Happy Birthday, America, from Sanibel Island

waving flagIt’s SanibelSusan reporting another week of beautiful weather on sunny Sanibel. Unfortunately, it again has been a week of little real estate action. There was no Association of Realtors® Caravan meeting yesterday, but the activity in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service is posted below after a few news items.

The SanibelSusan Team has Monday off for the holiday, but I’ll be covering the office through the weekend and will be here early on Monday for the parade. More on that below also.

First those few news items, though they will not be about the water. Social media and the news have gone crazy over the last few days, many either exaggerating conditions or reporting untruths. As of today, none of the beaches in Lee County are closed, but it is summer and the rainy season, so the fight for clean water continues in Florida and we hope the press negativity does not affect real estate sales, but instead helps in reducing the releases coming from Lake Okeechobee.

The photos below were taken at 1 p.m. this afternoon from the Fulgur Street beach access which is between Sanibel Siesta and Compass Point condominiums where many were enjoying the beach. Plenty more vacationers are expected to arrive tomorrow as the rumor mill says that most accommodations are full!

Fulgur 1 7-1-16Fulgur 2 7-1-16Fulgur 3 7-1-16Fulgur 4 7-1-16

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Real Estate Sales – First Half of 2016

Since half the year is over, it is a good time to take a snapshot of the islands’ inventory and sales-to-date this year, compared to the sales during the first six months of the year last year. These stats are from the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Multiple Listing Service.

CONDOS                                    HOMES                                    LOTS

No.     Avg $ Price                   No.     Avg $ Price                   No.     Avg $ Price


For sale:

98       748,349                        145       1,562,845                      66       471,945

Closing pending:

10        594,400                        22        1,020,923                        3        812,967

Sold & closed in 2016 thru 6/30:

91        759,065                        114        997,052                         15       531,417

Sold & closed in 2015 thru 6/30:

101      690,967                        161        891,541                          27       326,330


For sale:

29        812,324                        32          3,417,081                      3        2,015,000

Closing pending:

4          798,725                        4            4,108,000                    1       4,999,000

Sold & closed in 2016 thru 6/30:

11           1,021,227                     17         3,017,500                     1       1,400,000

Sold & closed in 2015 thru 6/30:

22         1,057,432                     11         2,927,955                      2      2,847,500

To-date on Sanibel, 220 properties have sold/closed this year, compared to 289 that sold during the first six months of last year. That’s a significant difference. On Captiva, 29 properties have sold/closed, compared to 35 that sold last year.

Generally, it is higher priced properties that go under contract first and last quarters, with the closings occurring during the first six months of the year. Though half the year remains, it is unlikely that the second half of the year will be as productive as the first half, particularly with it being an election year. But, I’d love to be wrong!

AT&T Antenna Activated on Donax Street Cell Tower

Donax Cell TowerHooray for the news release by Sanibel’s City Manager yesterday which said “The City of Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane has been notified by the AT&T engineers that the AT&T antenna located on the Donax Cell Tower has been fully activated as of this afternoon. The mono pole installed on Donax Street at the City of Sanibel Donax wastewater facility was activated for Verizon Service on May 2, 2014…To minimize the number of cell towers on the island the City of Sanibel requires multiple carriers to co-locate on a single tower. The Donax mono pole also functions as a lighted flag pole. The lights are dark and the flag lowered during turtle nesting season except daylight on the patriotic holidays.”

‘Brexit’ Could Give U.S. Real Estate a Brief Boost

The key word here is “brief”. This article posted last Friday on “Daily Real Estate News” on line is as good as any that I’ve seen about the Brexit vote last week.

“Britain’s vote yesterday to exit the European Union will likely have a long-term impact on the world economy, but in the short-term, U.S. real estate could be flooded with investors flocking to the U.S. as a safe haven, pushing up the dollar and sending down mortgage rates.

realtor logo“”Demand for U.S. real estate could rise,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. On the commercial side, global corporations could show additional interest in U.S. real estate as they come to see the U.K. as a less certain place to set up or maintain their businesses, Yun says, “especially in London, as it becomes a less attractive place to conduct global business.”

“While a rise in the dollar could hurt U.S. exports, it’s also expected to put downward pressure on long-term mortgage interest rates. “Mortgage rates will tumble,” says Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com, “possibly hitting new record lows. If you’re a borrower, don’t wait to lock in your rate, as this opportunity may not last long.”

fannie-mae-logo“However, Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan says low rates because of economic uncertainty could last for a while. “The Fed will very likely be on hold for some time as it observes the impact on U.S. and global financial markets and economic activity,” he says.

