Good Friday 2017 on Sunny Sanibel Island

It’s Susan and The SanibelSusan Team reporting a fun week on the island with continuing reports of “where is the Vice President now” and beaches, bike paths, and roadways often busy with vacationing visitors and families.

Sanibel Captiva Association of Realtors®

sancap GO MLS logoThe local Association of Realtors® Caravan meeting yesterday was well attended. Not many sales were announced, but a few more price reductions, and new listings. With high season wrapping up, more sales closed this week, so below is another update based on today’s Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service data.  A report on the activity posted this week follows a few news items.

Sanibel Year-to-Date (1/1-4/14/17):

Condos – 41 sold/closed, 23 under contract, 108 for sale (average days-on-market = 209)

Homes – 64 sold/closed, 48 under contract, 186 for sale (average days-on-market = 180)

Lots – 12 sold/closed, 8 under contract, 64 for sale (average days-on-market = 390)

SanibelSusan Realty Associates

SanibelSusan Realty from Periwinkle WayWith the island busy, I put a condo under contract, accompanied a showing, was out showing homes two days, and have fielded many requests for listing info. Also, spent time negotiating a couple of offers – no official news yet to report – just that things are in the works.

Teammate Dave held Open Houses for three days at vacant condos. Attendance was sporadic, probably related to the wonderful weather here all week.VP

Where is Vice President Pence?

Spottings of Vice President Pence and his family vacationing this week were frequent and sometimes humorous. Our travel wasn’t affected much by their visit and we hope they had a terrific vacation.  Here is SanibelSusan’s version of the week’s events.

Saturday, when I left the island late afternoon to do a little shopping just off island, I noticed multiple sheriff vehicles at every intersection from Harbour Cottages to Kelly Greens. All were quietly waiting, except the unmarked vehicle with lights flashing at the McGregor Blvd/Summerlin Rd intersection. I also saw a few spectators in lawn chairs near the entrance to Mariner Pointe, so it appeared the Vice President was arriving soon.

He arrived by motorcade – about 20 vehicles – just after 5 p.m. The quiet motorcade turned up Dixie Beach Blvd which had the island abuzz about “where is he staying?”. Turns out, we later heard that he has been vacationing here for many years. This trip he stayed in a bayside home on San Carlos Bay Dr. Those living in the neighborhood confirmed Secret Service sightings and some of their boats and vehicles being searched – all very quietly and professionally.

Sunday, he and his wife attended the 8 a.m. service at Sanibel Community Church. Another parishioner who usually also attends that early service, said they must have known they were coming, as the choir performed and usually they are at the later services. Later Sunday, the Vice President and Mrs. Pence were spotted walking on the beach. That night, there were more sightings when they dined at The Timbers. You-know-who got his picture taken with him and word is that the photo was framed and on the wall that evening. A client, there at the same time, dining with family said the Secret Service agents were very nice.

Monday, Vice President Pence left the island early for a quick trip to DC for the swearing in of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. When I came back on island early Monday evening after another quick run overseas, I passed a large group of 15-20 Lee County sheriff motorcycles and cars leaving the island. I found out later that they had just been part of the VP’s escort back on island.

Tuesday dinner, photos were posted of them at Matzaluna Restaurant. (I wonder if Matt got another photo?)

Wednesday, while teammate Dave was holding an Open House at Lighthouse Point, he reported in that he spotted a group of what looked like Secret Service vehicles and bikers. Also on Wednesday, the Vice President was spotted walking on the beach and had his picture taken with a fisherman who had just spent 10+hours reeling in what he thought was a small shark, but turned out to be a rare huge saw-tooth fish, which was tagged and released. The below photos were taken by Dr. Paul & Lynn Collins. They didn’t get the Vice President, but they sure got some good shots of the action during the catch.

Sawtooth fish 04-13-17sawtooth 04-13-17

Thursday, the motorcade was on the move again with reports of Mrs. Pence getting a manicure at Sanibel Beauty Salon and the Vice President getting a haircut. They were photographed later at dinner at The Mucky Duck. Rumor has it that the VP played golf and did a little fishing while here too.

They were to leave the island today and as Dave headed to the office this morning, he saw a group of bikers, then marked cars and sheriff vehicles at the intersections of Donax and Dixie Beach. The “Santiva Chronicle” just posted that they left the island just after 3 p.m.  Good that it was today, as tomorrow, the day before Easter, is traditionally the busiest day of the year on the island.

