SanibelSusan reports this week that the team and I are very thankful to be living in Southwest Florida. Folks flying in and out of RSW have had some delays, but those here this week just enjoying Sanibel and Captiva have had fabulous weather, particularly when compared to the rest of the nation. The residual effect of the northern storms brought a cool down here today. From temperatures in the high 70’s/low 80’s most of the week, today it is not expected to reach the 70’s – a nice change and a chance to wear long sleeves. Warm weather returns tomorrow, with the next chill not expected until Mon night into Tues.
It will be interesting to hear if the Sat check-outs will be able to get back home. Rental managers already advise that they have received calls from renters requesting late departures or extended stays. The local news last night reported a Canadian family trying to fly home that has been delayed 5 days because of airport closings and connecting flights. What a great reason to buy property here!
Our condo listings were all occupied this week, so there will be a flurry of showings mid-day tomorrow as some of these guests depart and units are cleaned before the next arrivals. Like last Sat, I’ll be out showing homes again too.
After a few news items, below is a report of the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service action over the last week.
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of REALTORS®
With no REALTOR® Caravans last week or this, it will be back to our regular Thurs morning schedule next week, alternating each week between east-end and west-end. During the busy winter season, we will continue to hold listings open as they are vacant on Thurs mornings. Serious prospective buyers learn that the islands have their most open houses during that time.
Next Sat is the Installation and Awards Banquet for our Sanibel and Captiva Islands Association of REALTORS®. With a record number of reservations made, we are excited that Florida REALTORS® 2014 President Sherri Meadows and National Association of REALTORS® 2016 President Tom Salomone will be here to perform the installations. Yours truly is the emcee. Should be fun!
Sanibel Hiking & Cycling Trail Improvements
“City officials say construction started last week on one of two boardwalks for the Pond Apple Park Trail that runs parallel to Causeway Boulevard and Periwinkle Way. The rest of the trail will remain unpaved, but a layer of shell will be added. Removing non-native invasive plants and creating a new, wildlife-friendly pond also is on the agenda. When completed in the next six to eight weeks, this trail north of Periwinkle Way not only will be accessible most of the year to wheelchair users and others, it will:
• Connect two city parks, Pond Apple Park and Roadside Park
• Lengthen a 1.6-mile-long trail network to 2.4 miles, end-to-end
• Link 74 acres of nature preserves
• Provide another option to the city’s popular 22.6-mile network of paved, shared-use paths.
“For folks desiring a longer trek or ride, the trail system is accessible to the paved path along Periwinkle, via a crosswalk at Roadside Park.
“James Evans, city director of natural resources, calls the trail a “tool to get the people out to enjoy the nature, and see why they’re buying these lands” for conservation. The trail meanders behind several businesses, including Bennett’s Fresh Roast coffee and doughnut shop and the Lazy Flamingo restaurant and Dairy Queen restaurants. At this time, there is no plan to connect business properties to the trail, although Evans didn’t rule that out after all of the improvements are made.
“The city purchased the tract now called Pond Apple Park in 2001, after a voter referendum. It’s made improvements as grant monies became available; however, the process ramped up through partnerships with the state Department of Environmental protection and the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation.
The foundation owns the former homestead of the pioneering Bailey family, best known today for Bailey’s General Store. Pond Apple Park Trail will connect to the Shipley Trail that runs behind the Baileys’ old home, but currently is closed to public use.
“Foundation officials are leery of talking about their plans until they have all of the permits. A fundraising page at sccf.org mentions such possible future public activities at the homestead property as a native plant nursery and a butterfly house, and self-guided house tours.
“Pond Apple Park Trail currently has a marked trailhead adjacent to the parking lot for the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce at 1159 Causeway Blvd. Evans took a reporter on the Pond Apple Park and Shipley trails for a show-and-tell recently. He noted that exotics removal and pond creation are intended “to create a mosaic of habitats so the wildlife can thrive.”
“Wildlife already is robust along the trail, and includes a bald eagle nest as well as alligators and an array of birds that frequent a pond of treated wastewater that’s stored for use in residential and golf course irrigation. Habitats include a pond apple slough, pine flat woods and a tropical hardwood hammock.
The stretches of boardwalk, 270 and 420 linear feet respectively, will have aluminum rails. The composite decking with a wood-grain look and a non-slip surface will be about 18” off the ground. This will permit water flow, but make cycling and hiking safer in the wet months.
“Most of the boardwalk will be 8′ wide, allowing for easy passing of hikers and cyclists. However, for the longer boardwalk in the Schlosser Preserve, one section will be 12′ wide and include a bench overlooking a pond. And, at different points along the trail system, you’ll see benches, a Miccosukee-built chickee-style picnic pavilion and a gazebo very recently built by the all-volunteer Hammerheads group. When the longer trail system debuts in March, there’ll be a trail information kiosk at Roadside Park. People can use chamber of commerce restrooms during business hours. Both the chamber and Roadside Park have outdoor drinking fountains. The chamber’s lot has eight parking spaces trail visitors may use, all at no charge; Roadside Park has at least twice as many spaces, all free.”
The article also included some fun “Pond apple facts” sourced to the education staff at Naples Botanical Garden: “Pond apple is a swamp and slough tree (up to 40 feet tall) with glossy green leaves, yellowish flowers with red bases, and fruit with a pear- or mango-like shape. The fruit’s scent has been likened to ether. Its taste is poor: nothing like a grocery store apple. Flowering typically occurs April through June, with fruit ripening into the autumn. Even though pond apples are not popular human food, ripe fruit may drop into the water and provide food for wildlife, such as raccoons or alligators.”
Happenings at J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge
“From birding and biking the Refuge, to learning about gators and crocs, the seasonal calendar of FREE programs and tours at the Refuge begins today, Jan 2, 2014, and runs through Apr 25.
Click here for a complete calendar of free activities and descriptions.”
NAR: Housing Market Is Stabilizing
“Contracts to buy new homes leveled off in Nov, ticking up slightly by 0.2%, the National Association of REALTORS® reports. Pending home sales — which reflect contracts and not closings — were 1.6% below year-ago levels. “We may have reached a cyclical low because the positive fundamentals of job creation and household formation are likely to foster a fairly stable level of contract activity in 2014,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Although the final months of 2013 are finishing on a soft note, the year as a whole will end with the best sales total in seven years.”
“Pending home sales in Nov posted the largest gains in the South and West, rising 2.3% and 1.8% month-over-month, respectively. The increases helped to offset declines in pending home sales in the Northeast (down by 2.7% in Nov) and the Midwest (down by 3.1%).
“Total existing-home sales are expected to end the year with nearly a 10% gain over 2012. However, Yun says that existing-home sales will likely remain at around 5.1 million in 2014. A rise to 5.3 million in existing-home sales is expected for 2015.
“Existing-home prices for 2013 are expected to be about 12% higher than year-ago levels, averaging $197,300. NAR predicts that home prices will grow modestly in 2014 at a pace of 5 to 5.5%, and values will increase another 4% in 2015.”
More Than 3 Million Regained Equity in 2013
“Home prices rebounded in 2013, helping more than 3 million home owners regain long-lost equity, according to CoreLogic’s latest MarketPulse report. “We’re encouraged by the improvements of the past year and have every reason to be cautiously optimistic about continued progress in 2014. That said, monitoring the current and potential headwinds the industry faces is critical,” says Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. More than two-thirds of all homes with a mortgage now have at least 20% equity, giving home owners more options in the housing market in the new year and increasing their employment mobility.
“Still, 6.4 million residential properties have negative equity, and a third of those are concentrated in five states: Nevada, Florida, Arizona, Ohio, and Georgia. Some of the biggest jumps in home prices over the last six months have occurred in Chicago and Raleigh, NC, CoreLogic reports. “That acceleration is consistent with our prior analysis, which showed that Chicago has had the most rapid growth of any market for owner-occupied purchase transactions in the past two years,” the report said.”
App for Homeowners
In the Jan/Feb “FloridaRealtor®” magazine that arrived this week, there is info on a cool new-home project estimator app. “HomeZada is a new app for Android and iOS that enables homeowners to determine how much a project is going to cost and the supplies that will be needed; to comparison shop; and to track their budget until project completion. Hundreds of home improvement projects are already loaded into the app. Check out the shopping lists! Get it at homezada.com, free for basic.”
Florida TaxWatch Reviews Flood Insurance
Another article from the same “FloridaRealtor®” magazine continues the discussion on flood insurance in Florida. When showing property today, the most frequent questions from prospective buyers and sellers are about flood insurance.
“A new study by Florida TaxWatch, a non-partisan research group, confirms what Florida Realtors® has said all along: Florida policyholders make a major financial contribution to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) but not its biggest beneficiary.
“Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 to help reduce the $25 billion debt of the NFIP by bringing rates charged more in line with the risk and losses in flood-prone areas. Many discounts and subsidies policyholders received in the past will be eliminated or phased out.
“The Florida TaxWatch study found:
- Most of NFIP’s current $25 billion debt is due to claims from Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy, which had minimal impact on Florida.
- Floridians paid $3.60 in premiums for every $1 collected in flood claims from the program.
- Eleven states (not Florida) have received more in payouts over the 30-year period of the study than their policyholders paid in premiums, with six of those states receiving at least double the amount that policyholders paid in premiums.
“The complete Florida TaxWatch study and other flood insurance information are available from the Florida Insurance Toolkit at floridarealtors.org.”
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity Dec 27, 2013 – Jan 3, 2014
4 new listings: Coquina Beach #F 2/2 $575K, Nutmeg Village #103 2/2 $612K, Kings Crown #218 3/2 $1.25M, Sanibel Seaview #B2 2/2 $1.395M
2 price changes: White Pelican #123 2/2 now $799K, Pine Cove #1A 2/2 now $849K.
No new sales.
4 closed sales: Colonnades #13 1/1 $150K (short sale), Beach Road Villas #106 2/2 $287.5K, Oceans Reach #4C2 2/2 $779K, Gulfside Place #121 2/2 $928K.
6 new listings: 1890 Farm Trail 3/2 $489K, 450 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $569K, 566 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2 $995K, 2405 Wulfert Rd 4/5.5 $1.949M, 1306 Seaspray Ln 3/4 $4.195M, 5615 Baltusrol Ct 4/4/3 $4.699M.
4 price changes: 970 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $525K, 1824 Woodring Rd 4/4 now $1.395M, 5423 Osprey Ct 3/2.5 now $1.479M, 3744 West Gulf Dr 4/4 now $1.795M.
3 new sales: 398 Old Trail Rd 3/3 listed for $499K, 696 Durion Ct 3/2.5 listed for $599K, 211 Daniel Dr 3/2 listed for $749.9K.
3 closed sales: 731 Nerita St 3/2 $540K, 9405 Beverly Ln 3/2 $650K, 1950 Woodring Rd 3/3.5 $1.8M.
1 new listing: 592 Sea Oats Dr $350K.
1 price change: 761 Donax St now $224K.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: 1344 Eagle Run Dr $250K.
Nothing to report.
2 new listings: 51 Oster Ct 2/2.5 $795K, 16790 Captiva Dr 5/5 $5.9M.
1 price change: 15631 Captiva Dr 5/4.5 now $1.715M.
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.