May Showers Bring Spring Flowers to Sanibel & Captiva Islands

After a flurry of activity last week, Sanibel and Captiva Islands have slowed down to typical post-season conditions. It seems that most holiday visitors were only here for the long weekend, when the causeway and beaches were as packed as I have ever seen them.

On Monday, the rainy season finally began – weeks late – when Sanibel had its first afternoon shower after months of dry weather. Occasionally daily showers have continued right through the week. The islands need it. Though most island vegetation is draught-tolerant, it is unusual to get this far into May without rain. Grassy landscapes with no sprinklers were looking straw like. We look forward to things greening up!

In between the raindrops, it has been a great week for viewing some the islands tropical vegetation. Here is a photo I took today on my travels. The vivid orange Royal Poinciana or Flamboyant trees would have been at their peak this week. Most lost a few flowers during the afternoon showers. This one is in front of Il Cielo Restaurant on Periwinkle Way.


A few days ago, our teammate, Lisa Murty, was at the beach in front of Sunset Grill when a representative from CROW (Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife) released an anhinga that had been treated for several days at the animal hospital. She managed to snap a couple of pictures with her mobile phone before the bird happily took off into the gulf.

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Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

Beach in front of Island Beach Club

Beach in front of Island Beach Club

Yesterday Lisa and David each held new listings open for Realtor Caravan, Island Beach Club #310F and Spanish Cay #F7.

Both had good numbers of both Realtors® and the public.

Overlooking Sanibel River at Spanish Cay

Overlooking Sanibel River at Spanish Cay

Following the meeting, the Association hosted a round-table broker discussion to ensure that the island real estate offices are up-to-date on the upcoming summer/fall educational opportunities, recent changes to our MLS Rules and Regulations, some new MLS service applications, and upcoming changes to the National Flood Insurance Program. Rumor has it that our Association affiliate member, Chris Heidrick, with Heidrick & Company Insurance, who I quoted a couple of weeks ago about this very subject, was interviewed this week by the Southwest Florida newspaper “News-Press”. Watch for his article on the front page of the paper tomorrow (Saturday, June 1) which also happens to be the first day of Hurricane Season.

The Sanibel and Captiva Islands Association of Realtors also is collecting items to be trucked to Oklahoma for the recent tornado victims. As soon as the truck is full, it will depart. In the meantime collections continue at the Association Office at 2353 Periwinkle Way.

Sanibel Real Estate Inventory Is Diminishing

DrivetoLighthouseWith most winter sales now closed, a glance at island inventory shows that it has been a good season. The Sanibel market is rebounding and inventory is dwindling. Below is a snapshot of the statistics today on both islands. For a couple of days this week, the average price of Sanibel homes sold and closed this year was once again over $1M. That is mostly due to higher-end properties selling early in the year, which is the norm, when the most snowbirds are in town. But even so, that was the first time that million-dollar mark has been broken since 2007 – a good sign!

Sanibel              Condos                           Homes                            Lots

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

Available           144    730,265     411        160   1,307,328 335       86    468,557      786

Under Contract  40     605,574     395          45   885,413    280       6     423,500       924


2013 to date       65     547,977     321         105   995,485   298       9     527,083    393

2012                   151    551,244    407         183   823,598   289       33   487,687    521

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

Captiva               Condos                             Homes                           Lots

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

Available             46     826,491     446          49    3,826,510    610    8     4,287,375   422

Under Contract  4        614,750     634           2     2,392,500    248    0     N/A              N/A


2013 to date      14      701,643     335           11   2,992,182     358    1    650,000       2,122

2012                  35      836,129      381          26   1,536,019     609    3   1,221,667    208

2011                  24      737,754      494          22   1,782,059     360    1    485,000     580      

More Positive Changes at Sundial Beach Resort

sundial-logoThis week at the Tuesday Sanibel Planning Commission Meeting, it was good news for Sundial Beach Resort. Most know that Sundial, one of Sanibel’s oldest resorts, is now under new ownership and undergoing a major renovation with remodeling underway in the main amenity areas including the lobby, bar, and meeting rooms, plus they are adding a spa and wedding facilities. The restaurant also is being updated.

sundial dining 2The Tuesday meeting covered adding 32 bonus outdoor seats and to add a downstairs kitchen to service those seats and the poolside tikki bar. The kitchen will replace a former video game room and will not increase the resort footprint. The outdoor seats have actually been in existence for many years without formal approval. It is nice to hear that the new owners are doing things right and that the City approves!

Are Home Warranties Worthwhile?

In some parts of the country home warranties are looked at as a security blanket for everyone involved in a real estate transaction – the buyer, the seller, and the agents. We don’t see them very often here on the islands, but I can tell you that it is disheartening to get a call just after a closing where the new owner tells you that the air conditioning system just broke. It has happened to me more than once. Have you heard the saying “closing cures all defects”? Unfortunately, that is what usually applies!

As someone who had her microwave quit working on Thanksgiving morning just before dinner guests were arriving, I can tell you that an appliance warranty can be worth its weight in gold. I did not have one at the time, but I grabbed the Yellow Pages, and called one of the well-known local service companies. Not only was my microwave repaired promptly and on a holiday, I was not charged for the call. Instead, for just a few more dollars, I purchased a very reasonable annual agreement that covers all of my appliances and my HVAC system. That was over ten years ago and they have since repaired my washer and dryer, as well as serviced my heating and cooling system annually. Money well spent in my opinion.

An article in the May/June 2013 “Realtor®” magazine, says “Warranties are becoming a mainstay in real estate transactions and are the most popular incentive that sellers use to attract buyers. Of the 40% of sellers who use incentives, nearly a quarter used home warranties, according to the 2012 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.”

So, in the humble opinion of SanibelSusan, my answer to the question “Are home warranties worthwhile?” is “yes”. Particularly if you will be an absentee or 2nd-home owner, or if your property is an investment rental, a home warranty can offer peace-of-mind.

Market Pulse – How to Ensure Healthy Price Gains

realtor logoLawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors® Chief Economist, recently wrote an article saying “The housing recovery is surpassing most expectations. Rising demand and many years of sluggish new-home construction have forced home prices to rise at a near double-digit pace in many parts of the country… Home prices should continue to rise this year and likely next year as well. Fast-rising home prices are clearly good for home owners, but price increases that are far in excess of income growth are not good for buyers and not a healthy development for the economy. However, it’s important to keep in mind that demand is moving ahead in spite of the stringent lending standards still in place. Fully one-third of buyers are using cash.

“Consider what demand would look like if underwriting restrictions were dialed back to a more reasonable level. That’s finally a possibility for two reasons: Banks are sitting on piles of cash, and the quality of recently underwritten mortgages has been high. These conditions could persuade banks to start easing overly strict requirements. The additional demand in a more “normal” lending environment potentially would mean even faster price growth. The only way to tame excessive price jumps is for more inventory to reach the market. Investors could help here by selling properties ahead of their intended schedule to take advantage of rising prices.

“The choke point today is from the slow recovery in new-home construction. Housing starts in March finally crossed the 1 million mark for the first time in five years. But 1.5 million new housing units are needed annually to keep home-price gains at a healthy long-term level of around 3% to 5% a year. That balance seems unlikely this year as we continue to see demand outstrip supply, fueling exorbitant price increases in some places.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity May 24-31 

2 new listings: Pelicans Roost #101 2/2 $745K, Sundial #L405 2/2 $1.275M.
4 price changes: Spanish Cay #C3 2/2 now $339K, Blind Pass #E207 2/2.5 now $379K, Golden Beach #2 3/2.5 now $1.298M, High Tide #A102 3/2.5 now $1.299M.
6 new sales: Sanibel Arms #I1 2/2 listed for $424K, $437.5K, Nutmeg Village #202 listed for $599K, Nutmeg Village #105 listed for $659K, Tarpon Beach #205 2/2 listed for $675K, Sand Pointe #137 2/2 listed for $799K, Atrium #101 3/3 listed for $1,099,555.
4 closed sales: Seashells #10 2/2 $295K, Cottage Colony West #101 1/1 $415K (short sale), Sanibel Arms #H4 2/2 $437.5K, Somerset #D102 3/2.5 $999.1K (foreclosure).
2 new listings: 1241 Junonia St 3/3 $719K, 1251 Anhinga Ln 3/3 $2.25M.
5 price changes: 5841 Pine Tree Dr 3/2 now $474.9K, 9319 Kincaid Ct 3/2 now $525K, 5297 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/3 now $539K, 2520 Harbour Ln 3/2.5 now $1.375M, 2118 Starfish Ln 4/5 now $1.869M.
6 new sales: 625 East Rocks Dr listed for $499K (our buyer), 1193 Kittiwake Cir 4/3 listed for $599K, 1744 Bunting Ln 3/2 listed for $599K, 1066 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed for $550K, 203 Daniel Dr 3/3 listed for $1.15M, 1743 Venus Dr 4/3.5 listed for $1.498M.
8 closed sales: 3316 Saint Kilda Rd 2/1 $399.75K, 707 Cardium St 3/2.5 $552K, 1350 Middle Gulf Dr, #1E (Moonshadows) 3/3 $560K, 4518 Bowen Bayou Rd 4/4 $640K (our buyer), 786 Conch Ct 3/2 $837.5K, 293 Ferry Landing Dr 3/3 half-duplex $1.075M, 444 Lighthouse Way 5/4.5 $2M, 1310 Seaspray Ln 4/4.5 $2.75M.
No new listings.
1 price change: 1242 Anhinga Ln now $575K.
1 new sales: 2494 Blind Pass Ct listed for $649K.
No closed sales.
Nothing to report.
No new listings, price changes, or new sales.
1 closed sale: 17 Urchin Ct 2/2.5 $740K.
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.

Best wishes for a terrific weekend!

The SanibelSusan Team (Susan, David, Elise, & Lisa)