Just Another Gorgeous Friday on Sunny Sanibel

It is SanibelSusan with another Friday Sanibel and Captiva Islands real estate report. If you are wondering if the weather here is fantastic, if the islands are packed, and if the market still is hot, all are true again this week. The most challenging three weeks year-to-date traffic-wise likely will be those ahead as it seems the entire world wants to be visiting SW Florida this spring.

Last night, what forecasters call another “cold” front arrived. That means daytime temperatures will remain in the 70’s for over the weekend. Those from north of Florida, probably still get a chuckle about these tropical “cold fronts.” Below is a photo taken this afternoon from Woodring Rd, bayside where the breeze is evident and the water looking beautiful. (The full video is on my Facebook page.)

Best Beach Town is “Sanibel Island”

If you follow “Southern Living” magazine, you will see that their April 2021 issue features an island photo on the cover.

That is because their inside article says “Sanibel Island” is the best beach town!

Grab a copy to read about the South’s best beach towns, barbeque joints, bakeries, cities, parks, and other hidden gems.

Sanibel & Captiva Real Estate Scoop

Meanwhile, low interest rates are keeping bankers slammed, while title companies are swamped with closings, and prospective buyers continue to think we are nuts when we tell them that inventory is low – or that there is nothing in their price range that meets their requirements.

Looking at island inventory in general terms, there now are just 159 residential properties for sale on Sanibel and Captiva. That includes homes, condos, and lots. If you think that sounds like a lot, compare it to the 186 that are under contract awaiting closing, and the 185 that have already sold and closed this year. Those total 371 sales in less than three months. For the entire year, 583 Sanibel/Captiva properties sold last year, while in 2019, 400 sold.

It certainly does not take a crystal ball to figure out that by the end of this month or first quarter 2021, as many island properties will have sold as in all of 2019. Betcha there will be more records set before the year is out.

The two news articles below provide an economic and political spin on things. After those is the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service since last Friday, followed by our “Island Sun” ad from today’s paper today. Happy spring!

The Brighter Path Ahead

Nice outlook posted in the March-April 2021 “Realtor®” magazine by NAR Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun:

“More inventory and better access to vaccines are welcome news.

“The 2020 pandemic-induced recession was unique in terms of the sudden and massive slashing of jobs. It was also the first recession during which overall income grew. No doubt there are families struggling paycheck to paycheck, but due to the massive stimulus packages – including the initial deposit of $1,200 and enhanced unemployment benefits – the financial condition of many families was better in a recession than before the pandemic.

“Total income for the country in late 2020 was 4% higher than a year earlier. This was the figure reported just before the second stimulus checks of $600 per person went out in late December. It also does not include wealth accumulation from the record-high stock market or rising home prices. Also not reflected in the totals are the proceeds from mortgage refinances last year or the relief expected from a new stimulus. Still consumers remain cautious, as spending opportunities have been restricted by COVID-19. For the year, consumer spending fell by 2%. And the savings rate consequently rose to twice the pre-pandemic levels.

“The situation translates into the potential for a great unleashing of spending in 2021. The positive impact will be increasingly felt as jobs come around. The full effect will be evident once herd immunity is established with the vaccine, likely in autumn. That is to say, 2021 is a growth year that will take us out of the recession.

“The housing market continues to shine brightly. The main frustration is for buyers who find themselves outbid during multiple offer situations. More inventory is needed to give buyers more options and lessen the heat.

“It’s encouraging to see that builders are ramping up production of homes with backyards, which are now at their highest level in 13 years. Activity has been particularly robust in Southern states where land is more plentiful and building regulations are less onerous.

“Moreover, with the wider availability of COVID-19 vaccines, homeowners, especially older Americans who have been more hesitant about strangers visiting their homes, now may be more ready to list. Many seniors own their homes outright and have sizable housing equity for the next home purchase. They may even need to buy a larger place to accommodate more family visitors. After all, in the new economy, remote-work flexibility may mean more days working from grandma’s house.”

Political Power Shift Could Generate Changes in the U.S. Luxury Housing Market

On the other hand, the below article by Michele Lerner and published on “Mansion Global”, was linked to the February 2021 issue of the RSPS (Resort & Second-Home Property Specialist) newsletter. It was prefaced with:

“Everything from capital gains tax policy to a more stable political environment will affect how affluent buyers view their wealth and appetite for home purchases.

“There’s a new political party in charge in Washington, D.C., one that hopes to make some big changes in the U.S. economy, including tax reform. While the initial priorities of the Biden administration and Congress focus on mitigating the devastating impact of the pandemic, the new political dynamic could eventually create a shift in the luxury housing market.

““The luxury market has done very well in recent years thanks to low mortgage rates and to the performance of the stock market, which is influenced by politics,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist for realtor.com in Washington, D.C.

““Political actions have both a direct and an indirect impact on the housing market. “We’ve never been at a time when the political landscape has continued to seem so uncertain,” said Frederick Peters, CEO of Warburg Realty in New York City. “Politics has an effect on the stock market, which in turn has an effect on the luxury real estate market.”

“While most of the Biden administration’s initial housing policies focus on the affordable housing crisis, Marco Rufo, a partner with The Agency real estate brokerage in Los Angeles, said that the possible extension of the federal eviction moratorium beyond the current date of March 31 could have implications for the higher end of the housing market in the future. “Most of our buyers are extremely wealthy and many of them own lots of property that they rent to tenants,” Mr. Rufo said. “If policies are put in place that reduce their ability to collect rent on multiple properties, that could have a negative impact on their net worth and willingness to upgrade into more expensive properties.”

“Another political issue that’s already had a major effect on luxury housing markets is tax reform. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that went into effect in 2018 has several provisions, such as lower tax rates, a higher lifetime estate and gift tax limit, and a higher standard deduction that are set to expire at the end of 2025. Democrats are anticipated to address those expiring provisions and other tax issues eventually.

““Most of the tax reform ideas impact people with incomes above $400,000 and capital gains of more than $1 million, the demographic that matches our homebuyers,” Mr. Rufo said. “If everything was enacted, it probably wouldn’t mean that people won’t buy homes, but it could mean that they pause a little to consider their options.”

“Some potential tax reforms include:

Lifting SALT deduction limitations. The 2018 limitation on the deductibility of state and local taxes (SALT) to $10,000 was significant in markets like New York and California, said Mr. Peters, who anticipates a positive impact on those tax-heavy locales if that limit is lifted by Democratic tax reform efforts. “It’s not just a matter of money and getting a larger tax deduction, it’s also the perception,” he said. “It would make people feel less anxious about buying in states with higher taxes.” In the Washington, D.C. area, where the luxury market mostly centers on homes priced between $1.5 million and $2.5 million, the SALT deductibility cap slowed the pace of sales, reduced luxury listings and reduced home buyers’ budgets, said Jeff Detwiler, president and CEO of Long & Foster Real Estate in D.C. “We saw $2 million homes sit on the market for a year or longer,” he said. “Now we have only a two-month supply of luxury homes because of migration trends and a frothy market in 2020. If the SALT cap is lifted, we’d see even more demand because those deductions directly impact the finances of our buyers.” Migration trends after the SALT cap meant that more people left high-tax states to move to lower tax states like Florida and Texas. “If your SALT deductions aren’t limited, then you can be agnostic over where you live,” said Melissa Cohn, executive mortgage banker with William Raveis Mortgage in New York City.

Higher income tax rates. Increasing income taxes always has a negative impact on the luxury market, Ms. Cohn said. However, she doesn’t expect tax rates to rise in the near future. “The pandemic changed everything, and the focus now is on rebuilding the economy. So even if the Democrats want to raise taxes eventually, now is not the time,” she said. An increase in tax rates for high earners probably won’t take buyers out of the market, said Mr. Detwiler, but it could reduce their price point by several hundred thousands dollars or more. “The good news about tax reform that would cause wealthier people to pay more is that it would be a federal issue that people can’t escape by moving to Florida,” Mr. Peters said.

Higher capital gains tax rate. While home sellers can exclude up to $250,000 in profit if they’re single and up to $500,000 if they’re married from a capital gains tax on their primary residence, an increase in the long-term capital gains tax rate could still hurt the luxury housing market. Currently, the highest capital gains tax rate is 20%. “If the capital gains tax rate is increased, that could have negative repercussions,” Ms. Cohn said. “People wouldn’t want to sell their homes, especially if they hoped the rates would roll back again in the future, and that would limit the supply of homes.” Mr. Detwiler said he thinks a higher capital gains rate could have a bigger impact on the second-home market. Currently, the long-term capital gains tax rate depends on your income and is either 0%, 15% or 20%. Single taxpayers who earn $441,450 or more and married taxpayers who earn $496,600 pay the top rate. “Sellers have to pay capital gains taxes on the profit of the sale of a home that’s not their primary residence,” Mr. Detwiler said, “In addition, if people have to pay more taxes on other gains, that shrinks their portfolio and changes how much they’ll want to pay for a house.”

Elimination of 1031 Exchange option. A 1031 Exchange allows investors to swap one property for another and postpone paying capital gains tax on the sale until you sell the next property. Without the 1031 Exchange, investors would have less money to put into their next deal, Ms. Cohn said. “Getting rid of the 1031 Exchange would have a direct impact in our area because we have a lot of luxury rentals at $40,000 to $50,000 a month in Los Angeles,” Mr. Rufo said. “Owners of these properties would pull back from buying and selling them if they had to pay capital gains on the transaction, and that would have a direct impact on property values.”

“Broader Impact of Politics on the Housing Market – Real estate market performance is tied to the fundamentals of supply and demand, which can also be influenced by political policies, realtor.com’s Ms. Hale said. (Mansion Global is owned by Dow Jones. Both Dow Jones and realtor.com are owned by News Corp.) “Demand is based on income and consumer confidence,” Ms. Hale said. “If wealthy households see their income go down due to a higher tax burden, it’s conceivable that their spending could decline and that would impact the housing market.”

However, a growing economy, especially one that drives stock gains, could mean after-tax incomes are higher for wealthy households, she said. “The way politics matters the most is how it makes people feel,” Mr. Peters said. “As real estate agents, we’re selling people a belief in their future. That’s a lot harder to do when people feel freaked out by the present. They’re less likely to take on large financial commitments when they’re concerned about the future.”

“Personally, Mr. Peters is optimistic about the impact of the new power configuration for his market in New York. “It’s not entirely irrelevant that the new Senate majority leader [Charles Schumer] is from New York,” he said.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity March 12-19, 2021



2 new listings: Sundial #F206 1/1 $479K, Pointe Santo #E24 3/2 $1.495M.

1 price change: White Sands #13 2/2 now $949K.

6 new sales: Sanibel Arms West #A1 2/2 listed at $534K, Heron at The Sanctuary I #1B 3/3.5 listed at $872.7K, Pointe Santo #E3 2/2 listed at $889K, Sanibel Arms West #D6 2/2 listed at $955K, Pointe Santo #E2 2/2 listed at $964K, Somerset #D102 3/2.5 listed at $1.849M.

6 closed sales: Sandpebble #2D 2/2 $534K, Sandpebble #2B 2/2 $535K, Heron at The Sanctuary II #2A 3/2.5 $830K, Sundial #A301 2/2 $1.1M, Sanddollar #C101 2/2 $1.117M, Island Beach Club #220D 2/2 $1.34M.


4 new listings: 3009 Singing Wind Dr 2/1.5 $657K, 1117 Captains Walk St 2/2 $857K, 6412 Pine Ave 3/2.5 $1.589M, 3385 Twin Lakes Ln 5/5 $1.695M.

3 price changes: 5100 Sea Bell Rd 4/2.5 now $869K, 1747 Jewel Box Dr 3/2 now $999K, 742 Sand Dollar Dr 3/3 now $1.599M

12 new sales: 2015 Wild Lime Dr 3/3 listed at $570K, 1606 Bunting Ln 3/2 listed at $649K, 2985 Island Inn Rd 2/2 listed at $649.5K, 3781 Coquina Dr 3/2 listed at $789K, 1657 Sabal Sands Rd 3/2 listed at $797.5K, 5424 Shearwater Dr 3/2.5 listed at $999K, 1890 Middle Gulf Dr 3/3 listed at $1.15M, 2464 Blind Pass Ct 3/2 listed at $1.2M, 2843 Wulfert Rd 4/5 listed at $1.295M, 2479 Harbour Ln 4/3 listed at $1.695M, 2964 Wulfert Rd 5/5.5 listed at $2.998M, 1253 Anhinga Ln 4/4 listed at $3.795M.

4 closed sales: 430 Old Trail Rd 3/2.5 $550K, 610 Hideaway Ct 3/2.5 $690K (our buyer), 2391 Shop Rd 3/2.5 $1.61M, 5618 Baltusrol Ct 4/4/2 $2.195M.

610 Hideaway Ct


No new listings or price changes.

2 new sales: 1292 Par View Dr listed at $349.9K, 9056 Mockingbird Dr listed at $380K.

4 closed sales: 9436 Beverly Ln $200K, 0 Bunting Ln $225K, 717 Birdie View Pt $370K, 1837 Buckthorn Ln $460K.



No new listings.

1 price change: Beach Cottages #1423 2/2 now $1.195M.

No new or closed sales.


1 new listing: 11514 Andy Rosse Ln 5/5 $2.349M.

No price changes.

2 new sales: 18 Urchin Ct 2/2 listed at $1.15M, 16813 Captiva Dr 3/3 listed at $2.25M.

2 closed sales: 11520 Wightman Ln 3/2 $2.225M, 16500 Captiva Dr 6/6/2 $6M.


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.

Until next Friday, have a great week! Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan