What’s Hot in the Sanibel Island Real Estate World

It is time to wrap up a week of iffy weather on Sanibel & Captiva. Several days have been cloudy and chilly (nights in the 50’s, days in the 60’s/low 70’s), with short shower interruptions as several cold fronts passed SW FL. (Coming from Maine, it still gives me a chuckle that 50 degrees is considered a cold front.)  The forecast says, chilly days will continue until it is fully sunny again on Tuesday, followed by a warm-up next week. We are ready!

Like the weather, the red tide reports change daily. Though the news seems to report that the sky is falling, the red tide readings this week have been minimal. Here is the link again for the NOAA site that tracks those measurements in the Gulf of Mexico, https://habforecast.gcoos.org/ Most of the high readings, have been south of the islands, with Lighthouse Beach sometimes affected.

Here at SanibelSusan Realty, the team has been keeping things moving with both our listings and sales. We also have a new listing, Kings Crown #104. A bit tough to get a property sold during a pandemic when there is a paying guest, meaning one cannot get in. This renter is there until the end of the month. Makes it challenging to view a property, get professional photos, and market without having access; but we like challenges. Even sight-unseen buyers like to see what the inside looks like, but the beach there is fantastic. See below!

Beach in front of Kings Crown

Our listings had more showings this week and more action was reported in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service. Our closing late last Friday also has been posted. That info follows a few news items below.

What’s Hot & What’s Not

First, it always makes sense to look at the larger complexes and communities. For example, at Sundial Beach & Golf Resort, 26 units sold last year, compared to 20 in 2019. Today, five units are under contract and just three are for sale. Safe to say that community is hot!

Likewise, at The Dunes, 39 homes sold last year, compared to 20 in 2019. There, four homes are under contract and just two are available.

Canal-front homes like in Sanibel Estates and Shell Harbor also sold well last year. In 2020, 37 sold, compared to 20 in 2019. There, three homes are under contract, while eight are for sale. More inventory here is somewhat indicative of what has been happening with the high-end product.

Last year on Sanibel, 503 residential properties (condos, homes, lots) sold, median price was $700,000. In 2019, 353 sold, with the same median price ($700,000). Comparing that to today’s Sanibel inventory: there are 192 properties for sale, median asking price is $859,000.

Of the 192 Sanibel properties for sale today, 26 are over $2M. Of the 503 that sold last year, only 26 were over $2M – perhaps illustrating that there is a year’s worth of high-end available.

With homes being the hottest commodity during the pandemic lockdown months, it was interesting to see lots moving once the more-affordable island homes started disappearing. Last year, 23 Sanibel vacant residential lots sold. In 2019, that number was 15. Today, 18 already have sold or are under contract.

Condo sales which were a little sluggish during the lockdown are moving well now too. First quarter, when the most condo visitors are in town, is generally when we sell the most condos. This year should be no exception, however, just 84 Sanibel condos are available, compared to 192 sales in 2020, 127 in 2019, 29 under contract.

Florida Realtors®

Florida Realtors® Mid-Winter Business Meetings have begun. This is when the state committees meet (via Zoom, this year) and the annual installation of officers occurs. Wed morning, I attended the Forms Content Committee meeting. Next week, I’ll be Zooming in at the Realtor® Town Hall, Faculty and Curriculum Subcommittees, and Resort & 2nd Home Specialist Think Tank.

Sanibel – COVID-19

On Tuesday, Sanibel Mayor Mick Denham extended the island declared state of emergency due to COVID-19 until January 19, unless further extended. (Per State Statute, the maximum duration for a Mayoral Declaration of Emergency is seven days and thus must be updated weekly as the emergency exists.)  The City face covering mandate remains in effect through the period.

From Florida Department of Health, Sanibel’s total accumulative number of COVID-19 cases since March 26 through January 14 is 176 cases. Locals are trying to stay calm, but that is 19 cases in seven days. This is just the number cases for zip code residents. It does not include Captiva and the many workers and visitors that come and go. PLEASE stay vigilant – continue social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, and avoid group gatherings. Essentially no relief yet for the thousands of county residents over 65 looking to get vaccinated.

Plenty of Reasons for Optimism

Below are excerpts from an article in the January/February 2021 issue of “REALTOR®”, by National Association of Realtors® Economist, Lawrence Yun.

“The housing market was a spectacular surprise in 2020 – and the positive trend will continue this year. Home sales in 2021 are expected to rise by around 10%. Home prices will also climb, but I expect more moderate increases than we’ve seen, a break for staying at or near historic lows of 3% on average. The labor market will strengthen, especially as vaccines become widely available and life moves toward normal.

“Around 4 million net jobs could be added, a gradual rebound from the net loss of roughly 7 million during the pandemic year of 2020. The unemployment rate by the year’s end could be at 5.5%, a great improvement from 14.7% in April 2020 when the nation was under a strict lockdown, but still a few notches up from the generational low of 3.5% right before the pandemic.

Low mortgage rates have been the key reason for the housing market’s strong performance in the midst of the pandemic and high employment…. While mortgage rates are highly influential, they’re not the only factor affecting home sales. Given the substantial commitment and financial dollars at stake, consumer confidence and life-cycle events such as marriage, changes to family size, and retirement all play a role. During the pandemic, we learned that most people who work in offices could be just as productive at home, and this new reality will help fuel home sales in the post-pandemic economy. Already, big tech companies are allowing greater work-from-home flexibility. Other organizations will no doubt follow in some hybrid fashion. Perhaps the work-from-home trend was inevitable as internet speed and software improved. The pandemic just accelerated the timeline in a flash.

Owners who were content with their home before the pandemic are thinking about the benefits of another bedroom to use as a dedicated home office or are considering relocating to the countryside, knowing that commuting to downtown offices every day has become a thing of the past. Some consumers are turning to vacation properties as an appealing work-from-home option….

“The encouraging news on the home front contrasts drastically with the specter of newly empty office buildings. Those with leases are still mostly paying rent even though office spaces are not being used, and businesses with leases that are terminating are clearly reevaluating their space needs. In the second and third quarter of 2020, office usage dropped by a combined 74 million square feet. The situation will not improve until the middle of year; even then, the normal relationship between office job creation and net new leasing will not align as many companies will reevaluate and rejigger their office space needs. Downtown retail shops and eateries will also undergo a harsh transition from the reduced foot traffic….

“The housing market is facing an acute inventory shortage. Adding more demand without addressing the supply will push up home prices at an even faster clip. That is why it’s critical to turn raw land into developable lots so that homebuilders can increase production. But Biden’s proposal to remove 1031 like-kind exchanges from the tax code would hinder land sales and pile more negative pressure onto commercial real estate. Without serious reconsideration of this tax incentive, home prices could take off and essentially negate the benefit of federally supported down payment assistance programs.

“The Biden administration is also likely to appoint Federal Reserve governors who will be more tolerant of higher inflation in order to quickly bring down the unemployment rate. That means printing more money. Don’t be surprised if, over time, prices for a tangible asset like real estate consistently outpace overall consumer price inflation. Even bitcoin, with its limited supply, may attract investors.

“Finally, under a Biden presidency, overall government spending is likely to rise. The goal: Fix the economy before worrying about the deficit. Spending on programs such as high-speed internet access for rural communities and improved rail transportation to distant suburbs will have a positive impact, since demand will continue to increase outside of city centers. Land is plentiful and relatively cheap, making it easier for homebuilders to construct homes. Only when the supply of new homes is growing does stimulating additional demand make sense.

Looking to File for a Florida Homestead Exemption?

This Homestead Exemption is a constitutional benefit of up to a $50,000 exemption removed from the assessed value of your property. It is granted to those applicants who possess title to real property and are bona fide Florida residents living in the dwelling and making it their permanent home on January 1. Documentation that proves you were a resident at the homestead property is required.

Rental of the Homestead Property – Property owners who receive the homestead exemption on their residence need to be aware that personally renting their property or renting through home-sharing or collaborative consumption companies may constitute abandonment and, therefore, loss of the homestead tax exemption. Renting typically means exclusive use by a tenant on a temporary, seasonal, or annual basis. If you plan to rent, please contact the appropriate legal advisers to be sure that you do not jeopardize your homestead exemption. Relinquishing your homestead exemption will increase your property taxes.

Value Limitations (caps) – Properties granted homestead exemption automatically receive the “Save Our Homes” benefit. This is a constitutional benefit approved by the Florida voters in 1992. It places a limitation of 3% on annual assessment increase on homestead properties beginning with the 1995 tax year. For properties granted homestead exemption in the prior years, that assessed value will be the base value for the implementation of “Save Our Homes”. Thereafter, the assessed value will not increase more than 3% or the Consumer Price Index, whichever is less. Exceptions to that limitation include new additions or construction that escaped taxation in the past. When a homestead property sells, the assessed value returns to fair market value in the year following the sale. That value assessment then becomes the new owner/homestead applicant’s base value for “Save Our Homes” purposes.

When to File – Florida law requires that application for a new Florida Homestead Exemption be made by March 1st to be eligible for up to a $50,000 Homestead Exemption. Only new applicants or those who had a change of residence need apply. Automatic renewals are mailed in January each year. The Lee County Property Appraiser’s Office offers on-line filing for Homestead Exemption is at www.LeePA.org.

There are two ways to apply, depending on certain criteria. If you meet ALL of the criteria below, application may be made online using the “Quick Apply Form”:

  • You are applying for Homestead Exemption ONLY
  • You are applying for yourself or you and your spouse
  • You have a valid Florid Drivers License for both you and your spouse (if applying together), and the Drivers License shows the address of the property you would like to apply for
  • You resided in the home prior to January 1, 2021.

If ANY of the criteria below apply, use their Homestead Online form:

  • You are applying for Homestead Exemption AND Portability
  • You are applying for Homestead Exemption for owners other than you and your spouse
  • You are married and your spouse is NOT applying
  • You have a partial interest in the property that you are applying for.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity January 8-15, 2021

Sanibel

CONDOS

4 new listings: Captains Walk #B3 1/1 $299.9K, Sanibel Arms West #A3 2/2 $529K, Sanibel Arms West #B5 2/2 $569K, Pointe Santo #E22 2/2 $899K.

7 price changes: Sundial #F108 1/1 now $435K, Sanibel Arms West #J3 2/2 now $569K, Cottage Colony West #125 1/1 now $599K, Cottage Colony West #119 1/1 now $609K, Sandalfoot #3C3 2/2 now $698K, Sand Pointe #113 2/2 now $789K, Sundial #P402 2/2 now $1.189M.

6 new sales: Mariner Pointe #1043 2/2 listed at $490K, Sundial #G406 1/1 listed at $519K, Sandpiper Beach #401 2/2 listed at $775K, Sandpiper Beach #205 2/2 listed at $815K, Sanctuary Golf Villages #1-5 2/2.5 listed at $999K, Sandpiper West #1 3/3 listed at $2.15M.

3 closed sales: Beach Road Villas #105 2/2 $479K, Mariner Pointe #522 2/2 $484.9K (our listing), Breakers West #B5 2/2 $560K.

View from Mariner Pointe #522

HOMES

9 new listings: 4661 Rue Bayou 2/2 $679K, 5100 Sea Bell Rd 3/2.5 $868K, 4202 Old Banyan Way 3/2 $899.5K, 1147 Buttonwood Ln 3/2 $1.335M, 751 Windlass Way 5/5 $1.595M, 940 Whelk Dr 3/2 $1.595M, 3910 Coquina Dr 6/4 $1.95M, 1680 Hibiscus Dr 3/3.5 $2.15M, 1266 Isabel Dr 3/3 $2.895M.

1 price change: 1430 Sanderling Cir 3.5 now $799K.

10 new sales: 956 Dixie Beach Blvd 2/1 listed at $449K, 1415 Sandpiper Cir 2/2 half-duplex listed at $459K, 1076 Sand Castle Rd 2/2 listed at $750K, 9421 Moonlight Dr 3/2 listed at $775K, 1030 Kings Crown Dr 2/2 listed at $879.9K, 1308 Eagle Run Dr 4/4 listed at $1.549M, 784 Birdie View Pt 4/4 listed at $1.795M, 5771 Baltusrol Ct 3/4 listed at $1.8M, 2564 Wulfert Rd 4/5.5 listed at $1.929M, 2336 Starfish Ln 3/2.5 listed at $2.195M.

5 closed sales: 753 Nerita St 3/2 $545K, 1001 East Gulf Dr 2/2 $595K, 1073 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $740K, 482 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $780K, 2984 Island Inn Rd 3/2 $815K.

LOTS

1 new listing: 9042 Mockingbird Dr $395K.

2 price changes: 3013 Poinciana Cir now $249.9K, 2933 Wulfert Rd now $349K.

1 new sale: 6095 Dinkins Lake Rd listed at $269,555.

1 closed sale: 1313 Par View Dr $300K.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Beach Homes #6 3/3 now $2.879M.

2 new sales: Tennis Villas #3136 1/1 listed at $340K, Beach Homes #25 3/2 listed at $1.995M.

No closed sales.

HOMES

2 new listings: 14865 Captiva Dr 4/4 $1.699M, 14980 Binder Dr 4/4 $2.55M.

2 price changes: 11544 Wightman Ln 4/4.5 now $2.25M, 16500 Captiva Dr 6/6/2 now $6.289M.

3 new sales: 11520 Wightman Ln 3/2 listed at $2.589M, 16189 Captiva Dr 6/4 listed at $3.699M, 1119 Schefflera Ct 4/3.5 listed at $5.975M.

1 closed sale: 11521 Laika Ln 3/3 $1.275M.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

This representation is based in part on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.  Data maintained by the association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market.  The information provided represents the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.

Below is our ad from today’s “Island Sun”.

Until next Friday, stay warm, safe, & smiling! Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Merry Christmas 2020!

Christmas Day 2020 at Sanibel Lighthouse 1:08 p.m.

What a different one it is. As we likely are all celebrating the season in new ways this year, I bet you too are looking forward to a safer, healthier, more productive 2021. I hope you are spending your day, like me and The SanibelSusan Team, the best you can under the circumstances.

As mentioned before, the pandemic has affected the islands real estate market, some ways great, some not-so-good. We have learned social-distancing skills and developed new marketing techniques while buyers and sellers have struggled to achieve their goals too – in this wonderful place that remains special regardless of what is happening worldwide.

It was so quiet this morning at my house, that I decided to take a spin around the East End, take a few photos, and then send this from the office. So here I am in Sanibel Square doing what I enjoy most. One of those things was getting a listing under contract yesterday. It is great to have a sale on Christmas Eve.

Another event was learning that a closing scheduled to occur on Monday, may now instead be the following week. Snafus with lenders, condo associations, and overnight mail with holidays are obstacles that make us so love cash sales with few contingencies – and appreciate our clients who continue to understand that as hard as we work to prevent any delays, stuff happens. This year, it seems to be all “new stuff”.

Below are some more photos taken about this afternoon. Though there have been sporadic recent reports of red tide, I did not see any evidence. There were plenty of people beach walking on both the bay and gulf side, also many folks at the fishing pier. Some bundled up as it is only mid-50’s and breezy, but there were a few brave kids wading in the water, plus the usual kiteboarders. The four photos below were from the beach access at the gulf end of Seagrape Lane.

Moving to the other end of Seagrape Lane, on San Carlos Bay, I watched a kiteboarder who was blown into the water struggle to get close to shore and get the kite airborne again. I waited until the rider was flying again was over the water, before departing. You can see the kite (teal color) in the center of the third photo below. (Moms worry about those kiteboarders.)

Moving on to the Sanibel Marina, it was pretty quiet there. No one in sight and Gramma Dot’s is closed until tomorrow. In the bottom picture, you can see how they spread out tables for outside dining.

If you also want to follow red tide reports, the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) in their weekly email included a link to https://habforecast.gcoos.org/. That is NOAA’s Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System. Today it shows high readings on south of here at Vanderbilt Beach and the Naples Pier. It looks to be clear on both Sanibel and most of Captiva. Here is hoping this cool weather and northerly winds keep it away!

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

Holiday Celebrations Around the World

Late Monday, I attended an on-line Zoom meeting put on by Florida Realtors® Global Business Committee. My Naples pal, Paula Angelopoulos Urbinati chairs that committee this year, while Realtor® friend Christel Silver owner of Silver International Realty in Del Ray Beach is Vice Chair.

With presentations by Realtors® with personal and family connections in other countries, it was not surprising to hear that most holiday celebrations outside the U.S. also involved sharing a special meal(s) with family, gift giving, and music/caroling. It was surprising in some instances to learn how some celebrations differ. Here are just a few tidbits.

In Greece, Christmas celebrations officially last for 14 days, starting on Christmas Eve and ending on Epiphany (January 6) with the ‘Great Blessing of Water’.

In Barbados, celebrations begin December 1 with island residents painting their homes inside and out, often also purchasing all new furnishings to welcome the season with a clean slate.

In the Philippines, their celebrations are the longest in the world, beginning in early September, through the first Sunday in January which is the Feast of Three Kings. Another holiday custom in the Philippines is parents giving children a red envelope with cash inside.

In Cuba, Christmas was not celebrated for 30 years. That changed in 1998 when the Pope visited the country. In Cuba today, the celebration includes roasting a whole pig and gifts given for 12 days following Christmas.

In the United Kingdom, it was interesting to hear that stockings are not hung on mantels, but instead are placed at the foot of the beds. Sometimes pillowcases are used instead – ready for Father Christmas to fill them up. Advent calendars are popular, and everyone listens to the Queen’s speech on Christmas Day. She has been giving those since 1957, usually about 3 p.m. Christmas crackers also are popular in the UK. (I usually have them at my Christmas dinners too. Missing that this year.) This tradition goes back to the 1800’s with the cracker which pulls apart to make a “pop”, then opens to contain a paper crown (which must be worn during dinner), a silly joke, and a tiny toy. Christmas dinner in the UK most closely resembles many in the US including turkey (sometimes goose); roast beef; brussels sprouts (no Christmas dinner complete without those); mashed carrots and turnips (together); stuffing balls with sage, onion, chestnut; roasted potatoes (never mashed); Yorkshire pudding, peas; and cranberry sauce or bread sauce (which is a white sauce).Their Christmas desserts include mince pies, Christmas pudding aged for a month or two and with a silver coin inside, brandy butter to go on the pudding, and trifle.

In Hungary, many of their traditions are like those in Germany. Their holidays begin four Sundays before Christmas. Santa Claus Day is December 6. Children put their “clean” boots on their window sill at night with the “good” children receiving candy and those “naughty” ones getting sticks instead. Their trees go up on December 24, while their Christmas Day menus typically include codfish soup and stuffed cabbage. Their trees, which are decorated with colorfully wrapped candy and chocolate, stay up until January 6, though the candies particularly those on the bottom branches, reachable by children, disappear first. Like Germany, Christmas is celebrated on both December 25 and 26.

Israel’s Hannukah or “Festival of Lights” is an eight-day rededication ceremony with dates that change each year. It is not related to Christmas, but typically ends sometime before Christmas. Part of this celebration is adding lights to a menorah (candle holder). Every person in each family has their own, so if in a large family, it can mean many lights. Each menorah has nine candle holders so that one candle is lit each night with the ninth (or shamash) for the helper candle that is used to light the others. Common food at their celebrations include matza ball soup, potato latkes (pancakes), and jelly donuts. Children receive gifts all eight days of Hannukah with their traditions kept alive with gifts like dreidels, gelt (chocolate coins), and menorah.

In Africa, Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26 to January 1, observed by people of all faiths since it is not tied to any religion, but rather is to inspire blacks to be united, self-determined, accountable, financially invested, purposeful, creative, and full of faith. It is a celebration of life and a ritual to welcome the first harvests to the home. Each day of the seven days of Kwanzaa has special meaning, also with lighting of candles, in black, green, and red.

Sanibel – COVID-19

Florida Department of Health’s daily report says that Sanibel’s total number of COVID-19 cases from March 26 through December 24 at 9 a.m. is 128. This is just the cases for residents in our zip code. It does not include the many workers and visitors that come and go. PLEASE stay vigilant – continue social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, and avoid group gatherings.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity December 18 – 25, 2020

Sanibel

CONDOS

6 new listings: Sundial #G406 1/1 $519K, Kimball Lodge #244 1/1.5 $550K, Sanibel Arms West #H6 2/2 $579K, Sanibel Arms West #I4 2/2 $579K, Pointe Santo #B26 2/2 $689K, Mariner Pointe #241 2/2.5 $690K.

2 price changes: Sanibel Arms #C5 2/2 now $475K, Surfside 12 #B1 3/2 now $999.5K.

2 new sales: Mariner Pointe #541 2/2 listed at $515K (our listing), Sundial #P203 2/2 listed at $899K.

5 closed sales: Captains Walk #B4 2/2 $380K, Coquina Beach #2B 2/2 $452.5K, Sanibel Arms West #M2 2/2 $525K, Coquina Beach #1D 2/2 $528.5K, Sundial #H203 2/2 $725K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 1480 Middle Gulf Dr 4/4.5.5 $1.65M.

1 price change: 5439 Osprey Ct 4/3 now $1.669M.

7 new sales: 3935 Coquina Dr 4/3 listed at $849,950; 916 Almas Ct 3/3.5 listed at $1.39M, 9441 Peaceful Dr 3/3.5 listed at $1,395M,  1743 Venus Dr 4/3.5 listed at $1.599M, 5391 Shearwater Dr 3/3.5 listed at $1.795M, 2411 Blue Crab Ct 4/4.5 listed at $2.4949M, 1069 Bird Ln 4/3.5 listed at $4.495M.

7 closed sales: 4044 Coquina Dr 2/2 $485K, 1603 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 half-duplex $570K, 280 Southwinds Dr 3/3.5 $618K, 1610 Sabal Sands Rd 3/2 $675K, 580 Boulder Dr 3/2 $799K, 735 Sand Dollar Dr 3/3 $1.24M, 1237 Isabel Dr 5/6.5 $2.6M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 539 Sea Oats Dr $420K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 3945 West Gulf Dr listed at $2.999M.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Gulf Beach Villas #2127 2/2 $900K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: Lands End Village #1628 4/4 listed at $2.749M.

1 closed sale: Captiva Hide-A-Way #2A 2/2 $880K.

HOMES

2 new listings: 15361 Captiva Dr 5/4.5 $2.795M, 11530 Paige Ct 4/5.5 $4.579M.

1 price change: 17201 Captiva Dr 5/4.5 now $5.65M.

1 new sale: 17101 Captiva Dr 7/6.5 listed at $2.695M.

No closed sales.

LOTS

1 new listing: 16685 Captiva Dr $2.45M.

No price changes, new, or closed sales.

Jensen’s on Captiva also went under contract this week (with contingencies). Asking price $13.995M, it includes 14 historic cottages, 35 boat slips, marina, fuel dock, fleet of rental boats, ships store & office.

This representation is based in part on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.  Data maintained by the association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market.  The information provided represents the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.

Below is our ad from today’s “Island Sun”.

You can be sure that I’ll be posting next Friday too – with a Happy New Year report! Meanwhile, enjoy your Christmas!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Woohoo! A busy real estate kinda Friday at SanibelSusan Realty!

It has been another busy week for The SanibelSusan Team. Two more of our listings went under contract. We are very thankful to have ten closings in our “under contract” hopper simultaneously. In many ways, 2020 is a year for the record books. Two closings for us today too with the gals at Knight Barry Title Solutions who are super busy! The second being finalized now. Woohoo!

Also, this week our office carpet got its annual cleaning. Shout-out to Tru-Clean, Carpet & Tile Care, who always does a terrific job. This year, it seemed like summer and the rainy season went on forever – then like magic, it became winter. With the 2nd cold front here this week and another set to arrive next week, it has been a nice reprieve to have daytime highs in the 60’s – feels like Christmas is coming. We locals are bundled in our wool shirts, sweaters, and jackets, while tourists wearing tank tops and shorts are riding with tops down. It is always funny to see that.

The SanibelSusan Team island-wide holiday bulk mailing went to the post office today. With interest rates low and demand to buy high, there should be more sales in the upcoming weeks. Meanwhile, we are looking for new listings to replenish our supply and still have a few wonderful listings available. Photos below taken today from our listing at White Sands #23.

Elise also has our tree decorated and the office looking festive. Pandemic or not, we celebrate the season!

Bailey’s antique delivery vehicle decorated for the season!

Earlier this afternoon, the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® leadership team and 2021 Professional Standards Committee are attending a Florida Realtors® Zoom meeting that covers recent changes by the National Association of Realtors® to the Realtors® Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. I will be Zooming in as this update supplements the required Pro Standards training coming up in early January. Always new things to learn to stay current.

Sanibel – COVID-19

From Florida Department of Health, Sanibel’s total accumulative number of COVID-19 cases from March 26 through December 6 is 100. There were 63 cases in reported in the first seven months, but 37 in just the last six weeks. PLEASE stay vigilant – continue social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, and avoid group gatherings.

It was a smart addition this week to see the electronic sign in front of the Chamber of Commerce coming onto the island which reads “Welcome to Sanibel”, followed by “Wear Your Mask”. City Council acted on that notice at their meeting last week. At that same meeting, the City also agreed to advise of new cases as they are reported, rather than just weekly which is when the state provides their analytics.

Last night, a post on the City’s website announced that City Council has called a special meeting to discuss potential adoption or modification of COVID-19 related restrictions. It is scheduled for Monday, December 14 at 10 a.m. You can tune in to hear the audio live at www.MySanibel.com.

Pandemic Didn’t Change Work Model So Much as Accelerate It

Posted December 7 by Jennifer Quinn, economist, and Director of Economic Development for Florida Realtors®:

“Is the work-from-home trend here to stay, along with its real estate impact on new housing and location demands? A nine-month study suggests that the change was already underway before the pandemic started. It’s simply happening faster now.

“ORLANDO, Fla. – Preliminary analysis of a nearly nine-month remote-work experiment points to the reality that the pandemic was not a change agent, but rather an accelerant. Meaning – companies were likely going to embrace more remote work and telecommuting options for their employees in the coming decade, particularly in areas where traffic is just unbearable (we are looking at you New York and Silicon Valley).

“However, adapting to the pandemic accelerated these plans, pushed forward technology adoption and created a new way of connecting and doing business. The future of work appears to have arrived earlier than previously expected. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top 10 remote work occupation categories according to the percent of people who teleworked because of the pandemic are:

  1. Computer & Mathematical Occupations
  2. Business & Financial Operations
  3. Life, Physical, & Social Science Occupations
  4. Legal Occupations
  5. Architecture & Engineering Occupations
  6. Community & Social Service Occupations
  7. Educational Instruction & Library Occupations
  8. Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports & Media Occupations
  9. Management Occupations
  10. Office & Administrative Support Occupations.

“People who work in these occupations are seen as “suddenly mobile” – they are no longer tied to the gateway cities they lived in prior to the pandemic and are able to re-think their proximity to the office (and what the “office” even is). Faced with staggering home prices and wages that don’t seem to keep up, many are asking themselves, “Can we do this somewhere else?”

“So, if people no longer have to live near their offices, will they still choose to live where they have been? According to a survey by Upwork’s Remote Workers on the Move released in October 2020, 14 million to 23 million Americans are planning to relocate to a new U.S. city or region. The survey reveals that not all moves are minor, such as moving from an inner ring suburb to an exurb of the same city. Some of these moves are to different states entirely, depending on what percentage of their work will be conducted remotely.

“That is a lot of people whose view from their home office can go from one where snow blankets the backyard to one with a palm tree and some sand. Looking at the concentration of these top 10 industries, Florida tracks similarly to the U.S., meaning there are plenty of people here already living the dream. Focusing on in-migration from Northeastern and Western states is hardly new, as Florida has topped the lists for relocation for a while now. However, tapping into the new and potentially large suddenly mobile market could yield positive results for you and your business.

“But does this trend have legs? The Upwork survey indicates that companies find several advantages to increasing their remote workforce, chief among them lower operating costs, increased employee availability and job satisfaction. Additionally, companies throughout the world can readily tap into Florida’s increasingly diverse workforce with increased ease.

“Many believe that once the pandemic fades and people can go back to the office as they did in 2019, not all will – at least not full-time. Several large tech firms have announced long-term remote work plans for employees and others are considering the same. And it’s not just tech – 57% of small and medium-size businesses plan to offer remote work plans for the long term as well.

“Florida offers many upsides to the suddenly mobile that benefit both their employers and themselves. Home prices in Florida remain affordable compared to the more expensive housing markets that people are coming from – Boston, San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland and New York City. Combined with the lack of state income tax, the calculus to make the move to Florida pencils out….”

Mortgage Unchanged From Last Week’s Record Low

By Kerry Smith at FloridaRealtors®: “Last week, the average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage hit its 14th record low this year, and it held onto that 2.71% rate. The 15-year loan was also unchanged at 2.26%.

“MCLEAN, Va. – The average 30-year mortgage rate held onto the 2.71% average rate it hit last week – the 14th record low set this year. “Mortgage rates remain at record lows, resisting their typical correlation to Treasury yields, which have recently been moving higher,” says Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. The Treasury plays a role in mortgage rates since they are part of the funding mechanism.

““Mortgage spreads – the difference between mortgage rates and the 10-year Treasury rate – are declining from their elevated levels earlier this year,” Khater adds. “Although today’s mortgage spread is about 1.8% and still has some room to move down if the 10-year Treasury continues to rise, it’s encouraging to see that the spread is almost back to normal levels.”

“The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 2.71% with an average 0.7 point for the week ending Dec. 10, 2020, unchanged from last week. A year ago, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.7%. The 15-year FRM averaged 2.26% with an average 0.6 point, also unchanged from last week. One year earlier, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.19%. Only the 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) declined in this week’s survey. It averaged 2.79% with an average 0.3 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.86%. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.36%.”

Even with the low interest rates, we are lucky on the islands that most of our sales are “cash”. One of our closings this week was scheduled to close November 30 but delayed because the lender is so busy – or taking on more business than they can support. These buyers got frustrated and instead paid cash. Local lenders are attuned to the idiosyncrasies of mortgages on a barrier island and usually have rates as competitive as anywhere. The SanibelSusan Team has preached for years – that it always pays to use a hometown bank.

7 Top-Rated Resorts on Sanibel Island, FL

Written by Lura Seavey, this article was posted November 17 on http://www.PlanetWare.com:

“Sanibel Island acts as a barrier between the Gulf of Mexico and the larger Pine Island, connected to Fort Myers on the mainland by the Sanibel Causeway. The central and eastern part of the island is most active with tourists and is full of resorts, restaurants, and shops that can be easily reached by foot or via the trolley that stops at all the major hotels. The south-facing beaches are the island’s widest and most crowded, known for an extraordinary abundance of seashells.

“As you head west, the beaches narrow, but the resorts spread out, resulting in more privacy. At its northern tip, Sanibel Island connects via a bridge over the Blind Pass to its tiny sibling, Captiva Island. Here, you will find resorts that have shores facing both the gulf, as well as the more protected Pine Island Sound, perfect for vacationers who will be arriving by water.

“Marinas are also available on the north side of Sanibel Island, opposite the resort-lined beaches. All the island’s resorts have amazing sunsets over the gulf and offer plenty of recreational activities for both families and adults.

“Choose your tropical getaway with our list of the top resorts on Sanibel Island.

“1. Sanibel Moorings Resort – Located on the eastern end of the island near Sanibel Lighthouse, the Sanibel Moorings Resort is a quiet getaway boasting a private beach with complimentary lounge chairs and umbrellas for guests’ use. Nature-lovers will appreciate the guided beach walks and shelling lectures conducted weekly by a marine biologist, as well as tours of the property’s six-acre tropical botanical garden, which includes a butterfly garden. Resort amenities include two heated pools plus a kids’ area with a separate pool, two tennis courts, a fitness center and business center, self-serve laundry, library, and resort-wide Wi-Fi. The resort also has rentals available for canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards, as well as bicycles, so you can easily explore the island. Pet-friendly units are available, and all lodgings include a full kitchen, his and hers sinks in the master bath, and a private screened porch. There are also dockside units available for those arriving by boat. Accommodation: Sanibel Moorings Resort

“2. Sundial Beach Resort & Spa – Condominium-style lodgings at the Sundial Beach Resort & Spa range from studios to three-bedroom suites equipped with full kitchens and on-site self-serve laundry facilities. Accommodations include a full breakfast, housekeeping, and complimentary use of equipment such as paddleboards and kayaks. In addition, the resort hosts recreational activities for all ages. Sports facilities include a fitness center, tennis courts, beach volleyball, and pickleball, as well as tabletop games like ping-pong and foosball. The resort is also home to an 18-hole golf course with club rental, and an on-site day spa that offers a full range of services. Live entertainment and refreshments are available at the resort’s swimming pools, and there are plentiful poolside cabanas and deck chairs to accommodate everyone. There are five restaurants on the property that offer everything from American fare to sushi, plus a convenience store with groceries and a gift shop. Check out the Sea Breeze Cafe, which is considered some of the best waterfront dining in southwest Florida. You can grab a table outside with gorgeous views, especially at sunset. There is also a pizza restaurant that is popular with families for its slices of pizza, hot dogs, and ice-cream scoops. Accommodation: Sundial Beach Resort & Spa

“3. West Wind Inn – The West Wind Inn offers a choice of standard guestrooms or kitchenette rooms, all of which come with a screened-in balcony or deck with views of either the Gulf of Mexico or the resort’s lovely tropical gardens. The property includes a peaceful butterfly garden and goldfish pond, a heated pool with a large deck and poolside entertainment and refreshments, and a private beach. For guests’ convenience, management provides a shell-cleaning area, as well as multiple faucets throughout, where guests can rinse the sand from their feet and shoes to keep the grit out of their rooms. Beach chairs and umbrellas are available for rent, and local activities like sightseeing cruises can be booked directly by the concierge. Other resort amenities include tennis, shuffleboard, self-serve laundry, free parking, and Wi-Fi. Those with mobility issues should request a ground floor room as there is no elevator. Accommodation: West Wind Inn

“4. Casa Ybel Resort – The all-suite Casa Ybel Resort sits on 23 acres along Sanibel Island’s Knapps Point, facing south over the gulf. Every suite is oceanfront and includes a full kitchen and outdoor gas grill; a separate living room with a pullout couch; and a screened balcony or lanai, so you can enjoy the ocean views bug-free in the evening. The resort offers many ways to make guests feel welcome and get the most out of their beach vacation, including group classes like yoga on the beach at sunrise and sunset and family activities, like s’mores and a bonfire or an outdoor movie in the evening. Both experienced and new tennis players will enjoy the six courts and optional lessons and clinics, and those who want to have fun in the water can take advantage of Jet Ski, paddleboard, and ocean kayak rentals. In addition to a large, heated pool with the convenient Coconuts Grill, there is a well-shaded kiddie pool with plenty of room for parents to relax. The resort also offers on-site dining at Thistle Lodge Beachfront Restaurant. Sanibel’s most historic dining establishment, it has hosted everyone from Henry Ford to Thomas Edison over the centuries. The fine-dining restaurant serves Floridian and European fare for brunch, lunch, and dinner and has special holiday menus as well. Other resort amenities include a range of spa services, including massages. These can be enjoyed in your room, at the pool, or on the beach. Accommodation: Casa Ybel Resort

“5. Island Inn – The eco-conscious Island Inn provides guests with all the amenities of a full-service resort without the extra fees, offering lodgings ranging from standard rooms with kitchenettes to fully equipped beach cottages that can accommodate up to 12 people. Set on 10 acres, the property sits in the central part of Sanibel Island and includes a private beach, where you can enjoy educational naturalist-guided tours. There is a convenient cleaning station for shell-collectors, as well as fishermen – you can cook your catch on one of the gas grills or opt to have the inn’s restaurant expertly prepare your fresh-caught meal. On-site recreational facilities include volleyball and tennis courts, shuffleboard, and horseshoes, while rentals are available for bicycles, as well as kayaks and paddleboards. For a break from the sun or to socialize on a cool evening, the library and family lounge offers a fireplace, television, computers, books, and games. Accommodation: Island Inn

“6. South Seas Island Resort – Occupying the entire northern section of Captiva Island, the South Seas Island Resort provides guests with everything they need to enjoy this island paradise. The property is so large that a trolley runs from one end to the other, and resort activities are nearly endless. In addition to a full-service marina, the resort’s Offshore Sailing School provides lessons and rentals, and several fishing and eco-tours depart from here as well. Guided nature walks throughout the 330-acre wildlife preserve offer a chance to learn more about the ocean life, birds, and ecosystem, while guests are free to roam the 2.5 miles of pristine beach. Kids’ and teen education programs are also offered, as well as many family activities, including crafts, games, and even crab racing. Camp Skullywags is open for half or full days to kids aged three to 11, perfect for giving them a change of pace and giving parents some alone time or a chance to relax at the full-service resort spa. There are an astounding 20 pools to choose from, including the main pool area, which features dining and live entertainment.

Other recreation includes a playground, tennis, volleyball, and an arcade room, as well as fishing and a wide array of water sports. The resort also boasts a private, nine-hole, par-27 golf course with a pro shop, and multiple dining options, including full-service restaurants; a gourmet market; an ice-cream shop; and, of course, a Starbucks. The resort has a wide range of lodging options to fit every need, including hotel-style rooms, condos of various sizes, and even beach home rentals with as many as six bedrooms. Accommodation: South Seas Island Resort

“7. ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa – Located in the narrow central part of Captiva Island, ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa has the ambience of “old Florida” hospitality. The 13-acre property faces the water on both sides, with a private beach to the west and a marina on Pine Island Sound to the west. The marina is available for guests’ private craft and also offers rentals, as well as guided eco-adventures. In addition to the beach, water bugs can enjoy the Olympic-size pool, the smaller Serenity Pool, a hot tub, and a kiddie pool for little ones. Other resort recreation includes tennis, pickleball, and kayaking, as well as crab races, karaoke, and live entertainment nightly. The resort spa offers a full range of services to help guests relax, and although there is no golf course on the property, guests are given a discount at a nearby golf club. There are a few different dining options on-site, including the award-winning Old Captiva House restaurant. It is a national historic landmark and is famous for its homemade breads, fresh Florida cooking, and locally sourced produce all served in a nautical setting. It is open for breakfast and dinner. Also on-site is the Crow’s Nest Grille. It features views of the Gulf of Mexico and island classics served in casual, family-friendly environs. Accommodation: ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa

Sanibel & Captiva Water Conservation Rules

Highlighted in the Winter 2020 issue of IWA Pipeline, Island Water reminded property owners that Sanibel’s permitted schedule for irrigation is:

  • Even numbered addresses – Tuesdays & Fridays
  • Odd numbered addresses – Mondays & Thursdays.

For Captiva, Lee County’s permitted schedule for irrigation is:

  • Even numbered addresses – Thursdays and Sundays
  • Odd numbered addresses – Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity December 4 – 11, 2020

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Sandalfoot #3C3 2/2 $710K, Sandpiper West #1 3/3 $2.15M.

2 price changes: Sundial #F106 1/1 now $465K, Cottage Colony West #102 1/1 now $579,990.

6 new sales: Sundial #F205 1/1 listed at $419K, Sandalfoot #4B2 1/1 listed at $489K, Signal Inn #10 1/1 listed at $529K, Lighthouse Point #117 3/2 listed at $549K (our listing), Sanibel Moorings #441 2/2 listed at $585K, Loggerhead Cay #411 2/2 listed at $599K.

4 closed sales: Spanish Cay #F3 1/1 $310K (our buyer), Seashells #43 2/2 $427K, Loggerhead Cay #222 2/2 $570K, Sunset South #9D 2/2 $585K.

Sanibel River area aka Panama Canal behind Spanish Cay condos

HOMES

3 new listings: 1415 Sandpiper Cir 2/2 half-duplex $459K, 5757 Pine Tree Dr 3/2.5 $1.05M, 5391 Shearwater Dr 3/3.5 $1.795M.

3 price changes: 223 Southwinds Dr 3/2 now $719K, 1323 Seaspray Ln 4/4.5 now $1.875M, 418 Bella Vista Way 4/4 now $1.8959M.

6 new sales: 718 Durion Ct 3/2 listed at $599K, 9426 Sage Ct 3/3 listed at $995K, 3827 Coquina Dr 3/2 listed at $1.075M, 201 Violet Dr 3/2 listed at $1.1M, 735 Sand Dollar Dr 3/3 listed at $1.249M, 815 Birdie View Pt 3/3 listed at $1.395M.

6 closed sales: 2480 Library Way 3/2.5 $600K, 1125 Captains Walk St 3/3 $736K, 1467 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 $790K, 1720 Dixie Beach Blvd 3/3 $925K, 2957 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 $1.475M. 1133 Golden Olive Ct 3/3.5 $2.3M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 3941 West Gulf Dr $3.695M.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 4566 Buck Key Rd listed at $149K (our listing).

4566 Buck Key Rd lot

1 closed sale: 5251 Indian Ct $600K.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: Beach Homes #2 3/2 listed at $1.899M.

1 closed sale: Lands End Village #1659 2/2 $950K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 1105 Tallow Tree Ct 3/3 $2.45M.

1 price change: 11522 Andy Rosse Ln 4/4.5 now $2.495M.

1 new sale: 11540 Laika Ln listed at $1.29M.

1 closed sale: 16801 Captiva Dr 5/5 $2.049M.

LOTS

No new listings, price changes, new sales, or closed sale.

This representation is based in part on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.  Data maintained by the association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market.  The information provided represents the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.

Below is our ad from today’s “Island Sun”.

Until next Friday, Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

The Friday Before Thanksgiving 2020… on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

The island continues to get busier as early Thanksgiving holiday vacationers/families arrive, and more snowbirds return. The weather this week finally took a long-awaited turn toward fall with lower humidity and daytime temperatures barely out of the 70’s on Wednesday. With little to no chance of rain, it also looks like the rainy season also finally is over. The forecast for the next ten days shows more of the same beautiful weather. Should be perfect for extended social distancing and outside holiday dining next week.

Many friends have returned to Sanibel for the holiday and shared photos taken this week. The below roseate spoonbill shots were taken Monday, Nov 16 at the wildlife refuge. Thank you, Dr Paul & Lynn.

 

While the next photo from our pal Scott was taken from Woodring Rd. Thanks for sharing!

At SanibelSusan Realty Associates

It also was another week of good action with our listings. With eight closings already in the hopper, all expected to close before the end of the year, we were happy to get another listing under contract yesterday. It should be our first closing in 2021. This has kept Dave busy following up on deposits, community applications, attending inspections, and ensuring sale action items are on time. Simultaneously, Elise has fielded more weekday showing requests and feedback, while Lisa and I cover those on the weekend. We are beating the bushes for new listings, if you know anyone thinking of selling.

The info the action posted since last Friday in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service follows a couple of news items below.

City of Sanibel – Politics, COVID-19, & More

Like much of the nation, islanders anxiously follow COVID updates and hope that SW Florida stays safe. This week Sanibel former-Mayor Kevin Ruane, who stepped down when he ran for a Lee County Commissioner seat, was officially sworn in as our County Commissioner for District 1. On Tuesday, his colleagues on the commission also elected him as their board chairman for next year. On Sanibel, that bumped Vice Mayor Mick Denham into the Acting Mayor position.

On Tuesday, Acting Mayor Denham extended the island declared state of emergency due to COVID-19. Now it goes until November 24, 2020, unless further extended. (Per State Statute, the maximum duration for a Mayoral Declaration of Emergency is seven days and thus must be updated weekly as the emergency exists.)  The City face covering mandate remains in effect through the period.

From Florida Department of Health, Sanibel’s total accumulative number of COVID-19 cases since March 26 is 77. Cases are rapidly increasing here. NINE more cases in the last week.

Weeks-ending 3/29 through 5/31 – 2 months = 11 cases

Weeks-ending 6/7 through 8/30 – 2 months = 30 cases

Weeks-ending 9/6 through 11/1 – 2 months = 22 cases

Weeks-ending 11/8 through 11/15 – 2 WEEKS = 14 cases (that is nine more cases than last week)

Please stay vigilant – continue social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, and avoid group gatherings.

Work Space, Outdoor Living, & The Burbs

A good article in the new FloridaRealtor® magazine (Nov/Dec 2020) summaries what is happening on Sanibel too, “as the pandemic changes what homebuyers are looking for…”

“With schools closed and businesses shuttered, many people found their entire lives confined to the four walls of their homes. From working and homeschooling to eating and entertaining, daily life started and ended at home, causing many people to recognize the importance of a comfortable, practical place to live.

“As more companies realize that working from home is a viable option and many schools are on a virtual or a hybrid leaning schedule, these shifts seem to be more than a passing fancy….”

Below are the four trends that followed:

“Trend 1 – More indoor space for remote working and family members. What buyers want: Home office, home gym, well-appointed kitchen, walk-in pantry….

“Trend 2 – Increased consumer appetite for more outdoor and entertainment space. What buyers want: Private and spacious outdoor area, pool, backyard, patio….

“Trend 3 – Move from urban to suburban. What buyers want: Less densely populated location, single-family living….

“Trend 4 – More tech-enabled homes. What buyers want: High-speed WiFi connectivity, tech improvements/upgrades….

The article ends with a note from John “Chuck” Fowke, Tampa-based custom home builder and chairman of the board of the National Association of Home Builders, Washington, D.C.: “About 88% of our buyers indicated their home has become very important or more important because of the pandemic. There’s a trend of people thinking that, because they’re in the suburbs and not in congested areas, the health opportunities are much better. Emphasize the outdoor recreation and freedom of movement outside rather than being inside or in small spaces.””

8 Do’s & Don’ts of Owning a Vacation Rental

Also from the Nov/Dec 2020 issue of “FloridaRealtor®” magazine: “Are you considering a vacation home purchase that will produce valuable rental income when you’re not using the property? If so, check out these dos and don’ts to get the most out of your financial investment.

“DO: Create a financial plan. This will help you predict the potential revenue and expense of owning a rental property.

“DO: Work with a knowledgeable Realtor® when buying. A good agent can help you find a property in a good location with the best rental potential.

“DO: Get to know your property. Carefully check all parts of the property and repair and replace items that need it.”

“DO: Choose a property manager carefully. Check their reputation in the area, then ask how they’ll: Maintain the property so it stays in good condition, communicate with you and maximize your revenue.

“DON’T: Ignore preventive maintenance. It’s better to fix or replace that aging hot water heater or HVAC system now than have it break during a renter’s stay.

“DO: Be strategic about using the property yourself. If your goal is to maximize rental income, stick to planning your stay during the off season.

“DO: Plan to reinvest in the property. Figure you may have to spend 1% of the property value each year on maintenance.

“DO: Be realistic about pricing. Research area rental rates and don’t overprice. Your ultimate goal is to make a reasonable profit and that will require a high occupancy rate.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity November 13-20, 2020

Sanibel

CONDOS

3 new listings: Spanish Cay #A4 2/2 $450K, Sanibel Arms West #J3 2/2 $589K, Sundial #L205 3/2 $1.495M.

5 price changes: Sanibel Arms #C7 1/1 now $349K, Blanca #8 2/1 now $365K, Sanibel Arms #H6 1/1 now $384.9K, Sundial #F108 1/1 now $450K, Sanibel Inn #3512 2/2 now $726K.

6 new sales: Breakers West #B5 2/2 listed at $569K; Compass Point #221 2/2 listed at $639,999; Sanctuary Golf Villages I #1-4 3/3 listed at $799K; Sundial #T201 2/2 listed at $799K;  Pointe Santo #D47 2/2 listed at $974K; Junonia #103 3/2 listed at $1.295M.

10 closed sales: Sundial #I405 1/1 $405K, Sundial #D308 1/1 $414K, Mariner Pointe #813 2/2 $525K, Loggerhead Cay #573 2/2 $657.5K, Lighthouse Point #229 3/2 $712K (our listing), Sunset South #14B 2/2 $920K, Blind Pass #G105 4/3 $950K, Blue Gulf #201 3/2 $1.135M, Sunward #201 3/2 $1.2M, High Tide #B302 3/2 $2.08M.

View from Lighthouse Point #229, sold full price!

HOMES

4 new listings: 1027 Sand Castle Rd 2/2 $499K, 9254 Kincaid Ct 2/2.5 $499.9K, 490 Sawgrass Pl 3/2.5 $1.595M, 4961 Joewood Dr 4/4 5.2M.

4 price changes: 1684 Bunting Ln 2/2 now $514,555; 721 Durion Ct 3/3 now $649.9K; 6141 Henderson Rd 3/2 now $658.5K; 1743 Jewel Box Dr 3/3.5 now $1.35M.

9 new sales: 1357 Jamaica Dr 2/3 duplex listed at $559K, 1142 Shell Basket Ln 3/2 listed at $625K, 1015 Fish Crow Rd 3/2 listed at $649K (our listing), 482 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 listed at $789K, 660 Oliva St 3/3 listed at $829K, 769 Pyrula Ave 3/3.5 listed at $1.395M, 677 Anchor Dr 5/5.5 listed at $1.895M, 2268 Wulfert Rd 4/5.5 listed at $1.995M, 4067 West Gulf Dr 4/4.5 listed at $5.9M.

1015 Fish Crow Rd

8 closed sales: 1410 Sand Castle Rd 2/2 $612,408; 9128 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 $635K; 9307 Dimmick Dr 3/2 $680K; 1326 Tahiti Dr 2/2 $700K; 525 N. Yachtsman Dr 3/2 $775K; 917 Lindgren Blvd 3/2 $850K; 770 Elinor Way 3/2.5 $895K, 2343 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 $1.39M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 5301-25 Sanibel-Captiva Rd $1.2M.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 5116 Sea Bell Rd listed at $229K.

1 closed sale: 2297 Wulfert Rd $179K.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: Bayside Villas #5136 1/2 $380K.

HOMES

No new listings.

1 price change: 16447 Captiva Dr 7/6/2 now $2.79M.

No new sales.

1 close sale: 15147 Captiva Dr 6/5.5 $2.85M.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

This representation is based in part on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.  Data maintained by the association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market.  The information provided represents the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.

Below is our ad from today’s “Island Sun”.

Best wishes from The SanibelSusan Team for a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

A “King Tide” Kinda Friday on Sunny Sanibel

Another Friday is here with Sanibel and Captiva continuing to get busier with increased daytime traffic on Periwinkle Way. Our days are getting shorter with sunsets closer to 7 p.m. Temperatures have been a little cooler too, often with lower humidity. I heard on a weather report yesterday that the average date for local temperatures to dip below 90 degrees F is October 30. So soon, it will be even cooler. This week, it has been mostly sunny and breezy with day-time temps in the mid-80’s, nights mid-70’s.

This afternoon when teammate Dave and I were checking a new listing at Mariner Pointe, I noticed the canal water over the boat docks. When I mentioned it, Dave said “that’s because of the king tide”. Those happen, usually once or twice a year, in coastal communities. Typically, the highest tides of the year, that made me take my time heading back to the office as I snapped a few photos from a few other locations.

King tide at Mariner Pointe 2020-10-16, see the water over dock area.

On entry road to Sanibel Lighthouse 2020-10-16

Bay beach access at end of Bailey Rd 2020-10-26

End of Dixie Beach Blvd 2020-10-16

Our weekly update about the activity posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service follows a couple of news items below.

How COVID-19 Has Changed The Real Estate Market

If you did not read the Sunday article on “ForbesLife” titled “COVID-19 Has Changed The Housing Market Forever”, here are a few tidbits.

“Amid all the uncertainty brought on by COVID-19 over the past six months, one thing is assured: the pandemic has re-ordered real estate markets across the board on an unprecedented scale. Some of this may be irreversible. Real estate’s re-sorting this time isn’t just based on markets crashing (the Great Recession), political turmoil (the 1979 oil embargo), or financial speculation (the first and second dot.com busts)—after which there’s generally confidence that overall consumer demand and buyer preferences will sooner or later snap back to normal.

“Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, more deep-seated, tectonic-sized questions beyond markets and interest rates are being asked this time around that no one really has the answers to yet—like will people feel safer living in the south and southwest where they can spend all year social distancing outside? What if companies let workers work remotely for the rest of their lives? Why go back to retail shopping when I’m already ordering everything online? What’s the point of living “downtown” if half of the restaurants, bars, and museums never open back up?

“How these questions get answered will fundamentally re-order how Americans live in the “new” pandemic normal, and as a result will play a huge X-factor in which cities and states will experience growth, demand, and price appreciation over the next 3-5 years, and which ones will stagnate and lose out….

“Against this backdrop, real estate’s new normal is also creating huge swathes of opportunity. Dozens of cities and counties that were once considered too small, too southern, too hot, too flat, or lacking in amenities, culture, or sophistication are now finding themselves being swooned to the top of the real estate desirability lists as Americans seek warmer, healthier, less dense, better educated, and more mobile places to live that offer closer access to the outdoors, better hospitals, smaller schools, and more open space with no clear end to the pandemic in sight….

“The repercussions of America’s great COVID migration has the potential to re-shuffle the essential demographic and economic balance of America for the next generation. Realtors, investors, and politicians should be paying attention…. By every metric, Americans are moving faster now than they were before the pandemic. Page-per-property views on real estate platforms like Realtor and Zillow are up over 50% year-over-year almost everywhere, inventory in America’s 100 top metro markets has been shrinking since March, along with days on market and the gap between list-to-sale price. A lot of real estate experts prefer the word “despite” when it comes to accounting for this phenomenon while the pandemic’s still raging, when it’s probably more accurately “because of”.

““Real estate markets have undergone noticeable shifts since the start of the coronavirus pandemic,” …“In the wake of the lockdowns in March, Americans discovered that existing homes were not adequate for the new work, teach, exercise, cook and live at home reality. Based on realtor.com surveys of consumers, we learned that home shoppers are looking for more space, quieter neighborhoods, home offices, newer kitchens and access to the outdoors, traits which have revived a strong interest in the suburbs and smaller metro areas.”

“…So what’s the bottom line? Keep your bathing suit and laptop ready to pack. The longer COVID-19 continues to push Americans into the “new” normal, the more of us will be moving south and west, working by the pool….”

City of Sanibel – Emergency Declaration, COVID-19, & Rental Property Deadline

Again, this week, Sanibel’s Mayor extended the declared state of emergency due to COVID-19 until October 20, 2020, unless further extended. (Per State Statute, the maximum duration for a Mayoral Declaration of Emergency is seven days and thus must be updated weekly as the emergency exists.) Additionally, the City face covering mandate was reaffirmed and remains in effect through the period.

Per the Florida Department of Health, Sanibel’s total accumulative number of COVID-19 cases since March 26 is 57. (Yes, that is a big increase in the last couple of weeks. Everyone is urged to continue social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, and to avoid group gatherings.)

Also, this week, the City posted a notice to owners of island rental property reminding them that Dwell Rental License and Registration application submission is required by Friday, October 30. Questions about this process should be addressed to Code.Enf@MySanibel.com or Planning at 239-472-4136.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity October 9-16, 2020

Sanibel

CONDOS

4 new listings: Compass Point #232 2/2 $599K (our listing), Mariner Pointe #411 3/2 $599K (our listing), Surfside 12 #B1 3/2 $1.075M, Kings Crown #302 2/2 $1.499M.

Drone photo of Compass Point taken 2020-10-15 by JMA Photography

View from Compass Point #232

3 price changes: Loggerhead Cay #274 2/2 now $679K, Sanibel Inn #3512 2/2 now $726.5K, Tarpon Beach #207 2/2 now $899K (our listing).

Gulf view from Tarpon Beach #207

9 new sales: Spanish Cay #F6 1/1 listed at $293K, Sanibel Arms #B7 1/1 listed at $356.5K, Seashells #43 2/2 listed at $429K, Seashells #26 2/2 listed at $439.9K, Blind Pass #B111 2/2 listed at $475K, Mariner Pointe #813 2/2 listed at $569K, Villas of Sanibel #B202 3/3 listed at $1.895M, Plantation Village #B222 3/3 listed at $2.53M, Wedgewood #102 3/3.5 listed at $2.595M.

