Island traffic has eased up some too, but the bike paths, causeway, and beaches remain busy with lots of families continuing to enjoy the islands’ early summer-like weather.
Rumor has it that reservations are dropping from 100% occupancy to about 75% tomorrow. But, many of us still have buyers arriving – mostly those looking for investment properties that are hard to view in “season”.
Several states continue to have spring school breaks right through the end of the month, so the islands “shoulder” weeks this year should remain busy.
The action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service follows a couple of news items. This week, we got a new home listing that went under contract in record-time. As the MLS report shows, over the last seven days, home sales outnumbered condo sales three to one.
141 Sanibel homes have already sold or are under contract this year, with just 135 remaining on the market. With Sanibel condos, 77 have sold and 112 are for sale. Lot sales are picking up some too; but 77 Sanibel lots remain for sale, with 24 sold/under contract this year to-date.
Below are a couple of photos thanks to teammate Realtor® Dave:
Special SanibelSusan Gift
I got a great surprise Tuesday night after sponsoring the BIG ARTS 3rd Annual Photography Scavenger Hunt to benefit BIG ARTS scholarships. Island artist and BIG ARTS instructor, Bea Pappas, presented me with a thank you collage that she made. It includes an old Sanibel post card of our office building back in the days of City incorporation (1974). It was a gift shop then, called “The Last Straw”. Next time you are in the office, check it out. We have it proudly displayed by the front door, next to our antique Sanibel map from 1833.
Next year’s Photo Scavenger Hunt already is in the planning stages, so if you will be on the island at this time next year, plan to join in the fun. After receiving just five clues, teams of two to four, with digital cameras in hand, scour the island to take pictures that they think best describe each clue. Some teams walk or bike, others ride. This year, the clues included: “warped”, “prickly”, “going up”, and “layered”.
Two hours later, the teams return to BIG ARTS and submit their photos. The pictures then are combined into a video showcase and judged, all while the teams enjoy a gourmet boxed dinner. After dessert, the video is featured during the awards show in Schein Performance Hall.
Judges were Pam Broderson, well-known island artist and resident (www.PamBroderson.com), who for 24 years had a commercial photography studio in Chicago; island photographer David Meardon (www.SanibelPhoto.com) whose work is seen in many publications, including National Geographic; and long-time Fort Myers “News Press” photographer, Andrews West (www.AndrewPWest.com).
Steve Greenstein, Executive VP at the Sanibel Captiva Trust Company, was the emcee again this year and only lobbed a couple of Realtor® jokes my way. Thanks to all who participated and contributed! And to Bea, we love the collage!
“Spring means wildlife nesting season! Please be mindful of snowy plovers nesting on the beach. Click here for a bulletin about giving nesting shorebirds space. Please avoid areas on Sanibel beaches roped off to protect our plovers.
Alligators too are laying and hatching eggs this time of year. Mother gators can be very protective and aggressive, so avoid getting near their nesting areas and be extra observant out in the Refuge.”
The New Hot Housing Market: Vacation Homes
“It’s a good time to have a vacation real estate niche. Vacation home sales jumped to a record high in 2014, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2015 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey. Vacation home sales climbed to an estimated 1.13 million last year, the highest since NAR began its survey in 2003.
“Sales of vacation homes rose 57% compared to the 717,000 tally in 2013. Vacation sales in 2014 nearly doubled the combined total of the previous two years. “Affluent households have greatly benefited from strong growth in the stock market in recent years, and the steady rise in home prices has likely given them reassurance that real estate remains an attractive long-term investments,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Furthermore, last year’s impressive increase also reflects long-term growth in the numbers of baby boomers moving closer to retirement and buying second homes to convert into their primary home in a few years.”
Vacation home sales comprised 21% of all transactions in 2014 – the highest market share since NAR began conducting its survey.
“As vacation home sales soared, investment purchases dropped for the fourth consecutive year, the report showed. Investment home sales in 2014 fell 7.4% to an estimated 10.2 million in 2014 compared to 1.1 million in 2013. The market share of investment sales dropped to 19% in 2014 from 20% in 2013.
“”Despite strong rental demand in many markets, investment property sales have declined four consecutive years to their lowest share since 2010 as rising home prices and fewer distressed properties coming onto the market have further reduced the number of bargains available to turn into profitable rentals,” Yun says….”
Upbeat Economic Forecast for Realtors®: It’s No Joke
“Have you heard the one about two economists and an appraiser? Bearing happy national and regional forecasts, all three killed it before a cheering crowd of about 400 real estate agents at the annual outlook summit of the Naples Area Board of Realtors Tuesday afternoon at the Naples Grande Beach Resort.
“The jolly tone was largely set by Elliott Eisenberg, former senior economist at the National Association of Home Builders in Washington, D.C., who now runs his own firm called Graphs & Laughs. He brought out the lighter side of household deleveraging, yield curve inversions and the quirky global dance between the dollar and deflation.
“Pointing out that lower energy prices and interest rates have allowed households to pay down debt and put an extra $1,600 in family budgets, he noted that this has allowed people to spend more on “stupid stuff, which is the American way – and this is good for the economy.”
“But while having more money to spend, coupled with a strong dollar abroad, has made it easier to buy pricey imported fripperies like red-soled Louboutin shoes and sporty BMWs, as well as cheap European vacations, there are some downsides, he said. That’s because a strong dollar makes it harder for American manufacturers to compete internationally, he said.
“”When it comes to manufacturing, things kind of suck,” said Eisenberg, noting that improvements in that sector are what pull an economy in and out of a recession.
“And because “corporations have become tightwads” and aren’t putting as much money as they could into new plants and their employees’ paychecks, the economy isn’t rebounding as quickly as it could, Eisenberg said.
That’s put a damper on homeownership among first-time buyers, who are just starting to emerge from their parents’ basements and form households.
“Nevertheless, on balance, the future is rosy, he predicted.
“Hiring is up and new unemployment claims down, which should put consumers on a strong footing in the future. While seven would-be workers pursued every job opening during the recession, now fewer than two do, he said.
“You can sleep with the boss’s wife and not get fired,” Eisenberg joked.
“Moreover, he expects the Federal Reserve is unlikely to raise short-term interest rates before the fall, and won’t do it quickly partly because it doesn’t want to spark deflation and partly because the “rest of the world is in the garbage can” and the global economy may suffer as a result.
“He expects rates will rise slowly from its current near-zero level to about 3.2% by the end of 2017.
“Eisenberg also doesn’t expect a return of the dreaded yield curve inversion, where short-term interest rates exceed long-term rates like mortgages, which generally presages a recession.
“”No recession is in the cards unless something external happens,” like a war or other unanticipated event, he said, exhorting the crowd of entrepreneurs to begin to take “prudent risks in your business – but don’t go nuts.”
“While he took a less jocular tone, Florida Realtors chief economist John Tuccillo drew smiles when he noted that “short sales have become museum pieces” and that the issues that once dominated the market – namely foreclosures and huge backlogs of unsold supply – are no longer the bugbears they were a few years ago.
“What seemed like a mountain has turned into a ski run,” he said.
“Negative equity loans – also known as underwater mortgages – have also declined to about 30% statewide from about 50% five years ago.
“Predicting positive effects on the state’s economy from the opening of Cuba and the expansion of the Panama Canal, as well as continued population and job growth, he expects home sales statewide will rise 10% year-over-year in the near future.
“Home prices also will grow, he said, albeit at a slower pace than in the past. Values should rise about 4.5% annually, he said, which are close to historical norms.
“Naples-based appraiser Cindy Carroll remarked that on a local level, both price growth and inventory levels vary markedly by location and neighborhood.
“For instance, some places, like Port Royal, may have already reached the top of their economic cycle and now have an oversupply of inventory, while others, like Royal Harbor and the Vanderbilt Beach area, still have room to run.
“But she still expects a long-term appreciation rate of about 6% in most neighborhoods.
“While that’s not a return to the go-go years of the housing boom, Carroll is still bullish about the region’s overall growth prospects.”
Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity April 3-10
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. Data maintained by the association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market. The information provided represents general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.