It is finally that time of the year when things slow down on the islands, though it was a long-time coming this year. Even during the “off” season, the islands have been busier than usual this summer. But now that schools are back in session and COVID cases are at record-highs, it makes sense that traffic and occupancy have eased up.
I took a quick spin through the islands early this afternoon, drove all the way through Captiva’s South Seas Plantation, out to tip at Lands End. I was surprised to see very few people or vehicles, though passed quite a few contractor vehicles doing deliveries and updates at properties. Below are some Captiva photos taken during that ride.
Island Real Estate Happenings
Real estate inventory on both islands remains at record lows. It will be interesting when fall arrives to see what happens to the market as snowbirds and prospective buyers start thinking about spending their winter in the sun. Few rental companies have vacancies then and most Realtors® have anxious visitors looking to come. Thanks to supply and demand, prices in the foreseeable future, for both buying and renting real estate here, will continue to go up.
Meanwhile, at SanibelSusan Realty, we are finishing up action items on closings scheduled to occur in a few weeks, continuing to market our new listing that is not under contract yet, and beating the bushes looking for owners wanting to take advantage of this unique sellers’ opportunity.
After a few news items below is the real estate action posted since last Friday in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.
Today (August 20, 2021) on Sanibel, there are 13 condos, 27 homes, and 17 lots for sale.
On Captiva, there are three condos and 12 homes.
Causeway Island Update
Plenty of social media postings about the changes on the causeway islands have not been positive, mostly because the public is not aware of what is happening there. Here is an update:
The Lee County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to award engineering contracts for engineering services for enhancements to both Islands A and B and construction services for the stabilization of Island B. (Island A is the one closest to the high bridge and the mainland. Island B is closest to Sanibel.)
These contracts are part of a larger project on the causeway islands. Plans approved by the Board in December call for the shoring-up of erosion-prone areas of Islands A and B which are part of the Sanibel Causeway. Beach sand also will be added along parts of these islands. In addition, enhancements will be made to upland portions of both islands, including the creation of structured parking, new restrooms on Island A, additional picnic pavilions, pathways, and landscaping, and other park amenities.
In July, in preparation for the project, Lee County Crews removed Australian pines, an invasive exotic species. They will be replaced with native trees.
Local COVID News
Unfortunately, Lee Health Hospitals posted yesterday that it was their highest day of COVID fatalities. Traveling nurses arrived this week to assist in their patient overload.
Sanibel remains proactive regarding COVID. It makes me feel better just to drive by the signage by the Chamber that continues to flash “Welcome to Sanibel”, “Please Wear Mask”, Please Get Vaxxed”.
This morning the City Manager posted the following message on the City website: “City of Sanibel Recreation Center to Remain Closed Saturday, August 21, 2021 All Programs Cancelled. Last evening, Thursday, August 19, the City of Sanibel was advised that a participant who utilized the Sanibel Recreation Center yesterday had tested positive for COVID. Today, Friday, August 20, the City of Sanibel Recreation Center, 3380 Sanibel-Captiva Rd, is closed for all programs and services while the facility is disinfected. Currently City staff continue to contact trace all persons who were at the facility yesterday. The City of Sanibel Recreation Center will remain closed tomorrow, Saturday, August 21. The sole program scheduled for the Recreation Tomorrow, Tiny Tots Basketball, is also cancelled.”
Temporary Closure of Ding Darling Visitor & Education Center
From this week’s, “Ding on The Wing”: “Starting this week and running through September, the Refuge Visitor and Education Center will be closed both Friday and Sunday each week, due to volunteer dropout over COVID-19 concerns. The Center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and Saturday.
37th Sanibel & Captiva Luminaries Scheduled
As posted in the “Island Sun”, the island Chamber of Commerce has received approval from The City to celebrate Luminary 2021 in traditional fashion on December 3 and 4. The Sanibel celebration will be Friday and the Captiva Saturday. Besides candle-lined walkways and shared-use paths, the festivities bring live music, decorations, sidewalk sales, and complimentary refreshments.
The golf-cart parade also will return to Captiva’s celebration (time to be announced). If you haven’t attended an island luminary, plan to do it this year. It is special.
I couldn’t help but think about Captiva’s luminary as I drove along the Tween Waters stretch this afternoon. Those who have been here for the holidays likely remember that a Santa will be climbing that tall palm tree for Christmas. My photo from today is shown above, while below it, a photo of Santa from years.
Sanibel Household Chemical Waste Collection Event
A City notice received this week says, Sanibel residents may dispose of household chemical waste such as left-over paint, cleaners, herbicides, pesticides, auto fluids, and pool chemicals on Wed, Sept 1. The collection event hosted in partnership with Lee County Solid Waste will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Sanibel Library at 770 Dunlop Rd with drop-off an easy drive-through at no charge. This event is for residents only, businesses that need disposal should call for an appointment for the monthly business collection held at the county’s permanent Household Chemical Waste drop-off location at 6441 Topaz Ct which is off Metro Parkway in Fort Myers.
The following items are NOT chemical waste but may be set out with your regular household garbage: small-engine equipment such as pressure washers, lawnmowers, weed eaters; small electronic parts such as routers, mice, keypads; tires; small appliances; empty paint cans/dried paint; empty auto fluid containers.
Hot Housing Market Drives Home Fix-Ups
Posted August 13, 2021, on FloridaRealtors®:
“Remodeling hit a high during lockdowns when homeowners had time and an increased frustration with their living space. Now, rising home equity entices them.
“NEW YORK – More homeowners plan to renovate their homes this year. The remodel trend took off during pandemic lockdowns when homeowners had little else to do and a general frustration with a home when they had to spend 24 hours a day within it.
“Now, owners are spiffing up their home because they can afford to do so, thanks to higher home prices and their home’s increased equity, according to Bank of America’s “2021 Homebuyer Insights Report: Home Improvement and Equity Spotlight.”
“As home prices surge, more homeowners are tapping HELOCs (Home Equity Lines of Credit) to make significant home improvements. Gen X homeowners (ages 44 to 56) are the most likely to report using HELOCs for home improvements. “Greater reliance on the home as both a workspace and a family center has led many owners to tailor their homes to their needs,” the report says.
“Most respondents don’t focus too heavily on increasing their home’s value, however. The majority said they’re viewing home improvements as a way to bring greater enjoyment to their living space (67%). Only 33% said they’re undertaking updates to increase their home’s value (33%). “Traditionally, home improvement projects have been measured through the lens of return on investment (ROI), but we’re seeing that the emotional connection to one’s home is just as important,” says Ann Thompson, specialty lending executive at Bank of America.
“Greater modernization: Many homeowners want to bring their homes up to date, or they need to replace dated areas of the homes. The median age of the U.S. owner-occupied housing stock is 39 years, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
“Fixer-uppers are OK again: About 42% of younger homebuyers say they would prefer to buy a fixer-upper and improve it over time than to purchase a home that’s move-in ready.
“DIY is trending: Many homeowners are taking a do-it-yourself approach to some of their smaller house projects, such as painting or upgrading hardware and fixtures, with 50% saying they learned how from watching videos. Nearly 40% say they’re inspired by TV shows such as HGTV to do more DIY projects in their home. Younger adults are the most likely to do DIY, with almost 75% of younger homeowners (ages 18 to 43) say they’ve completed DIY work around their house.
“Sustainability is important: Younger generations tend to value sustainability features more than older generations. Half of younger generations want to add solar panels (51%) and energy-efficient appliances (48%) – only one-third of older generations want to add solar panels (33%) and energy-efficient appliances (36%).”
Source: “2021 Homebuyer Insights Report: Home Improvement and Equity Spotlight,” Bank of America (2021) © Copyright 2021 INFORMATION INC., Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688
To Market or Not, Should Not Be the Question
With Florida real estate in increased demand from domestic buyers, sale prices high, and inventory limited, some agents have had success with “pocket listings”, a process that allows an agent to quietly market a property on a one-to-one basis to individual buyers and colleagues, before (or without) posting it on the Multiple Listing Service.
Some sellers and agents think pocket listings offer advantages in certain situations, like giving a seller time to prepare for marketing and the agent to perform some limited targeted outreach before notifying the masses. I have found that this can influence price, time on market, and the best deal for a seller/buyer.
Some sellers with concerns about privacy and COVID, have preferred this process even if it results in a less profitable sale. Many agents, like me, however, view pocket listings as a disservice to sellers.
For example, prospective pocket-listing buyers know they are the only ones submitting an offer, making them not as motivated to make one that is competitive. By limiting the pool of prospective buyers, sellers can be losing money.
The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) recently took a clearer stance on the gray area of pocket listings. Realtors® now are required to list a property in the applicable MLS within 24 hours of launching any mass marketing. This puts the selling agent in a difficult position with only limited marketing allowed. The minute that marketing is expanded, by social media post or group email, that agent is “on the clock” and has only 24 hours to get it posted in the MLS.
What seller doesn’t want his property exposed to the most potential purchasers? Not to mention making the entire transaction transparent with everyone held accountable. According to Redfin, pocket listings increased from 2.4% to 4% of the market from November 2019 to March 2021. Maybe that jump is strictly COVID related, but I doubt it.
Pocket listings should be limited to exceptional unique cases. In my experience, the most exposure brings the best offers – which is what most sellers want. That means a traditional listing – not a pocket listing. The SanibelSusan Team does not take pocket listings.
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity August 13-20, 2021
2 new listings: Sanibel Arms West #F6 2/2 $1.049M, Gulf Beach #207 2/2 $1.1M.
No price changes.
7 new sales: Sundial #H410 1/1 listed at $429K, Cottage Colony West #101 1/1 listed at $575K, Sanibel Inn #3514 2/2 listed at $699K, Sandalfoot #2D3 2/2 listed at $789.5K, Pointe Santo #B33 2/2 listed at $839K, Tantara #102 2/2 listed at $1.139M, Sundial #E104 2/2 listed at $1.299M.
3 closed sales: Coquina Beach #2B 2/2 $585K; Sanibel Arms West #D2 2/2 $915,799; Tarpon Beach #305 2/2 $1M.
3 new listings: 4954 Joewood Dr 3/2 $1.599M, 2475 Tropical Way Ct 3/3.5 $2.295M, 885 Limpet Dr 3/3 $2.395M.
1 price change: 535 Birdsong Pl 3/2 now $711,555.
5 new sales: 754 Donax St 4/2 duplex listed at $599K, 5817 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 4/2 listed at $1.19M, 1360 Jamaica Dr 3/3 listed at $1.349M, 518 N. Yachtsman Dr 3/3 listed at $2.795M, 544 Lighthouse Way 4/5.5 listed at $4.25M.
5 closed sales: 486 Surf Sound Ct 3/3.5 $1.19M, 734 Anchor Dr 3/2 $1.55M, 6418 Pine Ave 3/3 $1.7M, 5270 Indian Ct 6/6.5 $2.05M, 545 Lighthouse Way 3/3.5 $3.25M.
No new listings, price changes, or new sales.
2 closed sales: 0 Dixie Beach Blvd $150K, 000 West Gulf Dr $3.5M.
No new listings or price changes.
2 new sales: Lands End Village #1633 2/2 listed at $1.599M, Seabreeze #1251 3/3 listed at $2.05M.
No closed sales.
No new listings.
1 price change: 15867 Captiva Dr 7/6 now $11.7M.
No new or closed sales.
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,
Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan