Cold Front Arriving – Island Style

merry-christmas-from-sanibelugly-sweater

It’s SanibelSusan, again reporting that all is well on the islands, as we await our first winter cool front which is expected to arrive tomorrow after some rain.

We may need to get out our Christmas sweaters by Sunday, as the latest forecast calls for highs in the 60’s/low 70’s with nighttime lows into the 40’s for about the next week. Yikes!

Sanibel realtors logoBig difference yesterday compared to last Thursday at our local Association of Realtors® Caravan Meeting. This week, attendance was light, just a handful of new listings were open for viewing, and “no” new sales were announced. Our listing in Seagull Estates went under contract shortly after the meeting, so I will have that to announce at next week’s event which will be our December monthly membership meeting. The activity posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service since last Friday follows a few news items below.

Sanibel Shoes for Homeless Veterans

American Legion logoUntil Dec 19, the American Legion Post 123 at 4249 San-Cap Rd is collecting shoes for homeless veterans. Donations of new sneakers, work boots, dress shoes, and socks are being accepted.

Upcoming Events

  • Holiday Stroll – tonight 12/8, tomorrow night 12/9, & 12/15, 12/16, 12/22, & 12/23 from 6 to 9 p.m. at South Seas Island Resort yacht harbor and marina. Tickets $10, children under 10 free. Proceeds to benefit Community Cooperative.
  • BIG ARTS Holiday Concerts – at 7 p.m. in Schein Performance Hall, The Band Concert is tomorrow night, 12/9. The Chorus concert is Thurs, 12/14 (you-know-who is singing). Tickets still available for both events.
  • Captiva Carol Sing – Sun, 12/10 at 6 p.m. at the historic Chapel by the Sea. It’s fun, though may be chilly, with singing of holiday favorites by a few soloists and attendees. Six of us from the BIG ARTS Chorus will be singing “Carols Around” and “It’s a Wonderful Time of the Year”.
  • Shell Harbor Boat Parade – CANCELLED. It was scheduled for 12/16.
  • 5th Annual Heart Walk & Wellness Festival – Sun, Jan 28, at the Community House beginning at 2 p.m. More info at www.SanibelCaptivaHeartWalk.org

Mortgage Rates Rise as Economy Shows Signs of Strength

associated-press-logoThe following article was posted yesterday on FloridaRealtors® on-line with credit to The Associated Press:

“U.S. mortgage rates rose this week as the economy showed signs of strength, which makes it more likely that the Federal Reserve will raise its short-term rate next week.

“The rate on the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.94% from 3.9% last week, mortgage giant Freddie Mac said. The 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage, popular among homeowners seeking to refinance, also increased, rising to 3.36% from 3.3%.

“The five-year adjustable mortgage rate rose for the third straight week to 3.35% from 3.32% last week.

“Shorter-term rates are rising more quickly than longer-term debt, and the gap between the 30-year mortgage and five-year has narrowed since the summer. As a result, more homebuyers are choosing the longer-term fixed rate, Freddie Mac said.

“Even with the increase, the 30-year rate is down from the beginning of the year, when it stood at 4.13%. Any rate below 5% is low by historic standards.

“The number of people seeking unemployment benefits is near a four-decade low and surveys of manufacturers and service firms point to healthy growth.

“Federal Reserve policymakers meet next week and are widely expected to lift their short-term rate for the third time this year.”

Florida Regulators Approve Citizens Insurance Rate Hikes

news service of FL logoI was recently notified that another insurance company is picking up the wind policy on my home. It previously was covered by Citizens Property Insurance. If you still have coverage by Citizens you may be interested in this article posted on-line yesterday by News Service of Florida, Tallahassee.

“State regulators have approved a series of rate increases for Citizens Property Insurance customers now that a 90-day rate freeze due to Hurricane Irma has been lifted.

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation said Wednesday that it approved an average 6.6% increase for homeowners’ multi-peril policies under the Florida-owned property insurer. That increase is slightly lower than a 6.7% hike requested by Citizens.

The average wind-only homeowners’ policy will go up 0.9%, rather than the 1.7% sought by the state-backed Citizens.

Regulators approved Citizens’ request for a 4.8% increase in multi-peril coverage for condominium associations, while wind-only condominium association policies will see a 10.1% hike.

“Actual rate changes will vary across the state and even within local areas based on factors such as the amount of coverage, the type of policy and the location of the property.

“Because of the freeze imposed after Hurricane Irma, the new rates will begin May 1, 2018, rather than Feb. 1 as initially requested.

“Citizens had 448,737 policies as of Oct. 31, 2017, with residential homeowners making up the majority of them.”

Walk-Through Woes

Florida Realtors logoMost seasoned Realtors® have gone through their share of walk-through woes. I’ve heard the stories, but I guess that I have been lucky as I’ve not encountered any unusual scenarios. That didn’t keep me from getting a chuckle from the following article written by Meredith Caruso. She is the Manager of Member Legal Communications for Florida Realtors®. Maybe you will enjoy it too.

“In the final days before a closing, most buyers choose to do a walk-through of the property. Under Florida Realtors’ contracts, they’re entitled to do this on either the day before or day of closing. While not mandatory, the walk-through can be an important buyer step to confirm that the property is in the condition warranted by the contract.

“Unfortunately, sellers can sometimes leave items that the buyer doesn’t want or take things meant to stay. Here are some tips to assist you should you find yourself faced with an upset buyer or a sneaky seller right before the closing:

“Scenario 1: Into the darkness – The buyer showed up at the property for a walk-through and noticed that the seller removed all the lightbulbs – including ones used for recessed lighting in the 20-foot ceiling. The buyer was very upset because purchasing and installing new lightbulbs is costly.

“The seller pointed to the contract and said that nothing obligated him to leave the lightbulbs because, in his opinion, lightbulbs aren’t fixtures required to stay. The buyer wanted the seller to credit him several hundred dollars at closing to cover this new expense. The seller refused.

“What now? To start, it’s important to remember that professionalism must prevail if faced with this type of situation. Do not pick up the phone and scream at the listing agent about how her client is in breach of contract. Often times, the listing agent has no idea the seller did this. Instead, try to address your buyers concerns by saying that you’ll get in touch with the listing agent to see why this has happened.

“To prepare for that call, ask your buyer what he thinks would remedy the situation, such as a credit at closing for the lightbulbs. Then reach out to the listing agent and discuss how you can work together to remedy the situation. Please note: In this particular example, based on the Florida Realtors/Florida Bar contract (FR/Bar), the buyer isn’t entitled to anything. But the point can always be negotiated.

“Scenario 2: Why’d it have to be snakes? – Buyers came in from out of town, and they arranged to meet their agent at the property a few hours before closing for a final walk-through. The buyer’s agent arrived early and decided to take a quick look around to make sure nothing was amiss. Upon entering the garage, however, the agent saw that a large glass fish tank was still there – worse, it contained a massive python.

“The agent panicked. His buyers won’t want a large predatory snake in their garage, but the sellers told him that they wouldn’t remove it – take it or leave it. What now?

“Believe it or not, this scenario actually happened. The agent resolved the issue by calling local animal control, and they removed the animal before closing.

“Yes, the Florida Realtors/Florida Bar contract says all of the sellers’ personal belongings will be removed from the property; but the fact is, it doesn’t always happen. In this case, the agent was proactive and got the issue resolved before it became a bigger problem that could have derailed the closing.

“However, take the snake component out of this example and replace it with a sofa that the sellers left behind, and the end result is similar. Yes, the seller was to remove this personal property item, but no, the seller simply did not.

“In cases like this, the core question is: Will the buyer refuse to close because of the personal property item being behind? While a snake can’t be tossed in the trash, the buyer may decide it is easier to drag the couch to the curb than not close on the home.

Not always easy – Of course, there are instances without an easy solution. For example, what if the seller removes all the stainless-steel appliances and replaces them with mismatched older versions? Here the buyer has legal options and may well want to contact his attorney and ask how to proceed.

“Remember too that you and the other agent in the transaction should be working towards the shared goal of getting the parties to closing. Being on “opposite sides” and demanding results from either party rarely leads to a happy ending.

“Always keep in mind that you and your fellow Realtors are in this transaction together and continue to remain professional, even in the face of an upset or difficult customer.’

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity December 1-8, 2017

sancap GO MLS logoSanibel

CONDOS

7 new listings: Colonnades #C3 1/1 $225K, Tennisplace #E32 2/1 $299K, Loggerhead Cay #163 2/2 $819K, White Sands #32 2/2 $1.095M, Island Beach Club #220D 2/2 #1.45M, Island Beach Club #230D 2/2 $1.45M, By-the-Sea #A302 3/2 $1.745M.

3 price changes: Lighthouse Point #220 now $482.5K, Sanibel Moorings #941 2/2 now 549K, Loggerhead Cay #402 2/2 now $580K.

No new sales.

