Happy New Year 2021, with best wishes to all from The SanibelSusan Team.
It is just me (Susan) in the office this afternoon – albeit briefly after showing a few homes earlier. Gorgeous day to do that as was just mid-70’s when we started out at 10 a.m., then warming up to 78 degrees F about 2 p.m. Bright blue sky, lots of sunshine, and breezy – best kind of island day.
SanibelSusan Realty has had a good week. A listing sale closed Tues, Dave had a closing Thurs, we got a new listing, several action items were completed for other listings awaiting closings, and I have been writing offers this afternoon – which is why this is emailed a little later than usual – all good indicators that “season” is here.
As another indicator, what a difference a week makes! There was a huge traffic increase this week (compared to last week (Christmas)). The City announced Tuesday that 7,000 cars had crossed the causeway that morning. Wednesday, by midday, that day count already was up at 6,000. Those additional day-trippers make the roadways slow-going when heading off-island from about 3 p.m. until dark. If you need to travel then, remember to check the City traffic cams on www.MySanibel.com.
With several daytime runs by both teammate Elise and I between the office and the East end, and on-/off-island, we also could not help but notice the number of bikers. I do not remember the bike paths ever being this busy. The pickleball courts were packed most of the time too. Likely the wonderful weather brought visitors escaping the snowy north and doldrums of the pandemic. We just pray none of them brought more viruses.
Below are a couple of news items, including COVID update, followed by the action since last Friday in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.
Sanibel – COVID-19
On Tuesday, Sanibel Mayor Mick Denham extended the island declared state of emergency due to COVID-19 until January 5, unless further extended. (Per State Statute, the maximum duration for a Mayoral Declaration of Emergency is seven days and thus must be updated weekly as the emergency exists.) The City face covering mandate remains in effect through the period.
From Florida Department of Health, Sanibel’s total accumulative number of COVID-19 cases since March 26 through 9 a.m. December 31 is 138 cases. Fifty-four of those cases are just since December 1. This is just the number cases for zip code residents. It does not include Captiva and the many workers and visitors that come and go. PLEASE stay vigilant – continue social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, and avoid group gatherings.
How the Coronavirus Is Changing Buying & Selling Real Estate
The need to practice social distancing and restrict in-person contacts has accelerated both innovation and technology. Realtors® servicing Sanibel and Captiva, where both sellers and buyers often are in far-away places, have always provided different services than in a traditional geographical area where both parties are nearby. From the pandemic, there likely will be some long-lasting effects, like those below.
Competitive Buying – Purchasers that are out of town are more motivated to make sight-unseen offers. For those successful offerors, using the “as is” contract, the buyer may use the 15-day inspection/cancellation period to come and see the property, and/or have inspections performed. In the last few weeks, we have had two listings sell sight-unseen. Both received multiple offers with the sight-unseen buyers winning out, because they were willing to pay full price.
Streaming Videos & FaceTime Showings – Professional photography including drone aerials with streaming videos continue to get prospects interested in a property. After they become interested, virtual walk-throughs and Facetime showings by us or their Realtor® have become popular. We have had almost as many showings that way in the last few months as showings with the buyers there in-person.
Meetings – Though most now are more familiar with cleaning procedures and protocols for traditional showings in today’s more hygienic environment, more meetings are held virtually. These include listing presentations, discussions on making offers, even actual closings. Though SanibelSusan Realty has not again begun holding open houses, we are available to open our listings for showings or deliver keys and fliers to Realtors® not going to their offices. Whatever it takes to get them sold, while staying safe!
400 Rabbits Is Open
There have been many positive reports on social media this week about the soft opening and then the full opening yesterday of the all-new restaurant “400 Rabbits” which is in the shopping center on the San-Cap Rd end of Rabbit Rd. Mexican-inspired and with a tequila bar, this venture combines the culinary talents of Jeramie and Debra Campana, owners of Paper Fig Kitchen (in Tahitian Gardens) and James Beard Society award-winning chef Don Yamauchi and his wife Cleta.
What Real Estate Has to Be Grateful For in 2020
This was posted on FloridaRealtors® just before Christmas, by Melissa Dittmann Tracey:
“It’s hard to look at 2020 in a positive light, but the real estate industry was uniquely and unexpectedly a beacon of hope for a nation battered by the COVID-19 virus. Home sales boomed, mortgage rates repeatedly hit record lows and rising values bolstered homeowners’ equity.
“CHICAGO – No doubt, 2020 has been a uniquely challenging year. With unemployment still above pre-pandemic levels, the country coming to terms with longstanding racial inequities, Americans worrying about natural disasters, a contentious national election and the COVID-19 pandemic still raging, people are searching for reasons to feel gratitude as the year draws to a close.
“The housing market has emerged as an economic bright spot. While the nation continues to feel widespread effects from 2020’s turmoil, here are a few things the real estate industry can be grateful for this year.
“Booming home sales
“Overall, real estate professionals have been busy – home buying activity is at its highest level since 2006. The housing market defied high unemployment and an economic recession, and it surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Existing-home sales in October were 27% higher than a year ago, new-home sales were 32% higher, and pending home sales or contract signings in September jumped 20.5% annually.
““This winter may be one of the best winters for sales activity,” says Lawrence Yun, the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) chief economist. “It won’t match summer or spring sales numbers, but on a winter-to-winter comparison, this could be one of the best breakout years just based on the fact that pending contracts are at such a higher level.”
“Mortgage applications, up 20% year over year, reflect buyers in the pipeline, ready to buy. The downside: Buyers are in a frenzy to compete for the limited housing stock, and 72% of homes that sold in October were on the market for less than a month, NAR’s data shows.
“Record low mortgage rates
“Homebuyers are locking in some of the lowest mortgage rates in recorded history. Last week, for the 15th time this year, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage set a record low, averaging 2.67%, according to Freddie Mac. Yun predicts that mortgage rates will stay low into 2021, averaging 3.1% for all of next year.
““These ultra-low mortgage rates significantly lower mortgage payments, making housing more affordable than a year earlier in many areas,” even with prices rising, writes Nadia Evangelou, a research economist, on NAR’s Economists’ Outlook blog. In the Washington, D.C., metro area, for example, home prices have jumped nearly 12% compared to a year earlier, Evangelou notes. However, the monthly payment on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is lower than a year ago, averaging $1,820.
“Home sellers got a financial boost from housing appreciation. The median existing-home price for all housing types was $313,000 in October – a 16% increase from a year ago. Sixty-five percent of 181 metro areas NAR recently tracked have reported double-digit price gains compared to a year ago.
“That means home owners who haven’t taken a financial hit from the pandemic feel richer. In the third quarter, 16.7 million residential properties in the U.S. – 28.3% overall – were considered “equity rich,” according to a report from ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate research data firm. A property is considered equity rich when the property owner has at least 50% equity in the home.
““Homeowner equity in the third quarter added another pebble to the pile of markers showing that the U.S. housing market continues to defy the broad downturn in the economy this year,” says Todd Teta, chief product and technology officer for ATTOM Data Solutions. “Home prices keep rising, boosting the balance sheets of homeowners throughout most of the country. … The market is strong and homeowners remain in a position to benefit.”
“With people forced to keep their distance during the pandemic, technology became real estate pros’ ally in keeping transactions moving. Nick Bailey, chief customer officer at RE/MAX LLC, says that the average real estate transaction takes 181 steps from beginning to end, and technology has increasingly responded to those steps.
“During state shutdowns earlier this year, real estate professionals increasingly relied on virtual and 3D tours, videoconferencing, augmented reality, automation, artificial intelligence and remote online notarizations, says Jeb Griffin, NAR’s director of strategy and innovation.
““Technology is playing a more active role through the buying and selling cycle, and agents are playing an even bigger role to consumers who [have] less access to homes in person [due to the pandemic],” Griffin says.
The future now requires “taking the traditional way of doing business and augmenting it with new ways that will allow you to serve customers in a variety of ways – and on their terms,” adds Andy Ambrose, DocuSign practice lead director at DocuSign Notary.
““The coronavirus without a doubt led homebuyers to reassess their housing situations and even reconsider home sizes and destinations,” says Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights for NAR. “Buyers sought housing with more rooms, more square footage, and more yard space, as they may have desired a home office or home gym. They also shopped for larger homes because extra space would allow households to better accommodate older adult relatives or young adults that are now living within the residence.”
“Affirmation of a Realtor’s value
“As Americans reevaluated what they wanted from a home, they increasingly relied on real estate agents to guide them through purchase and sales transactions. According to NAR’s latest survey, 88% of buyers reported using an agent to purchase their home, and 89% of sellers used an agent to help with their sale.
““We are all in unknown territory with this pandemic, so it’s no surprise that more buyers than ever turned to agents to help them navigate through some of the uncertainties and one of the most complex, competitive markets any of us have ever seen,” says NAR’s immediate past president Vince Malta.
“The sanctity of home
““Nothing feels more precious this year than the safety of our homes,” says Shannon McGahn, NAR’s chief advocacy officer, “and we believe all Americans should have equal opportunity to a home of their own.”” Source: National Association of Realtors®
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity December 25 – January 1, 2020
1 new listing: Sandalfoot #3B3 1/1 $549K (our listing).
1 price change: Sandals #A 3/3.5 now $1.835M.
6 new sales: Sundial #G406 1/1 listed at $519K, Mariner Pointe #421 2/2.5 listed at $579K, Pointe Santo #B3 2/2 listed at $699K, Sandy Bend #6 2/2 listed at $1,027,007; Sanibel Surfside #124 2/2 listed at $1.05M, Junonia #103 3/2 listed at $1.295M.
12 closed sales: Sanibel Arms #B1 1/1 $413K, Signal Inn #10 1/1 $485K, Loggerhead Cay #462 2/2 $550K, Compass Point #221 2/2 $615K, Lighthouse Point #111 2/2 $645K, Island Beach Club #220F 2/2 $710K, Sundial #T201 2/2 $750K, Gulf Beach #106 2/2 $775K (our buyer), Sundial #P203 2/2 $845K, Point Santo #D47 2/2 $920K, Sayana #103 2/2 $948.5K, Tarpon Beach #207 2/2 $899K (our listing).
3 new listings: 784 Birdie View Pt 4/4 $1.795M, 5270 Indian Ct 6/6.5 $2.695M, 488 Lighthouse Way 4/4 $3.695M.
3 price changes: 1835 Ardsley Way 2/2 now $457K, 685 Sea Oats Dr 3/2/2 now $1.089M, 490 Sawgrass Pl 3/2.5 now $1.499M.
4 new sales: 799 Casa Ybel Rd 5/3 duplex listed at $570K, 1752 Jewel Box Dr 2/2 listed at $859K, 966 Kings Crown Dr 3/2 listed at $980K, 9441 Peaceful Dr 3/3.5 listed at $1.395M.
7 closed sales: 1764 Bunting Ln 2/2 $515K, 731 Durion Ct 3/2 $737K, 836 Angel Wing Dr 3/2 $885K, 6176 Henderson Rd 3/2 $910K, 1308 Tahiti Dr 3/3 $907.5K, 1203 Kittiwake Cir 3/3 $985K, 769 Pyrula Ave 3/3.5 $1.335M.
Nothing to report.
No new listings or price changes.
2 new sales: Sunset Beach Villas #2314 2/2 listed at $779K, Marina Villas #808 2/2 listed at $779K.
2 closed sales: Bayside Villas #4106 1/2 $378K, Beach Villas $2334 3/3 $960K.
No new listings.
1 price change: 15000 Binder Dr 3/2 now $1.298M.
No new sales.
2 closed sales: 15200 Captiva Dr 2/2 $954K, 11515 Gore Ln 5/4.5 $2.25M.
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 ad from today’s “Island Sun”.
Again, enjoy your 2021, while staying safe and well! Until next Friday, Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan