Mid-Summer Scoop from Sanibel Island


It has been another quiet, summer shower kind of week on the islands, with no real estate meeting yesterday and very few showings or even phone calls. All-in-all, that is pretty typical for late July. At SanibelSusan Realty we spent much of the week beating the bushes for new listings and working on selling long-distance and sight-unseen. It always pays to have good marketing material when you do that. Here are a few photos taken this week at our new listing at Spanish Cay. It’s great value at $349K and already getting interest. Smart buyers know that summer is a great time to buy – when it is easy to preview property and sellers may be more motivated.

Below are a few news items followed by the action posted this week in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.

Sea Turtles Nesting in Record Numbers

loggerhead_sea_turtle_baby_blogFrom the “Island Sun” today: “Local businesses and residents of Sanibel and Captiva universally agree that the 2013-14 “in season” for tourism was the highest in recent memory. However, another group of visitors to the islands this summer has shattered the record books.

“On July 7 when the 70th nest was recorded, it established a new mark for nesting activity on Sanibel’s east end…Last Friday morning, SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) updated its sea turtle nesting statistics. Reported were 73 loggerhead nests and one green sea turtle nest on Sanibel’s east end, 237 nests on Sanibel’s west end, and 101 nests on Captiva. By way of comparison, by the same date last year, SCCF had reported 44 nests on Sanibel’s east end, 208 loggerhead and seven green turtle nests on Sanibel’s west end, and 99 loggerhead and one green turtle nest on Captiva.”

An interesting fact is that once a tiny hatchling reaches the water, “they’ll swim for 48 hours straight to get away from the shoreline and birds and other predators…that’s their instinct.”

“Each day during nesting season, which runs from May to October, more than 100 volunteers, permittees and SCCF employees monitor approximately 18 miles of island beachfront which stretches from the Sanibel Lighthouse to the tip of Captiva….”

BIG ARTS Then/Now & Their Fall Schedule

BIG Arts logoKnown as Sanibel and Captiva’s home for all the arts, BIG ARTS has been providing cultural enrichment and fulfillment to island residents and visitors since 1979. BIG ARTS began when a group of artists dreamed of a cultural center on the island. Today, BIG ARTS members and participants enjoy a wide spectrum of performing and visual arts events, and the community participates in more than 200 educational classes and workshops each year.

The creative spirit, driving force, and hard work of volunteers have shaped BIG ARTS into the vibrant organization it is today. More than 250 talented volunteers assist the staff each season to ensure the professional management of BIG ARTS. Now a prominent cultural institution in Southwest Florida’s region, BIG ARTS has fulfilled its original mission to provide cultural, social, and volunteer opportunities to island residents. As new residents move to the area, they see how BIG ARTS enriches island life, and many are eager to participate and support the arts as they did in their former communities.

BIG ARTS banner-homepage-35-anniversaryBIG ARTS activities were held in private homes around the island until 1987, when a small cottage was donated and moved to its present location on Dunlop Road. Founders Gallery opened in this cottage and concerts were held in the garden under a tent. Due to the popularity of the programs, the organization quickly outgrew these facilities. Through the generosity of BIG ARTS supporters, Phillips Gallery opened in 1990 as an art gallery, concert hall, and classroom.

BIG artsThe West Wing, Schein Performance Hall and sculpture garden were added in 1997. Designed by BIG ARTS member Irwin Stein, Schein Hall is a 400-seat concert hall with surround sound in high definition and a recently added high definition projection system. Classrooms provide space for pottery, clay, metal works, and many other offerings. The beautiful sculpture garden, renamed Boler Garden, was restored in 2006, including an ongoing project with installation of an etched stone walkway.

BIG ARTS Administrative Offices and Classrooms are at 2244 Periwinkle Way, right behind SanibelSusan Realty Associates. Additional classrooms and meeting space there allows BIG ARTS to further its mission to support the arts.

Theater-in-SanibelIn 2010 the Boards of the Herb Strauss Theater and BIG ARTS joined together to combine the support functions and volunteers of the two organizations, making both stronger and more efficient. The Herb Strauss Theater is now part of the BIG ARTS family of programs and productions. The goal is to further the tradition of quality cultural and educational experiences to the residents and visitors of Sanibel, Captiva, and neighboring communities.

BIG ARTS Herb Strauss Theater presents professional live theater, and offers Broadway-caliber talent in an intimate atmosphere. The 160-seat Theater is at 2200 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.

BIG-ARTS-Community-chorus-holiday-concert-2009Going into the fall 2014, as in past years, as soon as the BIG ARTS Summer Arts Camp ends, the new schedule begins. Workshops will continue classes in painting and drawing; open studio sessions; fine crafts, such as stained glass, glass fusing, and weaving; pottery; dance/fitness; discussion groups; music appreciation and instructional; technology lessons; language and writing classes. Also part of the family of workshops is BIG ARTS Community Chorus and BIG ARTS community Concert band.

As one of the original members of the BIG ARTS Chorus, SanibelSusan was working behind the scenes this week with Director Steve Cramer in organizing the music that chorus will sing for the fall Bailey Fest, Thanksgiving Celebration, and December Holiday Concert. It’s going to be another great season!

Sanibel Rec Center – Brief Closing for Maintenance

Sanibel Rec CenterThe Sanibel Recreation Center will close July 26 through August 3 for maintenance projects. Improvements will include resurfacing of the gym floor and front entrance, deep cleaning and painting of the facility, restriping of the parking lot, and resealing of rest room tile. Day-camp programs will operate as scheduled.

The Sanibel Recreation Center is at 3880 Sanibel-Captiva Rd. Daily, weekly, semi-annual, and annual memberships are available. More info on www.MySanibel.com.

Survey: Buyers, Sellers ‘Not on the Same Page’

REDFIN logoThis article in “Daily Real Estate News” on July 10, 2014 describes a small survey, but to me the points are “spot on”.

“Home buyers and sellers are “not on the same page” when it comes to the state of the housing market, according to a new Redfin survey of 707 of its agents and partner agents across 35 U.S. markets. Buyers and sellers are taking a more aggressive stance in the market, with some sellers overpricing their homes and more buyers refusing to get in bidding wars, the survey found.

““In May, 40% of sellers surveyed by Redfin said that they planned to list their homes above market value, even though home sales had dropped by 9% since the year before,” says Nela Richardson, Redfin’s chief economist. “Typically, it takes sellers six to nine months to adjust to a price change, but this latest shift is longer. Prices have moved down and then up so much over the past five years that it’s even more difficult for sellers to have a realistic baseline for what their homes are worth in the current market.”

“Fifty-eight percent of Redfin agents say that sellers are holding unrealistic expectations about the value of their homes, up from 49% in the previous quarter. Meanwhile, buyers are showing less willingness to chase after a home, as they face affordability and financing hurdles, the survey found.

““Buyers who have been searching for a long time may still try to win deals with aggressive offers,” Richardson says. “However, new buyers in the market are much less willing to chase an escalating sale price to compete with multiple bids. The demand side of real estate is moving from ‘please take my offer’ to ‘take it or leave it as you please.’ Home buyers’ willingness to walk away from a deal that’s a bad fit is good for them and is ultimately healthier for the housing market.”

“So is it a seller’s market or a buyer’s market? It depends on who you ask. Twenty-four percent of Redfin agents surveyed say that “sellers have all the power,” a drop from 35% three months ago.

“Rising inventories have been beneficial for buyers who are less willing to participate in a bidding war, but they are facing other challenges, such as access to credit and affordability, the survey finds. The top challenges Redfin agents identified as growing problems for buyers are: lack of affordability; qualifying for a mortgage; saving enough for a down payment; and worries about the economy.”

Despite Predictions, Baby Boomers Aren’t Downsizing Yet

realtor logoBelow is another “spot on” report from “Daily Real Estate News”, July 15. Some points here can be further illustrated by the “housing” market on Sanibel and Captiva where today there are not enough homes for sale to meet the demand of the baby boomers, particularly those wanting enough space for entertaining, home offices, and visiting family members.

“Baby boomers aren’t showing any signs of leaving the single-family home market that has defined their generation’s real estate habits, despite many predictions that they would by now. As boomers hit age 65 and become empty nesters, many housing analysts forecasted that a huge wave of them would downsize and move into an apartment, condo, or townhouse.

But Fannie Mae researcher Patrick Simmons says that isn’t happening yet. “There’s a perception, particularly in many media reports, that this massive generation born between 1946 and 1964 is altering its housing consumption,” Simmons, the director of strategic planning for Fannie Mae’s economic group, told the Chicago Tribune. “It’s true that they’re becoming empty nesters in droves. But by one measure, the proportion of boomers who live in single-family homes actually increased between 2006 and 2012.”

“Baby boomers’ mobility has gone down. Nine out of 10 boomers surveyed by AARP reported that they wanted to stay in their current home as long as possible. Some may be motivated to stay put because of the housing crisis. For boomers, the value of single-family homes they owned fell by an average of 13%. Some boomers could still be underwater and are waiting to recoup more on their house before they sell. Others may be holding on to their home because they snagged a record low mortgage rate in recent years, and they know borrowing won’t be any cheaper if they do decide to sell.

“Some baby boomers are downsizing but choosing to stay in smaller single-family homes rather than move to a condo or townhome. But “eventually, boomers will slow down with age and have the same physical frailties that their predecessors had,” Simmons told the Tribune. “My sense is that it’s not going to be a major shift — something we see in the numbers in a year. It will likely unfold over a decade or more.””