4 closed sales: Coquina Beach #5B 2/2 $390K, Sundial West #B108 1/1 $450K, Sanibel Siesta #303 2/2 $507K, Sanibel Moorings #612 2/2 $545K.

HOMES

11 new listings: 1611 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex $459K, 1190 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $647.5K,

5301 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/2 $649K, 1265 Par View Dr 3/2.5 929K, 2480 Library Way 3/2.5 $995K,

1199 Par View Dr 3/2.5 $1.099M, 580 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $1.249M, 500 Periwinkle Way 3/3 $1.249M, 2441 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 1.295M, 1528 San Carlos Bay Dr 3/3 $1.85M, 794 Conch Ct 3/2.5 $2.095M.

8 price changes: 1029 Dixie Beach Blvd 2/2 now $419K, 474 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 now $685K,

5280 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/3 now $699K, 225 Daniel Dr 3/2.5 now $739K, 1470 Angel Dr 3/2 now $948K, 1426 Causey Ct 3/2.5 now $1.25M, 1272 Isabel Dr 4/4.5 now $3.299M, 1304 Seaspray Ln 3/2.5 now $4.345M.

7 new sales: 1817 Atlanta Plaza Dr 3/2 listed at $449.9K, 700 Nerita St 3/2 listed at $725K, 239 Daniel Dr 3/2 listed at $1.069M (our listing & sale), 900 Almas Ct 3/3.5 listed at $1.199M, 960 Victoria Way 3/3 listed at $1.779M, 1255 Isabel Dr 3/3 listed at $1.795M, 4731 Rue Belle Mer 3/2 listed at $2.65M.

1 closed sale: 9459 Begonia Ct 3/4 $600K.

LOTS

1 new listing: 5847 Pine Tree Dr $369,555.

4 price changes: 2372 Wulfert Rd now $179K, 6027 Dinkins Lake Rd now $239.8K, 5648 Baltusrol Ct now $339K, 5642 Baltusrol Ct now $339K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Lands End Village #1662 3/3 $2.395M.

No price changes or new sales.

1 closed sale: Beach Villas #2523 1/1 $537K.

HOMES

3 new listings: 11521 Andy Rosse Ln 7/8 $2.799M, 16825 Captiva Dr 3/2.5 $2.895M, 15161 Wiles Dr 5/5.5 $3.1M.

No price changes, new, or closed sales.

LOTS

1 new listing: 16970 Captiva Dr $3.995M.

No price changes, new, or closed sales.

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.

Enjoy your weekend… stay warm!captiva-chapel-by-the-sea-carol-sing

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

Counting Down to Christmas on Sanibel Island

It’s SanibelSusan with another Friday report. Sanibel and Captiva are festive and the roadways, beaches, and bike paths are filling with holiday visitors as the weather has stayed sunny and bright until today.

As I write this some needed rain is said to be bringing a brief cool front which will only last through Sunday when the highs only expected to be in the 70’s.

Back to the low 80’s by Sunday and through next week. Santa better wear his shorts!

Sanibel snowman

A Sanibel snowman – Dec 2015

 

Below, following some news items, is info on the real estate activity posted this week in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service. Not many new sales are reported – none on Captiva and just three on Sanibel (two condos and a lot).

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

Sanibel realtors logoYesterday was the final Sanibel and Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® monthly breakfast meeting of the year.

DunesEntry2Held at the recently-remodeled clubhouse at The Dunes Golf and Tennis Club, the meeting included presentation of the Association’s 2015 Honor Society awards. It was rewarding to see several members receive the award for the first time, but sure made me feel old to get it for the 23rd year. Given in recognition of professionalism through education, participation, and service, 25 Sanibel/Captiva Realtors® from our 298 members received the award this year.

ASSOC LogoFourteen Realtor® SCIS (Sanibel-Captiva Islands Specialist) designations also were awarded at the meeting. Many of these were attendees at the class that I taught this summer (on Resorts & Second-Homes). To achieve this designation, members must complete 12-class curriculum requirements during a multi-year period. Since the program began, over 80 island Realtors® have become island specialists. These classes provide education specifically about buying and selling real estate on Sanibel and Captiva.

Upcoming Open Houses at The Sanctuary

sanctuary golf club logoThe Sanctuary Homeowners Association again is allowing open houses in the community once a month this winter, through April. The first one will be Wednesday, January 6, from 1 to 4 p.m. Others also are scheduled on Wednesdays – February 3, March 2, and April 6. These are easy opportunities to see all of the properties for sale in The Sanctuary during a single afternoon. Our listing at 5743 Baltusrol Court will be open – unless it sells first!

What’s Happening at The Dunes Golf & Tennis Club

DunesYesterday’s membership meeting was the first opportunity many Realtors® had to visit The Dunes recently-remodeled clubhouse. The buffet breakfast was outstanding too.

The Dunes Club events include tennis and golf clinics, round robins, tournaments and league events, plus such social events as fine and casual dining, trivia nights, dinner with DJs, comedy nights, and other competitive sporting events.

Dunes logoIf you are wondering what the 2016 costs are to belong to the club at The Dunes, here is some information from their handout.

  • Full Club Membership – $7,450 (family) or $4,450 (single)
  • Senior Full Club Membership (over 80) – $3,750 (family) or $2,250 (single)
  • Associate Full Membership (45 & under) – $3,750 (family) or $2,250 (single)
  • 30-Day Golf Membership – Nov 1 to Apr 31 – $1,399 (family) or $899 (single)
  • 30-Day Golf Membership – May 1 to Oct 31 – $499 (family) or $299 (single)
  • Tennis, Sports & Social Membership – $2,525 (family) or $1,875 (single)
  • 30-Day Tennis Membership – Nov 1 to Apr 31 – $399 (family) or $299 (single)
  • 30-Day Tennis Membership – May 1 to Oct 31 – $199 (family) or $99 (single)
  • Sports & Social Membership – $1,325 (family) or $1,025 (single)
  • Social Membership – $650 (family) or $550 (single).

Captiva Landmarks Join National Register of Historic Places

Capitiva-Chapel-Outside-1024x768@2xLast week (as reported in the “Island Sun”), a pair of plaques, honoring two island landmarks – The Captiva School & Captiva Chapel-by-the-Sea and the Historic Captiva Cemetery – were unveiled to the public for the first time, two years after they were officially dedicated as part of the National Register of Historic Places.

According to the National Register of Historic Places website, The Captiva School & Captiva Chapel-by-the-Sea historic district is “significant at the local level under Criterion A in the areas of Exploration/Settlement and Social History”.

The one-room schoolhouse, built in 1901, also served as the primary place of religious worship for the early settlers of Captiva until it was converted into a Methodist mission church in 1921. The Captiva Civic Association, by agreement with the Methodist Church, took over operation of the building in 1947. The Methodist church deeded the property in 1954 to Captiva Chapel-by-the-Sea.

Prior to the entrance of the chapel property, the two-acre historic cemetery – founded in 1897 – includes a number of the early settlers of Captiva. The first interment of the cemetery was the unnamed stillborn daughter of Herbert and Hattie Brainerd, whose daughter, Ann, purchased the parcel in 1900 for a single gold coin. One year later, Ann died from tetanus from stepping on a rusty nail. Hattie Brainerd retained ownership until she deeded it to the Methodist church in 1936.

These landmarks join the ‘Tween Waters Historic District as the island’s representatives on the National Register of Historic Places.

Baby Boomers Blamed for Clog in Housing

baby boomersPosted on line on Dec 7 on “Daily Real Estate News”, here is an interesting take on low inventory.

“Some economists say the baby boomers aren’t selling their homes like previous generations did and not downsizing fast enough, which is leading to shortages of homes for sale and rising prices.

“Baby boomers are “clogging up the whole chain of home sales,” says Sean Becketti, chief economist of Freddie Mac. “They appear to be staying in the family home longer than previous generations, and the imbalance between housing demand and supply continues to boost prices.”

“Baby boomers are big players in real estate. In 2013, people age 55 and older controlled two-thirds of all home equity, according to the Federal Reserve’s most recent Survey of Consumer Finances.

“In previous generations, once the kids have moved out of the house, empty nesters tended to downsize and move to smaller homes or rent apartments. But so far, boomers haven’t made a move.

““Economists say boomers’ slower-than-expected rate of downsizing and selling is playing a contributing role in supply, demand and pricing imbalances in local markets — not creating those imbalances,” The Washington Post reports.

“Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, told The Washington Post that the lingering effects of the housing crisis and the Great Recession may be the reason why more baby boomers are postponing their moves. From 2008 to 2011, home owners of all ages lost lots of equity and many home owners may still be rebuilding equity to allow them to sell and move without having to bring money to closing, Yun says.

“But Fannie Mae’s Patrick Simmons, an economics and strategic research group director, says that the clog in the real estate pipeline from baby boomers not moving will not likely hold for much longer. “Boomers will not inhabit this vast inventory [32 million homes] forever,” he says. Their circumstances will inevitably change with age and they will move, and “their actions will reverberate through the housing market.””

Upcoming Island Events

Today & Tomorrow – Dec 18th & 19thOrchid & Bromeliad Show & Sale, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at The Village Shopping Center.

Sunday – Dec 20thSanibel Farmers Market, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., City Hall Grounds (every Sunday thru Apr)

Sanibel LighthouseChristmas Eve – Dec 24th – Annual Christmas Eve Beach Service at Lighthouse Beach at 5 p.m. featuring candle lighting and carol singing, with offering to benefit FISH (Friends in Service Here) and the Salvation Army. (Note: a special bike corral will be set up at the end of the bike path leading to Lighthouse Beach. Vehicle parking available at the Chamber of Commerce with trolley service to the beach.)

Saturday thru Tuesday – Dec 26th thru 29th 21st Annual Holiday Mini-Golf, 18-hole indoor golf course with prizes awarded daily, at the Sanibel Community House, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Real Estate’s Impact From Spending & Tax Deal

Florida Realtors logoPosted on-line yesterday (Dec 17th) by FloridaRealtors®:

“The U.S. House and Senate have come to an agreement on a massive spending and tax bill – the FY 2016 Omnibus Appropriations bill – that will be voted on today. Passage is expected, and President Obama said he will sign it.

“A number of provisions – and excluded amendments – touch on Florida real estate interests.

  • Florida families will permanently gain the ability to deduct sales taxes from their federal income taxes under the bill. The benefit applies only to states without an income tax and has applied in recent tax years. However, the temporary benefit becomes permanent when the new bill becomes law.
  • Several business tax breaks will be extended, including one for the purchase of small business equipment. The bill also extends a tax deduction for “bonus” depreciation of business property purchases, along with television and film production.
  • Green energy gets a boost from a tax break extension for energy from renewable sources – solar, wind and geothermal, for example – and biodiesel fuels and electric cars.
  • The bill creates new rules for the visa waiver program. Under the program, citizens of 38 countries can travel freely to the U.S. with only a passport; but after the new bill becomes law, citizens from these countries who have visited terrorist-identified countries such a Syria or Iraq in the past five years will be denied a visa waiver.
  • The EB-5 visa won’t be affected. In early versions of the omnibus bill, lawmakers considered changes to a visa program popular in some areas of Florida – the EB-5. Under the program, foreigners may obtain a U.S. green card if they invest $500,000 in projects that create American jobs. However, the FBI noted some problems with the program. In the end, though, a proposal to change the EB-5 visa was backed out of the bill.
  • The bill creates a new REIT provision. After passage, companies in most cases won’t be allowed to spin off property they own into a real estate investment trust (REIT).
  • More money goes to low-income housing. The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) praised the bill, saying funds still remain “wholly inadequate to meet the housing needs of low-income Americans,” but “the bill does not raid the National Housing Trust Fund … This will allow HUD to implement the National Housing Trust Fund in 2016 with funds from a modest assessment on the annual volume of business of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  • The bill prohibits disposition of taxpayer-owned stock in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for two years. That timeframe will give Congress more time to consider housing finance reform.”

What the Fed’s Decision Means for Housing

Federal Reserve logoGood write-up here from “Daily Real Estate News” yesterday, Dec 17th, regarding the small uptick in interest rates.

“Since 2008, the Federal Reserve has kept a zero-interest rate policy in place. But on Wednesday, in a largely anticipated move, they voted to bring an end to that era and increased its benchmark short-term interest rate by 25 basis points from near zero.

“The Fed made clear that it’s going to issue a gradual tightening cycle over the coming months. That likely means mortgage rates will inch slowly upward, though most economists are predicting that it shouldn’t unnerve the housing recovery.

““The interest rate is still low compared to historical standards,” Kevin Young, an analyst at IBISWorld in Los Angeles, told The New York Times.

“The Fed controls the federal funds rate – also known as the short-term interest rate – that banks use to borrow money. That rate inadvertently ends up being passed on to consumers.

“So what does the Fed’s latest move mean for the housing market?

“Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, says that an uptick in short-term rates shouldn’t have a big effect on those looking to borrow in 2016. With rates going up by such a small amount, the Fed’s move actually could serve as a stimulant to the economy, he says.

“”The raising of short-term rates could be more of a confidence play to the market — it provides a signal that the economy is strengthening, and to the degree that the Federal Reserve is providing [that signal] and the lenders believe that, it may actually provide more lending opportunity for the banks,” Yun says. “As a borrower, even for the short-term borrower, what difference does it really make whether one is borrowing at 0.1% or 0.2%, when the Fed Funds Rate is historically at 3.3% or 3.5%?”’

“Some economists are predicting the Fed to raise short-term rates incrementally about four times by the end of next year.

““But we don’t expect mortgage rates to track the short-term policy rates directly,” writes Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at realtor.com®. “In fact, we’re likely to see mortgage rates increase by only half or two-thirds as much.” Mortgage rates tend to track trends in long-term bonds.

“According to realtor.com®’s 2016 forecast, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage will likely average 4.65% by the end of next year. Last week, it averaged 3.93%, according to Freddie Mac.

“Still, Smoke says rates will likely be volatile day-to-day and week-to-week in the year ahead as the financial markets try to anticipate the timing of the Fed’s policy changes.

““On the positive side, the massive amount of news coverage on the Fed’s move will finally hit consumers to realize that we are at the end of the low-rate era and that rates are now on the move up,” Smoke writes. “We think this will influence fence-sitting buyers – and, more important, fence-sitting sellers who intend to buy as well – to act before rates get much higher.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity December 11-18

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Lighthouse Point #325 2/2 $889K, Gulfside Place #117 2/2 $1.385M.

No price changes.

2 new sales: Sundial West #H411 1/1 listed at $269.9K, Kings Crown #118 3/2 listed at $1.299M.

1 closed sale: Tennisplace #E31 2/1.5 $315K.

HOMES

2 new listings: 1390 Middle Gulf Dr 3/3 half-duplex $559K, 5757 Pine Tree Dr 3/2.5 $899K.

2 price changes: 1211 Periwinkle Way 3/2 now $499K, 557 N Yachtsman Dr 4/3 now $799K.

No new sales.

8 closed sales: 9032 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 $492K, 1774 Bunting Ln 3/2 $525K, 3181 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 $550K, 215 Palm Lake Dr 3/2 $579K, 420 East Gulf Dr 3/3 $639K, 6019 Clam Bayou Ln 4/3 $1.1M, 4241 West Gulf Dr 5/4.5 $3.65M, 1220 Morningside Pl 5/5 multi-family $1.024M.

LOTS

5 new listings: 2356 Wulfert Rd $195K, 1305 Seaspray Ln $752K, 6519 Pine Ave $995K, 6505 Pine Ave $995K, 5340 Punta Caloosa Ct $1.598M.

2 price changes: 5121 SanibelCapiva Rd now $219,555; 2462 Wulfert Rd now $224.9K.

1 new sale: 1820 Farm Trail listed at $229K.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: Bayside Villas #5144 1/2 $299K.

HOMES

No new listings.

1 price change: 19 Urchin Ct 2/2.5 now $879K.

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 general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.)

Starfish santaUntil next week, when I’ll blog earlier than Friday, Merry almost-Christmas! Susan Andrews aka SanibelSusan

Sanibel Weekend Weather Forecast in Degrees F – Saturday 75 & Sunday 79 – WhoooHooo

SanibelSusan is back at her post this week where it is always great to get home and back to business even after a wonderful fun-filled vacation. Island traffic is noticeably heavier now than it was three weeks ago, while the weather remains mostly the same – sunny and picture perfect, unlike those nasty photos we are seeing on the news with snow and cold weather elsewhere.

Now through Easter is always a great time to be enjoying winter in Southwest Florida. I had lunch today with a colleague in the vacation rental business and he said that their phones are ringing off the hook with folks looking for last-minute holiday reservations.

Our listings had a few showings this week and our local Association of Realtors® Thursday Caravan meetings have changed to the “season” schedule of every week. Following a few news items below is the action posted in the Sanibel/Captiva Multiple Listing Service over the last seven days.

On teammate David’s travels this week he took the following bird photos. I thought you might enjoy them too – from osprey to sandpiper to eagle. (Bet you notice the mono-filament line wrapped around the osprey too. It’s a good reminder to always be careful with that stuff.)

osprey fishing line

 

Sandpiper

Eagle

On the real estate front, the number of units available still is down, though business is picking up, albeit is slowly. Homes and larger-sized condos continue to be in most demand. All indications are that it will be a terrific winter with prices continuing to rebound – we sure hope so!

Island Sales Stat Summary

Sanibel                         Condos                        Homes                         Lots

                                     #          Avg Price         #          Avg Price         #          Avg Price

For sale                        112      708,608           149      1,308,066         90        503,335

Closings pending         16        634,519           21         948,452           5          305,180

2014 sold thru 11/12    145      661,379           183      823,155           22         453,957

2013                             161      573,557           197      910,321           26         416,502

2012                             151      551,244           183      823,598           33         487,687

Upcoming Island Events

Shell MuseumNov 16 – tomorrow – Sat – 19th Birthday The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum – so free admission from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. www.shellmuseum.org

taste of the island logo_2014Nov 16 – Sun – 33rd Annual “Taste of the Islands” at The Dunes from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. (postponed from last week)

BIG Arts logoNov 21 – Fri – BIG ARTS Strauss Theater reopens for the 2014/2015 season with “Divas” which includes hits by some of the most successful female vocalists including Judy Garland, Aretha Franklin, Carole King, & Whitney Houston. “Divas” runs until Dec 4, www.bigarts.org/theater

Sanibel Community HouseNov 23 – Sun – Sanibel Thanksgiving Celebration at The Community House at 6:45 p.m. The BIG ARTS Community Chorus (& your favorite (I hope) alto) will be performing.

Luminary SantaDec 5 – Fri – 30th Annual Sanibel Luminary from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. (rumor has it that there will be another flash mob at Bailey’s this year)

Dec 6 – Sat – Captiva Luminary from 5:30 p.m. until 9 p.m.

Captiva Boat paradeDec 13 – Sat – Captiva Holiday Village 5th Annual Lighted Boat Parade at 6 p.m.

 

 

It’s Final: News Corp Acquires Realtor.com®

Realtor.com logosToday’s announcement from “DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS”:

“Media giant News Corp has officially completed its acquisition of Move, Inc., firming up its stake in the online real estate arena and tying its name to the REALTOR® brand. Move, Inc. is a leading provider of online real estate services and the operator of realtor.com®. News Corp says the merger will extend the media company’s global and digital operations as well as “bolster the real estate pillar of its business.”

“In partnership with the National Association of REALTORS® and its one million members, we look forward to turbo-charging realtor.com® and making it the most popular and profitable property site in America,” Robert Thomson, chief executive of News Corp, said in a statement.

“News Corp, a media and publishing business of which Rupert Murdoch serves as the executive chairman, owns such titles as The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s. It also has a majority ownership of the REA Group Ltd., a leading Australian residential property website. The Move network of websites reaches more than 30 million online visitors per month.

““We provide people with the information, tools and professional expertise they need to make the best and most informed real estate decisions, and we work to uphold the indispensable role of the professional in the real estate experience,” Steve Berkowitz, chief executive officer of Move, told REALTOR® Magazine in late September after the merger was announced.   “News Corp shares our vision, which is one of the many reasons this combination is such good news for our customers, consumers, and the industry as a whole.”

“National Association of REALTORS® President Chris Polychron praised the deal.  “The National Association of REALTORS® is excited about NewsCorp’s successful acquisition of Move, Inc.,” Polychron said in a statement released this morning. “REALTORS® are about making consumers’ real estate dreams a reality, and the unique strengths of News Corp, Move, and our REALTOR® members will enhance our ability to do that. NAR looks forward to its new partnership with News Corp and is committed to working with both companies to seek and develop new opportunities that help REALTORS® and consumers flourish in today’s real estate marketplace.””

The Next Big Home Feature Buyers Want?

Here’s some info from Wednesday’s “DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS” on-line:

houses-clipartfree-christian-clip-art--image-of-a-house-a-home---cropped-image-xoshp3ls“Home owners are showing a bigger appetite for smart home technology. Nearly half of consumers — 46% — say it’s important their current home or the next home they purchase have smart home technology, according to a survey conducted by ERA Real Estate and HGTV of nearly 2,500 consumers who recently participated in an HGTV national focus group on smart home technology.

“Home owners and buyers say they see the value in smart home technology for comfort, safety, and cost savings, and 51% surveyed say they would consider installing smart home technology in their home to make their home more marketable to future home buyers.

“The younger segment of the millennial generation is the most likely age group to spend money on smart home technology — 10 times more likely than the percentage of generation X members who say they’d consider adding smart home technology to their homes, the survey reported. “While still a growing trend, smart home enhancements have the potential to increase savings, safety, and resale value,” says Charlie Young, president and CEO of ERA Real Estate. “As we have seen through this survey and our one-on-one interactions with buyers and sellers, a smart home is one that is well positioned for the future and aligns with a growing reliance on mobile technology.”

“Indeed, 70% of millennials say it’s important that smart home technology integrate with their smartphone.

While smart home technology has often been thought to be driven by mainly security, survey researchers did not find security as the main motivation for adding smart home technology. Instead, home owners say they’re using or wanting smart home technology mainly because of the money-saving potential, such as through automated climate control, energy management, remote home monitoring, and lighting control systems. What’s more, consumers of all generations said they’d automate their thermostats before their lighting or security systems, and one in 10 Americans say they’d automate their TV over their lighting or security systems.”

Life Doesn’t Rise or Fall With Interest Rates

realtor logoAs a long-time fan of NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, here is his article from the November “Realtor®Mag”:

“Housing market can weather the effects of expected mortgage spikes.

“Mortgage rates haven’t budged, remaining at historic lows throughout the year amid economic growth that has generated 2.5 million net new jobs over the past 12 months and a record high stock market. But uncertainty looms in light of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s announcement that the economic stimulus program known as “quantitative easing” will halt by year’s end. Moreover, an increase in the short-term Fed funds rate is expected by the middle of 2015. The course of U.S. monetary policy, in short, will be less accommodating going forward.

“In the meantime, perhaps because of geopolitical risks in the Middle East and Ukraine, or because of weaker economic conditions in Europe, a plentiful amount of money has flowed into the safe U.S. bond market, thereby holding interest rates down. Inflation has been low so far, too, rising only by 2%, another factor behind the low rates.

“Sooner or later, though, interest rates will have to rise. From the low 4% rate that prevailed for most of this year, the average mortgage rate will likely cross over the 5% threshold sometime in 2015 and probably rise to near 6% by 2016. Such a change makes homes less affordable, a clear negative for residential sales. But job creation and the accompanying rise in consumer confidence, along with some loosening of underwriting standards, might more than compensate for the rising rates.

“But what will be the impact on home owners who have locked in super low rates? How resistant will they be to giving those up? That’s something we’ll be tracking. But if past behavior is a guide, most home owners won’t stay put just to hang onto a low mortgage rate.

“Our own research supports this. Nearly half of recent buyers indicated the desire to have a different-sized home or live in a different neighborhood as the key reason for moving. Having kids and selecting a school district they like makes people move. Another third of recent movers cited changes in a job or ­marital status. Retirement was a factor for ­others. Only 3% mentioned changes in mortgage costs as a reason for moving.

“Low interest-rate lock-ins seem to matter far less than life cycle events. Even as rates move up, life moves on.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity November 7-14

Sanibel
CONDOS

4 new listings: Spanish Cay #C5 2/2 $379K, Blind Pass #G203 2/2 $520K, Island Beach Club #330C 2/2 $795K, Shell Island Beach Club #5A 2/2 $895K.

4 price changes: Colonnades #51 1/1 now $179K, Loggerhead Cay #453 2/2 now $459K, Sundial #Q202 2/2 now $694K, Sanibel Surfside #133 2/2 now $849K.

3 new sale: Tennisplace #C35 2/1.5 listed for $310K, Ibis at The Sanctuary #301 2/2 listed for $449K, Sayana #103 2/2 listed for $715K.

2 closed sales: Sundial #I103 1/1 $314K, Pointe Santo #B45 2/2 $710K.

HOMES

3 new listings: 548 Chert Ct 2/2 $585K, 1026 Bird Watch Way 3/2 $589K, 4577 Waters Edge Ln 4/3 $2.995M.

4 price changes: 590 Lake Murex Cir 2/1.5 now $649.9K, 1337 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 now $1.149M, 375 East Gulf Dr 4/3 now $1.589M, 4265 West Gulf Dr 4/4.5 now $4.395M.

2 new sales: 1901 Sanibel Bayou Rd 4/3 4/3 listed for $829K, 1339 Par View Dr 3/2.5 listed for $999.9K.

1 closed sale: 800 Birdie View Pt 3/3.5 $975K.

LOTS

3 new listings: 707 Emeril Ct $319K; 5633 Baltusrol Ct $349,555; 4334 West Gulf Dr $959,959.

3 price changes: 6411 Pine Ave now $335K, 6486 Pine Ave now $399.9K (foreclosure), 4988 Joewood Dr now $529K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva
CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: Bayside Villas #5230 1/2 listed for $309K.

No closed sales.

HOMES

Nothing to report.

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.

Whether selling or buying, please call The SanibelSusan Team.

Susan, David, Elise, and Lisa are island experts and ready to help you!

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