It is another sunny Friday on Sanibel – what we call, “another picture-perfect day”. It reminds me of yesterday when I complimented an island pal on her Sanibel photos and she said “use them anytime”. So, before the rest of Friday’s blog, here are a few feathered friend pictures – thanks to Ellie Hayward. She took the alligator pix too!
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®
Below are a couple of news items followed by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service action over the last seven days. “Season” is shaping up to be a good one. The statistics below indicate the few sales already in process. During the next three months, the number of sales should jump.
CONDOS HOMES LOTS
# / Avg $ / Avg DOM # / Avg $ / Avg DOM # / Avg $ / Avg DOM
Available 117 / 751,571 / 403 155 / 1,258,601 / 243 79 / 499,905 / 722
Pending 27 / 755,406 / 373 43 / 1,086,499 / 320 6 / 496,250 / 663
2015 to 1/30 8 / 491,094 / 398 10 / 784,468 / 365 1 / 352,000 / 192
2014 164 / 650,418 / 286 206 / 838,672 / 265 27 / 424,198 / 495
Available 43 / 885,909 / 372 50 / 3,503,921 / 318 6 / 2,280,000 / 330
Pending 4 / 1,113,500 / 118 4 / 7,337,250 / 442 1 / 1,390,000 / 116
2015 to 1/30 0 / N/A / N/A 0 / N/A / N/A 0 / N/A / N/A
2014 22 / 624,068 / 421 23 / $2,826,717 / 364 0 / N/A / N/A
SanibelSusan.com continues to bring us listing inquiries and this week one came from a follower of the “Upcoming Events” also posted on our web site. Tracking island happenings keeps us current. Here are a couple of new items recently noticed.
- Water Quality Exhibit at SCCF Nature Center – Water quality is a subject key to our real estate business and an item often discussed at our state Association of Realtors® Land Use Committee meetings. A new 5-panel exhibit at SSCF’s Nature Center is the first on the island about water quality. Educational and fun for all ages, the centerpiece of this SCCF exhibit includes a touchscreen with an in-depth RECON overview. RECON is the River Estuary Coastal Observing Network which was launched in 2007. RECON sensors along the Caloosahatchee River, Pine Island Sound, Tarpon Bay, and San Carlos Bay gather data which aids in research and management of the water in these areas. The Nature Center at SCCF is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Mayor’s Report to CASI – Last Friday, Sanibel Mayor Ruane updated CASI (Condominium Associations of Sanibel, Inc.) on the progress City Council has made this year in its goals of improving water quality, stabilizing city finances, and encouraging sensitive redevelopment. A few statistics he mentioned include that 27% of Lee County’s tax revenues come from Sanibel. Of each Sanibel property owner’s tax bill, 15 cents is retained by Sanibel, while 85 cents goes to the county. With some carefully selected projects like the Sanibel Civic Core which is being planned for the city hall/library area and expected to include BIG ARTS, the Senior Center, and the Sanibel Community Association, City-owned property may be eligible for bringing some of those tax dollars back to the island.
- CROW’s New Speaker Series – Beginning in February and running through March, CROW is offering more interactive and educational programs. As they are announced, dates will be posted on SanibelSusan.com “Upcoming Events”. More info at www.crowclinic.org.
Existing-Home Sales Rebound: 5 Stats to Know
“Home sales picked up at the end of 2014, closing off a year that had a sluggish start but then showed encouraging signs in the second half, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest housing report, released Friday.
“Existing-home sales rose 2.4% in December month-over-month, bouncing back after a dismal November. Total home sales –reflecting completed transactions of single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops – reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million in December. “Home sales improved over the summer once inventory increased, prices moderated, and economic growth accelerated,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Sales were measurably better in the second half – up 8% compared to the first six months of the year.”
“Overall for 2014, the median national existing-home price was $208,500, reaching the highest level since 2007, and a 5.8% increase from 2013 when it was $197,100. However, total existing-home sales were 3.1% lower in 2014 compared to 2013, NAR reports. Here’s a closer look at five housing stats from NAR’s latest report — reflecting December 2014 data — to gauge the market:
“1. Home sales: Single-family home sales rose 3.5% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.47 million compared to 4.32 million in November. Single-family home sales are 4% above the pace a year ago. Existing condo and co-op sales, on the other hand, dropped 5% in December.
“2. Home prices: The median existing-home price for all housing types in December was $209,500 – 6% higher than year ago levels. This marks the 34th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains.
“3. Days on the market: Properties typically stayed on the market in December for 66 days, a slightly shorter time frame than a year ago when the average was 72 days. Short sales were on the market the longest amount of time at a median of 98 days in December, while foreclosures sold in 61 days. Non-distressed homes averaged 66 days on the market. About 31% of homes that were sold in December were on the market for less than a month, according to NAR.
“4. Distressed sales: Foreclosures and short sales edged up slightly in December, reaching 11% of sales compared to 9% in November. However, distressed sales are down from 14% a year ago. Of December existing-home sales, 8% were foreclosures and 3% were short sales. On average, foreclosures sold for a discount of 15% below market value while short sales were discounted 12%.
“5. Inventory: Total housing inventory at the end of December fell 11.1% to 1.85 million existing homes available for sale. That represents a 4.4-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from 5.1 months in November. Unsold inventory is now 0.5% lower than a year ago.
““A drop in housing supply in December raises some affordability concerns in the months ahead as minimal selection and the potential for faster price appreciation could offset the demand from buyers encouraged by a stronger economy and sub-4 percent interest rates,” says Yun. “Housing costs – both rents and home prices – continue to outpace wages and are burdensome for potential buyers trying to save for a down-payment while looking for available homes in their price range.”
“By Region: The following is a look at how existing-home sales performed across the country in December:
- Northeast: existing-home sales fell 2.9% to an annual rate of 660,000. Sales are 3.1% above year ago levels. Median price: $246,600, up 3.2% above a year ago.
- Midwest: existing-home sales dropped 3.5% to an annual level of 1.09 million in December. Sales are 2.7% below December 2013. Median price: $159,100, up 5.3% from a year ago.
- South: existing-home sales in the South climbed 3.8% to an annual rate of 2.17 million in December. Sales are 7.4% above December 2013. Median price: $184,100, up 6.6% from a year ago.
- West: existing-home sales surged 9.8% to an annual rate of 1.12 million in December. Sales are 2.8% above a year ago. Median price: $299,600, up 5.6% year-over-year.”
Housing Demand Rises, Supply Is Bigger Issue
As the market rebounds another concern was highlighted by Realtor.com in another recent article. We are already seeing signs of not enough inventory on Sanibel and Captiva too. We all know that shrinking inventory often results in rising prices.
“Several signs in the housing market point to higher demand for real estate, but the big question remains whether the supply will be able to meet the rise in demand, writes Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at realtor.com®, in new commentary at realtor.com®. “Supply is quickly becoming the biggest concern for healthy growth in home sales in 2015,” Smoke notes.
“Smoke points to the following three positive signs showing higher demand in the housing market:
Builders are more confident: Builders are remaining upbeat about the new-home market. The National Association of Home Builder’s Housing Market Index recently showed builder sentiment on the rise, with builders optimistic about the six-month outlook in the new-home market. New construction is starting to follow suit. Housing starts rose 4.4% in December, with that rise driven by an uptick in single-family construction. Single-family starts are at the highest number in six years, reaching a pace of 728,000 units in December. “That is a good early sign that homebuilders are gearing production for greater demand in the spring,” Smoke notes.
Low mortgage rates: Mortgage rates continue to hit new yearly lows, bringing borrowing costs down for home buyers and refinancers. As such, mortgage application activity rose to its highest level since June 2013 recently. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.63% last week, its lowest weekly average since May 2013, according to Freddie Mac. But economists are warning that the low rates won’t likely stick around much longer and could move up to 5% by the end of the year.
Existing-home sales rebounding: Demand has been growing in the existing-home sales market too. The annual pace of existing-home sales was 5.04 million in December, 3.5% higher than last year, according to the National Association of REALTORS® latest report.
“Housing supply remains the biggest issue, Smoke says. The inventory of existing-homes is at a 4.4-month supply at the current sales pace – well-below the 6-month supply that most economists consider healthy, according to NAR’s December report. “We need more markets to see listing growth over the next several weeks to keep appreciation at healthy, normal levels,” Smoke says. “With three years of positive price appreciation behind them, existing-home owners in most areas should see conditions as very favorable for trading up. That is what the market needs to set the stage for significant growth this spring.””
Why I Bought Realtor.com®
As a Realtor® who has had successful results from Realtor.com, but many frustrations from inquiries from viewers looking at other third party real estate search sites, I have patiently been waiting for more news about Rupert Murdoch’s recent purchase. Here is the article posted on “Daily Real Estate News” yesterday. Love the last sentence!
“News Corp founder and executive chairman Rupert Murdoch took the stage at Real Estate Connect in New York on Thursday to explain why Move Inc., the operator of realtor.com®, was a better acquisition than its chief rivals in the online real estate space. Murdoch said Move and realtor.com® have a trifecta of powerful marketing points over Zillow and Trulia. “Move has the most up-to-date and accurate listings in the market,” Murdoch said, noting that realtor.com®’s listings are updated every 15 minutes.
““Move has a close relationship with the National Association of REALTORS®, and I believe real estate agents are crucial to every home sale in America,” he said. “Realtor.com® attracts transaction-ready consumers — they’re not just window shoppers — and that’s attractive to advertisers,” Murdoch said.
“Most people who begin their real estate search online eventually need human interaction and guidance, Murdoch said, and realtor.com® facilitates those connections. “There is no digital replacement for the human touch,” he said. “No technology can meet all of someone’s needs. It takes a real person. Realtor.com® helps bring home buyers, sellers, and agents together. We want the shortest distance between the American Dream and a family’s reality to be realtor.com®.”
“Murdoch reassured critics that News Corp’s goal is not to turn Move into a media company and take realtor.com® away from its mission of connecting agents with consumers. Instead, he said, he wants to enhance the realtor.com® user experience to help it better fulfill its mission. “We’re going to add to the user interface, make it more obviously friendly for agents and consumers,” Murdoch said. “We’ve got to make a better product, and then when we’re satisfied, we need to get out and market it hard. We understand that there’s a different business model in America,” continued the Australian-born media magnate, who owns media properties all over the world. “We don’t want to replace agents — we think they’re absolutely central.”
“Murdoch also predicted that the U.S. housing market would continue to expand and recover — another reason he was interested in buying a real estate company. He said the data he’s been seeing from Move thus far is encouraging, and the U.S. market offers the best bet for long-term growth in the world.
“Murdoch ended on a note that easily became the most talk-about moment of his appearance at Real Estate Connect. He said he believed in the ability of the realtor.com® name to attract consumers away from the site’s rivals because “we all know what ‘REALTOR®’ means.” And then he quipped: “What the hell does ‘Zillow’ mean?””
Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity January 23-30
2 new listings: Sanibel Arms West #L5 2/2 $524.9K, Sanibel Sunset #202 3/2 $1.795M.
3 price changes: Captains Walk #C7 1/1 now $244K, Sanibel Arms West #J4 2/2 now $459K, Sanddollar #A104 2/2 now $819K.
4 new sales: Sundial #F406 1/1 listed for $359.9K, Sanibel Arms West #L5 2/2 listed for $524.9K, Loggerhead Cay #191 2/2 listed for $660K, West Shore #6 3/3 listed for $1.795M.
1 closed sale: Pointe Santo #A2 2/2 $782.25K.
8 new listings: 4109 SanCap Rd 2/1 $324K, 4619 Brainard Bayou Rd 3/2 $599.9K, 1085 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $669K, 1182 Kittiwake Cir 3/3 $739K, 923 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2 $889K, 1331 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 $985K, 5418 Osprey Ct 4/3.5 $1.195M, 4525 Waters Edge Ln 3/3.5 $4.495M.
8 price changes: 2621 SanCap Rd 3/2 now $279K; 1602 Serenity Ln 3/2 now $499K; 9032 Mockingbird Ln 3/2 now $619,995; 741 Nerita St 3/2 now $679K; 3131 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $704,999; 1224 Par View Dr 3/3 now $1.099M; 518 N Yachtsman Dr 3/3 now $1.179M; 2255 Troon Ct 4/5.5 now $1.55M.
6 new sales: 320 Palm Lake Dr 2/2 listed for $424K, 590 Lake Murex Cir 2/1.5 listed for $635K, 5753 Pine Tree Dr 3/4 listed for $749K, 1337 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 listed for $1.149M, 6440 Pine Ave 3/3 listed for $1.295M (our sale), 536 Lighthouse Way 4/4.5 listed for $3.395M.
1 closed sale: 960 S Yachtsman Dr 3/3 $1.299M.
No new listings.
1 price change: 1311 Par View Dr now $269.9K.
No new or closed sales.
2 new listings: Tennis Villas #3115 1/1 $294.9K, Beach Villas #2614 2/2 $620K.
2 price changes: Bayside Villas #4114 1/2 now $269.9K, Bayside Villas #5316 3/3 now $619K.
No new or closed sales.
1 new listing: 928 S Seas Plantation Rd 5/5.5 $4.175M.
1 price change: 17130 Captiva Dr 4/4 now $4.499M.
2 new sales: 43 Oster Ct 2/2.5 listed for $784.9K; 16585 Captiva Dr 5/4/2 listed for $2,799,585.
No closed sales.
No new listings or price changes.
1 new sale: 16915 Captiva Dr listed for $1.39M.
No closed sales.
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.
Until next Friday – best weekend wishes to all – from Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan