The Florida rainy season has begun. Last Friday, just after posting my weekly update, there was a brief shower on Sanibel’s East End and another longer downpour on Wednesday evening. Though vegetation and wildlife desperately needed water, the news reported inland flooding and continued damage to many properties still wearing blue tarps, awaiting roof repairs. That rain also unfortunately provided proof that my standing-seam metal roof, inspected and thought to be undamaged from Hurricane Ian, still needs maintenance. It has solar tubes which provide wonderful light in my little ground-level home, but one leaked, so resealing is ordered. Just another hiccup in the recovery process.
Following up on my island travels last week, I also again viewed a few more communities over the holiday weekend. It hardly seemed like a holiday with very few vehicles about, though public beach accesses were busy, and it was nice to see contractors working at several single-family homes. On Monday, I even saw workers at Tantara condos. Otherwise, condo build-back continues to be slow. We are thankful that our condo listings are in pro-active associations, but it has become evident that it will be a long time before many other complexes will be ready for occupancy.
My other observation was that many more homes have been demolished and those lots cleared of debris. Often in the same neighborhood there are other properties that haven’t been touched. Many new homes already are being constructed, an astounding number really and perhaps a sign that the new Sanibel Building Dept is quickly processing permits. There should be an update on that next week during the Tuesday, June 6, monthly City Council Meeting.
It’s here again! Yesterday, on June 1, the first day of 2023 Hurricane Season, Tropical Depression #2 got named at 5 p.m. From the northern area of the Gulf of Mexico, forecasters predicted today that it would not have a direct impact on Florida as it travels south and fizzles out.
Tropical Depression #1 was already taken by a storm discovered in post-season analysis, which formed in January.
Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Update on Sea Turtles
“As of May 30, our nighttime sea turtle tagging team has encountered 86 unique sea turtles this nesting season. This includes turtles with existing tags that staff can identify and document, as well as turtles that were tagged for the first time this year. “Sea turtles without tags could be first-time nesters, returning turtles that weren’t encountered by the team in previous years, or turtles that have nested on other beaches that aren’t monitored by nighttime teams,” said SCCF Sea Turtle Biologist Savannah Weber. “We’ve been seeing an average of four or five sea turtles each night, which is nearly twice the average last year at this time.”
“After SCCF applies tags to these turtles — which allows staff and other scientists to see the individual’s nesting and movement patterns — our team also gets the pleasure of “naming” the turtle. Themes in past years have included shells, ice cream flavors, spices, and Pokémon. This year, the theme is female musical artists. “Some of the names we’ve given turtles include Tina Turner, Fergie, Gwen Stefani, Reba McEntire, and Dolly Parton,” Weber said.
“Previously tagged turtles seen this year have included frequent nesters such as Venus and Conch, who have been encountered every one-to-two years since 2016. Staff were also pleased to see the return of Junonia, a satellite-tagged loggerhead who has nested on Sanibel for six of the past seven years.
““Generally, sea turtles exhibit ‘natal homing,’ which means nesting females will lay nests near the same beach they hatched from,” Weber said. “Some turtles have very precise natal homing, where they lay nests within a few miles from the exact spot of beach from which they hatched. Others have more general homing, where they may lay anywhere within the general region of where they originally hatched.”
“Since SCCF’s tagging project began in 2016, staff have encountered over 950 unique individual sea turtles. Over 350 sea turtle nests have been laid on Sanibel and Captiva Islands this season.”
SCCF Also Reports Bald Eagle Chicks
“A total of nine bald eagle chicks fledged this year on Sanibel, Captiva, and North Captiva, despite Hurricane Ian wiping out all known nests. With the help of partners and volunteers, SCCF monitors bald eagle nests on the islands during the nesting season (Oct. 1 to May 15) and reports data to the Audubon Society’s Eagle Watch Program.
““It was a challenging season for bald eagles, but they wasted no time rebuilding their nests and laying eggs,” said SCCF Shorebird Technician Aaron White. “Rebuilding is a particular feat for bald eagles, which typically re-use and build upon the same nest year after year.”
“Among the 10 breeding pairs SCCF monitors, seven successfully nested and fledged chicks. Two pairs didn’t renest, while one nest failed due to an unknown cause. “The eagles really bounced back from Hurricane Ian, and we’re hopeful the rest of the nesting wildlife across the islands will do the same,” White said.”
Impacts of Ian Advance Restoration of Grasslands
Also in their recent update, SCCF posted: “The current clearing of dead vegetative debris that created a fire hazard on many SCCF preserve lands will have the long-term effect of accelerating the restoration of native habitats.
“”State contractors are doing their best to maneuver through the habitats with minimal disturbance to living native flora,” said Wildlife & Habitat Management Director Chris Lechowicz. The dead trees and shrubs created a fuel load that increased the chance of wildfires. “Removing them will provide native grasses and ground cover plants an opportunity to take hold again from remaining seed sources in the ground and from any plantings we do to fill in the areas,” he added.
“Prior to development, Sanibel was mostly a vast open canopy grassland that was kept in that state by wildfires and a hydrology that limited freshwater to the center of the island along the Sanibel Slough during the long dry season. Historical aerial photographs show that buttonwood, a freshwater-loving tree in the white mangrove family, bordered the Sanibel Slough because it was the wettest part of the island. “Historically, natural wildfires would consume young buttonwoods that attempted to establish outside of this buffer of the river on higher land,” Lechowicz said.
“In the early 1990s, the City of Sanibel adopted a weir control policy to better manage surface water on the island. The objective of the policy is to attempt to retain as much fresh surface water as possible for the environmental benefit of the interior wetlands as long as developed areas are not adversely impacted.
“The weir system allows the water level to be kept higher on the west end of the island as opposed to the east end because there are more conservation lands and less developed areas west of Tarpon Bay Road.
“Post-Ian, saltwater inundation of the freshwater wetlands caused highly brackish water to stand for long periods of time. As a result, woody vegetation had higher mortality on the west end because the salty water inundated those root systems longer. “The storm surge seemed to ‘turn back the clock’ slightly by decreasing living hardwood densities that overtook the expansive grasslands we once had,” said Lechowicz.”
Floridians a Bit More Confident in May
Posted on Florida Realtors Wednesday, May 31 by Kerry Smith:
“UF: After a drop in April – the only one in 2023 so far – Floridians’ consumer outlook rose modestly again in May as the state bucks national trends.
“GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida continues to defy national trends. According to the monthly consumer sentiment study from the University of Florida’s (UF) Bureau of Economic and Business Research, consumer sentiment among Floridians inched up one-tenth of a point in May to 68.8 from a revised figure of 68.7 in April – the only month so far this year that saw a decline. Nationally, consumer sentiment fell 4.3 points.
““Despite the ups and downs in consumer sentiment observed over the last 12 months, Florida’s consumer confidence has trended upwards, with a notable increase of 8 points in May compared to a year ago,” says Hector H. Sandoval, director of the Economic Analysis Program at UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research. “This positive trend is consistent with a strong labor market and aligns well with the general decline in inflation levels since its peak in June,” says. “Nonetheless, it is worth noting that consumer confidence continues to remain at historically low levels.”
“Among the five components that make up the full index, three increased and two decreased.
“Current economic conditions: Floridians’ opinions about current economic conditions portrayed a slightly more optimistic outlook in May. Views of personal financial situations now compared with a year ago increased slightly by nine-tenths of a point from 62.6 to 63.5. Similarly, opinions as to whether it’s a good time to buy a big-ticket household item such as a refrigerator or furniture increased 1.7 points from 59.6 to 61.3.
“Future expectations: The three components focusing on Floridians’ attitudes about the future were mixed. Expectations of personal finances a year from now decreased slightly, three-tenths of a point, from 83.6 to 83.3. On the other hand, expectations about U.S. economic conditions over the next year increased slightly – three-tenths of a point from 66.3 to 66.6 – but the outlook for U.S. economic conditions over the next five years dropped 2.6 points from 71.7 to 69.1.
“Florida’s labor market has remained robust, with strong demand for workers and a consistently low unemployment rate, according to the report. In April, the state’s unemployment rate held steady at 2.6% for the fourth consecutive month, which is lower than the national rate. Moreover, the leisure and hospitality industry showed the largest percent change in job gains over the year, experiencing an increase of 7.3%.
““Despite concerns about persistent inflation, the recent turmoil in the banking sector and the possibility of further interest rate hikes, we anticipate that consumer confidence among Floridians will continue to trend upward in the months ahead,” says Sandoval. “This is based on the expectation that Florida’s tourism industry will experience an increase in demand during the upcoming summer season.”
“Sandoval adds a caveat, however, saying that outlook “may change drastically if the debt-ceiling standoff fails to be resolved and payments on U.S. government debt are not made.”
“The index used by UF researchers is benchmarked to 1966, which means a value of 100 represents the same level of confidence for that year. The lowest index possible is a 2, the highest is 150.”
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Real Estate
There was no Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors meeting this week, but next Thursday morning is a Caravan Meeting at BIG ARTS.
Below with data from the island MLS (Multiple Listing Service) are updated summary tables of the residential sales statistics and the action posted since last Friday in the MLS.
|#||Avg Price||DOM||#||Avg Price||DOM||#||Avg Price||DOM|
|Sold 2023 to 6/2||58||945,586||47||145||1,206,181||51||12||997,416||76|
|#||Avg Price||DOM||#||Avg Price||DOM||#||Avg Price||DOM|
|Sold 2023 to 6/2||5||1,110,400||109||8||2,960,500||60||0||N/A||N/A|
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity May 26 – June 2
1 new listing: Sanibel Siesta #403 2/2 $759K.
No price changes.
1 new sale: Seashells #33 2/2 listed at $435K.
2 closed sales: Blind Pass #F210 2/2 $560K, Loggerhead Cay #412 2/2 $740K.
2 new listings: 1446 Sandpiper Cir (1/2 duplex) 2/2 $679K. 766 Donax St (duplex) 4/2.5 $799K.
3 price changes: 658 Donax St 3/2 now $699K, 9114 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 now $999K, 540 East Lake Rd 3/2 now $1M.
6 new sales: 1044 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed at $724.9K, 617 East Rocks Dr 3/2 listed at $998,995; 3311 Twin Lakes Ln 3/3 listed at $1.143M, 425 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 listed at $1.19M, 3205 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 listed at $1.245M, 5750 San-Cap Rd 3/2 listed at $1.75M, 450 Sea Walk Ct 4/3.5 listed at $2.225M.
5 closed sales: 1720 Middle Gulf Dr 3/2 $810K, 1565 Bunting Ln 3/2 $890K, 3050 West Gulf Dr 3/2.5 $1.43M, 1057 Seahawk Ln 3/2.5 $1.5M, 1520 Angel Dr 4/4.5 $3.03M.
No new listings or price changes.
1 new sale: 1872 Middle Gulf Dr listed at $799K.
1 closed sale: 2563 Coconut Dr $1.25M.
No new listings, price changes, or new sales.
1 closed sale: Marina Villas #906 2/2 $1.15M.
1 new listing: 1101 Tallow Tree Ct (1/2 duplex) 4/4 $4.95M.
No price changes, new or closed sales.
Nothing to report.
This representation is based in part on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the association, or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market. The information provided represents the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.
Enjoy your weekend, Susan Andrews aka SanibelSusan