With more families and visitors arriving tomorrow and children’s Easter events from Sanibel City Park to the Sanibel Community Church and then Island Inn, traffic may be challenging. A good day to watch the Sanibel traffic cameras at or go to the App Store and get the free app.

Good News About Florida Senate Bill 10

florida senateIt was great to hear on Wednesday that the Florida Senate took action to protect Florida’s unique waterways by passing SB 10. This legislation will accelerate the process of building a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. Scientists have determined that increased storage, treatment and conveyance of water south of Lake O are essential to stop the damaging discharges to the coastal estuaries.

The passage of this bill is a huge step, but the fight is far from over. Next stop is the Florida House of Representatives. If you want to stay attuned to what is happening in Tallahassee follow the news at or at the 2017 Legislative Session Tracker at

Happy Easter

Since I posted details of the holiday happenings in last week’s blog, I won’t include them again, but send best wishes to you from all of us on The SanibelSusan Team for a great weekend.

More summer-like weather is expected here (mid-80’s in temperatures), with sparkling Gulf water too.

sanibel beach

Here is another photo taken this week by the Collins, this time at “Ding” Darling. The brilliant pink makes me think of spring and Easter! Thanks again for sharing, Paul and Lynn!

Paul collins roseate 04-13-14

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity April 7-14, 2017



2 new listings: Seashells #6 2/2 $395K, Pointe Santo #B26 2/2 $759.9K.

8 price changes: Tennisplace #C21 2/1.5 now $339,555; Seashells #3 2/2 now $399.4K; Blind Pass #F106 2/2 now $409K; Donax Village #3 2/2 now $448K; Lighthouse Point #217 3/2 now $510K; Sunset South #2A 2/2 now $699K; Sanctuary Golf Villages I #5 2/2.5 now $699K; Royale Tern #103 3/3.5 now $1.75M.

3 new sales: Ibis at The Sanctuary #B302 2/2 listed at $498.5K (our buyer), Sanctuary Golf Villages I #6 3/3 listed at $939K, Tamarind #A102 2/2 listed at $1.595M.

6 closed sales: Sundial West #C406 1/1 $416K, Villa Sanibel #3D 2/2 $599K, Heron at The Sanctuary #1B 3/2.5 $610K, Compass Point #222 2/2 $650K, Bayview Village #1A 3/3 $782.8K, Sanddollar #B204 2/2 $859K.


8 new listings: 9292 Kincaid Ct 3/2 $549K, 241 Violet Dr 3/2.5 $775K, Moonshadows #F2 3/3 $919K, 655 Anchor Dr 3/3 $950K, 5402 Osprey Ct 4/3 $1.095M, 1340 Eagle Run Dr 3/3 $1.1M, 3832 Coquina Dr 3/4 $1.299M, 1137 Golden Olive Ct 5/3.5 $1.9M.

11 price changes: 1747 Serenity Ln 3/2 now $494K, 5305 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/2 now $579K, 5105 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 4/3 now $624.9K, 1429 Jamaica Dr 3/3 now $664.9K, 998 Fish Crow Rd 3/2 now $679K, 1183 Kittiwake Cir 3/2 now $849K, 698 Spartina Ct 3/2 now $849.9K, 2628 San Carlos Bay Dr 3/2 now $1.839M, 1238 Isabel Dr 5/3/2 now $3.399M, 3547 West Gulf Dr 4/4 now $4.495M.

7 new sales: 1862 Farm Trl 3/2 listed at $675K, 3152 Twin Lakes Ln 3/3 listed at $697K, 5126 Joewood Dr 3/2 listed at $735K, 408 Bella Vista Way 4/4 listed at $1.595M, 1757 Venus Dr 4/2.5 listed at $1.899M, 4117 West Gulf Dr 5/6 listed at $5.799M, 3577 West Gulf Dr 4/4/2 listed at $7.595M.

5 closed sales: 1073 Fish Crow Rd 3/2.5 $685K, 743 Elinor Way 3/2 $685K, 2459 Harbour Ln 3/3.5 $777K, 935 Lindgren Blvd 3/2 $969K, 6129 Starling Way 3/2.5 $1.225M.


1 new listing: 2307 Wulfert Rd $259K.

3 price changes: 540 East Lake Rd now $179K, 6519 Pine Ave now $829K, 6505 Pine Ave now $829K.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 1329 Par View Dr $307.5K.



No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: Beach Villas #2422 1/1 listed at $519K.

1 closed sale: Sunset Beach Villas #2333 3/2 $755K.


No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: 11539 Wightman Ln 2/2 $1.4995M.


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.)

happy-easter4Happy Easter! from Susan Andrews (aka SanibelSusan)

Little April Shower on Otherwise-Sunny Sanibel

Lighthouse 04-2017.jpg

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

SanibelSusan Realty

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

Upcoming Spring Events

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

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

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

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


Pickleball Courts Now Open at Sundial

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

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

Federal Flood Maps

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

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

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

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

Resort & 2nd Home Market

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why Can’t Lawyers Give a Straight Answer?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

sancap GO MLS logoSanibel


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

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

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

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

View b

View from Nutmeg Village #303, just sold!



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

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

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

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


No new listings or price changes.

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

1 closed sale: 2626 Coconut Rd $225K.



No new listings.

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

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

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


No new listings.

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

No new sales.

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


Nothing to report.

(This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market. The information provided represents general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.)

Until next Friday, below is a photo taken Sunday night (April 3)  from Redfish Pass aboard the Lady Chadwick’s sunset cruise, overlooking the gulf.  North Captiva is on the right.

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

Enjoy your weekend!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

sunset 04-03-17

Just Another Week With Gorgeous Weather on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

It’s the next to last week of high season on Sanibel and Captiva Islands, but the real estate action has been a little slower than expected. The fabulous weather with low humidity and warm summer-like temperatures with bright blue skies likely has kept the many families and visitors here instead engaged in other fun-in-the-sun activities.

Sundial Beach


Dave and Lisa took an afternoon drive through Babcock Ranch last Saturday. Check out Dave’s panther pictures below and you will understand why those animals are not on Sanibel. Takes a lot to feed a big animal like that. If you have not explored the ranch, it is an easy trip from the island and a nice time of the year to do it.

SanibelSusan Realty Associates

SanibelSusan Realty from Periwinkle WayTwice this week, we had a good walk-in interested in buying an investment gulf-front condo. Unfortunately, it is next to impossible to find any that can be viewed during what is traditionally one of the busiest weeks on the island. Tenant turnovers tomorrow are expected to be heavy too with many of rental organizations bringing on extra cleaners and inspectors to get them through the Saturday check-out/check-in rush.

We had a nice closing on Monday and are checking the boxes on the activities coming up on a few others, while we also said goodbye this week to some snowbird clients heading home.

Attendance was light at our Association of Realtors® Caravan meeting yesterday with not many sales announced. Below are a few news items followed by the activity posted this week in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.

What’s Driving International Buyers to Florida?

Florida Realtors logoGood article in the April 2015 issue of “FloridaRealtor®”. Here are a few excerpts:

“Patricia Tan expects strong demand for Florida vacation properties from United Kingdom (UK) buyers this year. “Changes in the U.K.’s pension regulations will allow retirees to take out a lump sum in 2015”, says Tan, a sales associate with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate in Sarasota and the National Association of Realtors® president’s liaison to the United Kingdom. “While some retirees will buy in France and Spain, there is still plenty of interest in Florida as a second-home destination,” she says.

“That’s just one example of the way political, economic, and policy changes in distant parts of the world can significantly impact global demand for Florida real estate.

“”Our state’s growth is strongly affected by the international economic environment,” says Sean Snaith, director of the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Economic Competitiveness in Orlando.

“With its sunshine, beaches, easy access by air and competitively priced properties, Florida is an attractive destination for foreign buyers and investors.

“Studies by NAR consistently show that Florida ranks third behind California and New York in U.S. international sales. Historically, Canada, Europe, and South America have been the three biggest sources of foreign buyers in the United States, with a recent upturn in interest from China.

“Now, Chinese citizens can obtain business and tourist visas for 10 years rather than just one, making it easier for Chinese buyers and investors to spend more time in the United States including Florida.

“Global demand patterns vary from year to year, based on factors like currency exchange rates that make Florida properties less or more expensive for foreign buyers, as well as visas and tax regulations that affect international investors.

“Steve Cook, co-publisher and editor of “Real Estate Economy Watch”, expects an overall slowdown in international demand, partly because housing prices have rebounded strongly, following the 2009 recession. “Global buyers saw tremendous opportunities in buying distressed properties, especially along the Gulf Coast,” he says. “While we are not seeing that same level of interest today, there is still plenty of demand for resort properties, and prices are still affordable for buyers worldwide.”…

“Historically, French-speaking Canadians have bought homes along the I-95 corridor on Florida’s East Cost, while English-speaking Canadians have gravitated to the Gulf Coast along I-75…The Canadian dollar has been stronger than the U.S. dollar…Since Canada didn’t go through the banking crisis as the United States did six years ago, buyers feel confident about investing in Florida vacation homes…Exchanges are important to European buyers as well…

“While the United Kingdom is Florida’s biggest feeder market from Europe, demand from other countries fluctuates from year to year, depending on factors like convenient air connections, says Tan. “I have seen more activity from French buyers who want to invest in the U.S. for tax reasons, and from Dutch buyers looking for vacation homes on the Gulf Coast,” she says. “German buyers continue to be interested in Florida, and there has been an increase in vacation buyers from Scandinavia, thanks in part to a new flight from Sweden to Fort Lauderdale.”…Demand may lessen slightly due to the euro’s losing value again the U.S. dollar.”

Who’s Moving Here?

Also from “FloridaRealtor®” April 15:

RealtyTracLogo_166x32“According to housing market firm RealtyTrac, interest in buying U.S. housing increased by 95% or more in 10 countries, and at least doubled in nine of these nations. RealtyTrac ranks the 10 countries where interest in buying American homes is on the rise.

  1. United Arab Emirates – Growth in prospective homebuyers: 352.2% – While the country has just 9 million residents, it had more than 1,000 ultra-high-net-worth residents in 2014. Roughly 40% of the Emirates’ GDP was tied to oil and natural gas output, according to OPEC. Despite oil’s recent price declines, the number of ultra-high-net-worth residents has not declined.
  2. Switzerland – Growth in prospective homebuyers: 269.7% – Helping to make U.S. properties more appealing, or at least more affordable, is the considerable appreciation of the Swiss franc against the dollar over the past five years, up nearly 27% in that time.
  3. Hong Kong & China – Growth in prospective homebuyers: 254.2% – While China’s economy remains one of the fastest growing in the world, there are concerns about slowing economic growth and shadow banking activity in the country. Concerns about wealth protection may encourage wealthy Chinese residents to consider U.S. property.
  4. France – Growth in prospective homebuyers: 190.0% – France had nearly 4,500 ultra-high-net worth residents as of 2014, more than in all but eight other countries globally. Many observers and residents have criticized President Francois Hollande’s socialist policy decisions and the resulting high taxes. A number of reports indicate that residents may be leaving the country due to high taxes and tough regulations.
  5. Italy – Growth in prospective homebuyers: 178.4% – The faltering economy may encourage Italians to consider U.S. property as a relatively good investment. Italy is also home to a number of extremely wealthy citizens with the resources to invest globally.
  6. United Kingdom – Growth in prospective homebuyers – 153.8% – The U.K. government’s Help to Buy program, which provides financial help to prospective homebuyers in the U.K., has drawn controversy. Detractors of the program have expressed concerns that home prices in the U.K. could rise to unsustainable levels. Thus, U.K. residents may see U.S. homes as a safe or profitable investment.
  7. Austria – Growth in prospective homebuyers: 121.9% – The country’s strong economic growth likely contributed to the increased interest in buying U.S. property. Despite recent declines, the Australian dollar has gained considerably against the U.S. dollar, also contributing to the increased interest.
  8. Canada – Growth in prospective homebuyers: 107.7% – The strength of the Canadian economy may have given residents more opportunities to invest. Some residents may also find U.S. properties attractive because some consider Canada’s housing market to be overvalued.
  9. Sweden – Growth in prospective homebuyers: 100% – Many Swedes may consider U.S. property to be a good investment, especially as Sweden’s economy has been stagnant. Additionally, many Swedes might find U.S. home prices more affordable, as experts believe Swedish home prices are precariously high.
  10. Germany – Growth in prospective homebuyers: 95.2% – Contributing to Germans’ ability to afford international property was the country’s high number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals in 2013, second only to the United States. Despite the weakness of the Eurozone economy and Germany’s slow growth, no major Eurozone country grew faster in 2013. However, interest in U.S. properties has tapered off recently.”

Some Ways International Buyers Can Own U.S. Real Estate

globe7Speaking of those international buyers, “FloridaRealtors®” April 2015, also offers this info:

“Here are some common ways international buyers can structure ownership of U.S. real estate to reduce their estate tax burden. Of course, buyers should always seek counsel to determine which course of action is best for them:

  1. Incorporation in a foreign jurisdiction. If the property has substantially appreciated in value since it was purchased, then a sale to a foreign corporation controlled by the nonresident alien or his/her family may be an option to eliminate exposure to estate taxes.
  2. Buy life insurance.       The proceeds of life insurance on the life of a nonresident alien are often not subject to estate tax and can provide liquidity to pay estate taxes.
  3. Draft a qualified domestic trust, if the foreign owner is married, either during the nonresident alien’s lifetime or upon his/her death. This may allow estate taxes to be deferred until the death of the surviving spouse.
  4. If other family members, such as adult children, are U.S. taxpayers, consider having them buy the property, perhaps subject to a mortgage in favor of the foreign parents.
  5. Consider using a two-tiered (foreign & domestic) partnership arrangement if the value and sophistication of the investment merits the additional expenses involved in doing so.”

How SanibelSusan Realty Markets Globally

TRC LOGOGlobal business begins with local relationships. Being a TRC (or Transnational Referral Certified) distinguishes SanibelSusan among over 2 million brokers and agents worldwide. It integrates referral business into my business plan and allows me to network through an international program, which also allows me to market myself and my listings on

This international network called The International Consortium of Real Estate Associations (ICREA), has resulted in the development of my own network of real estate professionals throughout the world who have personally selected me to be their real estate equivalent here on the islands. I currently have active agreements with 215 successful agents in ten different countries.

On the islands, just nine Realtors® also have earned their TRC. Only three of us are “Platinum” members of the group which gives our listings priority rankings, more visibility and translates them into the languages of the countries belonging to the consortium. Since my last name also begins with “A”, I am the top name on their island search list too (thank goodness for small favors like that).

Additionally, establishing a presence for international buyers through and has ensured that SanibelSusan listings make it around to the world to those searching for real estate in Florida.

Networking with other Florida colleagues is an important part of our global business too. Most Realtors® won’t give you a lead if they don’t know you, so when I am in Orlando each January and August at our FloridaRealtors® state meetings, I always make it a point to meet with other Realtors® with international clientele. Many of those in Miami and Orlando, where the global market is huge, know that SanibelSusan Realty is a go-to broker here for expert advice on SW Florida and island resources. (Here again my name helps, they remember SanibelSusan.) I have many life-long friends from years working on state committees and cherish their referrals.

My Friday island real estate blog brings international business too. This March showed the most readers to-date, with nearly 6,000 viewers. Subscribers in addition to those who sign up directly through the blog, others come through both Twitter and Facebook. I track the source of the readers, with 50% from Canada; 20% from United Kingdom; 15% Germany; 4% France; 2% each Australia, Sweden, Brazil; and 1% each Switzerland, Italy, Netherlands, Argentina, and United Arab Emirates.

Upcoming Island Events

childrens ctr21st Annual Spring Festival – April 4, Saturday, sponsored by the Children’s Education Center of the Islands, event at the Sanibel Community Park (across the street from SanibelSusan Realty) from 9 to 11 a.m. Children are asked to bring an Easter basket for the FREE egg hunt at 9 a.m.

relay for life logoRelay for Life – April 10, Friday, at The Dunes Tennis & Golf Club, from 4 to 10 p.m., where cancer survivors and participants walk a loop with proceeds to benefit the American Cancer Society.

MOAA logo2nd Annual Bob Janes Memorial Golf Tournament – April 14, Tues, at Shell Point Golf Club. As a former Sanibel Mayor, Lee County Commissioner, and friend through MOAA (Military Officers Association of America), Bob installed me as President of the local Association of Realtors® back in 1998. This event named in his honor raises funds to benefit various veteran charities, including Wounded Warriors of Southwest Florida. I know Bob would be proud to know that they hope to beat the $21K raised last year. 2015 goal is $30K.

Farewell to Katie

katieDuring the Lion’s Club Arts & Crafts Fair two Saturdays ago, I ran over to The Community Center to relay best wishes to long-time island restaurateur and artist, Katie Gardenia. She will be moving to North Carolina soon to live nearer her daughter and granddaughter. To say she will be missed here is definitely an understatement. Many know Katie as the former owner of The Bubble Room and another island restaurant, famous for her cakes. Others know she is an admired artist, doll-maker, collector, and an all-round gem of a gal.

Here are a couple of tidbits from Katie’s book “A Bubble Moment” as described in this week’s “Sanibel-Captiva Islander”. Those of you who remember the early days of “The Bubble Room” should get a kick out of these. Each of Katie’s books is unique and contains some of her famous recipes. I cherish my copy and bought another one from her that very day, along with another piece of special Katie art. If you get to Flat Rock, NC, look for her new studio there.

  • “Another hiring ad in the local paper; and this time a couple, husband and wife from California responded to the ad. (At that point I was exhausted and would have hired anyone or thing that said they could cook.) They were hired on the spot and lasted all of two months. They went sailing one day and never came back…I was now doing lunch, baking from scratch sesame hamburger buns, quiche and adding more desserts.
  • “I always wanted to be a girl scout, but only made it the “brownies”. I went on a hunt for an old girl scout uniform, and finally found one at the Ortiz flea market in Fort Myers. It had all the bells and whistles, badges included. So our first server was a “real” girl scout, and I just loved the whole idea “living vicariously, I guess)…We were threatened with a lawsuit. Ok, we’ll just forget the girl and go to the boy, i.e. boy scouts. So, the servers (four by then) were dressed in boy scout uniforms.
  • “One of my favorite back screen door visitors was Mr. Paul Walken (Christopher Walken’s father)…he came to the screen door one day. I was baking: cakes were lined in rows ready to be frosted, icing in large bowls, dough rising, homemade bread waiting to be brushed with egg whites and popped into the ever-burning ovens. “Smells good in here. May I enter?”…he watched and said, “You don’t know the secret, do you.”
  • “I was baking my first batch of sticky rolls, and out of the corner of my eye I saw at the screened door a tall man with striped pajamas and a worn robe on, holding what looked like a skinned cat. Oh no, help me!”…you must be Mr. Rosse, Andy.” “Yep, that’s me, and I’m here to trade you this here possum for some of those sticky buns – SIX!” “What in the world do I do with a possum,” I asked. “Well, you boil it, of course.” (he said)”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity Mar 27-Apr 3 



2 new listings: Captains Walk #F3 2/2 $289,982; Blind Pass #B209 3/2.5 $549K.

3 price changes: Blind Pass #E206 2/2.5 now $419.5K, Cottage Colony West #102 1/1 now $649.9K, Tanglewood #1A 3/2 now $1.124M.

1 new sale: Lighthouse Point #127 3/2 listed for $699.9K.

6 closed sales: Colonnades #11 1/1 $180K, Captains Walk #E5 2/2 $285K, Sanibel Siesta #701 2/2 $494K, Sandalfoot #5C1 2/2 $665K (our Seller), Loggerhead Cay #522 2/2 $670K, Blind Pass #G105 3/3 $700K.

Sandalfoot from beach


4 new listings: 750 Martha’s Ln 3/2 $579K, 1409 Albatross Rd 3/2 $595.9K, 1445 Causey Ct 3/2 $849.9K, 863 Lindgren Blvd 3/2 $999K.

5 price changes: 1322 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $560K, 220 Palm Lake Dr 3/3 now $575K, 6019 Clam Bayou Ln 4/3 now $1.185M, 1138 Harbour Cottage Ct 3/2.5 now $1.195M, 2981 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 now $1.54M.

4 new sales: 828 Rabbit Rd 2/1 listed for $399K, 5089 SanibelCaptiva Rd 3/2 listed for $489.9K (short sale), 9445 Beverly Ln 3/2 listed for $775K, 190 Violet Dr 3/2.5 listed for $1.05M.

3 closed sales: 240 Southwinds Dr 3/2 $480K, 1854 Farm Trl 3/2 $565K, 1075 Blue Heron Dr 3/2 $600K.


1 new listing: 1815 Ardsley Way $197,555.

No price changes.

2 new sales: 9426 Sage Ct listed for $229,555, 2324 Starfish Ln listed for $449K.

2 closed sales: 1299 Par View Dr $212K, 6411 Pine Ave $320K.



2 new listings: Beach Villas #2517 1/1 $508.5K, Marina Villas #706 2/2 $625K.

3 price changes: Beach Villas #2417 1/1 now $520K, Sunset Beach Villas #2325 2/2 now $579K, Beach Homes #3 3/2 now $1.879M.

1 new sale: Sunset Beach Villas #2335 3/3 listed for $829K.

No closed sales.


1 new listing: 19 Urchin Ct 2/2.5 $889K.

3 price changes: 11535 Wightman Ln 3/3 now $1.2M, 11535 Chapin Ln 4/4 now $1.449M, 11516 Andy Rosse Ln 6/6 now $2.349M.

1 new sale: 15879 Captiva Dr 3/3 listed for $2.695M.

1 closed sale: 43 Oster Ct 2/2.5 $730K.


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.

happy easterHappy Easter!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan