Another quiet week is wrapping up on the islands and at SanibelSusan Realty. Summer-like weather has made for warm sunny days, some with record high temperatures, but with occasional evening showers cooling things down and contributing to springtime growth spurts. After an extended drought, things are greening up here and many flowering trees still are busting blossoms.
Turtles and tortoises are on the move depositing their eggs. Winter birds are migrating north, along with the people-birds aka snowbirds, while our year-‘round avian friends including snowy plovers, herons, and owls also are producing offspring.
Not to be missed, the baby bunnies are back, both at my home and office. It’s nice to say that traffic again is light, while wildlife continuing abundant.
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®
Yesterday was the May monthly membership meeting at the Association of Realtors®. No longer offered via Zoom, it was great to see more in-person attendees including a couple of new affiliates. Due to an unexpected speaker cancellation, the two meeting sponsors, David Wright from Sanibel-Captiva Community Bank (SanCap Bank) and David Arter from Private Client Insurance Services (PCIS) provided quick updates on their businesses.
Mortgages – David Wright, SanCap Bank, said now is the first time in his lifelong lending career that portfolio loans at his bank have better terms than government-backed financing. Though SanCap Bank still offers loans from many outside sources, including Fannie & Freddie, their in-house offerings are at lower rates/points and can be quickly approved, right at his desk. (Just another excellent reason to bank local.)
Insurance – David Arter, PCIS, provided highlights from the Special Florida Legislative Session about property insurance that wrapped up late Wednesday. Though not signed into law just yet, the measures passed by lawmakers this week may not immediately reduce premiums, but they do get at the heart of the problem and will have a long-term positive effect on stabilizing insurance in Florida. It took lawmakers three days to debate, discuss, and ultimately pass some significant property insurance reforms that will go a long way in helping to alleviate Florida’s ongoing property insurance crisis. Some of the topics included:
- Improving affordability for policyholders through a new $2 billion 2-year program
- Improving accessibility and protecting policyholders from nonrenewal
- Preventing fraud in claims
- Holding insurers accountable
- Creating more consumer choice on roof repairs
- Transparency to improve the marketplace for consumers
- Curbing unscrupulous roof claims
- Home hardening grants to help Floridians make homes safer.
Caravan – During the Caravan segment of the meeting, there were no new sales or new island listings announced, also no price reductions. One property was open for Caravan viewing (Gulfside Place #101). Next Caravan is in two weeks, on June 9.
After a couple of news items below is the action posted since last Friday in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service. Here at SanibelSusan Realty, yesterday we received a new canal-front home listing. As we work on some advance marketing, we also await departure of May renters so that our photographer may film next week – for a “best first impression” when the listing is promoted worldwide.
Today, according to the Sanibel-Captiva MLS, on Sanibel, there are 14 homes, 21 condos, and 8 lots for sale. Captiva has 8 homes, 8 condos, and 1 lot. Inventory is creeping up, but just a little.
Lawmakers Pass Condo Reforms
The same special session for insurance reform discussed above was expanded to include condominium reform in response to the tragedy in Surfside, FL last June. Lawmakers acted quickly on this, unanimously passing a Building Safety bill in both chambers. It provides several measures designed to increase building safety and prevent the types of issues that lead to the Surfside collapse. Specifically, the bill:
- Creates a statewide “milestone inspection” requirement for condos and cooperative buildings three stories or higher 30 years after initial occupancy, and 25 years after initial occupancy for buildings located within three miles of the coast.
- Requires inspections every 10 years after a building initial “phase 1” inspection.
- Requires an additional, more intensive inspection, or a “phase 2” inspection if a building initial inspection reveals substantial structural deterioration.
- Beginning in 2024, condo associations are required to conduct a structural integrity reserve study at least every ten years and prevents needed reserves from being waived.
Florida’s Economic Resiliency
This week, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis issued a report which outlines how Florida’s economy outpaced the nation. Key findings of the report show even after the global pandemic, Florida’s economy continued to grow and outpace the U.S. economy; Florida’s finance and real estate industries suffered no economic dip; and Florida’s COVID-19 policies allowed Florida’s economy to make a quick rebound leading to exceptional growth.
A Recession Does Not Equal a Housing Crisis
The one thing every Homeowner needs to know about a recession is that a recession does not equal a housing crisis. Everywhere you look, experts are warning we could be heading toward a recession, and if true, an economic slowdown doesn’t mean homes will lose value.
The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) defines a recession as “a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, normally visible in production, employment, and other indicators. A recession begins when the economy reaches a peak of economic activity and ends when the economy reaches its trough. Between trough and peak, the economy is in an expansion.”
To help show that home prices don’t fall every time there’s a recession, requires a look at the historical data. There have been six recessions in this country over the past four decades. As the CoreLogic graph shows, going all the way back to the 1980s, home prices appreciated four times and depreciated only two times.
That first occasion on the graph when home values depreciated was in the early 1990s when home prices dropped by less than 2%. It happened again during the housing crisis in 2008 when home values declined by almost 20%. Most people vividly remember the housing crisis in 2008 and think if we were to fall into a recession that we’d repeat what happened then. But this housing market isn’t a bubble that’s about to burst. The fundamentals are very different today than they were in 2008. So, we shouldn’t assume we’re heading down the same path.
Bottom Line – We’re not in a recession in this country, but if one is coming, it doesn’t mean homes will lose value. History shows a recession doesn’t equal a housing crisis.
Remodel Underway at SCCF Nature Center
Earlier this month, contractors started extensive renovations to transform the former Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) Nature Center into an energy-efficient collaborative space intended for more interaction among staff members and volunteers, and with visiting scientists.
The design by Sanibel architect (& Sanibel Chorus fellow alto) Amy Nowacki features more than 20 offices and workstations, an indoor lab space, bathrooms with shower for those commuting by bike or coming in from the field, outdoor decks, and solar panels. The remodel is being done by Benchmark General Contractors and is expected to be completed in November. It will also include a reception area with space for volunteers and a large board room with seating for 42 people for presentations.
Originally constructed in 1977, the aging structure was no longer meeting the needs of the organization, which currently employs a staff of 36 at five different locations across Sanibel. For more than 40 years, the building was a popular visitor attraction that once featured a touch tank, box turtle and indigo snake exhibits, a gift shop, and a butterfly house. It also offered regular educational programs on wildlife and island ecosystems.
Stay tuned for a community celebration with a ribbon-cutting for the freshly renovated facility in November. Click here to see a story map of all SCCF Trails and facilities.
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity May 20 ‑ 27, 2022
4 new listings: Spanish Cay #A4 2/2 $649.9K, Seawind #A110 2/2.5 $895K, Sanibel Arms #G8 2/2 $1.295M, Seascape #302 3/3.5 $2.495M.
No price changes.
3 new sales: Loggerhead Cay #323 2/2 listed at $850K, Seawind #A106 2/2.5 listed at $899K, Compass Point #201 2/2 $939K.
1 closed sale: Breakers West #A4 2/2 $825K.
5 new listings: 542 Boulder Dr 2/2 $1.195M, 1313 Seaspray Ln 3/3 $1.895M, 2729 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 $2.148M, 1740 Dixie Beach Blvd 3/2.5 $2.625M, 4353 Gulf Pines Dr 3/2.5 $2.85M.
No price changes.
3 new sales: 1545 Serenity Ln 3/2 listed at $799K, 1827 Middle Gulf Dr 2/2 listed at $950K, 1270 Par View Dr 3/2 listed at $1.699M.
4 closed sales: 6471 Pine Ave 2/2 $935K, 733 Durion Ct 3/2 $1.6M, 746 Windlass Way 4/3 $2.15M, 1543 San Carlos Bay Dr 4/4 $2.25M.
Nothing to report.
1 new listing: Sunset Beach Villas #2235 4/3 $1.979M.
No price changes or new sales.
4 closed sales: Beach Villas #2418 2/2 $1.2M, Marina Villas #901 2/2 $1.2M, Beach Villas #2324 2/2 $1.295M, Beach Villas #2438 3/3 $1.55M.
1 new listing: 11524 Andy Rosse Ln 5/5.5 $3.995M.
No price changes or new sales.
3 closed sales: 17201 Captiva Dr 5/4.5 $5.5M, 16280 Captiva Dr 6/6 $8.6M, 15855 Captiva Dr 4/3.5 $8.795M.
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 a safe thoughtful Memorial Day weekend.
Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan