An Interesting Friday at SanibelSusan Realty

Another quiet week for us at SanibelSusan Realty, so much so that yesterday Dave and Lisa took another long-deserved day off together. When we are in the office, we are catching up with database updating, reaching out to fence-sitting buyers and sellers, and gearing up for “season”. Inventory still is low. For sale today on Sanibel, just 26 condos, 27 homes, and five lots.
It was five years ago today, when many left the island as Hurricane Irma was looming. It arrived September 10, 2017. Thankfully, we have not seen any serious storms this year, though the heavy rain, thunder, and lightning that passed through the islands several times yesterday, kept the alarms ringing at the community park across the street from our office.
Late-afternoon, I also received repeated City warning announcements of severe thunderstorms. As they say in Florida this time of the year, wait a few minutes for the weather to change. I say, keep an eye on the sky and a good weather app. Yesterday, it was heavy rain on Sanibel, while the night before it was inland. Both events resulted in more than 1000 lightning strikes during very short timeframes.
With water quality always in our minds, particularly after storms, I stopped at the bayside beach on Bailey Rd enroute to the office this morning. Water not sparkling blue, but still clear.
This afternoon, we have been without internet service for hours so that’s why this is a little later than usual today. In fact, It came back on for a few minutes but is off again now, so am winging this from my iPad.
SanibelSusan’s Crystal Ball
So, over the long weekend, I both met and corresponded with more prospective buyers. Since we Realtors© often hear the same objections again and again, here is my 2-cents worth on some. First a little background from my 30 years selling island real estate and maybe a little credit for spending 23 years in marine engineering, management, and contracts before that.
These may be generalities, but most buyers here are NOT looking to purchase somewhere else. They want to be on the island. Maybe it’s the weather, or the laid-back lifestyle, or the taxes, or the school, or the environment, or something else, but they want to be on Sanibel. Most of these buyers also say they do NOT need to buy – or can wait to buy. Most also recognize that the Sanibel/Captiva market has been hot, inventory is down, and prices are up.
Many also say, they are waiting for the market to change because they think it will – for reasons like the economy, war in Ukraine, high interest rates, increases in insurance costs, storms, politics, and more.
What they can’t understand is that I don’t always agree with them. They look at me like I’m a salesman when I say that every island Realtor® worth their salt has a list of buyers just like them, that the difficulty is the amount of inventory and when it is available, not that the property is not worth what sellers are asking. Property values are determined by buyers, based on what they are willing to pay.
Here it is an issue of supply and demand. Sanibel often is a retirement destination which may mean buyers purchase more than one property here before they get their final one. There are few listings motivated by job or family changes. Those that sell to leave the island are often going for health reasons or to enter a retirement community.
Many of today’s prospective sellers would like to take advantage of the “hot market”, but where would they go? For that reason alone, many are sitting tight. Those that are choosing to sell though sometimes get the luxury of doing things on their own timeline and choosing from a variety of good offers.
What does a seller consider a good offer? That varies with their motivation, but in most cases, it is a cash full-price with strong deposit(s), no seller warranty or repairs, and closing at a time of seller choice.
What else happened here with real estate, from the pandemic, is that island owners who previously spent only short times on-island, now are here much longer, or moving here permanently, or working from here, or no longer renting their property. Real estate availability has been reduced.
Unfortunately, for prospective buyers, this market boom usually means the best deals are grabbed up quickly. Despite some media claiming otherwise, existing properties for sale and priced appropriately still are moving at a remarkably fast pace in many areas. According to statistics collected by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the average house in the U.S. is selling in just 14 days. To put that into perspective, U.S. homes took an average of 96 days to sell back in 2011.
It is true that Florida home prices are up over 30% over last year. Despite escalating mortgage rates and slumping home sales in the second quarter of 2022, a greater number of U.S. markets experienced double-digit annual price gains compared to the prior quarter, according to NAR. Eighty percent of the 185 tracked metro areas posted double-digit price gains, up from 70% in the 1st quarter of the year.
Nationally, the median single-family existing-home price eclipsed $400K for the first time, rising 14.2% from one year. Year-over-year price appreciation eased slightly compared to the previous quarter. Are there homes on the islands priced this low? No. As I had to tell recent prospects wanting to spend no more than $750K, the lowest-priced home on the island today is one that is inland for $815K. I’ll watch for some priced lower, but who knows when that will be.
Many real estate gurus predict that Florida will stay hot through the year. I bet it stays hot through winter too.  Will high interest rates affect the number of sales? Sure, just not much here, where few buyers make offers with mortgage contingencies. What I see those higher interest rates may do is slow price growth. (The key word here is “growth”, prices are not trending down.)
For years, the supply of new homes in Florida has trailed behind population growth. On the island, new homes are almost impossible to find. Adding the post-pandemic migration to Florida resulted in an enormous gap in supply and demand – which continues to drive prices up.
Many who follow the market also think that through the remainder of this year and into 2023, housing demand will be all about the Gulf Coast of Florida. As the popularity of working remotely grows, people are expected to continue to move from major cities to slower-paced lifestyles. That’s here!
Those selling in Florida this year will probably make a nice profit. They may not get multiple offers, but they should have choices.
Meanwhile, those island buyers sitting on the sidelines thinking the market here is going to crash, better think again. I bet prices will continue to go up – perhaps more modestly – until the day (if ever) that the islands become less desirable. That probably would take a catastrophic event.
Buy now, tomorrow is not promised. That is one lesson learned from the pandemic.
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®
No caravan meeting this week at the local Association of Realtors©, but there was still a little action posted in the Multiple Listing Service. See that below, after a couple of news items.
Next week, the Association is offering the classwork required every two years for Realtor© license renewals. I will be in class Monday morning and all-day Tuesday to finish up the continuing education required for my renewal in March. (It’s true, “old dogs can learn new tricks.”) I look forward to seeing long-time instructor pals, Chuck Bonamer from Venice who is teaching Bias Override and Pat Pitocchi from Naples who will teach both Code of Ethics and Core Law. (Tough to keep those subjects interesting, but I know these two will do it.)
SanibelSusan teammates Dave and Lisa have already completed their classwork and renewed their licenses for two more years.
September Restaurant Closures
Update below on when some restaurants are closed this month. Best September advice is to give them a call before going. Some are experiencing delays in reopening.
·        400 Rabbits – 9/19-25
·        CIP’s – In Sept, closed for lunch CLOSED & CLOSED all day Tuesdays, otherwise Happy Hour 4-6 p.m. & open for dinner at 4 p.m.)
·        Gramma Dot’s – 8/29-9/30, reopens 10/1
·        Island Pizza – 9/6-19, reopens 9/20
·        Lighthouse Café – reopens tomorrow
·        Mad Hatter – 9/5-30, reopens 10/1
·        Over Easy Café – 9/12-22, reopens 9/23
·        Paper Fig Kitchen – 9/18-20, reopens 9/21
·        Rosie’s Café & Grill – 9/5-12, reopens 9/13
·        Schnapper’s Hots – 9/6-15, reopens 9/16
·        Sweet Melissa’s – 9/4-19, reopens 9/20
·        The Fig – 9/11-13
·        Trader’s – 9/18-10/2, reopens 10/3
·        Traditions – 9/4-26, reopens 9/27
·        Tutti Pazzi – 9/6-13, reopens 9/14
Bankrate’s Best State for Retirement in 2022? Florida
Posted Tuesday, September 6, 2022, on FloridaRealtors® and sourced to Nexstar Broadcasting:
“In a study heavily weighted for affordability, Fla. “unsurprisingly took the top spot,” while Alaska, despite its affordability, came in last.
“MIAMI, Fla. – Whether it’s kicking back on the porch reading the newspaper, enjoying the outdoors or just being closer to the grandkids, post-career goals vary for people. But all states are not the same when it comes to retirement, a recent study from Bankrate found.
“Bankrate conducted a study to find the best and worst states for retirement in 2022. “For this study, Bankrate looked at five broad categories: affordability, wellness, culture, weather and crime. We placed the heaviest weighting on affordability,” according to the study, whose authors acknowledged that some things, such as proximity to loved ones or personal dislike of the cold, were just too subjective to measure.
“The Southeast dominated the top two spots followed by some Midwest states and others across the U.S. Florida, well known for its warm weather, abundant golf and retirement communities such as The Villages, unsurprisingly took the top spot.
“Let’s check out the best and worst states:
“Alaska was relegated to the last spot because of its poor scores for weather, crime and affordability. If avoiding taxes is your top goal, however, you may still want to consider Alaska, which beat out all other states in that category.
“As for overall affordability, Michigan is your destination. Despite the frigid winters, The Great Lakes State broke the overall top five for 2022 thanks in large part to its cost of living.
“Also in the top five were Georgia, for its mostly pleasant weather (outside of hurricane season) and affordability; Ohio for its affordability and lack of bad scores in other metrics; and Missouri, also for affordability and weather.
“If it’s still too hard to pick, consider the advice of Laura Kovacs, former director of education at the Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors in Arizona who recently retired herself: “Go to a variety of different places that you seem to be attracted to – places that have a lower cost of living and lower property taxes – and test them out for a while. If you’re interested in Florida or Arizona or California, stay there for a while and see if you like the climate at the time of year you’re going to be living there.””
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity September 2 – 9, 2022
2 new listings: Lighthouse Point #232 3/2 $1.095M, Tiqua Cay #487 3/3.5 $3.4M.
No price changes.
1 new sale: Beach Rd Villas #101 2/2 listed at $685K.
2 closed sales: Sundial #G306 1/1 $845K, Gulf Beach #107 2/2 $925K.
No new listings.
1 price change: 683 Emeril Ct 2/2 now $1.049M.
1 new sale: 466 Sea Oats Dr 4/4 listed at $2.339M.
1 closed sale: 531 Birdsong Pl 3/2 $755K.
No new listings or price changes.
1 new sale: 4636 Rue Royale listed at $825K.
No closed sales.
No new listings.
1 price change: Tennis Villas #3113 1/1 now $519K.
No new or closed sales.
1 new listing: Sunset Captiva #1 2/2.5 $3.9M.
No price changes, 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