Sanibel & Captiva Islands had another week of good weather and little traffic – or at least until late yesterday when a boat slid off a trailer coming out of Sanibel Harbour onto Summerlin Road just after the toll booth going off island.
That little roadway snafu kept vehicles leaving the islands at a slow crawl until close to 7 p.m. Silly me then, doing some off-island chores after work.
The weather this week included the first major shower of the rainy season. Boy, was the rain needed when it arrived late Monday night/early Tuesday morning. Though off-island teammates Dave and Elise saw only a few drops and heard some thunder rumbles where they live, they noticed causeway flooding as they came onto the island. There were huge puddles from the east-end to Captiva. Most now have disappeared, with “greening” up already noticeable. I heard a Lee County Mosquito Control plane buzzing the east-end early morning yesterday, yet another sign that we got rain and it’s May.
The change in island occupancy is evident even to the lunch crowd. No waiting at Doc Ford’s on Tuesday when my lunch friends and I snagged a nice breezy outside table. They later sent me the below photo and said I could share it. Thank you, Susanna and Yves-Pascal, for a great visit and terrific picture too!
First Off-Season Caravan Meeting
Attendance was light at yesterday’s Thursday morning local Association of Realtors® Caravan meeting which had just two homes (one bank-owned) and a single condo on tour. That’s another indication that “high season” is over. Here forward, until late fall when business picks up, Caravan’s will be held every other week and open to any new listings in any location on either island.
- Water Quality Update – During the Committee Reports, Realtor® David Schuldrenfrei for the Government & Environmental Committee reported that SB #10, regarding Everglades restoration and water storage, passed in the Florida Legislature with the House of Representatives following the lead of the Senate. This bill has been decades in the making and provides $800 million in funding to create a dynamic reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee, in the Everglades Agricultural Area. The reservoir is needed to provide freshwater to Florida Bay and to alleviate discharges to the Caloosahatchee and St Lucie Rivers. The bill now is on its way to the Governor’s desk for signature. Local Realtors®, City officials, and others have spent nearly 20 years working toward this milestone. David offered a big thank you to all involved for their continued persistence. A further update is below, on other issues in the forefront of Florida’s legislative session which wraps up today.
- Working Together to Make a Difference – For the Communications and Public Relations Committee, I announced that Realtors® Bob and Diane Stocks joined me Monday morning in transporting to Catholic Charities of SW Florida, the gently-used clothing collected over the last two months by Association Members. That delivery was a humbling experience. Charity workers were very thankful for the carloads of goods delivered saying they are particularly in need of donations for Clewiston farm worker families, those who lost belongings in Florida’s fires, recent rescues human trafficking, as well as those down on their luck hoping and looking for jobs, to become more self-sufficient. This month, the Committee is spearheading a new campaign, collecting pillows, bed linens, and diapers which will be donated on June 1 to ACT (Abuse Counseling Treatment Center) in Fort Myers. Their needs increase in the “off season” too.
- Real Estate Announcements – Under new and old business, a couple of old sales were announced. Listing agents are careful these days to wait until after inspection/cancellation periods are over – or contingencies are removed – to make an announcement.
Also, a “back-on-the-market” was reported where a property did not close because the buyer couldn’t get financing. That doesn’t happen here too often, but it could be because the home was found to have aluminum wiring, which can make a property difficult to insure. The listing agent announced that the wiring is being replaced and it again is available for sale.
I announced the price reduction at our Seagull Estates listing. A couple of upcoming new listings were announced too. There usually are not many new offerings this time of the year. These were the result of winter residents heading home and moving elsewhere. The details of the activity posted since last Friday in the Sanibel/Captiva Multiple Listing Service follows some other news items below.
While I was at the Thursday caravan meeting, Dave was at a property inspection. I hope he wasn’t on the roof when this picture was taken, but here is his photo showing how few were on Beachcomber’s east-end stretch of beach then. The gulf waters are beautiful!
Update on Florida Legislative Session
As Florida’s legislative session comes to a close, Florida Realtors® Vice President of Public Policy, Carrie O’Rourke, emailed the members of FloridaRealtors® Think Tank (yes, I am one of those) a summary of what she said is “is shaping up to be one of our most successful sessions in recent memory.” Here are some excerpts:
- “Business Rent Tax Reduction – We are closer to success than ever before! After years of fighting for a reduction to the business rent tax we were finally able to overcome the obstacles and there is a strong chance we will come out with a win for business owners, commercial Realtors®, and ultimately, Florida’s economy. Under the current proposal, which was just passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee, the business rent tax would be reduced 0.2%, moving from 6% to a permanent 5.8%. While this may at first seem like a very modest cut, there are two things to consider
- First, this cut represents more than $60 million fiscal impact to the state, and comprises the vast majority of the small amount of funding that was available for tax cut purposes.
- Second, this cut represents a big step for a legislative body that has been reluctant to even open the door on a cut to this revenue source.
- The bill now travels to the full Florida Senate for a vote, and will also need to pass the House before the legislature adjourns on Friday, the scheduled conclusion of the Legislature’s 60-day session.
- “10% Non-Homestead Property Tax Cap – Success! The joint resolution has passed both legislative chambers and will not be heading to voters during the 2018 general election. This is a significant victory for Florida Realtors® as it gives us the time we need to conduct a comprehensive, direct-to-voter campaign that will help voters understand why they need to make this important tax break permanent.
- “Estoppel Certificate Fee Reform – …For three years, we have been advocating for caps on unreasonable estoppel certificate fees and all that hard work has paid off with the passage of SB 398. This legislature caps the fees that community association management companies can charge for estoppel certificates at $250 for unit owners who are current in their assessments. An additional $100 can be charged for “expedited” estoppel certificates (delivered within three business days), and another $150 can be charged for owners who are delinquent in their assessments. This is a maximum of $500 for an expedited, delinquent estoppel certificate. Gone are the days of certificate fees that cost $1,000 or more….
- “Vacation Rentals – It took about 4 hours of debate and a close vote for HB 425… to make it out of the House. This is the bill that essentially stops local governments from targeting vacation rental homes with restrictive ordinances. In other words, if a local government passes an ordinance targeted at vacation rental homes, it has to apply to all residential homes in the area; vacation rentals cannot be singled out. The original bill has been amended several times and has a tough road ahead of it in the Senate.
- “Increase to the Non-School Homestead Exemption – The Senate passed a priority issue of the House concerning a proposed increase to the non-school homestead exemption by $25,000. Currently homeowners receive a tax exemption on the first $25,000 in the value of their properties. They pay taxes on the value between $25,000 and $50,000 and then receive an exemption on the portion from $50,000 to $75,000. The House ended up adopting the Senate’s version of the joint resolution which would apply the exemption to the portion of values between $100,000 and $125,000. This passage will place a constitutional amendment on the 2017 general election ballot.”
First Sea Turtle Nest
As follow-up to last week’s posting about sea turtle nesting season beginning, the first nest of the season was found Saturday, April 29, near Gulfside Place condos. The nest has been staked off by volunteers from SCCF’s (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) Sea Turtle Monitoring Program. Reports say that this year’s first nest is early, but not as early as last year when the first one was found on April 20 on Captiva.
Sea turtles on Sanibel/Captiva are coming off back-to-back record years. A new record was set in 2015 with more than 600 nests. Last season that record was beat by a mile when the two islands had a combined total of 826 nests.
SCCF volunteers patrol the beaches early every morning during nesting season, recording new nests and false crawls (when a female comes ashore but doesn’t lay eggs). The volunteers take measurements and stake the nests. In recent years, they also have covered nests with mesh to prevent coyotes from getting to them.
Southwest Florida By The Numbers
As a numbers kinda gal, I enjoyed reading the statistics in the “Gulfshore Business Source Book 2017” that arrived in the mail this week. Below is a sampling, showing Lee County compared to neighboring Collier and Charlotte, the state, and the nation.
“Demographics Lee Collier Charlotte Florida United States
2016 population 680,539 350,202 170,450 20.612 million 323.127 million
Projected by 2025 839,497 409,899 187,862 22.799 million 357.452 million
Median age (2016) 46.9 46.5 54.5 39.4 35.9
Percentage over 65 25 27.8 36.2 18.8 12.4
Cost of Living
Median home price $246,900 $450,000 $195,000 $226,000 $233,500
Unemployment rate 4.4% 4.5% 5.2% 5.0% 4.7%
Median annual wage $31,548 $32,946 $29,526 $32,789 $36,764
Further along in the article, it provided details on the major communities within the counties.
Here is their info for Sanibel:
“Population (2016) – 6,591
Per capita income (2015) – $79,354
Median household income (2015) – $98,818
Median home value – $664,500”
Wondering the largest employers in Southwest Florida? Here are the top ten with their number of employees:
- “Lee Health (12,600)
- Lee County School District (11,098)
- Publix Super Markets (8,533)
- Collier County Public Schools (7,000)
- NCH Healthcare System – Naples Community Hospital (4,200)
- Wal-Mart (3,792)
- Chico’s FAS Inc. (2,900)
- Arthrex Inc. (2,510)
- Lee County Government (2,362)
- Lipman Produce (2,300)…”
Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity April 28-May 5, 2017
5 new listings: Sundial West #D403 1/1 $435K, Island Beach Club #P1A 2/2 $659K, Cottage Colony West #116 1/1 $659K, Tarpon Beach #102 2/2 $749K, Sanibel Seaview #B2 3/3 $1.489M.
5 price changes: Seashells #38 2/2 now $349K, Seashells #11 2/2 now $365K, Donax Village #3 2/2 now $438.5K, Loggerhead Cay #332 2/2 now $485K, By-The-Sea #C302 2/2 now $1.495M.
6 new sales: Mariner Pointe #712 2/2.5 listed at $463.5K, Ibis at The Sanctuary #B201 2/2 listed at $475K (our buyer), Sanctuary Golf Villages I #3-3 listed at $699K, Kings Crown #208 2/2 listed at $749K, Pointe Santo #B25 2/2 listed at $749K, Sanibel Surfside #225 2/2 listed at $774.9K.
5 closed sales: Sandy Bend #5 2/2 $705K, Sundial West #E304 2/2 $790K, Sundial East #Q404 2/2 $865K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #3-6 $910K, Wedgewood #202 3/3.5 $2.38M.
2 new listings: 981 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 $575K, 315 East Gulf Dr 2/2 half-duplex $649K.
15 price changes: 5308 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/2 now $578K, 1426 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $599K, 376 Lake Murex Blvd 3/2 now $584.9K, 1040 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $599.9K, 752/754 Cardium St 4/2 duplex now $614K, 545 Piedmont Rd 3/2 now $629K, 601 Sea Oats Dr 3/2 now $675K, 1717 Sand Peble Way 3/2 now $679K, 673 East Rocks 3/2 now $798.8K, 239 Daniel Dr 3/2 now $1.069M, 1126 Harbour Cottage Ct 3/2 now $1.395M, 513 Lighthouse Way 3/3 now $1.595M, 750 Periwinkle Way 5/4 now $ 1.85M, 6192 Henderson Rd 4/4 now $1.995M, 3728 West Gulf Dr 5/5 now $2.499M.
4 new sales: 770 Donax St 2/2 listed at $495K, 4239 Gulf Pines Dr 3/2 listed at $549K, 1426 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed at $599K, 4117 West Gulf Dr 5/6 listed at $5.799M.
3 closed sales: 970 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $500K, 537 Lake Murex Cir 3/3 $850K (our seller), 2302 Wulfert Rd 4/5 $1.475M.
4 new listings: 644 Sea Oats Dr $295K, 223 Robinwood Cir $295K, 540 Birdsong Pl $390K, 3354 Barra Cir $425K.
No price changes.
1 new sale: 434 Lake Murex Cir listed at $275K.
2 closed sales: 255 Hurricane Ln $310K, 1301 Sand Castle Rd $360K.
1 new listing: Marina Villas #901 2/2 $785K.
No price changes.
1 new sale: Beach Homes #29 4/4 listed at $2.3M.
No closed sales.
No new listings.
2 price changes: 43 Oster Ct 2/2.5 now $839K, 14980 Binder Dr 4/3 now $1.198M.
No new or 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.)
So glad to hear about the passage of SB#10! A much needed bill to improve our water quality. Thanks to all who worked so hard to support its passage!