SanibelSusan’s Groundhog Says, “Sunny Warm Weather Is Here To Stay”

ground hot


SanibelSusan here, reporting another busy week on the islands. A few breezy days with a bit of a Florida chill made for increased traffic on both the roads and bike paths earlier in the week, with the last mildly chilly morning today.

For at least the next week, it is expected to be good weather, with temperatures in the low to mid-70’s every day.

Gotta love SW Florida in February!

Sanibel Susan Realty Associates

Sanibelsusan LogoHere in the office, some of our listings had price adjustments. Not unusual for February and we were not the only ones as evidenced by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service activity, which follows a few news items below. Yesterday at our local Association of Realtors® Caravan Meeting, I announced six price changes. With Easter April 1 this year, there are just eight weeks of “high” season remaining, so price changes now should have impact. He got giggles at Caravan when a long-time island Realtor® announced that he was happy to see so many reductions now, rather than April (which often is too late – or after snowbirds have departed).

Florida Homestead Exemption

LeePALogoIf you are a new island resident or had a change of local residence last year and want to apply for Florida’s Homestead Exemption, this is a reminder that the official filing period is January 1 to March 1. Florida law requires that application be made by March 1 to be eligible for up to $50,000 Homestead Exemption. Only new applicants or those who had a change of residence need apply. Automatic renewals are mailed in January each year.

Homestead Exemption is a constitutional benefit of up to a $50,000 exemption removed from the assessed value of your property. It is granted to those applicants who possess title to real property and are bona fide Florida residents living in the dwelling and making it their permanent home on January 1. Documentation that proves you were a resident at the homestead property is required.

Properties granted homestead exemption automatically receive the “Save Our Homes” benefit. This is a constitutional benefit approved by Florida voters in 1992. It places a limitation of 3% on annual assessment increase homestead properties beginning with the 1995 tax year. So, the assessed value will not increase more than 3% or the Consumer Price Index, whichever is less. When a homestead property sells, the assessed value returns to fair market value in the year following the sale. The value assessment then becomes the new owner/homestead applicant’s base value for “Save Our Homes” purposes.

To be eligible to receive the homestead exemption you must own the property (have legal title/interest) and permanently reside on/occupy the property. You must be able to document that you resided at your homestead property as of January 1 by providing proof of issuance of a Florida driver’s license and Lee County voter registration card. Non-voters must complete a Declaration of Domicile. You may file for homestead exemption by mail, in person, or on-line at

2018 Florida Real Estate Trends

EconomicSummit01-26-2018As follow-up to my article last week about presentations at Florida REALTORS® Governance Meetings in Orlando, particularly the session on 2018 Florida Real Estate Trends, here is some additional info:

Self-Driving Cars & Real Estate

During the segment by Kevin Foreman who leads INDRIX Big Data and is the General Manager of GeoAnalytics, he discussed how self-driving cars will impact real estate, noting that there are currently about 7,000 on the roads, with that figure expected to reach 4.5 million by 2035. There are four trends in self-driving cars: autonomous (Tesla, Uber, Google and others are working on those); also shared cars; electric cars; and connected cars. There also are five levels of autonomy in vehicles: level 1 includes hands-on, level 2 is hands-off, level 3 is eyes-off, level 4 is mind-off, and level 5 has no wheel.

As autonomous driving evolves, he said that people will become more productive going to work, and will be able to do many more things during their commute – i.e., like getting ready for work and the workday- shaving, eating, emailing, etc.

He also said that we soon will be measuring distances completely differently. Rather than miles or kilometers, it will be in minutes or based on time.

He said traffic signals and milepost signs will be gone in 30 years. With self-driving cars, he said plenty of other things will change too, and not just in the real estate. As examples, he said there will be:

  • No more drivers’ licenses – the blind, elderly, & kids can drive
  • No more speeding tickets
  • No more drunk driving
  • No distracted driving – more texting, sleeping, even sexting
  • Two-handed eating – making changes to the fast-food & restaurant business.

These new modes of transportation will affect real estate business because there will be:

  • Longer “drive” times – since people can eat, sleep, and work during their commutes
  • Less office infrastructure
  • More agent productivity.

To be a hit with your kids, Foreman suggested renting a Tesla for a day or taking one for a test drive. He also said when the time comes, do not buy a self-driving car. Instead, lease one, because improvement and technology changes will be fast.

Florida’s Real Estate Market

During a presentation by Florida REALTORS® Chief Economist Brad O’Connor, he compared what happened in real estate after the state’s first major hurricane in ten years (i.e., last fall after Hurricane Irma (on Sep 10) to what happened after Hurricane Charley and the storms that followed.

To analyze Irma’s possible market impact, he had Florida REALTORS® Research Department review residential sales data from 2004 and 2005 (when Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Jeanne, Ivan, Dennis, and Wilma affected Florida) as well as claims data from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

O’Connor said, “Long-term market impacts from landfalling hurricanes are rare and highly localized, with long-term sales declines observed only in coastal areas where a significant percentage of structures were severely damaged by Category 4-plus winds.” “Short-term market impacts from a hurricane are more common and widespread,” he added. “Sales in areas where most homes did not experience severe structural damage rebounded within a month or two of landfall,” he said. “These temporary slowdowns were due to business activity halting ahead of the storm and power outages, regulations and additional required inspections afterwards.”

Interestingly, he also said that “Sale prices don’t seem to care much about hurricanes. Plenty of buyers are happy to line up to buy the real estate as long as it’s not completely annihilated.”

Summarizing 2017 housing market activity, O’Connor said single-family existing home sales in Florida were up 1.2% over 2016’s sales level – and would have been up by about 3% if there had been no Hurricane Irma. 2017 sales of existing condos/townhouses were up about 3% year-over-year; and would likely have been about 6% higher than 2016 without Irma. The statewide median price in both sectors was up about 8% compared to a year ago.

In his slides comparing insurance claims, residential inventory and sales by county, Lee County was one of the few areas in Florida where inventory remains higher than demand. In fact, throughout the state, inventory is down everywhere, except in Southwest Florida. Those other counties are experiencing sellers’ markets. Here, until that changes, we probably won’t see the tide turn from it being a buyer’s market.

I head much of the same during committee meetings where colleagues described multiple offers being the norm in their area. Some described initial offers on moderately priced properties coming in at least $25,000 over asking price, just so they get consideration. I don’t ever remember that happening here and from the amount of inventory on Sanibel, it won’t be happening any time soon. See the table below for a summary of the islands’ inventory today and recent sales.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Inventory as of 2/2/2018

sancap GO MLS logoOn Sanibel:

For sale: 102 condos, 200 homes, & 64 lots = 366 available

Under contract: 14 condos, 40 homes, 3 lots = 57 awaiting closing

Closed year-to-date: 9 condos, 35 homes, 1 lot = 45 sold

Sold in 2017: 140 condos, 186 homes, 32 lots = 358 sold

On Captiva:

For sale: 26 condos, 45 homes, & 3 lots = 74 available

Under contract: 6 condos, 4 homes, no lots = 10 awaiting closing

Closed year-to-date: 6 condos, 3 homes, no lot = 9 sold

Sold in 2017: 34 condos, 22 homes, 2 lots = 58 sold

This representation is based in part on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® 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 the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.

Change in Cost of Equity Membership at The Sanctuary

sanctuary golf club logoIn the latest issue of The Sanctuary Golf Club’s “Sanctuary Sound”, Membership Director, Sheryl Tatum, announced that on May 1, 2018, the Equity Membership at the Club will increase from $110,000 to $120,000.

The privileges with equity membership include access to all Club facilities, a par 72, Championship Arthur Hills-designed golf course, driving range, putting green, chipping area, golf lessons, priority tee times and tournament play, a 50,000 sq.ft. clubhouse, world-class dining, five Har Tru tennis courts, 5,000 sq.ft. Health & Tennis Center with a sports pool. To reach Sherry directly for more information, call 239-322-5182 or email her at

The New Jac

Some have asked if we know what is happening at the former Jacaranda Restaurant which has been closed for a couple of months. I saw the below Facebook message yesterday advertising an upcoming event at The Community House.

The Jac

More Upcoming Events

Center4 Life Arts & Crafts Fair – tomorrow, Sat, 2/3 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. with more than 30 local vendors at 2401 Library Way.

chr-logo_mainCommunity Houses & Resources (CHR) Sanibel’s Annual Mardi Gras Fundraiser – next Sat, 2/10 at The Community House. Tickets available at Bailey’s General Store, on-line at or call CHR at 239-472-1189.

Let’s Get Historical – Sanibel Historical Village Gala – Mon, 2/19 from 6 to 10 p.m. at The Community House. Request tickets at 239-472-4648 or

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity January 26 to February 2, 2018



1 new listing: Cottage Colony West #125 1/1 $629K.

6 price changes: Tennisplace #D21 1/1 now $239.8K, Loggerhead Cay #332 2/2 now $474.5K, Mariner Pointe #1061 2/2 now $579.9K (our listing), Cottage Colony West #116 1/1 now $645K, Sandy Bend #4 2/2 now $758K, Tanglewood #1A 3/2 now $1.099M.

View c

View from Mariner Pointe #1061


3 new sales: Lake Palms #6 2/2.5 listed at $349K, Lighthouse Point #220 2/2 listed at $450K, Lighthouse Point #217 3/2 listed at $465K.

1 closed sale: Donax Village #3 2/2 $414K.


6 new listings: 972 Fitzhugh St 3/2 $469K, 1625 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 half-duplex $619K, 3980 Coquina Dr 3/2 $799K, 1275 Par View Dr 3/2 $949K, 460 East Gulf Dr 2/2.4 $1.995M, 747 Windlass Way 4/3.5 $2.295M.

18 price changes: 1938 Roseate Ln 3/2 now $519K, 9477 Peaceful Dr 3/2 now $535K, 9446 Beverly Ln 3/3.5 now $873.5K, 3239 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $939K, 734 Anchor Dr 3/2 now $949K (our listing), 239 Daniel Dr 3/2 now $1.028M (our listing), 1035 S Yachtsman Dr 5/4.5 now $1.099M, 5411 Osprey Ct 3/2 now $1.199M, 1672 Hibiscus Dr 3/2 now $1.199M, 1304 Eagle Run Dr 3/3 now $1.225M, 6101 Starling Way 3/3.5 now $1.249M, 2474 Wulfert Rd 3/3/2 now $1.295M, 534 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2 now $1.345M, 1152 Buttonwood Ln 3/3.5 now $1.599M, 1525 San Carlos Bay Dr 3/2 now $1.599M, 794 Conch Ct 3/2.5 now $1.849M, 924 Pecten Ct 4/4 now $1.895M, 2689 Wulfert Rd 4/6.5 now $1.994M.


734 Anchor Drive, near-beach & canal-front with dock



239 Daniel Drive near-beach & backing to conservation land, community amenities too.


6 new sales: 3008 Singing Wind Dr 2/2 listed at $439K, 2005 Mitzi Ln 2/2 listed at $543.5K, 1425 Causey Ct 4/3 listed at $729K, 1470 Angel Dr 3/2 listed at $920K, 3822 West Gulf Dr 3/2 listed at $1.199M, 5757 Baltusrol Ct 3/3 listed at $1.497M.

9 closed sales: 1394 Middle Gulf Dr #C 3/3 half-dulpex $470K, 1317 Par View Dr 3/3 $598K,

2510 Harbour Ln 2/2 $700K (our listing), 3358 Saint Kilda Rd 3/3 $910K, 1277 Par View Dr 4/3.5 $1.1M, 1106 Buttonwod Ln 3/2 $1.175M, 2190 Starfish Ln 3/3 $1.377M, 1052 Whisperwood Way 3/3 $1.45M, 4731 Rue Belle Mer 3/2 $2.4M.


1 new listing: 4767 Tradewinds Dr $1.75M.

1 price change: 6505 Pine Ave now $799K.

2 new sales: 2998 Singing Wind Dr listed at $189K, 1321 Seaspray Ln listed at $995K.

1 closed sale: 1311 Par View Dr $263K.



2 new listings: Beach Homes #3 3/2 $2.295M, Beach Homes #13 4/4.5 $4.099M.

1 price change: Beach Homes #22 2/2 now $2.095M.

1 new sale: Bayside Villas #5202 1/2 listed at $375K.

No closed sales.


1 new listing: 16813 Captiva Dr 3/3 $2.6M.

2 price changes: 14860 Mango Ct 5/4 now $1.894M, 15831 Captiva Dr 2/2.5 now $4.198M.

No new or closed sales.


Nothing to report.

This representation is based in part on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® 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 the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.

is it sunday yetWhatever your team preference, I hope you enjoy Super Bowl Sunday!

Until next Friday – Susan Andrews aka SanibelSusan