Sanibel Bunnies, Easter, & Real Estate

Though the national news this week has been filled with reports of late snow and winter storms up north, on Sanibel and Captiva Islands the weather again has been almost summerlike, including a couple of midweek showers.

marsh bunnyHere at SanibelSquare the bunny population continues to explode. I haven’t been able to get to my phone quickly enough to get a photo of the entire group at once. Usually when I am leaving in the office in the evening, I am the last car out of the parking lot. That’s when they are out chowing down on the grassy area in front of my car.

I’ve seen as many as six together (three grown-ups and three small ones). They sure are cute. I’m featuring a few photos of them in my Easter ad next week in the “Island Sun”.

SanibelSusan’s Real Estate Market Predictions

An island homeowner who lives in Gumbo Limbo dropped in at the office recently and asked about the real estate market. He often bikes his neighborhood and was surprised to see so many “for sale” signs.For sale sign

Gumbo Limbo probably offers a good market representation. Today, there are 13 homes for sale there. In a community with fewer than 200 properties, to the passer-by, that may seem alike a lot for sale at once. Looking at the community’s sales history, in 2017, 12 Gumbo Limbo homes sold. Last year, only six, plus a vacant lot. Year-to-date one home has sold and closed, while two other homes and our lot listing are under contract.

Do these numbers reflect that inventory is up and are prices down? Yes, inventory is up and prices may be trending down, but it probably is too soon to make that prediction. I prefer to view the status of the market today as a correction to the downturn caused by the water quality issues of last summer.

When I stopped on my way home midweek to view the progress at our bayfront listing that is undergoing renovation, I couldn’t help but take a couple of pictures of the water in San Carlos Bay (see below). Unlike its appearance last fall, it was as beautiful as I remember seeing it, in all my 30-some years here. You know the look, sparkling clear and bright teal in color, like often photographed in the Caribbean.

04-10-19 San Carlos 104-10-19 San Carlos 2

Inventory is up because there have been fewer sales. Fewer visitors came to the island this winter. Traffic reports about causeway traffic indicate that fewer cars came onto the island last month which usually is the busiest month here. Late 2018 traffic was off even more. I’ll never forget the times last year that I drove across the causeway and did not see a vehicle (on land or water) or a person or bird in any direction. It was eerie.

The good news is that from that catastrophe, more positive “water” things are happening, more people are involved, more water solutions are in the works, more money is being allocated to fund solutions, and construction is underway on others. Unfortunately, the results of those efforts take time to implement. Seems that the good news takes longer to disseminate than the bad news – which seems to spread fast!

Perhaps some would-be first-time island winter visitors this year decided to vacation elsewhere. Can’t blame them for that, if they don’t really know what the beaches and waterways really are like. Future rental bookings with many income-producing properties are showing less income this year too.

What will happen to the islands’ real estate market in the upcoming months? That’s tough to predict. Often there are buyers that return in the spring who are folks that vacationed here in the winter but could not view all the listings that met their requirements. This year there are plenty of choices for those returning prospects.

In the spring, do these buyers sometimes try to negotiate better terms thinking sellers may not want to hold a property over the slower summer selling season which also is hurricane-prone rainy season? I’m sure you know the answer to that.

Some folks think the economy and political unrest are affecting the market today. They may be true to some extent, but I think that island lovers will continue to see the value in owning a piece of paradise where winter weather is tropical, development is controlled, island ambience is like stepping back in time, and concerned citizens are pro-environment and taking action to protect the areas we live in, work in, and love.

Some also say that the upcoming Federal elections in 2020 will affect real estate sales here. It could be that the islands are immune to that hype. Historical data does not support that elections affect sales, other than maybe the few days around and including the actual voting day.

crystal ballMy crystal ball says that provided there are no national emergencies or hurricanes, the Sanibel and Captiva market will continue to rebound from the downturn of last year. Yes, it’s a good time to buy because there is plenty of good inventory, but it also is a good time for sellers, particularly those that have their properties priced right.

Upcoming Holiday Happenings

In response to inquiries about events over the holiday next weekend, here is a summary:

Helping Those Needing a Hand-Up

F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva is assembling Easter food and bunny baskets for those in the community needing a hand-up during the holiday. To donate items, please call 239-472-4775. Distributions will be on April 17 & 18.

