It has been another week of pretty nice weather on Sanibel & Captiva Islands. The first of the summer showers arrived on Wednesday to the begin of the “rainy season”, but the water was needed. A gorgeous weekend is forecast with low humidity, sunny skies, and day-time temperatures in the low 80’s.
Teammate Dave held our new listing at Mariner Pointe (#811) open with just a handful of visitors.
He had nearly as much action the day before when he held Sand Pointe #122 open for a few hours.
It appears that a few condo owners still are poking around.
It is always positive to have those walk-ins at Open Houses.
Here are a few news items followed by the activity posted in the Sanibel and Captiva MLS since last Friday.
Our “Sanibel Scoop with Captiva Chatter” newsletter is due back from the printer soon, so when it is, the next few days will be spent doing the mail-out chores we refer to as “lickin’ & stickin”. If you want to be on our mailing list, please send me at email Susan@SanibelSusan.com.
A Win for the Caloosahatchee
It was good news to read the below article in the “Island Sun” today.
“The Conservancy of Southwest Florida legally challenged and won a fight to protect the Caloosahatchee. State Judge Bram Canter agreed with the Conservancy’s position that the South Florida Water Management District “went too far” and was “clearly erroneous” in its new proposed rules to redirect water away from the Caloosahatchee.
“”The Caloosahatchee is one of America’s most endangered rivers,” said Robert Moher, Conservancy of Southwest Florida president and CEO. “This waterway already faces extremes of too much or too little fresh water. Taking more water away from our treasured river during dry seasons would further exasperate a dire situation and lead to further ecological damage in the near term and long run.”
“In February, the South Florida Water Management District put forward a rule it was developing to reserve water in the proposed C-43 reservoir for supplementing flows to the Caloosahatchee during dry periods – clearly a desirable goal. However, the same rule would also have expanded protections for other water users at the expense of the river itself – clearly a problematic outcome.
“”The district’s language, if unchallenged, would further contribute to negative consequences for our environment and the tourism economy on which we all thrive,” said Jennifer Hecker, director of natural resource policy with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida….Heckler says with the right balance of fresh water releases, during the wet and dry seasons, the Caloosahatchee can become a healthier and more productive ecosystem and, in turn, enhance our regional economy and quality of life.
“Prior to filing suite, Moher said the Conservancy of Southwest Florida repeatedly reached out to the district advocating for a more balanced alternative. “The Conservancy is known for providing sound research and presenting balanced solutions,” said Moher. “Litigation is always a last resort. We are pleased with the judge’s ruling. This is a win for Southwest Florida land, water and wildlife.”
“To get involved with or to learn more about the Conservancy’s campaign to save the Caloosahatchee, visit www.conservancy.org/ripple-effect.”
More Home Buyers Bring Cash to Closing
How about this news from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) last week:
“All-cash purchases are on the rise, despite a decrease in distressed sales and investor activity, according to NAR’s REALTORS® Confidence Index…. All-cash sales made up 33% of transactions in the first quarter, compared to 31% in 2013.
““Distressed home sales, most popular with investors who pay cash, have declined notably in the past two years, yet the share of all-cash purchases has risen,” notes Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “At the same time, investors have declined as a market share, indicating other changes have been underway in the marketplace.”
“Distressed home sales fell to 15% in the first quarter. For comparison, in 2013, they were 17% of the market and in 2012 they comprised 26% of sales. NAR predicts that distressed home sales will drop to a single-digit market share by the fourth quarter of this year. Meanwhile, investors’ share in the market is also falling – at 19% in the first quarter of this year compared to 20% of buyers in 2012.
““These findings beg the question as to why we’re seeing higher shares of cash purchases,” Yun says. “The restrictive mortgage lending standards are a factor, but the higher levels of cash sales may also come from the aging of the baby boom generation, with more trade-down and retirement buyers paying cash with decades of equity accumulation.”
“Trade-down buyers have been rising – making up 29% of buyers last year, according to NAR. Also, “a majority of foreign buyers pay cash as well, and the five-year bull run of the stock market has also provided financial wherewithal among higher wealth households,” Yun notes.
“In Florida, more than half of all homes purchased were from all-cash deals, according to NAR’s data.
“Florida is the most popular state for international buyers, who generally pay cash, as well as vacation-home buyers who frequently pay cash,” Yun says. “In addition, downsizing retirees are known to pay cash from the proceeds of their homes in the north. This helps to explain the disparity there, but that isn’t the case in most other states.” All-cash deals account for close to four out of 10 transactions in Nevada, Arizona, and West Virginia.”
30-Year Mortgage Rate Reaches New Low for the Year
After I posted last Friday’s blog, I saw this article sourced to “Freddie Mac” on Realtor®Mag’s “Daily Real Estate News”:
“The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.21% this week, the lowest since November 2013, Freddie Mac reports in its weekly mortgage market survey.
“”Mortgage rates continued moving down following the decline in 10-year Treasury yields after a dismal report on real GDP growth in the first quarter,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. Freddie Mac reports the following national averages for mortgage rates for the week ending May 8:
“30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.21%, with an average 0.6 point, dropping from last week’s 4.29% average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.42%.
“15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.32%, with an average 0.6 point, dropping from last week’s 3.38% average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 2.61%.
“5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.05%, with an average 0.5 point, holding the same as last week. Last year at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.58%.
“1-year ARMs: averaged 2.43%, with an average 0.4, dropping from last week’s 2.45%. A year ago, 1-year ARMs averaged 2.53%.”
Sellers Are Becoming More Aggressive in Pricing
According to a report issued by Redfin Research Center (May 8, 2014), more home sellers want to get aggressive with the pricing of their home. Forty percent of sellers say they plan to price their homes above market value, according to the latest Redfin Real-Time Seller Survey of 1,128 active home sellers across 25 U.S. cities.
“That can be a risky strategy and backfire, says Paul Reid, a Redfin Riverside area real estate professional. “Buyers this year are far less tolerant of overpricing, and homes that aren’t priced appropriately are likely to sit on the market until the seller is forced to reduce the price,” says Reid about the survey results. “Buyers often interpret a price drop as a sign there is something wrong with the home, leading some to negotiate even more aggressively or lose interest altogether.” In Riverside, 30.4% of homes for sale had seen a price drop as of March, compared to nearly 21% last spring.
“Fifty-one percent of home sellers say they plan to price their home in the middle range based on local comparable sales. About 8% say they plan to price their home low.
“Thirty percent of sellers surveyed say that rising prices over the past year has made them feel more confident about the security of a home investment. Sixty percent said that the rising prices have not changed the way they feel about their home as an investment.
“While more sellers say it’s a good time to sell, they do have some concerns when finding their next house. Sellers’ top concerns are affordability, competition, and low inventory in finding their next home, according to the survey.”
3 Tips for Selling a Small Kitchen
“If your seller’s house is lacking in kitchen space, it’s important to make it look as appealing as possible”, says Megan Morris, founder of MHM Professional Staging. Morris, who has worked with celebrity clients, offers up these three tips to help sell a small kitchen:
1. Remove all clutter and appliances from the countertops, leaving only one or two decorative items. This will make the space appear cleaner and larger, she says.
2. Make sure the kitchen is getting plenty of light. Dark spaces appear smaller, Morris says, so to open up the space make sure any windows are allowing maximum light through. If that’s not possible, add appealing forms of artificial lighting to do the trick.
3. If the cabinets have seen better days, consider painting them white. White reflects light and helps make a space feel much bigger and open.”
Good Things Happen With an Electric Co-op
LCEC (Lee County Electric Co-op which services Sanibel & Captiva Islands) announced in its May newsletter that “the Board of Trustees recently approved an equity distribution of $12.2 million to current and retired members’ accounts. Members with accounts closed since 2006 will receive a total of $6.1 million. Customers with current and retired accounts will receive a total distribution of $6.1 million. Over the years LCEC has returned more than $220 million in equity to its customers…. Only about half of the 1,000 electric cooperatives in the U.S. return equity to customers.
Survey Reveals What’s Hot and What’s Not
“What are some of the most popular home features luring home buyers? The real estate brokerage Redfin surveyed 435 of its real estate professionals across the country to find out what the biggest real estate trends are with home features. According to the survey, real estate professionals identified the following features as the most popular among home buyers:
• Open floor plans
• Move-in-ready homes
• Granite in areas such as bathrooms or kitchens
• Upgraded windows
• Locations near public transportation
• Energy-saving appliances
• Large closets
• Updated lighting fixtures
• Two-story home with a bedroom on the main floor
• Wood floors
“The survey revealed the following home features are not popular with home buyers:
• Popcorn ceilings
• Lack of parking
• Small kitchens and bathrooms
• Minimal amount of natural light
• Dated homes
• Low ceilings
• Limited storage space
• Loud location on a busy street”.
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity May 9-16, 2014
8 new listings: 1434 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $575K, 9247 Dimmick Dr 3/2 $629K, 2569 Coconut Dr 2/2 $639K, 1284 Par View Dr 2/2 $649K, 949 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2 $775K, 1529 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $787.5K, 201 Violet Dr 3/2 $895K, 297 Ferry Landing Dr 3/3 $1.389M.
1 price change: 1526 Bunting Ln 5/3 now $525K.
9 new sales: 966 Fitzhugh St 2/1 listed for $299.9K, 966 Greenwood Ct 3/2.5 half-duplex listed for $398.5K, 2011 Mitzi Ln 2/1 listed for $435K, 2551 Sanibel Blvd 3/2 listed for $489K, 1278 Sand Castle Rd 4/3 listed for $749K, 705 Oliva St 3/2 listed for $799K, 512 Periwinkle Way 3/3 listed for $925K, 235 Daniel Dr 3/2 listed for $1.195M, 1307 Seaspray Ln 4/3.5 listed for $1.595M.
4 closed sales: 950 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $485K, 791 Pen Shell Dr 4/3 $1.1M, 2520 Harbour Ln 3/2.5 $1M, 909 Lindgren Blvd 4/3 $1.1427M.
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.
Looking to talk about island real estate this weekend?
Call SanibelSusan (888-603-0603 or 239-472-HOME (4663).
Some of the best island deals can be made this time of the year!