“If mortgage rates — already at historic lows — drop even further, that could help drive up sales of all types of U.S. real estate, including on the residential side. Foreign households who might have otherwise looked to London to buy might turn to U.S. residential real estate, although U.K. citizens, who historically are among the top buyers of investment and vacation homes in the U.S., could pull back. “The British economy will be disrupted, and hence we should expect fewer Brits able to buy in the U.S.,” Yun says.

“Steve Rick, chief economist at CUNA Mutual Group, was quoted in a Bankrate.com article saying a further drop in mortgage interest rates could give new life to home-mortgage refinancing, which started to cool early this year after several years of big growth. “This would create another mini refinance mortgage boom at financial institutions, as homeowners rush to lock in near-historic low interest rates,” he said.

“In the long run, though, the uncertainty stemming from the vote could cause broad global weakening, which would hurt jobs, income, and consumer confidence. That would be a net-negative for U.S. real estate, even if it sees gains in the short-term.”

Mortgage Rates in Free Fall Since Brexit Vote

real estate daily newsThe following article from Tuesday’s “Daily Real Estate News” further confirms their prognosis from last Friday.

“Ever since Britain’s surprising vote to leave the European Union, U.S. home buyers and home owners have been reaping an expected benefit — mortgage rates that are quickly dropping. Mortgage rates are now at the lowest average in more than three years, and economists expect them to head even lower.

“On Monday, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.46%, near the lowest average since late 2012, realtor.com® reports.

““Lower rates produce lower monthly payments and greater buying power—those who are well qualified can afford a home that’s 8% more expensive than at the beginning of the year,” Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com®’s chief economist, writes in a recent column. “That’s more than enough to offset the rise in prices during that time.”

“That said, low mortgage rates can prompt lenders to get more strict with underwriting standards, Smoke says.

“As mortgage rates declined this year, we’ve seen that credit access has gone down too,” he notes. “That’s because lenders have become more risk-averse as their profit margins have been whittled down by the double whammy of lower rates and higher origination and servicing costs.” “

Six Sanibel Street Cams

Sanibelcityseal logoIn a press release earlier this week from Sanibel’s City Manager, it was announced that “three additional “Sanibel Street-Cams” are now providing residents and visitors real-time road conditions at the intersection of Periwinkle Way and Tarpon Bay Road… Click here to view the City of Sanibel’s “Street-Cams”.”

The locations now include:

  • Sanibel Causeway Span C (bridge closest to the island)
  • Periwinkle Way & Casa Ybel Road looking east (intersection at Jerry’s heading off-island)
  • Periwinkle Way & Casa Ybel Road looking west (intersection at Jerry’s heading toward Captiva)
  • Periwinkle Way & Tarpon Bay Road looking south (intersection at George & Wendy’s toward beach)
  • Periwinkle Way & Tarpon Bay Road looking east (intersection at George & Wendy’s heading off-island)
  • Periwinkle Way & Tarpon Bay Road looking north (intersection at George & Wendy’s toward Captiva).

Check the City’s web site www.mySanibel.com for more info on Sanibel’s 2016 Traffic Communications strategy.

For Island Foodies

Looking for something new?

Totally Baked on Sanibel – Sanibel Planning commission this week approved a new bakery coming to the Islander Center in the location of the former MacIntosh Book Store. The owner Virginia Wagner grew up vacationing on Sanibel with her goal to move here. She came to the island four years ago from Virginia where she operated a bakery and has been an award-winner baker at Bailey’s General Store. Totally Baked on Sanibel will prepare and serve pastries, cookies, cupcakes, cakes, biscuits, confections, and breads, and will offer carved on the bone ham, turkey, and roast beef as well as homemade salads, soups, and specialty items. It will not have seating, but may in the future.

joeys custard logoJoey’s Custard – Fellow Sanibel Chorister and owner of Sanibel Blue Financial, Debi Almeida has bought the ice cream, yogurt, custard, and panini shop (formerly Zebra Yogurt) in Bailey’s Center where she has partnered with her son Joe who will run it day-to-day.


Doc Ford’s – In that same corner of the island, FYI the new Doc Ford’s building across the street from the Bailey’s Center is almost done. This week’s progress includes installation of the new landscaping and parking lot pavers. It’s looking great. I met their new chef today while having lunch at their Rabbit Road location which will close when they move into their new digs. He’s from Austin, TX.

Doc Fords 7-1-16

Parade Central – on July 4th

If you are here and looking to watch the parade on Monday, SanibelSusan Realty is always a good vantage point with parking behind the office, grassy lawn roadside, and shade trees across the street, not to mention access to our air conditioning, a bathroom, and a frig with plenty of water. Be sure and come early to grab a spot. Periwinkle Way closes at 9 a.m. and the parade begins next to Bailey’s Center at 9:30. I’ll be opening up at 8:30.


An oldie from our parade entry in 1997.


Looking for the full schedule of events for the holiday weekend? Here you go…

TODAY – Friday – July 1st

9 a.m. – “Family Beach Walk“, “Ding” Darling, at Gulfside City Park.

noon – “8th Annual Hot Dog Eating Contest” at South Seas Resort at the overlook at the Pointe Restaurant, Resort Pool Complex, North Pointe.

5 p.m. – “Home Run Derby” at South Seas Resort at the West Lawn, North Pointe.

9 p.m. – “Seaside Cinema” & s’mores at South Seas Resort at King’s Crown Lawn at North Pointe.

TOMORROW – Saturday – July 2nd

11 a.m – “Wildlife Wonders“, “Ding” Darling at Visitor & Education Center.

noon – “Golf Cart Scavenger Hunt” at South Seas Resort.

4 p.m. – “Go! Fish Tournament” at South Seas Resort at the T-dock.

7 p.m. – “Casino Night” at South Seas Resort in the Captiva Conference Center at the South Village.

Sunday – July 3rd

6 p.m. – “Star Spangled Celebration” at South Seas Resort with Patriotic Golf Cart Parade leaving Captiva Conference Center, South Village, traveling down Plantation Road, ending at West Lawn & Sunset Beach.

9 p.m. – “Captiva Fireworks” at South Seas Resort.

Monday – July 4th

7:30 to 9:30 a.m. – Free Pancake Breakfast at Sanibel Community Church.

8:30 a.m. to noon – Community Celebration at Bailey’s Shopping Center.

9:30 a.m. – “26th Annual Independence Day Parade“, begins at intersection of Tarpon Bay Rd & Island Inn Rd, travels up Periwinkle & ends at Casa Ybel Rd. Theme is “Sweet Island of Liberty”.

10:30 a.m. – Celebration at Jerry’s Shopping Center to coincide with the end of parade. Includes water slide, food & refreshments.

Noon – “36th Annual Optimists Club Road Rally”, begins at noon at parking lot of The Timbers/Sanibel Grill.

Noon to 2 p.m. – “Red, White, & Boom Pool Party” at South Seas Resort.

6 p.m. – July 4th at Huxter’s with live music.

Dusk – Sanibel Fireworks (rain or shine) at dusk launched from bayside end of Bailey Road over San Carlos Way. Good viewing from the causeway islands or bayside of the island, but get there early.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity June 24-July 1, 2016

2 new listings: Blind Pass #205 2/2.5 $425K, Sanibel Inn #3522 2/2 $699K.
2 price changes: Heron at The Sanctuary #1B 3/2.5 now $619K, Sundial East #P205 2/2 now $780K.
1 new sale: Tarpon Beach #201 2/2 listed at $745K.
5 closed sales: Sundial West #H110 1/1 $259.5K, Seashells #14 2/2 $361.6K, Sundial West #H407 1/1 $455K, Compass Point #151 3/3 $1.055M, Sanibel Seaview #A1 3/3 $1.15M.
2 new listings: 5751 Baltusrol Ct 3/4 $1.149M, 900 Almas Ct 3/3.5 $1.495M.
4 price changes: 980 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 half-duplex now $499K, 1746 Windward Way 3/2 now $555K, 677 Durion Ct 3/2 now $728K, 3402 West Gulf Dr 3/2 now $1.995M.
4 new sales: 4737 Rue Belle Mer 3/2 listed at $629.9K, 5279 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/2 listed at $648K, Oceans Reach #1A1 2/2 listed at $999.9K, 824 Limpet Dr 3/3 listed at $1.395M.
4 closed sales: 535 Birdsong Pl 3/2 $490K, 3927 Coquina Dr 3/2 $590K, 702 Oliva St 3/2 $622K, 513 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $800K.
No new listings.
1 price change: 2400 Blue Crab Ct now $250K.
No new or closed sales.
No new listings or price changes.
1 new sale: Bayside Villas #4206 1/2 listed at $285K.
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.)

Until next weekend, best wishes for a happy & safe holiday!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusanjuly 4th flip flops

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