What’s Hot in the Sanibel Island Real Estate World

It is time to wrap up a week of iffy weather on Sanibel & Captiva. Several days have been cloudy and chilly (nights in the 50’s, days in the 60’s/low 70’s), with short shower interruptions as several cold fronts passed SW FL. (Coming from Maine, it still gives me a chuckle that 50 degrees is considered a cold front.)  The forecast says, chilly days will continue until it is fully sunny again on Tuesday, followed by a warm-up next week. We are ready!

Like the weather, the red tide reports change daily. Though the news seems to report that the sky is falling, the red tide readings this week have been minimal. Here is the link again for the NOAA site that tracks those measurements in the Gulf of Mexico, https://habforecast.gcoos.org/ Most of the high readings, have been south of the islands, with Lighthouse Beach sometimes affected.

Here at SanibelSusan Realty, the team has been keeping things moving with both our listings and sales. We also have a new listing, Kings Crown #104. A bit tough to get a property sold during a pandemic when there is a paying guest, meaning one cannot get in. This renter is there until the end of the month. Makes it challenging to view a property, get professional photos, and market without having access; but we like challenges. Even sight-unseen buyers like to see what the inside looks like, but the beach there is fantastic. See below!

Beach in front of Kings Crown

Our listings had more showings this week and more action was reported in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service. Our closing late last Friday also has been posted. That info follows a few news items below.

What’s Hot & What’s Not

First, it always makes sense to look at the larger complexes and communities. For example, at Sundial Beach & Golf Resort, 26 units sold last year, compared to 20 in 2019. Today, five units are under contract and just three are for sale. Safe to say that community is hot!

Likewise, at The Dunes, 39 homes sold last year, compared to 20 in 2019. There, four homes are under contract and just two are available.

Canal-front homes like in Sanibel Estates and Shell Harbor also sold well last year. In 2020, 37 sold, compared to 20 in 2019. There, three homes are under contract, while eight are for sale. More inventory here is somewhat indicative of what has been happening with the high-end product.

Last year on Sanibel, 503 residential properties (condos, homes, lots) sold, median price was $700,000. In 2019, 353 sold, with the same median price ($700,000). Comparing that to today’s Sanibel inventory: there are 192 properties for sale, median asking price is $859,000.

Of the 192 Sanibel properties for sale today, 26 are over $2M. Of the 503 that sold last year, only 26 were over $2M – perhaps illustrating that there is a year’s worth of high-end available.

With homes being the hottest commodity during the pandemic lockdown months, it was interesting to see lots moving once the more-affordable island homes started disappearing. Last year, 23 Sanibel vacant residential lots sold. In 2019, that number was 15. Today, 18 already have sold or are under contract.

Condo sales which were a little sluggish during the lockdown are moving well now too. First quarter, when the most condo visitors are in town, is generally when we sell the most condos. This year should be no exception, however, just 84 Sanibel condos are available, compared to 192 sales in 2020, 127 in 2019, 29 under contract.

Florida Realtors®

Florida Realtors® Mid-Winter Business Meetings have begun. This is when the state committees meet (via Zoom, this year) and the annual installation of officers occurs. Wed morning, I attended the Forms Content Committee meeting. Next week, I’ll be Zooming in at the Realtor® Town Hall, Faculty and Curriculum Subcommittees, and Resort & 2nd Home Specialist Think Tank.

Sanibel – COVID-19

On Tuesday, Sanibel Mayor Mick Denham extended the island declared state of emergency due to COVID-19 until January 19, 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 January 14 is 176 cases. Locals are trying to stay calm, but that is 19 cases in seven days. 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. Essentially no relief yet for the thousands of county residents over 65 looking to get vaccinated.

Plenty of Reasons for Optimism

Below are excerpts from an article in the January/February 2021 issue of “REALTOR®”, by National Association of Realtors® Economist, Lawrence Yun.

“The housing market was a spectacular surprise in 2020 – and the positive trend will continue this year. Home sales in 2021 are expected to rise by around 10%. Home prices will also climb, but I expect more moderate increases than we’ve seen, a break for staying at or near historic lows of 3% on average. The labor market will strengthen, especially as vaccines become widely available and life moves toward normal.

“Around 4 million net jobs could be added, a gradual rebound from the net loss of roughly 7 million during the pandemic year of 2020. The unemployment rate by the year’s end could be at 5.5%, a great improvement from 14.7% in April 2020 when the nation was under a strict lockdown, but still a few notches up from the generational low of 3.5% right before the pandemic.

Low mortgage rates have been the key reason for the housing market’s strong performance in the midst of the pandemic and high employment…. While mortgage rates are highly influential, they’re not the only factor affecting home sales. Given the substantial commitment and financial dollars at stake, consumer confidence and life-cycle events such as marriage, changes to family size, and retirement all play a role. During the pandemic, we learned that most people who work in offices could be just as productive at home, and this new reality will help fuel home sales in the post-pandemic economy. Already, big tech companies are allowing greater work-from-home flexibility. Other organizations will no doubt follow in some hybrid fashion. Perhaps the work-from-home trend was inevitable as internet speed and software improved. The pandemic just accelerated the timeline in a flash.

Owners who were content with their home before the pandemic are thinking about the benefits of another bedroom to use as a dedicated home office or are considering relocating to the countryside, knowing that commuting to downtown offices every day has become a thing of the past. Some consumers are turning to vacation properties as an appealing work-from-home option….

“The encouraging news on the home front contrasts drastically with the specter of newly empty office buildings. Those with leases are still mostly paying rent even though office spaces are not being used, and businesses with leases that are terminating are clearly reevaluating their space needs. In the second and third quarter of 2020, office usage dropped by a combined 74 million square feet. The situation will not improve until the middle of year; even then, the normal relationship between office job creation and net new leasing will not align as many companies will reevaluate and rejigger their office space needs. Downtown retail shops and eateries will also undergo a harsh transition from the reduced foot traffic….

“The housing market is facing an acute inventory shortage. Adding more demand without addressing the supply will push up home prices at an even faster clip. That is why it’s critical to turn raw land into developable lots so that homebuilders can increase production. But Biden’s proposal to remove 1031 like-kind exchanges from the tax code would hinder land sales and pile more negative pressure onto commercial real estate. Without serious reconsideration of this tax incentive, home prices could take off and essentially negate the benefit of federally supported down payment assistance programs.

“The Biden administration is also likely to appoint Federal Reserve governors who will be more tolerant of higher inflation in order to quickly bring down the unemployment rate. That means printing more money. Don’t be surprised if, over time, prices for a tangible asset like real estate consistently outpace overall consumer price inflation. Even bitcoin, with its limited supply, may attract investors.

“Finally, under a Biden presidency, overall government spending is likely to rise. The goal: Fix the economy before worrying about the deficit. Spending on programs such as high-speed internet access for rural communities and improved rail transportation to distant suburbs will have a positive impact, since demand will continue to increase outside of city centers. Land is plentiful and relatively cheap, making it easier for homebuilders to construct homes. Only when the supply of new homes is growing does stimulating additional demand make sense.

Looking to File for a Florida Homestead Exemption?

This 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.

Rental of the Homestead Property – Property owners who receive the homestead exemption on their residence need to be aware that personally renting their property or renting through home-sharing or collaborative consumption companies may constitute abandonment and, therefore, loss of the homestead tax exemption. Renting typically means exclusive use by a tenant on a temporary, seasonal, or annual basis. If you plan to rent, please contact the appropriate legal advisers to be sure that you do not jeopardize your homestead exemption. Relinquishing your homestead exemption will increase your property taxes.

Value Limitations (caps) – Properties granted homestead exemption automatically receive the “Save Our Homes” benefit. This is a constitutional benefit approved by the Florida voters in 1992. It places a limitation of 3% on annual assessment increase on homestead properties beginning with the 1995 tax year. For properties granted homestead exemption in the prior years, that assessed value will be the base value for the implementation of “Save Our Homes”. Thereafter, the assessed value will not increase more than 3% or the Consumer Price Index, whichever is less. Exceptions to that limitation include new additions or construction that escaped taxation in the past. When a homestead property sells, the assessed value returns to fair market value in the year following the sale. That value assessment then becomes the new owner/homestead applicant’s base value for “Save Our Homes” purposes.

When to File – Florida law requires that application for a new Florida Homestead Exemption be made by March 1st to be eligible for up to a $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. The Lee County Property Appraiser’s Office offers on-line filing for Homestead Exemption is at www.LeePA.org.

There are two ways to apply, depending on certain criteria. If you meet ALL of the criteria below, application may be made online using the “Quick Apply Form”:

  • You are applying for Homestead Exemption ONLY
  • You are applying for yourself or you and your spouse
  • You have a valid Florid Drivers License for both you and your spouse (if applying together), and the Drivers License shows the address of the property you would like to apply for
  • You resided in the home prior to January 1, 2021.

If ANY of the criteria below apply, use their Homestead Online form:

  • You are applying for Homestead Exemption AND Portability
  • You are applying for Homestead Exemption for owners other than you and your spouse
  • You are married and your spouse is NOT applying
  • You have a partial interest in the property that you are applying for.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity January 8-15, 2021

Sanibel

CONDOS

4 new listings: Captains Walk #B3 1/1 $299.9K, Sanibel Arms West #A3 2/2 $529K, Sanibel Arms West #B5 2/2 $569K, Pointe Santo #E22 2/2 $899K.

7 price changes: Sundial #F108 1/1 now $435K, Sanibel Arms West #J3 2/2 now $569K, Cottage Colony West #125 1/1 now $599K, Cottage Colony West #119 1/1 now $609K, Sandalfoot #3C3 2/2 now $698K, Sand Pointe #113 2/2 now $789K, Sundial #P402 2/2 now $1.189M.

6 new sales: Mariner Pointe #1043 2/2 listed at $490K, Sundial #G406 1/1 listed at $519K, Sandpiper Beach #401 2/2 listed at $775K, Sandpiper Beach #205 2/2 listed at $815K, Sanctuary Golf Villages #1-5 2/2.5 listed at $999K, Sandpiper West #1 3/3 listed at $2.15M.

3 closed sales: Beach Road Villas #105 2/2 $479K, Mariner Pointe #522 2/2 $484.9K (our listing), Breakers West #B5 2/2 $560K.

View from Mariner Pointe #522

HOMES

9 new listings: 4661 Rue Bayou 2/2 $679K, 5100 Sea Bell Rd 3/2.5 $868K, 4202 Old Banyan Way 3/2 $899.5K, 1147 Buttonwood Ln 3/2 $1.335M, 751 Windlass Way 5/5 $1.595M, 940 Whelk Dr 3/2 $1.595M, 3910 Coquina Dr 6/4 $1.95M, 1680 Hibiscus Dr 3/3.5 $2.15M, 1266 Isabel Dr 3/3 $2.895M.

1 price change: 1430 Sanderling Cir 3.5 now $799K.

10 new sales: 956 Dixie Beach Blvd 2/1 listed at $449K, 1415 Sandpiper Cir 2/2 half-duplex listed at $459K, 1076 Sand Castle Rd 2/2 listed at $750K, 9421 Moonlight Dr 3/2 listed at $775K, 1030 Kings Crown Dr 2/2 listed at $879.9K, 1308 Eagle Run Dr 4/4 listed at $1.549M, 784 Birdie View Pt 4/4 listed at $1.795M, 5771 Baltusrol Ct 3/4 listed at $1.8M, 2564 Wulfert Rd 4/5.5 listed at $1.929M, 2336 Starfish Ln 3/2.5 listed at $2.195M.

5 closed sales: 753 Nerita St 3/2 $545K, 1001 East Gulf Dr 2/2 $595K, 1073 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $740K, 482 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $780K, 2984 Island Inn Rd 3/2 $815K.

LOTS

1 new listing: 9042 Mockingbird Dr $395K.

2 price changes: 3013 Poinciana Cir now $249.9K, 2933 Wulfert Rd now $349K.

1 new sale: 6095 Dinkins Lake Rd listed at $269,555.

1 closed sale: 1313 Par View Dr $300K.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Beach Homes #6 3/3 now $2.879M.

2 new sales: Tennis Villas #3136 1/1 listed at $340K, Beach Homes #25 3/2 listed at $1.995M.

No closed sales.

HOMES

2 new listings: 14865 Captiva Dr 4/4 $1.699M, 14980 Binder Dr 4/4 $2.55M.

2 price changes: 11544 Wightman Ln 4/4.5 now $2.25M, 16500 Captiva Dr 6/6/2 now $6.289M.

3 new sales: 11520 Wightman Ln 3/2 listed at $2.589M, 16189 Captiva Dr 6/4 listed at $3.699M, 1119 Schefflera Ct 4/3.5 listed at $5.975M.

1 closed sale: 11521 Laika Ln 3/3 $1.275M.

LOTS

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.

Below is our ad from today’s “Island Sun”.

Until next Friday, stay warm, safe, & smiling! Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan