It is official. “high season” in Florida is over. Real estate inquiry calls have slowed down and I heard that even internet and foot traffic at the Chamber of Commerce suddenly has dropped off. After 22 years on Sanibel, it still is always amazing how fast the islands go from gridlock to quiet. Related mostly to school breaks ending and spring weather arriving elsewhere, I guess. Too bad, as the month of May often has some of the “best” weather!
Yesterday at the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Thursday Caravan Meeting only one house was on tour, again indicative of the time of the year. Attendance was down too, with almost as many affiliate business partners there as real estate agents. Beginning May 1, these meetings will revert to the every-other-week off-season schedule. Between now and summer, the islands usually experience a return of prospective buyers who did not buy during the winter – often because they could not view all of the properties that interested them. SanibelSusan Realty associates are ready for them.
Below are a few news items, followed by an update of the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service action over the last week. Of the two island condo closings this week, one was ours. We also had the only lot sale closing.
Sea Turtle Nesting Season Begins May 1
The 2013 sea turtle nesting season on Sanibel and Captiva was the 3rd highest season on record according to the May-June issue of SCCF’s (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) “Member Update”. Last summer 26,641 live hatchlings were produced from the islands’ two beaches. Of the 483 nests documented, 23 were by green sea turtles
SCCF also announced that Sanibel and Captiva now are using the online nesting and stranding databases found at www.seaturtle.org. This means that when the 2014 sea turtle season begins, the nesting data may be viewed in real-time throughout the season.
Sea turtles are among the world’s oldest creatures. On Sanibel and Captiva where the beaches provide subtropical nesting areas for threatened loggerhead and endangered green turtles, more than 100 island residents volunteer each summer as part of SCCF’s Sea Turtle Research and Monitoring Program which operates under a permit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Each day during nesting season, May to October, the 18 miles of Gulf beaches from Sanibel Lighthouse to the tip of Captiva are checked beginning at dawn. Nests are identified and marked for monitoring and protection. Later in the season, new hatches are evaluated and recorded.
If your property is on the beach, remember sea turtles are threatened by light pollution. Bright lights can disorient nesting egg-laden female turtles. For hatchlings, instinct drives them from their nests on beaches towards the brightest horizon, ideally the waterline on an undeveloped coast. Lighting from buildings or even flashlights confuses nesting females and hatchlings, so please keep those lights out.
Sanibel’s city web site, www.mysanibel.com has an easy way to test if your property is in compliance with the City’s sea turtle protection ordinances:
“Stand on the beach on a moonless night and look seaward. If you can see your shadow cast towards the water, there is too much light behind you.” Check the web site for more info.
Americans Prefer Real Estate Over Stocks, Gold
Like my Dad always said, “Put your money into real estate!”
“Americans have renewed confidence in real estate as a great investment. In fact, Americans believe real estate is the “best” long-term investment, followed by gold, stocks, mutual funds, savings accounts/CDs, and bonds, according to a new Gallup Poll of … adults who were asked to choose the best option for long-term investments. Bonds were the least favorite investment among the options Gallup surveyed.
In 2011, Americans surveyed said the most popular long-term investment was gold. That also marked a time when gold was at its highest price and real estate and stock values were lower than today, Gallup notes.
““With housing prices improving across the country, Americans are regaining faith that real estate is the best choice for long-term investments,” according to Gallup. “Home ownership is also associated with views of real estate as an attractive investment opportunity.”
“Americans with higher incomes are the most likely to say real estate and stocks are the best investments – “possibly because of their experience with these type of investments,” according to the Gallup poll.
“Higher income Americans are most likely to say they own their home (at 87%), followed by middle-income earners (at 66%) and lower-income earners (36%).
“Home owners are slightly more likely than renters to say real estate is the best choice for long-term investments – 33% versus 24%, respectively, according to the Gallup poll.”
Earth Day & Your Diet
SanibelSusan’s EcoBroker certification requires renewal each year about the same time as Earth Day. With that renewal comes an educational update, so when I did that class work this week, I also read several of postings about Earth Day. Here is an extract from “National Geographics” with some of their Water Conservation Tips. These interesting facts were posted under their subheading, “Diet”:
“The water it takes to produce the average American diet alone—approximately 1,000 gallons per person per day—is more than the global average water footprint of 900 gallons per person per day for diet, household use, transportation, energy, and the consumption of material goods.
“That quarter pounder is worth more than 30 average American showers. One of the easiest ways to slim your water footprint is to eat less meat and dairy. Another way is to choose grass-fed, rather than grain-fed, since it can take a lot of water to grow corn and other feed crops.
“A serving of poultry costs about 90 gallons of water to produce. There are also water costs embedded in the transportation of food (gasoline costs water to make). So, consider how far your food has to travel, and buy local to cut your water footprint.
“On average, a vegan, a person who doesn’t eat meat or dairy, indirectly consumes nearly 600 gallons of water per day less than a person who eats the average American diet.
Many HOAs Are Underfunded
A step in the home buying process should always include a review of the association documents including their financials. The following article posted on Apr 22, 2014 at on-line “Daily Real Estate News” and sourced to “Kiplinger’s Personal Finance” (April 2014) describes why:
“More homeowners’ groups may be operating with insufficient reserves, which could one day result in an unexpected increase in costs to home owners.
“An estimated 70% of association-governed communities are underfunded, a rise from 60% a decade ago, according to a new report from the consulting firm Association Reserves. Associations that lack adequate reserves may impose large special assessments for emergency repairs, says Robert Nordlund, Association Reserves’ founder. What’s more, home owners who don’t pay could then face liens against their property, or the association could even have the power to foreclose on them.
“Housing experts urge home buyers to ask for a copy of the homeowner group’s most recent reserve study and ask about the percentage of residents who are more than 60 days delinquent on their fees. It affects the association’s cash flow, and when “you’re buying into a nonprofit corporation, you need to find out if that corporation is stable,” Nordlund notes.
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity April 18-25, 2014
2 new listings: Duggers Tropical Cottages #5 1/1 $324.9K, Nutmeg Village #308 2/2 $799.9K.
6 price changes: Spanish Cay #A6 1/1 now $268.5K, Tennisplace #B24 2/1 now $299.9K, Loggerhead Cay #453 2/2 now $499K, Sayana #103 2/2 now $715K, Shorewood #2B 3/3 now $1.395M, Seascape #104 3/3 now $2.2M.
2 new sales: Sanibel Inn #3535 2/2 listed for $699K, Compass Point #133 2/2 listed for $1.185M.
3 closed sales: Sundial #G305 1/1 $310K, Kings Crown #104 2/2 $850K (our buyer), Villa Sanibel #1G 2/2 $870K.
3 new listings: 2551 Sanibel Blvd 2/2 $489K, 1337 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 $1.25M, 283 Ferry Landing Dr 3/2 $1.695M.
7 price changes: 5141 SanCap Rd 2/2 now $320K; 989 Dixie Beach Blvd 3/2 now $595K; 1744 Bunting Ln 4/2 now $609.9K; 420 East Gulf Dr 3/3 now $749K; 917 Pepper Tree Place 4/3 now $829,407; 419 Lighthouse Way 4/3 now $859K; 5615 Baltusrol Ct 4/4/3 now $4.399M.
3 new sales: 9263 Kincaid Ct 3/2.5 listed for $449K, 3711 Agate Ct 3/2.5 listed for $799K, 4622 Rue Belle Mer 4/2 listed for $809K.
3 closed sales: 1344 Tahiti Dr 2/1 $410K, 542 Kinzie Island Ct 3/3.5 $1.8M, 4717 Rue Belle Mer 3/3 $1.94M (short sale).
1 new listing: 3338 West Gulf Dr $429K.
2 price changes: 2988 Wulfert Rd now $399K, 2993 Wulfert Rd $599K.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: 1118 Sand Castle Rd $165K (our listing).
2 new listings: Lands End Village #1655 2/2 $1.095M, Lands End Village #1657 2/2 $1.095M.
3 new sales: Tennis Villas #3229 1/1 listed for $235K, Ventura Captiva #4B 3/3 listed for $797.5K, Sunset Beach Villas #2338 3/3 listed for $850K.
No new sale.
1 closed sale: Tennis Villas #310 1/1 $200K.
No new listings or price changes.
2 new sales: 11541 Laika Ln 4/4 listed for $1.65M, 16645 Captiva Dr 8/9/2 listed for $1.095M.
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.
SanibelSusan is ready for May – best weather month on the island!