Summer Brings Popcorn Clouds to Sanibel & Captiva Islands

It’s SusanSusan reporting that we have had another quiet week on the islands. The weather has settled into a nice summer pattern of sunny days with an occasional passing shower which is keeping the islands lush and tropical.

The photos below were taken earlier this afternoon as I was on my rounds getting ready for some showings tomorrow. On the photo of the causeway are the storm clouds just off island, then turning the other direction I took the blue sky photo showing San Carlos Bay toward Pine Island Sound. The lake view in The Dunes shows the cloud progression in just a few minutes.

Our summer island joke is that the storms can’t afford the $6 toll, when in reality it probably has something to do with the surrounding water temperature. Some afternoons we get a shower and some we don’t.

Below are a couple of news items followed by the activity posted in the Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing Service this week.

July Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Monthly Membership Meeting

SanCapAssnLogoThere was a good turn-out yesterday at our monthly Association of Realtors® membership meeting which was sponsored by our friends at Barrier Island Title Services, Inc. Janet McBee (owner), Nanci Berlin (manager), Angie Martin (who handles most of my closings), & Jackie Martin were all in attendance. Nanci thanked members for their continued support and reminded us that this is their 25th year in business on the islands. Congratulations!

Sanibel Surveys logoThe educational segment of the meeting included a presentation by Andy Johnson, owner of Sanibel Surveys. Here is some of the information he shared regarding the three control lines on the islands. Andy particularly mentioned that these lines sometimes get incorrectly lumped together and called CCCL’s (Coastal Construction Control Lines) when in fact there are actually three different lines and only one is the true Coastal Construction Control Line today. Below is some info learned from Andy’s presentation as well as some websites:

The Differences in Coastal Control/Setback/Erosion Control Lines

State of FL SealCoastal Construction Control Line (CCCL) – is the line established by the State of Florida that defines that portion of the beach-dune system subject to severe fluctuations based on a 100-year storm surge, storm waves, or other predictable weather conditions. It is part of Florida’s coastal management program and it is regulated through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. It provides protection for Florida’s beaches and dunes while assuring reasonable use of private property. Property may not be modified or constructed seaward of this line without approval from the State. (See more info on

Here on the islands, many of us refer to this line as the 1991 line. As part of the sales contract prepared when an offer is written to purchase a property that is forward of the CCCL line, a Coast Construction Control Line rider is required. Note, in the case of a condo purchase, it may be that some of the common elements are in front of this 1991 line, but not the actual unit itself. Since a condo owner usually will own a share of the common elements, like a beach-side swimming pool, a prospective buyer should be made aware of the line if it intersects the property anywhere.

Lee County Setback Line – also sometimes known as the Lee County Coastal Construction Control Line. Lee County first adopted coastal control construction codes in the mid-1970’s. Here, the current CCCL established in 1991 and mentioned above, replaced an earlier 1974 CCCL. Construction seaward of the 1991 CCCL requires a coastal construction permit from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Florida Building Code establishes a base flood elevation for buildings located seaward of the 1991 CCCL.

On Sanibel, the state 1974 CCCL was used to establish the Gulf Beach Ecological Zone which is designated for passive recreation and conservation uses only. For that reason, and to add to the confusion, the 1974 CCCL is often referred to as the Coastal Construction Setback Line on Sanibel.

On Lee County websites, a county-wide 1978 CCL is posted on the county aerial maps since that is the map that applied to properties built before the 1991 line was established.

Erosion Control Line – To further complicate things, there is a third line, known as the Erosion Control Line. Captiva residents and businesses have been managing their beaches for decades, improving them as needed with beach renourishment events. CEPD has developed a comprehensive plan to protect the island’s shoreline including support from Federal, State, County and local agencies. The first CEPT renourishment project was in 1961, followed by projects in 1981, 1988, 1996 (this project also included sand on northern Sanibel), 2005 (also including some of Sanibel), and 2013. The land seaward of this line does not convey with a sale.

Want to Find Details on a Specific Property? Realtors®, appraisers, surveyors, insurance agents, and others often use two county on-line resources. Each can be queried by either owner’s name, address, or the property identifier called the STRAP number.

  • which is the Lee Property Appraiser’s site. It shows property values, deed recordings, legal descriptions, aerial photos, tax code details, and more.
  • which is Lee County’s Spatial Information System. It provides some of the same information, but also includes overlays with these control lines shown, where applicable.

Sanibelcityseal logoSanibel Build-Back Ordinance  – In early 2006, Sanibel City Council adopted an ordinance that is important to Sanibel property owners because it clarified and revised the City’s build-back regulations which can relate to properties and improvements seaward of control lines.

These clarifications and revisions to the City’s build-back regulations address when/how nonconforming structures and structures devoted to nonconforming uses, which are substantially damaged by a natural disaster, can be built back.

There are buildings and land uses, within the City, that were lawful when established, but which have become nonconforming under the terms of the Sanibel Plan or the Land Development Code (like a ground-level property seaward of a control line). “It is the intent of the Land Development Code to permit these nonconformities to continue until they are eventually removed, but except as to most nonconforming uses, not to require them to be removed as the result of a disaster, and to allow them to be built back (their reconstruction) after a disaster, subject to reasonable restrictions.”

The City clarified and revised its build-back regulations to ensure that property owners do not suffer the loss of a dwelling unit or a reduction in unit size as the result of a natural disaster. It is also the intent of build-back regulations that nonconforming uses can be reestablished if the building they occupy is built back after a natural disaster. (For more info, the Sanibel Buildback Guide is available on the City’s website at

3 Challenges Still Facing the Housing Market

“Daily Real Estate News” on-line on Wednesday said:

realtor logo“Existing-home sales gained momentum in June, reaching an annual pace of 5 million sales for the first time since October 2013, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest housing report. Rising inventories also are pushing the overall supply of homes for sale toward a more balanced market, with unsold inventories 6.5% higher than a year ago, NAR notes.

““Inventories are at their highest level in over a year and price gains have slowed to much more welcoming levels in many parts of the country,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “This bodes well for rising home sales in the upcoming months as consumers are provided with more choices.”

Growing Optimism?

“Still, the market is facing several headwinds that continue to subdue a more robust recovery. NAR noted three in its most recent housing report:

  1. Sluggish new-home construction: While overall housing inventories showed improvement in June, inventory problems continue to weigh on the market and could become more problematic if new-home construction doesn’t increase in more markets, NAR notes. “New-home construction needs to rise by at least 50% for a complete return to a balanced market because supply shortages — particularly in the West — are still putting upward pressure on prices,” Yun notes.
  2. Stagnant wage growth: Yun also noted that stagnant wage growth is holding back what should be a stronger pace of sales. “Hiring has been a bright spot in the economy this year, adding an average of 230,000 jobs each month,” Yun notes. “However, the lack of wage increases is leaving a large pool of potential home buyers on the sidelines who otherwise would be taking advantage of low interest rates. Income growth below price appreciation will hurt affordability.”
  3. Dwindling first-time home buyers: The percentage of first-time buyers continues to be low by historical standards. First-time home buyers made up 28% of the market in June, down from a typical 40% of the market historically.

“NAR President Steve Brown says that some prospective buyers who have above average credit scores but low down payments are being deterred from home ownership by the high cost of FHA mortgage insurance. “Access to affordable credit continues to hamper young, prospective first-time buyers,” says Brown. “NAR recommends that the FHA reduce high annual mortgage insurance premiums for all qualified homebuyers and eliminate the insurance requirement for the life of the loan. The FHA’s HAWK program is a good start, but it should offer further reductions for participating home buyers.”

“Here are some more housing indicators from NAR’s most recent report.

Home prices: Median existing-home prices for all housing types in June was $223,300, 4.3% higher than year-ago levels. This was the 28th consecutive month for year-over-year price gains.

Distressed homes: Foreclosures and short sales accounted for 11% of June sales, a 15% drop from year-ago levels. On average, foreclosures sold for a discount of 20% below market value, while short sales were discounted 11% in June.

Time on market: The median time on market for all homes was 44 days in June, up from 37 days on market in June 2013. Forty-two percent of homes sold in June were on the market for less than a month.

All-cash sales: All-cash sales made up 32% of transactions in June, up slightly from 31% in June 2013. Individual investors, who account for the majority of cash sales, purchased 16% of homes in June, down from 17% in June 2013.


Take a closer look at how existing-home sales fared in your area.

Northeast: Existing-home sales increased 3.2%, but remain 3% below year-ago levels. Median price: $269,800, an 0.1% decrease from June 2013.

Midwest: Existing-home sales surged 6.2%, but remain 2.4% below June 2013. Median price: $177,900, up 4.6% from a year ago.

South: Existing-home sales rose slightly by 0.5%, up 1% from June 2013. Median price: $192,600, up 3.4% from a year ago.

West: Existing-home sales increased 2.7%, but remain 7.3% below a year ago. Median price: $301,000, up 7.2% from a year ago.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity July 18-26


2 new listings: Duggers Tropical Cottages #4 1/1 $299K, Signal Inn #14 2/2 $819K.

3 price changes: Duggers Tropical Cottages #5 1/1 now $298K, Shell Island Beach Club #7A 2/2 now $619.9K, Nutmeg Village #209 2/2 now $730K.

2 new sales: Sundial #G407 1/1 listed for $339K, Sundial #J307 2/2 listed for $539.9K.

2 closed sales: Tennisplace #E31 2/1 $280K, Sandals #D 4/3 $1.8M.


1 new listing: 1674 Sabal Palm Dr 3/3 $865K.

2 price changes: 2098 Wild Lime Dr 2/2 now $359K, 419 Lighthouse Way 4/3 now $849.9K.

3 new sales: 581 East Rocks Dr 3/2 listed for $495K (short sale), 676 Anchor Dr 3/3 listed for $949K, 566 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2 listed for $995K.

3 closed sales: 553 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $579K, 1278 Sand Castle Rd 4/3 $721K, 1058 Fish Crow Rd 4/3 $860K.


1 new listing: Lot 27, Leisure Acres $199.9K.

No price changes, new or closed sales.



No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: Sunset Beach Villas #2316 1/1 $475K.


1 new listing: 16585 Captiva Dr 5/4.2 $2,799,585.

No price changes or new sales.

1 closed sale: 15361 Captiva Dr 5/4 $2.3M.


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.

Til next Friday,  Susan