Sunny Sanibel Recovering from Hurricane Ian

Another Friday already has arrived. Sure seems that these final weeks of the year are passing quickly. I’m again a little delayed in sending this as when I got back from my daily island trip, I found the apartment building where I am renting is without water. This is the 2nd day in a row. Ugh!

It has been slow going this week on the island, first with FL DOT causeway work sometimes limiting traffic to one lane and often with more debris-removal vehicles on East Gulf Dr which is a heavily traveled route since the Periwinkle bridge still is out. It’s all progress though, so staying patient is key!

With many of you in locations that are snowy, I also must note that although the islands still are in serious recovery-mode, the weather here has been fantastic. High 70’s, low 80’s, bright blue skies all week, with plenty of sunshine. Below is a picture of the Christmas tree that just appeared in front of Lighthouse Café. I think the shell fairies are keeping it stocked with painted shells, if you look carefully, you might see them.

Island Comradery

The Reimagined Sanibel/Captiva Luminary event last Friday night at Bell Tower in Ft Myers was under clear skies and very well attended. Our little group of BIG ARTS Chorus singers were on stage following Mayor Holly Smith’s welcome, so we had a great vantage point to look out into the crowd and see many familiar island faces. The entire evening was a great opportunity for many to reconnect for the first time since the hurricane and to support island businesses.

Sanibel Update

On Tuesday, the City Post-Ian progress update was part of the City Council Meeting held at BIG ARTS, They have offered their performance hall for City meetings while City Hall continues their restoration. A recap of that update is posted on both my business and personal Facebook pages.

I also followed the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and FDEM (Florida Department of Emergency Management) Town Hall also held last night at BIG ARTS last night. It was almost three hours long.

There are mixed feelings on the City decision to open the island to non-entry-pass-holders on January 2. The County previously had announced that causeway tolls would restart on January 1. Some think more debris removal and utility work needs to be complete before the island is reopened. Some are worried about security with many homes not able to be secured yet because of storm damage. May properties have swollen door, damaged locks and garage doors. But, some businesses and Captiva owners are anxious to get back.

With contractor work ramping up and more businesses reopening, the City Manager advises that he continues to confer with the Police Chief and others to monitor the situation. It was announced at the FEMA/FDEM meeting last night that the Governor already has approved extending the time the state will provide mutual-aid officers from other jurisdictions until the end of Jan. (That could be extended further.) I saw new police vehicles on the island today, from Panama City.

Residents are encouraged to call the Police if you see or hear of any suspicious activity. “If you see something, say something.” The 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew remains in effect until further notice

Mortgage Rates

The following “instant reaction” was posted Thurs by Nadia Evancelou, NAR (National Association of Realtors®) Senior Economist & Director of Forecasting:

“Mortgage rates continue to move down. According to Freddie Mac, the rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage dropped to 6.33% from 6.59% the previous week. Housing affordability rose about 8% in the last 4 weeks as mortgage rates moved closer to 6%. If inflation continues to slow down, mortgage rates may stabilize near 6% in 2023.

“With a 6% mortgage rate, housing will become more affordable to many buyers. While the typical family cannot currently afford to buy a median-priced home as the qualifying income exceeds earned income, housing will become affordable again for Americans if rates hover near 6%. In this scenario, the typical family will earn about $1,000 more than the income needed to purchase a mid-priced home.

“With more buyers back in the market, the housing market may turn around at the beginning of next year.”

At SanibelSusan Realty

Teammate Dave continues to arrive on the island at daybreak nearly every day, while I often don’t get there until late morning. Again this week, we viewed properties for buyers thinking of purchasing and owners considering selling, rather than rebuilding.

On the east-end, the Periwinkle Way bridge did not open Wed as was rescheduled. When I left the island this afternoon, crews were still working, and it was not mentioned at the Town Hall Meeting tonight. It looks to be close to completion though.

It has been encouraging to see more debris being picked up on the Gulf Drives. Crowder Gulf, the City’s hired removal contractor, advises they still expect to have 80% of the debris removed before Christmas. The downside of the removal is now one views the damaged properties themselves. But there is obvious progress every day… just a lot of restoration work to yet come. Rumors are rampant about what may or may not be rebuilt or restored. If you have questions, call us. We certainly are not building experts, but have good resources if you need more help.

I also ran into Paul Zimmerman this afternoon. Paul worked for Sanibel Accommodations decades ago when my husband and I used to rent on the island. He opened his own company back in the mid-90’s, Gulf Beach Properties, where he handles mostly annual rentals, but basically any that are longer than 6 months (or when owners are not required to collect tourism taxes). He said, “If you have anyone thinking of renting, have them call me.”

Below is the week’s action from the island MLS. More damaged homes come on the market daily, many going under contract quickly to investor/developers willing to accept them “as is” with no additional repairs.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity Dec 2 – 9, 2022



4 new listings: Sunset South #10B 2/2 $690K, Pelicans Roost #302 2/2 $1.199M, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #4-5 3/3 $1.395M, Royal Tern #303 3/3.5 $2.495M.

No price changes.

1 new sale: Oceans Reach #4B1 1/1 listed at $480K.

1 closed sale: Heron at The Sanctuary Bldg 2 #3A 2/2.5 $900K.


11 new listings (4 included in new sales below): 799 Casa Ybel Rd 5/3 (duplex) $698K, 1153 Shell Basket Ln 3/2 $729K, Moonshadows #1A 3/3 $949K, 1224 Buttonwood Ln 3/2 $1.6M, 854 Whelk Dr 3/3 $1.65M, 791 Limpet Dr 4/4.5 $2.6M, 869 Limpet Dr 5/4.5 $3.185M.

2 price changes: 1031 Bird Watch Way 3/2 now $895K, 1270 Par View Dr 3/2 now $1.2M.

10 new sales: 486 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 listed at $675K, 4738 Rue Belle Mer 3/3 listed at $750K, 1429 Jamaica Dr 4/3 listed at $859K, 4747 Rue Belle Mer 4/4 listed at $995K, 440 Glory Cir 3/3 listed at $999K, 520 Sea Oats Dr 3/2 listed at $1.1M, 4172 West Gulf Dr 3/2 listed at $1.2M, 4565 Bowen Bayou Rd 3/2 listed at $1.259M, 852 Lindgren Blvd 3/3 listed at $1.349M, 2499 Harbour Ln 3/3 listed at $1.529M, 1543 San Carlos Bay Dr 4/4 listed at $1.995M.

5 closed sales: 1874 Ibis Ln 3/2 $485K, 895 Durion Ct 3/2 $600K, 303 Palm Lake Dr 3/2 $625K, 952 Kings Crown Dr 4/3 $799,222; 9015 Mockingbird Dr 4/3.5 $970K.


Nothing to report.



Nothing to report.


2 new listings (1 included in new sales below): 11460 Old Lodge Ln 4/3 $2.399M.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 11539 Wightman Ln 2/2 listed at $1.55M, 16778 Captiva Dr 4/4 listed at $6.95M.

No 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.

This afternoon, I saw the below display while checking a couple of new listings on Limpet Dr. These blow-ups made me think of the island. On one-hand trying to cheerfully celebrate the upcoming holiday and on the other hand kinda tipped over. We’ll be upright soon!.

Until next Friday! Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

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