SanibelSusan here reporting another quiet week on the islands. There were no traffic directors at the Periwinkle intersections today and even the resorts have vacancies – a typical pre-summer pattern – but also a wonderful time to be here. Most locals swear that May and October are the best months on the islands – great weather and easy maneuvering when enjoying “all” of the things to do here – and the Royal Poinciana are in bloom in all their splendor!
In the island real estate world, there was no Realtor® Caravan Meeting yesterday. Considering that it is “after season” though, a surprising number of new Sanibel listings came on the market this week (12 over the last seven days). There also were nine price reductions, and ten closings. Not so much real estate action on Captiva, however, where there were no new listings, but four price reductions, and three new sales.
It’s a terrific time to be come to look at property as most listings are easy to view and probably will be until schools are out and summer vacationers start arriving.
The details of the activity posted since last Friday in the Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing Service follow a few news items below.
23rd Annual Sam Bailey’s Island Night
On Wednesday, June 1, Island Night will return to Hammond Stadium at CenturyLink Sports Complex when the Fort Myers Miracle play the St. Lucie Mets. This is the 23rd year of this annual community tradition that encourages islanders to come together for a fun evening of baseball and camaraderie. Pre-game festivities with parade begin at 5:30 p.m. with the game at 7:05 p.m. Tickets are free and available at Bailey’s General Store (both in Bailey’s Center and at Sundial Beach Resort & Spa) and at event sponsors which include island service organizations. Again this year, the Sanibel-Captiva Kiwanis Club and the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club will be in a friendly competition to support local charities.
2016 Sanibel Prescribed Burns
Yesterday, Sanibel’s Natural Resources Department issued the following news release about the upcoming prescribed burns:
“During the 2016 spring/summer season, the Sanibel Prescribed Fire Partnership will be looking to conduct prescribed burns on the following conservation lands:
- Bailey Tract (USFWS J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge)
- Frannies/Johnston Tract (SCCF)
- Sanibel Gardens Preserve (City of Sanibel/SCCF)
- South Center Tract & Postell Tract (SCCF & City of Sanibel)
- Gulfside City Park Extension (City of Sanibel)
“We would like to invite the public to an informational meeting on Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. in the “Ding” Darling Visitor and Education Center to discuss the burn plans and address any questions or concerns.
“When forecasted conditions are favorable, the Sanibel Prescribed Fire Partnership will issue further notification that a prescribed burn is possible and identify the specific location of the burn. All prescribed fires must be authorized by the Florida Forest Service on the morning of the scheduled burn. A change in the forecast conditions may result in cancellation of the planned burn. A prescribed fire will NOT be conducted if the prescription conditions cannot be met prior to ignition or if conditions change after the prescribed fire has been ignited.
“A burn plan, or “prescription,” has been established for the priority areas within these conservation lands. The prescription details the required conditions that must exist in order for a prescribed burn to take place. These include environmental conditions such as soil moisture, fuel conditions, and recent rainfall as well as forecasted and actual weather conditions including temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and wind direction. Following a predefined prescription allows fire management officers to establish the desired fire behavior (intensity, flame length, direction of fire spread and smoke). The prescription also identifies the number of qualified fire personnel needed to conduct the burn as well as the types and number of equipment required to safely complete the burn.
“Why are prescribed fires needed?
“Fire is a natural part of Florida’s ecosystem, historically set by lightning. Because of this history of periodic fires many of Florida’s natural communities are adapted to burning. Fire removes old vegetation, promotes new growth of native vegetation and suppresses the growth of non-native invasive plants. In the absence of fire many plant communities are displaced by dense, woody vegetation which can reduce plant diversity and eliminate foraging opportunities for the island’s wildlife. Species such as the gopher tortoise, eastern indigo snakes, and the Sanibel rice rat all depend on a fire maintained ecosystem. In addition to the natural benefits of fire, carefully planning and conducting managed burns can prevent the likelihood of catastrophic wildfires and help preserve the natural ecology of the area. This technique, called “prescribed fire,” reduces the amount of vegetation – or “fuel”-that would be available in the event of a wildfire.
“Why can’t prescribed burns be conducted some other time?
“The window of opportunity for conducting prescribed burns in southwest Florida is very narrow and may vary from year to year. By mid to late spring, soils and fuels are often too dry and prescribed fires may be prohibited by State authorities. By mid- to late summer, soils on Sanibel are often too wet, humidity is high, and afternoon thunderstorms render wind conditions unsuitable. Plus, on any given day all the conditions detailed in the prescription must be met and personnel and resources must be available to conduct the burn. To maximize our opportunities for conducting prescribed fires, the Sanibel Prescribed Fire Partnership has identified a number of priority burn sites for 2016. Because the prescription requirements for each site are different, this provides us with the flexibility to determine if the forecast conditions will meet the prescription requirements for any of the priority burns sites and then to schedule the prescribed fire accordingly.
“What can I expect on the day of a prescribed burn?
“Depending on the wind direction and strength, it may be possible to see or smell smoke. The fire prescription identifies the specific wind conditions necessary to achieve the burn objectives while minimizing smoke impacts to roads and communities. However, smoke and ash associated with a prescribed burn cannot be prevented. Smoke sensitive individuals should keep their windows closed and avoid outdoor activities in the affected areas. If you would like to be registered on the City’s list of smoke sensitive individuals, please contact Joel Caouette in the City’s Natural Resources Department at (239) 472-3700. Once registered, the City will notify you in advance of any prescribed burn on Sanibel.
“During the prescribed burn operations, residents and visitors are encouraged to:
- close windows
- cover pools
- move cars and furniture indoors
- stay indoors to minimize the impacts from smoke
- visit other areas of the Island away from the burn site
- abide by all signs, road closures, and instructions about closed areas provided by law enforcement and fire personnel
“After the prescribed burn has been completed, there may be occasional smoke or burning embers seen from the burned area for several days. Fire personnel will monitor the burned area and adjacent roads, day and night, taking all precautions and maintaining readiness to minimize fire activity and smoke impacts to the public. Do not be alarmed if you see smoke or burning embers within a burned area.
“Is Sanibel at risk for wildfires?
“Of course! However, prescribed fires, planned and carefully conducted by well-trained and experienced fire personnel are a cost-effective way to reduce fuel loads on Sanibel and reduce the risk of a catastrophic wildfire. To address safety and wildland fire issues on Sanibel, the City of Sanibel, the Sanibel Fire and Rescue District, the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge formed the “Sanibel Firewise Task Force.” To reduce the risk of wildfire around your home, the Sanibel Firewise Task Force recommends that you:
- Trim dead palm fronds from trees
- Trim tall grasses near the home
- Prune large, leafy hardwood trees so the lowest branches are six to ten feet above the ground
- Do not store combustible materials such as gasoline containers, firewood, and building supplies under or around the home, and
- Keep mulch and other landscaping material well watered
“For additional information regarding fire and prescribed burning on Sanibel, please contact the City of Sanibel Natural Resources Department at (239) 472-3700.
Watch Out for Inflation
As follow-up to the 2016 National Association of Realtors® (NAR) Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo in Washington, DC last week, here are some predictions from NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun as reported in Friday’s “Daily Real Estate News”:
“Home sales will grow modestly this year, but a continuing inventory shortage will keep upward pressure on prices and make it hard for many people to buy, even though interest rates remain low…
“Yun predicted existing home sales will rise to 5.5 million at the end of the year, up slightly from 5.4 million last year. New-home sales will rise to 540,000 units from half a million, but because that segment of the market is currently so far below historical levels, the gains won’t come close to closing the inventory gap, Yun said.
What’s more, most new homes are at higher price points, exacerbating affordability struggles for first-time and moderate-income home buyers. Yun said larger homes are the most profitable for builders, who have to worry about meeting local ordinances and other costs. He added that most new homes come on the market at more than $300,000.
“The West saw home prices rise 35% over the last three years, making that the least affordable part of the country and dampening sales there, he said. While sales increased almost 20% last year in the Northeast, they dropped almost 10% in the West.
“Inventory shortages continue to be a main driver of price increases, which were almost 7% nationally last year. The increase far outpaced wage gains, which were up only about 2%. Yun is forecasting prices to rise another 4.5% this year.
“Continuing low interest rates are a bright spot, but Yun warned that when inflation picks up, mortgage rates will follow suit. Yun said today’s low consumer price index (CPI), at about 1.7%, doesn’t reflect the rise in prices people are seeing on everyday items because low gas prices are keeping the broader index down.
“But CPI won’t stay low forever. Yun said the monthly rental rate tenants pay is going up (almost 4% this year, a seven-year high) and that will send the broader index up. When that happens, the Federal Reserve will raise the short-term interest rate it charges banks, which in turn will impact mortgage rates.
“Right now he’s forecasting mortgage rates to be at 3.9% at the end of this year, about where they were last year, and to rise to 4.6% in 2017. Yun identified 6% as a mortgage-rate threshold, noting anything much higher than that will curb home sales. “If rates get to 7 or 8%,” he said, “watch out.”
“Bottom line: Look for modest market growth this year and next, but as long as inventory shortages persist, homes will become increasingly unaffordable. Once mortgage rates start going up, which they could do as rental rates continue rising, sales will be hurt.”
What Makes a Smart Home Smart?
Interesting info posted last week on FloridaRealtors® and sourced to “Smart Home Glossary,” and “Smart Home and Internet of Things FAQ,” CRT Labs (May 2016)
“More consumers than ever see the benefits of buying a home with smart technology. A 2016 Coldwell Banker survey found that owners believe smart home technology makes their home safer, saves them money and saves them time.
“The same survey also found that 54% of homeowners would buy or install smart home products if they were selling their home because they believe it would make the home sell faster.
“In order to help agents and consumers understand the common smart home benefits and buzzwords, CRT Labs put together a guide. Here are some highlights:
“Smart home terms and facts
“What are the benefits of smart home technology?
“Smart home technology automates household tasks like adjusting a home’s temperature, unlocking the front door or opening the garage door using voice-activation devices. Smart devices can work together to offer owners safety by alerting them if something in their home seems amiss, and it can save owners money by automatically controlling the temperature and energy of a home. Insurance companies and utility companies may offer reduced rates and rebates for homes with smart devices.
“Who owns the data, how is it used and are there security risks?
“What’s the impact on selling prices?
“On a large scale, the financial impact is yet to be seen since the technology is so new, but survey results showed that 72% of millennial owners would spend $1,500 or more to add smart home technology. Fifty-nine percent of parents with children would also pay more for a smart home, according to Coldwell Banker’s survey.
“3 smart home phrases to know:
“IoT (Internet of Things): This buzzword describes automated devices like lights, thermostats and locks that work together and are connected by the Internet. IoT products use data to simplify things that previously weren’t automated.
“Hub: In the world of smart homes, a hub is almost like a universal remote, according to CRT Labs. A hub is the main device that connects all of the different smart home products together so they’re all automated.
“SmartMeter: These electric and gas meters help owners monitor their utility usage by sending real time meter readings.”
Leaving Your Property for the Summer
Some excellent tips were posted this month in “LCEC News” (Lee County Electric Cooperative):
“If you are leaving your home for the summer, there are some very important tasks you should consider to keep your home in tip-top shape while you’re gone:
- Enroll in LCEC kiloWATCH so you can be alerted of any unusual electricity usage. Sign up at www.lcec.net.
- Avoid mildew damage by installing a timer on the air conditioner to cycle the air for two hours per day. Or install a humidistat and set it to cycle when indoor humidity reaches 65%.
- Unplug the water heater.
- Leave all interior doors open to promote airflow. Space out clothing, shoes, and other stored materials for the same reason.
- Fill jugs of tap water to put inside the refrigerator/freezer – a full unit will use less power than an empty one.
- Finally, have a neighbor, friend, or professional house sitter check your home periodically during your absence.”
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity May 13-20, 2016
3 new listings: Tennisplace #D22 1/1 $249.9K, Loggerhead Cay #152 2/2 $999K, Pine Cove #104 3/2 $1.495M.
3 price changes: Sanibel Moorings #822 2/2 now $449K (our listing), Mariner Pointe #733 2/2 now $519K, Loggerhead Cay #211 2/2 now $615K.
(Photos below are some of the community amenities at Sanibel Moorings. Click the tab above for more info on this listing.)
1 new sale: Sanddollar #C101 2/2 listed at $870K.
2 closed sales: White Caps South #7 1/1 $520K, Sanibel Arms West #L4 2/2 $520K.
8 new listings: 984 Greenwood Ct 3/2 half-duplex $462K, 376 Lake Murex Blvd 3/2 $598K, 1426 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $675K, 1333 Par View Dr 3/2 $879K, 931 S Yachtsman Dr 4/2.5 $880K, 641 Lake Murex Cir 4/3 $975K, 598 Kinzie Island Ct 3/3.5 $1.895M, 1137 Golden Olive Ct 5/3.5 $2.695M.
5 price changes: 1746 Windward Way 3/2 now $580K, 3364 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $750K, 4775 Rue Helene 4/3 now $845K, 5075 Joewood Dr 4/4.5 now $3.7497M, 4449 Waters Edge Ln 3/3 now $4.65M.
8 new sales: 2407 Shop Rd 3/1 listed at $349K; 5131 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 2/2 listed at $465K; 535 Birdsong Pl 3/2 listed at $499,999; 9475 Beverly Ln 3/2 listed at $529.5K; 1702 Sand Pebble Way 3/2.5 listed at $535K; 676 Emeril Ct 3/2 listed at $749K; 1317 Eagle Run Dr 4/3.5 listed at $1.195M; 4353 Gulf Pines Dr 3/2.5 listed at $1.479M.
6 closed sales: 748 Martha’s Ln 3/2 $500K, 1460 Court Pl 6/5.5 multi-family $610K, 1970 Wild Lime Dr 4/3 $690K, 775 Birdie View Pt 3/2.5 $900K, 5773 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 2/2 $950K, 819 Lindgren Blvd 4/3.5 $1.24M.
1 new listing: 2441/2453 Los Colony Rd $179K.
1 price change: 497 Sea Oats Dr now $499K.
No new sales.
2 closed sales: 5749 Sanibel-Captiva Rd $600K, 3723 West Gulf Dr $2.6M.
No new listings.
2 price changes: Tennis Villas #3227 1/1 now $279.9K, Bayside Villas #4202 1/2 now $305K.
No new sales.
2 closed sales: Beach Villas #2632 2/2 $675K, Beach Homes #20 3/3 $2.4M.
No new listings.
1 price change: 11523 Wightman Ln 4/4 now $1.949M.
3 new sales: 57 Sandpiper Ct 2/2 listed at $885K, 17130 Captiva Dr 4/4 listed at $3.998M, 16665 Captiva Dr 2/2 listed at $4.8M.
1 closed sale: 16665 Captiva Dr 2/2 $4.55M.
No new listings.
1 price change: 16298 Captiva Dr now $4.999M.
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.)
Until Memorial Day weekend, Happy Friday!
Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan