“High Season” Is Winding Down on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

sunset from master“Season” must be winding down. There were lots of empty seats yesterday at our Thursday Sanibel and Captiva Islands Association of Realtor® Caravan meeting.

Island traffic has eased up some too, but the bike paths, causeway, and beaches remain busy with lots of families continuing to enjoy the islands’ early summer-like weather.

Rumor has it that reservations are dropping from 100% occupancy to about 75% tomorrow. But, many of us still have buyers arriving – mostly those looking for investment properties that are hard to view in “season”.

Several states continue to have spring school breaks right through the end of the month, so the islands “shoulder” weeks this year should remain busy.

The action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service follows a couple of news items. This week, we got a new home listing that went under contract in record-time. As the MLS report shows, over the last seven days, home sales outnumbered condo sales three to one.

141 Sanibel homes have already sold or are under contract this year, with just 135 remaining on the market. With Sanibel condos, 77 have sold and 112 are for sale. Lot sales are picking up some too; but 77 Sanibel lots remain for sale, with 24 sold/under contract this year to-date.

Below are a couple of photos thanks to teammate Realtor® Dave:

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Special SanibelSusan Gift

Old OfficeI got a great surprise Tuesday night after sponsoring the BIG ARTS 3rd Annual Photography Scavenger Hunt to benefit BIG ARTS scholarships. Island artist and BIG ARTS instructor, Bea Pappas, presented me with a thank you collage that she made. It includes an old Sanibel post card of our office building back in the days of City incorporation (1974). It was a gift shop then, called “The Last Straw”. Next time you are in the office, check it out. We have it proudly displayed by the front door, next to our antique Sanibel map from 1833.

Photo Scavenger HuntNext year’s Photo Scavenger Hunt already is in the planning stages, so if you will be on the island at this time next year, plan to join in the fun. After receiving just five clues, teams of two to four, with digital cameras in hand, scour the island to take pictures that they think best describe each clue. Some teams walk or bike, others ride. This year, the clues included: “warped”, “prickly”, “going up”, and “layered”.

Two hours later, the teams return to BIG ARTS and submit their photos. The pictures then are combined into a video showcase and judged, all while the teams enjoy a gourmet boxed dinner. After dessert, the video is featured during the awards show in Schein Performance Hall.

ButterflyScavengerHuntPrickly Scavenger HuntThis year, seven great gift basket prizes were awarded, one for each clue, a People’s choice award, plus the “best in show”. There were some creative entries.

Judges were Pam Broderson, well-known island artist and resident (www.PamBroderson.com), who for 24 years had a commercial photography studio in Chicago; island photographer David Meardon (www.SanibelPhoto.com) whose work is seen in many publications, including National Geographic; and long-time Fort Myers “News Press” photographer, Andrews West (www.AndrewPWest.com).

Steve Greenstein, Executive VP at the Sanibel Captiva Trust Company, was the emcee again this year and only lobbed a couple of Realtor® jokes my way. Thanks to all who participated and contributed! And to Bea, we love the collage!

Nesting Alert

Ding Darling Society logoBorrowed this from the April 2, 2015 issue of the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society Newsletter:

snowy plovers“Spring means wildlife nesting season! Please be mindful of snowy plovers nesting on the beach. Click here for a bulletin about giving nesting shorebirds space. Please avoid areas on Sanibel beaches roped off to protect our plovers.

Alligators too are laying and hatching eggs this time of year. Mother gators can be very protective and aggressive, so avoid getting near their nesting areas and be extra observant out in the Refuge.”

The New Hot Housing Market: Vacation Homes

realtor logoTuesday’s “REALTOR®Mag” on line offered the following:

“It’s a good time to have a vacation real estate niche. Vacation home sales jumped to a record high in 2014, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2015 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey. Vacation home sales climbed to an estimated 1.13 million last year, the highest since NAR began its survey in 2003.

“Sales of vacation homes rose 57% compared to the 717,000 tally in 2013. Vacation sales in 2014 nearly doubled the combined total of the previous two years. “Affluent households have greatly benefited from strong growth in the stock market in recent years, and the steady rise in home prices has likely given them reassurance that real estate remains an attractive long-term investments,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Furthermore, last year’s impressive increase also reflects long-term growth in the numbers of baby boomers moving closer to retirement and buying second homes to convert into their primary home in a few years.”

Vacation home sales comprised 21% of all transactions in 2014 – the highest market share since NAR began conducting its survey.

“As vacation home sales soared, investment purchases dropped for the fourth consecutive year, the report showed. Investment home sales in 2014 fell 7.4% to an estimated 10.2 million in 2014 compared to 1.1 million in 2013. The market share of investment sales dropped to 19% in 2014 from 20% in 2013.

“”Despite strong rental demand in many markets, investment property sales have declined four consecutive years to their lowest share since 2010 as rising home prices and fewer distressed properties coming onto the market have further reduced the number of bargains available to turn into profitable rentals,” Yun says….”

Upbeat Economic Forecast for Realtors®: It’s No Joke

Florida Realtors logoYesterday’s FloridaRealtors® on-line, posted a summary of the recent Economic Summit in Naples (sourced to the “Naples Daily News”). The Naples market is much like that here on Sanibel and Captiva:

“Have you heard the one about two economists and an appraiser? Bearing happy national and regional forecasts, all three killed it before a cheering crowd of about 400 real estate agents at the annual outlook summit of the Naples Area Board of Realtors Tuesday afternoon at the Naples Grande Beach Resort.

“The jolly tone was largely set by Elliott Eisenberg, former senior economist at the National Association of Home Builders in Washington, D.C., who now runs his own firm called Graphs & Laughs. He brought out the lighter side of household deleveraging, yield curve inversions and the quirky global dance between the dollar and deflation.

“Pointing out that lower energy prices and interest rates have allowed households to pay down debt and put an extra $1,600 in family budgets, he noted that this has allowed people to spend more on “stupid stuff, which is the American way – and this is good for the economy.”

“But while having more money to spend, coupled with a strong dollar abroad, has made it easier to buy pricey imported fripperies like red-soled Louboutin shoes and sporty BMWs, as well as cheap European vacations, there are some downsides, he said. That’s because a strong dollar makes it harder for American manufacturers to compete internationally, he said.

“”When it comes to manufacturing, things kind of suck,” said Eisenberg, noting that improvements in that sector are what pull an economy in and out of a recession.

“And because “corporations have become tightwads” and aren’t putting as much money as they could into new plants and their employees’ paychecks, the economy isn’t rebounding as quickly as it could, Eisenberg said.

That’s put a damper on homeownership among first-time buyers, who are just starting to emerge from their parents’ basements and form households.

“Nevertheless, on balance, the future is rosy, he predicted.

“Hiring is up and new unemployment claims down, which should put consumers on a strong footing in the future. While seven would-be workers pursued every job opening during the recession, now fewer than two do, he said.

“You can sleep with the boss’s wife and not get fired,” Eisenberg joked.

“Moreover, he expects the Federal Reserve is unlikely to raise short-term interest rates before the fall, and won’t do it quickly partly because it doesn’t want to spark deflation and partly because the “rest of the world is in the garbage can” and the global economy may suffer as a result.

“He expects rates will rise slowly from its current near-zero level to about 3.2% by the end of 2017.

“Eisenberg also doesn’t expect a return of the dreaded yield curve inversion, where short-term interest rates exceed long-term rates like mortgages, which generally presages a recession.

“”No recession is in the cards unless something external happens,” like a war or other unanticipated event, he said, exhorting the crowd of entrepreneurs to begin to take “prudent risks in your business – but don’t go nuts.”

“While he took a less jocular tone, Florida Realtors chief economist John Tuccillo drew smiles when he noted that “short sales have become museum pieces” and that the issues that once dominated the market – namely foreclosures and huge backlogs of unsold supply – are no longer the bugbears they were a few years ago.

“What seemed like a mountain has turned into a ski run,” he said.

“Negative equity loans – also known as underwater mortgages – have also declined to about 30% statewide from about 50% five years ago.

“Predicting positive effects on the state’s economy from the opening of Cuba and the expansion of the Panama Canal, as well as continued population and job growth, he expects home sales statewide will rise 10% year-over-year in the near future.

“Home prices also will grow, he said, albeit at a slower pace than in the past. Values should rise about 4.5% annually, he said, which are close to historical norms.

“Naples-based appraiser Cindy Carroll remarked that on a local level, both price growth and inventory levels vary markedly by location and neighborhood.

“For instance, some places, like Port Royal, may have already reached the top of their economic cycle and now have an oversupply of inventory, while others, like Royal Harbor and the Vanderbilt Beach area, still have room to run.

“But she still expects a long-term appreciation rate of about 6% in most neighborhoods.

“While that’s not a return to the go-go years of the housing boom, Carroll is still bullish about the region’s overall growth prospects.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity April 3-10 

4 new listings: Mariner Pointe #121 1/1 $369K, Sundial #J401 1/1 $499K, Sanibel Surfside #117 2/2 $995K, Dosinia #2B 3/2 $1.299M.
2 price changes: Sundial #A305 2/2 now $799K, Seascape #105 3/3 now $1.825M.
3 new sales: Sundial #F306 1/1 listed for $379K, Ibis at The Sanctuary #201 2/2 listed for $459.5K, White Pelican #123 2/2 listed for $799.9K.
3 closed sales: Colonnades #44 1/1 $189.5K, Tennisplace #B23 2/1.5 $285K, Sedgemoor #206 3/3.5 $2.1M.
5 new listings: 1593 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex $529K, 4515 Bowen Bayou Rd 3/2 $585K, 238 Southwinds Dr 3/3 $625K, 554 East Rocks Dr 3/2 $699K, 1525 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 $829K.
12 price changes: 982 Main St 3/2.5 now $439K, 9106 Mockingbird Dr 2/2 now $525K, 220 Palm Lake Dr 3/3 now $565K, 741 Nerita St 3/2 now $639.9K, 4241 Old Banyan Way 3/2 now $759K, 3364 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $799K, 489 Lake Murex Cir 4/2 now $899K, 518 N Yachtsman Dr 3/3 now $1.099M, 1245 Isabel Dr 3/3.5 now $1.695M, 4206 Dingman Dr 4/3 now $2.695M, 1204 Isabel Dr 3/3.5 now $3.795M, 3911 West Gulf Dr 5/5.5 now $4.895M.
12 new sales: 1938 Roseate Ln 3/2 listed for $329K; 766 Donax St 2/2 duplex listed for $415K; 659 Donax St 2/2 $499K (our listing); 3724 Agate Ct 2/2 listed for $549K; 542 Chert Ct 3/2 listed for $549.9K; 1347 Jamaica Dr 2/2 listed for $550K; 2984 Island Inn Rd 3/2 listed for $599,999; 1209 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 listed for $789.9K; 4458 Waters Edge Ln 3/2 listed for $829K; 667 Anchor Dr 4/3.5 listed for $1.1M; 2514 Blind Pass Ct 4/3/2 listed for $1.425M; 821 Sand Dollar Dr 4/4 listed for $1.589M.
6 closed sales: 1063 Blue Heron Dr 3/2 $475K, 4037 Coquina Dr 3/3 $800K, 201 Violet Dr 3/2 $850K, 261 Ferry Landing Dr 2/2 half-duplex $918K, 819 Lindgren Blvd 4/3.5 $1.09M, 1309 Seaspray Ln 5/5 $1.835M.
659 Donax St

659 Donax St

1 new listing: 2453/2441 Los Colony Rd $225K.
1 price change: 0 Pine Ave now $248.5K.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: 4019 Coquina Dr $200K.
3 new listings: Bayside Villas #5310 3/3 $595K, Beach Villas #2414 2/2 $610K, Beach Homes #19 3/3 $2.695M.
2 price changes: Bayside Villas #414 1/2 now $265K, Marina Villas #707 2/2 now $595K.
1 new sale: Marina Villas #902 2/2 listed for $650K.
1 closed sale: Lands End Village #1654 3/3 $1.6M.
No new listings.
2 price changes: 14981 Binder Dr 3/3 now $1.049M, 13550 Palmflower Ln 4/3.5 now $4.97M.
2 new sales: 19 Urchin Ct 2/2.5 listed for $889K, 16183 Captiva Dr 4/3.5 listed for $3.985M.
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 general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.

TGIFHAPPY FRIDAY! SanibelSusan (Susan Andrews)

The Forecast Missed…It’s Another Gorgeous Day on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

It is another sunny Friday afternoon on Sanibel Island. The weathermen forecast a high today of only the mid-60’s so some of us are wearing turtle necks, longs sleeves, and scarves with their flip flops. Ha, they were wrong again. It’s a bright 70 degrees mid-afternoon with blue skies and temperatures rising! January can be funny here though, we could still see a few days of island winter.

Pool to golfBelow are a couple of real estate news items followed by the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service this week. Several of our listings were shown and David/Elise hosted our Realtor Caravan Open House yesterday from 9 a.m. until noon in The Sanctuary. Since they were getting good walk-in traffic, Dave continued the Open House until 4 p.m. and got some good walk-in activity then too.

Though the roadway and bike paths were busy again this week, just 11 new sales were announced on Sanibel, one on Captiva (a big one).

Our friends in the accommodations business describe this week as setting records for reservations. That probably means that February and March will be standing room only on the islands. We can expect more sales then.

2015 Sanibel & Captiva Association of Realtors Installation & Awards Banquet

Program Pg 2Last Saturday night, this annual event was a success and well attended with the banquet room full and the sunset spectacular from Sundial Beach Resort’s new open deck. It’s great to see the resort bounce back following its recent renovations.

This year the theme was “Carnival”, so attendees were asked to dress in white.

As the evening’s emcee again, it was fun to present the awards to this year’s winners:

Administrative Support award to Jessica Elliott with VIP, Rookie of the Year to Chris Johnson with Pfeifer Realty, Affiliate of the Year to Nanci Berlin with Barrier Island Title, Community Service award to Shane Spring with VIP, and Realtor of the Year to Dave Schuldenfrei also with VIP. Both Shane and David worked hard in the association’s continuing goals to help to improve water quality and keep flood insurance affordable.

Chris HeidrickDavid, also 2014 President, gave a special award to Chris Heidrick with Heidrick & Company Insurance. Chris, also a Sanibel Planning Commissioner, is Chairman of the National Flood Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, and he sits on the Flood Insurance Producers National Committee which is an advisory committee to FEMA/National Flood Insurance Program.

Congratulations to all on their awards!

2015 Florida Realtors Mid-Year Business Meetings

Florida Realtors logoThe Florida Realtors Mid-Winter Business Meetings in Orlando begin next Wednesday with Florida’s Economic Summit. Here is the write-up posted on Florida Realtors yesterday about the upcoming summit:

“The real estate market plays a vital role in Florida’s economy, and figuring out what lies ahead in 2015 is key to policymakers, residents and Realtors®. Several respected economists will share their insights on the state’s business climate and economy at Florida Realtors®2015 Economic Summit on Jan. 21, 2015, from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m….The summit kicks off Florida Realtors’ Mid-Winter Business Meetings, which take place Jan. 21-25, 2015.

“”We anticipate the positive trends that developed last year to continue into 2015,” says Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “Florida’s economy is producing significant numbers of jobs, in-migration is strong and the housing market will benefit. Florida Realtors expects home sales to increase by about 10% in 2015, and values to move upward at the historical average rate of 4.5-5%. Because of inventory shortages at the lower price levels of the market, measured median and average prices will rise by 10-15% – about the same as their performance in 2014.

“”Both the economy and real estate will benefit from lower gas prices, which are expected to continue through the first half of the year,” he adds. “This will give consumers more spendable income, but will also allow them to consider buying homes farther from metropolitan centers, where home prices are lower. Florida’s economy also will benefit from both the expansion of the Panama Canal, which will bring new trade and employment opportunities to Florida, and from numerous transportation projects that are now underway or planned around the state.”

“Summit speakers include Jesse Panuccio, executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity; Ted Jones, chief economist and senior vice president, Stewart Title Guaranty Company; and Dr. John Tuccillo, Florida Realtors chief economist. Attendees also will hear a discussion of regional development and economic trends from a panel of civic and business leaders….”

Loan Demand Posts Biggest Leap in 6 Years

CNBC_Logo_FlatAlthough most Sanibel & Captiva Island sales are cash transactions, it was encouraging to read about the uptick in the mortgage activity this week. The below article was posted Wednesday on “Daily Real Estate News” and sourced to CNBC. Whenever there is good news like this, it has positive impact throughout the market.

“Plunging mortgage rates sent mortgage applications skyrocketing last week, the Mortgage Bankers Association reports in its weekly survey released Wednesday.

“Mortgage application volume reflecting demand for home purchases and refinances soared 49.1% in the week ending January 9, compared to the previous week, the MBA reports. Most of that jump was attributed to a 66% seasonally adjusted increase in applications to refinance. Refinance applications are now at the highest level since July 2013.

“Applications for home purchases, viewed as a gauge of future home-buying activity, rose to a seasonally adjusted 24% from the previous week. Applications for home purchases are now 2% higher than they were a year ago. The MBA said a new 3 percent down payment option for qualified buyers at Fannie Mae contributed to the gain. “Purchase application volume was at its highest level since September 2013 … and notably increased across most loan size categories, particularly for the conforming, middle of the market loan segments that had been weak for much of the past year,” says Michael Fratantoni, the MBA’s chief economist.

“The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped to a 3.89% average last week, its lowest level since May 2013. “In addition to the drop in rates, and news of improvement in the job market, there was additional positive news for prospective home buyers with evidence that credit availability has increased somewhat, and with the FHA’s announcement of a decrease in their mortgage insurance premiums,” Fratantoni said.”

“Sanctuary Sound”

The Sanctuary club aerialYesterday’s email brought the January issue of the “Sanctuary Sound” from Sheryl Tatum, Director of Membership and Marketing at The Sanctuary Golf Club. Here is an excerpt:

The Sanctuary Sign2July08“What an amazing beginning to 2015! We are selling Equity Memberships like crazy. There is a Waiting List for the Social Memberships, but an Application will secure a spot on the Waiting List. The number of inquiries has doubled from last year.”

Sheryl plays an important role in getting our prospective Sanctuary clients on the golf course, tennis court, or dinner, so it is always good news when she shares what is happening in her office.

Sanctuary membership categories are: Equity Membership – $110,000; Introductory Membership – $10,000; Temporary Membership – $5,000 for 1 month or $7,000 for 2 months; Social Membership: $15,000.

Below is an aerial photos of our listing at 5743 Baltusrol Court in The Sanctuary. The lot next door is available too. Click the tabs above to access a full-page of information about each of our listings – streaming videos too!


Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity January 9-16 



5 new listings: Captains Walk #E5 2/2 $299K, Sanibel Arms #E8 2/2 $509K, Blind Pass #G105 3/3 $769K, 630 Periwinkle Way 4/3 $999.9K, Signal Inn #18 3/2 $1.089M.

1 price change: White Pelican #123 2/2 now $799.9K.

2 new sales: Lighthouse Point #215 3/2 listed for $575K, Sandpiper Beach #202 2/2 listed for $624.9K.

2 closed sales: Sundial #D307 1/1 $225K, Sandpebble #E 2/2 $410K.


1 new listing: 1521 Wilton Ln 3/2 $559K.

5 price changes: 1380 Jamaica Dr 3/2 now $599.9K; 2984 Island Inn Rd 3/2 now $599,999; 9012 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 now $689K; 600 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2.5 now $1.2945M; 1204 Isabel Dr 3/3.5 now $3.995M.

8 new sales: 320 Palm Lake Dr 2/2 listed for $424K, 3001 Singing Wind Dr 3/2 listed for $449K (short sale), 1717 Windward Way 3/2 listed for $649K, 1710 Middle Gulf Dr 3/2 listed for $699K, 251 Daniel Dr 3/2 listed for $809K, 749 Pyrula Ave 3/3 listed for $1.225M, 836 Sand Dollar Dr 3/2/2 listed for $1.295M, 2400 Los Colony Rd 3/3 listed for $1.495M.

2 closed sales: 660 Durion Ct 2/2 $540K, 1674 Sabal Palm Dr 3/3 $790K.


1 new listing: 1301 Par View Dr $249.555.

3 price changes: 2372 Wulfert Rd now $209K, 6486 Pine Ave now $359.9K, 3723 West Gulf Dr now $3.089M.

1 new sale: 2562 Coconut Dr listed for $349K.

1 closed sale: 218 Violet Dr $325K.



3 new listings: Tennis Villas #3232 2/2 $499K, Bayside Villas #5324 3/3 $595K, Lands End Village #1654 3/3 1.685M.

No price changes, new sales or closed sales.


No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 16660 Captiva Dr 5/5.5 listed for $14.85M.

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.

Until next week, here is another favorite Sanibel beach photo.

Many visitors here this winter are saying the beach looks better than ever!

The SanibelSusan Team agrees!

Pointe Santo beach