It is another quiet Friday at SanibelSusan Realty. The islands continue to reopen slowly with the toll booths still unmanned and the causeway islands sometimes packed, particularly on the weekend. (A sure sign that the gulf waters are clear and sparkling, and they are!)
SanibelSusan Realty is one of the few real estate offices physically open, but not much is happening. Yesterday, we got a couple of showing requests for the upcoming weekend/week and there has been some action posted in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing System. It is still an excellent time to buy!
The Association of Realtors® office remains closed, but many Realtors® have accepted the FISH Food Challenge and have donated groceries to their food pantry. Nearly 20 have donated just in the last week and the pantry continues to go through the food like crazy. Astounding but not surprising that there are so many hungry folks on the islands, with so many businesses closed, particularly those that cater to vacationers.
Below is an update on re-opening progress, after which is the action posted since last Friday in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing System.
Latest City Proclamation Due to the Threat of COVID-19
Tuesday’s Sanibel City Council meeting, scheduled to discuss beach parking and short-term rentals/hotels, turned into a 6+hour event with plenty of public comment and differences of opinions on many items discussed. That meeting resulted in a new City proclamation dated Wednesday. There has been a lot of confusion about the changes, particularly as they apply to vacation rentals, so below, for clarification, are some excerpts from the actual Proclamation No. 20-028 (which may be read in its entirety on www.MySanibel.com).
“…on May 12,2020, the City Council met for a special set public meeting to discuss COVID-19, including consideration of temporary restrictions and prohibitions related to the declared State of Local Emergency; and … City Council voted in support of taking certain actions to reopen the local economy on a gradual basis and consistent with the Governor’s phased approach, including the following:
A. Allowing the current restrictions on accommodations rentals to expire, subject to emplacing a lessened restriction on vacation rentals which closely follows the Governor’s restriction… and allowing new rentals at hotels, motels, and timeshares under restricted occupancy and conditions intended to mitigate any community spread of COVID-19; and
B. Extending certain public beach parking restrictions for an additional duration; and
C. Strongly encouraging the wearing of face masks by employees of places of public accommodations and by all members of the public who cannot properly socially distance; and
D. Raising parking fines to $200, is a result of the significant volume of parking violations particularly in and around beach access points.”
As further clarification, the proclamation says:
“SECTION 2. Temporary restrictions on accommodation rentals at hotels, motels, and timeshares. Effective 12:00 a.m. May 16, 2020, the “public lodging establishments” identified in Attachment A…, which include all 37 “hotels”, “motels”, and “timeshare projects” on Sanibel … are subject to the following temporary restrictions, which shall remain in temporary effect until modified or terminated by written Proclamation of the Mayor or by Resolution of City Council:
A. Occupancy is limited to 50% of the units within the public lodging establishment; and
B. No reservations or check-ins are permitted from anyone that resides in or is travelling from an area identified by the Governor of Florida to be a “hot spot” of substantial community spread of COVID-19, including Louisiana, the New York Tri-State rea (Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York), Miami-Dade County, Florida, and Broward County, Florida; and
C. All places of public accommodation are strongly encouraged to follow the guidelines set forth by the Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of Commerce, which can be found under SANCAP SAFE RESOURCES at https://members.canibel-captiva.org/; and
D. Notwithstanding the aforementioned restrictions nothing in this section restricts or otherwise affects the ability of the owner of a rental unit from personally staying at his or her own property.
“SECTION 3. Temporary restrictions on accommodations rentals at vacation rentals. Effective 12:00 a.m. May 16, 2020, the “public lodging establishments” on Sanibel which are “vacation rentals”,… but not including the hotels, motels, and timeshare projects…, are subject to a temporary rental restriction of a minimum duration of 30 days, which shall remain in temporary effect until modified or terminated by written Proclamation of the Mayor or by Resolution of City Council. For the purposes of this section, the rental restriction is application to anyone who is not an owner of the unit. Notwithstanding the aforementioned restriction, nothing in this section affects the ability of the owner of a rental unit from personally staying at his or her own property.
“SECTION 4. Paid public beach parking restrictions. The paid public beach parking restrictions currently in place as extended by … which … are due to expire on May 15, 2020 are hereby extended to May 31, 2020 after which such restrictions will expire and public beach parking will reopen.
“SECTION 5. Wearing of face masks. Effective immediately, and until further notice, the wearing of face masks by all employees of retail shops, restaurants, and other places of public accommodation who interact with members of the public, as well as by all people in any public area where social distancing is not feasible or otherwise occurring is strongly encouraged.
“SECTION 6. Parking fines. Effective 12:00 a.m. May 16, 2020 fines for all parking violations are temporarily raised to $200.00…..”
So, in a nutshell, short-term vacation rentals including those in residential communities, condo complexes or resorts, not included on the 37-property list (of hotels, motels, and timeshares) cannot rent for a period of less than 30 days. This is in accordance with the Governor’s phased reopening and more related to how properties are defined by Florida Statute/Florida Department of Revenue classification, than by any desire to penalize rentals which typically are nightly, weekly, or biweekly.
The Proclamation may change as more state and county guidance is provided and new COVID-19 data evolves. The changes/restrictions are emergency measures taken to protect the public health, safety, and welfare of the community.
The number of Sanibel’s reported cases remains low at 11, but testing remains limited and the antibody test is not expected here until next week.
Gov. Ron DeSantis Readying Most of State to Enter Phase Two Reopening
An internet posting yesterday said that Jacksonville could host Friday’s official announcement by the Governor. When he addressed reporters in Doral yesterday, he said that a “good announcement” was coming Friday that would apply to most of the state. This announcement came just hours after Tampa Bay Times reporter Lawrence Mower tweeted a Florida Chamber email saying to expect a May 18 entrance into Phase Two. The Governor disclaimed any advance announcement in response to reporters’ questions, claiming to “march to the beat of [his] own drummer.”
In Phase Two, people from vulnerable populations would still be asked to self-isolate, groups of up to 50 would be permitted, albeit with social distancing still in play. Phase Two would also allow increased restaurant capacity, as well as the reopening of gyms, schools, and bars with social distancing and diminished occupancy. The Governor stressed these are modest changes.
Though South Florida may still be on a slower path, the Governor noted that Florida is a “diverse state,” and he won’t “sit here rolling back the entire state if there’s an outbreak in Hialeah.”
Is Real Estate America’s Rock During the Coronavirus Crisis?
This week was the National Association of Realtors® 2020 Legislative Meetings in Washington DC. This annual event usually brings Realtor® leaders from around the nation to the capitol. With COVID-19 interrupting those plans this year, committee meetings and conference sessions were held virtually.
This event also is when Realtors® who have achieved National Hall of Fame status are recognized. That also were done virtually. Congratulations to Florida’s 17 new Hall of Fame members. That boosts our state members in 2019 to 106. I am proud to be one of them. (I know my picture is old… I made the club for the first time in 2016.)
Below is an article written by Shannon McGahn. She is senior vice president of government affairs for the National Association of REALTORS®.
“It’s been a rough few months for the economy, and we could all use a little good news.
“For America’s 81 million homeowners, here is some: While retirement accounts and the stock market may have cratered, home values are hanging tough.
“The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) reports the median existing-home price for all housing types in March was up 8% from March 2019 as prices increased in every region.
“And with a proper recovery and the right policies, there is a great chance that home values will remain fairly stable even as home sales temporarily fall while Americans shelter-in-place.
“The pandemic also hasn’t stopped real estate transactions outright like in many other sectors. A recent survey of NAR members found that one-quarter of REALTORS® had at least one client go under contract during the second week of April without physically seeing the property. Deals are proceeding with the growing use of new technology like remote notarization.
“Even those pausing their real estate transactions still plan to buy and sell once again within a few months.
“What’s more, NAR research unveiled earlier this year found that, since 2013, the median family net worth for all homeowners has increased by nearly 15%.
“Data from the study strongly suggests that “sustainable and affordable homeownership” remains the best opportunity “most households will ever have to improve their long-term net worth and financial security.”
“Property ownership is turning into a financial rock for many Americans during this crisis, and Congress has gone to great strides to help protect that investment.
“For those who can no longer pay their mortgage, new forbearance rules allow them to put off payments for up to a year without impacting their credit.
“Helping people struggling with rent and mortgage payments is a good thing, but we also do not want to spur another crisis down the line for property managers and owners who do not have relief from their obligations. Policymakers should take a comprehensive look and beware of unintended consequences.
“For REALTORS® who have seen a dramatic drop in their business (right as the crucial spring buying season arrived), new benefits like forgivable small business loans and unemployment assistance not normally available to the self-employed or independent contractors are helping them weather the storm.
“The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) fund were created so quickly that banks had a hard time keeping up with demand. Money ran out for the PPP in two weeks, and another round of replenishment sped through the legislative process. PPP and EIDL grants got billions more in funding and will help keep millions more employed. Congress deserves credit for responding in a bipartisan and lightning-fast way even if the rollout of those programs was less than perfect.
“We’ve heard from many REALTORS® around the country who have secured PPP loans and saved scores of jobs. People like Anthony Lamacchia of Waltham, Mass., who reports he can now keep all 47 of his employees on the payroll.
“The strength of the housing sector will be critical to our national recovery. After all, the real estate industry makes up nearly one-fifth of the U.S. economy, and every two houses sold creates one American job.
“America has been experiencing a housing shortage for years as demand for homes has consistently outpaced supply in most major U.S. markets. NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun has stated his expectation that, once we get through the worst of this crisis, housing demand will reemerge quickly. Our economic recovery won’t be a slow-build like what followed the 2008 financial crisis.
“America’s financial and lending systems look vastly different today than they did before the Great Recession shook America’s economic core. Changes to strengthen lending standards and eliminate loose credit have pushed default and foreclosure rates toward record lows.
“It has never been more clear that property ownership is still one of the best and safest investments an American family can make.
“Economic downturns and public health crises—no matter how severe—will never change this fundamental fact.
“But what has become even more apparent is that during this crisis, home has become more important than ever.
If Congress continues to be a champion of the American people and protect homeownership, by all indicators, real estate can and will help get our economy going again.”
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity May 8-15, 2020
3 new listings: Island Beach Club #320B 2/2 $685K, Pointe Santo #D24 2/2 $720K, Kings Crown #306 2/2 $868.5K.
5 price changes: Colonnades #3 1/1 now $265K, Sanibel Arms #D7 1/1 now $357.9K, Blind Pass #B209 2/2 now $479K, Sanibel Moorings #1512 2/2 now $539K, Tantara #203 3/2 now $1.095M.
1 new sale: Sanctuary Golf Villages I #4-3 3/3 listed at $914.5K.
3 closed sales: Sundial #D310 1/1 $372K, Sundial #B308 1/1 $505K, High Tide #A101 2/2 $1.075M.
1 new listing: 2154 Starfish Ln 3/3 $1.495M.
3 price changes: 566 Boulder Dr 3/2 now $689.9K, 1021 Sand Castle Rd 2/2 now $694.5K, 215 Robinwood Cir 4/3 now $839K.
4 new sales: 1677 Atlanta Plaza Dr 2/1.5 listed at $399.9K, 857 Rabbit Rd 1/1 listed at $489K, 2065 Wild Lime Dr 3/2.5 listed at $599K, 1774 Bunting Ln 3/2 listed at $659K.
1 closed sale: 1898 Woodring Rd 2/2 $1.7M.
1 new listing: 690 Birdie View Pt $369K.
1 price change: 1313 Par View Dr now $300K.
1 new sale: 1226 Isabel Dr listed at $1.239M.
No closed sales.
No new listings.
1 price change: Captiva Shores #7B 3/2.5 now $1.425M.
1 new sale: Captiva Hide-A-Way #1B 2/2 listed at $889K.
No closed sales.
1 new listing: 15138 Wiles Dr 6/5.5 $6.495M.
1 price change: 15200 Captiva Dr 2/2 now $988K.
2 new sales: 11520 Wightman Ln 3/2 listed at $2.695M, 16221/16217 Captiva Dr 5/5.5 listed at $4.389M.
No closed sales.
No new listings, price changes, new or closed sales.
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.
Below is our “Island Sun” ad from today’s paper.
Enjoy your weekend!
Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan