Columbus Day Weekend 2015 on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


As another week comes to a close, SanibelSusan reports that although many new listings are coming on the market for “season”, there was not much sales action again this week.

Here is a quick summary of the Sanibel and Captiva real estate sales since the first of the year compared to last year and the year before. Also included is inventory today. Note these prices are averages.

SANIBEL   CONDOS # Average Price HOMES # Average Price LOTS # Average Price

For sale        84      $763,929                 101      $1,365,647           65         $462,128

Sold/closed Jan 1 to Oct 9:

2015            133     $674,347                 205         $876,028           36          $392,344

2014            132     $672,330                 174         $821,266           20          $452,903

2013            138     $563,493                 175         $922,938           18          $450,364

CAPTIVA   CONDOS # Average Price HOMES # Average Price LOTS # Average Price

For sale         37      $743,454                  36       $3,798,014           4        $2,234,750

Sold/closed Jan 1 to Oct 9:

2015              30      $1,112,050              19       $3,269,079            2          $2,847,500

2014              17           $660,471            23       $2,826,717            0           N/A

2013              27           $665,630           15       $2,642,267             1             $650,000

(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.)

Here are a few news items, followed by the action posted in the Sanibel/Captiva Multiple Listing Service over the last seven days.

Island Weather, Happenings & Upcoming Events

Farmers Market Girls 10-4-2015Between some occasional showers, the opening of Sanibel’s Farmers’ Market last Sunday morning was a great success. Lots of locals were in attendance with a terrific variety of goods available for those looking for fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood, prepared food, and much more. Big thank you to the market organizers, Jean Baer and Betsy Ventura.

Farmer Market bagsThis year they have some new recyclable shopping bags too, I bought a few to hold some future closing gifts!

Sanibel Farmers’ Market is open every Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. through April. See you there!

Since last weekend, island weather has been pretty nice. Temperatures are in the low to mid 80’s, the humidity is down, and sunshine is expected every day for at least the next week.

Theater-in-SanibelTonight through Sunday – BIG ARTS Herb Strauss Theater – With a cast of 35 children, the debut of “Flat Stanley”, the 1st children’s theater show from Creative Theater Workshop is being performed at Strauss Theater.

Touring-the-Sanibel-Historical-Village-MuseumOctober 20 – Sanibel Historical Museum and Village reopens with new expanded hours. Opening two weeks earlier than last year and adding an additional day to their schedule, the Museum will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with guided tours from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

November 8 – 34th Annual Taste of the Islands – from 12 to 5 p.m. at Sanibel Community Park across the street from SanibelSusan Realty. This is CROW’s largest fundraiser of the year. Volunteers are needed, forms available at www.crowclinic.org

2015 Tast of the Islands

Through 2017, Market Should Stay Strong

More positive indicators in Tuesday’s “DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS”:

Urban Land Insititute logo“You can expect at least three more years of favorable real estate conditions, with the overall housing market projected to continue expanding at steady levels from this year through 2017, according to a new survey from the Urban Land Institute Center for Capital Markets and Real Estate, based on 49 of the real estate industry’s top economists and analysts.

“Still, compared to previous forecasts, the latest ULI forecast is less bullish on its outlook. Overall, real estate indicators are expected to be better than their 20-year averages this year, except among the following indicators that are forecasted to perform worse: commercial property price growth, equity REIT returns, retail availability rates, and single-family housing starts.

““The latest Consensus Forecast has picked up on recent growth concerns and stock market corrections around the world,” says William Maher, ULI leader. “The U.S. economy and real estate markets are in much better shape than most other countries, but global economies and capital markets are increasingly inter-related. Still, the vast majority of indicators in the forecast indicate favorable economic and capital markets in the U.S., as well as moderately strong real estate fundamentals and investment returns.”

“Additional highlights from ULI’s Consensus Forecast:

  • Commercial property transaction volume is predicted to rise for another two years and then level off to $500 billion by 2017.
  • Commercial real estate prices are forecasted to rise by 10% in 2015 and then slow to a 6% increase in 2016 and to 4.5% in 2017 – below the long-term average
  • Vacancy rates are projected to decrease slightly for office and retail over the next three years. On the other hand, industrial availability rates and hotel occupancy rates are projected to improve in 2015 and then basically plateau in 2016 and 2017.
  • Single-family housing starts are projected to increase to 745,000 in 2015; 842,000 in 2016; and 900,000 in 2017. Despite the increases, starts are expected to remain below the 20-year average.
  • Home prices are expected to moderate to 5% this year; 4.3% growth in 2016; and 3.9% in 2017.”

What Zillow Doesn’t Want You To Know

buildzoom logoPosted on BuildZoom.com on Monday, this was written by their Chief Economist, Issi Romem:

“Almost every home buyer begins searching for his or her dream home online. Today, that largely means looking for listings on Zillow Group portals, Zillow and Trulia, or on Realtor.com.

“But which one is the best place to begin that search?

“Depending on where you happen to reside — and especially if you intend to relocate — the portal you choose to search may be more important than you realize.

“The crucial point for homebuyers, realtors and investors to take away is that the number of listings being provided still varies widely from city to city.

realtor.com“According to comScore, Zillow and Trulia combined attract far more web traffic than Realtor.com. However, since News Corp. acquired Realtor.com the number of unique visitors to that site has steadily grown, and notably has now surpassed Trulia to become the second most popular portal.trulia-logo

“But Realtor.com has a different advantage. Before its recent acquisition by News Corp., Realtor.com operator Move, Inc. had a 10-year head start, backed by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). This advantage has translated into the Realtor.com site having more timely, accurate and comprehensive nationwide listings. This is a result of receiving and updating data from almost all of the 800+ multiple listing services (MLSs) in the U.S. every 15 minutes.

Zillow logo“The discrepancy between the number and quality of listings available on the Zillow Group portals and on Realtor.com attracted a great deal of attention in April, when ListHub — a key aggregator of MLS data, now controlled by News Corp. — terminated the contract, and stopped providing listing information to Zillow Group.

“In anticipation of the event, Zillow Group scrambled to negotiate its own agreements with individual MLSs to obtain listings which it had previously obtained from ListHub. By mid 2015 Zillow Group had signed agreements with just over 300 MLSs.

“In April, we tracked the overnight change in the number of listings on the different portals after ListHub’s agreement with Zillow Group expired. Although the number of listings on Zillow and Trulia fell markedly overnight, we gave Zillow Group the benefit of the doubt by expressing our belief that it was well poised to obtain many more MLS agreements.

“Nevertheless, we soon faced a string of cease-and-desist letters from Zillow Group’s counsel, ordering us to retract the blog post on the grounds that we collected the information therein in an automated fashion that violated the portals’ terms of service. Fearing the implications of a lawsuit by a large corporation — regardless of the ultimate outcome — we obeyed the order by retracting the blog post.

“Since then, we have recorded the number of listings on Zillow.com and Realtor.com for the core cities of the 51 largest U.S. metro areas. So as not to violate Zillow.com’s terms of service we have done so manually (hence the limited number of cities). On Friday, Zillow Group issued us a new order to cease-and-desist….

“As of September 21, Zillow.com has fewer listings than Realtor.com in 42 out of 51 cities. The discrepancy is often quite substantial: in 30 of the 51 cities, Zillow.com has more than 20% fewer listings, and in 15 of the 51 cities Zillow.com is behind by more than 60%!

“In a handful of cities, notably Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix and Detroit, Zillow.com provides more listings than Realtor.com. While this may indicate the absence of some listings from Realtor.com, it may also reflect data quality issues in Zillow’s database, such as incorrect listing details, or duplicate or expired listings. We encourage readers to compare listings in these cities and form their own opinions. Here is a link to the guidelines for comparing apples-to-apples on the Zillow.com and Realtor.com websites.

“At least superficially, the numbers appear to support Realtor.com’s claim of having superior data, but does Realtor.com’s advantage matter for Zillow Group?

“As long as Zillow Group continues to draw substantially more traffic than Realtor.com, agents and brokers will continue to feel compelled to advertise on its portals. As a result, Zillow Group revenue is less sensitive to its listing coverage than one might think. Yet the danger remains that consumers will eventually recognize the discrepancy and flock to Realtor.com or elsewhere in search of more comprehensive and accurate listings. If this happens, agent and broker dollars will follow.

“Going forward, Zillow Group has the ability to close the listing gap as it continues to sign additional local MLS agreements, but will it succeed? Judging by its limited progress on this front between April and September…it is destined for an uphill battle. The nature of relationships between the MLSs and Zillow Group’s portals are the subject of passionate disagreement, and it appears that Zillow Group is finding it difficult to win over “multiple” hearts and minds.”

San Cap LogoFYI – The Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service does not syndicate its listings through Zillow or any third party site. Through the islands association of Realtors, listings are on-line to members at SanCapMLS.com and to the public on SanibelRealtors.com and Realtor.com.

Since SanibelSusan also belongs to the Southwest Florida Regional MLS (SWFLRealtors.com), our listings are posted twice on Realtor.com. Because the regional MLS also offers syndication. Our listings also are on Zillow, Trulia, and other real estate search sites. Additionally through the regional MLS, our listings are shared with other participating Florida MLS’s, through a cooperative agreement called MLS Advantage.

The 8 Biggest Concerns for Realtors®

realtor logoGood write-up in the October issue of “Florida Realtor®” which says:

“Realtors® are strongly confident about the housing market’s outlook although confidence has eased since the beginning of this spring, according to a recent Realtors® Confidence Index, a monthly survey…about local market conditions. The Realtors® Confidence Index survey stressed these concerns:

  1. The TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure regulations, which took effect October 3, and concerns that they could delay closings.
  2. Tight inventory with a limited number of homes for sale.
  3. Affordability issues: Fewer affordable homes so sellers are also hesitant to move.
  4. Financing issues, such as difficulty in qualifying for a mortgage due to higher FICO credit and down payment standards, a protracted mortgage approval process and condo-financing issues.
  5. Appraisal issues: conservative estimates, out-of-town appraisers, and slow turn-around.
  6. Rising interest rates.
  7. Declining demand from international buyers due to a strong U.S. dollar.
  8. Uncertainty about flood insurance rates and reform.”

Casa Ybel Sets the Bar High for Sanibel Island Resorts

Thistle Lodge View USA TodayNice article about Casa Ybel and Thistle Lodge on Monday’s USA Today’s “10Best.com”. (Both of these photos came from that web site.)

I had lunch at Thistle Lodge a couple of weeks ago and the food and view continue to be magnificent. Some don’t know that most of this resort is comprised of timeshare units, but the five westerly buildings of eight units each are privately-owned 1-bedroom condominiums called Cottage Colony West. None are currently available, but there always are buyers for these income-producers. I got a request just yesterday. There have been three sales there this year with prices back into the 6’s. Here’s the recent article from 10Best.com:

Thistle Lodge USA today“To get the story of one of the most historic beachfront resorts in the Fort Myers area, you’ll have to go back to the late 1800s. That’s when former missionary George Barnes homesteaded nearly 500 acres on Sanibel, building the island’s first church, a cottage that evolved into the first inn and eventually the award-winning Casa Ybel Resort.

“When one of the missionary’s daughters married a resort guest, the two built a Victorian home on the property, naming it Thistle Lodge. Celebrities and dignitaries the likes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford visited the lodge.

“Recreated in 1979, today it is home to a beloved restaurant for both resort guests and locals. Diners not only love the view of the beach from its big windows, but also the partnership between Thistle Lodge and winemakers at Rutherford Wine Company in Napa Valley, Calif.; they’ve created a private label Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio. The rest of the wine list spans the globe, offering valuable tasting notes and affordable pricing.

One menu item not to miss is the Lobster and Lump Crab “Diver” Scallops. In this signature dish, scallops are topped with lobster and crab, encrusted and baked. The dish is finished with a citrus buerre blanc and served with baby field greens and jasmine rice. The Pecan Seared Salmon is another hit.

“While the menu leans heavily on seafood, the lodge serves succulent steaks, hand carved in house, along with an herb-crusted lamb and a veal tenderloin in a smoked pomodoro romesco.

“Besides at Thistle Lodge, guests can dine around the pool bar at Coconuts. The smell of the grill is hard to resist, as the resort has a popular grilling station every weekend and almost every day during season (winter and spring).

“As for the rest of the resort, managers are constantly upgrading its amenities and accommodations. The one- and two- bedroom suites are spacious and well equipped. Their screened lanais face the water, creating the perfect space for your morning coffee or evening cocktails. New this season are upgraded kitchens in all of the units.

““Some of the same people have been coming here for decades, so we are always trying to enhance their experience,” says Casa Ybel’s General Manager Froilan Ramirez. Casa Ybel has it all; it’s perfect for romance, while still accommodating to families. The Kids Club offers daily themes and activities that range from lizard hunting to arts and crafts. The resort even offers babysitting services to allow parents a date night. If you must do some work during your vacation, the resort Wi-Fi has been shored up enough to reach the beach, for your office under an umbrella.

“Other amenities include tennis and basketball courts, along with clinics to improve your skills. Less strenuous activities include horseshoe and croquet, to name a few.

“However, some of the best things to do are on the beach. Casa Ybel’s striking, white-sand beach is full of shells and beautiful blue water. It’s also host to some of the most amazing sunsets you’ll ever see.

“The grounds here are gorgeously landscaped, providing a calm, inviting atmosphere. Many guests like the fact that Casa Ybel is slightly off the beaten path, yet still a quick bike ride to shopping, nature preserves and other sites. One getaway here, and you’ll understand why visitors return year after year.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity October 2-9

Sanibel

CONDOS

7 new listings: Captains Walk #B8 2/2 $335K, Sanibel Arms #B1 1/1 $369K, Loggerhead Cay #223 2/2 $559.9K, Compass Point #111 2/2 $1.159M, Sunset South #5A 2/2 $1.224M, Gulfside Place #203 2/2 $1.295M, Sanibel Seaview #1 2/2 $1.349M.

3 price changes: Heron at The Sanctuary #1B 2/2.5 now $625K, Sundial #T302 2/2 now $729K, Seascape #301 3/3 now $1.195M.

1 new sale: Sundial #F201 2/2 listed at $729K.

No closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 1314 Par View Dr 4/3 $995K.

1 price change: 1237 Isabel Dr 5/6.5 now $2.795M.

2 new sales: 1148 Shell Basket Ln 4/2 duplex listed at $699K, 1183 Kittiwake Cir 3/2 listed at $749K.

3 closed sales: 1835 Ardsley Way 2/1 $315K, 1644 Atlanta Plaza Dr 2/2 $462K, 2981 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 $1.2M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 2501 Wulfert Rd $249K.

No price changes or new sales.

1 closed sale: 2142 Starfish Ln $383.5K

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Bayside Villas #4302 3/3 $649K.

No price changes, new or closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings.

2 price changes: 11490 Old Lodge Ln 3/3.5 now $1.298M, 16697 Captiva Dr 5/4 now $8.05M.

1 new sale: 15172/174 Wiles Dr 7/5.5 multi-family listed at $7M.

No closed sales.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 16297 Captiva Dr now $1.595M.

No new or 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. 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.)

christopher-columbus-day-clip-art-661308Best wishes for a terrific Columbus Day weekend 2015!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

P.S. Lots of new things to do have been added to the list under “Upcoming Island Events” above. Some get sold out early, so be sure to check the list often.

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