It’s another happy Friday on Sanibel. Island traffic picked up considerably both yesterday and today with folks arriving for the long Columbus Day holiday weekend. Hopefully some of them will be interested in real estate. SanibelSusan Realty will be open and ready!
Fabulous island-style fall weather is expected too, with no rain in the forecast until the middle of next week. With a drop in humidity and evening temperatures to drop into the 60’s, we look forward to some of the best island weather! October is really here!
With all of the ugly media reports this week, we want more positive news. So, here’s some for the team – we had another condo listing go under contract this week, had a nice SanibelSusan closing today and another one scheduled for Tuesday where we helped both the buyers and sellers achieve their goals. Woohoo! Many thanks to all!
Here are a few news items, followed by the activity posted in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service over the last seven days.
Sanibel Skate Park
Did you know that Sanibel even has a skate park? It is at the Sanibel Recreation Center and is open Thursdays from 2-4 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Skateboards and roller blades are welcome, users must provide their own equipment, and helmets are mandatory. All participants also must have a valid Rec Center membership and have a skate park release form completed by an adult. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. More info is on http://www.mysanibel.com.
Florida Regulators Developing Guidelines to Bring Flood Insurers to the State
“Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty said Wednesday that his office is in the process of developing a “set of simple guidelines” for insurance companies to request approval to write primary flood insurance in Florida as an alternative to the Federal Floods Insurance Program. “The guidelines will not only provide a framework for the approval of rates and forms for flood coverage, but will also address financial requirements that must be met for insurers to write this new coverage,’’ McCarty said in a statement.
“The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation was barraged with questions Wednesday after McCarty’s deputy, Rebecca Matthews, told the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee on Tuesday that OIR was working with companies to help them write primary flood coverage in the state to give them an alternative to paying the massive price increases expected as a result of federal reforms.
“The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 attempted to phase in a series of rate increases in the National Flood Insurance Program as a way to close the program’s $24 billion deficit. But estimated 268,000 Floridians with older homes in high risk flood zones will lose their subsidized rates when they sell their homes, hitting buyers with triple digit increases in their flood insurance premiums in many cases.
“Gov. Rick Scott and Florida’s congressional delegation have appealed to Congressional leaders to pass a delay in the rate hikes but, with Washington at a standstill, nothing has happened. Meanwhile, real estate experts say the rate shock on buyers could freeze Florida’s slowly-thawing real estate market. They are urging state leaders to come up with an alternative for the nearly 2 million homeowners who now have NFIP policies.
“A handful of companies are currently writing primary flood coverage in Florida, but they are generally specialty companies and write flood coverage only for high value homes, said OIR spokeswoman Amy Bogner. Insurers can either write the flood policy as a stand-alone flood policy or as an endorsement onto a homeowners policy, she said.
“Some of the companies current writing flood insurance include: Chubb (Federal Insurance Company); AIG (Chartis Property Casualty Company); Wright National Flood Insurance Company; Privilege Underwriters Reciprocal Exchange; Firemans Fund Insurance Company; ASI (American Strategic Insurance Corporation); Markel American Insurance Company.
“Scott was asked on Wednesday whether he would support policies to make it easier for insurers to provide alternative insurance in Florida but the governor refused to answer and instead blamed President Barack Obama. “The president signed the bill. He could have an impact by stopping it,” Scott told reporters. “He needs to put a pause on that bill.””
Florida Announces Support For Mississippi’s Lawsuit Against FEMA
In a press release late Thursday from the Governor’s office (eog.myflorida.com):
“Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi today announced that they will be filing an amicus brief, or “friend of the court” brief, in Mississippi’s lawsuit against the federal government’s unfair National Flood Insurance Program’s rate hike. Governor Rick Scott said, “President Obama is failing to save Florida families from huge flood insurance rate hikes and that is why we are going to support Mississippi in their lawsuit against FEMA. This unfair rate hike could devastate Florida’s real estate market and homeowners.
““I want to thank Senators Rubio and Nelson for working across party lines on this issue, especially during such a time of partisanship in Washington. Ultimately, the buck stops with the President and that’s why we continue to ask him to get his agency- FEMA- to undo this unfair insurance rate hike on Florida families.”
“Attorney General Pam Bondi said, “Due to Congress’ failure to better protect consumers, Floridians are now facing increased flood insurance rates that could force them from their homes and hurt the economy. While we are in frequent communication with OIR to determine whether we can legally take additional action, we support Mississippi’s lawsuit.”
“Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater said, “The National Flood Insurance Program was created to help families who live in flood prone areas, but the recent changes are going to cause more harm than good. I am appreciative of Senator Rubio, Senator Nelson and all of Florida’s Congressional members who are working toward making the appropriate legislative changes, and I am appreciative of states like Mississippi that are helping Washington realize immediate action needs to be taken to fix the problem.””
Freddie Mac‘s Plan to Stall Impact of Shutdown
An on-line REALTOR®Mag article in “Daily Real Estate News” on Tuesday, says: “With the government shutdown now in its second week, Freddie Mac has issued intermediate guidelines to lending institutions for approving home loans and modifications to keep the housing market from grinding to a halt.
“Federal employees and contractors are not receiving paychecks during the government shutdown, but Freddie Mac is allowing lenders to approve mortgages for those borrowers — even in the absence of steady income — assuming they meet other loan requirements and plan to return to work once the government reopens.
“”Today’s bulletin is intended to give lenders the certainty to continue approving and delivering new mortgages that meet Freddie Mac guidelines to eligible borrowers, such as federal employees and contractors, during the temporary shutdown,” says Dave Lowman, Freddie Mac executive vice president of single-family business. “We are also reminding servicers of our forbearance options to assist qualified home owners with Freddie Mac mortgages to minimize the shutdown’s impact on our nation’s families and communities.”
“Freddie Mac has mortgage relief and forbearance policies available to public- and private-sector employees who are affected by the government’s shutdown. One of the biggest hurdles for lenders is being unable to verify borrowers’ income directly from the IRS during the government freeze. But both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have said they would adjust policies as needed so that loans and modifications could continue to be approved.”
Survey: Gov’t Shutdown Deflating Housing Optimism
Another “Daily Real Estate News” article also on Tuesday offered the following glum news: “Though Americans have expressed optimism about the housing recovery over the last few months, their feel-good attitudes took a turn for the worse in the run-up to the government shutdown, Fannie Mae reports in its latest National Housing Survey.
“”Our September National Housing Survey results show that the improvements in consumer housing attitudes witnessed in recent months softened ahead of the government shutdown,” says Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s senior vice president and chief economist. “Americans’ awareness of policy uncertainty leading up to the October 1st shutdown, and the pending debt-ceiling debate, appears to have grown as indicated by an apparent cautionary holding pattern in overall consumer housing and personal finance sentiment.”
“The percentage of Americans who say they believe home prices will increase over the next 12 months fell from 55% in August to 52% in September. And 63% say they believe mortgage rates will keep rising, an all-time high for the survey and an uptick from 60% in August.
“Still, 72% say it’s a good time to buy a house, and 38% say it’s a good time to sell, according to the survey.”
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity from October 4-11
5 new listings: Colonnades #13 1/1 $169K (short sale), Loggerhead Cay #362 22/2 $512K, Loggerhead Cay #351 2/2 $548K, Sundial #Q202 2/2 $780K, Island Beach Club #220D 2/2 $849K.
2 price changes: Shorewood #2B 3/3 now $1.449M, Plantation Village #B321 3/3 now $2.499M.
2 new sales: Spanish Cay #F7 1/1 listed for $264K (our listing), Nutmeg Village #214 2/2 listed for $899K.
3 closed sales: Tennisplace #D31 1/1 $170K, Sanibel Arms West #M4 2/2 $424K, Sanibel Arms #D1 2/2 $445K.
3 new listings: 6451 Pine Ave 3/2 $489K, 1342 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $599K, 1480 Angel Dr 3/3 $1.499M.
5 price changes: 2729 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 now $1.175M, 2520 Harbour Ln 3/2.5 now $1.275M, 1748 Jewel Box Dr 4/4 now $1.389M, 829 Tulip Ln 5/4.5 now $2.295M, 3869 West Gulf Dr 6/7/2 now $9.495M.
1 new sale: 2279 Troon Ct 3/4 listed for $1.395M.
3 closed sales: 1183 Kittiwake Cir 3/3 $670K, 1735 Jewel Box Dr 4/3 $1.175M, 6014 White Heron Ln 3/3.5 $1.25M.
No new listings.
1 price change: 1898 Woodring Rd now $2.495M.
No new sales.
4 closed sales: 1847 Farm Trl $207.5K (our listing), 3358 Saint Kilda Rd $284K, 2323 Starfish Ln $300K, 3761 Coquina Dr $317.5K.
No new listings, price changes, or new sales.
1 closed sale: Lands End Village #1631 2/2 $1.085M.
No new listings.
1 price change: 15301 Captiva Dr 4/3.5 now $2.249M.
1 new sale: 16838 Captiva Dr 7/7.5 listed for $4.995M
No 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 October, wherever you are! SanibelSusan