Yes, in the blink of an eye, it’s over. Early Easter this year made for an early end to “high season” here. This week, several of our normally-booked condo listings were vacant – the first time in months. Once the last of the spring breaks are over, it likely will be quiet here again until schools are out and summer visitors start to arrive.
The Realtor® Caravan Meeting yesterday was well attended. The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® now has 31 broker offices with 284 Realtor® members. Announcements included a handful of new listings and a few sales, but mostly price reductions. The SanibelSusan Team had a new gulf-view condo listing go “live” last weekend. A few photos are below. It’s Nutmeg Village #303, top-floor, remodeled 2 bedroom 2 bath, with bright open kitchen, and views of the beach/gulf from all windows on both sides of the property!
More snowbirds are departing daily and the recently-installed traffic cams are working, so roadways are easing up. I ran into the City Manager yesterday and as we were commiserating about “season”, she shared an email that she had just received from a happy winter visitor commending her and her staff and sharing some personal positive thoughts on the wonders of the island. Even in the throes of “season”, Sanibel is the “the best”. We too appreciate all the City does to make it that way.
After a couple of news items below is the activity posted in the Sanibel/Captiva Multiple Listing Service over the last seven days.
2016 Predicted to Be Housing’s Golden Year
Posted last Friday on “Realtor®Mag”:
“Officials from mortgage giant Freddie Mac have made a bold prediction: This year housing starts and home prices will reach their highest levels since 2006.
“The main reasons behind its bullish forecast is low mortgage rates, an improving job market, and a gradual increase in housing supply. “Housing markets are poised for their best year in a decade,” says Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “In our latest forecast, total home sales, housing starts, and home prices will reach their highest levels since 2006.”
“The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage remains well-below 4% this year. This week it averaged 3.71%. “Expect the 30-year mortgage rate to remain very attractive throughout the spring home-buying season, staying below 4% until the second half of the year,” according to Freddie Mac’s monthly Outlook for March.
“For home sellers, they’ll be able to enjoy more home price increases. “In 2015, house prices increased about 6% on a year-over-year basis,” Freddie notes in its outlook. “Expect house prices to continue to rise, but at a moderating pace, with annual price appreciation slowing to 4.8% in 2016.”
“Also, gains in employment across the country will help to fuel hotter housing markets, according to Freddie Mac. The unemployment rate dropped below 5%.
That said, challenges remain for the housing market, particularly with wage growth. Wages remain “anemic, barely keeping pace with inflation,” Freddie Mac officials caution. “If wages and incomes do not start rising, then rising interest rates, home prices, and rents will squeeze households and ultimately slow housing markets,” Freddie Mac notes.
“Despite some headwinds, officials remain mostly upbeat. The “nation’s housing markets should sustain their momentum from 2015 into 2016 and 2017,” the outlook notes.”
Flood Insurance Rates Up April 1
The below article was posted last week in the “Sun Sentinel” Fort Lauderdale and reprinted in FloridaRealtors® on-line last Friday, April 1. It’s long, but a good explanation of the changes this month in flood insurance rates.
“Flood insurance rates are set to increase for all policyholders today as the National Flood Insurance Program continues to dig itself out of $24 billion in debt incurred in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Sandy and other recent emergencies.
“That means policyholders and their insurance agents will once again be forced to wade through a bewildering barrage of bureaucratic lingo like “Lapsed and reinstated pre-Flood Insurance Rate Map (Pre-FIRM) policies,” “Pre-FIRM primary residences,” “preferred risk,” “standard rated,” “Biggert-Waters” and “Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014.”
“And those phrases are from just two paragraphs of a news release Thursday from state Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty’s office alerting Florida residents of the coming rate increases. McCarty says it’s important for Florida residents to carry flood insurance on their property. Of the National Flood Insurance Program’s 5.1 million policies, about 1.8 million are in Florida.
“”Although Florida’s hurricane season has been mild over the last 10 years, it is important that we not forget how easy it is for one storm to cause a great deal of damage and destruction from flooding,” the news release quoted McCarty as saying. “Tropical Storm Fay is a good example of a storm that made slow progress through the state leading to massive flooding problems for several Florida counties back in 2008.”
“Flood insurance premiums will increase an average of 9% nationwide, excluding some surcharges and fees, said Susan Hendrick, spokeswoman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“But those increases will vary depending on whether buildings are primary homes, built prior to the 1980s, in flood hazard zones, or have been paying artificially low premiums since flood zone maps were first created in the 1980s.
“Flood insurance rates are based on flood zone maps developed and revised by FEMA for each county in the U.S. The maps estimate how high flood waters will rise after a storm likely to occur once every 100 years.
Homeowners with mortgages backed by a federal lending guarantor such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are required to carry flood insurance if they live in a special flood hazard zone. Flood hazard zones are typically near the ocean, the Intracoastal Waterway or canals, or in low-lying areas….
“In 2012, after hurricanes Katrina, Sandy and other major storms plunged the flood program deeply into debt, Congress enacted the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, which was intended to remove government discounts and bring insurance rates charged for risky properties up to levels reflecting actual risk. But many owners of those risky properties were enraged by the increases in their renewal notices in 2014, and they pressured Congress to throttle back on the rate of increases.
“The result was a 25% annual limit on rate increases for properties in flood hazard zones, paid for with a new surcharge imposed on all property owners.
“Here’s a breakdown of the most-common property types and rate increases their owners will face as of Friday:
“Properties in flood hazard zones that were grandfathered into the program with subsidized rates will see premiums increased by 25% this year – and each year into the future until they are no longer paying subsidized rates.
“Totaling roughly 20% of the 5 million properties insured by the National Flood Insurance Program, these grandfathered, subsidized properties are called “pre-Flood Insurance Rate Map (pre-FIRM)” properties because they were built before their communities’ first FEMA flood zone maps were created in the 1980s.
“”When the program first started, the government decided not to penalize homes built before the 1980s” by forcing them to pay actuarially sound (or fair market) rates, FEMA spokesman Butch Kinerney said. Instead, the government allowed them to pay discounted rates until 2012.
“Properties subject to 25% increases include non-primary residences and business properties. Grandfathered-in primary homes will see increases up to 18%, as will properties that are neither homes nor businesses – such as churches, non-profits and schools.
“Preferred-risk policies – which are policies written for properties within moderate- or low-risk zones B, C or X zones and not required with government-backed mortgages – will see premium increases of up to 15%.
“The Federal Policy Fee introduced last year will increase from $22 to $25 for preferred-risk policies and from $45 to $50 for standard-risk policies, which are policies in flood hazard zones.
“Another charge known as the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act Surcharge will remain at $25 for houses, townhomes and condo units used as primary residences by their owners and $250 for all other buildings, including vacation homes and businesses. This is the surcharge approved in 2014 to help offset the cost of distributing policy rate hikes over several years for properties in flood hazard zones.
“The Reserve Fund Assessment will increase from 10% to 15% for Preferred Risk Policies. The assessment is already at 15% for all other types of policies.
“Property owners should purchase insurance by May 1 if they want to be covered at the start of hurricane season on June 1, according to the news release from the state insurance commissioner. Coverage is now offered by several private insurers at rates comparable to the National Flood Insurance Program, and to cover values exceeding the federal program’s limit of $250,000 per home and $500,000 per business, the release said.
“For more information, flood insurance customers are urged to contact their agents or go to floodsmart.gov.”
The Dunes Will Get Four Speed Bumps
As described in Tuesday’s “Santiva Chronicle”
“Sand Castle Road in The Dunes neighborhood of Sanibel will have four speed bumps on it next tourist season following a request by the Dunes Board of Directors and action by the Sanibel City Council on Tuesday, April 5.
The removable speed bumps are the second tier of traffic control recommended to the city and they will be in place during the peak tourist and traffic season. The Dunes is used as an alternate route off and on the island during peak traffic times via Dixie Beach Road on one end and Bailey Road on the other end….
“The city identified the problem of motorists cutting through The Dunes and contracted with Johnson Engineering to gather data and recommend solutions. Johnson recommended two tiers of traffic control. The city implemented Tier 1 in January 2015 by reducing The Dunes speed limit from 25 to 20 mph and reducing the speed in the curves on Sand Castle from 20 to 15 mph.
“Increased police patrols were part of Tier 1. Police Chief Bill Tomlinson said that in 14 months since the reduction in the speed limit that his department has spent about 10 hours a week patrolling traffic in The Dunes and has issued 206 traffic citations.
“The four speed bumps will be 14 feet long and will rise to a height of 4 inches above the road surface. On each side of the bumps will be a 2.5-foot buffer to allow passage of pedestrian and bicycle traffic….At its junction with Albatross and Bailey roads, Sand Castle goes both directions in a circle. Motorists can go either way and two speed bumps will be installed on each of the north and south portions of Sand Castle.”
Sanibel Farmers’ Market To Stay Open Through May
By unanimous vote on Tuesday, Sanibel City Council voted to allow the Sanibel Farmers’ Market to stay open this season through the last Sunday in May.
The popular market was slated to close down for the season at the end of April, but owners of market operator Local Roots, asked the city to extend to May 31 due to its great success this season.
The market is open Sundays from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. See you there!
Stage a Baby Boomer Home the Millennial Way
An article posted on “Daily Real Estate News” this week was sourced to “The Washington Post”, March 31, 2016. It has some good tips.
“Like every generation, millennials’ needs and tastes differ from their parents’ generation, as plenty of surveys have attested to. But as millennials become home owners, how can your baby boomer home sellers amp up their homes’ appeal to this younger generation’s tastes?
“David Charron, president and chief executive of the multiple listing service MRIS, offered up a few tips on presenting a home to appeal to millennials in a recent column in The Washington Post. Here are a few of his suggestions:
“Entryway: “Millennials prefer their living spaces to be streamlined,” Charron notes. “A home’s entryway is one of the easiest places to make a good first impression.” For example, builders are adding shelves next to electrical outlets for charging stations in new construction. Sellers can do the same. Set up a dedicated command center near the door with a place to stow keys, mail, coats, and bags, and add a tastefully styled power strip or charging center.
“Common areas: Millennials place a high emphasis on socializing, so make sure the kitchen and living room show the spaces as great places to host a party. For example, a taller-than-usual kitchen table with bar chairs may offer up that picture. An open layout arranged with several seating areas also can help buyers visualize how the home can accommodate big group gatherings without feeling too crowded. For an open house, offer up a beverage and snacks station so that visitors can see and experience the entertaining aspect of the home.
“Children areas: Millennials span the ages of 20 to 35, and many are starting families or plan to soon. They are looking for places where they can keep an eye on young children as they play indoors along with kid-friendly areas. Display maps with nearby playgrounds, parks, and bike paths outlined to show the area has plenty to offer children.”
Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity April 1-8, 2016
3 new listings: Nutmeg Village #303 2/2 $799K (our listing), Clam Shell #E 3/2.5 $995K, Pointe Santo #E6 2/2 $1.25M.
4 price changes: Mariner Pointe #522 2/2 now $499K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #3-3 2/2.5 now $675K, Surfside 12 #B1 3/2 now $999K, Sanbel Surfside #127 2/2 now $1.095M.
4 new sales: Coquina Beach #5D 2/2 listed at $375K, Sundial West #B207 1/1 listed at $489.9K, Sanibel Siesta #402 2/2 listed at $559K, Shorewood #2B 3/3 listed at $1.349M.
7 closed sales: Sundial West #H408 1/1 $385K, Mariner Pointe #1073 2/2 $425K, Sunset South #6B 2/2 $477.5K, Sunset South #4C 2/2 $750K, Sundial West #E205 2/2 $764K, St. Croix #4 2/2.5 $890K, High Tide #A301 2/2 $1.895M.
6 new listings: 1722 Serenity Ln 3/3 $525K, 980 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 half-duplex $525K, 702 Oliva St 3/2 $649K, 4760 Rue Helene 3/2 $1.1M, 1360 Eagle Run Dr 5/3.5 $2.495M, 900 Snowberry Ln 4/3 $3.595M.
5 price changes: 1635 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex now $469K, 1322 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $534.9K, 1024 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2 multi-family now $569K, 2311 Starfish Ln 4/3 now $1.299M, 2405 Blue Crab Ct 4/4.5 now $2.595M.
7 new sales: 575 Piedmont Rd 3/2 listed at $425K, 1631 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex listed at $479K, 535 Birdsong Pl 3/2 listed at $535K, 1125 Captains Walk St 3/3 listed at $649.9K, 5753 Pine Tree Dr 3/4 listed at $998K, 746 Windlass Way 4/3 listed at $1.149M, 819 Lindgren Blvd 4/3.5 listed at $1.295M.
5 closed sales: 3870 Coquina Dr 3/2 $575K, 2499 Harbour Ln 3/3 $675K, 1259 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 $840K, 532 Sea Oats Dr 3/4 $1.2M, 1688 Hibiscus Dr 3/4 $1.82M.
1 new listing: 690 Birdie View Pt $399.9K.
No price changes or new sales.
2 closed sales: 2933 Wulfert Rd $260K, 5407 Osprey Ct $465K.
No new listings or price changes.
2 new sales: with contingencies: Bayside Villas #5208 1/2 listed at $287K, Beach Villas #2632 2/2 listed at $710K.
1 closed sale: Beach Homes #27 5/3 $2.395M.
1 new listing: 11537 Laika Ln 4/3 $1.695M.
2 price changes: 15161 Captiva Dr 4/4.5 now $2.495M, 11530 Paige Ct 4/5.5 now $3.585M.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: 11525 Chapin Ln 4/4 $1.4M.
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.)
Until next Friday, Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan