What’s Happening After “High Season”

SanibelSusan Realty from Periwinkle WayWinding up the second 2016 post-season week, The SanibelSusan Team already is itching for more action. We appreciate being able to drive down Periwinkle at the end of the workday without delays, but several days this week, even the phones have been too quiet.

More of our condo listings were vacant this week, for the first time in months, so my team has held a few open houses, but very few prospects visited. Even the island Realtor® Caravan meeting yesterday was lightly attended. Details on the week’s action in the Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing Service follow some news items below.

The below article posted in the “Santiva Chronicle” last Saturday resonates a similar tone about the market. It was written by Realtor® colleague Sarah Ashton who brought the buyer for our listing at Compass Point, scheduled to close soon. We kibitzed then about island sales.

Does The Market Seem Slow?

santiva chronicle“This is a recurring question about Island Real Estate that has been circulating for the last month or so.

“Both 2014 and 2015 saw a return to an active market and an absorption of a good deal of our outstanding inventory. At the end of 2015, we were at lows in inventory that rivaled historic for the Islands. With this reduced inventory and the economy moving into recovery, we faced the real possibility that 2016 was not only going to be another active year, but also one with some measurable price increases. We were expecting “A Pop.”

“With the first quarter of 2016 over, and these questions about the pace of the market expressed, let’s take a look at where we are, by the numbers.

“In 2015 there were 68 houses and 48 Condos that closed in the first quarter. In 2016 we have seen 44 house and 40 Condos closed. Thus far in 2016, we have experience a roughly 30% reduction in the number of closed sales as compared to the same timeframe in 2015 and prices have remained primarily flat over last year.

“Will this trend continue for the rest of 2016? Great question and a crystal ball might help. What we do know is that a confluence of El Nino warm weather produced the wettest January on record which affected the water quality. Combine that with the warmest winter in the Midwest and Northeast in many years. Combine both of these with an Early Easter and perhaps a bit of pre-presidential election jitters and we may just have created the perfect storm for a mini-pullback in our Real Estate market.

“These conditions will all pass. However it may be that until we get to the 4th quarter of 2016 we won’t experience the “Pop”.”

Here’s An Interesting Statistic

realtor logoAccording to National Association of Realtors® President Tom Salomone’s message in the March/April issue of “Realtor” magazine, “one in every 220 adults in the U.S. is a Realtor®.”

For years, some colleagues jokingly have said that when a person retires here – right after getting their Florida driver’s license, they also take the real estate exam. With this national statistic, it must be happening elsewhere too.

The Upside to a Changing Market

Florida Realtors logoAs described in the April 2016 issue of “Florida Realtor®”, there has been a change in the international buyers and sellers doing business in Florida. As the article says “the international market is changing, but there are still opportunities….”

“International buyers and sellers accounted for 11% of the state’s residential transactions in 2015. The largest countries for global buyers were Canada, the U.K., Germany, France, China, Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, and Venezuela….Because global buyers tend to buy higher-priced homes and condominiums, they had a 24% share of total residential sales volume.

“International buyers love Florida’s real estate market. It’s an attractive vacation destination with convenient air access from Canada, Europe, and Latin America…But Florida’s appeal to those buyers is affected by many factors, particularly changes in foreign exchange rates that can make Florida properties more expensive or reduce their cost. The recent strengthening of the U.S. dollar has slowed the pace of foreign purchases by Canadians, Europeans and residents of some Latin American countries.

“Immigration and visa restrictions can be problematic for potential buyers, who also pay close attention to U.S. attitudes toward immigrant groups….Here is a closer look at Florida’s most important global markets.

canada-flagCANADA –In 2015, Canadians were only 11% of international buyers, a steep drop from 32% the prior year, primarily because of a less favorable exchange rate. Canadian buyers in all income segments like buying homes in the Sunshine State. Traditionally, French-speaking Canadians from Quebec have bought along the I-95 corridor, while English speakers from Ontario and the western provinces have gravitated to Central Florida and the Gulf Coast….

UK FlagUNITED KINGDOM – U.K. buyers were 5% of the state’s international market in 2015, down from 7% in 2014 and 15% in 2010. A stronger U.S. dollar has led to a decline in sales to buyers from the U.K. and other northern European countries…That trend had had a greater impact on U.K. buyers investing in rental properties…But lifestyle buyers who want to spend six months in Florida are still purchasing here…U.K. buyers traditionally favor Central Florida and often buy relatively inexpensive vacation homes near Orlando’s theme parks….

Germany flagGERMANY – German buyers were 2% of the state’s international market in 2015, down from 5% in the prior year…In Germany, Belgium, Austria, and Switzerland, a real estate transaction is not valid until a notary signs the document in the presence of both parties….” So some education is involved here.

french-flag-largeFRANCE – French buyers were 3% of the state’s international market in 2015, unchanged from 2014. In the past decade, French buyers and investors have significantly increased their presence in the Florida market…When property values dropped during 2008-09, many European investors saw an opportunity here…Now, South Florida has a significant number of French, Italian, Spanish, Belgian and Swiss owners…. French buyers tend to purchase in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties….French buyers like Europeans are looking for residences with special features such as landscaping or interior design…They do not want cookie-cutter houses or condos…The quality of construction and the details of the architecture are very important.

china flagCHINA – Chinese buyers have increased their presence in recent years and now constitute 4% of international buyers, up from 1% in 2011. In the past few years, South Florida has attracted a growing number of buyers from China, as well as Korea, Vietnam, India, the Philippines and other Asian countries….In some cases,… parents will buy a home close to a campus, planning to hold it for four years or longer….Access to quality education and clean air are top priorities for Chinese buyers….

Brazil flagBRAZIL – Brazilian buyers were 9% of the state’s international market in 2015, up from 6% in 2014. For the past five years, Brazil has been one of Florida’s strongest international markets. Many affluent buyers purchased new condominiums and resales in the Miami market in all-cash transactions for personal use or investment. But the inflow of buyers from South America’s largest economy has been slowing over the past year, due to an economic recession, a political corruption scandal and the devaluation of the Brazilian real, which has fallen to record lows compared with the U.S. dollar.

Argentina flagARGENTINA – Argentine buyers were 7% of the state’s international market in 2015, up from 3% in 2014….

Flag_of_ColombiaCOLUMBIA – Columbian buyers were 7% of the state’s international market in 2015, up from 4% in 2014….

venezuela flagVENEZUELA – Venezuelan buyers were 18% of the state’s international market in 2015, up from 3% in 2014…. As Venezuela is one of the world’s major oil producers, its economy has been hit hard by the 2015 downturn in oil prices…and their recession is expected to deepen this year…”

What Does This Mean for the Sanibel/Captiva Market? And SanibelSusan Realty Associates?

Narrowing Florida’s recent international business to just the area of Sanibel and Captiva, European countries continue to dominate the islands’ buyer market. Most recent transactions with Canadians have been with them selling, usually because of the exchange rate. There is little business here with residents of Asia and South/Central America, but that could and, likely will, change.

Proxio logoProxioPro.com – SanibelSusan has a long-standing profile on www.ProxioPro.com which is a site known as the international MLS and global real estate network for referrals and sales. Comprised of mostly real estate professionals with internationally-recognized designations, through ProxioPro, I have personal connections with offers to pay referral fees to over 450 world-wide real estate professionals who have reached out to me indicating that they have buyers interested in Sanibel and Captiva.

My most recent ProxioPro out-of-country referral requests came from France and Canada, followed by Brazil, Greece, the Netherlands, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic. In-country requests have come mostly from agents on the other coast of Florida, particularly Miami. California and Texas are the two states that also have brought many recent requests.

world properties logo.jpgWorld Properties.com – Also powered by Proxio, www.WorldProperties.com is the official website of the International Consortium of Real Estate Associations – similar to a global version of www.Realtor.com. The consortium is comprised of real estate associations in 117 member countries which have set standards to facilitate real estate transactions and agreed to abide by specific codes of conduct. Here too, our listings are posted and translated into the various languages of the member countries.

juwai logoJuwai.com – This summer, my plan is to get a company profile and our listings posted on Juwai which is an international property portal for Chinese-speaking buyers looking to purchase property outside their country. On a national level, last year Chinese buyers surpassed Canadians in U.S. purchases, though most of these buys were on the west coast or in New York. Like most everywhere today, the Chinese economy is settling into a new normal. Considering that China has never been as large or powerful as it is now, my guess is that investment property here will appeal to them – if only they knew about it. Many in China are seeking not only safe monetary harbors, but also better educational opportunities for their children, so you can be sure that I will be touting the success of nearby Florida Gulf Coast University as well as other schooling opportunities here.