Family Events

  • happy easter“25th Annual Spring Festival” to benefit The Children’s Center of the Island at Sanibel Community Park, across the street form SanibelSusan Realty, Saturday, April 20 from 9 to 11 a.m. with Easter egg hunt for children of all ages followed by pony & unicorn rides, face painting, slide, games/crafts, & more. The Easter bunny will be there for photos at 10:15 a.m.
  • “Community Easter Egg Hunt” at Sanibel Community Church, Saturday, April 20 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. includes thousands of eggs, pony rides, games, bounce houses, face painting, lunch, & more.
  • “Annual Easter Egg Hunt & Dolphin Cruise” by Adventures in Paradise aboard 45’ power catamaran departing at 9 a.m. Easter Sunday from Port Sanibel Marina, reservations needed 239-472-8443.Sanibel farmers market bike

Sanibel Farmers Market – open Easter Sunday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the grounds of City Hall.

Easter Sunday Services

  • “Annual Sunrise Celebration on the Beach” by Sanibel Community Church on Causeway Island A at dawn. More info at
  • Also, services at the church (Sanibel Community Church) at 8, 9, & 11 a.m.
  • Captiva’s Chapel by the Sea at 11 a.m. More info at
  • Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ services at 7:45, 9, & 11 a.m.
  • Saint Isabel Catholic Church services at 7, 9, & 11 a.m.
  • St. Michaels & All Angels Episcopal Church services at 7:30, 9:30, & 11:30 a.m.

Easter Eats

  • “Easter on the Gulf” at Sundial Beach Resort with seating on the hour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call for reservations 239-395-6017.
  • “Sunday Brunch Buffet” at The Fish House Restaurant from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • “Easter Dinner” at Traditions on the Beach from 4 p.m., reservations recommended 239-472-4559

Recession Fears “Over Blown”

Florida Realtors logoPosted Wednesday on FloridaRealtors® on-line, this article has an interesting perspective on how past recessions affect home values.

Arch-logo“GREENSBORO, N.C. – Apr 10, 2019 – Research on how past recessions affected home values shows current conditions – including a shortfall in housing construction – likely mean the next recession will have a less severe impact on housing than the recession in 2008 did, according to the spring edition of The Housing and Mortgage Market Review (HaMMR) by Arch Mortgage Insurance Company.

“Housing market trends are now nearly the complete opposite of conditions in the months prior to the Great Recession, according to Dr. Ralph G. DeFranco, global chief economist for Arch Capital Services. “A recession is inevitable at some point, but it’s likely to be far less severe for the housing market than the Great Recession,” DeFranco says. “We estimate that the current market is underbuilt by 1 million or more homes, buyers are more cautious and loan quality is far higher. In 2007, conditions were completely flipped: housing was hugely overbuilt, speculative demand was off the charts and the market was awash with high-risk loan products.”

“DeFranco also notes that home prices were overvalued by 25% or more then and are closer to expected values now. “In the 11 recessions recorded over the past 80 years, major price declines for housing have been more the exception than the rule, with home values only turning negative once in the five recessions since 1975,” he says. “The ongoing housing shortage is likely to limit price declines in a recession to 0-5% for a year or two before home values start to recover.”

“The quarterly Arch MI Risk Index, a statistical model based on nine indicators of the health of local housing markets, suggests that the probability U.S. home prices will be lower in two years is 9%, an increase from 6% in the previous HaMMR.

“In Florida, an Arch index infographic suggests that Florida home values have only a 6% chance of declining in two years. However, a higher risk (25%) in Miami suggests the chances are even lower in the rest of the state.

Nationally, the overall risk of a decline in home prices remains better than the historic average of 17%. Every state is expected to have positive home price growth over the next two years, continuing recent trends.

“The states with the highest risk of lower home prices in two years are North Dakota (27%), Alaska (24%), Wyoming (23%) and Connecticut and West Virginia, both at 22%.

“Among the 100 largest metros, the areas with the highest risk of having lower home prices in two years are Miami and San Antonio, Texas (25%), because of overvalued home prices. Those areas are followed by three metros in Connecticut – Bridgeport-Stamford, Hartford and New Haven (all at 22%) – which have shrinking populations of homebuyers and a state economy that lags behind the nation.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity April 5-12, 2019sancap GO MLS logo



6 new listings: Seashells #15 2/2 $439K, Captains Walk #F4 2/2 $349K (our listing) (exterior photo below – professional interior photos & streaming video coming after estate sale next week), Mariner Pointe #952 1/1 $429K, Sanibel Siesta #601 2/2 $689K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #1-4 3/3 $899K, Gulf Beach #107 2/2 $925K.

9 price changes: Donax Village #10 1/2 now $339K, Sundial #I103 1/1 now $465.9K, Breakers West #A5 2/2 now $499.9K, Sunset South #1A 2/2 now $720K, Sanibel Moorings #1111 2/2 now $969K, Kings Crown #102 2/2 now $1.05M, Bandy Beach #B101 3/2 now $1.299M, White Pelican #133 3/3 now $1.595M, Sandals #A 3/3.5 now $1.997M.

1 new sale: Gulfside Place #305 2/2 listed at $1.249M.

3 closed sales: Sunset South #9B 2/2 $565K, Sand Pointe #228 2/2 $740K, Pine Cove #204 3/2 $1.5M.


13 new listings: 785 Rabbit Rd 3/2 $479K; 745 Martha’s Ln 3/2 $495K; 9406 Beverly Ln 3/2 $629K; 1585 Bunting Ln 3/2 $649K; 1731 Serenity Ln 4/3 $699,999; 1175 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 $759K; 728 Windlass Way 3/2 $897K; 788 Nerita St 3/3 $949K; 845 Birdie View Pt 3/3 $1.169M; 1667 Venus Dr 3/2 $1.2M; 4156 West Gulf Dr 3/2 $1.329M; 2190 Starfish Ln 3/3 $1.444M; 1718 Jewel Box Dr 4/4.5 $2.699M.

17 price changes: 3017 Turtle Gait Ln 3/2 now $679K; 198 Southwinds Dr 3/2 now $719.9K; 280 Southwinds Dr 3/3.5 now $739K; 1559 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $759K; 702 Durion Ct 3/2 now $759K; 513 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 now $769K; 686 East Rocks Dr 3/2 now $799K; 1410 Albatross Rd 3/3 now $849K; 1307 Par View Dr 3/3 now $899K; 446 Surf Sound Ct 3/2 now $999,999; 466 Sea Oats Dr 4/3.5 now $1.149M; 829 Birdie View Pt 4/3.5 now $1.15M; 430 Glory Cir 4/5.5 now $1.275M; 1525 San Carlos Bay Dr 4/2 now $1.4695M; 6425 Pine Ave 4/3 now $1.489M; 1035 Blue Heron Dr 3/2 now $1.539M; 4143 West Gulf Dr 3/3.5 now $5.995M.

9 new sales: 6141 Henderson Rd 2/1.5 listed at $424.5K, 1870 Farm Trl 3/2 listed at $575K, 1442 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed at $649K, 750 Martha’s Ln 3/2 listed at $699K, 1217 Par View Dr 3/3 listed at $729K; 4791 Rue Helene 3/2 listed at $850K, 1550 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 listed at $1.189M, 2282 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 listed at $1.245M, 599 Lake Murex Cir 3/3.5 listed at $1.399M.

4 closed sales: 9248 Dimmick Dr 3/3 $580K, 1438 Causey Ct 3/2 $849.5K, 1260 Par View Dr 3/3 $889K, 569 Lighthouse Way 3/3 $970K.


2 new listings: 2462 Wulfert Rd $229K, 2133 Starfish Ln $419K.

2 price changes: 6411 Pine Ave now $329K, 1219 Par View Dr now $349K.

2 new sales: 1204 Par View Dr listed at $329K; 5321 Punta Caloosa Ct listed at $377,555.

No closed sales.



No new listings.

1 price change: Sunset Captiva #103 2/2 now $829K.

No new, or closed sales.


No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 16798/802 Captiva Dr 4/4 listed at $5.75M.

No closed sales.


Nothing to report.

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

Until next Friday… enjoy your weekend, Susan Andrews aka SanibelSusan


Easter Week on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

SanibelSusan Realty had a busy week with good showing activity on our listings until yesterday when the phones nearly stopped ringing. Even our Realtor Caravan Meeting early that morning had poor attendance. Only three new listings were on the tour, which usually has 15 properties

Our pals at other local real estate offices report the same. Folks must be busy traveling or with holiday plans – almost feels like it usually is here two weeks after Easter, rather than the week before. Season has wound down quickly.