More Chinese Buyers Coming to America

Florida Realtors logoHere’s another interesting article from “Daily Real Estate News”, July 11. We keep hearing that the islands will soon have more Asian buyers, but it hasn’t happen yet.

“The number of Chinese home buyers and investors flocking to the U.S. is on the rise, driven by China’s currency appreciation, rising affluence, and concerns over its own economic slowdown, according to the 2014 Profile of International Home Buying Activity, released this week by the National Association of REALTORS®.

““It’s just the beginning of a tidal wave,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. Chinese investors accounted for 16% of the $92.2 billion worth of international U.S. homes purchases in the year through March, up from 12% a year earlier, according to NAR.

“China was the leader in dollar volume of international purchases, purchasing an estimated $22 billion with an average sales cost of $590,826, according to the NAR report. China also was the fastest-growing source of U.S. foreign transactions, now accounting for 16% of all purchases, up 4% from last year.

“Canada maintained the largest share of purchases, but its share is falling – 23% in 2013 to 19% in 2014.

“The share of Chinese buyers in the U.S. market will likely only get bigger, says Paul Diggle, Property economist at Capital Economics. “This bigger picture hides a rapid rise in purchases by Chinese investors, who may overtake Canadians as the largest group of foreign buyers of U.S. housing within the next five years,” Diggle told HousingWire. “The strength of Chinese demand is another reason to watch closely developments in the Californian housing market, where housing is now no better than fairly valued at the statewide level and starting to look frothy in a number of metros.””

Source: “China Set to Dominate Foreign Homebuyers Market,” HousingWire (July 10, 2014) and “Bloomberg Briefings,” San Francisco Chronicle (July 9, 2014)

Energy-Saving Tips from LCEC

Lcec logoSome timely concise suggestions were included in our recent electric bill from Lee County Electric Co-op (LCEC):

“Warmer weather has arrived and you may be looking for ways to save energy and lower your bill. Our energy experts are here to help you save energy by following these simple tips:

  • When cooling your home, set the thermostat at 78 degrees F. Each degree below adds 8 to 12% to cooling costs.
  • Do not close A/C vents or interior doors when A/C is running.
  • While away from home for more than two hours, set the thermostat at 83 degrees F.
  • Install a programmable thermostat that will automatically raise and lower the temperature at certain times of the day.
  • Turn fans off when the room is not occupied. Each continuously running fan costs approximately $7 per month on your electric bill.

For more green energy tips visit www.lcec.net.”

Prescribed Burns are Done

SCCF photo

If you are concerned about the large burned areas noticeable on Tarpon Bay and San-Cap Roads, know that they are for the good.

Last Sunday morning, fire officials and J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge staff conducted a prescribed burn at the Bailey Tract and surrounding SCCF property. Planned burns scheduled for the following days along San-Cap Road and Legion Curve were delayed due to heavy wind and rain, but the fire team completed their planned burn along Legion Curve on Wednesday. (photo here by SCCF)

Summer is not only rainy season in Florida, but also peak lightening season, which can cause fires with devastating impacts. Managed burns can prevent the likelihood and severity of wildfires and help preserve the natural ecology of the area.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity July 11-18

Sanibel
CONDOS

3 new listings: Tennisplace #C35 2/1.5 $310K, Ibis at The Sanctuary #A301 3/2 $449K, Sealoft Village #105 2/2 $529K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: Breakers West #B1 2/2 listed for $449K.

1 closed sale: Sundial #O307 2/2 $920K.

HOMES

2 new listings: 868 Rabbit Rd 3/2 $395K, 1901 Sanibel Bayou Rd 4/3 $829K.

2 price changes: 3001 Singing Wind Dr 3/2 now $495K, 580 Birdsong Pl 3/2.5 now $574.9K.

1 new sale: 1434 Sandcastle Rd 3/2 listed for $575K.
2 closed sales: 1744 Bunting Ln 4/2 $580K, 1529 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $787.5K.

LOTS

No new listings.

2 price changes: 6519 Pine Ave now $1.095M, 6505 Pine Ave now $1.095M.

No new sales.

2 closed sales: 659 Anchor Dr $520K, 4308 West Gulf Dr $600K.

Captiva
CONDOS

Nothing to report

HOMES

1 new listing: 11529 Laika Ln 3/2 $1.65M.

1 price change: 16785 Captiva Dr 4/3.5 now $1.645M.

No new or closed sales.

LOTS

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.

It’s a great time to enjoy the beach, the shelling, & fabulous sunsets on Sanibel & Captiva Islands. Best wishes to all…SanibelSusan

sanibel_sunset

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