive too.

Another interesting tidbit, mentioned yesterday by one of the island rental managers is that “all” of their island homes are already booked for February 2014! That’s unheard of this early in the year. Sounds like those snowstorms are making the islands look better all the time and the renters here now are rebooking. All good healthy real estate indicators for the islands!

New Date for Conservation Forum

sccfThis is the fifth year, that the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) and the Everglades Foundation have presented a Conservation Forum, focusing on water quality issues related to the Everglades and the Caloosahatchee River. Originally scheduled for February 19, it has been rescheduled for Tuesday, March 19 at 7 p.m. at Sundial Resort on Sanibel. Doors open at 6:30, program at 7, followed by a book signing and reception. This year’s program, “Valuing Nature: From the Everglades to the Islands of Sanibel and Captiva”, will feature Author and Economist Dr. Richard Weisskoff, University of Miami; Eric Eikenberg, CEO of the Everglades Foundation; and Rae Ann Wessel, Natural Resource Policy Director, SCCF.

The Recession Changes Americans’ Moving Patterns

At article posted on-line at “Daily Real Estate News” on Wednesday talks about a change in moving trends:

“Moves across county and state lines are falling, with the 2007-2009 recession blamed for changing Americans’ moving patterns, according to an analysis of census data through 2010. The Great Recession caused more Americans to move because they could no longer afford to remain where they were. That’s a big change in what traditionally motivates Americans to move — a bigger home or higher paying job, USA Today reports about the analysis.

“9% of Americans stayed local with their moves during 2007-2009 period – the highest in a decade.  “Typically, over the last couple of decades, when Americans moved, they moved to improve their lives,” says Michael Stoll, author of the research and chairman of UCLA’s public policy department. “This is the shock: For the first time, Americans are moving for downward economic mobility. Either they lost their house or can’t afford where they’re renting currently or needed to save money.” More than 23% moved for more affordable housing during the recession. Prior to the recession, that percentage stood at 20.8%. Also, prior to the recession, 41.3% of Americans moved in order to own a home or settle into a better neighborhood. However, during the recession, that percentage dropped to 30.4%.”

Asheville, NC Tops Best Places To Buy In 2013

An article posted on Realtor.com on Valentines Day discusses the best places to buy and sell in 2013 (Note that traditional residential markets are the crux of this article. See the following SanibelSusan prognosis for how the islands will fare in 2013.)

“The new year started on a positive note in January, with inventories at record lows and list prices holding steady on a year-over-year basis. Whether this shows a continuation of the nascent housing recovery into 2013 will depend on a variety of factors, including the strength of the overall economy, the cost and availability of mortgage credit, consumer expectations regarding future housing prices, and the success of continuing efforts to stem the flow of new foreclosures.

“If inventories remain low — and if list prices begin to rise during the next few months, as they did last year — conditions are ripe for additional house price appreciation in 2013. However, such gains are likely to be concentrated in markets already well into their recovery process, such as California, Phoenix, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and many sand states. Markets in the older industrialized parts of the Midwest and the East will likely continue to struggle without a significant turnaround in their local economies. However, if inventories in these areas remain high, it could effectively set the stage for further declines in housing values in these local markets.

“2013 Best Places to Buy & Sell

With two months remaining before the home-buying season opens, sellers have a huge advantage. In tight markets, such as the top five “Best Places to Sell,” sellers benefit from better prices than they’ve seen in years. In our five “Best Places to Buy,” buyers will find plentiful inventory and prices that haven’t experienced the increases others have seen during the past year.

Best Places to Buy

Asheville, NC. Real estate’s a good deal in western North Carolina, where you can enjoy the Smokies and the Blue Ridge mountains for less today than in 2012. Prices are down 0.4% year-over-year, and listings are lingering on market for a median 149 days, making Asheville one of the slowest-selling markets in the nation. There are slightly fewer homes on the market than last year, but inventory is certain to grow with the onset of the home-buying season.

Peoria-Pekin, IL. The Peoria market leads the nation in price declines. With unemployment at 8.3%, the region’s largest employer-initiated temporary layoffs in the wake of disappointing Q3 2012 global sales – in response – seller confidence faltered, sending list prices and inventory into decline. With median price 14.22% lower than this time in 2012, it’s a good time to buy in Peoria.

Charleston, WV. Charleston is one of the few markets with a recipe for buyer success — more homes are listed today than a year ago, and they cost less. Inventories are up 1.03% compared with January 2012, and prices decreased 9.61%. Typically a very stable market, Charleston didn’t experience either the housing boom of 2001-2006 or the bust that followed it.

Philadelphia (NJ). Even though inventories have fallen 4.85% in the past year, Philadelphia still has too many homes for sale. Prices are still soft, having lowered 5.31% year-over-year and 1.42% from December to January, which likely marks a seasonal decline. Listings are selling in 142 days. A good spring season with buyers ready to take advantage of some of the best prices in major metropolitan areas on the East Coast could quickly fix Philadelphia’s inventory overhang and position the market for the best year since the crash.

Cleveland-Lorain-Elyria, OH.  List prices have fallen 6.98% in Cleveland during the past 12 months. Inventories are also down 16.36% year-over-year, leaving buyers with the prospect of fewer properties to consider this spring, but some great bargains. Listings are spending 120 days in inventory, which is less than a year ago but still more than the national median, which suggests that demand is lighter in the Cleveland market and inventory is greater than elsewhere — both good signs for buyers.

“Best Places to Sell

Sacramento, CA. In recent months, Sacramento has experienced dramatic declines in inventory levels, reporting 67.2% fewer homes for sale in January than a year ago. Record low inventories have led to a 40.2% increase in median prices, yet demand is strong, with properties spending less than a month on the market. Sellers here can anticipate quick sales and primo prices.

San Jose, CA.  Ranking fourth in the nation in terms of tight inventory, supply clearly is not keeping up with demand in Silicon Valley. Prices are up nearly 25% compared with this time in 2012 and still climbing, but not as quickly as in Sacramento. The region’s strong economy is driving up both rents and home prices.

San Francisco, CA. Prices have risen dramatically, inventories are down drastically and properties are selling in less than two months. The inventory shortage created a powerful sellers’ market where list prices rose more than 20% in the past year, a sure sign that sellers can anticipate a profitable spring season.

Phoenix-Mesa, AZ.  Once the hottest market for foreclosures, Phoenix alternately became a hub for price increases in 2012. List prices have increased 23.59% since January 2012, and inventories decreased 15.88% since a year ago. In recent months, price and supply fluctuations have stabilized, so buyers should be able to find affordable properties if sellers take advantage of the improving price picture and list their homes this year, increasing supply.

Washington, DC. List prices have improved a respectable 16.33% in the D.C. market during the past 12 months, and one reason is a 30.77% decrease in inventory. With a median price of $429,900, D.C. is one of the nation’s priciest markets, and if inventories don’t grow substantially between now and cherry blossom season in March and April, prices will continue to rise. For locals thinking about selling, this looks to be one of the best markets in years.”


gfciProbably the most common defect found during a condo or home inspection is a faulty GFCI, so here is a tip if you don’t know how to test yours. (Source: LCEC’s (Lee County Electric Co-op) February newsletter)

“The purpose of a GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter) is to prevent shocks. They are code-required in wet areas such as bathrooms, outdoor receptacles, kitchens, garages, and laundry rooms. That is because even on a grounded wiring system, electricity can leak from the hot lead without tripping the circuit breaker. If the GFCI is not operating properly, it could be fatal.

“A GFCI device constantly monitors current levels on the hot and neutral sides of a circuit. If the GFCI senses an imbalance of just 1/2000 of an amp, it trips the circuit in 1/40 of a second or less.

“Testing a GFCI receptacle – Plug a radio, hairdryer, or other appliance into the GFCI, turn the appliance on, then press the test button. The receptacle should shut itself off. If it doesn’t, press the test button again. If it still doesn’t shut off, the receptacle needs to be replaced. If the receptacle did pass the test, press the reset button, the power should come back on.” 

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity February 15-22

1 new listing: Sunset South #9D 2/2 $449K.
8 price changes: Captains Walk #D5 2/1 now $221.9K, Sundial #H107 1/1 now $339K, Sundial #I203 1/1 now $395K, Seawind #A109 2/2 now $434K, Sealoft Village #106 2/2 now $529K, Coquina Beach #2E 2/2 now $649K, Sanddollar #B104 2/2 now $893K, Seascape #302 3/3.5 now $1.334M.
8 new sales: Captains Walk #C4 2/2 listed for $199.9K, Beach Road Villa #106 2/2 listed for $299K, Captains Walk #B5 2/1 listed for $329K, Blind Pass #C110 2/2 listed for $399.9K, Nutmeg Village #106 2/2 listed for $599K (our buyer), Pointe Santo #D35 2/2 listed for $664.9K, Surfside 12 #A1 3/2 listed for $695K, Compass Point #181 2/3 listed for $899K.
2 closed sales: Sanibel Arms West #L8 2/2 $433K, Sandpiper Beach #404 2/2 $650K.

5 new listings: 9263 Kincaid Ct 3/2 $446K, 630 Hideaway Ct 2/2 $529K, 1364 Jamaica Dr 2/2 $545K, 293 Ferry Landing Dr 3/3 half-duplex $1.275M, 5115 Joewood Dr 4/3 $1.595M.
4 price changes: 5650 SanCap Rd 2/2 now $599K, 9224 Dimmick Dr 4/2 now $720K, 2543 Tropical Way 3/2.5 now $995.9K, 842 Limpet Dr 3/3.5 now $1.745M.
9 new sales: 966 Fitzhugh St 2/1 listed for $299K, 1613 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex listed for $399K, 1599 Sand Castle 3/2.5 half-duplex listed for $425K, 9298 Kincaid Ct 3/2 listed for $495K, 5296 Umbrella Pool Rd 4/4 listed for $549.9K, 1366 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 listed for $649.9K, 1053 Seahawk Ln 3/2 listed for $689K, 3960 West Gulf Dr 3/2 listed for $699.9K, 1230 Par View Dr 3/2.5 listed for $739K.
3 closed sales: 1002 Greenwood Ct N 3/2.5 half-duplex $310K, 799 Casa Ybel Rd 4/3 duplex $377K, 4709 Rue Belle Mer 3/2 $1.885M.

3 new listings: 2380 Wulfert Rd $199K; 1307 Par View Dr $259.9K; 6141 Starling Way $549,555.
1 price change: 1450 Tahiti Dr now $199,555.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: 437 Lake Murex Cir $203,750 (our listing).

No new listings.
1 price change: Ventura Captiva #2B 3/3 now $799K.
1 new sale: Tennis Villas #3219 1/1 listed for $215K.
No closed sales.

No new listings.
3 price changes: 15127 Captiva Dr 8/6.5 duplex now $1.85M (short sale), 14860 Mango Ct 5/4 now $2.394M, 16428 Captiva Dr 7/8/2 now $12.25M.
No new or 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.


Happy weekend to all, from SanibelSusan