Mid-Summer Scoop from Sanibel Island

It has been another quiet, summer shower kind of week on the islands, with no real estate meeting yesterday and very few showings or even phone calls. All-in-all, that is pretty typical for late July. At SanibelSusan Realty we spent much of the week beating the bushes for new listings and working on selling long-distance and sight-unseen. It always pays to have good marketing material when you do that. Here are a few photos taken this week at our new listing at Spanish Cay. It’s great value at $349K and already getting interest. Smart buyers know that summer is a great time to buy – when it is easy to preview property and sellers may be more motivated.

Below are a few news items followed by the action posted this week in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.

Sea Turtles Nesting in Record Numbers

loggerhead_sea_turtle_baby_blogFrom the “Island Sun” today: “Local businesses and residents of Sanibel and Captiva universally agree that the 2013-14 “in season” for tourism was the highest in recent memory. However, another group of visitors to the islands this summer has shattered the record books.

“On July 7 when the 70th nest was recorded, it established a new mark for nesting activity on Sanibel’s east end…Last Friday morning, SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) updated its sea turtle nesting statistics. Reported were 73 loggerhead nests and one green sea turtle nest on Sanibel’s east end, 237 nests on Sanibel’s west end, and 101 nests on Captiva. By way of comparison, by the same date last year, SCCF had reported 44 nests on Sanibel’s east end, 208 loggerhead and seven green turtle nests on Sanibel’s west end, and 99 loggerhead and one green turtle nest on Captiva.”

An interesting fact is that once a tiny hatchling reaches the water, “they’ll swim for 48 hours straight to get away from the shoreline and birds and other predators…that’s their instinct.”

“Each day during nesting season, which runs from May to October, more than 100 volunteers, permittees and SCCF employees monitor approximately 18 miles of island beachfront which stretches from the Sanibel Lighthouse to the tip of Captiva….”

BIG ARTS Then/Now & Their Fall Schedule

BIG Arts logoKnown as Sanibel and Captiva’s home for all the arts, BIG ARTS has been providing cultural enrichment and fulfillment to island residents and visitors since 1979. BIG ARTS began when a group of artists dreamed of a cultural center on the island. Today, BIG ARTS members and participants enjoy a wide spectrum of performing and visual arts events, and the community participates in more than 200 educational classes and workshops each year.

The creative spirit, driving force, and hard work of volunteers have shaped BIG ARTS into the vibrant organization it is today. More than 250 talented volunteers assist the staff each season to ensure the professional management of BIG ARTS. Now a prominent cultural institution in Southwest Florida’s region, BIG ARTS has fulfilled its original mission to provide cultural, social, and volunteer opportunities to island residents. As new residents move to the area, they see how BIG ARTS enriches island life, and many are eager to participate and support the arts as they did in their former communities.

BIG ARTS banner-homepage-35-anniversaryBIG ARTS activities were held in private homes around the island until 1987, when a small cottage was donated and moved to its present location on Dunlop Road. Founders Gallery opened in this cottage and concerts were held in the garden under a tent. Due to the popularity of the programs, the organization quickly outgrew these facilities. Through the generosity of BIG ARTS supporters, Phillips Gallery opened in 1990 as an art gallery, concert hall, and classroom.

BIG artsThe West Wing, Schein Performance Hall and sculpture garden were added in 1997. Designed by BIG ARTS member Irwin Stein, Schein Hall is a 400-seat concert hall with surround sound in high definition and a recently added high definition projection system. Classrooms provide space for pottery, clay, metal works, and many other offerings. The beautiful sculpture garden, renamed Boler Garden, was restored in 2006, including an ongoing project with installation of an etched stone walkway.

BIG ARTS Administrative Offices and Classrooms are at 2244 Periwinkle Way, right behind SanibelSusan Realty Associates. Additional classrooms and meeting space there allows BIG ARTS to further its mission to support the arts.

Theater-in-SanibelIn 2010 the Boards of the Herb Strauss Theater and BIG ARTS joined together to combine the support functions and volunteers of the two organizations, making both stronger and more efficient. The Herb Strauss Theater is now part of the BIG ARTS family of programs and productions. The goal is to further the tradition of quality cultural and educational experiences to the residents and visitors of Sanibel, Captiva, and neighboring communities.

BIG ARTS Herb Strauss Theater presents professional live theater, and offers Broadway-caliber talent in an intimate atmosphere. The 160-seat Theater is at 2200 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.

BIG-ARTS-Community-chorus-holiday-concert-2009Going into the fall 2014, as in past years, as soon as the BIG ARTS Summer Arts Camp ends, the new schedule begins. Workshops will continue classes in painting and drawing; open studio sessions; fine crafts, such as stained glass, glass fusing, and weaving; pottery; dance/fitness; discussion groups; music appreciation and instructional; technology lessons; language and writing classes. Also part of the family of workshops is BIG ARTS Community Chorus and BIG ARTS community Concert band.

As one of the original members of the BIG ARTS Chorus, SanibelSusan was working behind the scenes this week with Director Steve Cramer in organizing the music that chorus will sing for the fall Bailey Fest, Thanksgiving Celebration, and December Holiday Concert. It’s going to be another great season!

Sanibel Rec Center – Brief Closing for Maintenance

Sanibel Rec CenterThe Sanibel Recreation Center will close July 26 through August 3 for maintenance projects. Improvements will include resurfacing of the gym floor and front entrance, deep cleaning and painting of the facility, restriping of the parking lot, and resealing of rest room tile. Day-camp programs will operate as scheduled.

The Sanibel Recreation Center is at 3880 Sanibel-Captiva Rd. Daily, weekly, semi-annual, and annual memberships are available. More info on www.MySanibel.com.

Survey: Buyers, Sellers ‘Not on the Same Page’

REDFIN logoThis article in “Daily Real Estate News” on July 10, 2014 describes a small survey, but to me the points are “spot on”.

“Home buyers and sellers are “not on the same page” when it comes to the state of the housing market, according to a new Redfin survey of 707 of its agents and partner agents across 35 U.S. markets. Buyers and sellers are taking a more aggressive stance in the market, with some sellers overpricing their homes and more buyers refusing to get in bidding wars, the survey found.

““In May, 40% of sellers surveyed by Redfin said that they planned to list their homes above market value, even though home sales had dropped by 9% since the year before,” says Nela Richardson, Redfin’s chief economist. “Typically, it takes sellers six to nine months to adjust to a price change, but this latest shift is longer. Prices have moved down and then up so much over the past five years that it’s even more difficult for sellers to have a realistic baseline for what their homes are worth in the current market.”

“Fifty-eight percent of Redfin agents say that sellers are holding unrealistic expectations about the value of their homes, up from 49% in the previous quarter. Meanwhile, buyers are showing less willingness to chase after a home, as they face affordability and financing hurdles, the survey found.

““Buyers who have been searching for a long time may still try to win deals with aggressive offers,” Richardson says. “However, new buyers in the market are much less willing to chase an escalating sale price to compete with multiple bids. The demand side of real estate is moving from ‘please take my offer’ to ‘take it or leave it as you please.’ Home buyers’ willingness to walk away from a deal that’s a bad fit is good for them and is ultimately healthier for the housing market.”

“So is it a seller’s market or a buyer’s market? It depends on who you ask. Twenty-four percent of Redfin agents surveyed say that “sellers have all the power,” a drop from 35% three months ago.

“Rising inventories have been beneficial for buyers who are less willing to participate in a bidding war, but they are facing other challenges, such as access to credit and affordability, the survey finds. The top challenges Redfin agents identified as growing problems for buyers are: lack of affordability; qualifying for a mortgage; saving enough for a down payment; and worries about the economy.”

Despite Predictions, Baby Boomers Aren’t Downsizing Yet

realtor logoBelow is another “spot on” report from “Daily Real Estate News”, July 15. Some points here can be further illustrated by the “housing” market on Sanibel and Captiva where today there are not enough homes for sale to meet the demand of the baby boomers, particularly those wanting enough space for entertaining, home offices, and visiting family members.

“Baby boomers aren’t showing any signs of leaving the single-family home market that has defined their generation’s real estate habits, despite many predictions that they would by now. As boomers hit age 65 and become empty nesters, many housing analysts forecasted that a huge wave of them would downsize and move into an apartment, condo, or townhouse.

But Fannie Mae researcher Patrick Simmons says that isn’t happening yet. “There’s a perception, particularly in many media reports, that this massive generation born between 1946 and 1964 is altering its housing consumption,” Simmons, the director of strategic planning for Fannie Mae’s economic group, told the Chicago Tribune. “It’s true that they’re becoming empty nesters in droves. But by one measure, the proportion of boomers who live in single-family homes actually increased between 2006 and 2012.”

“Baby boomers’ mobility has gone down. Nine out of 10 boomers surveyed by AARP reported that they wanted to stay in their current home as long as possible. Some may be motivated to stay put because of the housing crisis. For boomers, the value of single-family homes they owned fell by an average of 13%. Some boomers could still be underwater and are waiting to recoup more on their house before they sell. Others may be holding on to their home because they snagged a record low mortgage rate in recent years, and they know borrowing won’t be any cheaper if they do decide to sell.

“Some baby boomers are downsizing but choosing to stay in smaller single-family homes rather than move to a condo or townhome. But “eventually, boomers will slow down with age and have the same physical frailties that their predecessors had,” Simmons told the Tribune. “My sense is that it’s not going to be a major shift — something we see in the numbers in a year. It will likely unfold over a decade or more.””

More Chinese Buyers Coming to America

Florida Realtors logoHere’s another interesting article from “Daily Real Estate News”, July 11. We keep hearing that the islands will soon have more Asian buyers, but it hasn’t happen yet.

“The number of Chinese home buyers and investors flocking to the U.S. is on the rise, driven by China’s currency appreciation, rising affluence, and concerns over its own economic slowdown, according to the 2014 Profile of International Home Buying Activity, released this week by the National Association of REALTORS®.

““It’s just the beginning of a tidal wave,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. Chinese investors accounted for 16% of the $92.2 billion worth of international U.S. homes purchases in the year through March, up from 12% a year earlier, according to NAR.

“China was the leader in dollar volume of international purchases, purchasing an estimated $22 billion with an average sales cost of $590,826, according to the NAR report. China also was the fastest-growing source of U.S. foreign transactions, now accounting for 16% of all purchases, up 4% from last year.

“Canada maintained the largest share of purchases, but its share is falling – 23% in 2013 to 19% in 2014.

“The share of Chinese buyers in the U.S. market will likely only get bigger, says Paul Diggle, Property economist at Capital Economics. “This bigger picture hides a rapid rise in purchases by Chinese investors, who may overtake Canadians as the largest group of foreign buyers of U.S. housing within the next five years,” Diggle told HousingWire. “The strength of Chinese demand is another reason to watch closely developments in the Californian housing market, where housing is now no better than fairly valued at the statewide level and starting to look frothy in a number of metros.””

Source: “China Set to Dominate Foreign Homebuyers Market,” HousingWire (July 10, 2014) and “Bloomberg Briefings,” San Francisco Chronicle (July 9, 2014)

Energy-Saving Tips from LCEC

Lcec logoSome timely concise suggestions were included in our recent electric bill from Lee County Electric Co-op (LCEC):

“Warmer weather has arrived and you may be looking for ways to save energy and lower your bill. Our energy experts are here to help you save energy by following these simple tips:

  • When cooling your home, set the thermostat at 78 degrees F. Each degree below adds 8 to 12% to cooling costs.
  • Do not close A/C vents or interior doors when A/C is running.
  • While away from home for more than two hours, set the thermostat at 83 degrees F.
  • Install a programmable thermostat that will automatically raise and lower the temperature at certain times of the day.
  • Turn fans off when the room is not occupied. Each continuously running fan costs approximately $7 per month on your electric bill.

For more green energy tips visit www.lcec.net.”

Prescribed Burns are Done

SCCF photo

If you are concerned about the large burned areas noticeable on Tarpon Bay and San-Cap Roads, know that they are for the good.

Last Sunday morning, fire officials and J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge staff conducted a prescribed burn at the Bailey Tract and surrounding SCCF property. Planned burns scheduled for the following days along San-Cap Road and Legion Curve were delayed due to heavy wind and rain, but the fire team completed their planned burn along Legion Curve on Wednesday. (photo here by SCCF)

Summer is not only rainy season in Florida, but also peak lightening season, which can cause fires with devastating impacts. Managed burns can prevent the likelihood and severity of wildfires and help preserve the natural ecology of the area.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity July 11-18


3 new listings: Tennisplace #C35 2/1.5 $310K, Ibis at The Sanctuary #A301 3/2 $449K, Sealoft Village #105 2/2 $529K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: Breakers West #B1 2/2 listed for $449K.

1 closed sale: Sundial #O307 2/2 $920K.


2 new listings: 868 Rabbit Rd 3/2 $395K, 1901 Sanibel Bayou Rd 4/3 $829K.

2 price changes: 3001 Singing Wind Dr 3/2 now $495K, 580 Birdsong Pl 3/2.5 now $574.9K.

1 new sale: 1434 Sandcastle Rd 3/2 listed for $575K.
2 closed sales: 1744 Bunting Ln 4/2 $580K, 1529 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $787.5K.


No new listings.

2 price changes: 6519 Pine Ave now $1.095M, 6505 Pine Ave now $1.095M.

No new sales.

2 closed sales: 659 Anchor Dr $520K, 4308 West Gulf Dr $600K.


Nothing to report


1 new listing: 11529 Laika Ln 3/2 $1.65M.

1 price change: 16785 Captiva Dr 4/3.5 now $1.645M.

No new or closed sales.


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.

It’s a great time to enjoy the beach, the shelling, & fabulous sunsets on Sanibel & Captiva Islands. Best wishes to all…SanibelSusan


The Weekend Forecast Says Sunny & Mid-70’s on Sanibel Island

It sure is nice to be back on Sanibel this week where the outside temperature is warmer than the inside temperature at that chilly Orlando hotel I visited last week for the Florida REALTORS® Mid-Winter Business Meetings. Kidding aside, the islands had a couple of cool (60-degree) days recently as well as some much-needed rain. Starting tomorrow, just in time for the February arrivals, temperatures are expected to be back into the mid-70’s to low 80’s and the forecast for the immediate future is sunny! Now is a great time to vacation on Sanibel and Captiva Islands and to show and sell property.

SanibelSusan Realty got a nice home listing this week at 1960 Roseate Lane in Sanibel Lakes Estates. Our professional photographer will be filming tomorrow but there are some initial photos are below.

Several of our listings had some solid positive feedback from showings this week. There will be lots more showings tomorrow in those investment rental properties during that brief window when some tenants depart, cleaners do their magic, and other renters arrive.

Following a few news items, below is the action reported in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service over the past seven days. It’s getting busy!

City of Sanibel Designated 4th Safest City in Florida

Sanibelcityseal logoThe following was posted early this week on the City’s website:

“The City of Sanibel has been designated the 4th safest city in Florida.  To determine the ten safest places in Florida, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) 2012 crime statistics were evaluated.  The 202 cities in Florida with populations over 5,000 were each evaluated in the study.  The study evaluated crimes in each community in three categories:

  • Property crimes (theft, burglary, motor thefts)
  • Violent crimes (rape, murder, theft)
  • Chance a resident will be a victim of crime.

“The above criteria were weighted with a greater emphasis on violent crime, followed by property crime and then the likelihood a resident would be a crime victim.  Thus, violent crimes account for 50% of the ranking, property crimes account for 30% of the ranking and a resident’s likelihood of being a crime victim accounts for 20% of the ranking.

“To place the study in perspective, 421,192 crimes were committed in 2012, in the 202 cities analyzed.  In 2012, 114 of these crimes occurred within the Sanibel city limits and none were violent crimes.   To view the full announcement click here.

“Upon reviewing the report, Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane stated, “By design, the safety of citizens and visitors is our community’s highest priority. While this recognition is appreciated, we are recommitted to remaining a safe town in which to live, work and recreate.”

“Sanibel Chief of Police Bill Tomlinson added, “We are a safe community because our citizen’s care and we work together in partnership with our residents and businesses.  We encourage our community to report suspicious activity and vehicles, and they do. Crime prevention is the major focus of our Department.”

“”Investments by the Sanibel City Council into best available technology, training and equipment support our safety initiatives.  Furthermore, our Police Officers regularly meet with homeowner’s associations and business owners to be certain that everyone understands that suspicious behaviors should be reported, and reported promptly to the Police Department,” stated Sanibel City Manager Judith Zimomra.

“In 2013, the Sanibel Police Department responded to 24,790 calls for service. Any Sanibel organization that would like to schedule a presentation by the Sanibel Police Department should contact Chief Tomlinson at (239) 472-3111.”

What’s on REALTORS®’ Minds

realtor logoThe following was posted on “Daily Real Estate News” this week and echoes the concern that I have heard from local colleagues and at the Florida REALTORS® Mid-Winter Business Meetings:

“Though the market is poised to continue its gains in 2014, a number of issues cited by members of the National Association of REALTORS® have the potential to slow things down, according to a new survey.

The REALTORS® Confidence Index is a key indicator of housing market strength based on a monthly survey sent to …real estate practitioners. The survey routinely asks for expectations regarding home sales, prices, and market conditions… As 2014 begins, REALTORS® noted a number of concerns that they felt could be a drag on the recovery:

  • regulations pertaining to Qualified Mortgage (QM) loans
  • reductions in FHA loan ceiling limits
  • a further increase in mortgage rates
  • slow job growth
  • uncertainties associated with the cost of flood insurance
  • potential impacts from the Affordable Care Act

“NAR’s outlook for the coming year is overwhelmingly positive, but the organization says that the market “is essentially moving sideways—growing at a more tempered pace than was the case last year. Future prices are generally projected to continue to increase, but at a more subdued pace than was previously the case.””

LCEC News – Rate Decrease in 2014

Lcec logoGreat news reported in the “LCEC News” January newsletter: “While many utilities are increasing electric rates, LCEC (Lee County Electric Co-op) is reducing rates in 2014. We have not raised electric rates for five years and we continue to work hard to keep rates competitive. LCEC will decrease the power cost adjustment (PCA) beginning January 1, 2014. Natural gas prices recently reached a historical low, allowing power suppliers with diverse fuel mixes to take advantage of reduced fuel costs. LCEC shares these savings with customers. The LCEC Board of Trustees approved a decrease in the PCA from $17.96 per 1,000kWh to $16.65 per 1,000 kWh.

“Although the cost of materials, labor and purchased power has risen over the past few years, a calculated business strategy has helped LCEC manage operating costs. Process improvements, proactive maintenance, constant budget oversight, the use of technology and the diligence of employees have all contributed to holding the line on LCEC electric rates.”

Citizens Property Insurance Says Clearinghouse Works

Citizens_logoHere is some interesting news on wind insurance. Wednesday, Florida REALTORS® sourced this article to “The Palm Beach Post” (West Palm Beach, FL).

“A new computer clearinghouse launched Monday to steer insurance customers out of state-run Citizens and into private insurers seems to be functioning properly, officials said, and agents reminded consumers it contains only four private carriers so shop around. Citizens officials said they processed 500 requests for information by noon Monday, though the early going includes tests that are not necessarily transactions affecting real customers.

“The launch comes in a rocky few months for government websites, with the federal healthcare.gov and the state’s unemployment website having more than a few well-publicized problems. The clearinghouse debut was delayed from Jan 2 to Monday so participating insurers could get better prepared technologically, officials said. The number of carriers initially taking part has gone from four to an expected seven back to four.

““The clearinghouse is functioning successfully, and we are pleased with the preliminary results,” said Steve Bitar, Citizens vice president of consumer and agent services. “We are continuing to monitor clearinghouse activity and expect to have more detailed information available at the Board of Governors meeting Wednesday. The initial response has been very positive.”

“The system is designed to shrink Citizens by making would-be customers ineligible for the state-run company’s coverage if a private insurer is offering coverage priced up to 15% more. During the second quarter of the year, renewing Citizens customers will not be able to stay with the company if a private insurer is offering coverage priced the same or less.

“Brightway Insurance agent Bill Goldman of Jupiter noted the clearinghouse does not necessarily represent all the options a consumer may have, so homeowners may want to shop around on their own. “If you’re put through Citizens’ clearinghouse, you’ll get quotes from just a small subset of companies in the state,” Goldman said.

“Those participating initially include Ark Royal, Florida Peninsula, Safe Harbor and United Property & Casualty, Citizens said. Up to 16 more carriers are expected to join the clearinghouse in March through July, including Heritage Property and Casualty of St. Petersburg.

“Under traditional transfer offers, customers can choose to stay with Citizens, but they will not have that choice if the clearinghouse rules them ineligible. That’s one reason it’s important the clearinghouse works accurately. At least 14,000 transfer letters from a private insurer, First Community, contained erroneously high Citizens renewal premiums this month, The Palm Beach Post reported. Citizens has more than 1 million customers including more than 100,000 in Palm Beach County, meaning it remains the biggest insurer locally and statewide.”

Discover ‘Ding’ App Combines Learning, Technology & Fun

Ding Darling Society logoAs a REALTOR® often glued to their Smart phone, I enjoyed reading this recent post by the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society:

“A new smart phone app under development for the Refuge promises to raise the interpretive bar on national wildlife refuges by delivering the first-ever GPS and game-based learning experience to visitors. The Discover “Ding” App combines game play, GPS and social media to create a fun experience that encourages users to observe and analyze what they see, and better understand the Refuge’s wildlife conservation mission. “The Discover ‘Ding’ App will offer the public a fun new way to experience the refuge, further enhancing our effort to integrate new technology and social media into our interpretive programming,” said Paul Tritaik, manager of  “Ding” Darling NWR.
“A collaboration among the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s “Ding” Darling refuge, the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) and app developer, Discover Nature Apps (DNA), the Discover “Ding” App is designed to adapt to the public’s expanding reliance on smart devices by creating a positive interactive experience that encourages smart phone users to immerse themselves into their natural surroundings.
“The Discover “Ding” App helps to fulfill a key recommendation of the National Wildlife Refuge System’s Conserving the Future strategic vision, which recommends developing “integrated mechanisms for using web-based and other emerging technologies to store and share data, communicate within the System, and inspire and educate visitors and the public.” “We’re excited to be on the leading edge of what we believe will become a vital tool with which to engage refuge visitors,” said John McCabe, president of DDWS. As the refuge’s volunteer friends group, the society has been instrumental over the years in helping to underwrite innovative visitor outreach strategies and has played a leading role in promoting development of the Discover “Ding” App.
““Smart phones have become central to the lives of a vast majority of Americans – it’s how they learn, play games, and interact with others,” said Discover Nature Apps’ co-founder Sam Serebin. “It’s only natural that we leverage that remarkable functionality to offer an unparalleled interpretive experience at our national wildlife refuges and other public lands,” said Evan Hirsche, DNA’s other co-Founder.
“The Discover “Ding” App will be launched in the late spring of 2014, and will be the first of such for many to follow for national wildlife refuges and national parks throughout the country.”

Update on Flood Insurance Legislation

FLRealtors_newlogoLate yesterday, Florida REALTORS® leadership team got a quick email update from John Sebree, Senior VP of Public Policy, on the progress of flood insurance legislation.  His email said “The US Senate has just passed the Menendez-Isakson bill that would delay rate increases for four years.  The final tally was 67 to 32.  The legislation now moves to the House of Representatives where is it unknown when a vote will take place. Both of our US Senators (in Florida) voted for passage of this bill.”
John’s email also referred to the latest briefing from NAR (National Association of REALTORS® at http://www.realtor.org/topics/national-flood-insurance-program-nfip/nar-issue-brief-homeowner-flood-insurance-affordability-act. This article is definitely worth the read.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity January 24-31

5 new listings: Donax Village #9 1/1 $289.9K, Sundial #C301 1/1 $350K, Sundial #H103 2/2 $460K, Compass Point #133 2/2 $1.185M, Sandals #D 4/3 $2.25M.
6 price changes: Kimball Lodge #263 1/1.5 now $374K, Mariner Pointe #732 2/2 now $384.9K, Sundial #I304 1/1 now $389K, Mariner Pointe #1052 2/2 now $435K, Shell Island Beach Club #7A 2/2 now $668.5K, West Shore #3 3/3 now $1.795M.
3 new sales: Sundial #C308 1/1 listed for $339K, Blind Pass #E102 2/2 listed for $395K, Sunset South #14A 2/2 listed for $729K.
1 closed sale: Pointe Santo #C4 1/1 $430K. 
4 new listings: 1960 Roseate Ln 3/2 $449K (our listing), 1555 Bunting Ln 2/2 $449K, 1344 Tahiti Dr 2/1 $479.9K, 6019 Clam Bayou Ln 4/3 $1.595M.
3 price changes: 512 Periwinkle Way 3/3 now $950K, 1001 Kings Crown Dr 3/2.5 now $975K, 4622 Rue Belle Mer 4/2 now $819K.
7 new sales: 972 Fitzhugh St 3/2 listed for $379K, 1809 Bowman’s Beach Rd 3/2 listed for $475K, 1297 Par View Dr 3/2 listed for $769.5M, 1013 Lindgren Blvd 4/3 listed for $799K, 2507 Blind Pass Ct 3/3 listed for $1.049M, 988 Whelk Dr 3/2.5 listed for $1.095M, 1480 Angel Dr 3/3 listed for $1.499M.
8 closed sales: 5111 SanCap Rd 3/2 $249K, 724 Rabbit Rd 2/1 $430K, 4570 Bowen Bayou Rd 2/2 $550K, 2450 Wulfert Rd 3/3 $625K, 562 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $685K, 5742 Pine Tree Dr 4/2 $703K, 6123 Starling Way 3/2.5 $805K, 340 Cowry Ct 5/3.5 $1.039M.
1 new listing: 9066 Mockingbird Dr $410K.
3 price changes: 223 Robinwood Cir now $195K, 761 Donax St now $219K, 690 Birdie View Pt now $384K.
3 new sales: 3351 Saint Kilda Rd listed for $349.555K, 990 Beach Rd listed for $549K, 4318 West Gulf Dr listed for $749K.
No closed sales.
2 new listings: Bayside Villas #5136 1/2 $295K, Ventura Captiva #5B 3/3.5 $1.095M.
No price changes, new or closed sales.
2 new listings: 15127 Captiva Dr 8/8 multi-family $1.695M, 16861 Captiva Dr 5/5.5 $2.149M.
No price changes.
1 new sale: 15017 Binder Dr 3/3.5 listed for $3.899M.
1 closed sale: 1133 Longifolia Ct 3/3 $3.478.5M.
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.

May your weekend be wonderful – wherever you are… Happy Friday, from SanibelSusan

Sanibel Achieves Another #1

I don’t know about you, but it sure is hard to believe that it is already another Friday. Time sure flies here on sunny Sanibel. We are just finishing up another week of wonderful 80-degree weather, with more of the same expected next week. That Gulf Stream sure is contributing to us having a near-perfect winter so far. Above is a photo that I snapped earlier in the week of Gramma Dot’s Restaurant at the Sanibel Marina. Love the colors!

 Below is one taken this afternoon when I returned to the office and found someone else parked in my usual parking spot. Wonder what their feathered friend is up to? Maybe just as well that I found another spot.

And here is yet another photo, taken overlooking Pine Island Sound & San Carlos Bay on February 1st at sunset. It was about 80 degrees at the time. The weather sure doesn’t get much better than this!

Sanibel sunset "sailors' delight", 2/1/2012

Sanibel School #1 in State

A Fort Myers “News-Press” article this week announced that “The Sanibel School is the best place to get an elementary/middle school education in the state according to Florida’s first-ever school rankings released Monday. The state Department of Education posted its best-to-worst ranking of Florida’s 3,078 public schools, and the Sanibel Island school was the only Lee and Collier County institution to get a top-10 ranking. Sanibel was the top-ranked combination school for elementary and middle school students. The state ranked the schools based on the number of school grade points they received for the 2010-11 school year as part of the state’s school grading formula. For elementary, middle and combination schools, points are earned based solely on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, with points given for the percentages of students scoring at grade level or better on the FCAT or making learning gains…The state is touting the new rankings as an easy-to-read list that lets parents, taxpayers and others know how well their school or district is performing. Last week, the state released a similar ranking for school districts: Lee placed 22nd of the 67 school districts; Collier 33rd….The Sanibel School, which has been an A school for 11 consecutive years, has a 16% free and reduced price lunch rate and a 10% minority rate. Sanibel, which has 375 students, earned high ranking thanks in large part to its sterling FCAT scores and its work with its lowest 25% of learners in reading and math…At the high school level, Fort Myers High was Southwest Florida’s top school….”

Sanibel Brazilian Pepper, Final Zone Pick-Up Scheduled

The following announcement is posted on http://www.mySanibel.com As background, Zone 6 is the last area of the island to be completed in the City’s Brazilian Pepper Eradication Program. Through the program, island property owners are first given an opportunity to remove their pepper voluntarily.

“In coordination with the City of Sanibel’s island-wide Brazilian Pepper Eradication Program and the City’s waste hauler, Veolia, a free curbside pickup for Brazilian pepper debris is scheduled for February 16 and 17 for all properties in Zone 6. Zone 6 includes all properties between Rabbit Road and Jamaica Drive from the gulf to the bay and was designated by City Council as a voluntary removal zone in July 2010. All property owners within Zone 6 wishing to take advantage of this service should plan to have their pepper debris curbside the evening of February 15th prior to pick-up. Unbundled debris (i.e. no bags, string, etc.) should be cut to a reasonable size (less than 6 feet) and placed in organized piles at the curb. Debris should not be located directly under overhead utility lines. Remember, this service is for Brazilian pepper debris only. If other vegetative debris is mixed with pepper, waste management crews will not pick up the pile. This will not change your regularly scheduled pick-up of vegetative waste. This will be the FINAL free Brazilian pepper curbside pickup for Zone 6. Shortly thereafter, Natural Resources will be seeking City Council’s authorization to designate Brazilian pepper removal in Zone 6 as mandatory and will begin Code Enforcement action on all properties with Brazilian pepper remaining. We encourage all Zone 6 residents to act now to take immediate advantage of this cost saving incentive. To learn more about the City’s Brazilian Pepper Eradication Program or to obtain a list of licensed Brazilian pepper removal contractors, please click here or contact Holly Downing in the Natural Resources Department at (239) 472-3700.”

NAR’s Confidence Index Shows Upswing

Here is a positive article that was posted on Florida Realtors® this week. “The National Association of Realtors® conducts a monthly study on Realtors outlooks about the housing market, and the Realtors Confidence Index for single-family home sales in December increased to 31.6 from November’s 30.4. However, it increased 7.1 points in one year – since December 2010 – when it was 24.5. Overall, the Index has shown a slowly improving market outlook.

“The index for townhouses was 18.5 in December down slightly from November’s 18.7. A year earlier, however, it was 12.6. The index for condos also decreased to 14.3 from November’s 15.3, but one year earlier it was only 10.3.

“The index also measured Realtors’ outlooks by region. Overall, the West had the highest outlook at 35.0, but the South – which includes Florida – came in second at 33.3. One year earlier, the South’s index stood at 25.1.

“Overall, 55% of Realtors surveyed expect prices to rise over the next year, an increase from 50% only one month earlier; and 7% of Realtors expect prices to rise 5% or more compared to November’s 6%. On the flip side, 38% of Realtors expect prices to fall, but that’s less than the 43% who said the same thing one month earlier.

“In an analysis, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said 2012 kicks off with “a significant amount of good news. … Existing home sales in December were up from a year ago. Pending sales – that is, contract signings – were 5% ahead of a year ago. Housing inventory – the number of homes available for sale – has declined (both for existing and newly built homes). Housing affordability continues at record high levels.” Yun says that one major problem still hangs over the housing market, however: Many middle-class buyers have been shut out of the market because they cannot obtain a mortgage. “Loan qualifications have become so strict since 2009 that only borrowers with super-high credit scores and spotless credit history are able to obtain mortgages,” Yun says. According to one-third of the Realtors surveyed, access to credit was the most important factor limiting clients’ ability to buy a home.”

The Minimum Credit Score

In keeping with the above article, a local lender recently sent an e-mail to Realtors clarifying what their bank requires for a credit score for a home loan. It said: “The minimum credit score we require is a 640 for most of our programs where the loan amounts are under $417,000. Each applicant has 3 scores:  Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. We take the middle credit score of each borrower. Then borrower’s lower middle score is the score an underwriter uses to both underwrite and price a loan.”

Baby Boomers Geared Up To Move

Interesting statistics were posted in the below article that I read this morning on Florida Realtors®. I hope this means “Sanibel, here they come”.

 “Where will baby boomers go to retire? A new survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research for the Consumer Federation of the Southeast finds one in three could move out of their home state in search of low taxes, low housing costs, pleasant climates and quality health care. They also want diverse recreational activities, supportive senior services, arts and cultural opportunities, nearby beaches and access to education.

“The baby boom generation has 78 million members, and the first wave – those born in 1946 – reach the full age for Social Security retirement benefits this year. According to the survey, a full third of baby boomers are open to moving across state lines to find the assets they are looking for, including a mid-size town that welcomes a diverse population. “According to this survey, substantial numbers (of baby boomers) are interested in relocating in retirement,” says Walter Dartland, president of the Consumer Federation of the Southeast. “The decisions they make about where they will retire will have a huge impact not only on their families’ finances but on the communities to which they move.”

“Attracting even a small percentage of boomers can significantly impact a community. If just 0.3% move to a single area, it adds an estimated 1 billion per year in new economic income through jobs and new business. “This important survey, one of the most extensive of its kind in a decade, underscores the tremendous contribution that Americans aged 50 and older can offer to communities wherever they choose to live,” says Jeff Johnson, AARP Florida’s interim state director. “AARP Florida believes this research will help inform the efforts of many communities to better equip themselves to address issues important to a 50-plus population.””

Sanibel Real Estate Activity This Week

Our SanibelSusan listings had reasonable showing activity this week. We had a nice condo listing go under contract last weekend too. That makes five sales so far in 2012 for SanibelSusan. Not bad for five weeks into the year.

In the general condo market, Sanibel is not gaining much ground. There are 260 units for sale. This week, there were 5 new listings posted, 5 price reductions, 5 new sales, and 3 closed sales. At the current sale rate, that equates to nearly two years of inventory.

Sanibel homes continue to move a little better. With 7 new listings, 14 price reductions, 5 new sales, and 5 closed sales this week, inventory is dwindling a tad. About 15 months of inventory remain.

It was good to see some Sanibel lot activity this week too. There were 2 new sales and a price reduction this week. 103 lots remain on the market which is from two to five years work of inventory depending on how you look at it. That’s a tough market to predict.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity January 27 – February 3

5 new listings: White Caps South #2 1/1 $474.9K, Sunset South #6B 2/2 $499K, Tarpon Beach #308 2/2 $635K, Sundial #A408 2/2 $749K, Bougainvillea #4 3/3 $1.295M (house on condo grounds).
5 price changes: Blind Pass #E102 2/2 now $419.9K, Sunset South #9D 2/2 now $489K, Sandalfoot #3C3 2/2 now $519K, Snug Harbor #311 2/2 now $569K, Kimball Lodge #304 2/2 now $629K.
5 new sales: Seashells #20 2/2 listed for $349K (our listing), Donax Village #18 2/2 listed for $369K, Sanibel Moorings #321 2/2 listed for $415K, Loggerhead Cay #481 2/2 listed for $425K, Gulfside Place #116 3/3 listed for $1.895M.
3 closed sales: Sanibel Moorings #1512 2/2 $392.5K, Clam Shell #C 2/2 $685K, Gulfside Place #318 2/2 $892.5K.
7 new listings: 1120 Junonia St 3/2 $629K, 4775 Rue Helene 4/3 $729.9K, 5427 Osprey Ct 3/3.5 $1.272M, 1102 Harbour Cottage Ct 3/2 $1.429M, 2429 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 $1.495M, 1290 Bay Dr 3/2 $1.595M, 842 Limpet Dr 3/3.5 $1.795M.
14 price changes: 984 Sand Castle Rd 4/3.5 now $353K, 458 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 now $419K, 6467 Pine Ave 3/3 now $495K, 5740 SanCap Rd 2/2 now $499K, 731 Nerita St 3/2 now $519K, 9440 Begonia Ct 3/2 now $530K, 955 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2 now $595K, 1750 Dixie Beach Blvd 3/2.5 now $599K (short sale), 1233 Middle Gulf Dr 3/2 now $679.9K, 542 N Yachtsman Dr 2/2 now $749K (our listing), 9470 Balsa Ct 3/2 now $794K, 4041 Coquina Dr 3/3 now $949K, 228 Violet Dr 4/2/2 now $1.395M, 2118 Starfish Ln 4/5 now $1.994.9M.
5 new sales: 848 Rabbit Rd 3/2 listed for $295K (short sale), 1427 Sandpiper Cir 2/2 half-duplex listed for $339K, 994 Whelk Dr 2/2 listed for $589K, 1290 Par View Dr 4/2 listed for $649K, 244 Daniel Dr 3/3 listed for $799K.
6 closed sales: 766 Donax St 2/2 duplex $275K, 1800 Ardsley Way 3/2 $534.5K, 244 Christofer Ct 3/3 $575K, 450 Sea Walk Ct 4/3 $600K, 1538 Royal Poinciana Cir 3/3 $600K (short sale), 411 Lighthouse Way 4/3 $1.25M.
No new listings.
1 price change: 2988/2993 Wulfert Rd now $949K.
2 new sales: 847 Casa Ybel Rd listed for $164,555, 513 Sea Walk Ct listed for $325K.
No closed sales.
1 new listing: Bayside Villas #5210 1/2 $299K.
1 price change: Marina Villas #603 2/2 now $525K.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: Lands End Village #1651 2/2 $881.5K.
1 new listing: 11530 Paige Ct 4/4.5 $3.995M.
2 price changes: 14980 Binder Dr 3/3 now $1.465M, 1 Sunset Captiva 2/2.5 now $1.595M.
1 new sale: 941 South Seas Plantation Rd 3/3.5 listed for $4.995M.
2 closed sales: 11531 Andy Rosse Ln 4/4 $1.3M, 11522 Andy Rosse Ln 4/4.5 (foreclosure) $1.96M.
No new listings.
2 price changes: 11535 Murmond Ln now $649K, 15295 Captiva Dr now $649K.
No new or closed sales.

This representation is based in whole or in part on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market. The information provided represents 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.


Sending good Super Bowl wishes your way, SanibelSusan

Summer-Like Weather After Thanksgiving on Sanibel Island

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Here is hoping that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Today it is just SanibelSusan at the office, enjoying the traffic from the Sanibel Masters Art Fair across the street and playing catch-up. This is the time of the year when we most often find that folks are more involved with their holiday plans than they are with their real estate purchases, so I was pleasantly surprised to receive an offer on one of our listings yesterday. Negotiations are ongoing. We actually had a few other good inquiries this week too. The pictures above are from my travels out showing bay-front homes earlier in the week.

A little scuttlebutt here last weekend was the official posting in one of the local newspapers that Sundial Resort is for sale. No news on the price or conditions of the sale, so we will keep our ear to the ground on that one.

The week’s Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service activity follows a couple of news items below.

Sanibel Weather

remains delightful. It was 68 degrees when I headed to the office this morning, with a high in the upper 70’s expected both today and right through the weekend. Monday a little rain is forecast, bringing in a cool front. I still get tickled to say that a Florida cool front is when it drops into the low 70’s during the day. That is what the weather is expected to be by mid-week, just in time for 27th year of the Sanibel Luminary next Fri night (12/2). Luminary strollers like wearing scarves and Santa hats, with their shorts and flip flops, so the weather should be perfect for that. Captiva Luminary is next Sat night (12/3). Here’s a link to the Captiva Holiday Village events calendar. The holiday events have already begun!

Weekend Happenings

If you are out and about on the islands this weekend be sure to catch the Sanibel Masters Art Festival on the grounds of the Community House both today and tomorrow (Sat) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The BIG ARTS Community Chorus is singing two mini-concerts from their holiday repertoire at the festival late-morning tomorrow. Plus Katie Gardenia, renown island baker, artist, and former owner of The Bubble Room, will be there autographing her new combo cookbook and coffee table book called “A Bubble Moment”. She will be selling her fabric sculpture and fabric art pieces too. www.KatieGardenia.com

Tomorrow night (Sat), there is a Livingston Taylor Concert at BIG Arts. When I stopped into the BIG ARTS office right behind my office, I heard there still are tickets. Livingston often hangs out at The Bean when he is in town, though I have not spotted him there yet this year. If you are a fan and are here, his concerts always get raves.

Sanibel City Council & Chamber of Commerce Host Resort Redevelopment Workshop

On Tues Nov 29 at 8 a.m., the Chamber in conjunction with the City will host a workshop at the Sanibel Community House to discuss resort redevelopment. The workshop is being held to help explain recent changes to the Land Development Code. As background, shortly after the incorporation of Sanibel in 1974, the Sanibel Plan created a resort housing district. This district included most of the resorts that then existed on the island. In 2010, City Council determined that there was a need to allow for the rehabilitation or reconstruction of these now aging resort housing district buildings. Most of these resort district properties are short-term rentals. Council considered their preservation to be in the interests of residents and businesses. Over a 12-month period, the Sanibel Planning Commission reviewed the Land Development Code in order to identify any necessary changes to enable progress toward these updating objectives. Specific recommendations for changes were developed, discussed in public meetings, and accepted by City Council in June.

HealthPark Medical Center

It is pretty common in the real estate business for those new to the area to ask us about the closest medical facility. In that HealthPark Medical Center, just off-island, recently turned “20”, it seems like a good time to provide an update of what is available close to Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Beginning in the mid-1980’s as a 120-bed satellite hospital for Lee Memorial Health System’s downtown Fort Myers campus, HealthPark evolved initially as a 220-bed medical center with a grand 4-story glass atrium and a location on a 400-acre planned HealthPark Florida campus that would offer services to the south Lee County community. It took four years to design, three to build. To ensure the new hospital’s success and to ease challenges at Lee Memorial downtown, pediatric, obstetrics, and cardiac care services were moved to this new facility. When the Medical Center opened in 1991, with it came a new era of medical care in Southwest Florida, often described as “ten years ahead of its time.” I have always been amazed with the bright cheerful atrium. Some say their initial impression is hotel, not hospital. How many hospitals have a grand piano being played in their lobby? fresh popcorn for visitors? and single-sized rooms equipped for overnight guests?

In 1994 the campus expanded to include The Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida and an expansion in 2005 added medical surgery and critical care beds, upping the facility’s beds to 368. In 2013, the Center will continue to grow with a 6-story 148-bed children’s hospital which will also free up more adult cardiac beds. Like Children’s Hospital, the HealthPark campus continues to grow. Today, it is 85% built out and home to the Cypress Cove retirement and assisted living community, HealthPark Care Center, Lee Memorial Health Services Outpatient Services, the Ronald McDonald House of Southwest Florida, and other health-related facilities. A 3-story 78-bed private psychiatric hospital is under construction and shops and restaurants are staring to open in a new retail center too. Commuting time from SanibelSusan Realty to the hospital varies depending on the time of day and time of the year – but is under 30 minutes.

Sanibel & Captiva Island Multiple Listing Service Activity November 18-25:



6 new listings: Captains Walk #A2 1/1 $179K, Sanibel Arms #G2 1/1 $460K, Loggerhead Cay #434 2/2 $625K, Tarpon Beach #104 2/2 $679K, Pelicans Roost #101 2/2 $809K, Signal Inn #18 2/2 $949K.

6 price changes: Tennisplace #C23 2/1.5 now $269.9K, Lighthouse Point #217 3/2 now $392.5K, Lighthouse Point #230 2/2 now $495K, Snug Harbor #311 2/2 now $589K, Kings Crown #211 3/2 now $699K, Pointe Santo #B45 2/2 now $730K.

2 new sales: Sundial #C208 1/1 listed for $298K, Gulfside Place #104 3/2 listed for $1.195M.

No closed sales.


5 new listings: 967 Beach Rd 2/2 half-duplex $575K, 1854 Farm Trail 3/2 $625K, 450 Sea Walk Ct 3/3 $649.9K, 5885 PIne Tree Dr 3/2 $699K, 6211 Starling Way 4/4.5 $2.495M.

6 price changes: 490 Old Trail Rd 3/2 now $449K, 1123 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $539.9K, 3861 Coquina Dr 3/3 now $749K, 1360 Eagle Run Dr 5/3.5 now $960K, 720 Periwinkle Way 3/35 now $1.497.5M, 1290 Isabel Dr 6/4 now $2.49M (short sale).

3 new sales: 9248 Belding Dr 3/2 listed for $269K, 436 Glory Cir 3/3 listed for $549.9K, 1287 Par View Dr 3/2 listed for $774.9K.

No closed sales.


1 new listing: 1594 Century Ct $139.9K.

No price changes or new sales.

1 closed sale: 3001 Poinciana Cir $139K.



1 new listing: Marina Villas #807 2/2 $630K.

2 price changes: Tennis Villas #3224 1/1 now $260K, Marina Villas #603 2/2 now $540K.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: Bayside Villas #5330 3/3 $550K.


1 new listing: 16891 Captiva Dr 3/2 $1.389M.

3 price changes: 11490 Dickey Ln 3/2 now $875K, 11521 Wightman Ln 4/3 now $1.495M, 15009 Binder Dr 4/5.5 now $3.95M.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 16891 Captiva Dr 3/2 $1.15M.


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.

Hope you all are enjoying those turkey sandwiches…until next week…SanibelSusan

Terrific Videos “Sanctuary Islands: The Sanibel Legacy” & “The History of Southwest Florida: Sanibel – The Untold Stories”

This message was posted today on www.mysanibel.com:

 “Today, the City of Sanibel released the second in a series of four videos provided by WGCU, documenting the history of Sanibel.

“Residents and visitors can now view the history of Sanibel and learn about the City’s water quality initiatives while in the comfort of their own home or anywhere they are connected to the world wide internet.

“Upon release of the second video, City Manager Judie Zimomra stated, “Everyone interested in our community’s unique history is invited to enjoy this classic video made available from our friends at WGCU.”

Please click here to view video 2 of 4: “The History of Southwest Florida: Sanibel I – The Untold Stories”

Please click here to view video 1 of 4: “Sanctuary Islands: The Sanibel Legacy.”

“Video 3 (“Untold Stories of Southwest Florida – Sanibel: After the Ferry) and Video 4 (“Untold Stories of Southwest Florida – The Sanibel Causeway: A Vital Link”) will be released to the City’s website in the near future.”