Celebrating July 4th Weekend on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

Another Friday has rolled around as Sanibel and Captiva have settled into summer – with sunny, occasionally cloudy mornings, then late afternoon showers cooling things down before a beautiful sunset.

It was quiet in the office all week, with similar news from other real estate offices. With the real estate market hot and only 81 properties available on both islands (condos/homes/lots), many prospective buyers are discouraged and playing the waiting game.

The weekly action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service follows a couple of news items below.

July 4th Holiday Weekend on the Islands

Though some are disappointment that there will not be a holiday parade or fireworks on Sanibel, the precautions are understood and appreciated. We still can decorate though – so, as usual, SanibelSusan Realty will be decked out in red, white, and blue as thankful freedom reminders.

If you are looking for some pre-July 4th fun, the San-Cap Motor Club is hosting a Cars and Coffee cruise-in tomorrow, Sat, Jul 3 from 9 to 11 a.m. at Periwinkle Place Shopping Center.

After that, the Sanibel-Captiva Optimist Club’s 41st Annual Road Rally will line-up for a noon start time at The Timbers Restaurant parking lot. To sign up for the 2021 Freedom Road Rally, contact Randy Carson at RCarson@gmail.com. Cost is $50 per vehicle and prizes will be awarded. Registration will be accepted until 11:45 a.m. on race day. The afterglow party and awards presentations will immediately follow the rally in The Sanibel Grill at The Timbers.

On 4th of July, there is a celebration at American Legion Post #123, 4249 San-Cap Rd with free hot dogs served all day, plus music by The Marty Stokes Band from 3 to 6 p.m.

Also on July 4th, South Seas Resort will host their annual golf cart parade and fireworks. You must be a registered guest to enter the resort grounds.

At the J.N. “Ding” Darling Visitor and Education center, the refuge staff will observe Independence day on Mon, July 5, with the administrative building and Visitor Center closed, but Wildlife Drive and its trails, Bailey Tract, and Tarpon Bay Explorers remain open with their regular hours.

Presenting Offers: OK with License Law? Code of Ethics?

Posted recently at FloridaRealtors on-line, this article by Meredith Caruso (Associate General Counsel for Florida Realtors®) provides direction for Realtors® but offers good information for Sellers and Buyers too.

“Your exhausted seller received five offers in one day. Four are over asking price, but the last one offers $50,000 less, possibly making it a waste of time for an already exhausted seller. Must you still present it? Perhaps not – but only under very specific conditions.

“ORLANDO, Fla. – In today’s fast paced market, sellers receive many competitive offers on their properties. Some sellers may choose to ask for highest and best; some sellers may just accept one of the offers presented to them.

“This article isn’t about that though. This article focuses on the agents involved and their actions with regards to offers and counteroffers.

“Florida real estate licensees can have one of three types of agency relationships with buyers and sellers: single agent, transaction broker or no brokerage relationship. Unless a licensee has something in writing with their respective party indicating single or no brokerage relationship, Florida law presumes you are in a transaction broker relationship.

“Under a transaction broker relationship – as well as single agent relationship – you have obligations with regards to offers and counteroffers. Additionally, Article 1, Standard of Practice 1-6, 1-7 and 1-8 of the Code of Ethics set forth further requirements regarding the presentation of offers and counteroffers.

“Specifically, per Florida Statute 475.278, the licensee is obligated to present all offers and counteroffers in a timely manner, unless a party has previously directed the licensee otherwise in writing. This article focuses on the language of this statute.

“What does this mean in plain English? Unless your buyer or seller sent you something in writing in advance, or you’ve added something into your listing or buyer brokerage agreement clarifying what kinds of offers and counteroffers they want to see, you must present them all.

“We all know the market is hot right now, so I understand the pressure to act quickly, on both sides. However, Florida Realtors Legal Hotline calls have included statements from Realtors® indicating that some sellers feel overwhelmed by the number of offers they’re receiving. As a result, these agents try to help by picking and choosing which offers the sellers see.

“Let me be clear: If you don’t have something in writing in advance – before you received those multiple offers – stating that you’re able to do this, it’s a violation of your real estate licensing law.

“Does this mean this can’t happen at all? No! But you must do it properly.

“If you’re a listing agent taking a listing, you can easily have a conversation with the sellers and should be asking a variety of questions, including what kind of offers the sellers are looking for. Do they only want to see cash offers? Do they only want to see offers over a certain price point? Do they only want to see offers that can close by a certain time? If so, clarify that in writing in your listing agreement or get it in writing some other way from your sellers. Then if you get offers that don’t fall within the sellers’ criteria, you do not have to present those offers and are able to move forward, confident you are in compliance with your real estate licensing law and the Code of Ethics.”

SCCF’s June 30, 2021 Turtle Update

As locals and visitors tentatively watch what is happening south of Florida with Tropical Storm Elsa, it was great news to read this week’s email update from the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation. Here it is, titled “Green Sea Turtles Return to Nest on Sanibel”:

“In the last few weeks, SCCF’s sea turtle team has documented 12 green sea turtle… nests on Sanibel. The team has been able to identify four different individual green nesters, two of which have been seen on Sanibel in years past and were part of a satellite tag tracking project in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

“Most of the nesting on Sanibel and Captiva is primarily by loggerhead sea turtles so a different species is always extra exciting,” said Research Associate Andrew Glinsky. “Based on the number and timing of nests there could possibility be as many as two more green sea turtles that we have yet to positively ID.”

“…As of today, Sanibel has 440 loggerhead nests… and Captiva has 139 loggerhead nests as hatching season is ramping up on our islands…. To date, nine nests on both islands have hatched, with nearly 1,000 hatchlings.”

Surfside Condo Tragedy Could Influence RE Market

As we all have watched the devastation on Florida East Coast, this article posted Wed on FloridaRealtors® is sourced to 2021 “Miami Herald” and distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. There is some interested info in the article.

Sanibel residents appreciate that there are no high-rise buildings here, prevented by our building code. Interestingly, in recent months, local West Coast Realtors® have seen an increase in business from East Coast buyers looking to get out of the Miami hustle bustle post-COVID. I wonder if the Surfside tragedy will mean even more future business here.

“It could take years to understand the Surfside tragedy’s cause, and condo buyers will likely pay more attention to building inspections and assessments going forward.

“MIAMI – As grim images of rescue workers sifting through the wreckage of the Champlain South Tower circulate around the world, Miami’s kingpin condo real-estate industry is bracing for a slide.

““In the short-term, the effect of the collapse will be jarring,” said real estate attorney Jesse-Dean Kluger, who said he spent the weekend fielding calls from clients under contract for units in older buildings. “You’re going to have some pushback from buyers on the closing dates, because why would you close before you have an inspection and a satisfactory report?” he said. “This could be a deal-breaker for some clients.”

“Built in 1981, the beachfront Champlain Towers South condo, located at 8777 Collins Ave., partially collapsed on the morning of June 24 shortly after 1:30 a.m. The building was going through its 40-year recertification process.

“Search and rescue efforts are ongoing – While the exact cause of the collapse probably won’t be known for at least a year, two suspected contributors – salt air and ocean water – are cause for concern for would-be buyers of waterfront condos in older buildings. In the short-term, at least, some experts say they expect the brakes to slam on what has been a county-wide sales bonanza.

““At the very least, people are being more sensitive to association fees and checking the financial health of the association,” said Ron Shuffield, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices EWM Realty. “These 40-year recertifications are now something that everyone is aware of, instead of just the industry. Buyers are also looking more closely to the construction of the building.” Increased attention to such detail is a positive development, said Shuffield. But it likely also will lead to higher prices and deter some buyers, say experts.

““Every condo, especially the older ones, are going to want to hire an expert and verify the integrity of their buildings,” said Alex Barthet, managing member of the Barthet Construction Law Firm and publisher of thelienzone.com website. “These are probably not fully budgeted items, so this will increase the assessments,” Barthet said. “That’s going to send buyers away, because they only have a certain number of dollars to spend, so why spend them on an older building?”

“According to the Miami Association of Realtors, sales of existing condos jumped a whopping 286% in May year-over-year, from 563 to 2,176, driven primarily by U.S. buyers from tax-burdened states. The median sales price of existing condos rose to $325,000, a 25% year-over-year increase, and sales of existing condos priced between $400,000-$600,000 – a range that includes many older waterfront buildings – increased 475.4% to a total of 328 transactions.

“The Champlain Towers South, where property records show a total of 14 units were sold over the last three years, was part of the sales boom. Condos in the town of Surfside may be particularly hard hit for the next year, especially in older buildings, said Ana Bozovic, founder of brokerage and consulting firm Analytics Miami. Buildings located near the collapse site may be most affected. Bozovic said resale prices might drop for the ultra-luxury Eighty Seven Park, which is adjacent to the site of the collapse and currently has seven units for sale priced between $2 million-$11 million. “Who wants to buy something overlooking this collapse? People died there,” she said. “People don’t want to look at the site.”

““When 9/11 happened, it affected the lower Manhattan area,” she said. “It’s going to be the same thing here.”

Buyer hesitation also may affect newer buildings, say experts. Such was the case for an attorney whose clients were scheduled to close on a Bal Harbour condo the day after the Surfside collapse. “They got cold feet, even though the building where they were buying is only three years old,” said the lawyer, who declined to be named. “They just needed a minute to hear more about what happened at the Champlain Tower. A lot of people with active contracts can delay their closings, but they can’t pull out because they would lose their deposits. They’re stuck.”

“Inspections underway – Miami-Dade County and the city of Miami Beach have started doing visual inspections and audits of buildings nearing or at their 40-year recertification process, which is required by county law. The city of Miami has gone further, requiring inspections of all buildings 40 years and older that are six stories or taller. The city has given condo associations a 45-day deadline to provide letters detailing the condition of their buildings signed by licensed structural engineers.

“But the enforcement boost hasn’t eased buyer concerns. “The question is, does being able to walk out on the sand surpass the value of safety?” said real estate analyst Jack McCabe. “What I thought was going to be paradise could now be a danger. “This collapse is the tip of the iceberg,” McCabe said. There are a lot of other buildings affected by sea level rise and hurricanes that are 40-50 years old, that have not been well maintained, and that have put off special assessments” – that can run into millions.

“Favorable pricing has been the chief attraction of older buildings. “It comes back to affordability,” said Dan Kodsi, CEO of the Miami-based development firm Royal Palms Companies, which developed the Paramount Worldcenter tower. “A lot of people live in those older buildings because they can afford it and still get to live by the water.”

“But repairs can diminish the differential. “Getting hit with a huge assessment bill is going to become a bigger factor in the minds of buyers,” McCabe said. “It could be a much more costly endeavor buying an existing unit than it was in the past.”

“Age matters – The numbers tell the story. According to the real estate firm Condovulturesrealty.com, some 1,660 units in buildings on the barrier islands built before 2000 – or before Florida’s building code was strengthened to its current standard – currently are listed for sale, with an average price per unit of $589,692. During the first three months of 2021, 779 sales were closed at an average price of $487,384. Currently 491 units are under contract at an average price of $484,821.

“In comparison, the current 1,241 active listings of condos in buildings on the barrier islands built after 2000 have an average asking price of $3,141,845 – a price tag beyond the reach of all but the wealthy.

“The gap likely will widen. “What you’re going to see is anything built before 2000 is going to suffer and [drop] their prices,” said Peter Zalewski, co-founder of Condo Vultures. “We have always told our clients not to look at anything built before then. Right now the system is stacked against any due diligence by the buyer. The associations are very private, and they’re not going to share any information that might impact pricing. They give the condo docs, and in three days your offer is locked in by default according to state law.” “According to Zalewski, there were 139 towers fronting the Atlantic Ocean in Miami-Dade County as of November 2019. Of those, only 60 were built between 2000-2019. The other 79 towers were built between 1930-1999.

“While waterfront has long been considered prime territory, inland locations have been gaining favor as waterfront prices soar and climate change becomes a greater concern. A recent study of “climate gentrification” in Miami-Dade showed home buyers and renters are increasingly choosing properties on higher-elevation land, most of which happens to be in primarily Black and Hispanic neighborhoods.

“The collapse may speed the inland migration. Cordelia Anderson, founder of the Miami-based I Heart Real Estate LLC brokerage firm, said one of her prospective condo buyers from New York is now considering moving her search more inland, expressing concern about the structural integrity of coastal buildings and sea level rise.

“Falling prices? The seemingly inevitable price drop of older condos in beachfront locations isn’t just a problem for their owners and brokers. According to the Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser, the county is poised to collect more than $94 billion in 2020 taxes from condominium owners – money that goes to everything from schools and police and fire services to infrastructure repairs and maintenance.

“If prices of older condos take a nosedive, all Miami-Dade residents will feel the pinch, since taxes are calculated by property values. But if prices drop far enough in older buildings to make selling too much of a loss for the owner, there’s another possible scenario that could eliminate the problem altogether, said Alicia Cervera, chairman and principal of Cervera Real Estate: Condo termination, in which owners decide to sell the entire building to a developer interested in building something new at the location.

“When you sell an entire building in a triple-A location to a developer, you get a much better price for your condo,” she said. “It may be that some associations are not doing the repairs because they simply can’t afford it. Selling to a developer could be a solution for the owners and would result in the buildings being taken down before they become unlivable. It’s a good exit strategy for a lot of condo owners.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity June 25-July 2, 2021

Sanibel

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Mariner Pointe #231 2/2 now $674K.

1 new sale: Loggerhead Cay #433 2/2 listed at $735K.

7 closed sales: Sundial #F106 1/1 $440K, Sanctuary Heron #3A 2/2.5 $760K, Pointe Santo #A1 2/2 $868.5K, Sanibel Surfside #123 2/2 $905K, Loggerhead Cay #101 2/2 $964K, Sundial #P403 2/2 $1.3M, Sanddollar #A102 3/2 $1.425M.

HOMES

2 new listings: 5809 San-Cap Rd 3/2 $1.35M, 5379 Shearwater Dr 4/3 $2.295M.

1 price change: 5270 Indian Ct 6/6.5 now $2.295M.

5 new sales: 1376 Jamaica Dr 2/2 listed at $710K, 1270 Par View Dr 3/2 listed at $859K, 1450 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed at $1.199M, 633 Lake Murex Cir 3/3 listed at $1.235M, 1206 Par View Dr 3/2 listed at $1.249M.

12 closed sales: 1643 Bunting Ln 2/2 $626K, 1737 Serenity Ln 3/2 $635K, 429 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $740K, 1585 Serenity Ln 3/3 $749K, 2480 Library Way 3/2.5 $725K, 770 Donax St 2/2 $850K, 1469 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $969K, 450 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $980K, 812 Sanddollar Dr 3/3 $1.2M, 3385 Twin Lakes Ln 5/5 $1.5M, 1460 Middle Gulf Dr 4/4.5 $1.725M, 4701 Rue Belle Mer 4/5 $3.395M.

LOTS

1 new listing: Dixie Beach Blvd $399.5K.

1 new sale: 2431 Shop Rd listed at $249.9K.

1 closed sale: West Gulf Dr $3.895M.

Captiva

CONDOS

No listings or price changes.

1 new sale: Beach Homes #20 3/3 listed at $3.549M.

3 closed sales: Bayside Villas #4118 1/2 $425K, Bayside Villas #5318 3/3 $789.9K, Lands End #1629 2/2 $1.376M.

HOMES

Nothing to report.

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.

Wishing you and yours a safe and happy July 4th holiday weekend.