It’s Still a Great Time to Buy Island Real Estate as the Month of May Begins with Great Weather on Sanibel & Captiva

As SanibelSusan wraps up another real estate week on the island, there are 25 finalized Sanibel sales to report: 17 condos and eight homes. Two of the condos were SanibelSusan listings.

Those closings bring total Sanibel closed sales year-to-date up to 154 (69 condos, 75 homes, and 10 lots). Another 85 Sanibel properties are under contract (31 condos, 50 homes, and 4 lots). The total number of closed sales year-to-date are just a tad ahead of last year when 148 properties had sold by now (52 condos, 86 homes, and 10 lots). This winter the most popular product was high-end condos.

Our weekly report below describes the activity posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service over the last seven days, including our new listing at Mariner Pointe. (Below is a slide show of some of the amenities at Mariner Pointe.)

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First some island and real estate news:

Dunes Traffic Study Results  

DunesEntrySignIn preparation for The Dunes roads being resurfaced in the summer of 2015 (a project expected to cost in excess of $700,000) and as follow-up on the concerns of some residents that their community is being used as a “cut-through” for commuters during “season”, the City performed a traffic study of The Dunes and nearby roadways in March.

The results of the study were presented in a special meeting at The Dunes Pavilion this week when it was reported that 64% of the vehicles accessing the Dunes during the study’s peak period (4-6 p.m. March 19-21) were “pass-through” traffic.

Sanibel Public Works Director, Keith Williams, who spoke during the meeting, said “That total is higher than your typical neighborhood, but it doesn’t appear that speeding is an issue here, although we have heard several complaints about that.”  Interestingly, the study also concluded that through-out the 2-hour peak period, eastbound traffic along Periwinkle Way averaged 5 miles per hour. Many Dunes residents at the meeting completed a feedback survey and offered suggestions.

Island Night – Save the Date

Island Night Richard in Old CarSanibel’s 21st Island Night is Wednesday, June 4. This is the 21st year of the celebration which in 2004 was renamed Sam Bailey’s Island Night in honor of Sam whose vision was to bring the island communities together for a common purpose.

The fun begins at Hammond Stadium at 6:15 p.m. with a parade around the ball field.

The game is at 7:05 p.m. with the Fort Myers Miracle versus the Lakeland Flying Tigers.

Bubble Room cakesFree tickets are available from sponsors and at Bailey’s General Store. Contributions, which have totaled more than $150K over the years, have been distributed to help many local organizations, non-profits, and scholarships.

Mark your calendar on June 4 to enjoy a fun-filled night with the locals – camaraderie, baseball, your favorite ballpark concessions, plus cake from The Bubble Room!

Housing Recovery Ending? Not Yet

realtor logo“Realtor®Mag” on-line posted the following article last Friday:

“”Several housing reports out this week have painted a picture of a sluggish start to the spring-selling season. New-home sales plunged 14.5% in March, reaching the lowest level in eight months, according to the Commerce Department. Existing-home sales posted a slight drop in March, falling 0.2% from February, but the sales volume was at its lowest point since July 2012, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

“So is the housing recovery ending? Not yet, housing experts say.

“Several challenges persist: Low housing inventories, tight access to mortgage financing — particularly for first-time home buyers — and the decrease in housing affordability as home prices and mortgage rates rise, notes Rick Sharga, an executive vice president at who used to be an exec at Carrington Mortgage Holdings and RealtyTrac.

“Still, Sharga says the recovery remains on track. “This feels like a relatively normal market correction,” he notes in a column for HousingWire. “Prices rose rapidly and have stayed high due to limited inventory, causing affordability issues for potential home buyers. This has created a bit of a lull in terms of sales volume, but prices continue to go up, albeit more slowly. That, in turn, will create more positive equity and eventually result in more homes — existing and new — on the market, which will cause prices to soften, hopefully in tandem with somewhat more lenient lending practices.”

“Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, also sees an uptick in housing in the months ahead.

“With ongoing job creation and some weather-delayed shopping activity, home sales should pick up, especially if inventory continues to improve and mortgage interest rates rise only modestly,” he says.”

The Worst Is Over, But the Best Is Nowhere Near

realtor logoAnother “Realtor®Mag” article posted on-line this week offered good follow-up to the article above, when at a recent legislative and leadership summit for real estate managers, economists and industry leaders, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun had more to say:

“The country isn’t likely to fall into a repeat recession, NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun told real estate management professionals meeting in Washington, D.C., last week. But that’s hardly cause for celebration among economists.

“On the plus side, the country has added nearly 8 million jobs, replacing all those lost during the downturn, Yun said. Growth in consumer spending and high household net worth also bode well for the economy.

“However, Yun was quick to stress, the economy is not thriving by any means. Business spending is growing at the slow, steady rate of 2%, he said, rather than a sustained 5% to 10% rate that would suggest real economic growth. Yun said businesses are “flush with cash.” While corporations typically leverage funding to outspend profit levels, recent data shows business spending and profits to be nearly equal, as executives are leery of overspending. This has resulted in improved balance sheets for most organizations, including banks.

“Yun’s comments came during the Institute for Real Estate Management’s 2014 Legislative and Leadership Summit held April 5-9.

“Diving into real estate industry data, Yun said commercial real estate is slowly recovering from 2009, when transactions declined by 90%. Multifamily has steadily outshined the other sectors, partly because of the inability of many renters to convert to home ownership.

“Another factor contributing to the strong performance of multifamily real estate is the lack of supply. “New construction in all sectors has yet to recover in any meaningful way,” Yun said. Housing construction, in particular, would need to rise by more than 50% to be restored to previous levels. This persistent under production of single-family and multifamily housing will continue to lead to low vacancy rates and rising rents for this sector, Yun said.

“After sharing the market outlook, Yun was joined by real estate industry leaders Jeff Day, CEO of Berkeley Point Capital LLC, and Jonathan Miller, partner at Miller Ryan LLC and author of the Urban Land Institute’s Emerging Trends in Real Estate.

“When asked where he would invest in the current market, Miller stressed the desirability of “24-hour cities — large cities in global pathways linked by international transportation hubs.” According to Miller, this is where the major part of the economy is growing and where most institutional and foreign capital is concentrated. Other areas are more lackluster, he said, with both market prices and rents for office buildings remaining stagnant for up to two decades in some cases. “It’s a have and have-not situation,” Miller said.

“Still, the panel said the big-city model is being successfully replicated in smaller markets, such as Reston, Va., where a town center is home to a vibrant community with condominiums, movie theatres, and other retail spaces, attracting young professionals.

“Yun predicted that both the Millennial and boomer generations will contribute to the desirability of condominiums in these 24-hour cities. “I’d invest in 24-hour cities that are developing. Look at areas where traffic is getting worse,” Yun said. “Build condos in 24-hour cities. Apartments are already there, but there is a pent-up demand for condos. A sizable number of renters will want to convert over to ownership. Therefore, property management of condos will be rising.”

“The panel also forecast continued economic success in Texas cities and up through the middle of the country in the so-called “energy states.”

“Addressing office-sector trends, Day told the audience to look for more amenities being offered on business campuses. The new model is to “glue them to the campus with dry cleaning, food, and so forth,” Day said, allowing workers to interact and complete personal business on-site.

“When asked about the demand for green features in commercial real estate, panelists agreed that generally, lenders are interested in making sure they make loans on sustainable income streams. To that end, green features can be desirable, but factor into more of a capitalistic decision than an altruistic one.

“Ultimately, the panelists agreed, the outlook for commercial real estate is good, with all sectors in recovery mode. Money is flowing again, they said. This will lead to continued growth in the industry — and demand for professional real estate managers to keep things operating strongly.”

Countries Where There’s a Rush for U.S. Real Estate

CanadaIf you missed the “24/7 Wall Street” article earlier this month, here is how it was reported in on-line “Daily Real Estate News” on April 15. Made me think about how my advertising budget is reaching these buyers.

“Foreign buyers are being lured to U.S. real estate due to what they perceive as bargain prices, economic stability, and a “safe haven for investors,” 24/7 Wall St. reports. Interest in U.S. real estate from international buyers in ten countries has soared since 2009 by 95% or more. In nine of those countries, the interest has at least doubled, according to data from RealtyTrac. “The U.S. real estate market is coming off of a rough patch and entering recovery mode,” says Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac’s vice president. “International buyers see it as a great time to jump in and catch the U.S. market on the upswing.” 24/7 Wall St. compiled data from RealtyTrac to find that the following countries are showing the highest increases in interest in purchasing American homes.

  • United Arab Emirates: Growth in prospective home buyers: 352.2%, Share of international prospective buyers: 1.1% (12th highest)
  • Switzerland: Growth in prospective home buyers: 269.7%, Share of international prospective buyers: 2.1% (8th highest)
  • Hong Kong & China: Growth in prospective home buyers: 254.2%, Share of international prospective buyers: 4.1% (4th highest)
  • France: Growth in prospective home buyers: 190%, Share of international prospective buyers: 2.8% (6th highest)
  • Italy: Growth in prospective home buyers: 178.4%, Share of international prospective buyers: 1.9% (10th highest)
  • United Kingdom: Growth in prospective home buyers: 153.8%, Share of international prospective buyers: 12.1% (2nd highest)
  • Australia: Growth in prospective home buyers: 121.9%, Share of international prospective buyers: 11% (3rd highest)
  • Canada: Growth in prospective home buyers: 107.7%, Share of international prospective buyers: 45% (the highest).”

Homes Are Getting Bigger

FLRealtors_newlogoThere were some fun statistics posted in the May issue of “Florida Realtor®” magazine that arrived this week. This info is according to Census Bureau data and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

  • The average new-home size has continued to rise, from 2,362 sq. ft. in 2009 to 2,679 sq. ft. in 2013.
  •  The share of new homes with at least four bedrooms has risen from 34% in 2009 to 48% last year.
  • From 2005 to 2011, the number of annual new-home sales has dramatically declined, from 1.28 million to 306,000.

Lee County Meeting Venues

Occasionally, I am asked, “Where could my company hold a business meeting or conference on Sanibel?”

FinnimoresThat’s a tough question if your company is a large one, as even our 350+member local Association of Realtors® has had trouble through the years finding spots to hold our weekly caravan and membership meetings.

Several years ago, the Association purchased the commercial strip mall where Finnimore’s Cycle Shop is located and converted the upper floor into conference spaces and meeting rooms.

The April issue of “Gulfshore Business” magazine listed the largest Southwest Florida meeting venues.

sundial-logoHere are the ones in Lee County.

Note that only Sundial Beach Resort is on Sanibel and South Seas Island Resort on Captiva.

south seas logoSanibel Harbour is nearby, close to the toll booth before the causeway.

  • Germain Arena: 171,000 sq. ft.
  • Alico Arena:      120,000 sq. ft.
  • Lee Civic Center: 90,000 sq. ft.
  • Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa: 73,000 sq. ft.
  • Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa: 45,000 sq. ft.
  • Harborside Event Center:  42,000 sq. ft.
  • Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre: 36,000 sq. ft.
  • South Seas Island Resort: 28,000 sq. ft.
  • Sidney Berne Davis Art Center: 10,000 sq. ft.
  • Sundial Beach Resort: 10,000 sq. ft.
  • The Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village: 10,000 sq. ft.
  • Crowne Plaza Fort Myers at the Bell Tower Shops: 8,500 sq. ft.
  • DiamondHead Beach Resort: 8,000 sq. ft.
  • Holiday Inn Airport @ Town Center: 7,000 sq. ft.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity April 25-May 2, 2014


4 new listings: Sanibel Arms West #J4 2/2 $475K, Mariner Pointe #811 2/2 $499K (our listing), Sanibel Siesta #308 2/2 $500K, Pointe Santo #A21 2/2 $819K.
3 price changes: Sundial #H111 1/1 now $279K, Coquina Beach #5D 2/2 now $375K, Sunset South #1C 2/2 now $439K.
2 new sales: Breakers West #B5 2/2 listed for $459K, Sandpiper Beach #302 2/2 listed for $599K.
17 closed sales: Donax Village #9 1/1 $248K, Captains Walk #C1 2/1 $280K, Sundial #H107 1/1 $298K, Beach Road Villas #104 2/2 $313K (our listing), Kimball Lodge #263 1/1.5 $314K, Beach Road Villas #102 2/2 $330K, Seawind #102 2/2.5 $380K, Sundial #J108 2/2 $460K, Compass Point #212 2/2 $520K, Sundial #Q302 2/2 $625K, Nutmeg Village #105 2/2 $650K, Loggerhead Cay #121 2/2 $699K, Surfside 12 #C3 3/2 $750K, Sanibel Arms #F8 2/2 $775K, Kings Crown #302 2/2 $890K (our listing), Janthina #1A 3/2 $1.03M, Sedgemoor #103 3/3.5 $2.35M.


7 new listings: 966 Greenwood Ct 3/2.5 Half-duplex $398.5K; 2098 Wild Lime Dr 2/2 $435K; 320 Palm Lake Dr 2/2 $439K; 1841 Ibis Ln 2/2 $458K; 490 Christine Rd 2/2 $629,555; 3131 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 $724,999; 842 Limpet Dr 3/3.5 $1.675M.
6 price changes: 421 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 now $515K, 1294 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $529K, 9228 Belding Dr 2/1.5 now $545K, 4563 Brainard Bayou Rd 3/2 now $599K, 4648 Buck Key Rd 3/2 now $685K, 1206 Bay Dr 4/4.5 now $3.15M.
8 new sales: 553 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 listed for $579K, 1019 Lindgren Blvd 3/2 listed for $769K, 1130 Seagrape Ln 4/3 listed for $799K, 2552 Harbour Ln 3/2 listed for $895K, 1001 Kings Crown Dr 3/2.5 listed for $899K, 395 Old Trail Rd 5/4 listed for $899K, 6010 White Heron Ln 3/2.5 listed for $959K, 9007 Mockingbird Dr 3/3 listed for $1.075M.
8 closed sales: 1252 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $500K, 710 Pyrula Ave 2/2 $569.5K, 460 East Lake Rd 2/2 $589K, 5307 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/2.5 $575K, 977 Black Skimmer Way 3/2 $570K, 923 Pepper Tree Pl 3/2 $700K, 5049 Joewood Dr 6/7.5 $3.8M, 906 Snowberry Ln 4/4.5 $4.1M.
Nothing to report.

Nothing to report.


No new listings.
1 price change: 16249 Captiva Dr 3/3 now $2.375M.
1 new sale: 15361 Captiva Dr 5/4 listed for $2.595M.
1 closed sale: 17201 Captiva Dr 4/5.5 $3M.

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.

Here’s to another cheerful Friday on Sanibel Island! Cheers! Susan

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