Thankfulness Abounds as the Sun Shines Brightly on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


Temps 11-28-14It’s just SanibelSusan at the office today following our chilliest morning of the season yet – 48 degrees F this morning, though it now has warmed up to 64. From the forecast, it looks like this will be our last cold day for a while. Temperatures are expected to get back into the high 70’s/low 80’s before the weekend ends, and continue into next week. We probably will be wearing shorts again by island luminary nights next weekend, December 5 and 6. 

Thanksgiving Day on the island was clear and cool. Lots of families are here vacationing. It’s a great start for the Master Arts & Crafts Fair which began today at The Community House across the street from Sanibel Square. This usually is one of their most attended events of the year, so The SanibelSusan Team is hopeful for some walk-in traffic. 

free_christmas_tree_ipad_wallpaper_s-13The BIG ARTS Community Chorus sings two sets there tomorrow (Saturday) morning and then sings again tomorrow night at the South Seas Plantation tree lighting – all good practice for our Holiday Concert which is Tuesday, December 9 at BIG ARTS Schein Performance Hall. Tickets are going fast! 

Below are a couple of real estate news articles followed by the activity posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service over the past seven days.

5 Reasons Housing Markets Are Thankful

realtor logoHere is SanibelSusan’s 2-cents worth on an article posted Wednesday on “Realtor® Magazine” on line:

“The housing market has seen plenty of challenges the last few years, but could brighter days be ahead? Based on recent housing reports, some markets are reporting a rosier picture now than for the first half of the year — and growing optimism heading into next year for a lasting turnaround. 

“Reason for Good Cheer? Here are five market gauges that many in the real estate industry are thankful for this holiday season: 

“1. Mortgage rates are still low. Home buyers can take advantage of borrowing costs that remain near historical lows. Last week, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.99% nationwide, marking the sixth consecutive week of averages near 4%. In October, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage reached its lowest average of the year at 3.97%. “If you are planning to buy a home in the next year, it’s better to do it sooner rather than later,” Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist,…Still, many economists aren’t expecting the rate surge in the new year to be quite as drastic as previously seen. Fannie Mae recently revised its forecast for 2015, expecting low mortgage rates to stick around longer into the year. Fannie Mae now projects rates will average 4.3% next year, a drop of about two-tenths of percentage points from its forecast earlier in the year.” 

Susan says: Most island sales continue to be “cash”, but the consumer confidence generated by the low interest rates definitely helps the market on Sanibel and Captiva. For those buyers looking to finance, the good times continue. The time is right for a real estate loan!

“2. Home sales have been inching up. In many markets, more sales are being reported. Existing-home sales in October were above year-over-year levels for the first time in 12 months, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest report. Sales are at their highest annual pace since September 2013.  The job market may be a big contributor behind that increase, says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “This bodes well for solid demand to close out the year and the likelihood of additional months of year-over-year sales increases,” Yun said in a recent statement.” 

On Sanibel and Captiva, home sales also continue to improve. Last year, 197 homes sold on Sanibel. Year-to-date, there have been 187 closings with another 29 Sanibel homes under contract = 216 which is the first time the number of Sanibel homes sold has passed 200 since 2005 when 266 homes sold.

On Captiva, 18 homes sold last year, compared to 23 closed sales to-date there, with another home under contract = 24 home sales or about the same as years 2011 and 2012.

“3. Buyers are getting more choices. Home buyers are finally getting more selection in homes for-sale. Unsold inventory is 5.2% higher than a year ago, representing a 5.1% supply at the current sales pace.  “The growth in housing supply this year will likely prevent the drastic sales slowdown and coinciding spike in home prices we saw last winter due to low inventory,” Yun says. “However, more housing starts are needed to increase supply, meet current demand and keep price growth in check.” New-home construction is gradually picking up in the latter half of the year, also bringing more inventory into many markets. Single-family housing starts rose 4.2% month-over-month in October to 696,000 units, reaching the highest level since November 2013, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Census Bureau reported. What’s more, the future looks bright that the increase will stick around for the time-being: Building permits — a gauge for future building activity — increased 4.8% in October to an annual rate of 1.08 million units. “The rise in single-family starts is more proof that the economy is firming and consumer confidence is growing,” says Kevin Kelly, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders. ‘We expect continued momentum into next year.””

Here on the islands, where build-out is near, we do not have that same increase in inventory and new product. With just 142 Sanibel homes currently for sale (and 44 on Captiva), island Realtors® just hope there is have enough product to sell this winter. Condominium inventory is low too, with just 122 Sanibel condos for sale (37 on Captiva), compared to the 168 Sanibel condos that have sold this year (23 on Captiva). The island market continues to rebound! 

“4. Foreclosures are falling. In October, distressed home sales dropped into the single digits for the third month this year. Distressed sales, which include foreclosures and short sales, fell to 9% in October, compared to 14% a year ago, NAR reports. Foreclosures and short sales typically sell at a discount — 15% or 10% below market value, respectively — and can place downward pressure on overall home prices in an area. The decrease in foreclosures is helping more home values to stabilize in communities. 

Still, while distressed sales are trending downward overall, several pockets across the country are still battling elevated levels, particularly in judicial states like Florida, Maryland, and New York, NAR President Chris Polychron recently said in a statement.”

Thankfully, the islands did not have many foreclosures, but for those Realtors® who sell off-island throughout the other communities in Lee County. They agree.

“5. Home prices are stabilizing. The median existing-home price for all housing types in October was $208,300 — 5.5% above October 2013, according to NAR’s latest report. It marks the 32nd consecutive month of year-over-year price gains. The double-digit gains in prices from last year have mostly faded away. “Many of the fastest-appreciating real estate markets last year have now settled into a more sustainable pattern of single-digit appreciation,” Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac, a real estate data provider, said at the end of October. Still, the gains in home prices over the past year have made home owners feel more optimistic about selling. Forty-four percent of about 1,000 home owners surveyed in Fannie Mae’s October 2014 National Housing Survey said now is a good time to sell, marking an all-time survey high.”

Yes, island prices are stabilizing too. The average Sanibel home price has been over $800K since 2011, while condo prices did not really jump until this year. 2014 Sanibel average condo price = $666,072. That average has not been over $600K since 2010. 

On Captiva where the market is smaller, the averages are not as discerning; but even so, the average Captiva home price was $2.8M this year, compared to $2.5M last year, and $1.5M in 2012. Average Captiva condo sale price this year is $646,350, not much different from last year, $659,185.

Luxury Sales Outshine Rest of the Market 

CNBC_Logo_FlatCNBC posted an article last week that was reposted in the “Daily Real News” on Friday. It relates to our island market: 

“Sales of million-dollar homes are soaring: Deals on existing homes priced above $1 million climbed more than 16% in October compared to a year ago, according to National Association of REALTORS® housing data. The increase was bigger than any other price segment. “There is little volatility in the stock market. It is whoppingly higher, so people in the top 10% of wealth are really feeling confident now,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.

“Sales are also rebounding for listings in the $750,000 to $1 million range, up 12% year-over-year according to NAR. Meanwhile, sales of homes priced under $100,000 dropped 6% year-over-year in October. The largest growth in luxury markets were mostly centered in Miami; Los Angeles; Riverside, Calif.; and New York. International buyers—particularly those from China, Canada, Europe, Russia, and South America—are continuing to help drive up the U.S. luxury market.

“Other markets that are often considered “affordable” are seeing bigger pockets of luxury taking hold too. For example, in Houston, the median home price has risen above the national average and landed No. 6 on a survey by the real estate brokerage Redfin of markets with the most million-dollar sales, beating out Boston, Washington, D.C., and Seattle. “It’s the new economy of the energy boom and other industries moving inland and taking dollars with them,” says Nela Richardson, chief economist for Redfin. “Our agents are going crazy in Houston.”” 

Check How Mobile-Friendly Your Website Is

SANSLogoAn article this week in “Daily Real Estate News” says that Google soon will be labeling websites “mobile-friendly”. Naturally, the first thing I did after reading the article was to take the Google on-line test to see how www.SanibelSusan.com fares. The answer is: “Awesome! This page is mobile-friendly.”

The article says: “The purpose of the new label is to help prevent frustration among mobile searchers, who are growing tired of visiting sites with too-small text, difficult-to-tap links, or sites that have to be scrolled sideways to view all the content. Google started adding the “mobile-friendly” label to its mobile search results last week. To earn the label, Google says a site must meet the following criteria: 

  • Software that is not easily viewed on mobile devices (such as Flash) is avoided. 
  • The text is readable without the visitor having to zoom in.
  • The site automatically sizes the content to fit the screen, so that visitors don’t have to scroll across or zoom to view the page’s contents.
  • Links are far enough apart so visitors can tap them with ease.

“To find out how mobile-friendly your site is, Google offers a Mobile-Friendly Test. You can plug in your URL and you’ll receive a report on how mobile-friendly the page is. The criteria could later be used to determine where your site falls in search results.

““We see these labels as a first step in helping mobile users to have a better mobile web experience,” Google writes in a statement announcing the new labels. “We are also experimenting with using the mobile-friendly criteria as a ranking signal.”” 

RSPS (Resort and 2nd-Home Property Specialist)

RSPS LogoI got a phone call today with a referral from a fellow RSPS. That is a Realtor® who also holds the Resort & 2nd-Home Property Specialist designation. Though I teach the segment about this same subject during our local Association of Realtors® island designation class series, it has always surprised me that only six local Realtors® (yours truly included) have taken the time to earn this national designation. I know for a fact that many island property owners also own property in other resort areas like the mountains of Aspen, Steamboat Springs, New England’s White Mountains, and the Carolinas; the beaches of Cape Cod and Hawaii, plus the Pacific/Atlantic seaboards, and the Great Lake areas. So, I hope those referrals keep coming, the islands are a great fit for buyers looking to invest in the resort and 2nd-home market. 

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity November 21-28 

Sanibel

CONDOS

4 new listings: Colonnades #11 1/1 $195K, Island Beach Club #330E 3/2.5 $795K, Sand Pointe #214 2/2 $749K, Somerset #B101 3/2.5 $2.2M (our listing). (Below are a few more photos of this new listing at Somerset at The Reef. The streaming video with showing the fabulous beach/Gulf of Mexico views and waterside enclosed balcony is being prepared later today. It will be posted soon!)

1 price change: Seashells #15 2/2 now $324.9K.

3 new sales: Sundial #J203 1/1 listed for $425K, Sundial #G101 2/2 listed for $445K. Compass Point #101 3/2 listed for $1.169M.

3 closed sales: Ibis at The Sanctuary Ibis #301 2/2 $421K, Nutmeg Village #107 #2/2 $615K, Plantation Village #B321 3/3 $2.075M. 

HOMES

6 new listings: 1712/1714 Sand Pebble Way 4/2 duplex $399K; 999 Dixie Beach Blvd 3/2 $599K; 9032 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 $649,946; 1490 Middle Gulf Dr 3/4.5 $1.859M; 1137 Golden Olive Ct 5/3.5 $2.275M; 1204 Isabel Dr 3/3.5 $4.1M.

4 price changes: 564 Hideaway Ct 3/2 now $589K, 1717 Windward Way 3/2 now $649K, 1528 Angel Dr 3/2 now $849K, 1272 Isabel Dr 3/3.5 now $3.895M.

8 new sales: 1644 Bunting Ln 3/3 listed for $495K, 660 Durion Ct 2/2 listed for $549K, 1477 Albatross Rd 4/3 listed for $598.8K, 1207 Par View Dr 3/2 listed for $759K, 1674 Sabal Palm Dr 3/3 listed for $865K, 501 Sea Walk Ct 3/2 listed for $889K, 9448 Cotten Ct 3/2 listed for $898K, 1779 Venus Dr 4/5.5 listed for $3.998M.

2 closed sales: 3990 Coquina Dr 3/2 $570K, 1777 Serenity Ln 5/4.5 $754K.

LOTS

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: 776 Birdie View Pt $375K. 

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Bayside Villas #5320 3/3 $650K.

No price changes or new sales.

2 closed sales: Bayside Villas #5230 1/2 $280.5K, Sunset Beach Villas #2218 2/2 $568.5K. 

HOMES

3 new listings: 14981 Binder Dr 3/3 $1.149M, 11500 Chapin Ln 4/4.5 $2.195M, 15009 Binder Dr 4/5.5 $4.295M.

3 price changes: 43 Oster Ct 2/2.5 now $784.9K, 15747 Captiva Dr 6/6.5 now $5.995M, 16428 Captiva Dr 7/8/2 now $9.5M.

1 new sale: 11520 Laika Ln 2/2 listed for $2.75M.

No closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. 

Our ad in the local “Island Sun” this week including a special thank you to all of our clients, colleagues, and business associates who have contributed toward making it another great year for SanibelSusan Realty Associates. We always are thankful to be living and working on this wonderful island, but especially enjoy thanking those who have helped to make it possible! Best holiday wishes to all! SanibelSusan (Susan Andrews)

It’s Summertime & The Living’s Easy…on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


Sanibel River Estates deeded beach access

It is the end of another pretty quiet week on the islands. We had a few listings shown this week and I was out showing property too. It couldn’t be a better time to look – easy access, great prices, and low interest rates for those looking for financing.

Calls to Action

On Tues, I attended a presentation at our local Association of Realtors® office by our Realtor® state and national political representatives. It was interesting to hear how slow the wheels of motion are moving in both Tallahassee and Washington on the important issues that are affecting the real estate market both locally and throughout the country. I also answered “calls to action” this week on continuing the National Flood Insurance Program and FHA loan limits. Please keep your state representatives aware of your feelings on these important issues too.

WorldProperties.com

Last summer I became Transnational Referral Certified (TRC) and am one of only two island agents to hold that designation. The designation is sponsored by the International Corsortium of Real Estate Associations (ICREA) which is a global referral network which recently expanded from 41 to 121 countries, including the United States. ICREA is a group of the world’s leading real estate associations and sets standards for international real estate practice and facilitates worldwide real estate transactions through its website, WorldProperties.com. The website is being revised and recently was posted in new Beta version. Listings will only be entered as Realtors® pay to subscribe. SanibelSusan’s listings will be among the first! As the global version of the national website Realtor.com, WorldProperties.com is an excellent source of prospective buyers, particularly those looking to Florida for investment. Over the course of the summer as our listings get posted, I will be updating the listing information to include multiple photos and descriptions more in keeping with international buyers. When they are fully up and running, it will be fun to search for property and then have it translated into one of the many languages that will be offered. Here’s hoping this endeavor brings us more international buyers. We have done a fair amount of business with them already this year and look forward to more.

NAR Home Ownership Matters

Our National Association of Realtors® bus promoting home ownership is back on the road this weekend with July stops scheduled in Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee. Previous stops covered most of the western and mid-western states, including at our Realtor® headquarters in Chicago.

 

 

What Does It Really Mean When You Hear That Foreclosure Activity Is Down? 

An Associated Press article posted yesterday said that “the number of homes taken back by lenders in the first half of this year fell 30% compared with the same 2010 period, the result of delays in foreclosure processing that threatens to stall a U.S. housing recovery…. The decline reflects lenders taking longer to move against homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments. The banks are working through foreclosure documentation problems that first surfaced last fall and an ensuing logjam in some state courts. Lenders also have put off on taking action against delinquent borrowers as U.S. home sales have slowed this year. As the processing delays mount, however, so has the backlog of potential foreclosures – homes that otherwise would have been repossessed by lenders this year. RealtyTrac estimates that 1 million foreclosure-related notices that should have been filed by banks this year will be pushed to next year….The delayed filings buy more time for many borrowers behind in payments to remain in their homes, perhaps giving them time to catch up or simply to stall their inevitable eviction. But it also means any eventual foreclosures will happen next year, extending the shadow of distressed properties that hovers over the market.
““The best-case scenario is we don’t get back to normal levels of foreclosure activity until 2015, which means the housing market recovery gets delayed by at least a year,” said Rick Sharga, a senior vice president at RealtyTrac. “And given delays in the time it’s taking lenders to move a home from default to foreclosure and then sell the property, the housing turnaround could conceivably be pushed out to as late as 2016”, Sharga said. “It could be the new reality is we’re going to have to accept the fact that home prices in most markets aren’t going to budge much for the next several years while this overhang gradually, painfully makes its way into the market and gets purchased,” he said.
“In all, some 1.2 million U.S. homes received a foreclosure-related notice in the first six months of this year, RealtyTrac said…Put another way, one in every 111 U.S. households received a foreclosure filing between January and June. Foreclosures typically sell at a discount to other types of homes, weighing down home values. As a result, housing experts say U.S. home prices are unlikely to recover until the glut of foreclosed homes on the market is cleared out. Lenders have been careful not to unload all of their foreclosures on the market at once, and have financial incentives to continue doing so. But the prospect of more foreclosures hitting the market for years to come makes it difficult to predict when home values will stabilize. And that keeps many would-be homebuyers on the sidelines. Between April and June, it took an average of 318 days for a home to go from the first stage of foreclosure to the point where it was sold at auction or taken back by the lender, RealtyTrac said….The foreclosure process took longest to play out in New York at an average of 966 days, or 2.6 years, during the second quarter. New Jersey was second-slowest at an average of 944 days, RealtyTrac said. Homes were on a relative foreclosure fast-track in Texas, taking an average of 92 days to go through the process, the fastest turnaround time in the nation. Despite slowdown in foreclosure activity, several states continue to have outsized foreclosure rates. Nevada continued to lead the nation, with one in every 21 households receiving a foreclosure notice in the first half of this year. Rounding out the top 10 states with the highest foreclosure rate in the first half of this year are Arizona, California, Utah, Georgia, Idaho, Michigan, Florida, Colorado and Illinois.”

What’s Happening With Citizens Property Insurance Corp?

A Tallahassee posting yesterday by News Service of Florida said: “Admonishing lawmakers for making a shaky insurance pool even more precarious, the chairman of the Citizens Property Insurance Corp. on Wed said the insurer should be allowed to sell off a large chunk of its business to private interests. Citizens Chairman James Malone says the move would reduce exposure and allow it to continue offering coverage to the state’s riskiest property. The change would probably raise rates dramatically for hundreds of thousands of policyholders, but Malone says it must be done because the insurer is expected to have 1.4 million policies under its umbrella before the end of next week. Of those 1.4 million Citizens policies, up to 900,000 are likely uninsurable in the private market because they cover older homes, mobile homes and residences along the coast. Malone estimated that the remaining policies could be marketed to some private entity because they involve billions of dollars in assets and a widely dispersed premium base. He envisioned a return to Citizens’ roots – a true insurer of last resort. “That has a value someplace in this open market,” Malone said. “The state of Florida needs money and (some Citizens policies) could be turned into an asset that had a value that people were willing to purchase in the private sector.” Created as the insurer only for those who couldn’t get policies from private companies, Citizens has gone beyond that role to become the largest property insurer in the state. The insurer continues to charge rates that are actuarially too low, many say. Coupled with carrier insolvencies and private market decisions to reduce books of business, Citizens adds about 1,000 policyholders every day. Because taxpayers back the company, critics say the addition of so many policies leaves the state a major hurricane away from financial fiasco. Florida officials have been trying to depopulate Citizens for years. With premium rates held artificially low by lawmakers, however, the gap between Citizens’ insurance rates and private insurance rates continues to widen. So far, lawmakers have tried to provide financial incentives for private insurers to take Citizens policyholders from the pool.”

Sanibel & Captiva MLS Activity July 8-15

Sanibel
CONDOS
1 new listing: Tennisplace #D23 1/1 $175K (short sale).
4 price changes: Sundial #B301 1/1 now $315K, Sundial #C303 2/2 now $499K, Pelicans Roost #302 2/2 now $830K, Wedgewood #305 3/3.5 now $1.475M.
1 new sale: Sundial #G207 1/1 listed for $245K (short sale).
6 closed sales: Spanish Cay #C1 2/2 $332K (our buyer), Heron at The Sanctuary #1B 2/3.5 $500K, Sandy Bend #2 2/2 $535K, Nutmeg Village #206 2/2 $540K, Sundial #E104 2/2 $686K (foreclosure), Signal Inn #13 4/3 $800K.
 
HOMES
2 new listings: 954 Donax St 3/3 $425K, 909 Snowberry Ln 3/3 $2.15M.
4 price changes: 9248 Belding Dr 3/2 now $269K, 317 Palm Lake Dr 3/3 now $645K, 970 Victoria Way 3/3 now $995K, 1052 Whisperwood Way 3/3 now $1.495M.
No new sales.
5 closed sales: 535 Piedmont Rd 3/2 $305K, 1133 Schooner Pl 5/2 duplex $350K, 1528 Angel Dr 3/2 $500K, 1162 Kittiwake Cir 3/3.5 $1.2M, 4443 Waters Edge Ln 3/2.5 $2.1M.
 
LOTS
No new listings.
1 price change: 2418 Blue Crab Ct now $164.9K.
No new or closed sales.
 
Captiva
CONDOS
No new listings.
1 price change: Beach Homes #15 4/3 now $1.995M.
1 new sale: Sunset Captiva #202 2/2 listed for $789K.
No closed sales.
 
HOMES
1 new listing:  15009 Binder Dr 4/5.5 $4.495M.
1 price change:  17061 Captiva Dr 4/3.5 now $1,799,999.
No new or closed sales.
 
LOTS
Nothing to report

This representation is based in whole or in part on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors or its Multiple Listing Service.  Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.  Data maintained by the association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market.  The information provided represents the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.  If your property currently is listed with another broker, this is not intended as a solicitation of that listing.