New Year’s Eve on Sanibel Island

It’s SanibelSusan reporting on Thursday this week (rather than Friday), as my teammates got off at 1 p.m. today for the New Year holiday and will be off tomorrow. The office is open though – today, tomorrow, and through the weekend – so if island real estate is in your plan for 2016, SanibelSusan Realty is ready to help.

Before I get into more real estate news, here are a few more photos from our pal Scott, who not only purchased his property from us, but shares his island nature pictures with us too. These were taken earlier this week at J.N. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge. (They are so terrific, I’m posting them individually, plus saving some for next week.) Thanks, again, Scott.

Scott Ding 2 12-27-15Scott Ding 3 12-27-15Scott Ding 4 12-27-15Scott Ding 5 12-27-15Scott Ding 6 12-27-15Scott Ding 7 12-27-15Scott Ding 8 12-27-15Scott Ding 9 12-27-15Scott Ding 10 12-27-15Scott Ding 11 12-27-15Scott Ding 12-27-15Scott Ding 13 12-27-15

Island Holiday Activity and More

When the islands had rental turn-overs this past Saturday, the roadways and bike paths abruptly changed from busy to jam packed. A few social media complaints by both visitors and locals resulted in a response from a resident who has been on Sanibel since the 50’s. He posted that, since vehicles have been counted coming across the causeway, Dec 28th is traditionally the peak-traffic day. Appears that this year was no exception. Some say it was backed up as far as Shell Point Blvd coming onto the island that day, late morning, and Periwinkle Way been slow all week.

Even by 6:30 p.m. most nights this week, the traffic in front of SanibelSusan Realty has been a crawl. Taking “the back” way to the causeway and east-end have been a must for me and my teammates. It’s time to tack a few more minutes onto every destination plan and to be on the lookout for drivers unaccustomed to the “laid back” lifestyle here.

Island Real Estate

There was no island real estate Caravan this week because of the holiday, but several of our listings had showings. We also again this week are thankful for another new condo listing. Last weekend, I showed property both Saturday and Sunday while during the week, Teammate Dave and I also went on another listing presentation and opened homes for some good showings. Dave also attended a couple of home inspections and we are both working on final action items for some upcoming closings next week, while Teammate Elise is keeping order to the showing requests and feedback. I put one of our new condo listings under contract yesterday, so 2016 already is kicking off to a good start.

Following a few news items below is the activity posted in the Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing Service since last week’s blog.

Sanibel Inventory & Sales Statistics

Here is a summary of the Sanibel real estate inventory today. Included are sales this year compared to last year and 2006* which was when the Sanibel market peaked.

Status             # Condos  Avg. Price    # Homes  Avg. Price    # Lots Avg. Price

For Sale                 98      $831,689          121      $1,391,833          69        $523,301

Under Contract   23     $652,874           22       $835,236              4         $394,250

Sold/Closed in:

2015                       157    $705,249          235     $914,416              43        $394,207

2014                      164     $650,418          206     $838,672             27       $424,198

2006*                      143    $866,972         156     $1,143,682          18        $523,917

3 Trends Sellers Should Know in 2016

CNN MoneyBelow is a posting from Tuesday’s “DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS” on line. As the above sales summary shows, Sanibel prices are not back to the levels of 2006, but the market here is definitely in the seller’s favor again.

“There are three dominant trends in real estate that sellers should be aware of going into the new year. CNN Money recently asked industry insiders to share what will be important when it comes to selling a home in 2016….

“A seller’s market dominates. Home prices have been climbing so much that they’re even matching their 2006 highs. Seller’s markets are more dominant in certain cities such as San Francisco, where bidding wars are widely reported and offers go well above asking price. “The more lucrative a region’s economic future appears to be, the easier you can expect it to be to sell a home,” according to the article.

“Mortgages will get pricier. Low mortgage rates have been the standard in the last few years, but that will soon change. The Federal Reserve is gradually beginning to raise rates, which will move mortgage rates higher and dampen affordability. Sellers should be aware that it may become more difficult for prospective buyers to secure financing.

“Tax benefits still abound. The largest tax break for ordinary taxpayers who qualify remains the exclusion on capital gains for the sale of personal residences. Single taxpayers are able to exclude a maximum of $250,000 in gains from the sale of a home. Joint filers get double that: $500,000.”

20 Markets Ending 2015 on a High Note

realtor.comAnother article from Tuesday’s “DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS” on line. I bet if this article considered small markets, the island would make the list.

“Residential real estate overall may have cooled as 2015 comes to a close, but the slowdown wasn’t evident everywhere.®’s research team identified the top 20 medium-to-large markets where homes are selling the fastest and demand remains high (based on the site’s listing views). Topping the list for the second consecutive month is San Francisco, followed by San Jose.

“”While California closed out our latest ranking still firmly in control of the hottest markets, the Midwest and Florida are both seeing substantial improvement,” says Jonathan Smoke,®’s chief economist. “Pent-up demand and robust economic growth combined with limited supply will keep California tight in 2016, but more markets will challenge them as demand improves elsewhere.”

“A few markets that are newcomers to®’s list this month are Tampa, Fla.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; and Midland, Texas.

“The following “hot” markets in December garnered about 1.4 to 2.9 times more views per listing than the national average at®. Also, homes in these locales sold 29 to 51 days faster than the rest of the country.

  1. San Francisco
  2. San Jose, Calif.
  3. Vallejo, Calif.
  4. Dallas
  5. Sacramento, Calif.
  6. San Diego
  7. Denver
  8. Santa Rosa, Calif.
  9. Yuba City, Calif.
  10. Stockton, Calif.
  11. Los Angeles
  12. Oxnard, Calif.
  13. Nashville, Tenn.
  14. Palm Bay, Fla.
  15. Modesto, Calif.
  16. Detroit
  17. Boulder, Colo.
  18. Tampa, Fla.
  19. Fort Wayne, Ind.
  20. Midland, Texas”

Rate Hikes May Hurt Foreign Buyers Most

realtor logoAs reported on “Fed Rate Hikes Will Dampen Sales of U.S. Homes to International Buyers”:

“The Federal Reserve’s decision to gradually raise its short-term interest rates is expected to send mortgage rates higher in the new year and will likely have the biggest impact on foreign buyers from Western Europe and Canada, says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®.

“”The reason is [it] will make the U.S. dollar stronger,” Yun writes in a column for “That, in turn, will make it more costly to buy in America for foreigners. One major exception to this trend is likely to be Chinese buyers.”

“Higher interest rates lure foreign savings into the U.S., which strengthens the dollar, Yun adds.

“For example, Canadian currency has gone down 33% in value against the U.S. dollar over the past three years. American properties have risen by 24.7% in the same period, which means Canadians need to factor in 33% more for the cost of a home after currency conversion. That brings the total cost change to 57.7% to purchase a home in the U.S., Yun notes.

“Similarly, the cost of a U.S. home purchase has more than doubled for Russian or Brazilian buyers after currency conversion.

“At, you’ll find a chart that shows the change in currency for some of the biggest foreign buyers of U.S. real estate.”

Sanibel Still Waiting for AT&T Upgrade

AT&T_logo_svgPosted Tuesday on “Santiva Today”:

“Sanibel is still waiting for AT&T to install equipment on the Verizon tower on Donax Road.

“AT&T Customers on Sanibel: Have you noticed the improvement in the wireless signal you are getting? We didn’t think so. That’s because it hasn’t improved despite overtures last summer that the communications giant would soon be upgrading its equipment on the island.

““We’ve had no update from AT&T. We’re trying to get a realistic time frame,” Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane said Monday, Dec. 28. Last summer it looked like all systems were go for AT&T to upgrade its transmitting power with new equipment on the existing Verizon tower on Donax Road. A permit was issued to do the work, but then that permit was withdrawn without any reason given.

“That raised eyebrows on the City Council. “This is AT&T and this is 2015,” said Councilman Jim Jennings, a disgruntled AT&T subscriber. “I can switch, but it will raise my bill. I’m not the only one that is frustrated.”

Jennings needed to look only two seats to his right, Ruane’s seat, to find company. The east end of Sanibel has a weak signal and would quickly find better signals and reception with an AT&T upgrade. “Where I live is one of the worst places on the island,” Ruane said Monday. “I can tell you that an upgrade will help the island. It will help my family. It will help me. I’m tired of having my calls dropped coming across the bridge.”

“Ruane was confident in late August that the city had garnered the attention of AT&T. Ruane spoke with a regional AT&T liaison and came away from that conversation believing Sanibel would get an upgrade by the end of the year. The liaison contacted Ruane after seeing the Santiva Chronicle’s online account of the Aug. 5 City Council meeting.

““We will touch base again after the holidays,” Ruane said. “I’d like to have a sit-down conversation with AT&T. AT&T customers on the island want to keep their service and AT&T needs to pay attention to that. “We would like to have a time line from AT&T,” he said.”

Southwest Florida International Airport

RSW LogoAn article in local papers this week touts our RSW as receiving the highest rating in traveler satisfaction in J.D. Power’s 2015 North American Airport Satisfaction Study. In its 10th year, the study measures overall traveler satisfaction with large and medium-sized airports in the areas of terminal facilities, airport accessibility, security check, baggage claim, check-in/baggage check and terminal shopping. Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW)’s score of 792 was the highest in the entire study this year where the average was 752 for medium and 719 for large airports. For more info on the airport, go to

Schedule of Events on

Here and looking for things to do? Check out the link above about Upcoming Island Events. I frequently update it.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity December 23-31



5 new listings: Sandpebble #2B 2/2 $449K (our listing), Coquina Beach #4C 2/2 $519.9K, Loggerhead Cay #313 2/2 $529K, Loggerhead Cay #214 2/2 $639K, Island Beach Club #350D 2/2 $1.185M.

Sand Pebble aerial

Sand Pebble looking toward Sanibel River & golf course


2 price changes: Blind Pass #D105 2/2 now $444.9K, Blind Pass #G203 2/2 now $475K.

1 new sale: Mariner Pointe #411 3/2 listed at $549K (our listing & sale).

MP Bayside Pool

Mariner Pointe #411 looks over this pool to San Carlos Bay


2 closed sales: Sundial #H411 1/1 $2514K, Compass Point #111 2/2 $1.13M.


2 new listings: 1216 Par View Dr 3/2 $779K, 3724 Agate Ct 3/3 $929K.

1 price change: 3941 Coquina Dr 3/2 now $725K.

3 new sales: 9477 Peaceful Dr 4/2 listed at $469.9K, 485 Peachtree Rd 3/3 listed at $749K, 1525 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 listed at $799K.

1 closed sale: 4355 West Gulf Dr 4/3 $3.5M.


2 new listings: 978 Main St $229K, 592 Sea Oats Dr $349.9K.

No price changes, new, or closed sales.



No new listings.

1 price change: Ventura Captiva #1B 3/3 now $1.295M.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: Lands End Village #1637 2/2 $1.23M.


1 new listing: 16697 Captiva Dr 2/2 $3.25M.

1 price change: 15000 Binder Dr 3/2 now $1.149M.

1 new sale: 1127 Longifolia Ct 4/4 listed at $5.795M.

No 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. 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.)

new-years-eve-clip-art-1288760HAPPY NEW YEAR from Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan