All’s well on sunny Sanibel with islanders gearing up for the holiday weekend. Today, we have been watching the weather. Though it has been mostly clear and sunny all week, the City issued a warning yesterday and again this morning about a potential severe weather event forecast for this afternoon.
Severe to strong storms were expected with a high surf advisory and coastal flooding possible. (Remember it’s already an extra high tide because of the full moon.) The warning said tides will be 1 to 2 feet above normal. Winds are expected to gust to 40 mph but slowing clearing tonight and winds lowering during the day tomorrow. One rain band passed just before noon. The 2nd stronger longer band should be here about quitting time, but many have left the island early. (I’m betting the shelling will be terrific beginning with low tide in the morning.)
Roadway & bike path traffic picked up a bit midweek but has seemed quieter than most years at this time. Since last week’s Friday update covered Easter happenings, below are a couple of other news items followed by the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service since last Friday.
April 15 was the first official day of sea turtle nesting season for Sanibel and Captiva. Every year in late spring, loggerhead sea turtles arrive on the islands for the nesting season. That means that every morning from now through October over 100 SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) volunteers and staff will be patrolling and surveying the 18 miles of beaches from the lighthouse to Blind Pass.
They search for tracks that a sea turtle left behind when she emerged from the Gulf the night before. If they determine that the turtle successfully laid eggs, the nest is watched until the eggs are hatched and there are signs the hatchlings crawled to the Gulf. Then the nest is evaluated to determine the number of hatchlings that successfully emerged.
If you see turtle nesting activity or a stranded sea turtle, please call their hotline at 978-SAVE-ONE (978-728-3663). Please help keep our beaches turtle-friendly.
- Turn off or shield all lights that are visible from the beach. Do not use flashlights or cell phone lights on the beach. If necessary, use amber or red LED bulbs.
- Do not disturb the screens covering nests. They prevent predators from eating the eggs (the hatchlings emerge through the holes without assistance).
- Remove all beach furniture and equipment from the beach at night.
- Dispose of fishing line properly to avoid wildlife entanglement.
- Fill in large holes that can trap hatchlings and nesting sea turtles.
- Do not disturb nesting turtles – please do not to get too close, shine lights on, or take flash photos of nesting sea turtles.
- Pick up litter.
Celebrate Earth Day on Sanibel (Monday, April 22)
J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge – from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. – in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Wildlife Refuge System, “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society Friends of the Refuge, and Tarpon Bay Explorers, the refuge will offer a mix of tours and programs, a showing of film, arts and crafts, refuge clean-up and more. In addition, Wildlife Drive will be free for bicyclists and hikers. Lee County Schools are out on Monday so there will be activities for all ages. More info www.fws..gov/refuge/jn_ding_darling.
Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation – at 2 p.m. at SCCF’s Nature Center presentation on “Sea Level Rise” including climate change impact on sea turtles and shorebirds
Florida’s International Market – In Real Estate
With excerpts from “Florida Realtor®” magazine, April 2019.
“In 2019, the state’s international market is facing several significant challenges:
- A strong U.S. dollar is making Florida properties more expensive for many foreign buyers.
- Brexit and turmoil in the European Union are impacting prospects from the U.K. Scandinavia, France, Germany and other European countries.
- Tighter U.S. immigration policy requirements may dampen the enthusiasm of some second-home buyers.
- The Chinese government has imposed more restrictions on moving currency out of the country.
“Despite these issues, Florida continues to offer one of the world’s most appealing lifestyles, highly competitive home prices, favorable tax benefits and the security that U.S. real estate assets offer for financial portfolios.
“Florida remains attractive for foreign investors,” says Manny Mencia, senior vice president of International Trade & Business Development division at Enterprise Florida, the state’s economic development organization.”
Here’s another tidbit from the same article:
“THE BIG PICTURE – Overall, foreign buyers constitute 13% of Florida’s residential market compared with the national average of 5%, according to the “2018 Profile of International Residential Real Estate Activity in Florida,” prepared by the National Association of Realtors® and Florida Realtors®. About 41% of sales associates in Florida worked with an international client in 2018.
“The 2018 study found that Latin American and Caribbean buyers accounted for the largest percentage of Florida’s foreign buyers at 36%, followed by Canadians 22%, Europeans at 19%, and Asians at 11%. However, there were dramatic differences in popularity among the state’s metro markets. For instance, Asian buyers constituted 39% of Jacksonville’s international market, competed with 14% in Tampa Bay. Canadians and Europeans flocked to the Gulf Coast, while Latin Americans preferred buyer n the Miami and Orlando market….”
What Global Sellers Need to Know
Good advice and guidelines in an article in the April 2019 issue of “Florida Realtor®” magazine. If you are buying or selling a property owned by a foreign seller, it is worth a read. It describes how a little preparation can help avoid last-minute transaction roadblocks. (Authors are Marc Weintraub (the managing partner of the Florida law firm Bailey Glasser LLP, specializing in the negotiation and documentation of large international transactions) and Jiayin Liao (an attorney with Bailey Glasser LLP).
“Helping international buyers can present unique challenges. Under the Foreign Investment and Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA), a buyer who purchases U.S. real estate from foreign sellers is required to withhold and pay to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) a percentage of the gross sales price at closing. This amount (now 15% of the sales price) is not the tax itself. It is a deposit to be applied against the sellers’ actual tax bill when they file a federal income tax return. Once the sellers file their return, they typically receive a refund if the deposit is more than the tax liability owed to the IRS.
“FIRPTA presents a few issues for sellers, especially in the sale of a highly leveraged property where the sellers may not have enough profit from the sale to satisfy the withholding and any loans secured by the property. Here are the basics you need to know, although please refer your buyers and sellers to an experienced tax or legal professional for advice on how to claim these exemptions.
Sellers who want to avoid having their funds withheld at closing might consider setting up the sale to take advantage of an established exemption. For example, a sale is exempt form FIRPTA withholding if the sales price is no more than $300,000 and the property will be used by the buyers or their family as a personal residence for at least 50% of the time for each of the two 12-month periods immediately following the closing.
“Note that days during which the property is vacant are not counted in determining whether the property is used primarily as a residence. Also, the property does not have to be the buyer’s principal residence; a vacation home is a permitted use.
“In 2018, those who planned for and took advantage of this exemption reported a smooth closing. Also, in deals where withholding cannot be avoided, those who retain experienced professionals (such as experienced CPA firms) who understand the unique rules and processes for claiming withheld funds had success in obtaining the appropriate refund from the IRS.
“Sophisticated international sellers who worked with an attorney to put their U.S. properties into entities (such as LLC’s, corporations and trusts) when closing the purchase of properties were able to avoid withholding entirely.
“…When purchasing U.S. real estate in this country, international buyers should consider, with the help of their attorney, whether and how to put their U.S. properties under the names of entities they control so that, among other things, when they decide to sell, the FIRPTA issue can be either avoided entirely or substantially alleviated.”
The “Jac” Bar in the Back is Back
With visitors often asking if there is a spot to hear music on the island, it’s great to be able to add another option to the list. Last Friday, the “Jac” Sanibel Island Bar and Grille (at the location of the former Jacaranda restaurant) opened their back bar, offering happy hours and live music from 7 to 11 p.m. – dancing too. I bet it soon becomes an island favorite, just like its predecessor. Their Facebook page “The Jac Island Bar & Grille” showings different performers every night now through Sunday. (P.S. The restaurant also is open for Easter brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity Apr 12-19, 2019
5 new listings: Seashells #42 2/2 $390K, Sanibel Arms #B7 1/1 $419K, Sanibel Arms #C7 1/1 $429K, Mariner Pointe #421 2/2.5 townhouse $689K, Island Beach Club #340E 2/2 $1.333M.
8 price changes: Sundial #G405 1/1 now $434,555; Sanibel Arms #B1 1/1 now $464K; Blind Pass #B209 2/2 now $549.9K; Lighthouse Point #229 3/2 now $675K; Sundial #A306 1/1 now $699.9K; Sanibel Arms West #E2 2/2 now $849K (our listing) view below; White Sands #25 2/2 now $990K; High Tide #A101 2/2 now $1.395M.
1 new sale: Sanibel Surfside #224 2/2 listed at $789K.
4 closed sales: Sanibel Arms West #K5 2/2 $550K, Island Beach Club #240F 2/2 $710.7K, Compass Point #161 3/3 $979K, Sundial #R306 2/2 $1.25M.
7 new listings: 398 Old Trail Rd 3/3 $495K, 1401 Sandpiper Cir 3/2.5 half-duplex $529K, 458 Casa Ybel Rd 3/2.5 $679K, 1311 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $899K, 947 Cabbage Palm Ct 3/3.5 $995K, 1345 Tahiti Dr 4/2.5 $1.25M, 1101 Schooner Pl 3/2.5 $1.295M.
18 price changes: 9195 Dimmick Dr 2/2 now $449K, 5869 Pine Tree Dr 3/2 now $595K, 430 Old Trail Rd 3/2.5 now $649K, 1973 Wild Lime Dr 4/3 now $649.9K, 1441 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 now $675K, 1418 Sanderling Cir 3/3 now $679K, 1807 Serenity Ln 3/2 now $729K, 6103 Starling Way 2/2 now $729K, 1677 Sabal Sands Rd 3/2 now $735K, 335 Cowry Ct 4/3.5 now $839.9K, 9224 Dimmick Dr 3/2 now $859.9K, 1349 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 now $999K, 4080 West Gulf Dr 3/2 now $1.069M, 1283 Isabel Dr 3/2 now $1.15M, 932 Whelk Dr 3/3 now $1.165M, 0 Dinkins Lake Rd 3/3.5 now $1.238M, 2303 Troon Ct 3/3.5 now $1.25M, 4166 Dingman Dr 4/4 now $2.3M.
9 new sales: 9228 Belding Dr 2/1.5 listed at $499.9K, 406 Lighthouse Way 3/3.5 listed at $649K, 1212 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed at $724K, 5747 Pine Tree Dr 3/3 listed at $750K, 702 Durion Ct 3/2 listed at $759.9K, 3050 West Gulf Dr 3/2.5 listed at $799.9K, 3941 Coquina Dr 3/2 listed at $849K, 920 Snowberry Ln 3/3.5 listed at $975K, 2190 Starfish Ln 3/3 listed at $1.444M.
10 closed sales: 976 Greenwood Ct 3/2.5 half-duplex $449K, 747 Martha’s Ln 3/2 $550K, 9431 Moonlight Dr 3/2 $546K, 1327 Tahiti Dr 2/2 $582.5K, 6143 Henderson Rd 4/3 $599K, 1284 Par View Dr 2/2 $630K, 750 Martha’s Ln 3/2 $650K, 721 Cardium St 3/2 $725K, 3351 Saint Kilda Rd 3/3 $1.16M, 401 Bella Vista Way 4/4 $2.5M.
No new listings.
6 price changes: 978 Main St now $174.9K, 3013 Poinciana Cir now $239K, 1817 Longpoint Ln now $294.5K, 1318 Par View Dr now $399K, 539 Sea Oats Dr now $480K, 3308 Saint Kilda Rd now $499,555.
1 new sale: 5251 Punta Caloosa Ct listed at $550K.
1 closed sale: 1770 Dixie beach Blvd $580K.
No new listings.
2 price changes: Tennis Villas #3217 1/1 now $330K, Beach Villas #2417 1/1 now $515K.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: Beach Villlas #2614 2/2 $605.5K.
1 new listing: 1074 South Seas Plantation Rd 3/3.5 $2.495M.
1 price change: 15819 Captiva Dr 5/5 now $9.995M.
1 new sale: 16333 Captiva Dr 4/2/2 listed at $1.895M.
No 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.
Happy Easter, Happy Passover, Happy Spring to all,
Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan