Sanibel Island Beach at Noon Today, Friday the 13th (April 2018)


 

Wondering how the beach looks? SanibelSusan made a quick stop, just after noon today, at the beach access at the end of Donax Street on Sanibel’s almost east end. As the above photos show, the beach is looking great and being enjoyed. My car said the outside temperature then was 83 degrees F. With a brisk breeze, it was perfect beach weather.

My team and I are continuing to enjoy the change in traffic pattern this week as the islands slow down. The trouble is once Periwinkle Way eases up, so do the real estate phone calls and inquiries. That’s too bad, as now is when it’s often easiest to gain access to the properties that have been occupied all winter.

Sanibel realtors logoAt yesterday’s local Association of Realtors® Caravan Meeting, in addition to many new price reductions, a large number of new listings were announced. It was a full caravan, too.

That’s a bit of an oddity for this time of the year when business typically slows down a little. Hopefully this year with winter weather continuing in many areas, Florida will be more attractive to future prospective property owners.

Shown after a couple of news items below is our weekly report showing the action posted since last Friday in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service.

Florida House Bill 631/Senate Bill 804 – What Are The Facts?

State of FL SealThere have been rumblings the last couple of weeks over House Bill 631/Senate Bill 804 – Possession of Real Property (commonly known as customary use), signed by Governor Scott on March 23. Some folks believe that this bill restricts access to Florida’s beaches. That is not true.

Florida’s Constitution provides that all land seaward of the mean high-tide line belongs to the public. No government entity or private individual or property owner can deny access to it.

Florida Realtors logoPosted on-line yesterday, April 12, Florida Realtors® provided a good explanation of customary use and the beach access issue with the following questions and answers:

“Question: What is “customary use”?

Answer: “Customary use” is a common law term referring to public access to private beachfront property. Generally speaking, beachfront property owners in Florida own the “dry sand” area leading down to the mean high tide line – the line of intersection of the land with the water’s surface at the maximum height reached by a rising tide. The land seaward of that, commonly known as the “wet sand” area, is held by the state in trust for the public.

The process known as customary use allows a local government to adopt an ordinance that allows public access to the private dry sand area of beachfront property where the use has been ancient, reasonable, without interruption and free from dispute. (1974 City of Daytona Beach v. Tona-Rama, 294 So.2d 73 (Fla. 1974)

“Question: Are customary use ordinances new?

Answer: No. The public trust doctrine is embodied in Art. 10, s. 11 of the state’s Constitution. Further, the customary use process has existed in Florida for many decades.

“Question: If customary use is not new, then what does this new law (HB 631) that was passed actually do?

Answer: The previous process for adopting a customary use ordinance was not structured in a way that encouraged active dialogue about the issue between property owners and the local government. The intent of the new law is to allow customary use practices to continue, but in a way that is more transparent, efficient and economical, while requiring active dialogue between local governments and private property owners on the front end to avoid costly legal challenges.

“Question: What was the old customary use process and how does it work now?

Answer: Simply put, prior to this law a local government would evaluate its public beach needs and previous public use, draft a customary use ordinance to address the issues they found, and then vote to adopt that ordinance. Property owners affected by the new ordinance could then pursue a legal challenge if they wished to.

Under the new law, the local government must first hold a public hearing to make the public aware of the new customary use ordinance they want to adopt. They also need to notify every affected property owner of the proposed ordinance in writing, as well as identify the use they are seeking and show evidence of the need of that use. They will then bring the proposed ordinance forward for a judicial determination and must notify affected property owners that they have 45 days from receipt of the notice to intervene in the legal proceedings….

“Question: Is public access to Florida’s beaches cut off under this new law?

Answer: No. The law only changes the process by which a local government would follow to adopt a customary use ordinance.

“Question: I live in a county that has an engineered beach/erosion control line. Does this issue affect me?

Answer: There are 35 coastal counties in Florida. A total of 26 coastal counties have an engineered beach/erosion control line – a jurisdictional boundary established in beach re-nourishment project areas. If you live in one of these counties, then customary use ordinances are highly unlikely for your area.

Nine counties don’t have an engineered beach/erosion control line. These counties are: Walton, Jefferson, Taylor, Dixie, Citrus, Hernando, Pasco, Volusia and Flagler.”

Reducing Your Flood Insurance Cost

femaThe cost of flood insurance often is a consideration to a prospective buyer. Some flood policies allow a new owner to assume the seller’s policy, so it is common for Realtors to ask owners about their insurance costs and the contact information for their insurance carrier. Sometimes we have info about how you may be able to reduce your insurance costs too.

Several years ago, the local Association of Realtors® brought in speakers from a local engineering firm that specializes in services related to flood zone mapping and analysis, flood protection analysis and flood proofing services. Sometimes that engineering work results in a document called LOMR (Letter of Map Revision). To fully understand what a LOMR is, it helps to know about the City’s evolution and how it relates to flood insurance.

Sanibelcityseal logoHere is some background from Sanibel’s on-line 2017 Comprehensive Floodplain Management Plan. (Read the full document at http://www.mysanibel.com/Flood-Information/Comprehensive-Floodplain-Management-Plan )

“The City of Sanibel is a barrier island, located on southern Florida’s Gulf coast. In 1974, the City was in a grassroots effort to gain local control over land development so that the fragile and unique environment of the Island could be preserved and enhanced…. Development within the City is regulated to coexist with nature.

“One of the City’s initial tasks following incorporation was the adoption of the Sanibel Plan (a comprehensive land use plan), which uses the ‘carrying capacity’ concept of land use management to determine the development intensity permitted on the island: the more sensitive the land is to human activity, the less development is permitted. In the City’s very fragile and vulnerable Gulf Beach, Bay Beach and Mangrove Forest Zones, little or no development is allowed. On the higher and less environmentally sensitive ridge areas of the Island, more intense development is permitted.

“Prior to incorporation, Sanibel Island was zoned for the development of over 30,000 dwelling units. After the City was established and the initial Sanibel Plan was adopted in 1976, the projected number of dwelling units to be permitted on the Island dropped to approximately 7,800. After subsequent lawsuits and Plan amendments, the current projected number of dwelling units to be permitted on the Island has been adjusted to approximately 9,000.

“Not only did the City significantly decrease the amount of development permitted on the Island, but the City’s new zoning regulations severely restrained and, in some cases, prohibited development in the Island’s most environmentally sensitive and flood prone areas such as the Bay and Gulf Beach Zones, the Mangrove Forest Zones and the Interior Wetlands Conservation District. By restricting or limiting development in these sensitive and vulnerable areas, the City took a giant step to protect the public health, safety and welfare from flood damage.

“When the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) established the Community Rating System (CRS) in 1990, the City of Sanibel was one of the first to apply. Due to its historic proactive floodplain management efforts, the City is currently recognized as a Class 5 community by the CRS. Through the CRS program, the City has made a commitment to further improve and enhance its proactive floodplain management efforts through the evaluation and updating of its comprehensive Floodplain Management Plan (FMP).

“The purpose of the Sanibel FMP is to reduce or eliminate risk to people and property from flood hazard and has been developed to meet CRS criteria for such planning documents and incorporates the primary goals of the CRS to reduce flood losses, facilitate accurate insurance ratings, and promote the awareness of flood insurance. The plan includes existing and new mitigation activities, to prioritize mitigation activities and on-going activities to meet the City’s floodplain management goals. The City of Sanibel has implemented its Comprehensive Floodplain Management Plan since the initial adoption of that plan in 1995. This 2005 Floodplain Management Plan assesses updates and clarifies that plan and provides direction for future actions. On May 3rd, 2016, the Sanibel City Council established a City of Sanibel Floodplain Management Planning and Mitigation Advisory Committee to the City of Sanibel to organize and prepare the Floodplain Management Plan. Under the Community Rating System (CRS), there is an incentive for communities to do more than regulate new construction. The CRS provides a reduction in flood insurance premiums to reflect activities that reduce flood damage to existing buildings, protect new buildings beyond the minimum NFIP protection level, and help residents obtain flood insurance.

“…The largest potential impact in hazard assessment of the 100-year storm is Base Flood Elevation (BFE) requirements from the FEMA maps. In November 2014, FEMA notified the City of Sanibel that it is analyzing coastal wave action in the Gulf of Mexico as part of its Risk Mapping, Assessment & Planning (Risk MAP) program. This analysis will be used to create new elevation data for Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). Preliminary maps are anticipated to be distributed in 2018. Previous maps included Zone VE, where the flood elevations include wave heights equal or greater than 3 feet; and Zone AE, where the flood elevation includes wave heights less than 3 feet….

“By joining the NFIP in 1979 and requiring new construction to be built above the Program’s base flood elevation, development that has occurred on Sanibel since that time is relatively safe from flood damage in all but the very worst-case storm events….”

So how does this relate to a LOMR? In floodplain lingo, a Letter of Map Revision or LOMR is FEMA’s modification to an effective Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) or Flood Boundary and Floodway Map (FBFM) or both.

Why do you want your property to be included in a LOMR? Because it may mean that your property is now located in a flood zone that is less likely to flood, so less costly to insure. The property didn’t move, but the likelihood of flooding occurring may have lessened because of nearby construction, shift in the land, and changes in the weather, that could affect wind and wave action.

In recent years, many island condo complexes and communities have hired engineering firms to determine if their locations could be candidates for LOMRs. The process can be costly and lengthy, but in many cases has achieved great results – and huge savings in flood insurance. Posted at on the City’s website at http://www.mysanibel.com/Flood-Information/LOMR-Letters-of-Map-Revision are recent revisions.

If your property is near one of these locations, particularly if it is landward of one of them, go to the link for that LOMR. There, you will see the letter that FEMA sent to the City identifying the area of change. The last page(s) of each document list by STRAP numbers & owners names, all of the properties affected by the that document. If yours is included, it may be worth a phone call to your insurance provider, as they may not be aware of the change. The LOMRs currently posted on the City’s site are:

  • West Wind Inn – 3345 West Gulf Dr
  • Beachcomber condo – 635 East Gulf Dr
  • 1243 Par View Dr
  • Pointe Santo condo – 2445 West Gulf Dr
  • Sanibel Seaview condo – 727 East Gulf Dr
  • Island Beach Club condo – 2265 West Gulf Dr
  • Beachview Cottages – 3325 West Gulf Dr
  • Dosinia condo – 3339 West Gulf Dr
  • Sandalfoot condo – 671 East Gulf Dr
  • Island Inn – 3111 West Gulf Dr
  • Loggerhead Cay condo – 679 East Gulf Dr
  • Sanibel Arms West condo – 827 East Gulf Dr
  • Casa Ybel Resort – 2255 West Gulf Dr
  • Tanglewood condo – 1101 to 1104 Seagrape Ln
  • Sunset Beach hotel – 3287 West Gulf Dr
  • Gulfside Place condo – 1605 Middle Gulf Dr
  • 5125 Joewood Dr
  • Sundial East condo – 1401 Middle Gulf Dr
  • Sunset South condo – 1341 Middle Gulf Dr
  • Sundial of Sanibel Bldg E & K – 1501 Middle Gulf Dr

To find your property’s FEMA map location, go to https://msc.fema.gov/portal/search

2018 Hurricane Seminar

hurricane-symbol-blue-hiThe same day last week as the City seminar about the 2018 hurricane season, forecasters projected that the upcoming 2018 season may be busier than usual. As a fan of the City’s official weather consultant, Dave Roberts, it was interesting to read that he said hurricanes can happen during any month of the year when certain conditions are present. One of those is that water temperatures need to be about 80 degrees. (Right now, the gulf is about 77, 78 degrees.) According to Roberts, due to La Nina weather conditions, Atlantic Ocean water temperatures currently are one degree above average. “That’s something to be worried about,” he said.

Roberts also stressed the importance of heeding calls for an evacuation especially when powerful storm surges are expected. “I can tell you that a 15’ storm surge is very unlikely, but a 3’ to 5’ storm surge can happen. Believe me, you don’t want to get caught in that because one foot of standing water can move an SUV….”

Here’s hoping that if we are prepared, no storms will come.

Upcoming Events

ding darling48th Earth Day Celebration at J.N. ‘Ding’ Darling Wildlife Refuge, Saturday, April 21:

  • 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Wildlife Drive free to bikers/hikers, $5 per motor vehicle
  • 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Free bike rentals at Tarpon Bay Explorers
  • 9:30 a.m. – Bike refuge tour (4 miles)
  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Earth-friendly crafts in Refuge Visitor & Education Center
  • 1 p.m. – See free film STRAWS

Sanibel School Fund Blue Ribbon Golf Classic at The Sanctuary, Saturday, May 12. Call Christian at 917-763-6824 for more info/tickets.

Reminder About Watering

Lee County_logoAfter experiencing below-average rainfall from November through March, residents and visitors are reminded of Lee County’s year-‘round water conservation ordinance. It prohibits irrigation between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Irrigation outside of these hours is limited to Thursdays and Sundays for even-numbered addresses and Wednesdays and Saturdays for odd-numbered addresses

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity April 6-13, 2018

sancap GO MLS logoSanibel

CONDOS

3 new listings: Tennisplace #A34 2/1.5 $339.9K, Sanibel Moorings #1631 2/2 $615K, Sanddollar #A104 2/2 $849K.

8 price changes: Sanibel Moorings #141 1/1 now $450K, Sanibel Moorings #1611 2/2 now $499K, Blind Pass #B209 2/2 now $569K, Sunset South #6A 2/2 now $599K, Sandpiper Beach #506 2/2 now $719K, Nutmeg Village #205 2/2 now $745K, Sunset South #1A 2/2 now $749.9K, By-The-Sea #C102 2/2 now $1.249M.

6 new sales: Sanibel Arms #D4 2/2 listed at $549K, Sandalfoot #3C1 2/2 listed at $729K, Kings Crown #312 2/2 listed at $799K, Tarpon Beach #206 2/2 listed at $799K, Surfside 12 #A4 3/2 listed at $819K, High Tide #C201 2/2 listed at $989K.

7 closed sales: Tennisplace #E33 2/1 $285K, Mariner Pointe #241 2/2.5 $615K, Sundial West #J307 2/2 $738K, Sundial West #F201 2/2 $795K, Sanibel Arms West #D5 2/2 $845K, High Tide #C101 2/2 $885K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #3-6 3/3 $968.5K.

HOMES

6 new listings: 1621 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 half-duplex 3/2 $565K, 5303 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/2.5 $599K, 223 Daniel Dr 3/3 $898K, 829 Pyrula Ave 3/3 $1.149M, 2414 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 $1.849M, 2564 Wulfert Rd 4/5.5 $2.149M.

16 price changes: 1717 Atlanta Plaza Dr 2/2 now $455K, 3837 Coquina Dr 2/2 now $699K, 1325 Par View Dr 3/3 now $739K, 1521 Wilton Ln 3/2 now $759.5K, 950 Cabbage Palm Ct 3/2 now $799K, 1350 Middle Gulf Dr 3/3 half-duplex now $885K, 4460 Waters Edge Ln 3/2 now $878K, 938 Pecten Ct 3/2.5 now $1.099M, 5411 Osprey Ct 3/2 now $1.099M, 1349 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 now $1.145M, 1126 Harbour Cottage Ct 3/2 now $1.249M, 1525 San Carlos Bay Dr 4/2 now $1.495M, 2984 Wulfert Rd 3/3 now $1.65M, 2564 Wulfert Rd 4/5.5 now $2.1495M, 3009 Turtle Gait Ln 4/4.5 now $2.795M, 1238 Isabel Dr 5/3/2 now $3.374M.

9 new sales: 813 Rabbit Rd 2/2 half-duplex listed at $399K, 3043 Poinciana Cir 4/2 listed at $525K, 1283 Par View Dr 2/2 listed at $574K, 887 Casa Ybel Rd 5/3 duplex listed at $575K, 1582 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed at $649K, 236 Hurricane Ln 2/3 listed at $689K, 678 East Rocks Dr 3/2 listed at $829K, 529 Lighthouse Way 3/3 listed at $1.22M, 805 Sand Dollar Dr 4/3 listed at $1.295M.

8 closed sales: 340 East Gulf Dr 2/2 $515K, 1625 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 half-duplex $575K, 474 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $655K, 924 Beach Rd 3/2 $875K, 748 Windlass Way 3/3 $1.1M, 2629 Coconut 2/3 $1.15M, 2939 Wulfert Rd 5/5/2 $1.275M, 1083 Bird Ln 4/2.5 $3.675M.

LOTS

No new listings.

3 price changes: 976 Whelk Dr now $679K, 6000 White Heron Ln now $749K, 1226 Isabel Dr now $1.849M.

1 new sale: 2401 Blue Crab Ct listed at $679K.

1 closed sale: 6027 Dinkins Lake Rd $215K.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Beach Villas #2423 1/1 $545K.

1 price change: Beach Villas #2414 2/2 now $640K.

No new or closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings.

3 price changes: 14860 Mango Ct 5/4 now $1.794M; 11535 Wightman Ln 4/4 now $1,999,999; 11523 Andy Rosse Ln 5/5.5 now $2.499M.

No new or closed sales.

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.

Until next week, here’s hoping your Friday the 13th has been lucky & you get to the beach this weekend!

Here’s one more photo from today. TGIF!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusanIMG_5541

Pre-Easter Things Hoppin’ on Sanibel


Bunny hopping clip artIt’s been another fun week with real estate on Sanibel Island. Between showings, offers, and inspections, The SanibelSusan Team is enjoying the end-of-season rush!

In typical late-March fashion, many island soon-departing snowbirds, visitors, and owners are scurrying to take care of local real estate needs before heading home.

The action posted since last Friday in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service follows a few news items below. Many new sales are reported, with fingers crossed for even more to report next week.

Congress’ Budget Extends Flood Insurance to July

NationalFloodInsuranceProgrAs posted today on FloridaRealtors® and sourced to The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La., Bryn Stole. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

“WASHINGTON – March 23, 2018 – The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) got a four-month reprieve as part of a massive $1.3 trillion federal spending deal unveiled late Wednesday evening and signed by President Trump on Friday – the fourth temporary extension of the program since September.

“But lawmakers on Capitol Hill now face a July deadline to either overhaul the NFIP, extend it again – or let it lapse in the midst of hurricane season. That could put added pressure on Congress to hammer out a deal on how to shore up the debt-laden federally run insurance program. A compromise on the program has so far been elusive.

“Negotiations between budget hardliners and coastal lawmakers have yielded little in the way of progress over the past few months and legislation to overhaul the program has languished in the U.S. Senate.

“Budget hawks have pushed changes to the NFIP that would dramatically raise rates on many high-risk homeowners who currently pay below-market premiums and shrink the program by booting some properties that have repeatedly flooded.

“Lawmakers from flood-prone areas – including Louisiana’s congressional delegation – have fought furiously against most of those proposals, concerned about how those kinds of abrupt reforms could wipe out homeowner equity and put flood coverage out of reach of many constituents.

“The proposed July extension for the National Flood Insurance Program left at least some Louisiana members of Congress worried that it would give critics of the program – led by retiring House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas – a chance to push through changes to the program that would hurt south Louisiana policyholders.

“But others were more hopeful that the looming deadline and Senate resistance to some of Hensarling’s proposals could result in a more favorable long-term deal on the program.

“The NFIP was initially set to expire at the end of September. But Congress has repeatedly punted on the issue with a series of short-term extensions tied to so-called “continuing resolutions” – or short-term deals to keep the federal government running.

“Tying the NFIP’s fate to government funding has given congressional leaders leverage to force through extensions of the program because derailing the broader package would result in a broader federal government shutdown.

“But the July proposed extension would split the NFIP from must-pass budget bills, leaving less power for leadership to push rank-and-file lawmakers to back an extension or potential changes.”

Upcoming Events

  • Southern comfort on Sanibell 2018Southern Comfort on Sanibel – tonight, March 23, Friday, doors open a 6 p.m. at the Sanibel Community House – to benefit CROW – register online at www.CROWClinic.org
  • Youth Fishing Derby – March 31, Saturday, on Island A of Sanibel Causeway (1st island next to high span), registration at 8:30 a.m., fishing begins at 9 a.m. Hosted by The Sanibel Island Fishing Club in cooperation with Lee County Parks & Recreation Department, the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society and several other local organizations. Age groups are 9 and under, and ages 10 to 15. More info at 847-456-4650.
  • Golisano Lee Health_cSanCap Cares 18th Annual lsland Celebration – April 8, Sunday at 6 p.m. at The Sanctuary Golf Club – to benefit Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida – details at SanibelCaptivaCares@gmail.com, 239-984-0381, http://www.SanCapCares.org

Florida Governor Scott Signs Real Estate-Related Bills Into Law

Florida Realtors logoPosted today on-line on FloridaRealtors®:

“TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – March 23, 2018 – Gov. Scott signed a number of bills into law within the past week including a few that could impact Fla. Homeowners:

CS/HB 935: Mortgage regulation

“The new law revises Ch. 494, Florida Statutes, governing non-depository loan originators, mortgage brokers and mortgage lender businesses subject to regulation by the Office of Financial Regulation to provide greater consumer protections. In some cases, the changes could impact the way home flippers finance repairs using a short-term loan before re-selling a property.

“The new law defines the term “business purpose loan” and says that it’s unlawful for anyone to misrepresent a residential mortgage loan as a business purpose loan. It also defines the term “hold himself or herself out to the public as being in the mortgage lending business.” It’s currently acceptable for an individual investor to make or acquire a mortgage loan with their funds, or to sell a mortgage loan, without being licensed as a mortgage lender, providing they don’t “hold himself or herself out to the public as being in the mortgage lending business.”

“The law is the Florida Legislature’s response to alleged unlicensed mortgage lending activity in South Florida. According to reports, some lending entities provided residential loans with usurious interest rates and high fees made under the guise of business purpose loans in order to avoid licensure and disclosure requirements under Ch. 494, F.S., as a mortgage lender. In some cases, they allegedly forced the borrower to form a limited liability company if they wanted the money. Effective date: July 1, 2019.

CS/CS/HB 1011: Homeowner’s insurance policy disclosures

“This law requires homeowner insurance policies to disclose in bold, 18-point font that the policy does not cover flood damage. It expands the current required notice regarding flood insurance to include notice that the purchase of homeowner’s insurance does not cover floods, even if hurricane winds and rain caused the flood to occur. The notice will appear upon initial issuance and in each policy renewal. Effective date: Jan 1, 2019.

HB 617: Covenants and restrictions

“This 28-page bill expands and modifies laws related to association covenants and restrictions. Effective date: Oct. 1, 2018”

HB 193: Mortgage brokering

“This law reduces certain mortgage business regulations on securities dealers, investment advisors, and associated persons under certain conditions. Effective date: July 1, 2018”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity March 16-23, 2018

sancap GO MLS logoSanibel

CONDOS

6 new listings: Loggerhead Cay #422 2/2 $535K, Sunset South #6D 2/2 $695K, Lighthouse Point #212 2/2 $769K, Seawind II #5 2/2.5 $825K, Compass Point #183 2/2 $1.295M, Poinciana #2B 3/2 $1.45M.

6 price changes: Blind Pass #B211 2/2 now $449K, Cottage Colony West #116 1/1 now $625K, Cottage Colony West #108 1/1 now $644.9K, By-The-Sea #C102 2/2 now $1.299M, Island Beach Club #230D 2/2 now $1.395M, White Pelican #133 now $1.989M.

6 new sales: Mariner Pointe #521 2/2 listed at $475K, Kimball Lodge #303 1/2 listed at $595K, Lighthouse Point #321 3/2 listed at $679K, High Tide #C101 2/2 listed at $899K, Gulfside Place #222 2/2 listed at $1.15M (our sale), High Tide #B102 2/2 listed at $1.795M.

2 closed sales: Sand Pointe #215 2/2 $690K, By-The-Sea #B202 2/2 $1.15M.

HOMES

9 new listings: 956 Dixie Beach Blvd 2/1 $449K, 9477 Peaceful Dr now $519K, 1643 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 $549K, 1338 Tahiti Dr 2/2 $565K, 1805 Ibis Ln 2/2 $569K, 721 Cardium St 2/2 $849K, 1244 Par View Dr 4/3 $1.149M, 2622 Coconut Dr 5/3.5 $2.799M, 1069 Bird Ln 4/3.5 $5.495M.

12 price changes: 9477 Peaceful Dr 3/2 now $519K, 958 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $595K, 1190 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $625K, 225 Daniel Dr 3/2.5 now $699K, 1183 Kittiwake Cir 3/2 now 768.9K, 1807 Serenity Ln 3/2 now $789K, 9446 Beverly Ln 3/3.5 now $799K, 239 Daniel Dr 3/2 now $998K (our listing – photos below), 1304 Eagle Run Dr 3/3 now $1.1M, 1672 Hibiscus Dr 3/2 now $1.159M, 519 Kinzie Island Ct 3/2.5 now $1.195M, 2479 Blind Pass Ct 3/2 now $1.25M.

11 new sales: 1040 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed at $549K, 958 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed at $595K, 601 Sea Oats Dr 3/2 listed at $659.9K, 474 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 listed at $674.9K, 5280 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/3 listed at $675K, 9448 Begonia Ct 3/2.5 listed at $699K (our listing), 5410 Osprey Ct 3/2.5 listed at $799K, 1120 Shell Basket Ln 4/2 listed at $895K, 536 Lighthouse Way 4/4.5 listed at $2.995M, 4171 West Gulf Dr 3/2 listed at $3.248M, 1008 Bayview Dr 4/4.5 listed at $3.595M.

5 closed sales: 1029 Dixie Beach Blvd 2/2 $410K, 2005 Mitzi Ln 2/2 $525K, 5301 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/2 $625K, 3323 Twin Lakes Ln 3/3 $730K, 3010 West Gulf Dr 3/2 $745K.

LOTS

1 new listing: 1305 Seaspray Ln $795K.

2 price changes: 5821 Pine Tree Dr now $499K, 976 Whelk Dr now $689K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Sunset Captiva #103 2/2/2 $999K.

No price changes, new sales, or closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 11534 Laika Ln 4/3.5 $1.799M.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 9 Sunset Captiva 3/2 listed at $1.299M.

1 closed sale: 13550 Palmflower Ln 4/3.5 listed at $3.75M

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.

Until next Friday,

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

2017-08-08 Lighthouse beach log

 

Pre-Easter Things Hoppin’ on Sanibel


Bunny hopping clip artIt’s been another fun week with real estate on Sanibel Island. Between showings, offers, and inspections, The SanibelSusan Team is enjoying the end-of-season rush!

In typical late-March fashion, many island soon-departing snowbirds, visitors, and owners are scurrying to take care of local real estate needs before heading home.

The action posted since last Friday in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service follows a few news items below. Many new sales are reported, with fingers crossed for even more to report next week.

Congress’ Budget Extends Flood Insurance to July

NationalFloodInsuranceProgrAs posted today on FloridaRealtors® and sourced to The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La., Bryn Stole. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

“WASHINGTON – March 23, 2018 – The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) got a four-month reprieve as part of a massive $1.3 trillion federal spending deal unveiled late Wednesday evening and signed by President Trump on Friday – the fourth temporary extension of the program since September.

“But lawmakers on Capitol Hill now face a July deadline to either overhaul the NFIP, extend it again – or let it lapse in the midst of hurricane season. That could put added pressure on Congress to hammer out a deal on how to shore up the debt-laden federally run insurance program. A compromise on the program has so far been elusive.

“Negotiations between budget hardliners and coastal lawmakers have yielded little in the way of progress over the past few months and legislation to overhaul the program has languished in the U.S. Senate.

“Budget hawks have pushed changes to the NFIP that would dramatically raise rates on many high-risk homeowners who currently pay below-market premiums and shrink the program by booting some properties that have repeatedly flooded.

“Lawmakers from flood-prone areas – including Louisiana’s congressional delegation – have fought furiously against most of those proposals, concerned about how those kinds of abrupt reforms could wipe out homeowner equity and put flood coverage out of reach of many constituents.

“The proposed July extension for the National Flood Insurance Program left at least some Louisiana members of Congress worried that it would give critics of the program – led by retiring House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas – a chance to push through changes to the program that would hurt south Louisiana policyholders.

“But others were more hopeful that the looming deadline and Senate resistance to some of Hensarling’s proposals could result in a more favorable long-term deal on the program.

“The NFIP was initially set to expire at the end of September. But Congress has repeatedly punted on the issue with a series of short-term extensions tied to so-called “continuing resolutions” – or short-term deals to keep the federal government running.

“Tying the NFIP’s fate to government funding has given congressional leaders leverage to force through extensions of the program because derailing the broader package would result in a broader federal government shutdown.

“But the July proposed extension would split the NFIP from must-pass budget bills, leaving less power for leadership to push rank-and-file lawmakers to back an extension or potential changes.”

Upcoming Events

  • Southern comfort on Sanibell 2018Southern Comfort on Sanibel – tonight, March 23, Friday, doors open a 6 p.m. at the Sanibel Community House – to benefit CROW – register online at www.CROWClinic.org
  • Youth Fishing Derby – March 31, Saturday, on Island A of Sanibel Causeway (1st island next to high span), registration at 8:30 a.m., fishing begins at 9 a.m. Hosted by The Sanibel Island Fishing Club in cooperation with Lee County Parks & Recreation Department, the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society and several other local organizations. Age groups are 9 and under, and ages 10 to 15. More info at 847-456-4650.
  • Golisano Lee Health_cSanCap Cares 18th Annual lsland Celebration – April 8, Sunday at 6 p.m. at The Sanctuary Golf Club – to benefit Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida – details at SanibelCaptivaCares@gmail.com, 239-984-0381, http://www.SanCapCares.org

Florida Governor Scott Signs Real Estate-Related Bills Into Law

Florida Realtors logoPosted today on-line on FloridaRealtors®:

“TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – March 23, 2018 – Gov. Scott signed a number of bills into law within the past week including a few that could impact Fla. Homeowners:

CS/HB 935: Mortgage regulation

“The new law revises Ch. 494, Florida Statutes, governing non-depository loan originators, mortgage brokers and mortgage lender businesses subject to regulation by the Office of Financial Regulation to provide greater consumer protections. In some cases, the changes could impact the way home flippers finance repairs using a short-term loan before re-selling a property.

“The new law defines the term “business purpose loan” and says that it’s unlawful for anyone to misrepresent a residential mortgage loan as a business purpose loan. It also defines the term “hold himself or herself out to the public as being in the mortgage lending business.” It’s currently acceptable for an individual investor to make or acquire a mortgage loan with their funds, or to sell a mortgage loan, without being licensed as a mortgage lender, providing they don’t “hold himself or herself out to the public as being in the mortgage lending business.”

“The law is the Florida Legislature’s response to alleged unlicensed mortgage lending activity in South Florida. According to reports, some lending entities provided residential loans with usurious interest rates and high fees made under the guise of business purpose loans in order to avoid licensure and disclosure requirements under Ch. 494, F.S., as a mortgage lender. In some cases, they allegedly forced the borrower to form a limited liability company if they wanted the money. Effective date: July 1, 2019.

CS/CS/HB 1011: Homeowner’s insurance policy disclosures

“This law requires homeowner insurance policies to disclose in bold, 18-point font that the policy does not cover flood damage. It expands the current required notice regarding flood insurance to include notice that the purchase of homeowner’s insurance does not cover floods, even if hurricane winds and rain caused the flood to occur. The notice will appear upon initial issuance and in each policy renewal. Effective date: Jan 1, 2019.

HB 617: Covenants and restrictions

“This 28-page bill expands and modifies laws related to association covenants and restrictions. Effective date: Oct. 1, 2018”

HB 193: Mortgage brokering

“This law reduces certain mortgage business regulations on securities dealers, investment advisors, and associated persons under certain conditions. Effective date: July 1, 2018”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity March 16-23, 2018

sancap GO MLS logoSanibel

CONDOS

6 new listings: Loggerhead Cay #422 2/2 $535K, Sunset South #6D 2/2 $695K, Lighthouse Point #212 2/2 $769K, Seawind II #5 2/2.5 $825K, Compass Point #183 2/2 $1.295M, Poinciana #2B 3/2 $1.45M.

6 price changes: Blind Pass #B211 2/2 now $449K, Cottage Colony West #116 1/1 now $625K, Cottage Colony West #108 1/1 now $644.9K, By-The-Sea #C102 2/2 now $1.299M, Island Beach Club #230D 2/2 now $1.395M, White Pelican #133 now $1.989M.

6 new sales: Mariner Pointe #521 2/2 listed at $475K, Kimball Lodge #303 1/2 listed at $595K, Lighthouse Point #321 3/2 listed at $679K, High Tide #C101 2/2 listed at $899K, Gulfside Place #222 2/2 listed at $1.15M (our sale), High Tide #B102 2/2 listed at $1.795M.

2 closed sales: Sand Pointe #215 2/2 $690K, By-The-Sea #B202 2/2 $1.15M.

HOMES

9 new listings: 956 Dixie Beach Blvd 2/1 $449K, 9477 Peaceful Dr now $519K, 1643 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 $549K, 1338 Tahiti Dr 2/2 $565K, 1805 Ibis Ln 2/2 $569K, 721 Cardium St 2/2 $849K, 1244 Par View Dr 4/3 $1.149M, 2622 Coconut Dr 5/3.5 $2.799M, 1069 Bird Ln 4/3.5 $5.495M.

12 price changes: 9477 Peaceful Dr 3/2 now $519K, 958 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $595K, 1190 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $625K, 225 Daniel Dr 3/2.5 now $699K, 1183 Kittiwake Cir 3/2 now 768.9K, 1807 Serenity Ln 3/2 now $789K, 9446 Beverly Ln 3/3.5 now $799K, 239 Daniel Dr 3/2 now $998K (our listing – photos below), 1304 Eagle Run Dr 3/3 now $1.1M, 1672 Hibiscus Dr 3/2 now $1.159M, 519 Kinzie Island Ct 3/2.5 now $1.195M, 2479 Blind Pass Ct 3/2 now $1.25M.

11 new sales: 1040 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed at $549K, 958 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed at $595K, 601 Sea Oats Dr 3/2 listed at $659.9K, 474 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 listed at $674.9K, 5280 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/3 listed at $675K, 9448 Begonia Ct 3/2.5 listed at $699K (our listing), 5410 Osprey Ct 3/2.5 listed at $799K, 1120 Shell Basket Ln 4/2 listed at $895K, 536 Lighthouse Way 4/4.5 listed at $2.995M, 4171 West Gulf Dr 3/2 listed at $3.248M, 1008 Bayview Dr 4/4.5 listed at $3.595M.

5 closed sales: 1029 Dixie Beach Blvd 2/2 $410K, 2005 Mitzi Ln 2/2 $525K, 5301 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/2 $625K, 3323 Twin Lakes Ln 3/3 $730K, 3010 West Gulf Dr 3/2 $745K.

LOTS

1 new listing: 1305 Seaspray Ln $795K.

2 price changes: 5821 Pine Tree Dr now $499K, 976 Whelk Dr now $689K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Sunset Captiva #103 2/2/2 $999K.

No price changes, new sales, or closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 11534 Laika Ln 4/3.5 $1.799M.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 9 Sunset Captiva 3/2 listed at $1.299M.

1 closed sale: 13550 Palmflower Ln 4/3.5 listed at $3.75M

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.

Until next Friday,

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

2017-08-08 Lighthouse beach log

 

Island-Style Valentine Sights


 

Manatee mailboxDolphin mailboxboth mailboxesIt’s SanibelSusan, reporting another fine Friday here. This one, wrapping up a week of fantastic Florida winter weather. After expecting temperatures to be in only the low 70’s, locals and visitors have been “out and about” happily enjoying sunny days, with temperatures almost setting records – into the low 80’s.valentine

Early this afternoon, my car registered 82 degrees as I drove down Periwinkle Way. On my return, because of the traffic, I elected to go “the back way” and saw a sight that made me smile. Near one of the bends just off East Gulf Drive are two mailboxes across the street from each other with those big concrete-looking bases – one is a manatee and the other a dolphin. Here they are in their adorable Valentine’s garb. These island neighbors sure have the holiday spirit.

With Southwest Florida so nice and the news reporting ice, snow, sub-zero temperatures, and pile-ups in the northern states, I have been hit up several times this week with folks looking for help in finding last minute island accommodations. (Some are even having trouble looking for February and March next winter!) Very little is available for long-term stays, so we are trying hard to convince some of those folks to buy. We’ve got some listings with excellent income that could help pay the way when you aren’t using the property yourself.

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

NFIP Extended For Six Weeks – to March 23

Posted today by “Florida Realtors®” on line:NationalFloodInsuranceProgr

“As part of the just-passed continuing resolution to keep the government open, the National Flood Insurance Program now won’t expire until March 23, 2018.

“While the legislation only extends government operations for six weeks – including NFIP – Congress agreed to some long-term changes, including $90 billion in assistance for post-hurricane cleanup in Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico.

“While the national flood insurance program isn’t a direct part of federal funding, its future has been tied to it recently because the flood insurance extension has been voted on alongside the larger spending packages.

“For at least the next six weeks, however, homebuyers and sellers in flood zones can stop worrying about the loss of flood insurance derailing their transaction.”

What’s Happening at Island Inn

island inn matthews suitesIf you’ve recently driven down West Gulf Drive, you may have noticed the construction at Island Inn. The historic Island Inn, the oldest hotel on Sanibel (established in 1895) began their latest multi-million-dollar investment last year when construction began to replace the Matthews Lodge, a 12-unit concrete-block building built in 1961. This week, they announced the opening of the new Matthews Lodge Luxury Suites (their photo above) which are 12 new 600 sq. ft. accommodations. Benchmark General Contractors was the builder. For more info on the Island Inn, Traditions on the Beach, or the new gulf-view luxury suites, visit www.islandinn.com.

Upcoming Events

  • 16th Sanibel-Captiva Art League “Clothesline Sale”, Sunday, Feb 11 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Community House, with ~30 artists participating. Some of these artists also feature their work at monthly events just outside Bailey’s General Store. Called “Art on the Veranda”, they will be there tomorrow, Feb 10 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Livingston Taylor – at South Seas Resort, Sunday, Feb 18 from 8 to 10 p.m. Doors open at 7. Tickets at www.livingstontaylorsouthseas.eventbrite.com.
  • 25th Annual Children’s Education Center of the Islands “Spring Festival” – Thinking ahead, if you have children or grands coming to town for Easter you might want to put this event on your calendar: Saturday, Mar 31 from 9 to 11 a.m. at Sanibel Community Park (next to The Community House).

How Fast Can Home Prices Rise?

In last week’s update from the recent economic analysis presentation at Florida Realtors’® Governance Meetings, it recounted how Lee county is one of the few areas in the state where the supply of residential real estate is greater than demand. An article posted yesterday on FloridaRealtors.org further describes what is happening to home prices throughout the rest of the U.S., with some cities breaking price records.

attom data solutions logoStrong demand and low inventories fueled home prices to record highs in 2017. The median home price in the U.S. reached $235,000, up 8.3% from 2016, according to real estate data firm ATTOM Data Solutions.

“Still, annual price appreciation showed signs of slowing; in 2016, the national median home price jumped 8.5% year over year, according to ATTOM’s latest housing report.

“Sixty-four of 112 metros (57%) set a new record for metro-level home prices in 2017, including Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, and San Francisco. Among 112 metros, each with populations of 200,000 or more, the cities with the biggest year-over-year price increases were Ocala, Fla. (up 14.3%); Kansas City, Mo. (13.4%); San Jose, Calif. (13.3%); Salem, Ore. (12.9%); and Nashville, Tenn. (12.5%).

“Among major metro areas with populations of at least 1 million, the cities that posted double-digit gains included Las Vegas (up 12.3%); Salt Lake City (10.9%); Seattle (10.8%); Orlando, Fla. (10.7%); Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla. (10.7%); Portland, Ore. (10.5%); and Jacksonville, Fla. (10.1%).

“Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach also ranked in the 1-million-plus category, with the area’s 2017 price rise at 8.9%.”

© Copyright 2018 INFORMATION INC., Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

Webcam Back Up At “Ding” Darling

Paul collins roseate 04-13-14

As reported in the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society Newsletter dated February 8, 2018.

“Our live Refuge Webcam, which was damaged by Hurricane Irma, is back up and running better than ever. The solar-powered camera broadcasts live scenes from the Wildlife Drive observation tower during daylight hours. So, now when you need your Refuge “fix,” just head to our home page and click on the live cam. It’s the next best thing to being here in person.”

Right to Inspect: The Devil is in the Details

Florida Realtors logoThough written to help Realtors®, the below article posted on Florida Realtors® this week by their COO and General Counsel (& fellow New Englander), Margy Grant, has good info for buyers and sellers too.

“Feb. 5, 2018 – One of the most common clauses buyers utilize when submitting an offer to purchase real estate is the “right to inspect.” Based on the number of calls to the Florida Realtors Legal Hotline, this also is one of the most misunderstood clauses – and one that could have serious consequences for buyers and sellers if it is not interpreted and enforced correctly.

“In the “As Is” Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase approved by Florida Realtors® and The Florida Bar – the purchase contract most commonly used by members – the right to inspect clause contains the language “in the Buyer’s sole discretion.” This phrase is intended to mean that a buyer may cancel the purchase contract at any time during the inspection period for any reason. Occasionally, Realtors confuse this language. They interpret it to mean a buyer is required to discover a defect in the property or structure and only then is entitled to cancel. This is incorrect.

“A buyer may terminate the contract by delivering written notice to the seller for any reason, even something as minor as the color of paint in a bedroom. However, to be binding, the notification has to be made prior to the expiration of the inspection period.

“Another issue that is often misunderstood is the process for renegotiating a contract before enacting the right to terminate.

“Let’s say you are representing buyers who have signed a contract to purchase a home. An inspection has revealed the roof is aged and leaking in one section. Your buyers still want to buy the house; however, they want the seller to either fix the roof or reduce the purchase price to reflect the repair amount. Otherwise, they will have to cancel.

“Simply contacting the listing broker to communicate the problem does not constitute a cancellation under this section of the contract. If a buyer wishes to renegotiate then you, as the buyer’s Realtor, need to provide specific information to the listing broker. Explain exactly what the buyers want and explicitly say that if the seller refuses, then the buyers intend to cancel under the inspection clause of the contract.

If you fail to accurately explain what the buyers want as a remedy, and the seller does not respond before the time to inspect the property lapses, your buyers may be in jeopardy of losing their deposit.

“How do you as a Realtor protect yourself from situations like this? Simple: Communicate and watch the calendar. In writing, explicitly explain to the listing broker what your buyers want from the seller. At the same time, make sure your buyers do not miss the deadline to cancel the agreement if the parties cannot agree on repairs or a reduction in purchase price. Remember: The “As Is” form contract is calculated on calendar days, not business days.

“Real estate contracts vary in terms of when a buyer or seller can amend or cancel. You should carefully review each contract’s right to inspect clause. In the event there is confusion about which day is the final date to cancel, you should contact the other side and make sure everyone is in agreement. But when in doubt, err on the side of the earlier date to protect yourself and your buyer.

“In most transactions, a buyer wants to buy and a seller wants to sell, so approach all negotiations positively and work toward a sale. But, at the same time, take precautions to make sure you do not inadvertently put the buyer’s deposit at risk.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity February 2-9, 2018sancap GO MLS logo

Sanibel

CONDOS

1 new listing: Blind Pass #E207 2/2.5 $429K.

4 price changes: Mariner Pointe #1061 2/2 now $574.9K (our listing), Cottage Colony West #101 1/1 now $630K, High Tide #C101 2/2 now $899K, Plantation Village #312 3/2.5 now $1.69M.

5 new sales: Tennisplace #E33 2/1 listed at $320K, Sundial West #F308 1/1 listed at $439K, Loggerhead Cay #402 2/2 listed at $580K, Sandpiper Beach #302 2/2 listed at $850K, By-The-Sea #B202 2/2 listed at $1.249M.

No closed sales.

HOMES

6 new listings: 962 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $639K, 9225 Belding Dr 3/2 $650K, 753 Cardium St 3/2 $679K, 610 Hideaway Ct 3/2.5 $689K, 1582 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $699K, 2969 Wulfert Rd 6/6/2 $1.995M.

15 price changes: 813 Rabbit Rd 2/2 now $439K, 1717 Atlanta Plaza Dr 2/2 now $460K, 6143 Henderson Rd 4/3 now $468.5K, 3043 Poinciana Cir 4/2 now $549K, 5280 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/3 now $675K, 1342 Junonia St 3/3 now $679K, 1450 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $769K, 1245 Anhinga Ln 3/2 now $829K, 9028 Mockingbird Dr 4/3 now $879K, 1114 Captains Walk St 3/3 now $899K, 940 Spoonbill Ct 3/2.5 now $1.095M, 6123 Starling Way 3/2.5 now $1.174M, 500 Periwinkle Way 3/3 now $1.195M, 2689 Wulfert Rd 4/6.5 now $1.994M, 3615 West Gulf Dr 3/2 now $3.1M.

5 new sales: 9446 Yucca Ct 3/2 listed at $545K, 3323 Twin Lakes Ln 3/3 listed at $787K, 3010 West Gulf Dr 3/2 listed at $799K, 2939 Wulfert Rd 5/5/2 listed at $1.349M, 747 Windlass Way 4/3.5 listed at $2.295M.

4 closed sales: 915 Palm St 3/2 $445K, 1807 Buckthorn Ln 3/2.5 $615K, 1314 Par View Dr 3/2 $750K, 1255 Isabel Dr 3/3 $1.615M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 976 Whelk Dr $699K.

3 price changes: 4566 Buck Key Rd now $159K, 1550 Centre St now $205K, 1800 Woodring Rd now $2.695M.

2 new sales: 2626 Coconut Dr listed at $379K, 4767 Tradewinds Dr listed at $1.75M.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

2 new listings: Beach Villas #2625 2/2 $645K, Lands End Village #1608 3/3 $2.595M.

No price changes or new sales.

1 closed sale: Lands End Village #1657 2/2 $1.06M.

HOMES

1 new listing: 17030 Captiva Dr 6/7.5 $10M.

1 price change: 11531 Paige Ct 4/3.5 now $3.45M.

1 new sale: 11521 Andy Rosse Ln 7/8 listed at $2.799M.

No closed sales.

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.

valentineHere’s hoping that you and your Valentines have a great week!

Until next Friday, Susan Andrews aka SanibelSusan

A Little Soggy Today in the Neighborhood


SanibelSusan here. Today the islands are feeling the effects of what forecasters are calling swirling weather patterns associated with a tropical wave which poses a threat for localized flooding across Southwest Florida today. Heavy downpours began Wednesday afternoon and have been sporadic so far, but the chance of rain is predicted at 100% right through the weekend. It finally drops to a 20% chance on Wednesday. On the upside, the temperatures are down into the high 70’s/low 80’s and the vegetation is lush.

With the ground already saturated, flash flooding warnings have been issued for Lee and Charlotte counties until 8 p.m. tonight. This wave is not related to Hurricane Harvey which is poised to slam the Gulf coast of Texas, but it nonetheless probably helped bring the greater-than-normal rain throughout the day.

Before a few news items, here is a photo shared with me earlier this month. Look who walked by and caught him by surprise when he was at his island home. (You’ve gotta be fast with an iPhone. Thanks for sharing, Scott.)

2017-08-12 bobcat

Florida Realtors 101st Annual Convention/Trade Show & Governance Meetings

2017 Convention LogoSorry I missed posting a blog last Friday. While in Orlando at the Florida Realtors® Annual Convention and Governance Meetings, it was great to play a part in the productive educational sessions Tues/Wed/Thurs, followed by committee meetings Fri/Sat, and ending with the Board of Directors meeting Sunday morning.

There are a lot of events, networking, and real work crammed into a few days so I always enjoy the drive back home when it is nice to get out in the fresh air again and rethink the week’s accomplishments.

2017 Sanibel Gang at Awards Luncheon

The Sanibel/Captiva gang at the Florida Realtors 2017 Awards Luncheon

 

I’ve seen lots of changes in the industry during the 20+ years that I have been involved in the state leadership team. Hot topics now are cybercrime, wire fraud, copyright infringement, automated valuation models, paperless transactions, social media advertising, artificial intelligence, and drones.

2017 chief financial officer cropped

Speaking at Florida Realtors Capital Club Luncheon – Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis (with his handsome sons)

Though the real estate markets vary from one area of Florida to another, much of our work and problems are common. Staying involved in problem-solving and solution-sharing is key in staying ahead of the many changes that technology continually brings to this business.2017 Education Ambassador

 

Here are a few fun facts about Florida Realtors®:

  • Florida Realtors® is the 2nd largest state Realtor® organization in the country.
  • It is 170,000 members strong (in 2017)
  • It began in 1916 and now covers 13 districts, 54 local boards, and has 130+ employees.
  • In 2016, 61% of membership was female and averaged 52 years old. Members had an average of 10 years of experience and completed 9 transactions. They closed nearly 400,000 sales with over $105 billion in dollar volume.
  • In 2016 in Florida, there were $19.4 billion in international sales. The largest fraction of foreign buyers (39%) were from Latin America & the Caribbean. The top 5 countries of foreign buyers in Florida were: Canada, Brazil, Venezuela, United Kingdom, & Argentina.
  • In 2017, Florida Realtors® PAC successfully supported legislation that passed the first-ever cap on community association fees for estoppel certificates.

Because of the size of our local organization, the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® only has two voting Directors at the state. There were 561 Florida Directors voting on Sunday. I was honored to be one of them, along with our 2017 Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® President, Joel Goodman.2017 BoardYou can find more info about Florida Realtors® at FloridaRealtors.org.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

Sanibel realtors logoYesterday was the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® August General Membership Meeting followed by biweekly Caravan. Once again, like two weeks ago, the meeting was well attended, but not much real estate action was announced. Our new listing at Spanish Cay was one of only two properties on the following Open House Caravan.

The speakers for the General Membership Meeting included a panel of four rental managers from ReMax of the Island Vacation Rentals, Royal Shell Vacations, SBL Vacations, and VIP Vacation Rentals. They fielded such questions as:

  • Who handles the prorations of rental income when a property sells? The rental managers do, this is not something that normally is handled by a title company since it’s not a physical part of the real estate.
  • How do you handle requests for showings when a property is listed for sale? Most of the managers prefer to make the showing appointments and only when requested by the Listing Agent. Particularly “in season”, when requests may be frequent, Listing Agents may want to ensure that the request is to a “serious prospect” before bothering a long-term tenant. VIP prefers that the Listing Agent calls the tenant so they can control who goes in/out.
  • Has the rental business increased or decreased? Some mentioned that particularly with homes, inventory is less than it was some years ago. Many in the large baby boomer population who purchased and rented before retirement are now using the property themselves.
  • Have rental rates increased? In most cases yes, but it’s often dependent on a property and its upgrades. The “best” properties are booked a year in advance with repeat longer-term bookings preferred. Particularly for reservations in Feb and Mar, they should be booked a year ahead.

SanibelSusan Realty Associates

While away, I fielded some phone and email inquiries about a few of our listings. Then, this week, we got another new listing. It is a Sunset South top-floor riverside expanded 2 bedroom with elevator, garage & large private storeroom – a great opportunity for a buyer looking for easy residential living with gulf access, natural views, and handy to the causeway. Well priced too at $499,900 (view shown in first photo below).

Several of our listings were shown this week and a couple of showings are scheduled as next week many rental properties are vacant. The action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service since August 11 (two week’s worth of info) is posted after a few news items below.

The islands are coming up on what some of the retail establishments say is traditionally the slowest week of the year. Many communities only allow construction projects in September so it could be a few quiet weeks with schools back in session and the rainy season in full swing. It is a good time to view property though. Some say, the best time to secure real estate before “season”.

Sanibel Fresh

Sanibel Fresh 08-24-17If you are looking to try some place new, “Sanibel Fresh” opened yesterday in the former location of Bennett’s Fresh Roast at 1020 Periwinkle Way. Open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m., their motto on their Facebook logo says “Healthy food for a happy you”.

We haven’t tried it yet, but our pals say it’s “great”.

Call for Action

NFIPWithout Congressional action by September 30, 2017, authority for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will expire. If NFIP lapses, more than 40,000 real estate transactions per month will be in jeopardy. The National Association of Realtors® has issued a call for action and made it easy for you to urge your member of Congress to pass “The 21st Century Flood Reform Act” H.R. 2874 as soon as possible.

H.R. 2874 contains several provisions of critical importance:

  • Reauthorizes NFIP for a full 5 years, avoiding the uncertainty of short-term extensions and potential shutdowns.
  • Caps NFIP rates at $10,000 per year for property owners.
  • Directs FEMA to develop more granular rate tables, to ensure fewer properties are overcharged
  • Sets aside $1 billion for flood mitigation assistance grants.

And increases access to private market flood insurance. Please follow this link to Take Action

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity August 11-25, 2017

Sanibel

CONDOS

3 new listings: Sunset South #6D 2/2 $499.9K (our listing), Sundial East #O405 2/2 $1.0995M, Sanddollar #A101 2/2 $1.195M.

3 price changes: Seashells #40 2/2 now $359.9K, Ibis at The Sanctuary #B102 2/2 now $449.9K (our listing) (photos below), Ibis at The Sanctuary #B302 2/2 now $468.5K.

4 new sales: Ibis at The Sanctuary #B201 2/2 listed at $475K, Sanibel Moorings #931 2/2 listed at $550K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #6-2 2/2.5 listed at $649K, Lighthouse Point #327 3/2 listed at $849K.

4 closed sales: Spanish Cay #B6 2/2 $380K, Blind Pass #F210 2/2 $444K, Blind Pass #B105 2/2 $450K, Sanibel Arms West #I3 2/2 $519K.

HOMES

5 new listings: 982 Main St 3/2.5 $489K, 4542 Bowen Bayou Rd 3/2 $578K, 1724 Bunting Ln 3/4 $985K, 1304 Eagle Run Dr 3/3 now $1,099,995; 411 Bella Vista Way 3/4 half-duplex $2.495M, 3945 West Gulf Dr 3/3 $3.195M.

7 price changes: 3021 Singing Wind Dr 3/2 now $499K; 5306 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/2 now $589K; 673 East Rocks 3/2 now $715,888; 3354 Barra Cir 3/2 now $875K; 673 East Rocks 3/2 now $725,988; 5075 Joewood Dr 4/4.5 now $3.25M.

6 new sales: 982 Main St 3/2.5 listed at $489K, 2150 Egret Cir 3/2 listed at $524.9K, 981 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 listed at $549K, 1311 Sand Castle Rd 4/4.5 listed at $799K, 655 Anchor Dr 3/3 listed at $749K, 1272 Isabel Dr 4/4.5 listed at $3.45M.

1 closed sale: 981 Main St 4/2.5 $625K.

LOTS

No new listings.

2 price changes: 3354 Barra Cir now $399K, 4115 Sanibel-Captiva Rd now $799K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Beach Villas #5228 1/2 $433.5K.

No price changes.

2 new sales: Beach Villas #2517 1/1 listed at $497.5K, Beach Villas #2623 1/1 listed at $530K.

HOMES

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 11500 Chapin Ln 4/4.5 listed at $1.795M.

No closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

(This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its 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 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, I hope you enjoy your weekend & stay dry. That’s the plan here!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Little April Shower on Otherwise-Sunny Sanibel


Lighthouse 04-2017.jpg

It is SanibelSusan reporting the end of another week of fabulous weather and busy roadways on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Yesterday, the area had just a little, but much-needed, rain in advance of a breezy cool front. Today and tomorrow, it is expected to be only in the mid-70’s. The forecast says it will be back to bright sunny days and temperatures in the high-70’s low-80’s right through Easter weekend, when the islands are expected to be even more packed with vacationing families. (Lee County Schools are off next week, too.)

SanibelSusan Realty

Sanibelsusan LogoHere at SanibelSusan Realty our listings had good showings this week. We had another nice closing yesterday (they all are nice) and I showed property over the weekend which resulted in an offer. Teammate Dave held Open Houses for the better part of two days and has been opening listings for showings too. Elise’s weekly report of the activity posted in the Sanibel/Captiva Multiple Listing Service, follows a few news items below.

Upcoming Spring Events

childrens ctrSaturday, Apr 15, 9 to 11 a.m. – 23rd Annual Spring Festival – at Sanibel Community Park (across from SanibelSusan Realty), sponsored by The Children’s Education Center of the Islands. A free Easter egg hunt for children by age group, begins at 9 a.m., followed by games, contests, crafts, rides, silent auction & more. A $10 armband allows a child unlimited fun in all activities. Proceeds will benefit the educational center’s scholarship fund and capital improvements.

Easter Basket No WordsSaturday, Apr 15, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Sanibel Community Church Easter Egg Hunt – This year, the theme is Family Challenge. Huge board games will be set up. Families can play to win a Family Easter Basket so share. Also, preschool games, bounce house, cake walk, outdoor games, free lunch, and thousands of eggs to find for prizes.

SpringSaturday, Apr 15, 1 p.m. – 6th Annual Easter Eggstravaganza – at Island Inn with face painting & balloon animals, live mollusk touch tank, miniature & trick pony rides, Trouper the blind racoon, green screen photo booth, appearance from the Easter Bunny, & beach-front Easter egg hunt with $200 in golden eggs (for children under 12).

Sunday, Apr 16, 6:30 a.m. – Easter Sunrise Service on the Causeway (by Sanibel Community Church).

sanibel-sunrise

Pickleball Courts Now Open at Sundial

The largest pickle board facility in the area is now open at Sundial Beach Resort & Spa. With twelve Plexi-cushion courts and stadium seating, resort guests received complimentary court access and equipment rentals. Lessons and clinics are offered by an IPTPA certified resident pro. Memberships and daily passes are available to island visitors and residents.  More info at www.sundialresort.com/play or phone 888-889-5410.

pickleballWondering what pickleball is? Known here are the up-&-coming sport for baby boomers, here’s Wikipedia’s definition: “Pickleball is a racquet sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis. Two, three, or four players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball, similar to a wiffle ball, over a net. The sport shares features of other racquet sports, the dimensions and layout of a badminton court, and a net and rules similar to tennis, with a few modifications. Pickleball was invented in the mid-1960s as a children’s backyard pastime but has become popular among adults as well.”

Federal Flood Maps

femaYou may remember that a few weeks ago, I mentioned that a gulf-front condominium complex near where I live had their Federal Flood Zone changed from the high-risk “V” velocity zone to the “A” zone.

On much of the island, any building located in a V or A zone is considered in a Special Flood Hazard Area that is lower than the Base Flood Elevation. The exact zone affects insurance costs so a change out of the “V” zone usually is a big deal.

Teammate Dave watches for flood zone revisions and pointed out last week that my area of Anchor Drive on Sanibel’s east end recently (on March 22) was issued a Letter of Map Revision which like the condo, moves it from Zone VE to Zone AE.

If you are wondering about a specific property and the zone. Here’s a link to the Federal Flood Maps. Just enter the address.

Resort & 2nd Home Market

Florida Realtors logoI am continually updating the class I teach each summer at the local Association of Realtors®. Here are a few changes I added this week.

“While the market may not be as robust as in previous years, Florida is still the No. 1 state for foreign buyers, according to the 2016 “Profile of International Home Buyers in Florida”, prepared for Florida Realtors® by the Research Division, National Association of Realtors®.

“Last year, says the study, the state drew 22% of the nation’s international residential market. And Florida is starting to look more attractive to foreign buyers from countries that don’t traditionally invest here.

“There are several trends that could impact sales, including government regulations in China, the value of the British pound, and political turmoil in Venezuela.

“It’s not just overseas issues that are in play: U.S. immigration policies, new air service, commercial investment opportunities, and residential developments also could affect decisions by international buyers and sellers – both positively and negatively. For instance, Emirates, the airline based in Dubai, launched daily flights between Dubai and Orlando in 2015 and added service to Fort Lauderdale last December. This could make the state more appealing to Mideast buyers.”

From “Florida Realtor”, the global edition, from the 2016 profile of international buyers in Florida, “Just the Global Facts”:

  • “Foreign buyer purchases of Florida residential properties decreased to $19.5 billion ($23.7 billion in 2015). This accounted for 19% of Florida’s residential dollar volume of sales (24% in 2015).
  • Foreign buyers purchased 47,000 residential properties (44,000 in 2015), which made up 12% of Florida’s residential market (12% in 2015 too.)
  • The average price of foreign buyer purchases declined to $412,000 in 2016 compared to $539,000 in 2015.
  • Latin American & Caribbean buyers accounted for the largest fraction of foreign buyers at 39%.
  • The top five countries of origin by dollar volume were Canada ($3.0 billion), Brazil ($2.8 billion), Venezuela ($1.5 billion), the United Kingdom ($1.4 billion) and Argentina ($1.4 billion).
  • The number of buyers from Venezuela declined significantly (18% in 2015, 8% in 2016), while the share of buyers from Canada increased (11% in 2015, 19% in 2016).
  • Foreign buyers purchased property across Florida, but they were concentrated in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area (52%), Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford area (12%), and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area (8%).
  • 52% of foreign buyers bought a townhouse or condominium.”

Why Can’t Lawyers Give a Straight Answer?

justiceThe title of this article posted on line this week at “FloridaRealtors.org” caught my eye. Written by Joel Maxon, Director of Florida Realtors® Legal Services, it makes some good points.

Question: Why do lawyers pepper their conversations with words like maybe, probably and possibly, when I ask about an active legal dispute? It seems like lawyers don’t like straight answers. I just want to know which side is right and which side is wrong!

Answer: There’s an old lawyer’s adage that goes something like this: When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. When the law is on your side, pound the law. When neither is on your side, pound the table.

“In other words, a lawyer can almost always make multiple arguments on either side after hearing a set of facts. It’s just a question of how strong those arguments would be if the lawyer had to make them in a court of law. Trying to guess which side will win a case (though most cases settle before trial) has more in common with predicting the winner of a soccer match than answering a true or false question.

“How does this relate to the Florida Realtors Legal Hotline? If you’re asking who will win a contested legal battle based on a brief phone conversation, there’s a very good chance you’ll be disappointed when the lawyer is unwilling or unable to give an answer. We might be able to shed some insight on the world of contested litigation, but litigation is measured one step at a time in a move/counter system.

“If one party has decided to litigate, the factors below are often vital to understand – and they’re often more important than which side has better facts or stronger laws on their side:

  • How much money are the parties fighting over?
  • Which party is more stubborn?
  • Which party has more resources?
  • How skillful is each party’s lawyer?
  • Who will pay the cost of litigation?
  • How will the dispute be resolved – mediation, arbitration, litigation or some other forum?
  • What is the judge, jury or other decision maker like?
  • Is there a time when one side will give up – a month, a year, a decade?
  • Is there a time when the cost of litigation will cause one side to give up, such as $1,000 in attorney fees and costs, $10,000, or $100,000?
  • What procedural rules impact the case, such as a statute of limitations or specific venue where the lawsuit must be filed?

“Keep in mind that the parties are always welcome to settle the matter by agreeing to some sort of compromise, and you’re welcome to help with the settlement discussions. You even have a release and cancellation form available if the parties successfully resolve the dispute through conversation.

“However, avoid giving legal advice while you do so, and don’t volunteer phrases like “you have a strong case,” or “you are clearly in default,” even if the party you’re working with wants you to give legal advice.

It’s up to the parties to evaluate the strength of their case and decide whether to settle the matter through discussion or have their case heard by a third party, such as a court. If they choose the latter route, they must either represent themselves or hire a lawyer – and they would be well advised to think about questions like the ones above before they decide to litigate.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity March 31 – April 7, 2017

sancap GO MLS logoSanibel

CONDOS

4 new listings: Loggerhead Cay #463 2/2 $529K, Tarpon Beach #103 2/2 $799K, Shorewood #2D 3/2 $1.1M, High Tide #C201 2/2 $1.145M.

9 price changes: Tennisplace #E33 2/1.5 now $306K, Mariner Pointe #1412 1/1 now $334K, Seashells #38 2/2 now $363K, Seashells #11 2/2 now $393K, Sundial West #H209 1/1 now $429K, Mariner Pointe #712 2/2.5 now $463.5K, Sanibel Inn #3512 2/2 now $649K, Pointe Santo #B25 2/2 now $749K, High Tide #C101 2/2 now $1.095M.

5 new sales: Loggerhead Cay #443 2/2 listed at $549K, Sandy Bend #5 2/2 listed at $749.9K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #5-2 3/3 listed at $789K, Loggerhead Cay #103 2/2 listed at $999K, Sundial East #T306 3/2 listed at $1.395M.

5 closed sales: Loggerhead Cay #253 2/2 $480K, Sundial East #O401 2/2 $675K, Nutmeg Village #303 2/2 $765K (our listing), Kings Crown #211 3/2 $828K, Somerset #A302 3/2.5 $1.85M.

View b

View from Nutmeg Village #303, just sold!

 

HOMES

3 new listings: 1317 Par View Dr 3/3 $649K, 587 Sea Oats Dr 3/2 $685K, 4257 West Gulf Dr 5/4.5 $4.95M.

14 price changes: 5292 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/2 now $599K, 5297 Punta Caloosa Ct 3/2 now $625K, 5105 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 4/3 now $639K, 3784 Coquina Dr 4/2 now $659.95K, 1295 Par View Dr 3/2 now $675K, 601 Sea Oats Dr 3/2 now $687K, 1710 Sand Pebble Way 3/2 now $689K, 1717 Sand Pebble Way 3/2 now $689K, 1656 Middle Gulf Dr 3/4 now $1.15M, 1426 Causey Ct 3/2.5 now $1.349M, 769 Pyrula Ave 3/3.5 now $1.35M, 2451 Blind Pass Ct 4/4.5 now $1.899M, 1528 San Carlos Bay Dr 3/3 now $1.995M, 514 Kinzie Island Ct 4/5 now $2.195M.

4 new sales: 2507 Blind Pass Ct 3/3 listed at $1.495M; 4428 Waters Edge Ln 3/2.5 listed at $1,149,999; 6192 Henderson Rd 4/4 listed at $1,999,999; 3869 West Gulf Dr 6/7/2 listed at $8.975M.

7 closed sales: 984 Greenwood Ct 3/2 half-duplex 3/2 $455K, 1386 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $770K, 1683 Bunting Ln 3/3 $730K, 608 Boulder Dr 3/3 $830K, 1146 Buttonwood Ln 3/3 $945K, 3944 West Gulf Dr 3/3 $1.05M, 2143 Starfish Ln 3/3.5 $1.375M.

LOTS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 9066 Mockingbird Ln listed at $380K.

1 closed sale: 2626 Coconut Rd $225K.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Beach Villas #2525 2/2 now $639K.

1 new sale: Sunset Beach Villas #2324 2/2 listed at $625K.

4 closed sales: Tennis Villas #3111 1/1 $248K, Bayside Villas #5204 1/2 $310K, Tennis Villas #3131 2/2 $405K, Marina Villas #908 2/2 $781K.

HOMES

No new listings.

2 price changes: 14980 Binder Dr 4/3 now $1.248M, 14860 Mango Ct 5/4 now $1.995M.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 16910 Captiva Dr 4/4 $4M.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

(This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its 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 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, below is a photo taken Sunday night (April 3)  from Redfish Pass aboard the Lady Chadwick’s sunset cruise, overlooking the gulf.  North Captiva is on the right.

Looking to take one of these cruises yourself? They sail out of McCarthy’s Marina. More info at CaptivaCruises.com

Enjoy your weekend!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

sunset 04-03-17

Friday After the 4th on Sunny Sanibel


SanibelSusan is happy to report that it has been another week of wonderful weather on the islands. The occasional summer shower has been at night, with the beaches and bike paths busy during the days with visitors and vacationers “out and about”.

The July 4th parade on Monday morning was well attended and once again a fabulous example of Sanibel’s small town camaraderie. Big thank you goes out to all those participating and watching, especially the members of the Cypress Lake High School Marching Band who made their first appearance. I posted more pictures on my personal Facebook page plus a video clip of the band passing my office.

The only complaints since Monday: it is hot – has been in the low 90’s most afternoons – and the negative press about the algae on the east coast has caused some confusion about the water here. More about that in the following news articles. After the news is the activity posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service since last Friday.

Know Your Rights Before Opening Your TRIM Notice

henderson-franklinThis article was posted on line June 16, 2016 by the local law firm of Henderson Franklin in their post “The Legal Scoop on Southwest Florida Real Estate”. It mentions some important upcoming deadlines for local Lee County property owners wanting to appeal their property classification or assessment. It says:

“As a property owner in Florida, you have a right to appeal the property appraiser’s assessment of your property’s value, a denial of your application for an exemption (homestead, veterans, or senior citizen), a portability denial, and a denial of our application for property classification such as agricultural or historic….

“Typically, once a taxpayer decides to bring a challenge based on any of the above-mentioned grounds, a request for an informal conference will be made with the County’s property appraiser to discuss the value or to discuss the denial of an application for a property exemption or classification. Following an informal conference, in the event that the issues cannot be favorably settled, taxpayers (or their representatives) can file a petition with the local Value Adjustment Board (VAB). Alternatively, Florida law allows taxpayers to bring such challenges in circuit court.

Appeals to the Value Adjust Board (VAB) – Each VAB is comprised of five members, with two members from the board of county commissioners, one member from the school board, and two citizen members. Many counties in Southwest Florida (such as Lee County) have appointed a special magistrate to conduct hearings and recommend decisions to the VAB. Special magistrates are trained neutral arbiters who are oftentimes local licensed appraisers.

Deadlines for Filing a Petition – Under Florida law, the deadlines for filing a petition are explained in detail. For appeals of the property appraiser’s assessment of your property, a petition must be filed within 25 days after the property appraiser mails the notice of Proposed Property Taxes (TRIM Notice), which is typically in mid-August. The filing deadline can be found on the TRIM notice itself. Moreover, petitions appealing the portability of your ad valorem taxes must be filed with 25 days after the property appraiser mails your TRIM notice.

“For appeals of an exemption or classification of your property, a petition must be filed with 30 days after the property appraiser mails the denial notice, which the property appraiser must mail before July 1st. Once the petition has been filed, the taxpayer will receive a notice with the date, time, and location of the hearing at least 25 days before the hearing date. An exchange of evidence will occur thereafter, whereby the taxpayer must give the property appraiser a list and summary of evidence that will be presented at the hearing. Likewise, if a written request is made to the property appraiser by the taxpayer, the property appraiser is required to provide a list and summary of the County’s evidence that will be presented at least seven days before the hearing.

“As a reminder, it is important to note that even though a petition may have been filed with the VAB, the petition must be denied if the taxpayer has not paid his or her non ad valorem assessments and ad valorem taxes before they become delinquent.

Take Away – Each year, the local property appraiser establishes the value of your property as of January 1st. Since TRIM notices will soon be delivered to property owners around Southwest Florida, it is important to know your rights and the procedures for pursuing an appeal to your local VAB….”

Sea Turtle Nest Hatches on Sanibel

Turtle hatching 07-01-16As reported this week in the “Santiva Chronicle”: “The first loggerhead sea turtle to hatch on Sanibel was Thursday, July 1. Visible along with the small tracks is the mesh SCCF places over nests to protect them from coyotes. Photo by Carol Strange

“Last year was a year to remember for sea turtles on Sanibel and Captiva. Turtles set a record for nests in a season. A year later, 2016 is on pace to do even better.

“In its weekly report issued Friday, July 1, the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation said 486 loggerhead sea turtle nests have been found, recorded and staked off by the cadre of volunteers that combs the beaches each morning during nesting season.

“That total is ahead of last year’s nest total on the corresponding date from last year. On July 3 last year, SCCF had found 468 nests.

“Two of SCCF’s three nesting zones are ahead of 2015. Sanibel West, always the most populated area for nests, has 261 nests and slightly lags 2015 when there were 280 nests. Sanibel East, the area near the lighthouse, is seven ahead of last year with 98. Meanwhile Captiva continues at a torrid pace with 127 nests. That’s 20 more than last year and appears ready to threaten the Captiva record of 179 nests set in 2000.

Captiva wears the honor of having the first nests of the season to hatch. The first two were on Captiva. During the past week, Sanibel has recorded its first hatched nest. That happened June 30 and was reported by volunteer Carol Strange, who also took photographs.

“Meanwhile, the overnight turtle-tagging team, on duty for the first time this year, has come across 158 sea turtles during their surveys. Some of them are previously encountered turtles, providing valuable data about nesting habits.

“Here are the numbers from SCCF as of Friday, July 1, with last week’s numbers in parenthesis:

  • Sanibel East – 98 (82) nests, 219 (197) false crawls
  • Sanibel West – 261 (211) nests, 514 (421) false crawls
  • Captiva – 127 (109) nests, 184 (131) false crawls
  • Totals: 486 (402) nests, 917 (749) false crawls”

No Slime on Sanibel Beaches, but Dark Water Doing Damage

Good write-up explaining the water situation here was published on-line Wed by the “Santiva Chronicle”:

June 2 & 22 2016 Bay City of Sanibel

“The phone is ringing at Sanibel City Hall. The people on the other end want to know about the water. “The calls are coming in from all over – Ohio, New Jersey, all around,” James Evans, Sanibel director of Natural Resources, said Tuesday, July 5. “People want to know about the quality of the water and they are disappointed to hear that it is dark.”

“Evans is forced to report that the water is brown, but is also able to report that it is not slimy from blue-green algae blooms. An explosion of blue-green algae blooms has hit the East Coast of Florida in Martin County. When Lee County was added to Gov. Rick Scott’s declaration of a state of emergency over the algae blooms, the assumption was that the blue-green algae is on Lee County’s beaches, including Sanibel and Captiva.

““Our beaches are in a very different situation from those on the East Coast,” Evans said. “What we are experiencing is a plume of dark water. There is no blue-green algae on the beaches, but we are seeing some in stagnant areas of the Caloosahatchee River.”

“Evans’ assessment is re-enforced by Rick Bartleson, marine biologist at the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation. “The water is brown, but the cyanobacteria numbers were down some today (Tuesday) and we aren’t seeing blue-green algae blooms here right now,” Bartleson said.

“The blooms are fed by the ongoing high levels of water being released from Lake Okeechobee down the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers as a result of historic rains that drenched South Florida in January. Sixteen inches fell on Sanibel when the historical average is less than two inches. Both rivers are receiving too much water, as much as three times desired flows, in order to protect Lake Okeechobee’s aging Herbert Hoover Dike. But the situations are different.

““The St. Lucie is a smaller river and the estuary is small. So when there is a bloom there is a really big effect, and that’s what we are seeing,” Bartleson said. “We have a larger estuary and there is more dilution.”

“It’s comparing apples and oranges,” Evans said. “The St. Lucie is a much smaller system and another big difference is that we are 70 miles from the lake. The Caloosahatchee has a much more extensive marsh that can dilute the algae. We’re lucky because the nutrient levels we are getting are just as high.”

““It’s two different systems and they react in two different ways,” he said. “We are very concerned about excess nutrient loading.” Blue-green algae blooms occur naturally, but are fed by nutrients in water runoff. Blue-green algae makes its own nitrogen but needs phosphorus.

The beaches in Martin County are covered with slime from the blue-green algae. The situation on the Treasure Coast near Stuart and other beach communities has made national news, including a recent report in the New York Times and a report Tuesday morning on The Weather Channel.

““I’ve seen it on the national news and its very damaging,” Evans said. “It’s on social media that the water quality is bad. Those things linger and stick around for a long time. We are not seeing blue-green algae, but we are seeing dark water all along Sanibel’s beaches. It’s a big concern for all of us. It hurts people’s ability to enjoy the beaches. It hurts business. It affects our quality of life.”

“Also likely to linger for a long time are the effects on the Caloosahatchee’s estuary in San Carlos Bay. The estuary is clouded, a fact that does more than just chase tourists away. The beaches are safe to visit and don’t pose a health problem for healthy people, but the water is brown.

““The flows from Lake Okeechobee have been way too high for the critters and the seagrass in the estuary,” Bartleson said. “It’s been way above the harm level and that kills a lot of things in the estuary. Lots of oysters and other critters are dying.”

“Evans takes note of the city’s telling pictures at the top of this page. (Will repost on SanibelSusan.com blog later today)

““On June 2 the bay was a beautiful blue green. Three weeks later it’s dark brown, almost black,” Evans said.

“We are really concerned about the ecological effects,” he said. “Seagrasses are dying and floating to the surface and washing up on the beach. We’ve received too much fresh water and the estuary is in salinity shock that’s causing important habitat destruction.

“The brown water also blocks light from seagrass, which below one meter is currently not getting enough light, Bartleson said. The roots die when the leaves can’t produce oxygen for them.

““People come to enjoy our beaches. They come to fish and enjoy our other natural treasures. All that is affected by the excess water releases,” Evans said.

“The blue-green algae bloom on the Treasure Coast, the governor’s emergency order and the resulting media coverage once again highlight the overall problem. The dike around the lake is aging and needs work. But the bigger issue is where the water goes. Once it flowed naturally out of Lake Okeechobee south into the Everglades. Man changed that by connecting the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee to the north end of the lake to create farmland to the south of the lake. That happened a century ago and the long term effects are being felt now.

“Gov. Scott’s emergency order prompted the South Florida Water Management District to seek land to store water on. That’s something that water quality advocates are always pushing for.

““A new study by the University of Florida says that water storage is needed both north and south of the lake,” Evans said. “The governor’s order has brought attention to the issues.”

““South Florida used to be 50 percent wetlands,” Bartleson said. “It’s hard to find the wetlands now.””

Mayor Ruane Sees Dirty Water & Silver Lining

santiva chronicleThere was a good follow-up today to the above article. Again from the “Santiva Chronicle”:

“Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane doesn’t like what he sees when he drives across the Sanibel Causeway these days. He knows the brown water below him in San Carlos Bay is causing serious economic damage and he knows without being able to see through it, that the water is causing serious harm to oysters, seagrass and other marine life that lives here.

“The view also gives the mayor hope and stiffens his resolve.

“I’m disappointed and disheartened,” Ruane said Thursday, July 7. “I’ve seen this movie before. In 2013 we had the same problems, but now I feel there is more political will than ever before.”

“Ruane’s remarks came about an hour before he released through mysanibel.com the city’s latest update on the South Florida water crisis that has fostered blue-green algae blooms on the east coast, millions of gallons of dirty water to both coasts, a state of emergency from Gov. Rick Scott and finger-pointing at the Obama Administration.

Read the mayor’s latest update here

“Sanibel has been water-conscious since before its founding. The unprecedented rainfall in January raised the awareness of everyone in South Florida and Sanibel was ready. Its white paper “Caloosahatchee Watershed Regional Water Management Issues” written by James Evans, Sanibel director of Natural Resources, offers short- and long-term solutions for storage and treatment of water and states Sanibel’s position. Ruane drew heavily on the white paper in his update to Sanibel citizens Thursday.

Read the Caloosahatchee Watershed white paper here

““We just all need to get on the same page,” Ruane said. “If there is a silver lining here, that may be it.”

In the days since the algae-bloom wrecked beaches on Florida’s Treasure Coast in Martin County, Ruane has seen the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announce that it will be releasing less water from Lake Okeechobee and the South Florida Water Management District announce that it is seeking more land to store excess water on.

““We asked for those things back in February. They are doing nothing more today than what we have been asking for all along. I don’t know why we have to get to an emergency standpoint before things happen,” Ruane said.

“But it’s not like nothing was going on before the latest algae blooms. The coalition of Lee County mayors, in which Ruane plays a leading role, continues to press for public awareness and political action. Together with the Florida League of Cities, the mayors hosted a water quality symposium in Fort Myers that brought together 19 counties.

““We had 19 counties represented there, and that represents about $1.3 trillion. It was very successful, so successful that it will be repeated in Stuart on the East Coast in August,” Ruane said. “Credit the mayors for bringing this to the forefront and keeping everyone’s eye on the ball.”

“Sanibel City Hall, Ruane said, has been hit with phone calls from around the country. Lee County was included along with East Coast counties Martin, St. Lucie and Palm Beach in Gov. Scott’s state of emergency declaration. Even though Lee County and Sanibel don’t presently have blue-green algae blooms, the general impression from national news coverage is that it does.

““We are having people writing and calling. We cannot deny that we’ve had excess water releases, but unlike the other coast, we have 70 miles along the river to dilute the algae blooms and we don’t have blue-green algae,” Ruane said.

““We’ve been explaining that a lot. It wasn’t a quiet Fourth of July,” he said.”

NAR Pressures Senate Over Flood Insurance

realtor logoAs reported last Friday by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR):

“The rising costs of flood insurance are posing “significant hurdles” to small businesses and home owners, David McKey, 2016 Vice Chair of the National Association of REALTORS®’ Insurance Committee, testified to a Senate committee this week. Potentially, up to 1 million properties may be affected.

“”Despite everything that’s been done on this issue, the threat of a $30,000 flood insurance premium still looms,” McKey testified to the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee on Thursday. “A few years ago, the uncertainty over future rate increases was enough for buyers to direct REALTORS® not to show them any listings in the floodplain. That’s enough to worry business owners and home owners alike, and it’s something that needs to be addressed.”

“McKey said that rates continue to rise significantly by up to 25% each year until policy-holders reach their “full-cost rate.” In order for businesses and home owners to prove they’ve reached that threshold, they must hire a licensed surveyor and provide the Federal Emergency Management Agency with an elevation certificate. Once the certificate shows the property owner has reached the full-cost rate, the owner can then request an optional full-risk rating to end the 25 percent increases, or the increases will continue, NAR explains.

“McKey testified that it is an “endless escalator” of rising costs, and he asked the committee to consider changes.

“McKey offered NAR’s support for several possible solutions, such as reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program, which sunsets in October 2017. McKey also said NAR supports using advanced technology to improve the accuracy of flood maps, which can help better determine who will face escalating rates and reduce the number of property owners who have to file pricey appeals.

“McKey also asked the committee to consider authorizing the use of funds to proactively mitigate properties in hazard areas, such as by flood proofing, elevating, or strengthening a property against the risk.

“”Unfortunately, while funding is currently available for mitigation efforts, funds typically aren’t accessible until after a flood event, when costs are higher and the damage has already occurred,” McKey stated.

“”REALTORS® see the effect of rising flood insurance rates firsthand in their businesses and in the local communities. But commonsense solutions to the problem are well within reach.””

sancap GO MLS logoSanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity July 1-8, 2016

SANIBEL

CONDOS

1 new listing: Tennisplace #C21 2/1.5 $385,555.

1 price change: Tigua Cay #487 3/3.5 now $1.899M.

3 new sales: Island Beach Club #210B 2/2 listed at $589K, Villa Sanibel #1B 2/2 listed at $595K, Oceans Reach #1A1 2/2 listed at $999.9K.

1 closed sale: Sanibel Moorings #421 2/2 $449K.

HOMES

No new listings.

4 price changes: 956 Dixie Beach Blvd 2/1 now $385K, 588 Hideaway Ct 3/2 now $699K, 243 Southwinds Dr 4/2.5 now $999K, 4440 Waters Edge Ln 3/3 now $1,290,010.

1 new sale: 9292 Belding Dr 3/2.5 listed at $429K.

4 closed sales: 1410 Causey Ct 3/2 $510K, 645 Lake Murex Dir 3/2 $780K, 841 Lindgren Blvd 2/2 (for statistics) $885K, 1245 Isabel Dr 3/3.5 $1,500,125.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price changes: 4566 Buck Key Rd now $199K.

No new sales or closings.

CAPTIVA

CONDOS

No new listings, price changes, new sales, or closings.

HOMES

No new listings.

1 price change: 16447 Captiva Dr 6/5.5.5 now $3.75M.

No new sales or closings.

LOTS

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closing: 16298 Captiva Dr $4.9M.

(This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its 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 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

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Baywaters Back to a Glistening Blue


It has been another nice weather, low traffic week on Sanibel. The Sanibel/Captiva Realtors® Caravan Meeting held yesterday had light attendance with several colleagues from the local leadership team and office staff being in DC as described in the write-up below.

After a few other news items is a summary of the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service over the last seven days. Note our new listing at Loggerhead Cay. Known as Sanibel’s Rainbow, it earns phenomenal income!

Realtors® Gathered in Washington This Week

NAR_midyear_logo_hp2014_conventionThousands of Realtors® from across the nation met with legislators, regulators and industry leaders this week during their annual Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo. More than 8,500 Realtors and guests have been in Washington, D.C. attending these meetings which began Monday and run through tomorrow. As posted earlier on “FloridaRealtors®”:

“There is a wide range of residential and commercial real estate issues that are of high importance to Realtors and are coming to a head right now, so we’ll be using the strength of our combined voices to remind members of Congress to maintain sound real estate markets,” says National Association of Realtors (NAR) President Tom Salomone, broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Coral Springs, Fla., who served as Florida Realtors president in 2003. “Furthermore, we’ll be setting the stage for next year, after the elections, when House and Senate leaders on both sides of the aisle are expected to move tax reform proposals,” Salomone adds.

“Conference attendees will hear from industry and political leaders, including Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro, who will discuss student loan debt. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), will share perspectives on housing finance and student debt; political pollsters Peter Hart and Bill McInturff will offer insights into the mood of the country and its impact on the 2016 presidential and congressional campaigns; investigative journalist and author Bob Woodward will share his thoughts on the presidential elections; and Wells Fargo economist Mark Vitner will discuss financial and commercial real estate markets. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun will also share residential and commercial real estate market updates and forecasts.

“Throughout the week, Realtors will also visit Capitol Hill and meet directly with members of Congress and their staff to discuss the legislative and regulatory environment’s effect on residential and commercial real estate. Among the high-profile policy issues that Realtors will raise:

  • Extending the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act
  • Maintaining important real estate tax policies
  • Federal Housing Administration reforms
  • Ensuring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage guarantee fees aren’t extended, increased or diverted for unrelated government spending

“Attendees will also be conducting in-person meetings with officials and staff at the White House and more than a half dozen regulatory agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Housing Finance Agency, Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service, Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

Sanibel Plays Flood Insurance Points Game

santiva chronicleIt can be challenging describing to prospective island property owners how Sanibel fits into the federal flood insurance equation. These buyers often think that because Sanibel is a barrier island that flood insurance is not an option and if available it would be cost prohibitive. Homeowners and lenders, however, often want the protection of this insurance.

The below article was posted on line yesterday by “Santiva-Chronicle”. Written by their Editor David Staver, it is a good explanation of the changes that went before Sanibel Planning Commission this week.

“Flood insurance. It’s a points game. That means keeping score and it should be simple. It’s anything but simple.

NationalFloodInsuranceProgr“The Sanibel Planning Commission gave its approval Tuesday, May 10, to the removal from the city code of a pair of flood insurance-related restrictions that are no longer required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. They are the five-year cost accumulation period and the 50% rule for substantial improvements.

There’s no use going into what those two restrictions are since they will come off the books in July when the City Council can give final approval to their removal. No one will have to worry about them after July and anyone who has been hampered by them knows how they work. But the complexity of them is a microcosm of flood insurance – the points game.

“The points game begins with a community’s rating which is somewhere between 1 and 10. Hitting it with a broad brush, a community with a 1 will never flood and a community with a 10 not only will flood, but doesn’t care either.

“Sanibel obviously cares and its rating is 5. That gives property owners here a 25% discount on flood insurance premiums. Recently the consulting firm TetraTech did a detailed analysis of the city’s flood insurance status. What the city learned is that 5 is about as good as its going to get here. TetraTech identified what Sanibel would have to do to achieve a 4, and, for that matter, a 3 and a 2 too. Most of that was out of the question. Hitting it with a broad brush again, any development in the city would basically have to go three feet more in the air than it is now. That’s something the City Council doesn’t think Sanibel can stomach without undue hardship.

“It’s all about points. Raising everything in the air would get a bunch of points in the Community Rating System. Towns and cities that aren’t flood prone get a bunch of points for just being where they are. Sanibel is an island. It will never score well in this critical category. So it has to go looking for points elsewhere to make sure it keeps its Class 5 rating in the CRS, which is constantly adjusting what and how many points it awards for this and that.

There are some low-hanging points. The CRS changed the way it provides points for telling prospective buyers more about the floodplain risk. TetraTech said the city could snag 20 points by preparing a flood depth map and then making it available and publicizing it. Sanibel has already contracted with Johnson Engineering to make the map and no city does publicity better than Sanibel, so that’s 20 points to be had.

“More points are also to be had with better public outreach, says TetraTech. Again, Sanibel is on the case. The city has coordinated with Lee County and surrounding communities to form a Multijurisdictional Program for Public Information. The MJPPI requires an annual commitment for public outreach and obligates the city to print brochures and do mailings throughout the year. That’s money and more work, but it’s points that can be had.

The TetraTech report found that the cost accumulation and 50% rules were no longer applicable and by July they will be gone. That won’t hurt the city’s rating. In the meantime Sanibel is trying to build up its point total from its sea level location. It’s all about location and when it comes to flood insurance, it’s about points too.”

Progress on Projects on Sanibel Island

SCA-View-2.jpg

Rendering of the new Sanibel Community House renovation

Community House Renovation – With its $3 million capital campaign nearly complete, the Sanibel Community Association board and staff members gathered Monday at The Community House to officially break ground on a six-month reconstruction, restoration, renovation and expansion project. Improvements to the nearly 90-year old structure will include: restoration of historic North Room; new exterior olde-Florida design including new roof, porch-style entry/drop-off area; redesign inside creating a more open flexible floor plan; kitchen redesign/update and expanded restrooms; new conference room; redesign of offices/storage spaces updating audio, video, – in 1927, more than 50 island organizations and over 50,000 attendees use The Community House each year. Congrats to my friend, fellow-BIG ARTS Chorus alto, and architect Amy Nowacki who completed the renovation design.

1927 Community House North Room

The Community House in 1927

 

AT&T Donax cell towerAT&T Cell Service – Gotta love it when you get info about island happenings from FaceBook. Tuesday, City Manager Judie Zimomra posted this photo of the work underway on the cell phone tower (aka tall flag pole) on Donax Street. AT&T is adding their equipment there. Those of us living on Sanibel’s east-end are all anxious for the work to be complete. For years, my home has required its own min-cell tower to get coverage. Hopefully when this is done, east-end cell service will improve.

LCVCB logoLee County Visitor & Convention Bureau – Yesterday, City Manager Zimomra also posted a photo taken at the local tourism board where she said they “voted to approve $2.43 million in grants from bed taxes to the City of Sanibel to protect and maintain our beaches in their natural state…thanks to our Mayor Kevin Ruane for his support through the process and the excellent work by all the staff on the teams that prepared our grant applications…our Friends at Ding Darling were awarded an addition $35,000 for educational purposes.”

Summer Vegetation Trimming Begins – On Monday, May 16, from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., vegetation along the west side of Tarpon Bay Road will be trimmed from Island Inn Road to West Gulf Drive.

Water Quality Continues to Improve

bay May 2016

1st week of May 2016 – San Carlos Bay toward the causeway

 

Good news reported this week by the “Islander” when it was posted that “The clarity of the waters surrounding Sanibel Island continue to see improvements as less flow is released from Lake Okeechobee.

“James Evans, Director of Natural Resources said as of Monday, May 2, the elevation of Lake O was 14.15 feet dropping approximately 0.93 feet during the past month. He said as long as the dry conditions persist the lake should be 13.5 feet by June 1, which should put them in good position going into the rainy season.

“”There’s different weather patterns that are starting to form. The water managers are really focusing on a potential strengthening La Nina pattern and that could mean a drier wet season,” Evans said. “Obviously as we move into the raining season with a dryer pattern, there could be some concerns about water supply. It’s the balance between getting water out of the lake, but not too much water to make sure we have water for dry season flows next fall and winter and having water supply for the Everglades agricultural area and other parts of the system.”

“Because of the drier conditions in April, the Corps have steadily been cutting back on the release of Lake O. On April 22, they reduced the pulse released from 3,000 to 2,500 CFS. On April 29, further reductions were made from 2,500 to 2,000 CFS.

“If you have noticed driving across the causeway the water is getting quite clear out there and along our gulf beaches are really starting to clear up,” Evans said, which is great.

“He said although the target flows are around 2,000 CFS, they are seeing slightly higher average flows. Evans said the flows are closer to 2,700 CFS, so it is surprising that the water is as clear as it is out in the bay right now.

“He said about 90% of the water they are receiving right now is coming from the lake because there is no rainfall in the watershed. With the improved water clarity, he said they are seeing better salinity, which in turn is helping the oyster beds and sea grass.

“Mayor Kevin Ruane said they have divided responsibilities among the council to talk about water quality. He said the “white paper” walks about what they would like and what is necessary, all science based and adopted by Florida entities.

“Vice Mayor Mick Denham said one of the misunderstandings is that even if they could completely stop the flows from Lake O coming down the Caloosahatchee they would still get some issues with water in the estuaries that they do not want. He said they get a good amount of water from the Caloosahatchee Basin when there is a rain event.

“”If we could stop flows from Lake O we would still get flows from the Caloosahatchee Basin. A flow way south is part of the solution. I think call the flow way south is an incorrect statement. It really should be described as a storage treatment and conveyance system,” he said. “That would be part of the solution, but not the complete solution,”

“Ruane said their job is to be advocates and educate people.

“A revised draft of the “white paper” will be on the agent for consideration in June.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity May 6-13, 2016

Sanibel

CONDOS

ExpandedAerialFromGangl3 new listings: Loggerhead Cay #264 2/2 $598.3K (our listing), Mariner Pointe #943 2/2.5 $649K, Loggerhead Cay #174 2/2 $869K.

3 price changes: Seashells #14 2/2 now $379K, Loggerhead Cay #331 2/2 now $499K, Tanglewood #1A 3/2 now $1.179M.

3 new sales: Sundial West #H110 1/1 listed at $299K, Coquina Beach #5F 2/2 listed at $495K, Heron at The Sanctuary II #2B 3/3.5 listed at $665K.

6 closed sales: Kimball Lodge #244 1/1.5 $330K, Sand Pointe #213 2/2 $570K, Pointe Santo #C41 2/2 $795K, Tanglewood #3 3/3 $1.25M, Gulfside Place #117 2/2 $1.25M, Gulfside Place #306 3/2 $1.3575M.

HOMES

3 new listings: 242 Christofer Ct 3/2 $745K, 421 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $829K, 984 Oyster Ct 3/3 $2.1M.

7 price changes: 956 Dixie Beach Blvd 2/1 now $399K, 5105 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 4/3 now $679K, 3941 Coquina Dr 3/2 now $699K, 1429 Jamaica Dr 3/3 now $789K, 660 Oliva St 3/3 now $938.5K, 2311 Starfish Ln 4/3 now $1.249M, 1306 Seaspray Ln 3/4 now $3.945M.

5 new sales: 848 Rabbit Rd 3/2 listed at $379.9K; 2150 Egret Cir 3/2 listed at $489K; 3927 Coquina Dr 3/2 listed at $599,995; 830 Limpet Dr 4/4.5 listed at $1.545M, 1245 Isabel Dr 3/3.5 listed at $1.548M.

6 closed sales: 1631 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex $435K, 1139 Buttonwood Ln 2/1 $595K, 600 East Rocks Dr 3/2 $655K, 1258 Par View Dr 3/2 $700K, 1111 Schooner Pl 3/3 $885K, 6011 Clam Bayou Ln 3/3 $1.2M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 2133 Starfish Ln $439K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 6217 Starling Way listed at $1.295M.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 new sale: with Bayside Villas #5106 1/2 listed at $289K.

No closed sales.

HOMES & LOTS

Nothing to report.

(This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its 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 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, here’s hoping the wonderful weather continues…Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Beach (Medium)

“High” Season Over on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


Yes, in the blink of an eye, it’s over. Early Easter this year made for an early end to “high season” here. This week, several of our normally-booked condo listings were vacant – the first time in months. Once the last of the spring breaks are over, it likely will be quiet here again until schools are out and summer visitors start to arrive.

The Realtor® Caravan Meeting yesterday was well attended. The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® now has 31 broker offices with 284 Realtor® members. Announcements included a handful of new listings and a few sales, but mostly price reductions. The SanibelSusan Team had a new gulf-view condo listing go “live” last weekend. A few photos are below. It’s Nutmeg Village #303, top-floor, remodeled 2 bedroom 2 bath, with bright open kitchen, and views of the beach/gulf from all windows on both sides of the property!

View b

Kitchen bFront ViewMore snowbirds are departing daily and the recently-installed traffic cams are working, so roadways are easing up. I ran into the City Manager yesterday and as we were commiserating about “season”, she shared an email that she had just received from a happy winter visitor commending her and her staff and sharing some personal positive thoughts on the wonders of the island. Even in the throes of “season”, Sanibel is the “the best”. We too appreciate all the City does to make it that way.

After a couple of news items below is the activity posted in the Sanibel/Captiva Multiple Listing Service over the last seven days.

2016 Predicted to Be Housing’s Golden Year

Posted last Friday on “Realtor®Mag”:

“Officials from mortgage giant Freddie Mac have made a bold prediction: This year housing starts and home prices will reach their highest levels since 2006.

FreddieMacLogo_3 “The main reasons behind its bullish forecast is low mortgage rates, an improving job market, and a gradual increase in housing supply. “Housing markets are poised for their best year in a decade,” says Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “In our latest forecast, total home sales, housing starts, and home prices will reach their highest levels since 2006.”

“The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage remains well-below 4% this year. This week it averaged 3.71%. “Expect the 30-year mortgage rate to remain very attractive throughout the spring home-buying season, staying below 4% until the second half of the year,” according to Freddie Mac’s monthly Outlook for March.

“For home sellers, they’ll be able to enjoy more home price increases. “In 2015, house prices increased about 6% on a year-over-year basis,” Freddie notes in its outlook. “Expect house prices to continue to rise, but at a moderating pace, with annual price appreciation slowing to 4.8% in 2016.”

“Also, gains in employment across the country will help to fuel hotter housing markets, according to Freddie Mac. The unemployment rate dropped below 5%.

That said, challenges remain for the housing market, particularly with wage growth. Wages remain “anemic, barely keeping pace with inflation,” Freddie Mac officials caution. “If wages and incomes do not start rising, then rising interest rates, home prices, and rents will squeeze households and ultimately slow housing markets,” Freddie Mac notes.

“Despite some headwinds, officials remain mostly upbeat. The “nation’s housing markets should sustain their momentum from 2015 into 2016 and 2017,” the outlook notes.”

Flood Insurance Rates Up April 1

NationalFloodInsuranceProgrThe below article was posted last week in the “Sun Sentinel” Fort Lauderdale and reprinted in FloridaRealtors® on-line last Friday, April 1. It’s long, but a good explanation of the changes this month in flood insurance rates.

“Flood insurance rates are set to increase for all policyholders today as the National Flood Insurance Program continues to dig itself out of $24 billion in debt incurred in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Sandy and other recent emergencies.

“That means policyholders and their insurance agents will once again be forced to wade through a bewildering barrage of bureaucratic lingo like “Lapsed and reinstated pre-Flood Insurance Rate Map (Pre-FIRM) policies,” “Pre-FIRM primary residences,” “preferred risk,” “standard rated,” “Biggert-Waters” and “Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014.”

“And those phrases are from just two paragraphs of a news release Thursday from state Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty’s office alerting Florida residents of the coming rate increases. McCarty says it’s important for Florida residents to carry flood insurance on their property. Of the National Flood Insurance Program’s 5.1 million policies, about 1.8 million are in Florida.

“”Although Florida’s hurricane season has been mild over the last 10 years, it is important that we not forget how easy it is for one storm to cause a great deal of damage and destruction from flooding,” the news release quoted McCarty as saying. “Tropical Storm Fay is a good example of a storm that made slow progress through the state leading to massive flooding problems for several Florida counties back in 2008.”

“Flood insurance premiums will increase an average of 9% nationwide, excluding some surcharges and fees, said Susan Hendrick, spokeswoman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“But those increases will vary depending on whether buildings are primary homes, built prior to the 1980s, in flood hazard zones, or have been paying artificially low premiums since flood zone maps were first created in the 1980s.

“Flood insurance rates are based on flood zone maps developed and revised by FEMA for each county in the U.S. The maps estimate how high flood waters will rise after a storm likely to occur once every 100 years.

Homeowners with mortgages backed by a federal lending guarantor such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are required to carry flood insurance if they live in a special flood hazard zone. Flood hazard zones are typically near the ocean, the Intracoastal Waterway or canals, or in low-lying areas….

“In 2012, after hurricanes Katrina, Sandy and other major storms plunged the flood program deeply into debt, Congress enacted the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, which was intended to remove government discounts and bring insurance rates charged for risky properties up to levels reflecting actual risk. But many owners of those risky properties were enraged by the increases in their renewal notices in 2014, and they pressured Congress to throttle back on the rate of increases.

“The result was a 25% annual limit on rate increases for properties in flood hazard zones, paid for with a new surcharge imposed on all property owners.

“Here’s a breakdown of the most-common property types and rate increases their owners will face as of Friday:

“Properties in flood hazard zones that were grandfathered into the program with subsidized rates will see premiums increased by 25% this year – and each year into the future until they are no longer paying subsidized rates.

“Totaling roughly 20% of the 5 million properties insured by the National Flood Insurance Program, these grandfathered, subsidized properties are called “pre-Flood Insurance Rate Map (pre-FIRM)” properties because they were built before their communities’ first FEMA flood zone maps were created in the 1980s.

“”When the program first started, the government decided not to penalize homes built before the 1980s” by forcing them to pay actuarially sound (or fair market) rates, FEMA spokesman Butch Kinerney said. Instead, the government allowed them to pay discounted rates until 2012.

“Properties subject to 25% increases include non-primary residences and business properties. Grandfathered-in primary homes will see increases up to 18%, as will properties that are neither homes nor businesses – such as churches, non-profits and schools.

“Preferred-risk policies – which are policies written for properties within moderate- or low-risk zones B, C or X zones and not required with government-backed mortgages – will see premium increases of up to 15%.

“The Federal Policy Fee introduced last year will increase from $22 to $25 for preferred-risk policies and from $45 to $50 for standard-risk policies, which are policies in flood hazard zones.

“Another charge known as the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act Surcharge will remain at $25 for houses, townhomes and condo units used as primary residences by their owners and $250 for all other buildings, including vacation homes and businesses. This is the surcharge approved in 2014 to help offset the cost of distributing policy rate hikes over several years for properties in flood hazard zones.

“The Reserve Fund Assessment will increase from 10% to 15% for Preferred Risk Policies. The assessment is already at 15% for all other types of policies.

“Property owners should purchase insurance by May 1 if they want to be covered at the start of hurricane season on June 1, according to the news release from the state insurance commissioner. Coverage is now offered by several private insurers at rates comparable to the National Flood Insurance Program, and to cover values exceeding the federal program’s limit of $250,000 per home and $500,000 per business, the release said.

“For more information, flood insurance customers are urged to contact their agents or go to floodsmart.gov.”

The Dunes Will Get Four Speed Bumps

DunesEntrySignAs described in Tuesday’s “Santiva Chronicle”

“Sand Castle Road in The Dunes neighborhood of Sanibel will have four speed bumps on it next tourist season following a request by the Dunes Board of Directors and action by the Sanibel City Council on Tuesday, April 5.

The removable speed bumps are the second tier of traffic control recommended to the city and they will be in place during the peak tourist and traffic season. The Dunes is used as an alternate route off and on the island during peak traffic times via Dixie Beach Road on one end and Bailey Road on the other end….

“The city identified the problem of motorists cutting through The Dunes and contracted with Johnson Engineering to gather data and recommend solutions. Johnson recommended two tiers of traffic control. The city implemented Tier 1 in January 2015 by reducing The Dunes speed limit from 25 to 20 mph and reducing the speed in the curves on Sand Castle from 20 to 15 mph.

“Increased police patrols were part of Tier 1. Police Chief Bill Tomlinson said that in 14 months since the reduction in the speed limit that his department has spent about 10 hours a week patrolling traffic in The Dunes and has issued 206 traffic citations.

“The four speed bumps will be 14 feet long and will rise to a height of 4 inches above the road surface. On each side of the bumps will be a 2.5-foot buffer to allow passage of pedestrian and bicycle traffic….At its junction with Albatross and Bailey roads, Sand Castle goes both directions in a circle. Motorists can go either way and two speed bumps will be installed on each of the north and south portions of Sand Castle.”

Sanibel Farmers’ Market To Stay Open Through May

Sanibel Farmers MktFarmers Market Brussels SproutsBy unanimous vote on Tuesday, Sanibel City Council voted to allow the Sanibel Farmers’ Market to stay open this season through the last Sunday in May.

The popular market was slated to close down for the season at the end of April, but owners of market operator Local Roots, asked the city to extend to May 31 due to its great success this season.

The market is open Sundays from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. See you there!

Stage a Baby Boomer Home the Millennial Way

The Washington PostAn article posted on “Daily Real Estate News” this week was sourced to “The Washington Post”, March 31, 2016. It has some good tips.

“Like every generation, millennials’ needs and tastes differ from their parents’ generation, as plenty of surveys have attested to. But as millennials become home owners, how can your baby boomer home sellers amp up their homes’ appeal to this younger generation’s tastes?

“David Charron, president and chief executive of the multiple listing service MRIS, offered up a few tips on presenting a home to appeal to millennials in a recent column in The Washington Post. Here are a few of his suggestions:

Entryway: “Millennials prefer their living spaces to be streamlined,” Charron notes. “A home’s entryway is one of the easiest places to make a good first impression.” For example, builders are adding shelves next to electrical outlets for charging stations in new construction. Sellers can do the same. Set up a dedicated command center near the door with a place to stow keys, mail, coats, and bags, and add a tastefully styled power strip or charging center.

“Common areas: Millennials place a high emphasis on socializing, so make sure the kitchen and living room show the spaces as great places to host a party. For example, a taller-than-usual kitchen table with bar chairs may offer up that picture. An open layout arranged with several seating areas also can help buyers visualize how the home can accommodate big group gatherings without feeling too crowded. For an open house, offer up a beverage and snacks station so that visitors can see and experience the entertaining aspect of the home.

“Children areas: Millennials span the ages of 20 to 35, and many are starting families or plan to soon. They are looking for places where they can keep an eye on young children as they play indoors along with kid-friendly areas. Display maps with nearby playgrounds, parks, and bike paths outlined to show the area has plenty to offer children.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity April 1-8, 2016

Sanibel

CONDOS

Spa

Beachside amenities at Nutmeg Village on Sanibel

 

3 new listings: Nutmeg Village #303 2/2 $799K (our listing), Clam Shell #E 3/2.5 $995K, Pointe Santo #E6 2/2 $1.25M.

4 price changes: Mariner Pointe #522 2/2 now $499K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #3-3 2/2.5 now $675K, Surfside 12 #B1 3/2 now $999K, Sanbel Surfside #127 2/2 now $1.095M.

4 new sales: Coquina Beach #5D 2/2 listed at $375K, Sundial West #B207 1/1 listed at $489.9K, Sanibel Siesta #402 2/2 listed at $559K, Shorewood #2B 3/3 listed at $1.349M.

7 closed sales: Sundial West #H408 1/1 $385K, Mariner Pointe #1073 2/2 $425K, Sunset South #6B 2/2 $477.5K, Sunset South #4C 2/2 $750K, Sundial West #E205 2/2 $764K, St. Croix #4 2/2.5 $890K, High Tide #A301 2/2 $1.895M.

HOMES

6 new listings: 1722 Serenity Ln 3/3 $525K, 980 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 half-duplex $525K, 702 Oliva St 3/2 $649K, 4760 Rue Helene 3/2 $1.1M, 1360 Eagle Run Dr 5/3.5 $2.495M, 900 Snowberry Ln 4/3 $3.595M.

5 price changes: 1635 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex now $469K, 1322 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $534.9K, 1024 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2 multi-family now $569K, 2311 Starfish Ln 4/3 now $1.299M, 2405 Blue Crab Ct 4/4.5 now $2.595M.

7 new sales: 575 Piedmont Rd 3/2 listed at $425K, 1631 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex listed at $479K, 535 Birdsong Pl 3/2 listed at $535K, 1125 Captains Walk St 3/3 listed at $649.9K, 5753 Pine Tree Dr 3/4 listed at $998K, 746 Windlass Way 4/3 listed at $1.149M, 819 Lindgren Blvd 4/3.5 listed at $1.295M.

5 closed sales: 3870 Coquina Dr 3/2 $575K, 2499 Harbour Ln 3/3 $675K, 1259 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 $840K, 532 Sea Oats Dr 3/4 $1.2M, 1688 Hibiscus Dr 3/4 $1.82M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 690 Birdie View Pt $399.9K.

No price changes or new sales.

2 closed sales: 2933 Wulfert Rd $260K, 5407 Osprey Ct $465K.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

2 new sales: with contingencies: Bayside Villas #5208 1/2 listed at $287K, Beach Villas #2632 2/2 listed at $710K.

1 closed sale: Beach Homes #27 5/3 $2.395M.

HOMES

1 new listing: 11537 Laika Ln 4/3 $1.695M.

2 price changes: 15161 Captiva Dr 4/4.5 now $2.495M, 11530 Paige Ct 4/5.5 now $3.585M.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 11525 Chapin Ln 4/4 $1.4M.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

(This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its 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 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

Sanibel Island Real Estate Is Moving, Traffic Not So Much


It is hard to believe that more people are expected to be on the islands next week for the President’s Day holiday. Suffice it to say, that Sanibel is busier now than The SanibelSusan Team ever remembers it and we are trying to “nicely” share with the many vacationers, snowbirds, and owners here enjoying it too.

No one seems to mind that the daily temperatures this week have, for the most part, only been in the mid-60’s. Bikers in their shorts and tee-shirts continue to fly by our office on the bike path, while we locals have rare chances to wear sweaters and jackets. Here are a few photos taken by our client/friend Ellie Hayward and others during some of the recent breezy days when the shelling has been amazing.

SanibelSusan had lunch this week with VIP’s Vacation Rentals Manager, and he said they do not have a single accommodation left that is available between now and Easter. Other companies and accommodations likewise report 100% occupancy. That is great news for the local economy, but tough traveling for us trying to keep showing appointments on schedule.

We also heard this week that the “Sports Illustrated” annual swim suit edition has hit the streets with some of the photos taken on the islands. Do suppose that could bring even more traffic to Southwest Florida?

SCCF 2015 Life Member/Benefactor Luncheon

SCCF logoTuesday, we attended SCCF’s 2015 Life Member/Benefactor Luncheon which concluded with a terrific presentation by Director Eric Lindblad on current and future conservation plans. This organization does so much for the islands, we should all be strong supporters.

Eric advised that thanks to cooperation with Tarpon Bay Explorers, SCCF in early April will begin construction of a new marine lab on the grounds of Tarpon Bay, facing the water, in the location of the former concession stand.

SCCF work at rehabbing and reconfiguring The Bailey Homestead continues with preliminary plans in-the-works for eventually moving the Native Plant Nursery there. It has already increased usage of the connected paths that now go from the Chamber of Commerce through the Shipley Trail to Pond Apple Park and City Park via the Starr D. Thomas Boardwalk. A colleague recently saw an eagle there. Here’s a link to the trails: http://www.sccf.org/content/86/SCCF-Walking-Trails.aspx

Other Island Happenings

rotary logoThe Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club’s 32nd Arts & Crafts Fair is tomorrow and Sunday at the Community House across the street from SanibelSusan Realty. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, they expect to have 7,000 attendees.

I’ll be at the office then, hoping they want to buy real estate to go with their other purchases. Here’s a link to the fair website: http://www.sanibelartfair.com/visiting-the-fair/

Happenings at SanibelSusan Realty

SANSLogoNext week again will be busy. We have some Open Houses planned and have a big (over 6,000-piece) bulk mailing going out. It’s our annual inventory lists for owners of all of the property for sale on the islands, plus for comparison, recent sales.

If you would like a copy too, just give us a call (888-603-0603 or 239-472-HOME (4663)) or send us an email (Susan@SanibelSusan.com).

Below after a few more news items is the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service since last Friday.

Vacation Home Tax Deductions

taxesTax time is here and though it is best to consult your tax advisor, here is a handy summary that was posted on-line by HouseLogic and reprinted in NAR’s “Real Estate News” on Monday.

“The rules on tax deductions for vacation homes are complicated. Do yourself a favor and keep good records about how and when you use your vacation home.

  • If you’re the only one using your vacation home (you don’t rent it out for more than 14 days a year), you deduct mortgage interest and real estate taxes on Schedule A.
  • Rent your vacation home out for more than 14 days and use it yourself fewer than 15 days (or 10% of total rental days, whichever is greater), and it’s treated like a rental property. Your expenses are deducted on Schedule E.
  • Rent your home for part of the year and use it yourself for more than the greater of 14 days or 10% of the days you rent it and you have to keep track of income, expenses, and allocate them based on how often you used and how often you rented the house.”

Read more about home tax deductions at http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/tax-deductions/home-tax-deductions/#ixzz3RRnJm200

‘Domino Effect’ to Set Off 2015 Housing Wave

clear capital logoInteresting concept recently described in the “Daily Real Estate News”, sourced to a Clear Capital report of February 2, 2015 titled “Traditional Home Buyers, Make Your Move”:

“Home prices between the top and bottom segments of the housing market are rising, which could unleash a “domino effect” that builds first-time and move-up buyer momentum this year, notes a new real estate report by Clear Capital. But the build-up in traditional home buyers is coming at the cost of declines in the luxury home market.

“”The rate of appreciation for top tier homes is stalling, which is a more direct reflection of waning fair market demand,” says Alex Villacorta, vice president of research and analytics at Clear Capital. “While this is a concerning development, there is a silver lining. The moderating upper tier may give traditional buyers a moment to catch their breath, and entice move-up buyers to enter this segment of the market. The ripple effect of opening up inventory all the way down the price spectrum could provide opportunity and motivation across all segments, including first-time buyers, to enter the marketplace.”

“The lower and middle-range ends of the housing market is stabilizing, allowing traditional home buyers to re-emerge. “The next phase of the housing recovery is dependent on healthy demand from this segment,” Villacorta says.

“The lower-end of the housing market was once driven mostly by investor activity, but now doors are opening for first-time home buyers to break in.  Also, as the number of underwater mortgages steadily decreases, home owners in the mid-tier of the home pricing segment can finally trade up to a larger, more expensive home.

Lower-end properties have been outpacing price growth in the luxury market, Clear Capital reports. The low-tier has posted double-digit gains year-over-year of 10.2%, compared to the top tier, which saw the lowest price growth rate among the three tiers, at 3.6% year-over-year.

““This divide between a healthy low tier and stalling top tier could kick-off a domino effect,” Clear Capital notes in its report. “Stalling prices in the top tier of the market could create the perception of a good deal. This instills confidence in mid-tier home owners, motivating them to move-up to the top tier. In turn, this opens up more opportunity for low tier home owners to move-up to the mid-tier. … This domino effect could be the catalyst for balanced demand across all sectors of the market.

“The Midwest is leading the pack, according to Clear Capital. The Midwest posted double-digit gains in the low-tier segment at 13.6 percent, while seeing its top-tier of the market fall 3.3% with prices. The Midwest is the only region currently seeing price appreciation in the low and mid tiers, growing above 1%. As such, Clear Capital economists are predicting the Midwest to be the first region in U.S. to realize full buyer momentum among first-time and move-up buyers, due to its moderating top tier.”

“Bleu Rendezvous” Coming to Sanibel

Bue windowsMany islanders call it a “road trip” when we venture off island for dinner. A favorite spot for that since discovering it a few years ago is Blue Windows French Bistro in South Fort Myers which is a small classic French restaurant. Though tiny and only visited occasionally, I always see other islanders there enjoying it too, so it is great news that Christian and Mari Vivet are planning to open a second restaurant, Bleu Rendezvous, on Sanibel in May. It will be in the space of the former Sangria Grill at 2430 Periwinkle Way just up the street from our office.

According to a posting in the “News-Press” this week, “The Vivets, who usually close Blue Windows during the summer, plan to keep both restaurants open throughout this year. Christian hinted they might have other plans for the south Fort Myers store, but said it was too early to disclose anything. As for Blue Rendezvous’ menu, fans of Blue Windows won’t be disappointed. “We’re taking exactly what we’re doing here and doing the exact same thing there, even the same wine list at this point,” Christian said. “It’s worked for us so well, we didn’t see any reason to change it.”

“Blue Windows serves dinner Monday to Saturday at 15250 S. Tamiami Trail, south Fort Myers. Call 849-0622 or visit mybluewindows.com for more info.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity Feb 6-13 

Sanibel

CONDOS

6 new listings: Sundial #C306 1/1 $329K, Sundial #D312 1/1 $349K, Donax Village #8 2/2 $449K, Lighthouse Point #231 2/2 $670K, Sundial #F201 2/2 $829K, Tigua Cay #489 3/3.5 $2.595M.

6 price changes: Captains Walk #A2 1/1 now $239.9K, Sanibel Siesta #105 2/2 now $424.5K, Loggerhead Cay #411 2/2 now $490K, Sanibel Arms #E8 2/2 now $499.9K, Sanibel Surfside #211 2/2 now $798K, Sundial #Q205 3/2 now $825K.

3 new sales: Seashells #15 2/2 listed for $324.9K, Sanibel Arms West #G5 2/2 listed for $525K, Kings Crown #317 2/2 listed for $940K.

4 closed sales: Loggerhead Cay #453 2/2 $439K, Sand Pointe #235 2/2 $665K, Island Beach Club #330E 2/2 $783K, Wedgewood #204 3/3.5 $2.0625M.

HOMES

7 new listings: 2220 Camino Del Mar 3/3 $699K, 1710 Sand Pebble Way 3/2 $769K, 3840 West Gulf Dr 3/2.5 $849K, 401 Lagoon Dr 4/4 $ 875K, 4620 Rue Bayou 3/2 $979K, 1314 Par View Dr 4/3 $1.1M, 757 Windlass Way 3/2.5 $1.149M.

7 price changes: 1938 Roseate Ln 3/2 now $329K, 1211 Periwinkle Way 3/2 now $530K, 420 East Gulf Dr 3/3 now $725K, 4037 Coquina Dr 3/3 now $799K, 1351 Middle Gulf Dr #1A 3/3 now $939K, 6015 Clam Bayou Ln 4/3.5 now $2.249M, 696 Kinzie Island Ct 4/5 now $2.359M.

13 new sales: 240 Southwinds Dr 3/2 listed for $549K, 1075 Blue Heron Dr 3/2 listed for $629K, 497 Lake Murex Cir 4/3 listed for $715K, 732 Durion Ct 3/2 listed for $719.9K, 8999 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 listed for $775K, 3840 West Gulf Dr 3/2.5 listed for $849K, 1287 Par View Dr 3/2 listed for $89.5K, 566 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2 listed for $939K, 857 Birdie View Dr 3/2.5 listed for $995K, 630 Periwinkle Way 4/3 listed for $999.9K, 297 Ferry Landing Dr 3/3 listed for $1.295M, 1309 Seaspray Ln 5/5 listed for $1.898M.

2 closed sales: 490 Christine Rd 2/2 $534K, 1748 Jewel Box Dr 4/4 $1.058M.

LOTS

No new listings.

7 price changes: 0 Bowmans Beach Rd now $125K, 9239 Dimmick Dr now $139K, 9277 Belding Dr now $179.9K, 2324 Starfish Ln now $449K, 1242 Anhinga Ln now $525K, 1770 Dixie Beach Blvd now $699K, 4334 West Gulf Dr now $899K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

2 new listings: Bayside Villas #5222 1/2 $322K, Sunset Beach Villas #2418 2/2 $650K.

1 price change: Sunset Beach Villas #2337 2/2 now $674.9K.

2 new sales: Captiva Shores #5C 2/2 listed for $898K, Captiva Bay Villas #C 3/3.5 listed for $2.395M.

1 closed sale: Marina Villas #603 2/2 $585K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 11520 Murmond Ln 5/5.5 $2.075M.

No price changes, new or closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its 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 general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.

valentineUntil next Friday, best wishes for a great Valentines Day.

P.S. There’s no gift like a property in paradise for the one you love. SanibelSusan is working all day tomorrow for your last minute gift shopping!