Another Friday and SanibelSusan here with another island real estate report. First a photo of what it looks like here on a sunny Sanibel afternoon.
This week, the Saharan dust covering much of Florida has kept rain away from the islands. There have been a few showers, but nothing like usual peak storm season. Driving across the causeway, the hazy view over the water reminded me of growing up on the Maine seashore and how it looked before morning fog burned off. Now, that dust is moving away from Florida, so weather likely will return to a more typical September weather-pattern with daytime temps expected to be in the low- to mid-80’s with chance of afternoon thunderstorms. Now through the weekend, we also may see some wind from Hurricane Ida passing out in the Gulf, no real concern for SW Florida though.
Florida Realtors® Annual Convention
I sure hated to miss this event in-person again this year, but thankfully with new Covid-protocols still was able to participate electronically. Florida Realtors 2021 Convention and Trade Expo is being held August 24-28 at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando.
Yesterday, in between classes, was the Annual Awards luncheon. It was great to hear that some friends were acknowledged and rewarded: Congratulations to 2021 Realtor® of the Year – Florida Realtors® 2020 President Barry Grooms from Bradenton, 2021 Humanitarian of the Year – Steven David from Broward, Palm Beaches, and St Lucie Realtors®, and to our 2021 District 5 VP – Ursula Weinkauff from Bonita Springs. They all excelled in a challenging year as they have for many years.
Today, our local Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Director of Education, Megan Rose, is sitting on the Florida Realtors® Audition Panel for the Professional Development Committee, evaluating candidates looking to teach state-approved classes. I sure enjoyed doing that for many years and know Megan will do a great job representing us. She will have a long tiring but fulfilling day. It is great process to ensure that Florida’s teachers are top-notch.
Tonight is the annual in-person Florida Realtors® 2021 PAC live auction. You-know-who has been bidding electronically all week on silent auction items. Tomorrow, the event wraps up with a Candidate Forum, Member Update, and the individual District meetings, followed by the Board of Directors Meeting.
At the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®
There was no caravan meeting this week for the islands Association of Realtors®, but some real estate activity still was posted in the local Multiple Listing Service. The action follows a coupe of news items below.
At SanibelSusan Realty
Happily, The SanibelSusan Team has two closings before the end of the month, so Dave and I will be busy with those over the weekend and early next week. We both remarked this morning about how little traffic is on the island now. At quitting time last night, I went home the back way (west on Periwinkle to Tarpon Bay Rd north to Gulf Dr to the east end to Periwinkle) and didn’t pass a single car going in either direction until I got to just before the turn-off to my street. Even then, only saw one work truck heading off-island. Dave said it was little later when he left Lighthouse Beach, to head off island. He also didn’t see other vehicles. Where is everyone? September usually is the quietest month on the islands, appears that late-August is getting ready.
The Market Outlook – Nationally & More
Tuesday, I attended a Zoom presentation given at the National Association Leadership Summit in Chicago by NAR’s Chief Economist and Senior VP of Research, Lawrence Yun. As a long-time fan, it was interesting to hear his take on the pandemic, today’s housing shortage, and what he thinks the real estate future will bring.
He prefaced his speech saying that 99% of the country is experiencing a double-digit price change in their median priced home.
Then, he began with “when does this pandemic end?” He reiterated that though it has been over 100 years since the Spanish flu pandemic, through history pandemics have been a common phenomenon, a human experience. One that will not be done and over when this pandemic subsides. The Delta variant being a good example of that.
Looking at today’s statistics compared to recent history, one of his first slides showed that for the first time in decades, in the U.S., birth and death rates are equal. He referred to past forecasters who said that when the baby boomer generation starts dying out, U.S. population will decrease. That is looking to be true, though this data does not include those immigrating here and coming across borders illegally.
He then described how today’s housing shortage is a different kind from recent history when there were not enough actual homes for the housing demand. Today, rental prices are skyrocketing and expected to soar even higher. He gave examples where rental properties are getting multiple offers. Today, there is a historic shortage of rental vacancies, while the number of rental households is at an all-time high (mostly because those renters can’t compete with the offers from today’s buyers).
Existing homes sales (which traditionally are 90% of that market) are still above pre-pandemic levels, but not as frenzied as they were a few months ago. Newly-constructed-home sales (usually 10% of the market), now are just matching pre-pandemic levels.
Though interest rates still are historically low (less than 3%), mortgage applications from those looking to buy are below pre-pandemic levels. Why is this? It is because all-cash sales are elevated. Cash is king with cash sales ruling the market, essentially everywhere.
With most median home prices up over 20% in the last year, rental demand has gone up as most 1st-time buyers now are priced out of the market. Monthly mortgage payments are rising even at time when interest rates are at their lowest.
Though mortgage debt is at a record high, the record high property valuations should overwhelm any risk, so he says there is no worry of the market being over leveraged.
Comparing geographic areas, it was interesting to see where local market homeowner wealth gained over the last year. The highest equity gain was in the San Francisco Bay area where the average property increase was $160K. Unfortunately, this appreciation is not enjoyed across the population, as only 45% of San Francisco residents own. Like anywhere, homeownership rates vary across geographic areas, age groups, ethnicity, etc.
In comparing home occupant wealth, his slides showed how the average renter has a nest egg of only about $8K while the average property owner has $297K.
He made a point of mentioning of how the news media using old data does not help us understand the market – and how you cannot always believe what you hear. Particularly, considering the 2020 census numbers, that data does not reflect where people live and work today with so many fleeing cities to work in the suburbs or more preferred areas.
He had a slide showing the metro areas with the most net migration gains since the first of the year, and interestingly most of those are in vacation areas. For example, the places with the highest population increase year-to-date include Barnstable, MA (Cape Cod), Portland (ME), Myrtle Beach (SC), Asheville and Wilmington (NC), Huntsville (AL), Jacksonville (FL), and others. Another tidbit he mentioned was that Huntsville has the highest number of PhD’s in the nation. (Who knew?)
What will these vacation areas show for 2021? He said they all are experiencing a sizeable jump in sales, which is exactly what has happened here on Sanibel and Captiva.
What will the future bring? He said that housing demand should be compared to where people with jobs are doing their jobs.
As inflation increases the Fed will be forced sooner to make changes. When that happens, he expects that negative effects will occur from the Federal Reserve, who provides monetary policy, gradually increasing mortgage rates. He sees a tapering of purchases of mortgage-backed securities later this year, short-term rates rising next year, and an inevitable increase in G-fees to cover Congress’s infrastructure package. (A G-fee is the gurantee-fee to cover projected credit losses from borrower defaults over the life of loans, admin costs, and a return on capital.)
A positive effect will come from more first-time buyers qualifying for a mortgage as they have demonstrated financial capability from renting longer. (Big data also will help show their payment capability, with so many creating a financial trail through their use of Amazon Prime, Netflix, etc.)
Inflation already is popping out and is not going to go away. He predicts high inflation will continue. Already many of us are seeing price increases in used cars, gas, airfares, appliances, and the like.
The Government says rents are rising at 1.9% annually, but he provided info from national rental organizations showing that increases are more like 6, 7, and 8%, probably an indication that the Government also is under estimating inflation.
As the pandemic wanes, sales to foreign buyers and immigrants will pick up.
In the commercial arena, office space usage is shaky, particularly in downtown areas where many cities, like New York and Chicago, have high vacancies.
Industrial spaces, on the other hand, are booming. Retail spaces are coming back as buying improves, while apartment spaces also are coming back strong.
In his wrap-up, he likened the economy internationally to the winners of the Olympic gold medals, showing how through history those with the most medals were the most economically strong. We might have received the most medals in the Olympics this year, but China is a close second. Followed by Japan, before Great Britain. There is a message in that. Stay tuned.
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity August 20-27, 2021
3 new listings: Blind Pass #A102 2/2 $630K, Sanibel Arms West #E3 2/2 $965K, Gulfside Place #210 2/2 $1.495M.
No price changes.
3 new sales: Sanibel Moorings #211 1/1 listed at $525K, Breakers West #C3 2/2 listed at $749K, Gulf Beach #207 2/2 listed at $1.1M.
3 closed sales: Sanibel Moorings #921 1/1 $435K, Sanibel Inn #3511 2/2 $695.1K, Kings Crown #102 2/2 $1.55M.
1 new listing: 4771 Tradewinds Dr 3/3 $3.35M.
2 price changes: 1025 S. Yachtsman Dr 3/2 listed at $820K, 5747 Pine Tree Dr 3/3 $1.799M.
8 new sales: 837 Casa Ybel Rd 2/2 duplex listed at $599.9K, 5802 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 3/3.5 listed at $899K, 4760 Rue Helene 3/2 listed at $1.325M, 4954 Joewood Dr 3/2 listed at $1.599M, 5379 Shearwater Dr 4/3 listed at $2.149M, 2475 Tropical Way Ct 3/3.5 listed at $2.295M, 856 Limpet Dr 4/2.5 listed at $2.358M, 4014 West Gulf Dr 4/4 listed at $3.849M.
1 closed sale: 734 Anchor Dr 3/2 $1.55M.
No new listings.
1 price change: 5642 Baltusrol Ct now $369K.
1 new sale: 1272 Par View Dr listed at $459K.
No closed sales.
No new listings, price changes, or new sales.
2 closed sales: Tennis Villas #3127 1/1 $385K, Captiva Hide-a-Way #1D 2/2 $1.032M.
HOMES & LOTS
Nothing to report.
This representation is based in part on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market. The information provided represents the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.
Until next Friday,
Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan