Florida REALTORS & Sanibel/Captiva Scoop


Today, SanibelSusan is in Orlando finishing up at the Florida Realtors® Mid-Winter Business Meetings. Here’s hoping this week’s blog doesn’t look too different – I am producing it using my iPhone and iPad. Gotta love this on-the-road technology!

The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association’s leadership team was excited Wednesday night to make a clean sweep of the Florida PAC awards for a small board. Below is our 2018 President Dustyn Corace with the first of the trophies. Congratulation to our 2017 RPAC Committee co-chairs Realtor Tina DiCharia and Dave Arter (at left of Dustyn in photo) for leading the charge, and to our entire island membership for their participation and support! Also shown, in addition to the old gray-haired gal next to Dustyn, are our President-Elect soon-to-be-Mom Kasey Albright and her tall husband Realtor Brendan Albright, plus our Association Executive and CEO Bill Robinson.

D70948CC-3A31-45CB-916C-8C966A337407

My teammates have kept the office running smoothly the couple of days I have been here. Tuesday morning, I attended a preliminary closing just before heading out of town, while teammate Dave handled two others later in the week. The details on those, plus teammate Elise’s report of the week’s action in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service follows a couple of news items below.

East Rocks Main Replacement

Island Water logoHere’s some scoop about The Rocks from the Winter “IWA Pipeline”.

“The East Rocks water main replacement, a portion of which was planned for completion in 2017, will now be started and completed beginning in the Spring of 2018. Since a majority of the country’s raw material for manufacturing PVC and HDPE pipe originates in the Texas area, Hurricane Harvey put a serious dent in the supply and price of this commodity. The portion of East Rocks Drive that was planned for 2017 was put off until 2018 when it will be completed along with the rest of the project.

“East Rocks had some streets partially upgraded years ago when fire hydrants were installed. This current project will remove all of the remaining thin-walled pipe and add a fire hydrant on Durion Court. As with the Brine Sump Replacement Project, this project will be paid for out of our reserves, with no assessments to members. This project has a budget of $280K.”

Home Water Treatment Systems

island waterMore about Sanibel’s water from the same “IWA Pipeline”.

“It has recently come to our attention that plumbing companies are attempting to sell our members expensive whole-home water treatment/softener systems. There is simply no need to install such a system to treat our water. The mineral content of our water is very low. In fact, after running through the Reverse Osmosis membranes, there are no minerals in the water. We have to add minerals in the form of a small amount of raw water back into our water to bring the total hardness up to between 30 to 60, depending on which wells we use. The state considers a total hardness of between 80-120 to be optimal. Anything below 100 is considered soft. Do not let a water treatment sales person try to tell you our water is hard.

“If the issue is chlorine residual, which is required by law, buy yourself a charcoal filter for the kitchen faucet or refrigerator water line for drinking water and ice. If you buy a whole-house charcoal filter, you will be removing the disinfectant from your house plumbing, which could lead to bacterial growth in your piping.

“If you would like your water tested, bring in a sample in a clean plastic or glass bottle, and we can test for chlorine residual and hardness. It should be at least a pint, at room temperature, and brought here as soon as possible. Chlorine degrades over time.”

Sanibel Library Update

sanibel-library-logoThe latest issue of the Sanibel Library newsletter had some interesting info too:

“Sanibel Public Library was recognized with a 2017 “Four Star” rating by “Library Journal”, the fourth time Sanibel has earned this national award. In statewide rankings of Florida public libraries, Sanibel Public Library ranked:

#1 for Material Available Per Capita: 13.11 (statewide average 1.86) Books, Movies, Music, Magazines
#1 for Public Computers Available Per 1,000: 4.6 (statewide average 0.82)
#1 for public space (square feet)
#2 for Circulation Per Borrower: 21.65 (statewide average 11.04)
#2 for Program Attendance Per Capita: 7 (statewide average 0.23)
#3 for Library Visits Per Capita: 18.51 (statewide average 3.79).”

Wondering what’s happening at the Library now?

“The award-winning Sanibel Public Library is a community anchor that encourages discovery, enrichment, and lifelong learning. The Library began with volunteers in the 1960s and is currently in its fifth home, which opened in 1994. In 2004 the building was expanded to its current size. Both the appearance and the quality of the structure are outstanding, but the infrastructure – HVAC, fire suppression, plumbing, lighting, technology, and flooring – are being upgraded for greater efficiency and sustainable design.

“As we take care of the infrastructure, we looked at the current use of the building, and how that use has changed over the past several years and how it will change in the future. Your Library Board of Commissioners is responding to these ever-changing needs while maintaining what is good about the last 50 years of library service on Sanibel, with a focus on fresh, new, dynamic services and programs.

“Reconfiguring the interior includes a user-centered service design with flexible, multi-purpose spaces for reading and research, collaboration, multiple technology access points, children’s story-time space, and more. The Sanibel Public Library will be positioned for the next decade of exemplary, innovative, and responsive library service.

“Your Library Reimagined has been in the planning since early 2015. The Library Board set a budget of $5.9 million, which is being covered by Library reserves, grants, and gifts. The project is currently in Phase I, half the Library is open to the public during the remodel. Phase I is nearing completion, and Phase II is expected to begin in February, with full completion expected by September 2018.”

2018 Florida Real Estate Trends

97C7F585-3EEB-4DE8-9BFE-5F821247F52BHere are a few notes from the session I attended yesterday at the Florida Realtors Governance Meetings. This one included presentations by:

● Dr. Tony Villamil, who was Governor Bush’s first Director for Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development. Previously, he was President George Bush’s U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs. Today, he is the founder and principal advisor at The Washington Economics Group, Inc.

● Kevin Foreman who leads INDRIX Big Data and GeoAnalytics. He is the General Manager of GeoAnalytics.

● Dr. Brad O’Connor, Florida REALTORS Chief Economist.

The following snippets are from Dr. Villamil’s presentation: “National & Florida Economic Outlook”. Next week’s update will include info from the other speakers’ presentations: “How Self-Driving Cars Will Impact Real Estate” and “Florida Residential Resale Market Update”. All were interesting, and confirm the real estate business continues to evolve – in a good way!

According to Dr. Villamil, the overall international business climate will not change significantly in 2018.

Positive factors in Florida’s economy include the state being pro-growth with increasing population and growing employment. Global economy is expanding at a moderate pace and the U.S. economy also will grow this year at a good clip.

His 2018 economic outlook has U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) up 3% and world output globally up 3.5%. Canada is doing well. The economy is expected to be up India (under new prime minister (democracy)) and China. Brazil is expected to be back in action too, but there is mixed outlook for Latin America.

In financial markets, inflation may be up 2%, but household net worths are doing very well, consumers will continue to buy, and real estate will remain in demand.

Much of Florida’s economy depends on open global markets. Watch for the modernization of NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement), and U.S./global markets going to “sunshine”.

Florida’s employment is growing faster than the rest of the nation. That should continue in 2018. Florida’s real GDP which is top among states also should continue to increase too and pass $1 trillion in 2018!

Dr. Villamil expects a positive environment for Florida’s 2018 real estate markets with the strong economic expansion to continue; population, employment, and visitor growth to be more than 2017; positive tax changes for Florida residents; and international visitors and foreign investment to increase.

Economic factors that need to be monitored include the Fed being less accommodating, inflation expectations, “hard” Brexit, the U.S. dollar exchange rate, trade/immigration policy, and 2018 national and state elections.

So overall, it should be another outstanding year for Florida business. Exciting changes are coming though. More info on that next week.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity January 19-26, 2018

Sanibel
CONDOS
3 new listings: Donax Village #9 2/2 $499K, Pointe Santo #E35 2/2 $1.295M, Island Beach Club #340D 2/2 $1.379M.
8 price changes: Spanish Cay #A7 1/1 now $274K (our listing), Sand Pointe #122 2/2 now $649K (our listing), Nutmeg Village #201 2/2 now $999K, Gulfside Place #222 2/2 now $1.175M, Gulfside Place #123 2/2 now $1.198M, Gulfside Place #323 2/2 now $1.398M, Gulfside Place #124 2/2 now $1.225M, Poinciana #3C 3/2 now $1.725M.
5 new sales: Mariner Pointe #1073 2/2 listed at $499K, Sanibel Inn #3535 2/2 listed at $765K, Surfside 12 #A1 3/2 listed at $799K, Sundial West #E208 2/2 listed at $1.15M, By-The-Sea #C302 3/2 listed at $1.745M.
2 closed sales: Nutmeg Village #109 2/2 $665K, Bandy Beach #A101 3/2 $1M (our buyer).

HOMES
12 new listings: 1410 Sand Castle Rd 2/2 $639K, 5307 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/2.5 $645K, 1020 White Ibis Dr 3/2 $689K, 3837 Coquina Dr 2/2 $725K, 3825 Coquina Dr 3/3 $849K, 5410 Osprey Ct 3/2.5 $849K, 5739 Pine Tree Dr 3/3 $849K, 3050 West Gulf Dr 3/2.5 $979K, 542 N Yachtsman Dr 2/2 $989K, 824 Birdie View Pt 3/3 $1.198M, 3822 West Gulf Dr 3/2 $1.199M, 1316 Eagle Run Dr 4/3 $1.299M.
13 price changes: 1027 Sand Castle Rd 2/2 now $549K; 3784 Coquina Dr 3/3 now $599,995; 1478 Albatross Rd 3/2 now $639K; 998 Fish Crow Rd 3/2 now $644K; 1342 Junonia St 3/3 now $689K; 3323 Twin Lakes Ln 3/3 now $787K; 5280 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/2 now $849K; 4791 Rue Helene 3/2 now $849K; 707 Cardium St 3/2 now $879K; 478 Sea Oats Dr 3/3 now $1.195M; 805 Sand Dollar Dr 4/3 now $1.395M; 536 Lighthouse Way 4/4.5 now $3.195M; 3009 Turtle Gait Ln 4/4.5 now $3.299M.
5 new sales: 3021 Singing Wind Dr 3/2 listed at $499K, 1470 Angel Dr 3/2 listed at $920K, 789 Pyrula Ave 4/2.5 listed at $1.095M, 900 Almas Ct 3/3.5 listed at $1.199M, 4641 Rue Belle Mer 3/2.5 listed at $3.295M.
5 closed sales: 1817 Atlanta Plaza Dr 3/2 $385K, 545 Piedmont Rd 3/2 $585K, 241 Violet Dr 3/2.5 $685K, 1035 Kings Crown Dr 4/3 $1.71M, 1149 Paper Fig Ct 4/3 $2.179M.

LOTS
1 new listing: 1550 Centre St $225K.
No price changes.
1 new sale: Lot 27, Leisure Acres listed at $59K.
No closed sales.

Captiva
CONDOS
3 new listings: Sunset Beach Villas #2214 2/2 $620K; Captiva Shores #8B 3/2.5 $1.648M; Seabreeze #1253 3/3 $1,999,999.
1 price change: Marina Villas #610 2/2 now $699K.
1 new sale: Beach Cottages #1403 2/2 $1.195M.
1 closed sale: Captiva Shores #4B 3/2.5 $1.3745M.

HOMES
1 new listing: 16177/179 Captiva Dr 3/3 $3.75M.
2 price changes: 11535 Chapin Ln 4/3 now $1.395M, 16163 Captiva Dr 3/2 now $2.695M.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: 11526 Laika Ln 4/4 duplex $1.725M.

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 week! Enjoy your weekends wherever you are & please contact the SanibelSusan Team for your real estate needs. We are always ready to help you!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Almost April & the islands are busy


It’s SanibelSusan and team reporting that the island is hopping with lots more families/spring breakers here this week. It was sunny and summer-like right through yesterday with temperatures into the low-80’s.

The below photos were taken yesterday by local fishing guide, Paul Primeaux. To see these gorgeous turquoise waters yourself and probably catch a few fish too, contact him directly at www.captivaguide.com.

water paul primeau 03-30-17

water Paul 03-30-17

Today is overcast with a few showers expected – so far, just a few sprinkles.

Teammate Dave had a few lookers during another Open House on Wednesday. I have been out showing property at The Sanctuary and will be again later this afternoon. Earlier in the week, Dave and Lisa finalized an off-island sale which came from an island referral. We love those.

Association of Realtors® Thursday Caravan

Sanibel realtors logoIt was another quick, but busy meeting at the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® weekly caravan meeting yesterday. I was happy to be one of the sale announcements (our condo listing at Coquina Beach). Also, we already have had good results from announcing a price reduction at Beachcomber #A102. Can’t beat that gulf-front location for $1.445M (photos below)

Again, lots of price reductions were announced: 18 Sanibel homes and four condos. A report of the week’s status changes in the Sanibel-Captiva Multiple Listing Service follows a few news items below.

Sanibel Public Library – Year in Review

sanibel libraryI bet the Sanibel Library won’t mind if I repeat a few tidbits that I enjoyed from their last mail-out. Always good to get a reminder about what is offered here. It also is a great place to park Sunday mornings for Farmers’ Market.

Library cards are available to all residents of Sanibel and Lee County, FL, at no charge.

Visitor cards are available for a $10 fee and are good for one year.

Here are the Sanibel Library’s state rankings:

  • #1 for Material Available Per Capita (books, movies, music, magazines)
  • #2 for Circulation Per Borrower
  • #2 for Program Attendance Per Capita
  • #2 for Public Computers Available Per 1,000
  • #3 for Library Visits Per Capita.

Sanibel Public Library also was awarded Trip Advisor “Certificate of Excellence” awards for 2014, 2015, 2016 and Library Journal’s national “Star Library” award in 2010, 2011, 2016.

In addition to books, the Library has more than 8,000 DVD’s, 200 different magazine and newspaper subscriptions, more than 50 eMagazine subscriptions are available for download with the Zinio app.

Since eShelf inception in 2010, 43,000 eBooks have been downloaded via OverDrive including 9,000 audiobooks. Thousands of 3Books, movies, audiobooks, and TV shows, as well as music, are available via the Hoopla app.

Rising Rates, Rising Sales

NAR gray-logoGood article by Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist, in the March/April 2017 issue of “Realtor®” magazine:

“Interest rates are rising, but there’s no need to panic. In the past, for each 10-basis-point increase in mortgage rates, home sales declined by around 35,000 on a national basis. Since the presidential election, mortgage interest rates have risen by 70 basis points, from an average of 3.5% to 4.2%.

“If rising interest rates are accompanied by a strengthening labor market with higher wages, the economy will be fine. At least 2 million net new jobs are forecast for this year, and that is the reason we anticipate home sales will squeak out a modest gain over 2016. If mortgage underwriting standards normalize even modestly from the excessively stringent conditions of the past few years, such as through reduced FHA insurance premiums or lower guarantee fees on loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, then sales could be even better.

“Some analysis might say higher interest rates are not due to improved long-term economic prospects but to a steep increase in future budget deficits as tax revenue falls and spending increases. If that’s the case, the economic boost will be short-lived, harming home sales in the future.

“Which will it be? The task for us is to see how federal policies affect the dynamism in the economy. Fewer regulations will likely encourage entrepreneurs to introduce new products and services. However, if the government instead emphasizes protection of exiting companies, then economic growth could suffer.

“NAR’s survey of commercial members fortunately indicates that openings of small businesses have surpassed closings in recent months. That is a good sign, and some of those small businesses could well become the next Apple, Facebook, or Google. Let the economy work it’s magic.”

Upcoming Events

Captiva-Cruises-LogoSunset Sing Cruise – The Sanibel BIG ARTS Ensemble (30 members) is singing aboard Captiva Cruises sunset cruise on Sunday, April 2. This alto is part of the entertainment. A few tickets still are available (call 472-5100 or online at www.captivacruises.com.)

SCCF logoSCCF’s Beer in the Bushes – Saturday, April 15, 6 to 10 p.m. Beer in the Bushes has become the unofficial End-of-Season Party. Guests will enjoy a fun evening on the grounds of SCCF’s Nature Center in support of SCCF’s mission of conserving local coastal habitats and aquatic resources. This event is 21+, rain or shine. It includes new craft beer tastings, great food, world-class music, and just a chance to catch up with fellow islanders. This is the first time the event has had a Gold Record Award-wining group performing. The headliner is “G. Love & Special Sauce” which is known for their unique and laid-back music covering classical R&B and hip-hop sounds. More info at www.sccf.org or tickets online at www.sccfbeer.eventbrite.com.

Pine Island Sound Cruise – On the cusp of Earth Day, Friday April 21, SCCF is teaming up with Captiva Cruises and author Denege Patterson for a cruise through the islands of Pine Island Sound. Climbing aboard Captiva Cruises regularly scheduled lunch trip to Cabbage Key and Useppa, guests hear a narration by Denege who has spent over five years studying the geology and archeology of over 20 islands. (See above for ticket info.)

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity March 24-31, 2017

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Sanctuary Golf Villages I #3-3 2/2.5 $699K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #6 3/3 $939K.

4 price changes: Tennisplace #C21 2/1.5 now $349,555; Kings Crown #106 2/2 now $849K; Pine Cove #102 3/2 now $1.347M; Beachcomber #A102 2/2 now $1.445M (our listing).

4 new sales: Coquina Beach #3G 2/2 listed at $499K (our listing), Kings Crown #106 2/2 listed at $849K, Loggerhead Cay #152 2/2 listed at $899K, Somerset #E202 3/2.5 listed at $1.649M.

4 closed sales: Sundial West #G307 1/1 $400K, Sundial West #I303 1/1 $445K, Sanibel Moorings #841 2/2 $449K, Heron at The Sanctuary III #1B 3/2.5 $600K.

HOMES

5 new listings: 1747 Serenity Ln 3/2 $499K, 471 Las Tiendas Ln 3/2 $749K, 1183 Kittiwake Cir 3/2 $889K, 673 East Rocks Dr 3/2 $898K, 1426 Causey Ct 3/2.5 $1.399M.

18 price changes: 1029 Dixie Beach Blvd 2/2 now $439.9K, 3021 Singing Wind Dr 3/2 now $518K, 1585 Serenity Ln 3/3 now $520K, 1212 Par View Dr 2/2 now $589K, 9446 Yucca Ct 3/2 now $589K, 1426 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $615K, 1020 White Ibis Dr 3/3 now $719K, 1315 Par View Dr 3/2 now $729K, 5126 Joewood Dr 3/2 now $735K, 1425 Causey Ct 4/3 now $779K, 5240 Caloosa End Ln 3/3 now $949.9K, 1114 Captains Walk St 3/3 now $955K, 1126 Harbour Cottage Ct 3/2 now $1.445M, 687 Anchor Dr 4/3 now $1.495M, 1743 Venus Dr 4/3.5 now $1.699M, 4190 Dingman Dr 4/3.5 now $1.995M, 1149 Paper Fig Ct 4/3 now $2.439M, 4731 Rue Belle Mer 3/3 now $2.5M.

12 new sales: 6471 Pine Ave 2/2 listed at $529K, 4619 Brainard Bayou Rd 3/2 listed at $549.9K, 1895 Farm Trl 3/2 listed at $615K, 1114 Sabal St 2/2 listed at $675K, 1210 Par View Dr 4/2 listed at $695K, 3359 Barra Cir 3/3 listed at $789K, 276 Ferry Landing Dr 4/3 listed at $899.9K, 1030 Kings Crown Dr 2/2 listed at $929K, 863 Lindgren Blvd 3/2 listed at $979K, 1035 Kings Crown Dr 3/2 listed at $1.15M, 5838 Pine Tree Dr 3/3 listed at $1.295M, 615 Lighthouse Way 3/3.5 listed at $2.345M.

3 closed sales: 1746 Windward Way 3/2 $530K, 671 Rabbit Rd 3/2 $620K, 2920 West Gulf Dr 3/2 $910K.

LOTS

2 new listings: 667 Birdie View Pt $349.9K, 2987 Wulfert Rd $450K.

No price changes.

2 new sales: 5121 Sanibel-Captiva Rd listed at $197,555; 5687 Baltusrol Ct listed at $315K.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

2 price changes: Beach Villas #2422 1/1 now $519K, Lands End Village #1665 2/2 now $1.015M.

No new or closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 16596 Captiva Dr 6/5/2 $8.25M.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 1119 Schefflera Ct 4/3.5 listed at $4.695M.

1 closed sale: 13500 Palmflower Ln 4/4 $1.82M.

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.)

april fools.gifUntil next Friday, don’t be fooled tomorrow… it’s already spring!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Another Picture-Perfect Friday on Sanibel Island


Another Friday has arrived with the islands settled into a steady post-season routine – essentially no traffic delays on Periwinkle, no lines at local restaurants, but still vacationers here enjoying summer-like weather at the beaches, on the bike paths, and outdoors in general. They are benefiting from lower off-season accommodation rates too.

dolphins 11-6-15

Overall, inventory remains fairly low and sales activity is a little slow. At our last “season” weekly Realtor® Caravan meeting yesterday, only a couple of new sales were announced and just six new listings were open for viewing.

The schedule of these Thursday morning caravan meetings has now switched to the ever-other-week summer schedule which will apply until new listing activity picks up again in the fall. The next meeting on May 12 will be an “Open Caravan” – meaning property that either east or west-end properties may be included. That “open” schedule flexibility will continue until fall.

Sanibel Inventory in Perspective

sancap GO MLS logoUsing the data from the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service as of April 29 and comparing the activity year-to-date with the sales during the same timeframe last year, here are the standings. Also included are the same statistics for 2006 – the year of the market “peak”. Though ten years ago, it is interesting how those statistics compare to the same 4-month period (January 1 through April 29).

# for Sale                         # Sold/Closed 2016  # Sold/Closed 2015   #Sold/Closed 2006

Median Asking Price     Median Sale Price     Median Sale Price     Median Sale Price

SANIBEL CONDOS:

96                                       56                                   64                                   73

$662,450                          $664,500                    $662,000                      $799,000

SANIBEL HOMES:

154                                       59                                  94                                  59

$997,000                          $795,000                    $764,000                      $899,000

What does this mean? Though inventory is low, particularly when compared to previous years, there still is a lot. At the current rate of sales, there are about seven months of condo inventory and over ten months for homes.

Typically, there are fewer island sales in the spring and summer, with more last quarter and first quarter, but this year is a bit of an anomaly. The median sale price is up, but the number of units sold is down, both for condos and homes. If election year jitters calm down, it certainly will help.

A couple of the articles below about the economy and predictions for the rest of the year offer more insight. The action posted over the last week in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service follow the news.

Work To Upgrade AT&T Signal Under Way at Donax Tower

flag cell towerAccording to an article posted in last Friday’s “Santiva Chronicle”, “AT&T appears to be getting closer to the long-awaited signal upgrade on Sanibel. Heavy equipment is presently on the site along Donax Street where the cellphone tower that doubles as a heavy-duty flagpole sits. AT&T told the city early this year that the upgrade would occur in the second quarter of 2016.

““The city issued a building permit to the AT&T subcontractor well more than a month ago and the city had been previously advised that AT&T planned to install its communications equipment during the second quarter of 2016,” City Attorney said in an e-mail on Thursday, April 21.

AT&T_logo_svg““Our understanding is that the AT&T subcontractor has now commenced construction of the ground building that will house the generator and ground equipment which supports the communications equipment to be installed within the tower,” Cuyler said.

“Finally getting the new equipment running on the Donax tower will help alleviate the frustration AT&T customers have experienced with weak signals and dropped calls….”

Islanders Briefed on Blind Pass at Stakeholders Meeting

santiva chronicleAs reported in the “Santiva Chronicle” this week – “Keep Blind Pass open and keep it open in a correct way – That was the consensus of about 100 people attending the Blind Pass Inlet Management Study meeting at The Sanctuary clubhouse Thursday evening, April 21.

“The meeting was hosted by the Lee County Natural Resources Division to discuss the status of the ongoing study of Blind Pass and to take input from stakeholders. It drew a cross section ranging from Sanibel and Captiva officials, to members and officials of island non-profits and residents of the immediate area.

““Everything is on the table. We have powerful tools to develop this model,” Steve Boutelle, operations manager of the Lee County DNR, said.

“The meeting was to take community input to supplement the vast amount of data that is being gathered to determine the best way to keep one of the key inlets open and the water within it circulating as it should be.

Blind Pass is the inlet that separates Captiva and Sanibel. Its history, which was reviewed by B&I, the consulting firm hired by the DNR, is one of closing, opening and moving around as a result of natural forces and human intervention.

BlindPass_1953_4H_75

“Michelle Pfeiffer of B&I presented a number of slides and charts, and she also had aerial shots of the various shapes the volatile inlet has taken through the years. The most dramatic was in 1972 when Hurricane Agnes marched through, “forever altering Blind Pass,” according to B&I’s Tom Pierro.

Blind pass 2002

“Blind Pass has been dredged and one more dredging is scheduled before the current permit to do so expires. Presently the pass is in extremely shallow condition with people easily wading across and causing boats with shallow drafts to struggle.

blind pass sanibel

“Ann Vanderbilt spoke for the 300 members of the Bayous Preservation Association, a citizens group that works to restore and maintain the water quality in the area, including Blind Pass. She was the first of several to point out the recent cooperation between stakeholders when it comes to Blind Pass.

“The DNR got valuable input from knowledgeable residents of the surrounding neighborhoods, including Harvey Padewer and John McCabe. Both men spoke for others in the hope that whatever decision is arrived at for Blind Pass, that it will keep the water circulating and improve water quality.

““Blind Pass has a history of opening and closing. The decision has been made to keep it open. Our goal is to determine how best to do that,” Boutelle said.

““The study is in the very early stages, so it is very important to get input from you at this time,” Pierro told the stakeholders.

“Tidal inlets that connect the ocean to estuaries are important to the ecology of estuaries. Decreased water flows in the estuaries generally lead to increased sedimentation and accumulation of nutrients.

“Thursday’s meeting was the first of three. The DNR team said it expects a second meeting in two months with a third to follow.”

4 Housing Predictions for the Rest of 2016

FreddieMacLogo_3From Monday’s “Daily Real Estate News” on line, sourced to: Freddie Mac

“Freddie Mac economists are still upbeat about the housing market’s outlook for the rest of the year, despite recent data that showed a gloomier first quarter in economic growth than originally projected. According to Freddie Mac’s April outlook, housing will “maintain its momentum in 2016 and be an economic engine of growth.”

“”We’ve revised down our forecast for economic growth to reflect the recent data for the first quarter, but our outlook for the balance of the year remains modestly optimistic for the economy,” says Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “However, we maintain our positive view on housing. In fact, the declines in long-term interest rates that accompanied much of the recent news should increase mortgage market activity, particularly refinance.”

“Economists made the following predictions for the remainder of 2016:

  • Employment: The labor market is expected to stay strong. The unemployment rate is projected to drop back below 5% for 2016 and 2017. “Stronger economic growth for the remainder of 2016 and reduced slack in the labor market will drive wage gains above inflation, though the gains are likely to be modest,” Freddie’s report notes.
  • Mortgage originations: Loan originations are estimated to rise by $50 billion in 2016 and reach $1.7 billion. The forecasted boost is a result of low mortgage rates that are fueling a refinancing boom.
  • Mortgage rates: Low mortgage rates are expected to stick around longer. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.7% in the first quarter. “After lowering the forecast for subsequent quarters by a tenth of a percent, expect rates to average 4% in 2016,” Freddie Mac researchers note.
  • Housing prices: Home prices will rise by 4.8% in 2016 and by another 3.5% in 2017, Freddie Mac researchers predict. These rising home prices will lead home owners’ to see more equity gains.”

Why the Economy Is Slowing

NAR gray-logoBy my favorite economist as posted in RealtorMag” last Thursday, this article is sourced to “Forbes”, April 19, 2016:

“The economy has been on a roller coaster ride the past few years. Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, points to two main reasons behind the latest slowing of the economy: Constrained homebuilding and business spending.

“Homebuilders have been slow to up their production of new homes. They’ve been plagued with labor shortages and a shortage of suitable land for development. They’re also facing new housing permit rules and new financial regulations on small-sized banks. All of these factors are contributing to an “abnormally sluggish homebuilding recovery in this cycle,” Yun notes in his column at Forbes.

“What’s more, this contraction in home building is contributing to an overall sluggishness in the economy, Yun says.

“Housing starts in March were about 1.09 million units at an annualized pace. While it is up 14.1% from a year ago, it’s still far from historical levels.  Normal activity is usually about 1.5 million housing starts a year. Yet, builders have been producing fewer than 1.1 million units since 2008. Prior to that, housing starts had not dipped below that level since 1981 and 1982, when mortgage rates were near 20%, and in 1991 when the economy was in a recession.

““Had the housing starts rebound been like in past cycles – that is, quickly getting back up to 1.5 million new units – then broad economic growth would have been markedly stronger,” Yun notes in his recent column at Forbes.

““With soft housing starts, GDP growth is similarly expected to be soft, barely above the zero growth line in the first quarter. … Had the economy moved along at the normal historical growth rate of 3% average annual GDP growth compared to what we actually experienced over this past decade, the typical American would have an additional $7,000 this year.”

“But homebuilding isn’t the only factor leading to a slowing economy. The economy also has been slowing due to “an unusual trend in recent years of business spending being below corporate profits,” Yun says.

“He explains: “For most of U.S. history, business spending (defined as the sum of spending for non-residential equipment and intellectual property products in GDP accounting) was higher than corporate profits. Borrowing, typically by new small businesses, had permitted more spending. That is, America always had more entrepreneurial ideas than money. But in recent years, ideas are apparently no longer in abundance and corporate cash is sitting on the sidelines and not doing much.”

“Yun notes that he believes an increase in homebuilding and business spending are key to getting the economy back on track.”

Turtle Nesting Season Begins Sunday

Turtle CrawlAs reported in “The News-Press” on Wednesday: “Although nesting season doesn’t start until Sunday, there have been two nests this year, on Captiva and Fort Myers Beach.

“Turtle nesting season runs from Sunday, May 1, through Oct 31.

“Turtle nesting season begins Sunday and experts are hoping the four-year trend of high nesting continues.

After almost a decade of a low count of nests, females have been coming ashore in higher numbers since 2012. But Eve Haverfield, president and founder of Turtle Time, says that doesn’t mean 2016 will be another top year.

Sea Turtle Nest

“We are hoping for the best,” she said. “Last year was a good season and we are hoping for another one.”

She said a real pattern has not been established with nesting numbers.

““They are better, but they are not out of the woods yet,” Haverfield said. “Just because you had one or two or three good years, that does not mean the species has recovered. You don’t want to draw conclusions over a few years.”

“Still Haverfield is always positive about turtles. “We are eternally optimistic,” she said.

Seaturtlehatchlings

“Last year Bonita Beach had the first nest of the season, but this year that honor goes to Captiva that had a nest laid on April 21. That is just one day short of the record for the earliest nest laid there on April 20, 2012.

“Kelly Sloan, turtle coordinator for the Sanibel/Captiva Conservation Foundation, is excited about having the first nest and also about a new program piloting on Sanibel. For the first time Sanibel will have two volunteers that patrol the beach four or five nights a week to tag the mother turtles.

“Tagging has been done for years on Keewaydin Island in Collier County and by Mote Marine. Sloan said tagging on Sanibel will add to the pool of knowledge and let researchers see if there are changes in patterns and the genetics of the turtles that come on shore. “Part of the reason is to see if there is a genetics break at San Carlos Bay,” Sloan explained. Her 120 volunteers will also be patrolling Sanibel and Captiva in the morning and putting screens around the nests to prevent coyotes from eating the eggs. Sloan said this program was very successful last year. “We are hopeful for another great year,” Sloan said.

“Maura Kraus, senior environmental specialist for Collier County Natural Resources is also hopeful for another great turtle season. “We are hoping it is all the work we have been doing all these years. Everything we have been doing, hopefully we are seeing an upward trend,” Kraus said. Kraus said for the last three decades there has been a strong push to help sea turtles, from more public awareness to turtle excluder devices on shrimp boats to the work done on beaches around the state.

loggerhead_sea_turtle_baby_blog““Loggerheads take 30 years to reach maturity. So hopefully we are seeing the results of our hard work,” she said. Kraus is feeling a lot better about turtle season now than she did in the past. “In 2002 we were getting a little nervous. It was pretty worrisome,” she said about the low number of nests then.

“Kraus said most people in Collier County comply with keeping lights from shining on the beach and pulling furniture from the sand at night. But one problem she does see is people who dig holes in the sand and then don’t fill them in. “So we want to make sure people fill in the holes,” Kraus said. “People should stay off the beach at night. Everyone has their lights on their phones and their cameras on the phones and we don’t want that on the beach at night.”

“Although nesting season doesn’t start until Sunday, volunteers have been monitoring the beaches since April 15. So far there have only been two nests this year, the one on Captiva and one laid on April 25 on Fort Myers Beach.

“Now that nesting season is beginning, Haverfield wants people living along the beach to use amber LED lighting and to close their drapes at night. Hatchlings follow the lights of the horizon to find the water and can be disoriented by unnatural light.  She said most people do comply, but there are some that still shine too much light on the beach. “People have been very supportive,” Haverfield said. “People love the fact that sea turtles nest on our beaches.”

FACT BOX

*Loggerheads are the most common sea turtles in Florida

*Adults grow to more than 3-feet long and weigh 200-350 pounds

* They may travel thousands of miles from feeding grounds to nesting beaches

* Female turtles nest on the same beaches where they were born.

* A female loggerhead may nest 1-7 times during a season at about 15 day intervals

* Incubation takes 55-65 days

* The temperature of the nest determines the sex of the hatchlings. Cooler sand produces mostly males, while warmer sand produces mostly females.

* Hatchlings are about 2 inches long

* Hatchlings emerge at night and are guided by the lighter Gulf horizon to the water

THE LAW

Both interior and exterior lights must not be visible on the beach.

People can explore the different options of LED fixtures at: http://myfwc.com/conservation/you-conserve/lighting/certified

Beach furniture must be removed from the beach from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. (must be behind the dunes and vegetation or up against the house)

The rule is in effect from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. May 1 to Oct. 31.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity April 22-29, 2016

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Lighthouse Point #122 2/2 $499K, Sanibel Arms West #B8 2/2 $548.9K.

3 price changes: Beach Road Villa #105 2/2 now $424K, Blind Pass #A102 2/2 now $429K, Sanibel Surfside #127 2/2 now $1.065M.

3 new sales: Donax Village #14 2/2 listed at $529K, Sanctuary Golf Villages 1-1 2/2.5 listed at $595K (our sale), Clam Shell #E 3/2.5 listed at $995K.

3 closed sales: Sanibel Moorings #211 1/1 $365K, Shell Island Beach Club #5A 2/2 $790K, West Shore #3 3/3 $1.637M.

HOMES

5 new listings: 956 Dixie Beach Blvd 2/1 $410K, 3118 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 $619.9K, 810 Elinor Way 3/2 $679K, 2313 Wulfert Rd 4/3 $1.15M, 243 Southwinds Dr 4/2.5 $1.195M.

8 price changes: 2407 Shop Rd 3/1 now $349K; 1635 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex now $464K; 535 Birdsong Pl 3/2 now $499,999; 5306 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/2 now $625K; 5299 Ladyfinger Rd 3/3 now $749K; 588 Hideaway Ct 3/2 now $779K; 563 Hideaway Ct 3/2 now $795K; 1238 Isabel Dr 5/3/2 now $3.864M.

6 new sales: 1322 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed at $529.9K, 441 Lake Murex Cir 3/3 listed at $569K, 702 Oliva St 3/2 listed at $649K, 1858 Farm Trail 3/2 listed at $649K, 676 Emeril Ct 3/2 listed at $749K, 841 Lindgren Blvd 2/2 listed at $899K.

3 closed sales: 1565 Bunting Ln 3/2 $585K, 911 Strangler Fig Ln $2.219M, 3421 West Gulf Dr 5/4.5 $6.8375M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 1329 Par View Dr $349K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 1310 Par View Dr listed at $359,555.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Seabreeze #1251 3/3 $2.25M.

No price changes, new, or closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 15 Seascape Ct (Sunset Captiva) 3/2.5 $995K.

2 price changes: 1135 Longifolia Ct 4/4.5 now $4.295M, 16560 Captiva Dr 7/7.5 now $6.5M.

1 new sale: 19 Urchin Ct 2/2.5 listed at $879K.

No closed sales.

LOTS

1 new listing: 956 S Seas Plantation Rd $2.1M.

1 price change: 16298 Captiva Dr now $5.049M.

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 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, Susan Andrews aka SanibelSusan