Counting Down to Christmas Island-Style


It’s SanibelSusan reporting that it has been another fun week on sunny, though at times chilly, Sanibel and Captiva Islands. This is the time of the year when it’s always fun to see what folks are wearing. When the temperatures dip down into the 50’s and 60’s at night, locals are happy the next morning to dig out their rarely-used jackets, sweaters, shawls, scarves, and boots, while vacationing visitors in tank tops, shorts, and flip flops also are smiling broadly. It’s easy to pick out the tourists! This afternoon, it’s a breezy 77 degrees!

Luminary 2018 bannerThe many palm trees festooned with twinkling lights add to the holiday happiness too. This year, the City expanded their tunnel of lights along the bike path across the street from SanibelSusan Realty. Adding a bench seat and 2018 Luminary sign has made it a popular photo op spot. It’s really festive and quite striking to stroll through after dark.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

Yesterday, was the local Association of Realtors® monthly membership breakfast – a little earlier than usual thanks to the holidays. Our Association’s Administrative Assistant, Megan Rose, posted some outstanding sunset pix this week. She said I could borrow some to post here. (I hope you enjoy them too. Thanks, Megan.)

Causeway sunset dec 2018 2causeway sunset dec 2018

What’s Happening At CROW

crow-logoThe speaker was Dr. Heather W. Barron, DVM, Medical & Research Director at CROW (The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife). CROW is a teaching hospital and visitor education center dedicated to saving wildlife through veterinary care, research, education and conservation medicine. Each year, CROW cares for thousands of wildlife patients including hundreds of species of sick, injured and orphaned wildlife in its veterinary hospital, which is one of the nation’s leading rehabilitation facilities for native and migratory wildlife. They also offer educational fellowships and externship programs for undergraduate students, and internship programs for veterinarian graduates.

As you can probably imagine, this has been an unusually busy year for CROW. We are so lucky to have them here, educating us and visitors, as well as taking care of wildlife and supporting conservation and research. Here is one thing that Dr. Heather mentioned that really stuck in my mind. We all need to do our part, because “there is no Planet “B”.”

Bear in mind that CROW has been around since the late 60’s and Dr. Heather is a no-nonsense mother of three who has worked practicing and teaching wildlife medicine for over 20 years. She is a board-certified avian specialist and a licensed wildlife and sea turtle rehabilitator, and she tells it like it is. Some other tidbits:

Animal population around the world, the U.S. and Florida is changing. “Pythons have been documented as close as Estero.” Research also shows that there probably are somewhere between “35 and 60 coyotes on the island.” They don’t always stay here, but probably swim back and forth from the mainland and Pine Island.

Iguana population also is up here, as is that of the marsh bunnies. Most of us like the cute little bunnies, but Dr. Heather said that probably means that next year the population of hawks and other animals that prey on rabbits will be up.

She also said, “Personally, I wouldn’t eat any local seafood.” Though Sanibel is one of the most pro-environment conservation-conscious communities in the country – being downstream of areas that are not, really hurts us. The long-lasting effects of red tide and blue-green algae are just now being evaluated. We cannot depend on local, state, or federal governments or health departments to advise us of what they don’t know. We all need to be part of the solutions!

Caravan

Following the speaker, in typical December fashion, the Caravan property announcements included plenty of new listings and some price reductions. The details on those (or the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service this week) follow a couple of news items below. I probably don’t need to share that we all groaned when not a single new sale was announced. We know it’s the holidays, but it’s always positive news when we hear of colleagues’ successes.

Our new listing at 1050 White Ibis Dr (photos below) was one of the 15 properties that was open for viewing after the Caravan meeting. My teammates took inventory while there then. We want to be ready when the right buyer comes along.

SanibelSusan Realty Associates

Thank goodness, we are a flexible team. With seven BIG ARTS Chorus singing gigs since last Friday, it has been a whirlwind week for me. Part of the fun of this business is not knowing what will happen next, regardless of whether it’s from a phone call or a walk-in.

Short Term Rentals

henderson-franklinWith so much in the news lately about Airbnb rentals, it was interesting to learn that at a recent Sanibel City Council meeting three issues were added to the Department of Community Services’ planning goals. Those issues are: transportation, political signage, and short-term vacations rentals.

Then I saw the below article posted online this week by Kaylee Tuck of Henderson Franklin Attorneys. Betcha the same applies to Sanibel’s 28-day rental minimum for residential communities.

“Limited Vacancy: Florida Appeals Court Rules in Favor of the City of Miami’s Airbnb Rental Ban

“Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal handed down a win for local governments on Wednesday when the Court reversed a previous Circuit Court injunction that barred the City of Miami from enforcing a ban on short-term rentals in residential areas of the City.

“Background – In 2017, the City of Miami adopted a resolution that affirmed the City’s zoning regulations “as they pertain to short-term/vacation rentals,” and stated that neighborhoods zoned as T3 were limited to permanent residential use, which precluded rental accommodations per night, week, or anything less than one month.

“Notably, the T3 zone encompassed most of the City’s single-family houses and duplexes. When residents who had been using Airbnb to rent their properties spoke against the resolution, residents were directed to state their name and address for the record, and the City Manager made the comment that the City was “now on notice” of those who spoke against the City’s code and that he would direct his staff to enforce the City code.

“Airbnb took the issue to the Circuit Court, claiming that the 2017 resolution was preempted by a 2011 state law that prevents cities and counties from passing ordinances prohibiting or unduly regulating vacation rentals.

“Airbnb and individual residents also filed for an injunction to stop the City from enforcing the resolution against the residents who spoke out against it at the City Commission meeting.

“After hearing arguments, the Circuit Court issued a temporary injunction against the City which stopped the City from enforcing its vacation rental ban, as well as prevented the City from requiring residents to give their name and address if they wished to speak during the public comment portion of a City Commission meetings, stating that the requirement had a chilling effect on freedom of speech.

Holding – Fast forward to December 5, 2018, and the Third District Court of Appeal reversed the Circuit Court’s orders.

“In reversing the Circuit Court, the 3rd DCA stated that the injunction halting the City’s vacation rental ban was overbroad and not preempted by state law because, although Miami’s land use code was updated in 2016 and the resolution passed in 2017, the material provisions of the code were adopted in 2009 and, therefore, were not preempted by the 2011 state statute. Simply stated, this decision means the City of Miami may now enforce its zoning regulations on short term vacation rentals.

“The 3rd DCA also reversed the injunction that stopped the City from requiring speakers at public hearings to give their names and addresses. The 3rd DCA stated that preventing the City from requiring speakers to give their name and address at any public hearing was overbroad, and that the City has a legitimate interest in knowing the speaker’s name and address for various purposes, such as whether the speaker is actually a resident of the City.

Take-Away – Airbnb and short-term vacation rentals have been long contested by hotels, neighbors, city officials, and many others. This ruling may be the first in a long line of litigation stemming from municipal and county enforcement against such short-term rentals. Therefore, residents and homeowners are encouraged to know the laws of their jurisdiction before renting out their home through Airbnb in order to avoid fines, citations, or any other remedy a city or county has authority to pursue under local law. If you have any questions regarding short term vacation rentals, please feel free to contact me at kaylee.tuck@henlaw.com or by phone at 239-344-1164.”                 

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity Dec 7-14, 2018sancap GO MLS logo

Sanibel

CONDOS

5 new listings: Loggerhead Cay #351 2/2 $649K, Loggerhead Cay #282 2/2 $695K, Loggerhead Cay #223 2/2 $699K, Heron at The Sanctuary III #1B 3/2.5 $775K, Shorewood #3C 3/2 $1.449M.

2 price changes: Tennisplace #C32 2/1.5 now $310K, Tennisplace #C23 2/1.5 now $329K.

2 new sales: Sundial #J401 1/1 listed at $589,985, Shell Island Beach Club #5D 2/2 listed at $799K.

No closed sales.

HOMES

11 new listings: 651 Donax St 4/2 duplex $539K; 9431 Moonlight Dr 3/2 $597K; 9444 Cotten Ct 3/2.5 $725K; 3350 Barra Cir 3/2 $729,927; 9307 Dimmick Dr 3/2 $749K; 743 Windlass Way 3/2 $765K; 1223 Par View Dr 3/2 $839K; 1050 White Ibis Dr 4/3.5 $899K (our listing); 446 Surf Sound Ct 3/2 $1.059M; 1230 Ferry Rd 3/4 $1.095M; 927 Strangler Fig Ln 3/3.5 $1.215M.

4 price changes: 325 East Gulf Dr 1/1 now $548K, 1325 Par View Dr 3/3 now $665K, 2479 Blind Pass Ct 3/2 now $874.9K, 478 Sea Oats Dr 3/3 now $1.05M.

2 new sales: 4436 Waters Edge Ln 3/3 listed at $729K, 1838 Buckthorn Ln 3/2 listed at $1.295M.

4 closed sales: 746 Nerita St 3/2 $717K, 718 Oliva St 3/2 $725K, 544 Sea Oats Dr 4/4 $1.15M, 794 Conch Ct 3/2.5 $1.255M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 9056 Mockingbird Ln $399K.

1 price change: 1817 Long Point Ln now $323K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Beach Homes #11 4/3 $2.995M.

No price changes or new sales.

1 closed sale: Beach Cottages #1408 2/2 $1.16M.

HOMES

1 new listing: 1114 Schefflera 4/3.5 $2.65M.

1 price change: 16447 Captiva Dr 7/6/2 now $3.395M.

No new sales.

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

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, enjoy your holiday festivities wherever you are.

How about this shell tree?

shell tree 2018

Or my favorite mailboxes which are always decorated for the holidays, across the street from each other – the dolphin & the manatee!

dolphin 2018Manatee 2018

Gotta love Sanibel at Christmas! Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Summertime Real Estate Report from Sanibel & Captiva Islands


It’s SanibelSusan reporting the third week of “summer quiet” in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands real estate business. I have heard some interesting behind-the-scenes comments about how things have changed here this year. There definitely is a change in occupancy with accommodations mostly at capacity and the island busy, just busy having fun and not viewing or buying or listing real estate.

This week the “Periwinkle Way late-day traffic jam” reappeared. That usually is only during the winter months from about 3 to 7 p.m. when the islands are full and day workers are leaving. It is when traffic gets backed up at the 4-way stop. Typical late afternoon summer showers may have contributed to this extra summer traffic with more visitors on the road once the sun disappears.

The July 4th festivities last weekend were well attended, with a big turn-out at SanibelSusan Realty for the parade. Here are a few photos, some taken by my cell phone, but the good ones are credited to our pal, Scott Shew, who always is great about sharing his pictures. Thank you, Scott.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As the week progressed, Scott shared a few more photos. These two at Ding Darling he said were taken when the no see-ums were out in full force so the bird in the second one might be dunking to avoid them.

SZ6A0394

SZ6A0404

Below are a few news items followed by the action posted in the Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing Service over the last seven days, there wasn’t much!

Heat Wave Sweeps Through Housing Market

realtor.comFrom Realtor®Mag’s “DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS”:

“The housing market is getting hotter this summer, according to a preliminary analysis of June data from realtor.com®. The median list price nationwide in June rose 7% year-over-year, reaching $233,000. The median days on the market is 66 days, also down 7% year-over-year. Also, inventories are growing faster – 4% higher in June over May, but still down over last year. (That’s the case nationally, but not on Sanibel and Captiva where inventory is very low.)

“”Our early read of real estate trends in June suggests good news ahead for the U.S. residential real estate market, especially in the hottest markets with healthy growth in supply,” says Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com® Chief Economist. Traffic and searches on realtor.com® continued to set new highs in June. Unique users for June are now on pace for at least a 40% growth year-over-year and visits and searches at realtor.com® are expected to surge more than 50% and 30%, respectively, Smoke says.”

Economists Pinpoint Inventory Shortage Causes

wall street journalAs follow-up to the last article, this one based on The Wall Street Journal, June 26, has some answers:

“Inventories of homes for-sale remain low due to home owners staying put and homebuilders still keeping supplies tight, economists said during a panel discussion at the National Association of Real Estate Editors’ annual conference.

“Homes listed for resale in May were at a 5.1-month supply at the current sales pace. Most economists consider a supply of six to seven months to be balanced and healthy for the market.

NAR gray-logo“Economists at the National Association of Real Estate Editors’ annual conference pointed to several factors that are preventing sellers from putting their homes up for sale. Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of REALTORS®, blamed the bulk of the inventory shortage on the lack of new construction. “We will still have an inventory shortage if builders won’t build,” Yun said. “It is just simple math.”

“Other economists during the panel also said the persistent lack of equity four years into the housing recovery for a large number of home owners continues to prevent many would-be sellers. About 5 million homes in the U.S. — or 10% — are underwater, valued at less than the mortgage.

“Also, some home owners may be reluctant to sell partly because they refinanced in recent years at interest rates of less than 4% and they don’t want to give up those low rates, says Frank Nothaft, CoreLogic’s Chief Economist.

“The economists also noted a significant increase in single-family homes being offered for rent that have dented the overall supply of homes for-sale too. Nothaft estimates that since the downturn investors have purchased 3 million single-family homes and converted them into rentals.

“Other economists at the session also noted that stringent mortgage standards, prohibitive land costs, and limited lending to small builders was also prompting a lower supply of homes for sale.”

Study: Biggest Opportunities in Boomer Market

We aren’t giving up on those baby boomers just yet. They definitely are the largest market segment on the islands. Here’s what “DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS” said about them last Wednesday:

House canary logo“Though the real estate industry has made it a mission to bring Millennials into home ownership in recent years, a new study by research firm HouseCanary suggests we not ignore an inconvenient truth: Baby boomers have the buying power.

“The study raises questions about how wise it is to focus on Millennial buyers, given their economic limitations. If interest rates — which are expected to keep ticking up this year — were to increase to 6%, more than one in three Millennials would no longer be able to afford a home at their current prices, HouseCanary found. Millennials are carrying high debt with limited savings, and their career growth has been slow.

But baby boomers have fueled the housing market for decades as the biggest drivers of growth in the entry-level market in the 1970s and ’80s, as well as the move-up market in the ’90s and 2000s. Boomers aren’t slowing down: They’re expected to continue to drive household growth over the next 20 years “due to significant wealth and high home ownership rates,” according to HouseCanary. Over the past year alone, baby boomers accounted for 244% of household growth annually.

“”The vast imbalances in wealth and home ownership among baby boomers and Millennials are resulting in wide disparities in the demand for home buying versus renting,” says HouseCanary President JP Ackerman. “Our analysis indicates that rising interest rates and home prices will exacerbate the situation, as the Millennials’ ability to purchase homes will be severely jeopardized as monthly payments get further out of reach.”

“HouseCanary CEO Jeremy Sicklick says his company’s research indicates greater opportunity for developers to target the aging population with for-sale inventory while targeting the younger generation for-rent inventory.”

New Fire Station on Captiva

new-Captiva fire stationThe grand opening of the new fire station on Captiva is scheduled for Sat, July 18, from 10 a.m. until noon. The public is invited. It also is the 60th anniversary of the creation of the Captiva Island Fire District. During that time, it has transformed from a volunteer bucket brigade to a squad of highly-trained professionals with equipment for not just fighting fires but also for advanced life support. Congratulations!  www.CaptivaFire.com

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity July 3-10

Sanibel

CONDOS

3 new listings: Tennisplace #D31 1/1 $239K, Heron at The Sanctuary III #1B 3/2.5 $650K, Nutmeg Village #309 2/2 $799K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: Colonnades #15 1/1 listed for $225K.

3 closed sales: Sunset South #2D 2/2 $500K, Breakers West #C2 2/2 $522.5K, Nutmeg Village #214 2/2 $920K.

HOMES

2 new listings: 976 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 half-duplex $495K, 3402 West Gulf Dr 3/2 $2.2M.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 1774 Bunting Ln 3/2 listed for $539K.

1 closed sale: 1325 Par View Dr 3/2.5 $695K.

LOTS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 2460 Library Way listed for $324.9K.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

2 new listings: Bayside Villas #5144 1/2 $299.9K, Ventura Captiva #1B 2/2 $1.35M.

1 price change: Bayside Villas #5310 3/3 now $585K.

No new or closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings.

2 new sales: 16785 Captiva Dr 3/3.5 listed for $1.395M, 1105 Tallow Tree Ct 3/3 half-duplex 3/3 listed for $2.0449M.

1 closed sale: 16512 Captiva Dr 7/5.5 $6.525M.

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.

Good weekend wishes to all. Little rain is expected here over the next few days, so no traffic jams expected! Here’s hoping the sunsets are as beautiful as this one. (Thanks, Melissa!)

Melissa Sunset 07-09-15

Cheers! Susan Andrews (aka SanibelSusan)

The Sky is Blue & Real Estate is Selling on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


It is another sunny Friday on Sanibel – what we call, “another picture-perfect day”. It reminds me of yesterday when I complimented an island pal on her Sanibel photos and she said “use them anytime”. So, before the rest of Friday’s blog, here are a few feathered friend pictures – thanks to Ellie Hayward. She took the alligator pix too!

 

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

SanCapAssnLogoMore winter sales were announced at our local Association of Realtors® Caravan Meeting yesterday and calls for showings are picking up too.

Below are a couple of news items followed by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service action over the last seven days. “Season” is shaping up to be a good one. The statistics below indicate the few sales already in process. During the next three months, the number of sales should jump.

CONDOS                      HOMES                         LOTS

                      #  / Avg $ / Avg DOM    # / Avg $ / Avg DOM     # / Avg $ / Avg DOM

SANIBEL

Available        117 / 751,571 / 403       155 / 1,258,601 / 243    79 / 499,905 / 722

Pending         27 / 755,406 / 373          43 / 1,086,499 / 320     6 / 496,250 / 663

Sold/closed in:

2015 to 1/30  8 / 491,094 / 398           10 / 784,468 / 365         1 / 352,000 / 192

2014              164 / 650,418 / 286        206 / 838,672 / 265       27 / 424,198 / 495

CAPTIVA

Available       43 / 885,909 / 372          50 / 3,503,921 / 318      6 / 2,280,000 / 330

Pending        4 / 1,113,500 / 118         4 / 7,337,250 / 442        1 / 1,390,000 / 116

Sold/closed in:

2015 to 1/30  0 / N/A / N/A                  0 / N/A / N/A                  0 / N/A / N/A

2014              22 / 624,068 / 421         23 / $2,826,717 / 364     0 / N/A / N/A

Island Happenings

SANSLogoSanibelSusan.com continues to bring us listing inquiries and this week one came from a follower of the “Upcoming Events” also posted on our web site. Tracking island happenings keeps us current. Here are a couple of new items recently noticed.

  • SCCF logoWater Quality Exhibit at SCCF Nature Center – Water quality is a subject key to our real estate business and an item often discussed at our state Association of Realtors® Land Use Committee meetings. A new 5-panel exhibit at SSCF’s Nature Center is the first on the island about water quality. Educational and fun for all ages, the centerpiece of this SCCF exhibit includes a touchscreen with an in-depth RECON overview. RECON is the River Estuary Coastal Observing Network which was launched in 2007. RECON sensors along the Caloosahatchee River, Pine Island Sound, Tarpon Bay, and San Carlos Bay gather data which aids in research and management of the water in these areas. The Nature Center at SCCF is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sanibelcityseal logoMayor’s Report to CASI – Last Friday, Sanibel Mayor Ruane updated CASI (Condominium Associations of Sanibel, Inc.) on the progress City Council has made this year in its goals of improving water quality, stabilizing city finances, and encouraging sensitive redevelopment. A few statistics he mentioned include that 27% of Lee County’s tax revenues come from Sanibel. Of each Sanibel property owner’s tax bill, 15 cents is retained by Sanibel, while 85 cents goes to the county. With some carefully selected projects like the Sanibel Civic Core which is being planned for the city hall/library area and expected to include BIG ARTS, the Senior Center, and the Sanibel Community Association, City-owned property may be eligible for bringing some of those tax dollars back to the island.
  • CROW logoCROW’s New Speaker Series – Beginning in February and running through March, CROW is offering more interactive and educational programs. As they are announced, dates will be posted on SanibelSusan.com “Upcoming Events”. More info at www.crowclinic.org.

Existing-Home Sales Rebound: 5 Stats to Know

for sale signBelow is a summary article from “Daily Real Estate News” last Friday. It’s a good synopsis of the real estate market nation-wide.

“Home sales picked up at the end of 2014, closing off a year that had a sluggish start but then showed encouraging signs in the second half, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest housing report, released Friday.

“Existing-home sales rose 2.4% in December month-over-month, bouncing back after a dismal November. Total home sales –reflecting completed transactions of single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops – reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million in December. “Home sales improved over the summer once inventory increased, prices moderated, and economic growth accelerated,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Sales were measurably better in the second half – up 8% compared to the first six months of the year.”

“Overall for 2014, the median national existing-home price was $208,500, reaching the highest level since 2007, and a 5.8% increase from 2013 when it was $197,100. However, total existing-home sales were 3.1% lower in 2014 compared to 2013, NAR reports. Here’s a closer look at five housing stats from NAR’s latest report — reflecting December 2014 data — to gauge the market:

“1. Home sales: Single-family home sales rose 3.5% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.47 million compared to 4.32 million in November. Single-family home sales are 4% above the pace a year ago. Existing condo and co-op sales, on the other hand, dropped 5% in December.

“2. Home prices: The median existing-home price for all housing types in December was $209,500 – 6% higher than year ago levels. This marks the 34th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains.

3. Days on the market: Properties typically stayed on the market in December for 66 days, a slightly shorter time frame than a year ago when the average was 72 days. Short sales were on the market the longest amount of time at a median of 98 days in December, while foreclosures sold in 61 days. Non-distressed homes averaged 66 days on the market. About 31% of homes that were sold in December were on the market for less than a month, according to NAR.

“4. Distressed sales: Foreclosures and short sales edged up slightly in December, reaching 11% of sales compared to 9% in November. However, distressed sales are down from 14% a year ago. Of December existing-home sales, 8% were foreclosures and 3% were short sales. On average, foreclosures sold for a discount of 15% below market value while short sales were discounted 12%.

“5. Inventory: Total housing inventory at the end of December fell 11.1% to 1.85 million existing homes available for sale. That represents a 4.4-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from 5.1 months in November. Unsold inventory is now 0.5% lower than a year ago.

““A drop in housing supply in December raises some affordability concerns in the months ahead as minimal selection and the potential for faster price appreciation could offset the demand from buyers encouraged by a stronger economy and sub-4 percent interest rates,” says Yun. “Housing costs – both rents and home prices – continue to outpace wages and are burdensome for potential buyers trying to save for a down-payment while looking for available homes in their price range.”

“By Region: The following is a look at how existing-home sales performed across the country in December:

  • Northeast: existing-home sales fell 2.9% to an annual rate of 660,000. Sales are 3.1% above year ago levels. Median price: $246,600, up 3.2% above a year ago.
  • Midwest: existing-home sales dropped 3.5% to an annual level of 1.09 million in December. Sales are 2.7% below December 2013. Median price: $159,100, up 5.3% from a year ago.
  • South: existing-home sales in the South climbed 3.8% to an annual rate of 2.17 million in December. Sales are 7.4% above December 2013. Median price: $184,100, up 6.6% from a year ago.
  • West: existing-home sales surged 9.8% to an annual rate of 1.12 million in December. Sales are 2.8% above a year ago. Median price: $299,600, up 5.6% year-over-year.”

Housing Demand Rises, Supply Is Bigger Issue

realtor logoAs the market rebounds another concern was highlighted by Realtor.com in another recent article. We are already seeing signs of not enough inventory on Sanibel and Captiva too. We all know that shrinking inventory often results in rising prices.

“Several signs in the housing market point to higher demand for real estate, but the big question remains whether the supply will be able to meet the rise in demand, writes Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at realtor.com®, in new commentary at realtor.com®. “Supply is quickly becoming the biggest concern for healthy growth in home sales in 2015,” Smoke notes.

“Smoke points to the following three positive signs showing higher demand in the housing market:

Builders are more confident: Builders are remaining upbeat about the new-home market. The National Association of Home Builder’s Housing Market Index recently showed builder sentiment on the rise, with builders optimistic about the six-month outlook in the new-home market. New construction is starting to follow suit. Housing starts rose 4.4% in December, with that rise driven by an uptick in single-family construction. Single-family starts are at the highest number in six years, reaching a pace of 728,000 units in December. “That is a good early sign that homebuilders are gearing production for greater demand in the spring,” Smoke notes.

Low mortgage rates: Mortgage rates continue to hit new yearly lows, bringing borrowing costs down for home buyers and refinancers. As such, mortgage application activity rose to its highest level since June 2013 recently. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.63% last week, its lowest weekly average since May 2013, according to Freddie Mac. But economists are warning that the low rates won’t likely stick around much longer and could move up to 5% by the end of the year.

Existing-home sales rebounding: Demand has been growing in the existing-home sales market too. The annual pace of existing-home sales was 5.04 million in December, 3.5% higher than last year, according to the National Association of REALTORS® latest report.

“Housing supply remains the biggest issue, Smoke says. The inventory of existing-homes is at a 4.4-month supply at the current sales pace – well-below the 6-month supply that most economists consider healthy, according to NAR’s December report. “We need more markets to see listing growth over the next several weeks to keep appreciation at healthy, normal levels,” Smoke says.  “With three years of positive price appreciation behind them, existing-home owners in most areas should see conditions as very favorable for trading up. That is what the market needs to set the stage for significant growth this spring.””

Why I Bought Realtor.com®

Realtor_comlogoAs a Realtor® who has had successful results from Realtor.com, but many frustrations from inquiries from viewers looking at other third party real estate search sites, I have patiently been waiting for more news about Rupert Murdoch’s recent purchase. Here is the article posted on “Daily Real Estate News” yesterday. Love the last sentence!

“News Corp founder and executive chairman Rupert Murdoch took the stage at Real Estate Connect in New York on Thursday to explain why Move Inc., the operator of realtor.com®, was a better acquisition than its chief rivals in the online real estate space. Murdoch said Move and realtor.com® have a trifecta of powerful marketing points over Zillow and Trulia. “Move has the most up-to-date and accurate listings in the market,” Murdoch said, noting that realtor.com®’s listings are updated every 15 minutes.

““Move has a close relationship with the National Association of REALTORS®, and I believe real estate agents are crucial to every home sale in America,” he said. “Realtor.com® attracts transaction-ready consumers — they’re not just window shoppers — and that’s attractive to advertisers,” Murdoch said.

“Most people who begin their real estate search online eventually need human interaction and guidance, Murdoch said, and realtor.com® facilitates those connections. “There is no digital replacement for the human touch,” he said. “No technology can meet all of someone’s needs. It takes a real person. Realtor.com® helps bring home buyers, sellers, and agents together. We want the shortest distance between the American Dream and a family’s reality to be realtor.com®.”

“Murdoch reassured critics that News Corp’s goal is not to turn Move into a media company and take realtor.com® away from its mission of connecting agents with consumers. Instead, he said, he wants to enhance the realtor.com® user experience to help it better fulfill its mission. “We’re going to add to the user interface, make it more obviously friendly for agents and consumers,” Murdoch said. “We’ve got to make a better product, and then when we’re satisfied, we need to get out and market it hard. We understand that there’s a different business model in America,” continued the Australian-born media magnate, who owns media properties all over the world. “We don’t want to replace agents — we think they’re absolutely central.”

“Murdoch also predicted that the U.S. housing market would continue to expand and recover — another reason he was interested in buying a real estate company. He said the data he’s been seeing from Move thus far is encouraging, and the U.S. market offers the best bet for long-term growth in the world.

“Murdoch ended on a note that easily became the most talk-about moment of his appearance at Real Estate Connect. He said he believed in the ability of the realtor.com® name to attract consumers away from the site’s rivals because “we all know what ‘REALTOR®’ means.” And then he quipped: “What the hell does ‘Zillow’ mean?””

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity January 23-30 

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Sanibel Arms West #L5 2/2 $524.9K, Sanibel Sunset #202 3/2 $1.795M.

3 price changes: Captains Walk #C7 1/1 now $244K, Sanibel Arms West #J4 2/2 now $459K, Sanddollar #A104 2/2 now $819K.

4 new sales: Sundial #F406 1/1 listed for $359.9K, Sanibel Arms West #L5 2/2 listed for $524.9K, Loggerhead Cay #191 2/2 listed for $660K, West Shore #6 3/3 listed for $1.795M.

1 closed sale: Pointe Santo #A2 2/2 $782.25K.

HOMES

8 new listings: 4109 SanCap Rd 2/1 $324K, 4619 Brainard Bayou Rd 3/2 $599.9K, 1085 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $669K, 1182 Kittiwake Cir 3/3 $739K, 923 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2 $889K, 1331 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 $985K, 5418 Osprey Ct 4/3.5 $1.195M, 4525 Waters Edge Ln 3/3.5 $4.495M.

8 price changes: 2621 SanCap Rd 3/2 now $279K; 1602 Serenity Ln 3/2 now $499K; 9032 Mockingbird Ln 3/2 now $619,995; 741 Nerita St 3/2 now $679K; 3131 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $704,999; 1224 Par View Dr 3/3 now $1.099M; 518 N Yachtsman Dr 3/3 now $1.179M; 2255 Troon Ct 4/5.5 now $1.55M.

6 new sales: 320 Palm Lake Dr 2/2 listed for $424K, 590 Lake Murex Cir 2/1.5 listed for $635K, 5753 Pine Tree Dr 3/4 listed for $749K, 1337 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 listed for $1.149M, 6440 Pine Ave 3/3 listed for $1.295M (our sale), 536 Lighthouse Way 4/4.5 listed for $3.395M.

1 closed sale: 960 S Yachtsman Dr 3/3 $1.299M.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 1311 Par View Dr now $269.9K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

2 new listings: Tennis Villas #3115 1/1 $294.9K, Beach Villas #2614 2/2 $620K.

2 price changes: Bayside Villas #4114 1/2 now $269.9K, Bayside Villas #5316 3/3 now $619K.

No new or closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 928 S Seas Plantation Rd 5/5.5 $4.175M.

1 price change: 17130 Captiva Dr 4/4 now $4.499M.

2 new sales: 43 Oster Ct 2/2.5 listed for $784.9K; 16585 Captiva Dr 5/4/2 listed for $2,799,585.

No closed sales.

LOTS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 16915 Captiva Dr listed for $1.39M.

No closed sales.

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.

Until next Friday – best weekend wishes to all – from Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Labor Day Weekend 2014 on Sunny Sanibel & Captiva Islands


Summer weather abounds on the islands and The SanibelSusan Team is gearing up for the holiday weekend. There still are not many visitors here, but we started to see more action both at the beach and at restaurants yesterday with families arriving for the long weekend.

Palma

 

Even with the limited traffic, we had listings shown this week, with others scheduled over the weekend. It is the time of the year when lower price range properties tend to get more action, so we have our fingers crossed that some of these showings will be productive.

With temperatures in the low 90’s most days, it was a welcomed relief when the humidity dropped midweek giving way to bright sunny days with just occasional showers some evenings.

Sun

Dave and I were both out showing this week, homes by me, off-island investment condos by Dave. I also responded to several emails from prospective island condo buyers just beginning their search and we had a nice closing today!

Below are a couple of news items followed by the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service this week.

Where to Have Lunch?

We always get inquiries this time of the year about what restaurants are open and which ones are closed. Here’s the latest from our travels this week:

Doc Fords SanibelDoc Ford’s was already closed for a few days for their pre-season work and have reopened.

Over Easy logoThe Over Easy Cafe will close for their deep clean and employee vacations from September 8-18.

Blue Coyote Supper Club logoThe Blue Coyote is closed on Sundays and Mondays through September.

Traders Store & CafeTraders Cafe will close after dinner service tomorrow night and be closed through September.

Sanibel Island Farmers Market

Sanibel Farmers MktWow, time is flying! I saw a posting this week that the Sanibel Island Farmers Market will be reopening for “season” on October 5. It also had a reminder that it was established in 2007.

That was the fastest summer and fastest seven years, I can remember! That’s my Sunday morning stop before the office, so see you there in a just a few more weeks! There’s nothing like eating fresh and buying local.

Taste of the Islands

taste of the island logo_2014Speaking of future events, if you enjoy CROW’s annual “Taste of the Islands”, mark your calendar for Sunday, November 9, when it will be held at The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This is the 33rd year for this fun event for the whole family that benefits CROW (Clinic for Rehabilitation of Wildlife) www.CROWClinic.org.

FISH is Moving

FishAs reported today in the “Island Sun”: “FISH, the 32-year-old non-profit, non-sectarian human services organization, will relocate from its current 2,192-square-foot space – at 1630B Periwinkle Way – to the

building currently occupied in the front by The Sangria Grill, at 2430 Periwinkle Way. The planning commission unanimously approved an application for conditional use approval that will allow FISH of Sanibel-Captiva, Inc. to move its headquarters to a new 3,500-square-foot office space.”

Sanibel Sprout Relocating to Bailey’s Center

Sanibel sproutAlso as reported in the “Island Sun” and at Tuesday’s Sanibel Planning Commission Meeting: “The owners of The Sanibel Sprout received conditional use approval to relocate their business to an approximately 1,000-square-foot space within the Bailey’s Shopping Center, which provides the health food store and juice bar with 20 indoor dining seats….Currently, the business operates from a space in the Palm Ridge Place Shopping Center, located at 2330 Palm Ridge Road.”

3 Reasons Mortgage Demand Is Dropping

loan approvedFrom “Daily Real Estate News” on Monday:

“Fixed-rate mortgages sank to the lowest average of the year last week, yet mortgage origination activity remains lackluster. Why aren’t more home buyers taking advantage of the lower borrowing costs? In a recent blog post, Freddie Mac analysts point to three main factors behind the decrease in mortgage originations:

  1. The refinancing boom has ended. From 2013 to 2014, mortgage applications for refinancings have fallen about 60%. Freddie Mac projects refinance applications will drop by another 50% from 2014 to 2015. When mortgage rates rise—as they are expected to soon—borrowers will have less incentive to refinance. Applications for home purchases are not expected to be able to fill the void from the refi boom.
  2. Home sales are down. Sales of existing and new homes have fallen about 5% during the first six months of 2014 compared to the first half of 2013, according to Freddie Mac. “A period of higher mortgage rates, a harsh winter, and slower economic growth compared to a year earlier contributed to the slowdown,” researchers explain.
  3. More buyers are paying cash. The number of borrowers who took out a mortgage to purchase a home is down compared to last year, but that could be due to more buyers using cash. In the first six months of this year, all-cash home sales were up slightly from 31% to 33%, according to National Association of REALTORS® data. Yet, “with rising home values and fewer distressed homes coming the market, expect the available inventory for all-cash buyers to trend down in the coming year,” researchers note.

“Freddie Mac researchers say the key to an increase in mortgage origination activity will be “sustained economic growth and jobs.” “Overall, recent economic and employment improvements should help bolster household formation and contribute to gains in construction, home sales—and also mortgage originations,” Freddie Mac researchers note. “However, even with these improvements, expect new and refinance mortgage origination volume for this year to be the lowest since 2000 at about $1.15 trillion.””

Strategies for Setting a Price for Your Home

wall street journalI love it when clients share articles they have seen that they think apropos for my blog. This one comes from “Wall Street Journal” Real Estate on line last week (thank you, Scott):

” What’s the perfect price when selling your home? Nobody knows. List too low and watch your investment slip away. List too high and drive potential buyers away.

BLINDED BY LOVE Sellers often overestimate the value of their homes for emotional reasons. To get top dollar for his Portland, Ore., home, Alex Hickman played lowball. He set his asking price below that of comparable homes nearby—and got six offers in four days. “We strategically listed it under market and tried to create kind of a frenzy,” says Mr. Hickman, a 26-year-old credit union examiner. Mr. Hickman purchased the home in 2005 for $325,000 and listed it for $497,000. He says a $505,000 asking price would have been more reflective of the market, especially since the property’s first-floor apartment could generate rental income. Mr. Hickman had also finished the basement of the home, which is in desirable Southeast Portland, an older neighborhood with few new construction projects. So his go-low pricing strategy was a gamble, one his real-estate agent initially counseled against.

PRICED TO THE NINES Research has found that pricing at $999,900 rather than $1 million influences buying decisions on a subconscious level. The home ‘seems way cheaper,’ one professor says. “It creates a havoc that doesn’t serve anyone well,” says Rebecca Walter, Mr. Hickman’s agent at Redfin. A low asking price doesn’t necessarily increase what buyers offer, she says, since they are more willing to compete on other terms of the contract, such as paying all cash for the purchase or waiving the inspection to speed the sale. “In residential real estate, the asking price is often as much about psychology as it is reality. Michael Seiler, professor of real estate and finance at The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va., said that most home buyers don’t realize that setting an asking price is primarily a negotiating tactic. “When you set a list price, you’re sending a signal to the market,” he says.

Mike McCann, a real-estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, Fox & Roach in Philadelphia, says pricing can be “a delicate balance.” Most sellers overestimate the worth of their home, he says, and some agents will start with a too-high price to avoid hard feelings. Others agents may start high just to get the seller’s business or, conversely, they’ll price too low for a quick sale and commission, he adds.

NOT BUDGING A precise asking price, such as $795,475, indicates that the seller is less open to negotiation. Most agents say that getting sellers to start with a realistic asking price is one of their biggest challenges. Steve Beckman spent $150,000 on renovations to his 100-year-old farmhouse in Ojai, Calif., which he purchased for $325,000. When selling five years later, Mr. Beckman, a 61-year-old retired landscape designer, asked $500,000—with both financial and emotional factors coming into play. It sat on the market for almost 1½ years, eventually selling for $242,000, far less than he and his wife, Mary, had wanted. “We didn’t even get a nibble at the asking price,” says Mr. Beckman. “Nobody cares what you paid for it.”

“Large gaps between the asking and sale price are somewhat uncommon, says Stan Humphries, chief economist at real-estate website Zillow. In May, median sale prices were only 3% lower than asking prices in 35 metro areas across the U.S., according to a Zillow analysis. Separately, real-estate agents surveyed by the National Association of Realtors said that only 3% of homes sold for less than 23% below the asking price in 2013; and only 2% of homes sold at 12% or more above asking price.

“Homes without comparable sales data often see the widest price gaps, says Prof. Seiler. If the property has historic value, for example, is set on a unique plot of land or has a one-of-a-kind design, it can be more difficult to price. Without comparables, “an appraiser will have no clue what a property is worth and a buyer wouldn’t know either,” he said.

GOING LOW Asking below market price can generate a ‘frenzy’ of offers—but doesn’t necessarily translate to a higher sale price. Comparable prices become less relevant when inventory in a desirable neighborhood is unusually low. “This creates a real feeding frenzy for real estate,” Mr. Humphries says.

No one claims to fully understand the psychology of pricing. But some common practices have emerged. For example, research has found that an exact asking price, such as $795,475, often indicates that the price is less negotiable than a round number, such as $800,000, Prof. Seiler says. “Those using precise pricing show confidence in the price,” he says. Additionally, pricing at $999,900 rather than $1 million influences buying decisions on a subconscious level. The home “seems way cheaper,” according to Prof. Seiler. And even when a home sells above asking price, the initial lower asking price can make buyers feel like they are getting a great deal. “The goal is to make it stick in your head that you’re getting a bargain,” he says. “It’s the way our brain looks at numbers.”

“Developer Sebastian Rein took that approach when he priced a home in the Mar Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles at $2.995 million—just $5,000 less than the intended $3 million price tag. The strategy got the property “a wider audience,” he says. The 4,400-square-foot home sold within a week at $3.1 million. “When you come to market, you have a month or six weeks before it starts to fade in people’s minds,” said Mr. Rein, who listed the property with L.A.-based Partners Trust. “There’s a velocity you have to achieve when you come to market.”

“Of course, unplanned events can sometimes trump price. This January, Karen and Curtis Spillers put their five-bedroom, 1910 home in Wilmette, Ill., on the market for $835,000, a price they considered aligned with the market. Then, a winter storm dumped close to a foot of snow on the ground during the open house. Despite the weather, over 100 people showed up, says Ms. Spillers, 53, a technology public-relations executive who bought the home almost 25 years ago. Within 24 hours, the couple had five offers, eventually accepting a $900,000 bid. They credit the timing: Coming on the market in January meant there was only one other home for sale in their Chicago suburb, which has highly rated schools. The couple, now living in St. Louis, didn’t expect to get a premium on their asking price. “We couldn’t have been happier with the results,” she said.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity August 22-29

SanCapAssnLogoSanibel

CONDOS

1 new listing: Sanibel Moorings #1622 2/2 $450K.

3 price changes: Sundial #C301 1/1 now $315K, Sanibel Arms West #M8 2/2 now $479.9K, Kimball Lodge #304 2/2 now $499K.

1 new sale: Tennisplace #A26 2/1.5 listed for $349,555.

2 closed sales: Mariner Pointe #711 3/2 $535K (our listing), Sundial #D101 3/2 $765K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 228 Hurricane Ln 3/2.5 $799K.

No price changes.

3 new sales: 989 Dixie Beach Blvd 3/2 listed for $595K, 1504 Angel Dr 4/3 listed for $745K, 1307 Seaspray Ln 4/3.5 listed for $1.595M.

2 closed sales: 1434 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $543K, 1225 Junonia St 3/2 $610K.

LOTS

1 new listing: 971 Main St $219.9K.

1 price change: 2411 Blue Crab Ct now $479K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Beach Villas #2511 2/2 now $575K.

1 new sale: Sunset Beach Villas #2332 2/2 listed for $699K.

No closed sales.

HOMES
Nothing to report.

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.

Best wishes for a great Labor Day weekend! If you want to talk Sanibel or Captiva real estate, please call The SanibelSusan Team (Susan, Dave, Lisa, & Elise)

The Islands Are Flowering Every Month, Including May


It is the end of another glorious week of sunny weather on Sanibel. Traffic has subsided and the islands are thinning out, but surprisingly, business again was brisk for us this week. Here are a few news items, followed the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service activity over the past seven days.

Here are some favorite island flowers to illustrate that with our Southwest Florida tropical weather, the islands of Sanibel and Captiva are colorful year-’round. Hope you like the one with the turtle.

No Realtor® Caravan This Week

Usually it is local “off season” signal when our Realtor® Caravans change from every Thursday to every other week. That off-season schedule began this week and probably will continue until November, or until business picks up again. Interestingly, for us at SanibelSusan Realty, however, this was another busy week.

I sold one of our lot listings to some European visitors, while an off-island Realtor® sold one of our condo listings. An offer on another condo is in the works, while our other two sales transactions (ready to close soon) are progressing well. All-in-all, it was another productive week, though unusual for this time of the year. All we can say is “keep it coming”.

Visit CROW’s New Visitor Center

On Monday evening, CROW (Clinic for Rehabilitation of Wildlife, Inc.) held an open house for island Realtors® at their new Healing Winds Visitor Center. Though I have been a long-time CROW member and supporter of this wonderful facility, it was my first opportunity to leisurely check out their new exhibits and talk to the new Hospital Director, Dr. Heather Barron. Dr. Heather joined their staff in January.

This special event was a follow-up to CROW Executive Director Steve Greenstein’s recent presentation to our Association membership. If you also have not recently visited CROW, please put it on your “do list”. I have some free passes to the Visitors Center and their daily (Tues through Sat) programs at 11 a.m. are continually changing as are the exhibits in the Center. Geared to educate adults and children alike, CROW’s offerings have greatly expanded during my 20 years on Sanibel as has their number of patients. If you plan to visit CROW during one of these 11 a.m. programs, consider a Friday, when they often have live animals in their cooperative presentation with partners from the Calusa Nature Center.

Is Florida’s Shadow Inventory a Rebound Threat?

This article was posted on Florida Realtors® on Tuesday. Note, the full report – The Distressed Property Market and Shadow Inventory in Florida: Estimates and Analysis – is available online.

“The term “shadow inventory” hangs over the real estate market, suggesting a thinly veiled catastrophe seen through the mist, just as the passengers of the Titanic watched an iceberg draw closer. However, a white paper written by Florida Realtors® Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo finds the fear of a shadow inventory overrated.
““The fear…is that the inventory of delinquent and foreclosed loans (will be released onto) an already weakened market,” says Tuccillo. “(But) the reality, even in Florida where distressed properties make up a significant portion of the market, appears to be different.” Tuccillo says lenders have no reason to flood the real estate market with more homes if doing so would drive prices down and impact the lender’s profit. While some observers worry that lenders were holding back on purpose, Tuccillo says that’s not so – that the large number of distressed properties on hold was “largely the result of confusion over the rules of the game, and thus missteps by the lenders.”
“In conducting an analysis, Florida Realtors® Research looked at data from MLSs around the state and data provided by CoreLogic, a statistical analysis company. “We looked at the recent history of distressed property listings and transactions relative to normal market data, as well as estimates for the shadow inventory, and came to some conclusions about the likely course (for the) future,” says Tuccillo.
“Conclusions
• Florida remains one of the nation’s hardest hit states for distressed property sales.
• Distressed property sales and listings have declined since late 2010, except for single-family-home short sales.
• Average prices for distressed and normal property sales have been stabilizing.
• In general, Realtors and lenders have learned how to cope with distressed properties in a way that stabilizes the market.
• Florida’s highest percentage of distressed property (compared to total listings) occurs in the I-4 corridor and Southeast Florida; the lowest percentages occur in Northwest Florida.
• Currently, Florida’s shadow inventory was 550,000 units at the end of 2011, a decline of about 9% from its peak in the first quarter of 2010.
• Currently, the flow of new seriously delinquent (90 days or more) loans moving into the shadow inventory is offset by the roughly equal flow of distressed sales (short sales and REOs).
• The number of foreclosures and REOs was significantly lower in February of 2012 than one year earlier, suggesting slower shadow inventory growth.
“Tuccillo predicts that distressed properties will be a significant feature of the Florida real estate market over the next ten years, but it will be considered just one property type a buyer can consider – one that has its own unique sales techniques and documentation.”

Update on Citizens (Wind) Property Insurance

An article in the Miami Herald on Tuesday offered the following:

Citizens Seeks Fewer Customers, Higher Premiums – Citizens Property Insurance has some new ambitious goals: Move as many as 678,000 policyholders out of state-run insurance and once again become the “insurer of last resort.” Its strategy: Enact a flurry of policy changes that will undoubtedly raise premiums and reduce coverage for thousands. Citizens which unveiled the aggressive “depopulation” plan this month in a revised budget proposal, says it is doing so to prevent statewide financial havoc in the wake of a major hurricane. “Citizens has the ability to levy assessments (hurricane taxes) on almost all Florida policyholders in the event of a deficit after a storm,” spokeswoman Christine Ashburn said in an email. “The long term goal will continue to be returning policies to the private market, which is ultimately how we can reduce the reliance on assessments.”
“But some homeowners have already been impacted by the first wave of Citizens’ campaign to drastically reduce its size and shore up its finances. Patricia Temple, of Coral Gables, is bracing for a $2,150 premium increase this year, after Citizens sent an inspector to her home and decided her payments were too low. “I have to do what I have to do because I (can) not be without insurance,” said Temple, who is 79 and retired. “But I don’t understand how they can do this if the Legislature put in a 10% cap on rate increases.” Temple became a Citizens client after Liberty Mutual, her insurer of 50 years, dropped her. Though she says she has not made a property insurance claim in five decades, Citizens raised her rates by 50%.
“Stories like Temple’s are echoed by thousands of policyholders who say they’ve seen costs suddenly spike despite never making a claim or experiencing hurricane damage. Under a sweeping re-inspection program, Citizens has sent inspectors to 158,000 buildings in the last two years. As inspectors check roofs and windows, more often than not, they find something that translates into higher premiums, with an average increase of nearly $900. Another 209,000 inspections are scheduled for this year, and Citizens recently proposed a new $50,000 contract for a new study of wind mitigation credits. The study is likely to lead to premium increases, and Citizens board member John Rollins indicated the return on investment for the study would be measured in millions of dollars.
“Sean Shaw, founder of Policyholders of Florida, said that money will ultimately come out of the pocket of hard-working homeowners, who are paying more for less coverage. “People are at such a disadvantage when Citizens does this,” he said. “It’s like they’re treating people like data points.”
“Despite recent moves to reduce wind mitigation credits and raise rates on sinkhole coverage, Citizens has not experienced any significant reduction in size (the insurer swelled from 800,000 policies in 2007 to more than 1.4 million today). Citizens’ depopulation push will soon go into overdrive, with several hard-charging coverage changes set to kick in over the next 18 months. Ideally, Citizens would like to shrink by 45% to 794,308 policies in the very near future.
“With private insurers still wary about the Florida market, it’s not clear where 678,000 current policyholders will go for coverage when contracts end with Citizens. Citizens’ theory is that its artificially low rates discourage private insurers by making the market uncompetitive. It’s banking on more private insurers picking up the slack as it depopulates.
“Here are a few of the changes that begin Tuesday for Citizens policyholders:
• Homeowners who need to join Citizens will have to submit written proof that there is no private insurer able to provide affordable coverage for their home.
• Citizens will no longer offer Builders’ risk insurance for new homes.
• Coverage for carports, screened enclosures and fences will end for renewal policies.
• The personal liability coverage limit will decline from $300,000 to $100,000.
“The push to depopulate is set to intensify in the months ahead, and those with Citizens coverage can expect to be impacted by at least one of several policy changes being proposed. Among them:
• Uncapping rates for new policies, causing new policyholders to pay as much as 50% more than existing customers for similar coverage.
• Requiring new electrical and plumbing inspections for older homes.
• Requiring new inspections and likely higher premiums in sinkhole-prone counties.
• Increasing deductibles for “all other perils” coverage.
“Most of the changes are being enacted without the Legislature, which this year declined to pass major property insurance reform. With hurricane season set to begin in a month, Citizens says it must tamp down its level of risk in order to avoid financial calamity for all consumers. While the company has been able to build up a surplus of more than $6 billion during a 6-year streak without a major storm, financial models show that a large hurricane this year could wipe out those funds and other resources. That would lead to assessments for Citizens’ customers and potentially for all insurance policyholders in the state. That’s why the Citizens board of directors, with the support of Gov. Rick Scott, is trying to attract private insurers back into the market by shrinking Citizens as quickly as possible.
““It is important that Citizens work towards having adequate rates to reduce the likelihood of assessments on all Florida policyholders,” said Ashburn. Some say those private insurers are never coming back, particularly in the state’s high-risk areas where it doesn’t make financial sense to underwrite homes. “We’d all love to see the depopulation of Citizens, but guess what? The private companies are not coming back to this area,” Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, told Citizens’ executives last week. “Please, please, leave the people alone that are struggling.””

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity April 27- May 4

 
Sanibel
CONDOS
2 new listings: Sealoft Village #106 2/2 $559K, Compass Point #203 2/2 $599K.
10 price changes: Lighthouse Point #217 3/2 now $339K, Blind Pass #C110 2/2 now $399.9K, Sea Pines #D 3/3 now $469K, Sundial #I103 1/1 now $485K, Sea Pines #E 3/3 now $579K, Pelicans Roost #104 2/2 now $599.8K, Heron at The Sanctuary III #1B 3/2.5 now $615K, Heron at The Sanctuary II #2A 2/2.5 now $619K, Compass Point #181 2/3 now $997K, High Tide #B202 2/2 now $1.447.5M.
7 new sales: Sundial #B207 1/1 listed for $299K, Lighthouse Point #332 2/2 listed for $474K (our listing), Kings Crown #211 3/2 listed for $599K, Sand Pointe #132 2/2 listed for $599K, Tarpon Beach #101 2/2 listed for $619K, Tarpon Beach #104 2/2 listed for $679K, Nutmeg Village #108 2/2 listed for $795K.
11 closed sales: Seashells #29 2/2 $300K, Blind Pass #G201 2/2 $334K, Sundial #B402 1/1 $340K, Sundial #H402 2/2 $430K, Sanibel Arms West #J3 2/2 $400K, Sanibel Arms West #L6 2/2 $425K, Sealoft Village #108 2/2 $483K, Sand Pointe #211 2/2 $559.5K, Oceans Reach #1C1 2/2 $722.6K, Atrium #105 2/2 $945K, Junonia #301 3/2 $1.5M.
 
HOMES
6 new listings: 1649 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex $415K; 2166 Egret Cir 3/2 $559,555; 740 Durion Ct 3/2 $599K; 673 East Rocks Dr 3/2 $629K; 1230 Par View Dr 3/2.5 $749,999; 919 Almas Ct 3/2.5 $1,199,999.
10 price changes: 1663 Bunting Ln 3/2 now $344K (short sale), 1702 Sand Pebble Way 3/2.5 now $399K, 490 Elizabeth Rd 2/2 now $413K, 940 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2.5 now $569K, 1271 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 now $609K, 1339 Par View Dr 3/2 now $667.5K, 1516 Angel Dr 3/2 now $899K, 5427 Osprey Ct 3/3.5 now $1.195M, 660 Anchor Dr 4/4 now $1.925M, 780 Birdie View Pt 5/4.5 now $1,999,999.
7 new sales: 1433 Jamaica Dr 5/4 duplex listed for $439K, 4210 Old Banyan Way 3/2 listed for $595K, 1208 Harbour Cottage Ct 3/3 half-duplex listed for $699K, 862 Beach Rd 3/2 listed for $999K, 1690 Sabal Palm Dr 4/3 listed for $1.595M, 5391 Shearwater Dr 3/3.5 listed for $1.649M, 3864 West Gulf Dr 4/5.5 listed for $2.188M.
6 closed sales: 1430 Sandpiper Cir 3/3 half-duplex $406K, 237 Daniel Dr 3/2 $522K, 2624 Coconut Dr 2/1 $656.7K, 1234 Seagrape Ln 3/2 $679K, 1537 Sand Castle Rd 4/3 $740K, 836 Sand Dollar Dr 3/2/2 $1.025M.
 
LOTS
No new listings.
4 price changes: 9211 Dimmick Dr now $137,555; 1894 Farm Trl now $283,555; 4636 Rue Royale now $659K; 6401 Pine Ave now $699K.
1 new sales: 1120 Olga Ave listed for $299K (our listing).
1 closed sale:  4077 Coquina Dr $215K.
 
Captiva
CONDOS
1 new listing: Gulf Beach Villas #2128 3/2 $895K.
1 price change: Captiva Bay Villas #D 3/3.5 now $2.995M.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: Lands End Village #1610 3/3 $1.8M.
 
HOMES
No new listings.
1 price change: 11490 Dickey Ln 3/2 now $849K.
No 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 the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions. If your property currently is listed with another broker, this is not intended as a solicitation of that listing.

Spring Things on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


It is the end of yet another fun-filled seven days at SanibelSusan Realty.

Island Real Estate Happenings

We had good showing activity at our listings again this week, though no offers. I wrote one, but it is a work in progress. You will notice from the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service report below that the island price war continues. Over the past seven days, there were 27 Sanibel price reductions, nine new Sanibel listings, and 13 new Sanibel sales, so that, to a degree, is progress. 

March Realtor® Membership Meeting

At our monthly Realtor® Meeting yesterday, Steve Greenstein, Executive Director of CROW (Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife), updated members on happenings at the clinic. Since CROW began here 44 years ago when a local resident rescued an injured royal tern found on a roadway, it has evolved into the premier facility that it is today. 

With the mission to “save wildlife through compassion, care and education”, CROW operates on a 12.5-acre campus at 3883 Sanibel Captiva Road. Guided by a volunteer board of directors and full- and part-time staff members, more than 250 volunteers support CROW programming, participating in everything from rescue, animal transportation and patient care to visitor education, facilities maintenance, event coordination and administrative duties.

Each year, CROW cares for nearly 5,000 sick, injured and orphaned wildlife patients in its veterinary hospital, which is one of the nations leading rehabilitation facilities for native and migratory animals. The hospital director, Dr. Heather Barron, is one of fewer than 200 nationally-boarded specialists in avian medicine. Her background also includes work as Medical Director for The Cayman Turtle Farm (which has more than 4,000 turtles). What a perfect match she is for our wildlife here.

In addition to treating some 200 different species of birds, mammals, and reptiles annually, CROW operates educational externship and fellowship programs for undergraduate natural sciences and veterinary medicine students. For post-graduate students, their annual internship program offers hands-on experience in clinical care and rehabilitation, as well as rescue and release.

For the public, CROW hosts a diverse array of wildlife presentations, special events and interactive activities on a year-round basis. The 4,800-sq. ft. Healing Winds Visitor Education Center opened in 2009 with interactive educational displays and live webcams that immerse visitors in the patient rehab process and spotlight animals treated by CROW staff, students and volunteers. Here’s a link to their website: www.crowclinic.org

Sanibel Fish House

On the local restaurant scene, the new “Sanibel Fish House” opened this week. It is in the previous location of McT’s which closed some time ago. The building has been renovated top-to-bottom and remodeled in bright tropical Key West-style decor – definitely island casual. Dave and I have had lunch there and can attest that the salads are affordable and good. The dinner menu looks yummy too. The new owners have similar Fish Houses on both Fort Myers Beach and Bonita Beach, so are well versed in seafood. Here’s a link to their website www.thefishhouserestaurants.com.

For Sanibel Bikers

The new pavilion on Periwinkle Way, between Huxter’s Market and She Sells Sea Shells, is nearly complete. The Sanibel Island Bike Club is in the process of creating what will be a Bicycle Visitors Welcome and Information Center there. When complete, the 15′ x 12′ pavilion will have a map showing Sanibel’s bike paths, info on natural areas (courtesy of the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation), details on the site’s history as well as other island locations (courtesy of the Sanibel Museum & Historic Village), a bike rack for parking (donated by Billy’s Bike Rentals), benches (donated by the Lion’s Club); and a water fountain. In addition to these cooperative efforts, the project is being funded by donated materials to support the project.

The idea reportedly originated with local resident, Dick Muench, who owns the land. Some years ago, he offered to donate the site for the building of a gazebo or similar structure, and that bit of generosity eventually prompted the Bike Club to tackle the project, which was significantly bolstered by Sanibel’s former Beautification Committee which closed operations last year, but made a major contribution to Sanibel Bike Club’s “Trails in Motion” fund.

Sanibel was one of the first cities in America to incorporate municipal bike paths within its infrastructure, and it is expected that these will only increase in popularity as new generations of bike riders emerge in the community. The Sanibel Bike Club has been a long advocate for use of those paths – with each bicycle meaning one less car to slow the flow of traffic on Periwinkle.

Martha Stewart Talks About the Sanibel Shell Fair

Sailor's Valentine by Sandy Moran
Note the Nantucket basket

Several days ago on the Martha Stewart TV Show, Martha and Hannah Milman, her Holidays and Crafts Editor, created a beach-inspired paperweight using shells. Hannah attends the Sanibel Shell Show and Fair each year. During the segment, she talked about our island friend and client, Sandy Moran, who creates many of her world-famous sailors’ valentines in the property we sold her here on the island.

This TV segment highlighted some of Sandy’s work as well as other winners from the Artistic Division of the juried 75th Shell Show, as well as other Sanibel shell crafters. The Shell Fair and Show begins the first Wednesday each March. We are already looking forward to the 76th event on March 7, 8, and 9, 2013 at The Sanibel Community House. The video can be found at: www.marthastewart.com/898281/shell-paperweight-craft, while detailed instructions for making the paperweight are at www.marthastewart.com/898099/shell-paperweight

Here’s a link to Sandy’s web site too – with more photos of her sailors’ valentines.

Home Improvement Trends

The following article posted on Florida Realtors® this week is particularly timely for the beginning of spring.

“Continuing uncertainty in the real estate market has homeowners asking a major question as the market warms this spring: Is it smarter to move or to improve?

“Cost is the driving factor behind home improvement projects again this year, and many owners want to choose projects that provide the biggest return on investment. Power Home Remodeling Group, one of the nation’s largest home remodeling companies, empowers homeowners to get the biggest bang for their home-improvement buck this spring, whether updating a home to increase its resale value or infusing the place with some personality to create your dream home.

““Giving your home some added curb appeal with an exterior makeover will automatically boost the resale value of your property,” says Jeff Kaliner of Power Home Remodeling Group, “If you plan to stay put, focus on cost-effective renovations that make your home more comfortable, functional and low maintenance for your family.”

“Cost-effective home improvements
• Energize the exterior. Exterior home improvements are still king when it comes to return on investment this year. Projects like updating siding, window replacement and refreshing entry doors have a dramatic effect on a home’s curb appeal for a relatively low-cost. Seven of the top 10 home improvement projects for 2012 are exterior projects garnering anywhere from 69 to 78% return on investment – the highest of any other projects this year.
• Choose bold and bright finishes. Fiberglass entry and garage doors are a popular alternative to their pricey wooden counterparts in 2012. A fiberglass door is weather resistant, durable and, above all, maintenance free. The material allows owners to achieve the stylish look of an elegant craftsman or rustic design with decorative glass at a fraction of the price. Bright, bold exterior colors are also popular this year. Make curb appeal pop by choosing a shade of tangerine, yellow or deep purple for an entry door.
• Energy efficiency is still supreme. The top green home trend for 2012 is renovating to reduce a home’s heating and cooling costs. Making the most of empty attic space by adding a bedroom, or at least finishing it with insulation, is a way to keep conditioned air from escaping through the roof. Updating the attic is this year’s third most cost-effective home improvement, garnering a 72% return on investment.”

U.S. Makes $25 Billion Profit on Mortgage Securities

An article posted earlier this week on Florida Realtors®, came from washingtonpost.com, Zachary A. Goldfarb:

“The Obama administration announced Monday that taxpayers made $25 billion in profit on a program to keep mortgage interest rates down in the wake of the 2008 meltdown in financial markets.
“Building on efforts that began under President George W. Bush, the Obama administration took a number of steps to keep the mortgage market operating after the real estate market crashed, including providing unlimited financial support to mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and buying $225 billion in securities backed by mortgage loans.

“The $25 billion profit came from the sale of these mortgage-backed securities and underscores the administration’s success in winding down some of the emergency programs undertaken during the financial crisis. The vast majority of banks that received aid from taxpayers, for instance, have paid back the investments with interest, and the auto industry is continuing to show strength after it was bailed out.

“Although government efforts helped make sure borrowers could continue to get affordable financing to buy homes during the recession, other elements of the administration’s response to the housing crisis have proved less favorable for taxpayers and existing homeowners.

“Fannie and Freddie, for example, are expected to cost taxpayers more than $100 billion in the end, with little hope of that money being paid back. And the administration’s efforts to help homeowners have fallen far short of its expectations. Only $3.44 billion of the $50 billion the administration pledged to spend to help homeowners has been disbursed over the past three years.

“In supporting the housing market, the Treasury Department bought $225 billion of mortgage-backed securities in 2008 and 2009. The purchases channeled money into the mortgage markets, helping to reduce the interest rates of home loans.

“The program came after interest rates on home loans spiked in the wake of the 2008 crisis and doubts arose over whether investors around the world would continue to invest in U.S. mortgages.

“The Federal Reserve launched a much larger and significant program, and now owns about $846 billion in mortgage-backed securities.

“Treasury began to wind down its portfolio in March 2011 after concluding its mortgage purchase program was no long necessary.

““The successful sale of these securities marks another important milestone in the wind down of the government’s emergency financial crisis response efforts,” said Mary Miller, assistant Treasury secretary for financial markets. “This program helped support the housing market during a critical moment for our nation’s economy and delivered a substantial profit for taxpayers,” she said.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity March 16-23

Sanibel
CONDOS
4 new listings: Colonnades #12 1/1 $169K, Sandpiper Beach #205 2/2 $599K, Sundial #E208 2/2 $849K, Snug Harbor #121 2/2 $1.195M.
9 price changes: Sundial #G107 1/1 now $239.9K, Blind Pass #D205 2/2 now $305.6K (short sale), Mariner Pointe #1092 2/2 now $349.9K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #3-2 3/3 now $450K, Mariner Pointe #842 2/2 now $485K, Loggerhead Cay #583 2/2 now $549K, Sundial #Q301 2/2 now $595K, Loggerhead Cay #521 2/2 now $595K, Pointe Santo #C32 2/2 now $695K.
10 new sales: Lake Palms #9 2/2.5 listed for $217K (short sale), Coquina Beach #5A 2/2 listed for $304K, Coquina Beach #4G 2/2 listed for $405K, Sundial #H402 2/2 listed for $449K, Sandalfoot #3D1 2/2 listed for $449.9K, Sandalfoot #3C3 2/2 listed for $519K, Mariner Pointe #131 3/2 listed for $549K, Sanibel Surfside #234 2/2 listed for $649K, Atrium #105 2/2 listed for $990K, Sundial #T306 3/2 listed for $995K.
5 closed sales: Sundial #H108 1/1 $235K, Tennisplace #C23 2/1.5 $255K, Nutmeg Village #211 2/2 $503K, Nutmeg Village #310 2/2 $521K, Wedgewood #203 3/3.5 $1.825M.

HOMES
5 new listings: 2066 Wild Lime Dr 2/1 $379K; 1125 Captains Walk St 2/2 $539K; 564 Hideaway Ct 3/2 $649,555; 1731 Venus Dr 3/2 $949K; 2735 Wulfert Rd 4/5 $1.249M.
16 price changes: 458 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 now $409K; 3812 Coquina Dr 3/2 now $425K; 731 Nerita St 3/2 now $499K; 1400 Albatross Rd 3/3 now $525K; 967 Beach Rd 2/2 half-duplex now $555K; 4210 Old Banyan Way 3/2 now $595K; 707 Cardium St 4/3.5 now $599K; 1339 Par View Dr 3/2 now $676.5K; 542 N Yachtsman Dr 2/2 now $699K (our listing); 1308 Tahiti Dr 3/3 now $699K; 1433 Sanderling Cir 4/3 now $799,999; 1244 Par View Dr 4/3 now $888.9K; 1570 Sand Castle Rd 4/3.5 now $899K (short sale); 5427 Osprey Ct 3/3.5 now $1.195M; 1743 Venus Dr 4/3.5 now $1.199M; 1878 Woodring Rd 3/2.5 now $2.39M.
2 new sales: 1755 Jewel Box Dr 3/2 listed for $599K, 4949 Joewood Dr 5/5 listed for $2.775M.
1 closed sale
: 598 Kinzie Island Ct 3/3.5 $1.475M.

LOTS
No new listings.
2 price changes: 1450 Tahiti Dr now $249,555; Lot 7 West Gulf Dr now $1.45M.
1 new sale: 2251 Starfish Ln listed for $339K.
1 closed sale: 335 East Gulf Dr $237K.

Captiva
CONDOS
No new listings or price changes.
3 new sales: Bayside Villas #4319 3/3 listed for $559K, Seabreeze #1251 3/3 listed for $1.649M, Beach Homes #15 4/3 listed for $1.995M.
No closed sales.

HOMES
No new listings.
2 price changes: 11516 Andy Rosse Ln 6/6 now $2.295M, 16838 Captiva Dr 6/7.5 now $6.25M.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: 15351 Captiva Dr 5/4 $2.4M.

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 the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions. If your property currently is listed with another broker, this is not intended as a solicitation of that listing.

Plenty of Real Estate Action This Week on Sanibel Island


Photo courtesy of Jim Anderson, JMA Photography

Good news with several gulf-front high-end Sanibel sales announced at our Sanibel and Captiva Islands Association of Realtors Caravan meeting yesterday. We finally are “in season” with a noticeable increase in real estate activity. Now we begin dealing with the obstacles of selling real estate when the islands are busy: i.e. making appointments and convincing renters to allow showings when properties are occupied, competing with the weather when it is a beautiful day (and prospective buyers are out having fun rather than looking at real estate), jockeying for keys with other Realtors®, and the like. Makes the job fun! Today, we have bright blue sunny skies with temps expected to reach 79 degrees, followed by the low 80’s every day right into next week. Truly a terrific time to be here, looking at property, and usually when properties show best!

Florida Realtors® Posts Housing Market Indicators

As someone who reads nearly every real estate article that I can get my hands on, I have found it especially useful to watch the statistics that Florida Realtors® posts on line every week. These are not specific to the islands but the overall trend has been good. 

Florida existing home sales: (month-to-previous-year comparison) +11%

Florida existing condo sales: (month-to-previous-year comparison) +2%

Florida existing home median price: $130,100

Florida existing condo median price: $86,700

National existing home sales: (month-to-previous-month comparison; all housing types) +4%

National existing home median price: $164,200

National (Freddie Mac) mortgage rate: (all housing types) 3.89%

The SCCF Signs Are Clean

Here are a couple of photos taken yesterday of Dave and Lisa when they represented The SanibelSusan Team in helping perform a community service chore. Thanks to our islands Realtor® Association, all of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) signs, which designate the many island conservation areas, are now spiffed up.

Dave and Lisa were tasked to cleaned both the main SCCF entrance sign on Sanibel-Captiva Road and the nearby Habitat Management sign. Nice job!

The plan is for specific Realtors to adopt individual signs so that they will attend to their clearing year-round so that they will always be sparkling. Yet another good cooperative effort that makes island ambience so special. Sanibel and Captiva residents, visitors, and business folks are known for being down-to-earth and helping-each-other. Love that community spirit!

If You Are Lucky Enough to Be Here

Be sure to click the “upcoming events” tab above for the schedule of island happenings. There are many new events this year. SCCF, BIG ARTS, CROW, and others have expanded their programs. Almost makes a girl wish that she wasn’t working; but there are plenty of evening events too.  Community chorus is back in full swing and practicing hard for our upcoming spring concert March 22. There already is talk that it will be a sell-out so a second performance is being considered. Tickets go on sale soon.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity January 6-13

Sanibel
CONDOS
5 new listings: Sundial #D305 1/1 $269K (short sale), Heron at The Sanctuary II #3B 2/2.5 $609K, Pine Cove #102 3/2 $879K, Sanctuary Golf Villages #4 3/3 $948K, Pine Cove #104 3/2 $1.35M.
8 price changes: Seashells #26 2/2 now $274K, Beach Road Villa #106 2/2 now $295K, Sanibel Arms West #K3 2/2 now $399K, Sanctuary Golf Villages #3-2 3/3 now $499K, Sand Pointe #211 2/2 now $619K, Pointe Santo #A21 2/2 now $769K, Signal Inn #18 2/2 now $889K, Gulfside Place #319 2/2 now $974K (our listing).
6 new sales: Sanibel Moorings #1512 2/2 listed for $429K, Sanibel Arms West #I8 2/2 listed for $449K, Seawind II #5 2/2.5 listed for $599K, Gulf Beach #207 2/2 listed for $719K, Gulfside Place #318 2/2 listed for $1.1M, Wedgewood #203 3/3.5 listed for $1.95M. 
3 closed sales: Sundial #G206 1/1 $260K; Sand Pointe #133 2/2 $534,285 (short sale); Gulfside Place #104 3/2 $1.129.5M.
 
HOMES
8 new listings: 1430 Sandpiper Cir 2/3 half-duplex $446,225; 1750 Dixie Beach Blvd 3/2.5 $629K (short sale); 1308 Tahiti Dr 3/3 $789K; 667 Anchor Dr 4/3.5 $995K; 960 Victoria Way 3/3 $1.095M; 2279 Troon Ct 3/4 $1.495M; 547 Kinzie Island Ct 5/5.5 $1.775M; 4203 Dingman Dr 4/3 $2.595M.
7 price changes:  293 Palm Lake 3/2 now $479K, 220 Southwinds Dr 2/2 now $499K (our listing), 569 Lighthouse Way 3/3 now $1.05M, 1765 Venus Dr 3/3 now $1.199M, 568 Lighthouse Way 2/2 now $1.4M, 4781 Tradewinds Dr 3/2 now $1.839M, 1918 Woodring Rd 4/4 now $2.799M.
12 new sales: 1133 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed for $499K, 5657 SanCap Rd 3/2 listed for $545K, 480 Peachtree Rd 3/3 listed for $549K, 210 Daniel Dr 3/3 listed for $549K (our listing), 947 Lindgren Blvd 3/2 listed for $749K, 1537 Sand Castle Rd 4/3 listed for $774K, 1360 Eagle Run Dr 5/3.5 listed for $900K (short sale), 913 Kings Crown Dr 4/3 listed for $995K, 730 Birdie View Pt 3/2.5 listed for $1.35M, 5029 Joewood Dr 3/2 listed for $1.985M, 5045 Joewood Dr 3/3.5 listed for $2.295M, 3805 West Gulf Dr 4/4.5 listed for $4.495M.
4 closed sales: 683 Emeril Ct 2/2 $440K, 3145 Twin Lakes Ln 3/3 $444K, 1057 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $625K, 784 Birdie View Pt 4/4 $1.5M.
 
LOTS
No new listings.
1 price change: 1114 Seagrape Ln now $475K.
1 new sale: 2285 Wulfert Rd listed for $139K (short sale).
1 closed sale: 1912 Ibis Ln $225K.
 
Captiva
CONDOS
1 new listing: Lands End Village #1664 3/3 $1.597.9M.
No price changes.
1 new sale: Lands End Village #1651 2/2 listed for $975K.
No closed sales.
 
HOMES
2 new listings: 15879 Captiva Dr 3/3 $2.498M, 15867 Captiva Dr 4/4.5 $3.498M.
1 price change: 16730 Captiva Dr 5/4.5 now $4.95M.
1 new sale: 16205 Captiva Dr 4/4 listed for $1.975M (foreclosure).
2 closed sales:  51 Oster Ct 2/2.4 $685K, 16891 Captiva Dr 3/2 $1.3M.
 
LOTS
No new listings.
2 price changes: 1114 Schefflera Ct now $498K, 13470 Palmflower Ln now $869K.
No new or closed sales.

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 the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions. If your property currently is listed with another broker, this is not intended as a solicitation of that listing.

Until next Friday, here’s hoping your days are as bright as our forecast on sunny Sanibel Island, :-) SanibelSusan

Fall “Really” Has Come to Sanibel & Captiva Islands


Heading to the Sanibel Lighthouse this afternoon

After hair-raising rainstorms on Monday and Tuesday as a couple of what the weathermen called “cool fronts” passed through the area, Sanibel and Captiva weather finally cleared yesterday. Today the skies are bright with temperatures now in the high 60s. Right through the weekend, island temperatures are supposed to reach daytime highs of only 76 degrees. Yippee! Now begin the very best six months of weather in Southwest Florida – when we watch the up-north forecasts, grin, and look forward to more business.
 

This is the pond just inside Casa Ybel resort between the parking area & Thistle Lodge

(These photos were taken this afternoon and show the residual effects of the extra rain in the ponds at Casa Ybel Resort – more water in them than normal for this time of the year.)

This is the pond just inside Casa Ybel resort between the parking area & Thistle Lodge

Tarpon Bay Explorers

The events during “Ding” Darling Days this week and which wind up tomorrow were a good reminder of the many eco-tours offered through Tarpon Bay Explorers at the end of Tarpon Bay Road and overlooking the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Here is a quick summary:

  • Kayak Tours – kayak with a naturalist through the mangrove forest along the Commodore Creek water trail. Learn about the rich back-bay ecosystem and the wildlife that lives there. Or, go as the sun goes down on a paddle to the Rookery Islands when hundreds of birds – egrets, herons, ibis, cormorants, and pelicans – come to roost for the night. Also a great vantage point for witnessing those famous Sanibel sunsets.
  • Nature Cruises – Aboard a quiet environmentally-friendly covered pontoon boat, these cruises offer a way to observe the rookery islands and birds, the mangrove estuary, and the refuge while looking for dolphins and manatees. Breakfast, daytime, and evening cruises usually are available.
  • Refuge Tram Tour – Accompanied by experienced naturalists to help you spot wildlife, these tours follow the road through the Refuge, meandering past tidal mudflats and mangrove forests. Expect to spot roseate spoonbills, white ibis, herons, egrets, pelicans, osprey, and other colorful birds feeding, resting, and preening. The presentations include fascinating tales of the Calusa Indians and the early days of the Sanibel and south Florida.
  • Also available are fishing charters; pontoon, kayak, canoe, and bicycle rentals, plus a nature-inspired gift shop.

Do’s & Don’ts for Great Customer Service

One of the best compliments that SanibelSusan Realty receives on our “feedback” forms that Elise mails out after transactions are closed, is that our customer service is top notch. There was a recent Realtor® magazine article that sums up the “do’s” and “don’ts” of customer service. It fits the bill:

DO…

…ask clients questions about their goals, needs, and dreams.

…be proactive. Call clients before they call you.

…what you say you will do – and more.

…be a problem-solver.

…keep a list of service providers such as handymen and cleaners.

…ask for feedback at the end of every transaction.

…keep smiling.

DON’T…

…let web sites, e-mail, and other technology substitute for personal contact.

…prospect until after your customer care tasks are done.

…be available 24/7. It is OK to set reasonable limits.

…worry that you are wasting your time.

 

Another New Sanibel Event

Osprey photo taken by Jim Anderson of JMA Photography

Be sure to check our “Upcoming Events” tab above for the many happenings already scheduled this winter. This list keeps getting longer…and longer. Another one was added this week when the Clinic for Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) announced a new event to coincide with the start of osprey breeding season. Did you know that ospreys return to the islands in the fall? Much like the snowbirds they come back to get their nests in order and settle in for the winter and spring. In Southwest Florida, ospreys start incubating their eggs in mid-January, so CROW this year has decided to celebrate these wonderful birds with a new event called “OspreyFest”. It will be on January 15 and features CROW’s “Story of Ospreys” presented by Sanibel’s former mayor and founder of the International Osprey Foundation, “Bird” Westall; Claudia Burns, longtime CROW volunteer; and Dave Horton, illustrator of “Look Who’s Flying”, an educational coloring book about ospreys and creator of the Hortoons seen in many island locations. Space is limited at Sanibel’s historic Island Inn, so sign up early for the 4:30 p.m. festivities which also include a silent auction of osprey-related items and a three-course dinner. All proceeds will go toward the care and feeding of wildlife patients at CROW.

Osprey nest on the road to the Sanibel Lighthouse

(The osprey nest shown here is on the road leading to the Sanibel Lighthouse. Look closely and you will see the osprey that just landed on the nest as I was passing by today. The close-up osprey photo is courtesy of Jim Anderson with JMA Photography. Jim takes many of our listing photos and provided us with this one when he filmed the osprey nest just opposite our listing at Seashells of Sanibel #37, which is available for $274,000. A great price considering the special view!)

BaileyFest on Sunday

Photo from BaileyFest 2010

If you are in town, be sure to catch BaileyFest at Bailey’s Shopping Center on Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. The Sanibel School fifth grade essay winners on “Why Sanibel Is Special To Me” have already been crowned King and Queen and will be riding wearing all of their regalia in a mule-drawn carriage. There will be plenty of food, drink, family fun, and entertainment including the Country Rhythm Cloggers who have performed at Dollywood and DisneyWorld, local vocalist Frank Tornio singing Frank Sinatra and Tom Jones tunes, our local pal Jennifer Valiquette on sax, The Sanibel School Band, the Kellyn Celtic Arts Irish Dance Academy, and the BIG ARTS Sanibel Chorus. Chorus has only had one practice since last spring – and it was during the big rain storms on Tuesday night – so we may not be back to true form but will give our best at 2 p.m. singing “Hey, Look Me Over”, “Va Pensiero”, and the Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole version of “Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World”.

Sanibel & Captiva MLS Activity October 14-21

Sanibel
CONDOS
6 new listings: Spanish Cay #D6 2/2 $329K, Sundial #H308 1/1 $395K, Loggerhead Cay #332 2/2 $425K, Island Beach Club #320F 2/2 $429K, Sandpiper Beach #103 2/2 $595K, White Pelican #111 2/2 $1.085M.
5 price changes: Sanibel Arms West #K3 2/2 now $448K, Seawind #109 2/2 now $479.5K, Sandpiper Beach #303 2/2 now $610K, Gulf Beach #207 2/2 now $739K, Sayana #202 now $869K.
3 new sales: Sanibel Arms #E6 1/1 listed for $214.9K; Sanibel Moorings #1312 2/2 listed for $399,999, Loggerhead Cay #174 2/2 listed for $749K.
2 closed sales: Mariner Pointe #1062 2/2 $279K, Sayana #302 2/2 $865K.
 
HOMES
3 new listings: 5745 Pine Tree Dr 2/1 $435K, 1236 Par View Dr 3/2.5 $794.9K, 413 Bella Vista Way 4/4 $1.95M.
11 price changes: 9239 Kincaid Ct 2/2 now $249K; 1212 Middle Gulf Dr 2/2 now $339K; 1647 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex now $369K; 3145 Twin Lakes Ln 3/3 now $479,974; 987 Black Skimmer Way 2/2 now $555K; 1287 Par View Dr 3/2 now $789.9K; 1433 Sanderling Cir 4/3 now $799.9K; 913 Kings Crown Dr 4/3 now $1.249M; 660 Anchor Dr 4/4 now $1.949M; 4701 Rue Belle Mer 4/4 now $2.65M; 1290 Isabel Dr 6/4.5 now $4.499M.
6 new sales: 1046 Sand Castle Rd 2/2 listed for $395K, 480 Peachtree Rd 3/3 listed for $549K, 1538 Royal Poinciana Dr 3/3 listed for $685K (short sale), 1182 Kittiwake Cir 3/3 listed for $719.9K, 1251 Seagrape Ln 3/3 listed for $2.196M, 3577 West Gulf Dr 3/3.5 listed for $3.325M.
3 closed sales: 998 Greenwood Ct 3/2.5 half-duplex $300K, 5659 SanCap Rd 2/2 $525K, 4628 Rue Belle Mer 3/3 $687.5K.
 
LOTS
1 new listing: 1450 Tahiti Dr $269,555.
No price changes or new/closed sales.
 
Captiva
CONDOS
No new listings.
1 price change: Beach Villas #2516 1/1 now $449K.
No new or closed sales.
 
HOMES
No new listings.
6 price changes: 53 Sandpiper Ct 2/2.5 now $679K, 11521 Laika Ln 3/3 now $1.445M, 16205 Captiva Dr 4/4 now $1.975M (foreclosure), 15158 Wiles Dr 5/4 now $1.995M, 16238 Captiva Dr 5/4.5 now $3.999M, 16310 Captiva Dr 4/5.5 now $4.6M.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: 11550 Laika Ln 4/3.5 $1.4M.
 
LOTS
No new listings.
1 price change: 1114 Schefflera Ct now $499K.
No new or closed sales.

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 the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions. If your property currently is listed with another broker, this is not intended as a solicitation of that listing.

Until next Friday, here’s hoping you are enjoying fall in your neck of the woods too.

SanibelSusan