Sanibel and Captiva Islands got a pre-winter chill this week with temperatures down into the high 40’s on Tuesday night when some of that polar vortex weather made its way to Florida. It’s back into the 70’s during the day now, with the next cool-down expected on Wednesday just in time for Thanksgiving which is expected to be sunny, but in the mid-60’s. Perfect cooking weather!
Below are a few news items followed by the activity posted this week in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.
City Presentation to Island Realtors®
Yesterday at the November Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® monthly membership meeting, Sanibel City Manager Judie Zimomra and her management team including Planning Director, Jim Jordan; Police Chief, Bill Tomlinson; and Interim Director of Natural Resources, Holly Milbrandt, were the speakers.
Always our most heavily attended meeting of the year, their talks were a great reminder, particularly at Thanksgiving time, of how lucky we are to live and work on this wonderful island and how fortunate we are to have such a terrific City Manager leading the way. Judie as Sanibel’s City Manager for 14 years has seen us through hurricanes, a sewer system installation, and garnered many accolades for the island. She and the City Attorney are the two Council-hired employees that provide the checks and balances to each other and to our local government. Here are a few highlights from her pitch:
Sanibel recently celebrated their 40th anniversary of City incorporation – a City governed by councilmen with no posted political affiliations but rather by individuals who cooperatively support the Sanibel Plan and harmonious island life. This 5-seat council elects two members every four years and three others four years later. This March, two terms are up.
In elaborating on the history of the island for some of our newer members, the City Manager reminded us that Island Water is a non-profit, that the Sanibel Fire Department is not part of City government; but rather is an independent district, much like the Sanibel Library which also is independent.
Recently, Sanibel was promoted to the “silver level” nationally for its offerings as a biking community. After being awarded the “bronze level” some years ago, it indeed is another feather in the Sanibel cap to now be ranked one of the top four biking communities in the state of Florida. (The silver level is the highest achieved in the state with the other three recipients being Gainesville, Venice, and The Villages.)
This alternative transportation method now boasts additional connectivity by the recent expansion of the path along Causeway Road, Periwinkle Way, and through the conservation land around the Bailey Homestead. For example, from the peninsula of Marine Pointe, where I used to live, bikers now can go via the boat ramp and under the bridge onto the path and on to Jerry’s or even Bailey’s for groceries.
Judie also told us about two big grants recently awarded to the City. A $200K grant will fund building a dedicated bike path on Bowman’s Beach Road and separate the cars from the bikers, improving safety and providing a better way to the beach for owners in The Sanctuary and for the 32 new homes that soon will be constructed near the Wulfert Road entrance.
A second grant for $469K was garnered by the City and “Ding” Darling. It will be used to construct a new entrance and egress to Wildlife Drive.
Judie too spoke about the new agenda management software that has been added to mySanibel.com making it possible for those on-line but in remote locations to listen “live” to City meetings. So even if you are on vacation, up north, or on an iPhone/iPad here, you can plug in to hear any City meetings. The new software also archives the meeting recordings so it is possible to revisit them after-the-fact. Meeting handouts are bookmarked as attachments too, so the listener can follow along with the printed material. As Judie said, “It’s user-friendly software. If you can watch a cat dance in a YouTube video, you can do this too.”
Our City Manager and her team often speak out-&-about on the island, particularly during “season” at various events and annual meetings. If you have a chance to hear them, you too will be reminded of what a great job they do for us!
Rush to Buy Homes During the Holidays?
The below article in “Daily Real Estate News” on Monday was sourced to Forbes.com (November 14). Though the islands are not a traditional year-’round market for real estate sales, much of what the article says applies here too. Here is the exact article, followed by some personal comments.
“Home owners may be doubtful that the months of November and December will bring about a home sale. After all, aren’t potential buyers sidetracked with the holidays and likelier to postpone their house hunt due to bad weather and shorter days? But sometimes the “off-peak” time to sell can actually be the perfect moment for sellers. Several studies show that, on average, homes listed in November and December are more likely to sell, sell more quickly, and more closely approach the asking price, according to an article at Forbes.com.
“A 2011 study conducted by realtor.com found that 60% of real estate professionals advise their sellers to list a home during the holidays because they believe it’s an opportune time to sell. Nearly 80% of the real estate professionals surveyed said that more serious buyers emerge during the holidays, and 61% say less competition from other properties makes it an ideal time to sell.
“Thanksgiving is particularly good, the article notes. Buyers may have held out through the busy summer months hoping to find a better deal, but now they may be searching with increased urgency. Some buyers may be motivated to close before the end of the year for tax purposes. They can purchase a home late in the year to deduct home purchase costs on their taxes, such as points, interest, and property taxes. Also, certain sellers who sold their homes during the summer season may be facing a capital gains tax. They may be highly motivated to buy in November to avoid paying capital gains tax (since closing on the purchase of another house is required within 180 days.”
On Sanibel and Captiva, the most island sales occur first quarter, followed by last quarter when we have the most prospective buyers in town, and sometimes related to the weather. SanibelSusan agrees that holiday buyers can be serious and may make an emotional purchase because of the holidays. A sale I made on Christmas Day to a family that often only gets here then, was a special one. The SanibelSusan Team holidays are spent in town so we are ready to service our listings and show property to any prospective buyers wanting to view property. We will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, but still available and nearby if we get a showing request then.
5 Real Estate Predictions for 2015
“Expect the home-purchase market to strengthen along with the economy in 2015, according to Freddie Mac’s U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for November. “The good news for 2015 is that the U.S. economy appears well-poised to sustain about a 3% growth rate in 2015 — only the second year in the past decade with growth at that pace or better,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Governmental fiscal drag has turned into fiscal stimulus; lower energy costs support consumer spending and business investment; further easing of credit conditions for business and real estate lending support commerce and development; and consumers are more upbeat and businesses are more confident, all of which portend faster economic growth in 2015. And with that, the economy will produce more and better-paying jobs, providing the financial wherewithal to support household formations and housing activity.”
“Freddie Mac economists have made the following projections in housing for the new year:
Mortgage rates: Interest rates will likely be on the rise next year. In recent weeks, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has dipped below 4%. But by next year, Freddie projects mortgage rates to average 4.6% and inch up to 5% by the end of the year.
“Home prices: By the time 2014 wraps up, home appreciation will likely have slowed to 4.5% this year from 9.3% last year. Appreciation is expected to drop further to an average 3% in 2015. “Continued house-price appreciation and rising mortgage rates will dampen affordability for home buyers,” according to Freddie economists. “Historically speaking, that’s moving from ‘very high’ levels of affordability to ‘high’ levels of affordability.”
“Housing starts: Homebuilding is expected to ramp up in the new year, projected to rise by 20% from this year. That will likely help total home sales to climb by about 5%, reaching the best sales pace in eight years.
“Single-family originations: Mortgage originations of single-family homes will likely slip by an additional 8%, which can be attributed to a steep drop in refinancing volume. Refinancings are expected to make up only 23% of originations in 2015; they had been making up more than half in recent years.
“Multi-family mortgage originations: Mortgage originations for the multi-family sector have surged about 60% between 2011 and 2014. Increases are expected to continue in 2015, projected to rise about 14%.”
“Ding” Darling Thanksgiving
The “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society has the copyright to political cartoonist Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling’s work of November 1908 which is captioned “People who only remember to be thankful once a year sometimes get badly out of practice.” It is posted in their newsletter this week, where they also say,
“We at “Ding” Darling are thankful every day that the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist possessed the forethought to preserve Sanibel acreage for wildlife and the enjoyment of generations to come. Happy Thanksgiving one and all. Start a new holiday tradition and tour around Wildlife Drive on Thanksgiving Day and give thanks for all you see. (Note: The Refuge Visitor & Education Center will be closed that day, but all other facilities will remain open.)”
Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity November 14-21
9 new listings: Spanish Cay #B2 2/2 $394K; Sanibel Moorings #1422 2/2 $419,914; Coquina Beach #4B 2/2 $458.8K; Loggerhead Cay #351 2/2 $529K; Heron at The Sanctuary #1B 2/2.5 $675K, Tarpon Beach #204 2/2 $785K, Snug Harbor #113 2/2 $1.049M, West Shore #6 3/3 $1.795M, Wedgewood #204 3/3.5 $2,225,555.
4 price changes: Sanibel Moorings #1622 2/2 now $439K, Ibis at The Sanctuary #201 2/2 now $479K, Signal Inn #14 2/2 now $799K, Sanibel Seaview #C3 4/4 now $1,999,999.
2 new sales: Colonnades #51 1/1 listed for $179K, Seashells #11 2/2 listed for $321.9K.
4 closed sales: Sundial #H407 1/1 $380K, Sanibel Moorings #611 2/2 $435K, Sayana #202 2/2 $800K, Island Beach Club #P6D 2/2 $969K (our listing & sale).
7 new listings: 4599 Brainard Bayou 4/3 $529K, 1211 Periwinkle Way 3/2 $540K, 660 Durion Ct 2/2 $549K, 2449 Harbour Ln 2/2 $895K, 2543 Tropical Way Ct 3/2.5 $995K, 2302 Wulfert Rd 4/5 $1.449M, 1779 Venus Dr 3/5.5 $3.998M.
6 price changes: 1835 Ardsley Way 2/1 now $309K, 395 Old Trail Rd 5/4 now $859K, 6433 Pine Ave 4/3 now $875K, 1748 Jewel Box Dr 4/4 now $1.098M, 600 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2.5 now $1.279M, 2118 Starfish Ln 4/5 now $1.859M.
2 new sales: 543 Chert Ct 3/2 listed for $499K, 701 Durion Ct 3/2 listed for $530K.
1 closed sale: 6451 Pine Ave 3/2 $489K.
1 new listing: 5723 Baltusrol Ct $399K.
1 price change: 5307 Umbrella Pool Rd now $379K (our listing).
No new sales.
1 closed sale: 861 Birdie View Pt $318.9K.
No new listings or price changes.
1 new sale: Marina Villas #603 2/2 listed for $640K.
No closed sales.
4 new listings: 11461 Dickey Ln 3/2 $1.495M, 11530 Paige Ct 4/4.5 $4.1M, 1121 Schefflera Ct 4/4.5 $4.499M, 16151 Captiva Dr 4/3 $10.8M.
No price changes, new or closed sales.
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.
Best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving from The SanibelSusan Team!