Why More Americans Are Heading South

From a recent posting on “Daily Real Estate News”:

RealtyTracLogo_166x32“A rising number of Americans are heading to southern states, lured by a combination of warmer weather, affordable housing, lower taxes, and less congested cities, according to a new report published by RealtyTrac called “The Next Great Migration of ‘Housing Refugees’ On the Move.”

“New census data confirm the findings. Since 2014 alone, more than 1.4 million people have moved to the Sun Belt, mostly from the Northeast and Midwest, according to Census Bureau data.

“That marks a stark difference to previous mobility trends. For more than a century, Americans predominantly headed west to cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and Seattle. But lately, that migration trend is taking a turn south.

““This 20th century movement west, which has dominated American demographic patterns for decades, may now be reversing itself in the 21st century as rising housing costs, stagnant job creation, restrictive land-use laws and no-tax states, pull Californians, Midwesterners and Northeasterners eastward and southward to less costly regions and more business-friendly states in the Sun Belt,” RealtyTrac’s report notes.

“Americans are fleeing pricey coastal states like California and New York and heading to states considered more affordable, such as Texas, Florida, and the Carolinas, according to a recent United Van Lines report.

During the Great Recession, populations in the Sun Belt saw a decline, but now analysts are saying there’s a renewed “Snow Belt–to–Sun Belt migration pattern,” notes William H. Frey, a demographer and senior fellow at The Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

“Florida is especially feeling a heat wave of new residents. For the first time in nearly a decade, Florida added more people than California between July 2014 and July 2015, according to Census Bureau data. That helped Florida emerge as the third most populous U.S. state, jumping ahead of New York (and following California and Texas).”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity April 8-15, 2016



4 new listings: Captains Walk #A8 2/2 $365K; White Caps South #5 1/1 $520K; Loggerhead Cay #373 2/2 $595,555; Sealoft Village #106 2/2 $599K.

3 price changes: Mariner Pointe #712 2/2.5 now $549K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #1-1 2/2.5 now $595K, Heron at The Sanctuary II #1B 2/2.5 now $610K.

1 new sale: Island Beach Club #330C 2/2 listed at $795K.

3 closed sales: Seawind #A101 2/2.5 $495K, Sundial West #G404 2/2 $559K, Sanibel Seaview #C3 4/4 $1.615M.


5 new listings: 340 East Gulf Dr 2/2 $625K, 1710 Sand Pebble Way 3/2 $715K, 5749 Pine Tree Dr 3/3 $749K, 6188 Henderson Rd 3/2 $779K, 841 Lindgren Blvd 2/2 $899K.

7 price changes: 5131 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 2/2 now $465K, 1322 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $529.9K, 1772 Serenity Ln 3/2 now $679K, 5757 Pine Tree Dr 3/2.5 now $875K, 232 Robinwood Cir 4/3 now $1.285M, 6491 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 2/2 now $1.795M, 513 Lighthouse Way 3/3 now $2.4M.

7 new sales: 848 Rabbit Rd 3/2 listed at $379.9K, 441 Lake Murex Cir 3/3 now $569K, 5303 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/2 listed at $649K, 3711 Agate Ct 3/2.5 listed at $899K, 2459 Harbour Ln 3/3.5 listed at $949K, 460 East Gulf Dr 2/2.5 listed at $1.289M, 882 Beach Rd 4/3 listed at $1.395M.

4 closed sales: 1521 Wilton Ln 3/2 $538.5K, 557 N Yachtsman Dr 4/3 $700K, 280 Ferry Landing Dr 3/2 $875K, 169 Southwinds Dr 3/2 $1.234M.


1 new listings: 1304 Eagle Run Dr $339K (same lot that closed earlier in the week).

2 price changes: 2486 Wulfert Rd now $189,555; 6217 Starling Way now $1.295M.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 1304 Eagle Run Dr $205K.



3 new listings: Tennis Villas #3231 2/2 $405K, Sunset Beach Villas #2316 1/1 $510K, Bayside Villas #5302 3/3 $629.9K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: Bayside Villas #4302 3/3 listed at $605K.

No closed sales.


No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 6790 Captiva Dr 5/5  multi-family listed at $5.25M.

1 closed sale: 16251 Captiva Dr 7/4.5 $2.15M.


Nothing to report

sancap GO MLS logo(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, here’s a photo like the one so many folks post on social media, saying “It’s the road to paradise”.

It is… TGIF, Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Causeway bridge

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