Early August Sanibel & Captiva Islands Real Estate Scoop

Ibis parade OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt is another quiet Friday on Sanibel Island – too quiet for those of us in the real estate business. A report of the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service action this week is below. First time I ever remember reporting that there was absolutely no activity on Captiva in a given week!

Now for a couple of news items, followed by that report.

Sanibel School Earns Another “A”

Sanibel school ribbonIsland newspapers reported this week that although school grades dropped in Lee County, The Sanibel School kept its “A” rating for another year. Last week, the Florida Department of Education released the 2013 preliminary school grades based on student test scores. The Sanibel School earned 761 out of 900 points.

Lee County’s overall grade for 2013 dropped from a “B” to a “C”, which mirrored decreases in Charlotte, Collier, and Glades counties. 37% of district schools earned an “A” this year, compared to 29% statewide. Lee County ranked 3rd in the state for the number of schools earning an “A” or “B”. High school grades will be finalized when additional data is collected by the state this fall.

It’s no wonder families continue to move to the island for the school! To see how individual schools fared, check online at The Florida Department of Education (http://schoolgrades.fldoe.org/) and click under Preliminary School Grades for 2013.

Did You Know? (from EcoBroker®)

EcoBrokerOriginalCertifiedLogo150pHere is a little info received this week through the EcoBroker® program, where SanibelSusan is certified.

Did you know that there are ~250 million thermostats in the U.S. of which only 40% are programmable. And of those, only 10% have been programmed to save energy.

Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats are a growing market in HVAC too. Both Nest and Honeywell produce a smart thermostat, able to connect to your Smartphone to show you current condition in your home so you may adjust accordingly, all while away. These thermostats also learn when you wake up and when you leave, to ensure a comfortable living environment while maximizing energy savings.

More on Water Quality

realtor logoThe Sanibel and Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® arranged for a local water-quality expert to speak at the 2013 Florida Realtors® Convention and Trade Expo next week in Orlando. Many Realtors® have been on a soap box recently about water quality. All island lovers and concerned citizens should be worried.

The 2013 rains most-likely will set records breaking the string of drought years Florida has suffered since 2007. After a wet spring and very wet early summer, the Everglades ecosystem (which stretches from Orlando to Florida Bay and Fort Myers to Stuart) has received more rain than it can hold. The excess water, no longer able to flow south because of sugarcane and crops growing in the Everglades Agricultural Area is sent instead both east and west – to the Caloosahatchee estuary here and to the St. Lucie estuary on the other coast. High levels of freshwater are killing marine life here and the news about it is far-reaching.

SCCF photo of Redfish Pass 07-10-13

SCCF photo of Redfish Pass 07-10-13

Our colleague, David Schuldenfrei, was on the local TV news yesterday where much of the discussion focused around the already-felt economic consequences of these freshwater releases.

Filmed at Franklin Lock and Dam which is in Olga, Florida, about 33 miles upstream of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, David was amazed to see the algae already growing on the other side of the dam and the amount of water that is coming downriver – literally thousands of gallons a second. (The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed and currently manages five locks along the 152-mile Okeechobee Waterway. Franklin Lock and Dam were construction in 1965 for flood control, water control, prevention of salt-water intrusion, and navigation purposes.)

The photo above was taken almost a month ago showing the water flowing between Captiva and North Captiva. Imagine how much more water has come down the river since then.

There is an excellent link with directions for sending your letters of concern at http://www.dingdarlingsociety.org/admin/media_upload/water.pdf

Please do it! Experts say that even if the releases stop today – which definitely is not going to happen – the water around Sanibel and Captiva may not clear up and return to natural salinity levels until well into 2014!

5 Best Beach Towns to Buy Property In – According to Investopedia

Investopedia logoI read an interesting on-line article this week at Investopedia.com. (Who knew such a web site existed?) Not only was the article a fun read, but the first beach town mentioned isn’t even near the beach! Since several island clients currently are buying investment property just off-island, I thought you might enjoy the article too. (FYI – We have an off-island expert who handles our short sale/foreclosure business, while teammates Dave and Lisa who own themselves just off-island, work our traditional sales there.)

“For the most part, beach properties have held up pretty well since the property bubble for residential real estate burst in the United States between 2007 and 2009. Based on Zillow.com’s affordability index, which measures the price of property in a city and compares it to the annual income levels of its residents, property remains firmly depressed in many beach towns. Below is an overview of some of the more affordable locales these days.

Lakeland, FL – Though officially slightly inland from the beach town of Clearwater, FL, as well as Tampa Bay, FL and St. Petersburg, FL, the short drive may be worth it as Lakeland, FL is currently one of the most affordable home markets in the country. The low range of its historical price to income ratio is more than 40% below its historical norms. A perusal of the available real estate in the city shows a number of properties for well below six figures. Orlando, FL, which is slightly east, also has a high number of affordable and beaten-down houses for sale following the bursting of the housing bubble.

Jacksonville, FL – Situated right on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, Jacksonville, FL is also among the most affordable real estate markets in the United States right now. Its affordability index is right around 40% below its historical average. Houses right on, or very close to, the waterfront are currently listed for around $100,000, with some going for less. New homes are also an option, thanks to plenty of remaining real estate available for building.

Fort Myers, FL – Sticking in Florida may be the best strategy for snagging an affordable beach property. Fort Myers, FL has a reputation for some of the worst hit real estate as a result of the housing bubble. The affordability index is similar to that of Jacksonville, FL at just below 40% its historical average. Homes right on the waterfront currently list for a couple of hundred thousand or more, but there are still deals to be had and cheaper homes slightly inland. Sanibel Island, FL, which is just a short drive across the Causeway Boulevard, remains pricey with home prices closer to a cool million. A number of foreclosures still exist in the area.

Mobile, AL – Heading slightly west and tucked right into Mobile Bay on the Gulf of Mexico, Mobile, AL is right around the national average with an affordability index 35% below its historical average. On an absolute level, very few houses are listed above six figures and that means a location right on the water could be very affordable. Highly motivated sellers want to move a number of the properties.

San Diego, CA – Moving out west and to well above the national average, certain San Diego real estate is still 20% below its historical affordability index average. Smaller properties not far from the Pacific coast go for a couple of hundred thousand, which isn’t that bad if being close to the beach is a high priority. A condo right on the beach is also currently going for less than $300,000, though it is only 638 square feet.

“Conclusion – Combined with record low mortgage rates, a beach-front property is well within the reach of many U.S. citizens. Foreigners have also gotten in on the mix and have largely bought up the properties in international destinations such as Miami. Those with the funds could be sitting pretty in the next decade. ”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity August 2 to 9

1 new listings: Mariner Pointe #1013 2/2 $399K.
2 price changes: Sundial #D207 1/1 now $269K, Shell Island Beach Club #7A 2/2 now $671K.
3 new sales: Tennisplace #D31 1/1 listed for $179K, Spanish Cay #C3 2/2 listed for $335K, Sanibel Siesta #210 2/2 listed for $439K.
3 closed sales: Pointe Santo #A22 2/2 $695K, Gulfside Place #323 2/2 $900K, Cyprina Beach #1 2/2.5 $1.2M.

5 new listings: 736 Cardium St 3/2 $459.9K, 1644 Atlanta Plaza Dr 2/2 $489K, 673 East Rocks Dr 3/2 $639K, 909 Lindgren Blvd 4/3 $1.395M, 561 Lighthouse Way 5/4 $1.895M.
1 price change: 747 Martha’s Ln 3/2 now $549K.
3 new sales: 945 Main St 3/3 listed for $435K (short sale), 9240 Belding Dr 3/2.5 listed for $475K, 2560 Coconut Dr 3/3 listed for $495K.
4 closed sales: 9418 Moonlight Dr 3/2 $476,833, 615 Hideaway Ct 3/2.5 $657.5K, 1316 Eagle Run Dr 4/3 $843K, 203 Daniel Dr 3/3 $980K.

3 new listings: 2512 Wulfert Rd $259.5K, 690 Birdie View Pt $399K, 568 Lighthouse Way $1.995M.
1 price change: 708 Durion Ct now $325K.
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.

Here’s hoping real estate activity on the island picks up soon!
Realistically, that won’t happen for another couple of months, but a girl (& her team) can hope! Happy weekend wishes to all…

Enjoy this YouTube video posted by Sanibel Community Church staff.

Bet you haven’t seen “Starry Night” by One Direction performed like this & at the beach!

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