Below are a few island news items, followed by the Multiple Listing Service postings this week on Sanibel and Captiva Islands.

Though the islands are winding down from a busy winter season, for those who like to visit during the “best” time, we locals say that is during May and October, when the traffic is light and the weather is perfect! Make your reservations now. Or better yet, come to buy!

Quick Weather Update

This morning brought our first good shower in what seems like months. Much needed rain that hopefully will green things up and keep the dust down on those sandy island roads. The weather forecast through the end of next week is for mostly sunny days with temperature in the low 80’s.

Easter Weekend Happenings

  • Spring Festival at Sanibel Community Park – tomorrow (Sat April 7) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., right across the street from SanibelSusan Realty. This annual event is presented by The Children’s Education Center of the Islands.
  • Easter Egg Hunt at Sanibel Community Church – at 1740 Periwinkle Way, next to Jerry’s Market, also tomorrow (Sat) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. It’s for children ages three years through 5th grade.
  • Sunrise Service on the Causeway – 6:30 a.m. Easter Sunday, bring your lawn chair. Many island churches have posted special holiday services too. You can find full schedules on the “Island Sun” newspaper on-line at
  • Easter Egg Hunt at Island Inn – at 3111 West Gulf Drive, on Easter Sunday beginning at 11 a.m. on the south side of the front office building, and will end once all 500 eggs are found. As the first inn on Sanibel, Island Inn has hosted families for Easter since 1895 and the tradition continues. Open to all children, 12 and under, the hunt also includes three golden eggs with special prizes inside. Miss Silvia also will be on hand to do complimentary face painting for children.

Taxing Issues

Recent prospective buyers asked about the differences between annual and season rentals. According to local lingo, annual rentals are usually for a year, while a seasonal rental is for a period of less than six months. The April issue of FloridaRealtor® magazine contains the following article about the taxing obligations of owners of these investment-type properties:

“Will state sales tax need to be collected and paid on short-term rentals?

“The situation: A homeowner has two properties in Florida: a single-family home and a condominium. He wants to rent out one or both of them, but is unsure whether or not he’ll be required to collect and pay state sales tax.

“That depends on how many months of the year the property is rented, says the Florida Realtors® Legal Hotline. Generally the rental of residential property, such as a single-family home or condominium, is exempt from taxation. This exemption applies when there is a bona fide, written lease agreement that is for longer than six months. If the lease agreement is written for six months or less, the rental is considered a transient accommodation and is subject to sales tax. If there is no bona fide, written lease agreement, the rental is also considered a transient accommodation, and the first six months of continuous occupancy is subject to sales tax. Exemptions exist for rentals to migrants in labor camps, to certain military personnel and to full-time students.

“The state sales tax rate is 6% and many counties impose a sales tax surcharge as well. The tax is due on rental charges or room rates paid for the right to use or occupy living or sleeping accommodations.  Rental charges include any amount imposed for the use of items or services required to be paid as a condition of the use or possession of the accommodation.

“In addition, most Florida counties impose a local tax on short-term residential rentals. Contact the Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) or your local county taxing agency to determine whether your county has a short-term rental tax and, if so, how it should be reported and paid.

“If you’re the owner of a rental that’s considered a transient accommodation or if you’re a real estate licensee who collects or receives rent on behalf of the owner for a rental that’s considered a transient accommodation, you must register with the DOR before you begin your activities; otherwise, you may be subject to penalties.

“For more information regarding the sales tax on transient accommodations and procedures for registering with the DOR, contact the agency at (800) 352-3671 or

(In Lee County, a Tourist Development Tax of 5% also is imposed on rentals for a period of less than six months. That brings the total tax up to 11%. Get more info on the Sanibel and Captiva local County tax at )

Coastal Zone Protection Change Benefits Resorts

Sanibel City Council on Tuesday passed an ordinance amending the coastal zone protection section of the Sanibel Plan that allows resort accessory uses such as swimming pools to be repaired or replaced in their existing location and size even when they are entirely or partly beyond the coastal construction setback line (CCSL). This was the final piece in a long process to allow Sanibel’s aging resorts and hotels to modernize and remain attractive to tourists without losing amenities or units. Those built years ago do not conform to stricter regulations enacted after Sanibel incorporated. Council policy is that short-term accommodations are crucial to the island’s tourism-based economy. This proviso regarding replacement is only valid if there is no other site available and it does not allow for new development beyond the CCSL.

Springtime & Baby Birds

A client forwarded the below links. They are web cams to two bird nests posted by Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology. One is a red-tail hawk and the other a blue heron. With eggs in both nests, it is fun to check them periodically to see these spring happenings.

Lots of Sanibel bird nests already have young in them too.

Next we will see the beaches marked with the nests of our local shore birds. Photo above was taken on Sanibel’s east-end last May. It is a snowy plover mom with three babies following behind her.   Link to red tail hawk nest cam   Link to blue heron nest cam

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity March 30 – April 6

4 new listings: Tennisplace #C31 2/1.5 $279K, Sandpebble #1F 2/2 $356K, Spanish Cay #A6 1/1 $289.6K, Sanctuary Heron III #1B 3/2.5 $624K.
3 price changes: Colonnades #12 1/1 now $159.5K, Tarpon Beach #308 2/2 now $615K, Oceans Reach #2D2 2/2 now $760K.
7 new sales: Sanibel Shores #E 2/2 listed for $279K; Sundial #F408 1/1 listed for $299K; Sanibel Arms West #J1 2/2 listed for $439K, #J3 2/2 listed for $459K, & #L6 2/2 listed for $469K; Sundial #Q402 2/2 listed for $599K & #T404 2/2 listed for $669K.
5 closed sales: Sundial #B301 1/1 $269K, Sanibel Arms #G2 1/1 $395K, Sanibel Inn #3534 2/2 $450K, Pine Cove #303 2/2 $880K, Plantation Village #B122 3/3 $1.7M.
3 new listings: 1297 Par View Dr 3/2 $799K, 1555 San Carlos Bay Dr 2/2.5 $999K, 829 Tulip Ln 5/4.5 $2.495M.
10 price changes: 2066 Wild Lime Dr 2/1 now $349.9K, 458 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 now $399K, 1429 Jamaica Dr 4/3 now $495K, 9454 Calla Ct 3/2 now $597K, 9319 Kincaid Ct 3/2 now $599K, 1271 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 now $629K, 228 Hurricane Ln 3/2.5 now $725K, 4518 Bowen Bayou Rd 4/4 now $759K, 1244 Par View Dr 4/3 now $868.9K, 4701 Rue Belle Mer 4/4 now $2.365M. 
2 new sales: 1417 Causey Ct 3/2 listed for $544K, 1308 Tahiti Dr 3/3 listed for $699K.
5 closed sales: 1427 Sandpiper Cir 2/2 half-duplex $300K, 535 Piedmont Rd 3/2 $347.5K, 565 East Rocks Dr 3/2 $429K, 207 Daniel Dr 3/2 $541.75K, 9020 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 $687K.
1 new listing: 3037 Poinciana Cir $239.5K.
4 price changes: 4077 Coquina Dr now $224.9K, 9042 Mockingbird Dr now $329K, 2263 Starfish Ln now $549K, 2299 Starfish Ln now $599K.
2 new sales: 1326 Junonia St listed for $279K, 2423 Blue Crab Ct listed for $329.9K.
3 closed sales: 2285 Wulfert Rd 150K, 604 Boulder Dr $250K, 0 Camino Del Mar $310K (our sale).
2 new listings: Marina Villas #903 2/2 $620K, Lands End #1602 2/2 $1.28M.
No price changes.
1 new sale: Lands End Village #1628 3/3 listed for $1.675M.
1 closed sale: Seabreeze #1251 3/3 $1.48M.
1 new listing: 15166 Wiles Dr 3/2 $3.895M.
2 price changes: 11521 Laika Ln 3/3 now $1.399M, 11515 Murmond Ln 2/3 now $1.749M.
2 new sales: 1 Sunset Captiva Ln 2/2.5 listed for $1.495M, 16585 Captiva Dr 5/4/2 listed for $2.3M (short sale).
No closed sales.
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.



Happy Easter from The SanibelSusan Team!