With Mother’s Day just around the corner, it was another week of fabulous weather on Sanibel and Captiva Islands – bright blue skies, gorgeous teal gulf waters, unobstructed sunrises and sunsets, and temperatures in the 60’s/70’s at night and 80’s/90’s almost every day.
This also was the first week of 2014’s real estate “off-season”, with no Association of Realtors® Caravan meeting yesterday and very few showings this week. It’s true what the locals say about May and October being some of the best months to be on the islands – nice weather, little traffic, no waits, and lower rental rates – just not a lot of real estate action then.
Our pals in the vacation accommodation business advise that Sanibel is at only about 45% occupancy now. May is expected to be quiet right up until Memorial Day weekend, but reservations pick up in June when schools are out and families begin their summer vacations.
Below are a couple of new items followed by the action over the last seven days posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.
Survey: More Owners Think It’s a Good Time To Sell
“Americans’ outlook toward the housing market continued to improve in April – and perhaps foreshadow an increase in housing activity in the coming months – according to results from Fannie Mae’s April 2014 National Housing Survey.
“The share of respondents who believe it’s a good time to sell a home increased for the third consecutive month to an all-time high of 42%, an encouraging sign since many potential homebuyers will need to sell a home before entering the purchase market.
“In addition, the share of respondents who say it’s a good time to buy a home remained steady at 69% following a gradual climb since the beginning of the year. Notably, although consumers remain generally split regarding their ability to get a mortgage, fewer respondents are concerned about losing their job – which may encourage potential homebuyers to enter the market.
“”Consumer attitudes about the current home selling environment have improved and now are at the most favorable level we’ve seen in the survey’s four-year history,” says Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “These results are in line with our expectations for increased housing activity and gradual strengthening of the housing market going into the spring and summer selling season.””
Luxury Home Sales Soar Above Historical Average
“Affluent buyers are feeling bullish about housing, as luxury home sales skyrocket, Bloomberg reports. Million-dollar homes in the U.S. are selling at double their historical average, according to data released by the National Association of REALTORS®.
“Sales of homes that cost $1 million or more increased 7.8% in March compared to a year earlier. Meanwhile, sales of homes that cost $250,000 or less — which represent about two-thirds of the housing market — dropped 12% in March year-over-year. “The real estate market is the ultimate reflection of confidence, wealth, and income,” says Sam Khater, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic.
“Transactions for homes costing $2 million or more soared 33% in January and February compared to a year earlier, according to an analysis by DataQuick of 25 of the top U.S. metro areas. The transactions were the highest for a two-month period since DataQuick began its tracking in 1988.
““The luxury markets are on fire,” Christie’s International CEO Bonnie Stone Sellers told Bloomberg. “The trends in luxury housing are similar to trends in other luxury goods. Whether you’re buying a third home in Manhattan as a pied-a-terre or another Picasso, these are acquisitions of passion, of lifestyle, and of experience.”
“There have been some blockbuster sales recently. The latest to grab headlines was the $147 million sale of an East Hampton’s property, which now carries the title as the priciest home sale ever in the U.S. This came two weeks after the sale of a single-family home in Greenwich, Conn., known as Copper Beech Farm shattered home records at the time at $120 million.
““The stock market is very strong, and this is a way to monetize and concretize some gains,” says Gary Wasserman, CEO of Allied Metals Corp., who is looking to boost his personal real estate portfolio. “We had quite a shock to our collective confidence in 2008 and 2009. The resurgence of the economy has underscored for us that this country remains a very strong place, and that the future remains strong.”
Source: “Million-Dollar Home Sales Thrive While Low End Stumbles,” Bloomberg Businessweek (May 2, 2014).”
10 Energy-Saving Tips for a Hot Summer
While reading my on-line Eco-Broker® newsletter this month, I noticed the following timely article which they sourced to “freshome Design & Architecture”. Since the islands have already had some 90-degree temperatures, these ten energy saving tips may come in handy:
“While we all look forward to the summer months for warmer weather, and enjoying the great summer nights, higher energy bills are not welcomed. Whether you are running your air conditioning more often, using more water to take showers, or you’re using more electricity to run fans to get a cool breeze, energy saving tips can help your pocket and the Earth. This summer before you crank down the air conditioning another 10 degrees, look to these energy saving tips to help you through this hot summer, your pocket will thank you!
“1. Replace your outdated air conditioning unit: If you live in a home that is over 20 years old, it may be time to consider purchasing a new unit that is more energy efficient. Even if you have lived in your home for a shorter period, but live in extreme climate areas, such as desert communities, also consider replacing your unit. Look for units that cost less to run and have energy approved program standards. This can differ depending on your geographic location.
“2. Alternate methods of cooking: Instead of using your oven everyday, consider using your microwave or grilling outside this summer. Heating your oven up daily adds more heat to your interiors and therefore requires your air conditioning cooling system to work harder and longer. If you do need to use your oven, consider baking in the morning hours when your air conditioning may not need to be used and it’s cooler outside.
“3. Automate your thermostat: If you are still using a manual thermostat to adjust the air conditioning in your home, consider replacing with an automatic one that can be programmed to keep your home warmer when you are not home. Then in turn, you can program it to come on before the family gets home.
“4. Keep the hot sun out of your home: When leaving your home, or in times of the day when the sun is at its hottest, pull your window treatments closed to block out warm rays. Your interior spaces will feel cooler and your air conditioner won’t work as hard.
“5. Give your air conditioning a break: Using a ceiling fan to move air around in your home instead of air conditioning can give a much needed break to your air conditioning. Save energy and cool your space down for less money with the use of oscillating room and ceiling fans.
“6. Take cooler and shorter showers: When taking a shower in your home, turn down the temperature of the hot water to save energy. Decrease the duration of how long you stay in the shower to save on your hot water tank usage. Consider installing a tankless water heater to heat water only when needed, as opposed to an entire tank, which sits in your garage, basement or utility space.
“7. Install more energy-efficient light bulbs: Change out your current incandescent bulbs to more efficient ones, for example: compact fluorescent bulbs use less energy to use as well as emit a brighter light. They also last longer, and therefore need to be replaced less often, in turn saving you money.
“8. Have you air conditioning unit serviced regularly: Ensure that you keep your air filters changed regularly per the manufacturers directions, and have a professional HVAC maintenance person service your unit every year. This will help your investment keep working properly for years into the future, while saving you money now.
“9. Ensure your air conditioning pipes are sealed: Examine the pipes, and connections, as well as vents in your home to ensure proper sealing and caulking between the connections. What’s the point in cooling your home, if half of the cool air is cooling the attic? If you’re not familiar with how to do this, have the HVAC maintenance person help you.
“10. Spend more time outside of your home: Summertime is a perfect excuse to get out and enjoy it! From swimming in community pools to having a picnic or getting exercise outdoors, spending less time in your house will help your energy consumption bill. While you can’t spend every minute outdoors, the summer weather should push you to the outdoors.
“Saving energy this summer shouldn’t be a major challenge. Use these 10 helpful energy saving tips to protect your wallet, save the Earth and keep you and your family cool this summer. There are hundreds of ways to save energy, do your part in making this summer enjoyable for all, and by keeping your energy consumption to minimum levels to give your pocket a break too!”
U.S. Climate Report Says Global Warming Impact Already Severe
Here are some excerpts from an article by Darryl Fears published in the “Washington Post” on Tuesday. Though this topic is not complete real estate related, perhaps these snippets will be a wake-up call to some.
“Global warming is rapidly turning America the beautiful into America the stormy, sneezy and dangerous.”
“The government’s newest national assessment of climate change declares that increased global warming is affecting every part of the United States. The report released Tuesday cites wide and severe impacts: more sea-level rise, flooding, storm surges, precipitation and heat waves in the Northeast; frequent water shortages and hurricanes in the Southeast and the Caribbean; and more drought and wildfires in the Southwest.
“Temperatures at sea, on land and on ice all point to a warming trend over the past century, according to several indicators in the government’s National Climate Assessment. “For a long time, we have perceived climate change as an issue that’s distant, affecting just polar bears or something that matters to our kids,” said Katharine Hayhoe, a Texas Tech University professor and a co-author of the report. “This shows it’s not just in the future; it matters today. Many people are feeling the effects.”
“The federal climate assessment — the third since 2000 — brought together hundreds of experts in academia and government to guide U.S. policy based on the best available climate science. The authors of the more-than-800-page report said it aims to present “actionable science” and a road map for local leaders and average citizens to mitigate carbon and other gas emissions that warm the planet….Echoing the findings of a recent global report by climate scientists at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, U.S. scientists said that the climate is changing in the United States and that the warming of the past 50 years was primarily caused by emissions of heat-trapping gases released by humans. Burning coal for electricity, using gasoline to fuel vehicles, clear-cutting forests and engaging in certain agricultural practices that remove carbon-trapping vegetation contribute to the problem, the assessment said.
“By the end of the century, temperatures could be up to 5 degrees higher, even if the nation acts aggressively to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It could be up to 10 degrees hotter if emissions are high. The higher the temperature, the more dire the impact. Extreme weather in the United States caused by climate change has increased in recent decades, the report said.
“The decade starting in 2000 was the hottest on record, and 2012, the year Hurricane Sandy followed an epic summer drought, was the hottest ever recorded in the nation’s history, the report said. U.S. temperatures are 1.3 degrees to 1.9 degrees Fahrenheit higher now than they were in 1895, and most of that increase — 80% — occurred over the past 44 years, the assessment says.
“Alaska warmed twice as fast as the rest of the country in the past 60 years, leading to permafrost thaw that is causing highways and even airport runways to sink.
“The authors pointed to major concerns for the mid-Atlantic region, which includes the District, Maryland and Virginia. “As sea levels rise, the Chesapeake Bay region is expected to experience an increase in coastal flooding and drowning of wetlands” that protect against storm surge, the report said. That’s especially bad because the lower bay region is at higher risk as a result of sinking land. Water quality would decline and low-oxygen “dead zones” would increase.
“If there are higher greenhouse gas emissions, the majority of Maryland and Delaware, and parts of West Virginia and New Jersey, are projected to have 60 extra days per year of temperatures topping 90 degrees starting around the middle of the century, the report said.
“The effects sound alarming, but there are reasons to be optimistic that they can be mitigated, said David Wolfe of Cornell University, a lead co-author of the report’s chapter on change in the Northeast.
Business leaders are looking more toward investments in renewable energy, he said. This report, unlike the first two, has a Web site with interactive tools that show Americans how to reduce climate impacts.
“It will be a living document, a resource for people,” he said. “It’s a place to start….”
“The climate experts worked for several years, holding 70 workshops nationwide and revising the final drafts to reflect thousands of public comments. They were guided by a 60-member panel called the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee.
“Climate change is leading to heat-stress events, forcing people with respiratory illnesses to turn to devices such as inhalers or to hospitals, the federal assessment said. It is resulting in more severe allergies and waterborne illnesses as pathogens increase. Minority communities are particularly vulnerable….
“Thirty percent of carbon released into the atmosphere ends up in the ocean, leading to acidification that’s killing coral and shell life. Coral protects young fish from predators, and tiny shellfish, at the bottom of the food chain, help feed entire ecosystems….”
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity May 2-9, 2014
3 new listings: Captains Walk #A2 1/1 $259K, Sundial #K105 2/2 $888K, Sanibel Seaview #C3 4/4 $2.2M.
4 price changes: Sundial #C301 1/1 now $325K, Sundial #I301 1/1 now $350K, Shell Island Beach Club #5D 2/2 now $759K, Sayana #202 2/2 now $859K.
1 new sale: Sunset South #1C 2/2 listed for $439K.
4 closed sales: Mariner Pointe #1091 2/2 $375K; Sanibel Moorings #422 2/2 $449,999; Lighthouse Point #130 2/2 $440K; Beachcomber #C302 2/2 $1.6225M.
2 new listings: 705 Oliva St 3/2 $799K, 5076 Joewood Dr 3/2 $975K.
9 price changes: 966 Fitzhugh St 2/1 now $299.9K; 5289 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/2 now $499,995; 2079 Wild Lime Dr 3/2 now $549K; 3001 Singing Wind Dr 3/2 now $559,555; 1744 Bunting Ln 4/2 now $599.7K; 497 Lake Murex Cir 4/3 now $715K; 987 Sand Castle Rd 4/3.5 now $729K; 4500 Waters Edge Ln 2/2 now $799K; 1206 Bay Dr 4/4.5 now $2.995M.
6 new sales: 2007 Mitzi Ln 3/2 listed for $399K, 736 Cardium St 3/2 listed for $439K, 1777 Serenity Ln 5/4.5 listed for $779K, 2667 Coconut Dr 3/3 listed for $825K, 4781 Tradewinds Dr 3/2 listed for 1.595M, 1077 Bird Ln 4/4/2 listed for $5.999M.
8 closed sales: 1846 Ardsley Way 2/2 $319.9K, 531 Birdsong Pl 3/2 $419K, 1121 Skiff Pl 3/2 $500K, 710 Pyrula Ave 2/2 $569.5K, 1356 Tahiti Dr 3/2 $645K, 4472 Waters Edge Ln 3/3 $700K, 1818 Buckthorn Ln 3/3 $850K, 5795 SanCap Rd 3/3 $990K.
1 new listing: Beverly Ln, Lot 19 $196K.
No price changes.
2 new sales: 4309 Gulf Pines Dr listed for $299K, 1042 Blue Heron Dr listed for $449K.
2 closed sales: 3334 Saint Kilda Rd $280K, 1837 Buckthorn Ln $314.5K.
1 new listing: Bayside Villas #5316 3/3 $639K.
No price changes or new sales.
1 closed sale: Marina Villas #708 2/2 $557.5K.
1 new listing: 11547 Captiva Dr 2/2 $1.375M.
No price changes.
1 new sale: 16464 Captiva Dr 8/8.5 listed for $7.995M.
1 closed sale: 11541 Laika Ln 4/4 $1.65M.
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.