Happy Birthday, America!


Happy birthday, America, and best wishes from SanibelSusan for a safe and happy July 4th. My team is off today for the long weekend, but I am in the office doing what I like best. I’ll be here tomorrow too, working with buyers.
Undoubtedly you have heard the news that COVID-19 cases in Florida, Lee County, and on Sanibel have increased. Reports are so conflicting, and the news so biased that it is hard to know what to believe. Unfortunately, most of us know someone who has had this illness and though the majority seem to be following recommended precautions, we keep hearing that it only takes “one” unknowing person to pass it on.
My Realtor® friend from Cape Coral who was hospitalized with it for many days, acknowledging she had simply let her guard down. Thankfully she came home this week but is struggling through a tough recovery. Hearing from her was enough to keep me from attending the special Sanibel City Council meeting on Tuesday. The state of emergency proclamation was expiring that day, so the meeting was called to discuss what further steps might be necessary to combat the virus.
At that meeting, the City extended the proclamation through the holiday weekend and voted to make face coverings mandatory in public places where social distancing is not possible. There are some exceptions, but masks are required inside businesses (except when eating). Read the full explanation on www.MySanibel.com.
The other emergency measure that passed was to reclose the City “pay” public beach parking lots from today through Monday. The goal here is to stop congestion on the beaches. Since the parking lots reopened a few weeks ago, particularly on weekends, the beaches have been packed. With the holiday weekend, many beaches in Florida closed, and island accommodations reporting reservations at capacity, it was considered a smart precaution to try to limit the number of beachgoers.
Yesterday, Traders restaurant (a personal favorite) posted this message: “Due to the escalation of COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, beginning today, Traders is closed for the July 4th holiday week. We will reopen Tuesday, July 14th. We apologize for an inconvenience. Stay safe + stay healthy!”
At SanibelSusan Realty
In the office, while wearing masks and practicing social distancing, we again had good action this week. Unusually busy for this time of year and we are grateful. The months certainly are flying by. Hard to believe 2020 is half over.
With no Sanibel parade or fireworks tomorrow, I did a little sleuthing today through old photos. Dick and I helped with the very first July 4th parade back in the early 90’s. That was when a picnic on the grounds of City Hall followed the parade. Who remembers the Quarterdeck Restaurant? One of the first parade organizational meetings was there. When we were at VIP and later, we marched in the parade and had our own SanibelSusan Team parade entry for many years. We still decorate the office – though not so much this year.
After moving to Sanibel Square, we found our location to be the perfect spot for parade watching. We have enjoyed hosting family, friends, and clients here on the morning of July 4th for many years. Will miss that tomorrow. But, if you are a Facebook follower, I plan to post some “through-the-years” parade photos. Fun times.
To wrap up the first half of the year, below is a quick summary from the Sanibel-Captiva Multiple Listing Service of island inventory today and the sales action in 2020 as compared to the same time frame the last few years. These years have been unusual. The after effects of Hurricane Irma in 2017 affected early 2018, then Florida’s red tide in late 2018 affected 2019. Then to top things off, there is the pandemic this year. It still looks like it is helping our market, but those affects may not be fully realized until later. In the meantime, we continue to welcome new business and look forward to more sales.
Sanibel
Condos
Homes
Lots
#
Price
#
Price
#
Price
For sale
121
820,687
140
1,622,010
62
807,230
Under contract
17
645,905
53
912,249
4
688,000
Sold 1/1-7/3/2020
79
729,538
112
1,003,973
4
849,666
Sold 1/1-7/3/2019
79
679,753
126
979,358
9
451,222
Sold 1/1-7/3/2018
96
743,571
158
1,214,613
9
478,555
Sold 1/1-7/3/2017
84
761,089
125
982,513
21
331,158
Captiva
Condos
Homes
Lots
#
Price
#
Price
#
Price
For sale
38
1,168,509
42
3,990.285
3
3,563,000
Under contract
3
770,000
5
2,678,600
0
N/A
Sold 1/1-7/3/2020
15
882,666
11
3,429,272
2
1,925,000
Sold 1/1-7/3/2019
14
1,201,857
8
3,002,187
0
N/A
Sold 1/1-7/3/2018
17
912,933
12
2,163,442
0
N/A
Sold 1/1-7/3/2017
20
698,450
15
2,668,466
2
2,312,500
The activity posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service is shown below, followed by our ad from today’s “Island Sun”.
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity June 26-July 3, 2020
Sanibel
CONDOS
2 new listings: Loggerhead Cay #212 2/2 $589,985; Sand Pointe #116 2/2 $899K.
2 price changes: Mariner Pointe #813 2/2 now $579K, Sand Pointe #227 2/2 now $729K.
4 new sales: Sanibel Arms #A7 1/1 listed at $359K, Seashells #36 2/2 listed at $380K, Sundial #T301 2/2 listed at $845K, Loggerhead Cay #514 2/2 listed at $995K.
3 closed sales: Casa Blanca #6 1/1 $325K, Seawind #107 2/2.5 $500K, Loggerhead Cay #191 2/2 $740K.
HOMES
4 new listings2985 Island Inn Rd 2/2 $599K (our listing), 721 Durion Ct 3/3 $649K, 1610 Sabal Sands Rd 3/2 $724.9K, 5439 Osprey Ct 4/3 $1.789M.

2985 Island Inn Rd

7 price changes: 4044 Coquina Dr 2/2 now $529K; 9455 Beverly Ln 2/2 now $529.9K; 3131 Twin Lakes Ln 2/2 now $789,031; 3751 Coquina Dr 3/2 now $859K; 1430 Sanderling Cir 4/3.5 now $899K; 790 Beach Rd 4/3.5 now $1.399M; 4577 Waters Edge Ln 4/3 now $3.049M.
9 new sales: 9465 Calla Ct 3/2 listed at $499K, 1361 Tahiti Dr 2/2 listed at $535K, 433 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 listed at $569K, 1813 Farm Tr 3/2 listed at $629K, 5659 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 2/2 listed at $790K, 2417 Wulfert Rd 3/3 listed at $944.5K, 3850 Coquina Dr 3/3 listed at $1.048M, 5419 Osprey Ct 3/3.5 listed at $1.095M, 2284 Troon Ct 4/4.5 listed at $1.799M.
8 closed sales: 499 Peachtree Rd 2/2 $450K, 1774 Bunting Ln 3/2 $626K, 1826 Ardsley Way 4/3 $626.5K, 987 Sand Castle Rd 4/3.5 $650K, 3323 Twin Lakes Ln 3/3 $760K, 5757 Pine Tree Dr 3/2.5 $775K, 1271 Par View Dr 3/3 $860K, 5044 Joewood Dr 4/4.5 $1.85M.
LOTS
No new listings.
1 price change: 2486 Wulfert Rd now $129K.
No new or closed sales.
Captiva
CONDOS
1 new listing: Beach Villas #2422 1/1 $545K.
No price changes:
1 new sale: Bayside Villas #5234 1/2 listed at $510K.
2 closed sales: Sunset Beach Villas #2227 1/1 $510K, Lands End Village #1651 2/2 $1.14M.
HOMES
1 new listing: 16596 Captiva Dr 7/8.5 $10.5M.
2 price changes: 16163 Captiva Dr 3/2 now $2.395M, 17101 Captiva Dr 7/6.5 now $2.695M.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: 13500 Palmflower Ln 4/4 $2.4M.
LOTS
No new listings, 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 holiday! Stay safe & be well!
Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Another Week of Fabulous Island Weather


All is well again this week at SanibelSusan Realty. Another seven days of beautiful sunny warm weather have kept most visitors busy with outdoor activities. The following photos, I snapped with my cell phone this morning at Beach Access #6 on Sanibel’s West Gulf Drive.

Access 6 #1Access 6 #2

Below are a few news items, followed by the action posted since last Friday in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.

Realtors June Membership Meeting

San Cap LogoYesterday was the June monthly breakfast membership meeting at the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®, a good opportunity for me to announce our new listing at Casa Ybel Resort. The condo was photographed professionally this week so it now is officially on the market.

The following slide show includes the unit and several resort amenities. Click the “Cottage Colony West #136” tab above for more details and a streaming video. This beach-front condo grossed over $92K last year in the easy on-site rental program.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The educational part of yesterday’s Realtor® meeting was a presentation by Sanibel City Manager, Judie Zimomra, and Lt. Bill Dalton of the Sanibel Police Department. Covering “hurricane season preparedness”, they offered some good and timely advice. Here are some of my take-aways:

Lt. Dalton described a study which determined the five areas of the nation that are the hardest to leave during a mandatory evacuation. Here are the worst five – a good example of when it’s not good to be in 1st position – but our area is, so this is a good reminder to leave early when a storm is heading this way.

  1. Southwest Florida – because of few east/west roadways & limited north/south evacuation routes.
  2. Tampa Bay area – high population & also few ways of egress
  3. Maryland/Northern Virginia/DC area – population
  4. New York/New Jersey – population
  5. Southeast Florida – population.

Another interesting tidbit is that there is a Lee County ordinance that says all county bridges must be closed when wind speed reaches 40 mph. That info brought a question from the floor which was “How do we get over the Caloosahatchee River bridges after leaving the islands.” Answer: “Leave early – before they are closed.” Yikes! That may be a good reason to leave when evacuation is recommended, but before it is mandatory.

Hurricane Charley in 2004 brought high wind to Southwest Florida. (Lt. Dalton reported that the City wind gauge broke when it recorded 143 mph, so the exact top wind speed is unknown.) Charley was a relatively small fast- moving storm. When compared to other larger and slower-moving past storms, if Charley had stayed longer, the storm surge here could have been as much as 17-23 feet, and damage could have covered a much broader area. Good reason to check your insurance coverage now! Hurricane season has begun!

Sanibelcityseal logoIf you are interested in receiving emergency Sanibel notifications, go to the City’s website at www.MySanibel.com and click on the link in the right hand column called “Code Red”. Code Red, Rapid Emergency Notification System, is an emergency telephone network which will text, call, or email you with information whenever the City turns the system on to report an emergency situation. Examples could include: evacuation notices, bio-terrorism alerts, boil water notices, and missing child reports.

If you are here in the summer or fall, now also is a good time to get your island reentry passes. These have not been needed since after Hurricane Charley, but you will need an up-to-date pass to get back on the island following an evacuation. There are separate passes for residential and commercial and these hang from your rear view mirror (or remain safely in your glove box until needed – hopefully never). Info about these passes also on www.MySanibel.com and at the Sanibel Police Department.

1st Annual National Shell Day a Success

The 1st Annual National Shell Day, a marketing effort in partnership with the Lee County Visitors and Convention Bureau and promoters of tourism at the Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel, was the talk of the islands on Monday.

“Good Morning American” weather gal, Ginger Zee, reported live over a 2-hour span from the beach at Sundial Resort where she not only reported the country’s weather, but also introduced their national audience to the “Sanibel stoop”, to Lola (a disabled American kestrel who lives at CROW (Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, and to mollusks from the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum.

Garnering the most attention was the Shell Love Bug, which is a used Volkswagen Beetle convertible which was transformed into a sailor’s valentine on wheels thanks to Pam Rambo of ILoveShelling.com and a group of volunteers. (The photos below are from Pam’s web site.)

The Shell Love Bug is traveling around the county this week to promotional events. Here are some fun facts about its creation:

  • $7,000 cost of the 2005 Beetle
  • 20,000+ shells glued onto car
  • 65+ varieties of local shells
  • 60+ volunteers who transformed the car
  • 60+ tubes of “Marine Goop” adhesive for attaching the shells!

Americans Are Feeling Wealthier, More Upbeat

realtor logo“Realtor®Mag” on line on Monday has the following article sourced to “Daily Real Estate News” and “Fannie Mae”:

“Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index zoomed to an all-time high in May as consumers get more upbeat about their paychecks and home selling. In May, the index reached a reading of 85.3, which follows an 18-month low reached in March.

“Three of six components the index measures registered increases last month, led by a 7 percentage point increase in the number of consumers reporting significantly higher income than a year ago. Also, the number of consumers who expect home prices to increase over the next 12 months rose 5 percentage points. Consumers were also upbeat that mortgage rates would decrease over the next year as well.

fannie-mae-logo“That said, the index indicator on whether it’s a “good time to buy” dropped 1 percentage point to an all-time survey low in May.

““Continued home price appreciation has been squeezing housing affordability, driving a two-year downward trend in the share of consumers who think it’s a good time to buy a home,” says Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “The current low mortgage rate environment has helped ease this pressure, and fewer than half of consumers expect rates to go up in the next year. While the May increase in income growth perceptions could provide further support to prospective home buyers as the spring/summer home-buying season gains momentum, the effect may be muted by May’s discouraging jobs report.”

“Here’s a closer look at additional findings from Fannie Mae’s latest index reading:

  • 29% of Americans say now is a good time to buy a home, a drop of 1 percentage point from March and an all-time survey low for the second consecutive month.
  • 52% of consumers believe now is a good time to sell a home – an all-time survey high.
  • 42% of Americans believe that home prices will go up.
  • 72% of Americans say they are not concerned with losing their job, a drop of 2 percentage points from March.
  • 18% of Americans say their household income is significantly higher than it was a year ago, up 7 percentage points from March and at an all-time survey high.”

Buyers Gaining Upper Hand in Luxury Market

wall street journalPosted last week in “Daily Real Estate News, sourced to “The Wall Street Journal”, June 15, 2016:

“The number of luxury homes for sale is growing, and that is unlocking some deals for potential buyers, The Wall Street Journal reports. Indeed, inventory of homes priced between $500,000 to $750,000 increased nearly 16% in March compared to a year ago, according to data from NAR. What’s more, inventory for real estate priced more than $1 million increased 12.6% year-over-year.

“As more expensive homes linger on the market, buyers are finding more bargaining power.

“For sellers, this may be a tough realization that the power is shifting. Shannon Baird, a broker with Living Room Realty in Portland, Ore., says that a major challenge is changing the mindset of home sellers who are hearing news of quick sales and bidding wars. But that’s not the case in the upper price bracket in many markets.

“Stock market volatility has made some wealthy buyers more cautious to jump into a big home purchase at the moment. Also, fewer foreign buyers are on the market as the dollar strengthens, says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “The stock market has come back up, but we don’t know yet if that means the upper-end home buying market will begin to return,” Yun says.”

Do You Vote in Lee County?

Ding Darling Society logoIt “yes”, “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society’s June 23, 2016 newsletter asks that you “Keep Conserving Lee” and posted the following notice:

“Vote YES for Conservation 20/20.  Support the continued use of tax dollars to conserve important wildlife habitat and outdoor recreational opportunities in Lee County by voting YES for Conservation 20/20 in the November 8, 2016, election. Thanks to 20/20, we were able to fulfill our goal to purchase and protect property at Woodring Point in 2013. We hope to work with the county again in the future on such preservation partnerships.”

Here for July 4th?

4th-of-july-clip-artA few more July 4th events have been announced. Click on the “Upcoming Island Events” tab above for more details.

Here are some photos of where the fireworks could be viewed, including the end of Bailey Road (1st group of photos) and the end of Dixie Beach Boulevard (2nd group)– or anywhere on the bay side of the island.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity June 17-24, 2016

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Loggerhead Cay #462 2/2 $539K, Cottage Colony West #136 1/1 $649K (our listing).

3 price changes: Seashells #38 2/2 now $372K, Mariner Pointe #943 2/2.5 now $619K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #3-3 2/2.5 now $650K.

1 new sale: Compass Point #151 3/3 listed at $1.195M.

2 closed sales: Bayview Village #2A 3/3 $675K, Island Beach Club #330C 2/2 $760K.

HOMES

2 new listings: 3792 Coquina Dr 3/3 $1.049M, 6111 SanibelCaptiva Rd 5/4/3 $27M.

2 price changes: 1429 Jamaica Dr 3/3 now $769K, 243 Southwinds Dr 4/2.5 now $1.075M.

3 new sales: 676 Emeril Ct 3/2 listed at $729.9K, 2311 Starfish Ln 4/3 listed at $1.249M, 1520 Angel Dr 4/3/2 listed at $1.279M. 

1 closed sale: 1658 Sabal Palm Dr $852.5K.

LOTS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 2988+2993 Wulfert Rd listed at $899K.

1 closed sale: 1310 Par View Dr $331.25K.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Tennis Villas #3238 2/2 $435K.

No price changes, new, or closed sales.

HOMES & 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.)

July 3 2015 5Until next Friday, when SanibelSusan Realty Associates will be all decked out for the holiday weekend!
(more pix next week)
Susan Andrews
aka SanibelSusan

Lotsa Rain & Lotsa Shells


It has been another quiet few days on Sanibel. Luckily Tropical Storm Colin passed to the north, though it brought some much needed rain which has continued off and on through much of the week. By today, most of us are over it, but the rain continues. Certainly not a good week to be here on vacation if you are a sun-worshipper, but the shelling is amazing!

Rainy lighthouse sanibel-island

A few turtle and snowy plover nests were damaged from high water, but many remain on Sanibel’s both east and west end and Captiva. Turtle patrols are out checking nests every day. Interestingly those sea turtles do not lay all of their eggs at one time, so Mother Nature planned for events like these.

SanCapAssnLogoUnfortunately, it was another slow week for real estate too. Attendance was down yesterday at the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® meeting and the nine properties open for Caravan after the meeting had to deal with the buckets of rain that continued most of the day. No condos went under contract this week on either island, just two homes sold on Sanibel, none on Captiva. More details on the week’s action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service follow some news items below.

Hurricanes

santiva chronicleMost islanders do not like to think about hurricanes, but there was a nice article with some island history published in the “Santiva-Chronicle” on Monday, June 6.

rotary logoWith June the start of hurricane season, the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club had SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) Education Director Kristie Anders as their speaker at their meeting last week. This is the report that they provided to the paper.

SCCF logo“Well here it is the first week of June and we’re already talking about a tropical disturbance in the Caribbean.  Watchful eyes are keeping a lookout on this storm and are tracking it’s movements in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.  After all, we are now officially in Hurricane Season…June 1 through Nov. 30 and although early in hurricane season, these tropical disturbances can take unexpected twists and turns intensifying into full-blown hurricanes, at any time.

“Our Rotary speaker this week was Kristie Anders, SCCF education director, talking about hurricanes. She started out by giving us this statistic:  50% of our Island residents have never been through a hurricane season here on the Islands.  This is important to note, since this year the predictions “The 2015 hurricane season was somewhat benign in the Atlantic, but if La Nina kicks in this coming summer (as predicted), it could be a troubling season,” according to NASA climatologist Bill Patzert.  By the numbers: 14 named storms, 8 of those storms becoming hurricanes and 4 of those hurricanes becoming major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher)

“Anders said, “Hurricane season is a roll of the dice.”

“Kristie gave us a look-back at previous storms that have hit our area:

  • 1873 NO NAME a hurricane hit Punta Rassa wiping away all the buildings and demolishing the area with raging winds and a 14’ storm surge.
  • 1910 “The BIG STORM” hit the Islands destroying all the crops.
  • 1919 “Key West Hurricane” washed over the islands, salting the soil.
  • 1921 “The Tampa Bay Hurricane” Category 3 Captiva was split at Red Fish Pass.
  • 1926 “The Great Miami Hurricane” Category 4 This storm was very destructive to the Islands.  Captiva was severed from Sanibel when a hurricane storm surge created a new channel – Blind Pass.
  • 1960 “Hurricane Donna” Category 4 The dry hurricane.  Damage to the roads was caused by the tides that “crested four to six feet above normal.  Australian pines, insecurely anchored by wide-spreading but shallow roots, fell like tenpins across the main road that travels down the center of Sanibel and along the Captiva Gulf. Much of the Captiva road was impassable, parts of the Sanibel road were blocked under sand drifts, and tree falls. Upper Captiva washed away.”
  • And Now to Hurricane Charley – 2004 Hurricane Charley Category 4… winds of 131 mph.  Turns from simple tropical Storm to Hurricane…changes course from going to Tampa… hits dead on North Captiva, Captiva, and Sanibel.  Mandatory evacuation of Islands…some stayed…Islands closed.  Although 18-foot storm surge was predicted, luckily that wasn’t the case.  Wind and tornadoes disseminated fauna, foliage, and homes on the islands. The Islands had no functioning sewer system, electricity, or water.  Phone lines were downed.  Electricity was knocked out and not restore for about five days.  Roads were blocked with fallen trees and debris.  North Captiva Island was split in two by the hurricane.  Residents could not return to the Islands until roads were cleared.  Kristie and her husband Red lived on North Captiva and were caught off guard by Hurricane Charlie, they did not evacuate in time.  The National Weather Service and local meteorologists gave confusing information as to the direction of the storm and at some point, it was too late.  The damage to North Captiva was incredible, roofs were destroyed, windows blew in, and walls collapsed.  No electricity and no communication channels.  Boats and planes were destroyed; there was no way off the Island.  It wasn’t until the Monday after the storm that the National Guard arrived by boat to assess the damage to island property and secure property from vandalism. They realized Kristi and Red were not looters but residents of North Captiva. The soldiers helped in the cleanup of the Island.

“There were definite lessons learned by the residents that stayed on the Islands during the storms…don’t mess with Mother Nature.  Most of them definitely will not do that again.

“Resident hurricane passes are now available at Sanibel City Hall…don’t wait.  Hurricane forecasts give indications of the path of these storms…when it looks like the storm is coming this way, make hotel reservations…Kristie’s suggestion…somewhere near I-75.  Take forecasts of storm surges seriously.

Sanibel-Captiva Rotary will not be meeting at the Dunes Golf & Tennis Club for the next two months. On Friday, June 10, our meeting will take place at the Sanibel Shell museum starting with breakfast at 7 a.m.  Further meeting information, can be found at http://www.sanibelrotary.org or check our Facebook page Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club.  Guests are always welcomed at all of our San-Cap Rotary meetings.”

America’s Favorite Towns

Though it’s undoubtedly good for business, sometimes the locals cringe when Sanibel makes another “list”. Here’s one recently posted by “Travel + Leisure” magazine. According to the article:

“Travel + Leisure’s America’s Favorite Places survey opened on 10/8/2015 and closed on 04/15/2016. It was open to everyone, and ran alongside a sweepstakes. The open-response survey asked respondents to submit their favorite place and rate it in over 65 categories, including affordability, notable restaurants, and public parks. Towns were defined as governed bodies with a population less than 100,000. After discarding incomplete ballots and cities that received less than 8 votes, each entry was ranked according to an average score.”

Here are the top 30 favorite towns:

30. Sedonz, AZ
29. Hilton Head, SC
28. Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
27. Naples, FL
26. Key West, FL
25. Duluth, MN
24. Laguna Beach, CA
23. Charlottesville, VA
22. Santa Barbara, CA
21. Newport, RI
20. Williamsburg, VA
19. Aspen, CO
18. Red River, NM

Lighthouse1

Sanibel Island

 

17. Sanibel Island, FL
16. Durango, CO
15. Cape May, NJ
14. Pigeon Forge, TN
13. La Jolla, CA
12. Sarasota, FL
11. Sonoma, CA
10. Asheville, NC
9. Traverse City, MI
8. Staunton, VA
7. Portland, ME
6. Harrisonburg, VA
5. Atlantic City, NJ
4. St. Augustine, FL
3. Sante Fe, NM
2. Provincetown, MA
1. Park City, UT

Sanibel StoopNice to see that five of the top 30 are in Florida. The write-up about Sanibel Island says, it “scored highly as a beach vacation and vacation getaway, but it enhanced both of these standings by getting a perfect score for free things to do.

“Indeed, the most popular thing to do here costs nothing: browsing the multitudes of seashells (there are reportedly 200 different kinds) on the beaches, an action known as the Sanibel Stoop…The island also ranked well for affordable cuisine….”

What is Your Opinion of Sanibel’s Civic Core Project?

As posted this week in several local publications, the Sanibel Civic Core group wants to know your opinion of the project and has created a website (sanibelccp.org) where citizens may see details and comment.

Civic Core Concept 02-16

The Civic Core project would rebuild BIG ARTS and move the Center-4-Life to the Civic Core campus near BIG ARTS, City Hall, and the Library. It would be a multi-purpose facility designed to host a variety of different events. It would add about 400 parking spaces and have the benefit of relieving some of the traffic congestion on Periwinkle Way during events.

The Civic Core project weighs in with a hefty $42 million price tag with the money coming from – grants totaling $22 million, $12 million from BIG ARTS, and $8 million from Sanibel taxpayers which would have to be approved in a ballot referendum.

The community’s ultimate opinion on the Civic Core project will be decided in the voting booth, but before that happens the Civic and Cultural Core Working Group has posted the website to ensure that voters are informed. Check it out at www.sanibelccp.org.

Property Values Up Throughout Lee County

Good news posted on-line at CaptivaSanibel.com on Wednesday. It says:

“For the fourth year in a row, property values in Lee County continue to increase according to the preliminary estimated Taxable Values for 2016 released late last month and that increase is 6.62% countywide.

LeePALogo.png“We have 91 taxing authorities in Lee County and there are no negative percentages anywhere in the county,” said Lee Property Appraiser Ken Wilkinson. “I think they will all be pleased. Of course, we have another month to work on the figures so the value could still go up some as we check for errors.”

“The total taxable value on new construction countywide rose from $972.5 million in 2015 to over $1.3 billion for 2016. New construction figures in Sanibel rose from more than $13 million last year to more than $18 million this year.

“We had a surge in new construction from 2015 to 2016,” Mayor Kevin Ruane said. “I think when the economy improves more people take advantage of that.” He said there are around 170 lots on Sanibel that are still buildable.

“Wilkinson’s office faces a July 1 deadline to notify the taxing authorities of their final estimate value figures, which will then be used by government agencies to set the millage rate through two required public hearings.

Those figures also will be sent to Tallahassee for approval, but, Wilkinson said, the state has never not approved the figures. The final estimate figures will be mailed to every property owner in the form of TRIM notices in mid-August.

“After the TRIM notices arrive, property owners then have 25 days to contact the appraiser’s office to appeal their taxable value if they think it is too high.

“Cape Coral’s total taxable property values are up 6.64% over 2015. Fort Myers Beach values rose by 6.72%, Sanibel by 3.98% and Fort Myers increased by 8.44%.

“Ruane said Sanibel did not go down 45 to 50% like other places did in 2007 and when considering an increase in percentage it is hard to go up as much when the decrease is not as large. “We historically have a better percentage between June and July,” he said, adding that he believes they will be closer to 5% once July comes.

“Ruane said the difference between Sanibel’s increase and Cape Coral and Fort Myers is those cities are still down 25%.

Sanibelcityseal logo“We are in single digits. They have to make up more than 20% than I do,” he said. Ruane said the percentage is kind of exactly where he thought they were going to be. “Would I like property values to go up more, yes, (but) Sanibel values continue to rise,” he said. “We continue to be noted as a great place to come.”

“The City Council will discuss a preliminary budget at its Tuesday, June 7 meeting, which Ruane said includes a budget planned around 3 and 4% for property values.

“Among the local fire districts, Upper Captiva increased the least, just 0.25%, and Fort Myers Beach rose the most at 6.06%. Captiva Fire District increased just 0.44%, Matlacha-Pine Island by 5.06, North Fort Myers by 5.47 and Sanibel by 3.84%. Lehigh fire district opted out of the county tax roll for 2016 by passing a Fire Service Assessment tax instead.

“Property values started to rise in Lee County overall three years ago while some communities still saw decreases. Most property in the county increased for 2013 with few exceptions. These last two years every city, town and taxing district in the county is seeing higher values. The Lee County market lost half of its total value between 2007 and 2013 when the market started to turn around.

“The annual process is complete when tax bills start arriving in property owners’ mailboxes in November.”

4th of July on Sanibel

In less than a month, the islands again will be celebrating another holiday. Wondering what’s in store for July 4th here this year? Morning, noon, and night, the line-up is below:

  • 2003 BonneParade

    An oldie

    26th Annual Independence Day Parade – Beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the corner of Tarpon Bay Road and Periwinkle Way, the parade travels down Periwinkle Way to Casa Ybel Road. It is small town fun at its finest with many local businesses, organizations, community members and families participating in decorated vehicles and tossing goodies and holiday mementos to parade watchers. A good vantage point is the lawn in front of SanibelSusan Realty or just across the street under the shade trees bordering Community Park. Wear your red, white, and blue, and bring your lawn chair or blanket to join in the festivities!

  • 2016 July 4 Road Rally37th Optimists Club July 4th Road Rally – Register your team to rally against others as you follow a predetermined course around both islands while solving puzzles and guessing clues. A team includes a vehicle, driver, navigator, and spotter(s). The event begins at noon in The Timbers/Sanibel Grill parking lot with staggered start times (a vehicle begins every 2 minutes). It also ends there with an afterglow party where prizes are awarded for time, mileage, the most correct answers to the quiz, best decorated vehicle, and the team that traveled the farthest to get there. More info and entry forms on the club’s website and on their Facebook page at Sanibel-Captiva Optimist Club, or at Bailey’s General Store, Sanibel Café, Sanibel-Captiva Community Bank, in the local papers, or at the starting line just before the event. Don’t think you have to know the island to win, following the directions and being observant are key!
  • fireworks clip artFireworks – At dusk, the causeway islands are where many residents and visitors gather to watch the fireworks which are launched right at dark from the bayside end of Bailey Road. Better get there early to get a spot. Or, see them from the water. Adventures in Paradise has a Sanibel Fireworks Cruise. You can book on-line at www.AdventuresinParadiseInc.com.

Sanibel Historical Museum Free Admission Day

Museum LogoFor the 3rd year, The Sanibel Historical Museum and Village is offering free admission for all visitors on Saturday, June 18. This time of the year, the Museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a full guided tour at 10:30 a.m.

The museum closes for the summer on August 1, reopening October 18. More info at http://www.sanibelmuseum.org.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity June 3-10, 2016

Sanibel

CONDOS

1 new listing: Tarpon Beach #110 2/2 $799K.

2 price changes: Sanibel Inn #3512 2/2 now $689K, Sundial East #M301 2/2 now $749K.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: Clam Shell #E 3/2.5 $995K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 1114 Captains Walk St 3/3 $1.095M.

7 price changes: 1746 Windward Way 3/2 now $569K, 3118 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $599.9K, 5749 Pine Tree Dr 3/3 now $675K, 726 Cardium St 3/3 now $775K, 1501 Sand Castle Rd 5/3.5 now $999K, 792 Birdie View Pt 3/3.5 now $999K, 1238 Isabel Dr 5/3/2 now $3.499M.

2 new sales: 2115 Sunset Cir 3/2 listed at $459K, 1487 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 listed at $799K.

6 closed sales: 441 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $550K, 938 Strangler Fig Ln 2/2 $571.5K, 1858 Farm Trail 3/2 $610K, 1130 Junonia St 3/2 $669K, 9027 Mockingbird Dr 4/3 $755K, 882 Beach Rd 4/3 $1.3M.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 5121 SanibelCaptiva Rd now $215,555.

1 new sale: 1837 Buckthorn Ln listed at $439.9K.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

Nothing to report.

HOMES

1 new listing: 31 Urchin Ct 3/3 $975K.

2 price changes: 35 Sea Hibiscus Ct 3/2 now $350K, 11500 Chapin Ln 4/4.5 now $1.795M.

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 real3 estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.)

 Until next Friday, bring on the sun! 

(Oops, it’s 3:10 p.m. & the sun just peeked out, let’s hope it stays!)

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Trip advisor sanibel beach cottages afternoon-storms-rolling.jpg

Winding up a Holiday Week on Sanibel Island


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It was a great July 4th on Sanibel Island from the parade right through to the fireworks. Unfortunately, since then we have had rain almost every day, though today we have lucked out so far and the space shuttle was able to take off.

Sanibel School Earns “A” for 13th Straight Year

It was announced last week that for the 3rd straight year, the Lee County School District achieved an “A” grade for its district-wide achievement by earning 537 points. An “A” grade is awarded for 525 points. Also for the 13th consecutive year, The Sanibel School earned an “A” grade, garnering 692 points. The Sanibel kindergarten through 8th-grade facility reported 97% of its students met the high standard in reading, 95% in math, 93% in writing and 86% in science. According to Sanibel School Principal Barbara Von Harten, The Sanibel School also has received notification that they have been ranked the top K-8 educational facility in the entire state of Florida. Pine Island Elementary is the only other school in the local district to earn an “A” grade since the school grade reports began in the 1988-89 academic year. To see a complete listing of the school grades visit www.leeschools.net.

Shelling & Fishing

Locals and visitors alike have commented that the fishing and shelling over the past holiday weekend were both excellent. It is always fun to see the newspaper reports with photos of the “finds”. The good ones this week included: several rather large prized junonia shells, a couple of foot-sized whelks, snook up to 42″, and even a 150‑lb tarpon.

32nd Annual July 4th Road Rally

If you are thinking of making your plans now for the 4th of July holiday next year, consider the Road Rally after the parade. This was my first year and though the prizewinners haven’t been announced yet, it was a lot of fun. Sponsored as a fundraiser by our local Optimists Club, it begins at The Timbers Restaurant parking lot at noon, with staggered start times. It is not a race, but rather a game of timing, mileage, and wit. Once provided with detailed driving directions around the island, and instructions that include “no backing up”, entrants are given question and answer sheets with more than 100 questions to answer. It is much like a scavenger hunt but without picking up items (well maybe a few). Most of the questions can be answered by carefully following the driving directions and being “very” observant. One would think that a carload of island Realtors® would have a good advantage, but we found at The Timbers Afterglow Party that several of the visiting vacationers beat us on some of the questions. How the Optimists could come up with so many difficult questions after 31 years is a surprise too. Some of the entries have been participating since the beginning. Maybe we will do better next year.

Captiva Beach Re-Nourishment Project

I heard from one of my Captiva pals that plans are underway for another beach re-nourishment project on Captiva in 2013/2014. That is always a pricey undertaking, but also great news for Sanibel as we always manage to get the sand eventually. Sometimes, it is just best to be an east-west oriented island.

Not Enough Done on Housing

Florida REALTORS® reposted an article yesterday from the “Washington Post” where “President Obama made a rare admission of a policy misstep, acknowledging that his administration failed to provide enough support to struggling homeowners and recognize the scope of the nation’s housing crisis. Despite predictions by Obama’s advisers that the housing market would rebound by now, real estate prices are falling once again. And the administration’s efforts to push banks to modify the mortgages of families who missed their monthly payments have been widely criticized as lacking. Obama first raised the issue Wednesday when a questioner during a town hall event asked what mistakes the president had made in handling the economy. “The continuing decline in the housing market is something that hasn’t bottomed out as quickly as we expected,” Obama responded. Later, he added, that his administration’s efforts to help struggling homeowners were “not enough. And so we’re going back to the drawing board,” he said.

“The housing issue threatens to loom over Obama’s re-election campaign, with foreclosures piling up and real estate markets in turmoil in pivotal swing states such as Florida and Nevada, which voted for him in 2008. Obama has not often discussed the housing crisis with much of his time in Washington and on the campaign trail focused on job creation and deficit reduction. But the issue repeatedly came up Wednesday as Obama conducted his first ever town hall meeting via Twitter. One person asked in a tweet: “How will admin work to help underwater homeowners who aren’t behind in payments but are trapped in homes they can’t sell?” Later, another questioner – whose Twitter handle was @Shnaps – asked a follow-up question about whether the market could heal itself. Obama responded that “given the size of the housing market, no federal program is going to be able to solve the housing problem.” He later added: “Some folks just bought more home than they could afford and probably they’re going to be better off renting.”

“Much of the criticism of the administration’s housing policy has focused on the Treasury Department’s foreclosure prevention initiative called the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP. The program was funded by the financial bailout and carved out tens of billions of dollars to pay banks to modify the mortgages of distressed homeowners, or at least lower their monthly payments. The administration has said that HAMP helped more than a million families in this way. But critics say that the aid was not long lasting, and that the initiative’s design was too complicated for the industry to implement effectively.

“During Wednesday’s town hall, Obama said his administration would press banks to modify loans more quickly and, where possible, reduce the principal owed by homeowners. The questions submitted to the president were wide ranging, though Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who moderated the event, noted that 6 percent of the tweets focused on housing. Other hot topics included jobs, the economy and education.

“The president spent much of the time responding to questions verbally, leaving it to his staff and officials from Twitter to parse his words down to 140-character tweets, the maximum allowed on the micro-blogging Web site. Obama sent a live tweet only once, patting himself on the back for being the first president in history to do so.

“While the event was billed as a “discussion,” the format provided a platform for Obama to repeat his positions on the economy with little follow-up from the moderator and Twitter users. Obama got a laugh, though, when he took a question from House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), who is known as @speakerboehner on Twitter. Boehner asked, “Where are the jobs?” Obama joked: “This is a slightly skewed question.” He then acknowledged that job growth has been slow. But he also accused Republicans of standing in the way of infrastructure and public works programs that would have created work for Americans. “Eventually, I’m sure the speaker will see the light,” Obama quipped.”

Island Real Estate Scoop This Week

Attendance was down yesterday at our biweekly Realtor® Caravan Meeting and just a handful of new listings were on tour. Even with the holiday vacationers and rain hampering outside activities, not many properties were shown and little real estate action was reported. Here are the MLS changes since last Friday.

Sanibel & Captiva MLS Activity July 2-8

Sanibel
CONDOS
1 new listing:  Signal Inn #18 2/2 $949K.
1 price change:  Sanctuary Golf Villages I #3 3/3 now $719K.
1 new sale:  Sundial #R203 2/2 listed for $499K.
5 closed sales:  Sanibel Moorings #241 1/1 $260K, Sanibel Siesta #403 2/2 $340K, Sanibel Arms West #M4 2/2 $375K, Compass Point #243 2/2 $460K, Atrium #306 3/2 $1.1M.
 
HOMES
4 new listings:  491 Rabbit Rd 2/2 $339K; 1439 Albatross Rd 3/2 $439,555; 1470 Middle Gulf Dr 4/5.5 $2.395M; 4431 Waters Edge Ln 4/4 $2.85M.
2 price changes:  3145 Twin Lakes Ln 3/3 now $499,994; 2479 Blind Pass Ct 3/2 now $1.1M.
2 new sale:  1035 South Yachtsman Dr 5/4.5 listed for $799K, 1360 Eagle Run Dr 5/3.5 listed for $1.039M (short sale).
1 closed sale:  9292 Belding Dr 3/2.5 $350K.
 
LOTS
1 new listing:  761 Donax St $189K.
1 price change:  2562 Coconut Dr now $399K.
No new sales.
1 closed sale:  5618 Baltusrol Ct $180K.
 
Captiva
CONDOS
1 new listing:  Tennis Villas #3219 1/1 $245K.
4 price changes:  Tennis Villas #3229 1/1 now $240K, Bayside Villas #3406 3/3 now $638K, Beach Villas #2618 2/2 now $685K, Beach Villas #2628 2/2 now $699K.
No new or closed sales.
 
HOMES
No new listings.
1 price changes:  15631 Captiva Dr 5/4.5 now $2.95M.
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.