Counting Down to July 4th on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

A fond memory from the 2003 Sanibel parade

A fond memory from the 2003 Sanibel parade

There was probably what is best referred to as a modest amount of visitor traffic on the islands this week – really pretty quiet – until today, that is, when the holiday visitors began arriving. Many businesses are starting to break out their red-white-&-blue with expectations that more vacationers will fill accommodations over the 4th holiday. Most of those coming for a week will arrive tomorrow.

Weather-wise, it has been typical summer all week with bright sunny days in the high 80’s/low 90’s followed by afternoon thunderstorms – though some days those don’t make it onto the island. More of the same is expected next week.

Real Estate News

Our newest listing at 9477 Peaceful Drive

Our newest listing at 9477 Peaceful Drive

As the report of the activity posted this week in the Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing Services below shows, there were just a couple of new listings on Sanibel this week and several more closings. (We received a new home listing, just this afternoon, which is why this blog is being posted a little late today. That new business comes first!)

Many of the sales contracts written during high season are scheduled to close today and early next week, so by next week’s blog, I should be able to report solid data on where our market stands at the half-year mark. It will be good news! 

Holiday Happenings on Sanibel Island

Teammates Dave & Elise getting holiday ready in 2011

Teammates Dave & Elise getting holiday ready in 2011

Here is a list of the Independence Day events, all on Thursday, July 4th:

23rd Annual Independence Day Parade starts at 9:30 a.m. at Island Inn Road and Tarpon Bay Road and runs along Periwinkle Way to Casa Ybel Road. The theme is “American Hometown Pride” with nine categories to be judged. Parade t-shirts for sale along the route.

Post-parade refreshments and water at Jerry’s Foods across from where the parade ends with free hot dogs, soda, and snow cones. Also water slides, dunk tank, face painting, and bounce house, all to benefit the Boy Scouts of America.

34th Annual Road Rally organized by the San-Cap Optimist Club begins at noon at Timbers Restaurant/Sanibel Grill parking lot and ends there for an “afterglow” party. Teams puzzle out clues which follow a prescribed driving course around the island. Prizes will be awarded for best decorated vehicle, correct time, mileage, and the most correct answers to a quiz about things seen along the route. Proceeds go to fund college scholarships.

Fireworks Party 2013 at The Dunes Golf and Tennis Club from 4 to 9 p.m., with food and beverage tickets for sale. Offerings include pig roast, grilled hot dogs, hamburgers, and chicken, plus putting contest and children’s games.

Fireworks will go off at dusk, as usual at the end of Bailey Road over San Carlos Bay.

Local Realtors® Get Legal Update

FLRealtors_newlogoMargy Grant, Vice President and General Counsel for Florida Realtors®, was on the island this morning giving our Sanibel and Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® members a legal update on a variety of subjects. It is always a treat for us to have members of Florida Realtors® staff here, when we can learn from their experiences at both the state and national level, plus get answers to our own specialized questions. Margy’s presentation covered such relevant topics as Realtors® IDX (Internet Data Exchange), the National Flood Insurance Program, short sales, upcoming contract form changes, advertising, and the various policies needed when working with social media. Florida Realtors® Legal Hot Line – which is one of her responsibilities – is a terrific resource for our members whenever we have questions about a specific issue. These lines are manned by attorneys. More than 50,000 questions are fielded each year. I look forward to seeing Margy and her team again in August during our annual committee meetings, convention and trade show.

Exciting News from BIG ARTS

BIG Arts logoThis week, fellow BIG ARTS members received a mailing from their President which discussed the Board of Directors recent meeting about the organization’s future direction. The letter said that for several years, the Board has seen the need to expand their educational offerings to meet the demands of their more than 1250-member families, to support the over 40,000 attendees who enjoy their music, dance, theater, film, lecture programs, youth camp, and special events, and the 7500+participants in their workshops and enrichment programs. It was hoped that their existing facilities which are on City property could be improved to meet their expansion requirements, but it seems that due to construction constraints, this is not the case.

The letter further went on to say “simultaneously with our own study, the City of Sanibel began to evaluate how to better integrate various arts and education activities into a “civic core” that would include 25 acres of City-owned land on Dunlop Road east of the library where the public works department is currently located. BIG ARTS Board of Directors met recently to consider the new direction. Mayor Kevin Ruane joined the meeting and described the City’s vision and plan. After discussion and deliberation our Board voted unanimously to work with the City on a new home in the civic core.”

A letter attachment prepared by the Barrier Island Group for the Arts and Toppe Consultants, Inc. (architects, planners, theater consultants) describes their “Needs Assessment” and was submitted to the City to document BIG ART’s vision and needs. “BIG ARTS is excited about the possibilities for their members and patrons and for the community as a whole.” Over the summer, they will be working with the City on a master plan for the new center.

City Manager, Judie Zimomra, posted some Facebook photos this week taken during the first of those meetings. How exciting is that?

As a long-time singer with the BIG ARTS Community Chorus which has grown to so many members that we no longer fit on the stage in Schein Performance Hall, I am excited too! Stay tuned.

The State of the Nation’s Housing 2013

Open HouseThe State of the Nation’s Housing report was posted on line this week. This report has been produced annually since 1988 by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. Here’s some info from its “fact sheet” – or read the full report at

“Now in its 25th year, it (this report) continues to serve as an essential resource for both public policy makers and private decision makers in the housing industry. This year’s report provides a current assessment of the state of the housing market and the foreclosure crisis; the economic and demographic trends driving housing demand; the state of mortgage finance; and ongoing housing affordability challenges.



Rising Home Prices and Rents are Clearest Sign of Recovery

  • After across-the-board declines in 2011, all major house price indexes registered significant increases in 2012.
  • By March 2013, the median house price in the United States was up 11.6% year over year.
  • As of April 2013, home prices were up year over year in all but two states and in 94 of the 100 metropolitan areas tracked by CoreLogic.
  • Between the fourth quarter of 2011 and the fourth quarter of 2012, the number of underwater homeowners fell 1.7 million, to 10.4 million.
  • April 2013 marked the 34th consecutive month of growth in rents as measured by the consumer price index and the 15th consecutive month of year-over-year increases of 2.5% or more….”

Doc Ford’s Scoop

Doc Fords CaptivaNow that high season is over, the local worker bees, like me, in need of a “quick lunch” are back to patronizing the local eateries. When at Doc’s Ford’s Sanibel location this week, I got a little scoop on their new restaurant under construction out on Captiva. Staff members are excited about how well the work is progressing on that all-new restaurant just outside the entrance to South Seas Resort at 5400 Plantation Road (former location of Holy Smoke Heavenly Barbeque, Chadwick’s Restaurant before that). Called Doc Ford’s Captiva Rum Bar & Grille, it sounds like it will probably be opening soon, most likely in August. New servers are being trained now and it sounds like it will have the same popular menu as Doc’s other locations.

Improve a Cell Phone’s Weak Signal

The_New_York_Times_logo“Daily Real Estate News” on-line posted an article yesterday about dropped calls or weak connections which are common cell phone complaints. A recent article in The New York Times highlighted some ways signal strength may be improved. Those living on Sanibel’s east end – like me – are familiar with the areas where phone signals are not good. I have successfully used one of the remedies (a 3G MicroCell) suggested in this article, so hopefully by repeating that info here, it will help someone else too.

“If you don’t receive a good signal indoors, check with your cell phone carrier. All major carriers sell a device or technology that allows access to the standard cellular network via a home’s broadband connection (such as AT&T’s 3G MicroCell or Verizon’s Network Extender). You just plug the device into your router and it can potentially help to improve your connection quality as much as five bars.

“T-Mobile offers Wi-Fi Calling, which allows users to make calls over a Wi-Fi network when cell reception is poor. But an iPhone would not work with this system; you need a Wi-Fi Calling-capable phone to use it, such as an Android or BlackBerry. 

“Signal boosters may also help. Boosters can amplify signal strength, but the hardware is bulky. The benefit with this option is that boosters don’t require you to have a certain carrier in order to add them. 

Phone carriers are debuting HD Voice, boasting that it can reduce background noise and improve voice calls so it’s like talking to someone on a landline. But the technology is in its infancy. It’s currently only delivered on certain phones, and will only work over LTE networks with some carriers.”

Source: “Remedies for Better Cellphone Signal and Quality,” The New York Times (June 26, 2013)

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity June 21 to July 5

2 new listings: Spanish Cay #D4 2/2 $325K, Coquina Beach #4F 2/2 $439.9K.
2 price changes: Sandpiper Beach #103 2/2 now $589K, Kings Crown #313 2/2 now $590K.
4 new sales: Captains Walk #A2 1/1 listed for $175K, Mariner Pointe #1083 2/2 listed for $399K, Signal Inn #12 1/1 listed for $419K, Sundial #E308 2/2 listed for $835K.
11 closed sales: Sanibel Arms West #M3 2/2 $385.5K, Sanibel Arms West #M2 2/2 $375K, Sanibel Arms West #H2 2/2 $435K, Lighthouse Point #230 2/2 $465K, Sundial #L202 2/2 $489K, Nutmeg Village #202 2/2 $585K, Coquina Beach #2E 2/2 $585K, Nutmeg Village #105 2/2 $610K, Pointe Santo #C26 2/2 $625K, Surfside 12 #B4 3/2 $830K, Atrium #101 3/3 $970K.

3 new listings: 9477 Peaceful Dr 3/2 $499K (our listing), 1014 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2 $585K, 5321 Punta Caloosa Ct 3/3 $1.094M.
2 price changes: 1249 Par View Dr 4/4.5 now $1.395M, 1950 Woodring Rd 4/3.5 now $2.475M.
3 new sales: 1021 Sand Cast Rd 2/2 listed for $409K (short sale), 1667 Sabal Sands Rd 3/3 listed for $450K, 1251 Anhinga Ln 3/3 listed for $1.995M.
11 closed sales: 1805 Ibis Ln 2/2 $350K, 9446 Yucca Ct 3/2 $480.5K, 1744 Bunting Ln 3/2 $560K, 1045 Blue Heron Dr 3/3 $575K, 526 N Yachtsman Dr 2/2 $620K, 1405 Jamaica Dr 3/2.5 $620K, 1255 Isabel Dr 3/3 $869K, 940 Victoria Way 3/3 $900K, 919 Almas Ct 3/2.5 $935K, 479 Lagoon Dr 3/3 $1.025M, 2429 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 $1.275M.

Nothing to report.

No new listings or price changes.
1 new sale: Lands End Village #1625 2/2 listed for $1.225M.
No closed sales.

Nothing to report.

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe’ll be putting up our holiday “stars” on Monday so SanibelSusan Realty is ready for the 4th! Until next Friday, best wishes for a safe & happy holiday!

There’s Still Time to Buy Sanibel & Captiva Island Real Estate for Your Valentine

valentine-clipartcom-free-valentine-clip-artIt’s another beautiful Friday on Sanibel Island – yet another one of those days where we watch the weather in other parts of the country and remain thankful that we are here in sunny Florida where the forecast for the next seven days remains in the low 80’s.

We have a buyers arriving this week in time to buy their sweethearts a vacation retreat in paradise. What a great Valentine’s Day gift that will be!

Last weekend was a busy one with showings to three sets of buyers and we were smiling on Monday after two contracts presented, were accepted as written on Sunday (early Valentines for those folks).

A few other sales were announced at our Realtor® Caravan meeting yesterday. A report of the weekly Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service activity is posted after a few news items below.

Dave brought his new camera along when we viewed a property overlooking Roosevelt Channel yesterday. Here are a few shots taken there and during his island other rounds.

View toward Blind Pass & Roosevelt Channel

View toward Blind Pass & Roosevelt Channel (where Teddy Roosevelt used to fish).

Just a few sea oats along the Gulf of Mexico beach

Just a few sea oats along the Gulf of Mexico beach

One of the mangrove-fringed waterways behind Periwinkle Park

One of the mangrove-fringed waterways behind Periwinkle Park

Bougainvillea are still blooming here everywhere...

Bougainvillea are still blooming here everywhere…

Sundial Resort’s Upgrades on Fast Track

Sundial gallery-th-03Yesterday’s “Fort Myers News-Press” posted an update on the ongoing improvement project at Sundial Beach Resort and Spa. (New name & new amenities.)

“The Sundial Beach & Golf Resort had seen better days when it was purchased in July by an investor group – now it’s renovating at lightning speed and expects to have its $5-7 million facelift complete by March 1. That would have been a daunting task a few years ago but thanks to new streamlining of the permitting process by Sanibel officials, the city’s aging resorts are finding it’s feasible to make major renovations without spending prohibitive amounts of time and money, said Ric Base, president of the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce. In the case of Sundial, the renovations will make striking differences in how the resort operates and in what it offers to the community.

Waterview is expected to open March 31, 2013.

Waterview restaurant is expected to open March 31, 2013.

“For example, it will have a restaurant and spa with views of the Gulf of Mexico and a lighter, more contemporary look overall,” said Brett Lindsay, director of sales and marketing at Sundial.

Sea Breeze Cafe also expected to open March 31.

Sea Breeze Cafe also expected to open March 31.

He added that the spa and restaurant will be open to the public for the first time in years since Blackstone cut off public access after it took over in 2006.

Turtles Cafe to open March 31, too.

Turtles Cafe to open March 31, too.

The new Sundial also will be able to go after conventions, corporate retreats and weddings, which Lindsay expects to be major sources of income that will also stimulate the local economy with spillover spending by the guests. Weddings were once a mainstay of the resort, he said. “In 2006 they did 200 weddings then it slowly declined.”

“Last week the resort, which was developed in 1972, was a beehive of activity, with construction crews ripping up old tile floors and reconfiguring the inside to take advantage of Gulf views….Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane said the new approach started after Hurricane Charley clobbered the island in 2004 and city officials realized that if a major storm destroyed a resort built years ago, it might not be possible to restore it to the same size under modern rules and regulations. The city enacted a build-back ordinance allowing the resorts to come back intact. “We wanted to be fair and to give somebody exactly what he had in the past.” But mainly, Ruane said, the change has come in how the city treats permits: for example, offering informal pre-application meetings where the applicant can discuss the project with all the city officials who have to sign off on it.

“City Manager Judie Zimomra said it’s important now to make renovations more practical because most of Sanibel’s resorts are decades old and ready to be modernized. “Our big growth period was after the causeway was built (in 1963),” she said. “In the ’70s and ’80s Sanibel was essentially built out.”

“The Sundial renovations are the first major test of the city’s changed procedures, but Chris Davison, general manager of the Island Inn on Sanibel, said that over the past two years he’s done $2.5 million in rehabilitation of aging accommodations and expects to do another $4-5 million. “Right now we’re in the process of preparing and getting ready to submit a complete redevelopment of our site, a complete master plan,” he said. It’s not just his resort that needs updating, Davison said. “Sanibel has become a spot where, yes, it’s pristine, yes, there are no buildings over three stories, but your TV and facilities and rooms are from the 1980s. People want their wi-fi to work. They want granite tops.”

This charming corner resort suite is available for just $349,900. It gets terrific rental income too!

This charming corner resort Club Suite is available for just $349,900. It gets terrific rental income too!

Best Places to Buy a Foreclosure in 2013

cnnmoney-logoAn on-line article posted this week at “Daily Real Estate News” sourced a “CNNMoney” article from Jan 31, it said:

“If you’re looking for big foreclosure deals, Florida may offer the most, according to a new study by RealtyTrac. Palm Bay, Florida, topped its list of the best places to buy a foreclosure in 2013. Foreclosures accounted for nearly 24% of all sales in Palm Bay last year, and buyers tended to pay 28% less for a home in foreclosure than other homes. The following are the markets with the high number of foreclosures available and some of the largest price discounts for foreclosures, according to RealtyTrac.

“Palm Bay, FL – Average foreclosure discount: 28%

Rochester, NY – Average foreclosure discount: 26%

Albany, NY – Average foreclosure discount: 35%

New York City – Average foreclosure discount: 40%

Lakeland, FL – Average foreclosure discount: 15%

Tampa, FL – Average foreclosure discount: 27%

Jacksonville, FL – Average foreclosure discount: 32%

Poughkeepsie, NY – Average foreclosure discount: 28%

Orlando, FL – Average foreclosure discount: 19%

Chicago – Average foreclosure discount: 46%.”

What About The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Real Estate Market?

SANSLogoClients know that SanibelSusan Realty produces weekly lists of the island real estate for sale. These lists are broken down by island (Sanibel or Captiva), property type (condos, homes, or lots), and subdivided by complex or subdivision. For comparison, they also include recent sales. (These are easy to e-mail, if anyone out there is blog land wants copies.)

With Sanibel and Captiva being a relatively small market area, compared to the major cities discussed in the article above, sometimes it takes a keen eye to observe when the trends change here. Here are my latest observations. 

Was it good news when last year on Sanibel, 367 properties sold compared to 340 in 2011? You bet. It looks even better compared to 2010 when only 265 Sanibel properties sold.

On Captiva, was there a similar trend? Yes, in 2012, 64 properties sold; in 2011 only 47; and in 2010 just 37.

What about this year, 2013? Some may say that it is too early to tell. But I think we are seeing some momentum. Here it is just the first week in February and already 74 Sanibel properties are sold or under contract (28 condos, 43 homes, & 3 lots); while on Captiva, 12 properties have closed or are under contract (5 condos, 6 homes, & 1 lot). (These amounts are 20% and 19%, respectively, of what sold last year!) Usually our busiest sale months are February and March, but it appears that activity started sooner this year.

Do we have short sales and foreclosures on these two little islands? Sure, but we do not have many. Today, on Sanibel, there are three homes and one condo available in the Multiple Listing Service as “short sales” and one home in foreclosure. On Captiva, two homes (no condos) are in “short sales”, none are in foreclosure.

With limited alternate investment opportunities, Sanibel and Captiva’s niche market has become attractive to not just those that love their environmental offerings, ambience and life-style. Investors and builders recognizing the unique opportunity for appreciation again are buying. I think we are going to have a busy few weeks, probably a better winter selling season than we have seen in a long time.

Lee Memorial Hospital

Lee Memorial logoThough I have always known that we have terrific medical facilities in Southwest Florida, it has always amazed me how many snowbirds get all of their health care here. Maybe this recent on-line posting by Lee Memorial has something to do with it. Local hospitals are always getting kudos: “Lee Memorial Hospital is a #Healthgrades Five-Star recipient for back and neck surgery (spinal fusion), seven years in a row (2007-2013)!”

Are Home Prices Rising Too Fast?

FLRealtors_newlogoFlorida Realtors® posted this article yesterday. Who thought we would be hearing this and so soon?

“In a historical context, home prices typically increase about 3 to 4% a year. But in the years preceding the housing crash, prices in 2002 started soaring 7% a year, then 8% in 2004, and 12% by 2005, reports.

“A “new bubble” may be forming, CNBC columnist Diana Olick writes. CoreLogic’s latest housing data shows home prices rose 8% in December year-over-year, the largest gain in more than six years. In some places, home prices are up by double digits from a year earlier; in Phoenix, prices are up 26% year-over-year.

“Inventories of for-sale homes are very tight, and experts point to the tight inventories as a cause of rapidly rising home prices. Inventories of for-sale homes are at their lowest supply since May 2005, according to the National Association of Realtors®. “The greatest concern in the market is the inventory situation,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Even if we see an increase in the spring and summer, if home sales hold at the [current] level or even a five- to six-month supply, price increases are guaranteed. We don’t want to see rapid appreciation in prices faster than income.”

““Healthy housing market gains are historically driven by increasing employment and income, not by lack of supply,” reports CNBC reporter Diana Olick. “The latter leads to price bubbles.” But low inventory is not the only cause of rising prices. In many markets, a flood of investor demand has also caused a shortage of listings. Investors are cashing in on once hard-hit markets by the foreclosure crisis. Many investors are hedge funds turning single-family homes into rentals.

“However, quickly rising prices could cause these investors to take profits quicker than they originally planned by selling the rental homes now. That would add inventory to the market and slow price increases, Olick says. “What we had thought were safer, long-term buys, may now turn into flips of the last decade,” Olick says. “The question will be if there are enough non-investor buyers out there to support those sales?”

“But the home price gains may be sustainable, others say. Consumer confidence is increasing, employment is improving, and price gains may soon allow more homeowners who are seeing equity to once again trade-up.”

Source: “Housing Market Already Shows Signs of New Bubble,” (Feb. 5, 2013) and “New Housing Fears: Home Prices Are Rising Too Fast,” (Jan. 22, 2013)

Sanibel Library – What It Has To Offer

Sanibel library signThis afternoon, I received a nice email from an island owner and fellow blogger who also reads these Friday real estate blogs. She offered her recent blog about the Sanibel Library. Here is a link. I enjoyed it and I bet you will too. There are some great tips here that could apply to any library. (Thank you, Helen; we love sharing too!)

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity February 1-8

3 new listings: Sundial #D408 1/1 $359K, Blind Pass #E207 2/2.5 $399K, Sanibel Arms West #I1 2/2 $435K.
10 price changes: Sundial #I104 1/1 now $369K, Loggerhead Cay #411 2/2 now $542.5K, Loggerhead Cay #521 2/2 now $559K, Heron at The Sanctuary II-2A 2/2.5 now $609K, Shorewood #1D 3/2 now $795K, Surfside 12 #B4 3/2 now $869K, Sanddollar #B104 2/2 now $897K, Compass Point #181 2/3 now $899K, Junonia #203 3/2 now $974K, Seascape #302 3/3.5 now $1.344M.
7 new sales: Colonnades #12 1/1 listed for $129K, Tennisplace #C33 2/1.5 listed for $260K, Blind Pass #D205 2/2 listed for $291K (short sale), Sanibel Moorings #1042 2/2 listed for $419K, Heron at The Sanctuary #1-1A 2/2.5 listed for $489K, Sunset South #6B 2/2 listed for $499K, Pointe Santo #B44 2/2 listed for $699K.
2 closed sale: Blind Pass #A105 2/2 $380K, St.Croix #3 2/2.5 $800K.

7 new listings: 567 Rabbit Rd 2/2 $485K; 9418 Moonlight Dr 3/2 $499,994; 1319 Tahiti Dr 3/2 $549K; 1342 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $589K; 1662 Dixie Beach Blvd 3/2 $839K; 6433 Pine Ave 4/3 $1.495M; 5721 SanCap Rd 3/3/2 $1.595M.
6 price changes: 1610 Sabal Sands Rd 3/2 now $459K, 6138 Castaways Ln 3/2.5 now $654.9K, 1130 Seagrape Ln 4/3 now $1.049M, 2367 Wulfert Rd 4/3.5 now $1.188M, 1826 Woodring Rd 3/2 now $1.549M (foreclosure), 4215 West Gulf Dr 4/4/2 now $4.749M.
10 new sales: 2985 Island Inn Rd 3/2 listed for $399K (our listing), 754 Donax St 4/2 duplex listed for $399K, 2560 Coconut Dr 3/3 listed for $495K, 1045 Blue Heron Dr 3/3 listed for $599K, 1031 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 listed for $690K, 765 Conch Ct 5/4 listed for $750K, 4996 Joewood Dr 3/3 listed for $760K, 569 Lighthouse Way 3/3 listed for $795K (our buyer), 1660 Bunting Ln 4/3.5 listed for $945K (our buyer), 780 Birdie View Pt 5/4.5 listed for $1.749M.
3 closed sales: 750 Nerita St 3/2 $420K, 1350 Tahiti Dr 3/2 $540K, 6190 Henderson Rd 3/2 $1.25M.

1 new listing: 4318 West Gulf Dr $1.25M.
1 price change: 1637 Sabal Sands Rd now $295K.
No new sales.
2 closed sales: 6006 White Heron Ln $650K, 1028 Bayview Dr $1.6M.

1 new listing: Tennis Villas #3138 1/1 $425K.
No price changes, new or closed sales.

2 new listings: 11525 Chapin Ln 4/4 $1.589M, 16897 Captiva Dr 5/5.5 $3.59M.
2 price changes: 17201 Captiva Dr 4/5.5 now $3.698M, 16428 Captiva Dr 7/8/2 now $12.35M.
No new or closed sales.

1 new listing: 16915 Captiva Dr $1.59M.
No price changes, 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.

Nemo I'm comingUntil next Friday, sending warm wishes and happy thoughts to our friends and family dealing with Nemo and snow!

Here’s hoping you can come to Sanibel and Captiva soon!

What’s Cookin’ This Week at SanibelSusan Realty

The SanibelSusan Friday blog is posted a little early this week, as now through Sunday are the Florida Realtors® Mid-Year Business Meetings. These are our state leadership kick-off events for what is expected to be a terrific year. For 2012, I am happy to be part of the “Resort & Second Home Specialists Forum” and the “Professional Standards Forum”.

Frommer’s Favorite 10 Destinations

This week, I came across an interesting article on-line posted by Arthur Frommer, founder of Frommer’s Travel Guides. As one who as found his guides to be “spot on”, it was great to see that when he wrote about his favorite vacations destinations, Sanibel was on the list. His article said: “To me, the leisure enjoyed during the holiday season is a perfect time in which to plan future vacations. And so I’ve compiled a list of my own favorite destinations, of which there are 10:

1. Sanibel Island, Florida

2. The Island of Bali, in Indonesia.

3. Paris, France

4. St. Johns in the U.S. Virgin Islands

5. Cairo, Egypt

6. Bonaire, one of the “ABC” islands of the southern Caribbean

7. Yachats, the Oregon Coast

8. Chiang Rai, Thailand

9. New York City’s Greenwich Village (& its Off-Broadway theaters)

10. Kenya

Runners-up to my 10 best: Copenhagen, St. Lucia in the Caribbean, Oxford, Mexico’s San Miguel del Allende, and Rio.”

Local Installation & Awards Banquet

Last Saturday, our Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® had their Installation and Awards Banquet. Lisa, David, and I represented SanibelSusan Realty. I picked up an Honor Society award for the 19th year (wow, how time flies).

As part of our contributions to the community, local association members recently volunteered to keep Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) signs clean. SanibelSusan adopted the SCCF entrance sign and the Habitat Management sign on San-Cap Road, so if you have noticed that they are looking a little shabby, they should be sparkling in another week.

Fishermen Mark Your Calendars

Dave with tarpon that he caught & released in 2007

Local fishermen, members of the Fort Myers Beach Tarpon Hunters Club, and professional fishing guides along with J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge and Doc Ford’s restaurants staffs, including award-winning Doc Ford novelist Randy Wayne White, just announced a “Ding” Darling & Doc Ford’s Tarpon Tournament. Slated for May 5, 2012, the event will have cable network coverage and a 100% purse. Expect to hear more about it in the weeks to come.

Free Refuge Days

By Presidential decree, “Ding” Darling’s Wildlife Drive will be open free of charge tomorrow, January 14, through Monday, January 16. The Refuge Education Center – which is always open free to the public – also will be open all three days, including the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

‘Strategic Default’ Poses Ethical Question

A thought-provoking article was posted in Florida Realtors this week. The source is “As Home Prices Fall, More Borrowers Walk Away,” (Jan 9, 2012): “Some homeowners who owe more on the mortgage than a home is currently worth are turning over the keys and walking away – a move known as “strategic default.” The growing number of strategic defaults across the country is alarming, particularly since many of homeowners can still afford their mortgage payments but choose to walk away anyway.
“In 2010, about 30% of mortgage defaults were from homeowners who could afford to make their payments – that’s up from 22% in 2009, according to a 2011 survey conducted by finance professors Paola Sapienza at Northwestern University and Luigi Zingales at the University of Chicago.
“A recent study commissioned by the Mortgage Bankers Association likens the rise in strategic defaults to the spread of a disease. The longer the housing crisis goes on, the more other homeowners will be tempted to walk away, the study concludes. “As fundamentally social animals, humans consciously (and subconsciously) look to their peers when forming opinions, habits and behaviors,” according to the report.
“Strategic default has come down to an ethical question for some homeowners. “Guilt and morality are one side, and objective financial analysis are on the other side,” said David Martin, 68, who has considered walking away from a Seattle condo he owns with his wife because the condo is worth about $60,000 less than the balance on their mortgage. “They’re coming to two opposite conclusions. I wonder how many other people are struggling with the same question.” Martin and his wife have decided to stick it out, however, hoping for a rebound in housing prices in 2013 as they continue paying their mortgage.
“But other homeowners weighing the question are not always reaching the same conclusion. “It’s a looming problem that’s in the shadows,” Jason Kopcak, a mortgage trader at Cantor Fitzgerald, told “It’s very worrisome to mortgage lenders.”
“Strategic defaulters who walk away from their property, however, may have more to worry about than the morality and ethics of their action. They’ll face a blemish to their credit score; and in some states, lenders may still be able to pursue them in court in what’s known as a “deficiency judgment” seeking a full repayment of the mortgage balance.”

Real Estate Activity This Week

New listing at 210 Daniel Dr in Seagull Estates

We saw a reduction in the number of showings this week which is typical after New Year’s week visitors go home, still had fairly good action though. I showed entry-level condos one day and finally got a condo sale together after a few weeks of negotiation. Lisa and David also had an excellent turn-out at our Caravan Open House in Seagull Estates yesterday.

This observation may be premature, but I am thinking that in certain areas/property types, we are beginning to see fewer new listings and more sales. Wouldn’t it be great for demand to finally eat up some of the abundant supply?

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity January 6-13

4 new listings: Sanibel Arms #D2 1/1 $229.5K, Sanibel Moorings #1512 2/2 $429K, Sea Pines #D 3/3 $499K, Loggerhead Cay #583 2/2 $569K.
5 price changes: Sundial #H108 1/1 now $249K, Lake Palms #7 2/2.5 now $299K, Loggerhead Cay #432 2/2 now $459K, Compass Point #213 2/2 now $579K, Sanctuary Heron #2B 3/3.5 now $610K, Surfside 12 #C4 3/2 now $825K.
5 new sales: Sundial #G206 1/1 listed for $279.9K, Blind Pass #G102 2/2 listed for $389K, Loggerhead Cay #422 2/2 listed for $422.5K, Loggerhead Cay #513 2/2 listed for $899K, Plantation Village #B122 3/3 listed for $1.895M.
2 closed sales: Colonnades #10 1/1 $160K, Loggerhead Cay #422 2/2 $422.5K, Tarpon Beach #201 2/2 $572.5K.
3 new listings: 1610 Sabal Sands Rd 3/2 $534.9K, 1170 Sandcastle Rd 3/2 $619K, 5820 Pine Tree Dr 2/2 $695K.
8 price changes: 2130 Sunset Cir 3/2 now $569K, 9454 Calla Ct 3/2 now $618,816, 557 N Yachtsman Dr 4/3 now $729K, 4960 Joewood Dr 4/3 now $799K, 1111 Schooner Dr 3/3 now $899.9K, 919 Almas Ct 3/2.5 now $1.225M, 4630 Rue Bayou 4/4 now $1.285M, 760 Periwinkle Way 3/2.5 now $1.499M, 1310 Seaspray Ln 5/4.5 now $3.695M.
9 new sales: 9003 Mockingbird Dr 5/4 listed for $499.9K (short sale), 1773 Bunting Ln 3/2 listed for 579K, 935 Lindgren Rd 3/2 listed for $599K, 244 Christopher Ct 3/2 listed for 599.9K, 450 Sea Walk Ct 4/3 listed for $624.9K, 1019 Lindgren Rd 3/2 listed for $739K, 970 East Gulf Dr 3/4.5 listed for $763K (short sale), 3746 West Gulf Dr 4/4.5 listed for 1.249M, 598 Kinzie Island Ct 3/3.5 listed for $1.595M.
3 closed sales: 1797 Serenity Ln 2/2 $285K (our listing), 1436 Sandpiper Cir 2/2 half-duplex $300K, 1123 Sandcastle Rd 3/2 $500K.
1 new listing:  1226 Isabel Dr 1.8M.
No price changes.
No new or closed sales.
1 new listing:  Tennis Villas #3121 1/1 $225K.
No price changes.
1 new sale:  Sunset Beach Villas #2224 2/2 listed for 635K

No closed sales.
1 new listing:  56 Sandpiper Ct 2/2.1 $699K.
1 price change:  11516 Andy Rosse Ln 6/6 now $2.345M.
3 new sales:  16891 Captiva Dr 3/2 listed for $1.389M, 11531 Andy Rosse Ln 4/4 listed for $1.4999M, 16205 Captiva Dr 4/4 listed for $1.795M, 16742 Captiva Dr 3/3 listed for $2.795M.
1 closed sale: 11537 Andy Rosse Ln 4/4 $1.975M.
No new listings or price changes.
1 new sale: 11515 Gore Ln listed for $595K. 
No 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.


Whether you are off to enjoy a 3-day weekend or not, here’s hoping it’s a good one. SanibelSusan will be open to help you with your island real estate needs every day!


Florida Real Estate Market Rebounding, Eagles, & Island Action

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It has been back to “quiet” this week on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Still gorgeous 80-degree weather and still plenty of people in town, but they all seem to be getting ready for the upcoming holidays rather than out looking at real estate. We had only a handful of listings shown and SanibelSusan was only out once showing property. It certainly is not the way we like business to be, but understandable this time of the year.

Good state-wide real estate news was posted on Florida Realtors® web site this morning. Here is that item and a few others, followed by the week’s activity posted in our Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.

 Two Real Estate Reports Suggest Florida Rebound

“Two national studies – one from and one from Trulia – suggest that some Florida markets are poised for a real estate rebound. “This is a positive trend for Florida,” says John Tuccillo, Florida Realtors chief economist. “While Trulia and aren’t completely accurate in home prices and sales – mainly because they base their numbers on only homes listed on their website – it’s useful to look at visitor behavior and note the trends. If Trulia says more visitors are doing a home search in the Miami market, for example, it probably follows that Miami is experiencing an upswing in demand.”
“In’s “Top Ten Turnaround Report”, six Florida cities were considered good bets for an upswing in sales., which is owned by The National Association of Realtors®, says it created a formula to rank a city’s turnaround potential based on recent price appreciation, changes in inventory, median age of inventory, number of searches by visitors and area unemployment. attributes the Florida cities’ success to year-over-year home price increases, reductions in inventory, lower unemployment rates and, in some cases, an upswing in international buyers.’s turnaround list includes:
1. Miami: Ranked No. 1 in the report, Miami hit the top based on “a healthy inventory that is only half the size from a year ago,” a lower foreclosure rate than the national average, and an increase in condo sales.
2.  Orlando: While No. 2, says Orlando had more home searches than any other city when compared to the total number of listings. It also had a significant drop in the number of foreclosures.
3. Fort Myers-Cape Coral: Median prices in Fort Myers-Cape Coral have increased year-over-year, foreclosures are down, inventory is lower and foreign buyers are attracted to the area’s real estate prices.
4. Phoenix-Mesa, Arizona.
5. Fort Lauderdale: Inventory has decreased and prices have increased, says
6. Sarasota-Bradenton: About one in 10 foreign buyers look in Sarasota-Bradenton for a home, says. Listing prices have increased and inventory has decreased.
7. Lakeland-Winter Haven: According to, the number of distressed sales has decreased significantly and prices have gone up.
8. Boise City, Idaho.
9. Fort Wayne, Indiana.
10. Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Trulia’s Metro Movers Report – Trulia has debuted a new report that analyzed its home searches. In one study, Trulia looked at the number of people who searched for housing in a city – including renters – and compared it to the number of city residents looking elsewhere for a home. An area with a high number of inbound searches and a low number of outbound searches, Trulia reasons, suggests an increased demand for housing. According to the study, the North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota area had six times more searches by inbound people than outbound people, landing it in the list’s No. 1 position, but four other Florida cities also made the top 10 list:
1. North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota
2. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California
3. Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville, South Carolina
4. Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach
5. Cape Coral-Fort Myers
6. West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton Beach
7. Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas
8. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, California
9. Las Vegas-Paradise, Nevada
10. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford
Trulia also looked at the Chicago and New York City markets to see where residents wanted to move. Three Florida cities ranked in the top 10 for Chicago residents: Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (No. 4), Cape Coral-Fort Myers (No. 6) and Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (No. 10). In New York City, five Florida cities made the list: Miami-Miami-Beach-Kendall (No. 2), Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (No. 3), West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton Beach (No. 5), Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach (No. 6) and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (No. 7).”

Captiva Views

SanibelSusan sometimes is asked if she lists and sells on Captiva Island too. “Oh, yes.” The above photos were taken earlier this week while I was out on Sanibel’s sister island. They were snapped behind ‘Tween Waters overlooking Roosevelt Channel to Buck Key, near the boat ramp by the marina.

Sanibel Eagles

Heading back to the office, son Dave pointed out this eagle nest just west of the entrance to the communities of Gulf Pines and Gulf Shores. It is a little difficult to see them – particularly in a photo taken from my cell phone from this distance, but there were two “white heads” in the nest – probably the resident eagles. Next time will bring my camera with telephoto.

Lots of Singing

Wow, our BIG ARTS Community chorus sure is getting popular. We usually don’t have our full complement of singers back in town until the first of the year, when we start gearing up for our spring concert. We are about 60-strong now. Here is our holiday singing schedule for those interested.

  • Nov 20, Sun, 7 p.m., during the Thanksgiving Celebration at The Sanibel Community House.
  • Nov 26, Sat, 10:45 a.m. & 11:15 a.m., two outdoor mini-concerts during the 20th Sanibel Masters Arts & Crafts Fair on the grounds of The Sanibel Community House.
  • Dec 2, Fri, during Sanibel Luminary, carolers at both the Sanibel Community House & Bailey’s Shopping Center.
  • Dec 3, Sat, during Captiva Luminary, 6:30-7:15 p.m. on porch at Shirley Allen Gallery, 11528 Andy Rosse Ln.
  • Dec 8, Thurs, 7 p.m., Holiday Concert at BIG ARTS Shein Hall, purchase tickets in advance.

Florida’s 2012 NAR President Outlines Agenda

Florida Realtors® are excited to have Maurice “Moe” Veissi as the new President of our national association. Moe was the President of Florida Realtors® in 2002 and has made many trips to the islands in support of our year-end events and fundraisers. Last week, during the 2011 Realtors® Conference and Expo in Anaheim, CA, Moe shared his perspective and insights into some key issues facing the real estate industry next year. “The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) will not waiver in its commitment to ensure access to homeownership, affordable housing and commercial investment. It’s a difficult time in many ways for real estate; some would go as far to say that homeownership itself is under attack,” said Veissi, broker-owner of Veissi & Associates Inc., in Miami. “With that said, challenging times often present opportunities, and I believe NAR and our Realtor members are ready and able to meet and overcome the obstacles ahead.”
As Realtors gathered in Anaheim, Congress debated whether to reinstate higher conforming loan limits, a change NAR has been promoting. “We’re working on behalf of homebuyers and sellers across the country who have been affected by the reduced loan limits,” said Veissi. “Some have tried to portray higher loan limits as benefiting the wealthy, but the fact is that most affected markets are not high-cost areas. More than 100 counties throughout the Midwest and more than 200 counties in the South have seen loan limits decline by more than $64,000.”
As the Nov 23 deadline for Congress’ Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or “Super Committee,” approaches, Realtors also stand ready to defend and support the mortgage interest deduction as an important tax benefit of homeownership and an incentive for home sales. “This is another issue that affects hard-working, middle-class Americans,” said Veissi. “Sixty-five percent of families who claim the MID earn less than $100,000 per year.”
Veissi is confident that Realtors will engage and meet the challenges facing the real estate industry during his year as 2012 NAR president. “I believe Realtors are at the heart of the deal – so much so that I’ve made it my theme for the year,” said Veissi. “Homebuyers, sellers and real estate investors rely on Realtors as a primary source for real estate information and guidance. And in today’s climate, Realtors can also be relied upon to fight for, and defend, consumers’ rights and opportunities to buy, sell and own real estate.”

Homeowners’ Monthly Mortgages Down ~40% 

This article was reposted on Florida Realtors® this week (originally from 2011 Information, Inc. and posted on HousingWire Nov 9):

“Improving housing affordability mixed with low mortgage rates means that homeowners are paying a lot less for their monthly mortgage payment than they did just a few years ago. In fact, they’re paying nearly 40% less on their monthly mortgage payment than homeowners paid in 2006. According to Fiserv (Financial Services Technology Solutions), the monthly mortgage payment for a median-priced single-family home today is $700 – a drop of close to 40% from 2006, when it was $1,140. “Housing affordability has improved dramatically because of declines in both prices and mortgage interest rates,” David Stiff, chief economist at Fiserv, said in a statement. “Nationally, purchase mortgage payments now account for only 13% of monthly median family income, the lowest percentage on record (since 1971), and compared to 23% in the first quarter of 2006.”

From the South Florida Water Management District November Newsletter

“Near-record rainfall made District news in recent weeks, as South Florida experienced the fourth-wettest October on record. Through three separate storms, South Florida Water Management District Operations staff moved water to help alleviate local flooding. Intense downpours brought rainfall accumulations of more than 15″ in some locations, temporarily overwhelming swales, roadways and community drainage systems. Slowly but surely, the District’s regional system assimilated this water and moved it into larger bodies, such as Lake Okeechobee. At one point, the 730-square-mile lake was rising more than an inch a day. While the intense rainfall brought its challenges, it also alleviated South Florida’s water shortage. With input from the Water Resources Advisory Commission last week, the District’s Governing Board discussed current water conditions and predictions for the dry season, deciding at its November meeting to rescind all water restrictions. As a cautionary measure as we move into the dry season, which is predicted to have below-normal rainfall this year, the Board also implemented a water shortage warning to maintain an ongoing need for vigilance.”

Sanibel & Captiva MLS Activity November 11-18

6 new listings: Nutmeg Village #106 2/2 $629.9K, Pointe Santo #D24 2/2 $679.9K, Snug Harbor #D 4/2 $699K, Shell Island Beach Club #5B 2/2 $789K, Nutmeg Village #108 2/2 $795K, Shorewood #2C 3/2 $949K.
11 price changes:  Sundial #C201 1/1 now $259K (short sale); Sanibel Moorings #1412 1/1 now $269,962; Sundial #C208 1/1 now $298K; Mariner Pointe #842 2/2 now $499K; Heron at the Sanctuary #1-1A 3/2.5 now $499.9K; Loggerhead Cay #211 2/2 now $519K; Sunset South #9A 2/2 now $544K; Snug Harbor #311 2/2 now $589K; Loggerhead Cay
#521 2/2 now $615K; Ferry Landing #1 2/2 now $1.349M; Wedgewood #102 3/3.5 now $2.295M.
2 new sales: Sundial #D203 1/1 listed for $399K, Pelicans Roost #302 2/2 listed for $830K.
2 closed sales: Sundial #G207 1/1 $205K (short sale), Sanibel Moorings #1622 2/2 $325K.
8 new listings:  535 Piedmont Rd 3/2 $387.5K, 1417 Causey Ct 3/2 $559K, 1350 Tahiti Dr 3/2 $699K, 1263 Par View Dr 5/2.5 $769K, 5743 Baltusrol Ct 3/3/2 $1.549M, 760 Periwinkle Way 3/2.5 $1.649M, 553 Lighthouse Way 4/4 $1.895M, 1878 Woodring Rd 3/2.5 $2.49M.
5 price changes: 1948 Roseate Ln 2/2 now $374.5K, 927 Limpet Dr 3/3 now $729.9K (foreclosure), 4960 Joewood Dr 4/3 now $925K, 1516 Angel Dr 3/2.5 now $998K, 5029 Joewood Dr 3/2 now $1.985M.
2 new sales: 721 Cardium St 2/1 listed for $297.5K, 978
Greenwood Ct S 3/2.5 half-duplex listed for $359.5K.
1 closed sale:  1251 Seagrape Ln 3/3 $1.95M.
1 new listing:  5737 Baltusrol Ct $329K.
1 price change:  605 Boulder Dr now $270K.
3 new sales: 3001 Poinciana Cir listed for $139K, 2418 Baltusrol Ct listed for $164.9K, 5618 Baltusrol Ct listed for $299K.
No closed sales.

1 new listing: Lands End Village #1636 3/3 $2.25M.
No price changes.
2 new sales:  Beach Villas #2613 1/1 listed for $450K, Captiva Bay Villas #D 3/3.5 listed for $2.995M.
No closed sales.
1 new listing: 16838 Captiva Dr 6/7.5 $6.75M.
2 price changes: 11530 Chapin Ln 3/2 now $1.099M, 15867 Captiva Dr 7/7.5 now $6.495M.
3 new sales: 51 Oster Ct 2/2.5 listed for $695K, 15 Seascape Ct 3/2 listed for $749K, 11536 Wightman Ln 3/3 listed for $799K.
No 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. 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.


Best wishes from the entire SanibelSusan Team for a wonderful Thanksgiving.

We’ll be closed Thanksgiving Day but open through the rest of the weekend.

SanibelSusan will post her Friday blog on schedule. :-)