6 closed sales: Kimball Lodge #263 1/1.5 $490K, Pointe Santo #D32 2/2 $700K, Sundial #J107 2/2 $700K, Sandpiper Beach #202 2/2 $760K, Gulfside Place #121 2/2 $1M, Sanibel Sunset #301 3/2 $1.8M.

HOMES

5 new listings: 1860 Ibis Ln 5/3 $895K, 770 Elinor Way 3/2.5 $899K, 9277 Belding Dr 3/3 $925K, 1308 Tahiti Dr 3/3 $949K, 513 Lighthouse Way 3/3 $2.195M.

7 price changes: 9195 Dimmick Dr 2/2 now $449K, 315 East Gulf Dr 3/2 half-duplex now $579K, 1142 Shell Basket Ln 3/2 now $625K, 1001 East Gulf Dr 2/2 now $639K, 1610 Sabal Sands Rd 3/2 now $714.9K, 1430 Sanderling Cir 4/3.5 now $870K, 1069 Bird Ln 4/3.5 now $4.495M.

4 new sales: 9248 Dimmick Dr 3/3 listed at $699K, 1304 Par View Dr 3/3 listed at $750K, 734 Anchor Dr 3/2 listed at $829K, 2957 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 listed at $1.525M.

10 closed sales: 9247 Dimmick Dr 3/2 $565K, 490 + 460 Old Trail 3/2.5 $675K, 9024 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 $780K, 215 Robinwood Cir 4/3 $800K, 756 Windlass Way 4/3 $810K, 776 Conch Ct 3/2 $850K, 919 Pecten Ct 3/3/2 $900K, 545 Lake Murex Cir 3/3 $1.035M, 790 Beach Rd 4/3.5 $1.18M, 3615 West Gulf Dr 3/2 $2.6M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 6000 White Heron Ln $889K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 2279 Wulfert Rd listed at $318K.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

2 new sales: Bayside Villas #5136 1/2 listed at $399K, Lands End Village #1667 2/2 listed at $1.088M.

No closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings.

1 price change: 16189 Captiva Dr 6/4 multi-home now $4.099M.

1 new sale: 1124 Longifolia Ct 4/5 listed at $2.649M.

1 closed sale: 15879 Captiva Dr 3/3 $2.1M.

LOTS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 925 South Seas Plantation Rd listed at $5.899M.

No closed sales.

This representation is based in part on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.  Data maintained by the association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market.  The information provided represents the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.

Below is our ad from today’s “Island Sun”.

Until next Friday, Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

First Fall Friday on Sunny Sanibel

There has been chatter this week that the run-off from recent rains has darkened the baywaters. Took this pix today at 11 a.m. overlooking San Carlos Bay. It’s a bit darker from the tannin run-offs, but there have been no releases from Lake O. The Army Corps of Engineers says there will be no releases into the Caloosahatchee River for now.

Good news today from sunny Sanibel Island. The flooding from Tropical Storm Sally has mostly disappeared. The rain that flooded the area the weekend of September 12 dropped more than 24”, culminating an already rainy week. It was a record according to a report this week by Sanibel’s Director of Community Services who categorized it as a 100-year event. Sanibel’s weirs, designed to deal with flooding, were opened that weekend when 12.1” of rain fell in one day on already soggy ground.

An added surprise from this week’s change in weather pattern was low humidity, breezy sunny days, and little rain – nice weather for the many shellers collecting the bounty that came in from the recent storms.

A few showers are expected off-and-on over the weekend, but next week, little-to-no-rain again is expected with more sunny days and low 80-degree temperatures forecast. Fall is arriving in the Sunshine State.

High tide at Sanibel Marina this morning.

Outside dining at Gramma Dot’s.

At SanibelSusan Realty Associates

It has been a quiet week at SanibelSusan Realty. About all I can say about the Zoom class, that I taught Tuesday at the Association of Realtors®, is that I am glad it is over. It sure is hard to teach to an empty room and keep attendees engaged. With renewed respect for teachers and instructors dealing with today’s challenges, I appreciate the Realtors® that attended my session.

Below are a couple of news items followed by the activity since last Friday in the Sanibel Captiva Multiple Listing Service.

Status of Sanibel’s Residential Market

Based on recent action (more than usual for September), it is a good time to compare island real estate sales last year to the unusual-ness of 2020.

The tables below show by month and property type, the number of closed sales and average sale prices. Naturally, a closing occurs several weeks and sometimes a month or so after a contract is written so look at these statistics being mindful that contracts written this month, probably will not close until October, November, maybe even December.

The first tables for Sanibel homes show how strong this year began, followed by a big slump in May. That reflects the few new sales in the preceding months (late February, March, & April) which typically are “high” season and have strong sales – not so this year.

Since June, the number of closed home sales each month has exceeded the same month in 2019. Year-to-date numbers are strong. Home prices overall are down a little but holding steady. Already, this year, more homes have sold and closed, than in all of last year.

Closed Sanibel Home Sales by Month (# Sales & Average Sold Price $)
January February March April May
2020 15 848,755 18 1,095,708 25 1,171,820 30 1,097,441 9 732,388
2019 9 1,057,222 11 1,504,590 18 947,923 31 848,458 40 1,010,454

 

Closed Sanibel Home Sales by Month (# Sales & Average Sold Price $)
June July August September to 24 Year-to-Date
2020 14 716,460 39 804,765 21 959,805 20 961,160 191 953,193
2019 14 797,692 25 871,282 9 819,222 10 978,170 167 957,429

Comparing these Sanibel homes sales to current inventory, it really is astounding that even with the pandemic, 191 have sold/closed. Compare that to there just being 82 homes available for sale now. Average asking price is $1,838,648.

Another 59 homes are under contract, average asking price of those is $985,760. That large number of sales compared to inventory, indicates a sellers’ market, particularly in the median price range.

Looking at the same statistics for Sanibel condos, the picture is not as bright. Condos are moving more slowly, yet still ahead of 2019 overall. Those moving best are higher-end units mostly in residential communities. Income-producing condos have not seen a bounce-back. Investors may be wary of future rental projections, but I bet that changes in the upcoming months.

Today, there are 106 Sanibel condos for sale, which is about a year’s worth of inventory. Average asking price is $790,741. There are 27 units under contract, with an average asking price of $850,525.

Closed Sanibel Condo Sales by Month (# Sales & Average Sold Price $)
January February March April May
2020 11 650,060 16 621,093 19 880,947 16 670,150 9 901,000
2019 6 626,875 9 622,944 16 586,312 16 744,203 20 792,350

 

Closed Sanibel Condo Sales by Month (# Sales & Average Sold Price $)
June July August September to 24 Year-to-Date
2020 6 622,666 14 598,642 10 792,622 13 724,769 114 720,375
2019 10 650,350 8 414,500 9 793,555 5 568,800 99 669,782

Year-to-date, nearly twice as many homes have sold as condos. Even more of a disparity between homes and condos was evident during the summer (June 20-September 20, 2020). During that time, 88 Sanibel homes sold and closed, compared to 22 Sanibel condos. That trend continued this week too. Lower-priced Sanibel homes are selling like hotcakes, condos not so much.

Great Places Where Beginning Birders Can Get Their Wings

A special to USA Today this week posted an article that began with “While most of us have stuck close to home this year, bird watching has taken flight. The outdoor activity, which naturally encourages social distancing, has soared in popularity… wildlife refuges and parks make it easy to see a wide variety of flyers and shares some prime locations:”

First on the list is J.N. ‘Ding’ Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

But this week it did not require a ride through the refuge to see my favorite roseate spoonbill. Many were spotted sloshing along the bike path in a few areas where the water has yet to recede.

City of Sanibel

Again, this week, Sanibel Mayor Ruane extended the declared state of emergency due to COVID-19 until September 29, 2020, unless further extended. (Per State Statute, the maximum duration for a Mayoral Declaration of Emergency is seven days and thus must be updated weekly as the emergency exists.)

Per the Florida Department of Health, Sanibel’s total accumulative number of COVID-19 cases since March 26 is 49.

In other City Business, City Council will meet on September 29 at 5:01 p.m. for the final budget hearing for tax year 2020. That is when the debt service ad valorem millage rates for the tax year are adopted. That means the 2020 tax bills should come out on time, later next month.

COVID Personal Protective Equipment Kits

The City of Sanibel has received an allotment of COVID Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from Lee County, and has partnered with FISH OF SANCAP, CHR, The Rotary Club of Sanibel-Captiva, and the Sanibel Community Association (SCA) to distribute these items on Wednesday September 30 and Thursday October 1st from 11 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at The Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way, with drive-thru contactless pick up. Kits are FREE to individuals and households that live or work on Sanibel. They include disposable masks, reusable cloth masks, and a bottle of sanitizer. (To help in the distribution, contact FISH at 239-472-4775.)

Openings & Fall Scoop

Sanibel Farmers Market – begins October 4 and runs through May 30, 2021 every Sunday (including Easter) from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., on City Hall grounds. Parking available in lots at City Hall, Sanibel Library, BIG ARTS, & Schoolhouse Theater. Handicap parking & designated areas for bicycles at City Hall, but no pets allowed.

“B” Beach Parking Permit Sales to Resume – Following up on the suspension of the sale of “B” parking permits when beaches were closed, the City announced plans to start reselling all stickers at their normal schedule of November 1. The City offers five different parking permits. The resident “A” sticker is $12/year for taxpayers and property owners. Restricted “B” permits, for nonresidents, are $124.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity September 18-25, 2020

Sanibel

CONDOS

5 new listings: Sandpebble #2B 2/2 $480K, Mariner Pointe #1043 2/2 $490K, Sandpiper Beach #401 2/2 $789K, Sanibel Surfside #123 2/2 $935K, Sanibel Surfside #124 2/2 $1.05M.

2 price changes: Pointe Santo #A1 2/2 now $875K, Sanddollar #A101 2/2 now $1.15M.

6 new sales: Donax Village #10 1/2 listed at $358K, Sundial #I405 1/1 listed at $419K, Lighthouse Point #229 3/2 listed at $712K (our listing), Pointe Santo #D32 2/2 listed at $749K, Blue Gulf 201 3/2 listed at $1.199M, Sunward #201 3/2 listed at $1.259M

9 closed sales: Spanish Cay #A3 1/1 $280K, Casa Blanca #4 1/1 $337K, Seashells #36 2/2 $365K, Cottage Colony West #134 1/1 $575K, Sunset South #2D 2/2 $675K, Sanibel Surfside #126 2/2 $750K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #5-4 3/3 $760K, Shell Island Beach Club #7C 2/2 $760K, Sanibel Moorings #522 3/2 $1.25M.

HOMES

1 new listing: 916 Almas Ct 3/3.5 $1.39M.

1 price change: 555 Rabbit Rd 3/2 now $599K.

17 new sales: 1403 Sandpiper Cir 3/2.5 half-duplex listed at $490K; 9455 Beverly Ln 2/2 listed at $524K; 1410 Sand Castle Rd 2/2 listed at $645,750; 1031 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 listed at $695K; 934 Cormorant Cir 3/2 listed at $729K; 1296 Par View Dr 3/3 listed at $749K; 9393 Peaceful Dr 3/2.5 listed at $799K; 702 Durion Ct 3/2 listed at $819.9K; 1430 Sanderling Cir 4/3.5 listed at $899K; 1081 Captains Walk St 4/2.5 listed at $995K; 1259 Par View Dr 3/4 listed at $1.175M; 490/460 Old Trail Rd 3/2.5 listed at $699.9K; 1073 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed at $795K; 1777 Serenity Ln 5/4.5 listed at $919K; 6041 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 2/1 listed at $949K; 1259 Par View Dr 3/4 listed at $1.175M, 2343 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 listed at $1.42M.

8 closed sales: 9214 Kincaid Ct 2/2 $355K, 560 Piedmont Rd 3/2 $450K, 454 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $610K, 9106 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 $700K, 345 Cowry Ct 3/4.5 $722.5K, 940 Lindgren Blvd 3/2 $935K, 1329 Eagle Run Dr $1.28M, 4577 Waters Edge Ln 4/3 $2,754,333.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 1303 Par View Dr now $310K.

1 new sale: 2501 Tropical Way listed at $695K.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Bayside Villas #5134 1/2 $399K.

No price changes.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: Bayside Villas #5234 1/2 $390K.

HOMES & LOTS

No new listings, price changes, new or closed sales.

This representation is based in part on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.  Data maintained by the association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market.  The information provided represents the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.

Below is our ad from today’s “Island Sun”.

Until next Friday, enjoy your fall! Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Paradise Post-Sally… Just Another Sunny Friday!

Tropical Storm Sally caused some excitement on Sanibel this week, even if she did not come ashore here. Following many rainy season days, Southwest Florida already was soggy when the storm slowly passed offshore last weekend. So slowly, that as the week began, the City reported that in just nine days, 20.47” of rain had been recorded. Then, there was more.

Late Sunday, between bands (silly me, I thought it had stopped), I went out to check a nearby listing. Just minutes from my home, I received multiple City and County tornado warning messages – cell calls, texts, and emails. Thankfully, those were just caution alerts. Within the hour, the warnings were canceled. There are some cool wall-of-water photos taken then, posted on www.MySanibel.com.

With more often-heavy rain and strong winds Sunday night, by daybreak Monday, a moat surrounded my home and Anchor Dr, at the gulf-end was impassable in a low vehicle. Since that was the last day of my Continuing Ed classes via Zoom, I opted to take them at home, while Elise opened the office.

A surprise for her was finding SanibelSquare also flooded. A little water made it in up the step and through our back door, but for the most part, the buildings here bordering Periwinkle are OK.

The back buildings were not as lucky. They remained flooded as did the parking lot until the sun came out Wednesday.

Monday when the water in our front lawn along the bike path subsided, Elise spotted the return of a marsh bunny. We were worried about those little guys.

We love our critters and got a giggle Tuesday afternoon when ducks enjoyed our parking lot, swimming by our back door.

Island-wide, including on Captiva, it took nearly all week for the water to go down in many areas. Today, when out doing sign and property checks, I saw high water at the entrance to West Rocks and in the swales along West Gulf Dr. Luckily the forecast for the next week (other than Sunday) has little or no rain expected.

At SanibelSusan Realty Associates

Our listings had a few more inquiries and showings this week. The action posted since last Friday in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service follows a couple of news items below.

The Association of Realtors® annual 12-part educational series to earn the islands specialist designation began this week. On Tuesday morning, I will be teaching the Resort and 2nd Home Market module by Zoom. It probably will not be as much fun as a classroom setting but I have my course material updated and will do my best to make it informative.

City of Sanibel

Again, this week, Sanibel Mayor Ruane extended the declared state of emergency due to COVID-19 until September 22, 2020, unless further extended. (Per State Statute, the maximum duration for a Mayoral Declaration of Emergency is seven days and thus must be updated weekly as the emergency exists.)

Per the Florida Department of Health, Sanibel’s total accumulative number of COVID-19 cases since March 26 is 49.

Effective today (Sep 18, 2020), on Sanibel, irrigation is permitted only two days per week based on property address. Odd addresses on Mondays and Thursdays, even addresses on Tuesdays and Fridays. No irrigation is permitted between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. As of today, these regulations now apply year-‘round.

Another recent pro-environment City change is: As of Oct 1, 2020, plastic bags many no longer be used for yard and horticulture waste for collection by the City’s waste hauler. Yard and horticulture waste may continue to be properly bundled, collected in refuse containers, or disposed of in biodegradable paper lawn and leaf bags.

SCCF’s Turtle Patrol

SCCF Photo

The Conservation Foundation’s Turtle Patrol reported Monday that more than 50 sea turtle nests on Sanibel and about 25 on Captiva were still incubating as of Saturday. They thought about 10 nests may have washed away on Sanibel, but their team had not been able to assess Captiva due to high water.

Some nests were visibly washed out. Others had their stakes washed away, but eggs still incubating under the sand. Their turtle team worked all week to confirm which nests were fully lost. In some, they found stranded hatchlings and assisted getting them to the gulf.

Their updated report on Wednesday, said “Our team is using a GPS device to confirm which nests have been fully lost…. the beaches of Sanibel and Captiva, once crowded with a record number of yellow stakes marking nests, now host only 51 incubating nests on both islands combined. The season is all but over, with our last nests due to hatch in October. So far, 569 nests have hatched and 32,862 hatchlings have started their long journey to the Loop Current.”

Openings/Closings/September Scoop

The September vacations, deep cleans, and maintenance projects and improvements continue with the following business announcements this week:

Blue Giraffe – reopens tomorrow (Sat, Sep 18).

Cheeburger Cheeburger – reopens tomorrow (Sat, Sep 18).

Joey’s Custard – closed through Sep 30.

Over Easy Café – reopens tomorrow (Sat, Sep 18).

Paper Fig Kitchen – closed through Sep 20.

Schnapper’s – closed through  Sep 20.

The Sanctuary – Is often the site of our annual Realtor® End-of-Season Golf Tournament & Auction which some old-timers still call the “Over-the-Hump Party”. This year, because of the pandemic, it was postponed from late May until mid-October. This week it was announced that The Sanctuary has canceled all member and non-member events through December, so our tournament and party are canceled. But we will still have an RPAC auction – albeit a 2-day on-line event ending with a Zoom meeting. Just another twist to 2020.

Traditions at Island Inn – Closed for vacations through Sept 29.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity September 11-18, 2020

Sanibel

CONDOS

3 new listings: Casa Blanca #8 2/1 $375K, Sundial #D204 1/1 $450K, Loggerhead Cay #573 2/2 $679K.

4 price changes: Seawind #A108 2/2.5 now $528K, Mariner Pointe #421 2/2.5 now $579K, Loggerhead Cay #192 2/2 now $719K, Pointe Santo #E23 2/2 now $899K.

5 new sales: Seawind #A103 2/2.5 listed at $579K, Loggerhead Cay #532 2/2 listed at $689K, Island Beach Club #220F 2/2 listed at $745K, Blue Gulf #201 3/2 listed at $1.199M, Sanibel Sunset #301 3/2 listed at $1.95M.

2 closed sales: Colonnades #3 1/1 $235K, Pointe Santo #D21 2/2 $530K.

HOMES

2 new listings: 1653 Bunting Ln 3/2.5 $647K, 1352 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 $1.095M.

1 price change: 3751 Coquina Dr 3/2 now $839K.

8 new sales: 915 Main St 2/1 listed at $439K, 1797 Serenity Ln 2/2 listed at $445K, 799 Casa Ybel Rd 5/3 duplex listed at $570K, 690 Durion Ct 3/2 listed at $695K, 9307 Dimmick Dr 3/2 listed at $699K, 1170 Buttonwood Ln 4/2 listed at $899K, 2343 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 listed at $1.42M, 1175 Bird Ln 4/3/2 listed at $3.25M.

6 closed sales: 3001 Swinging Wind Dr 2/2 $406K; 1350 Middle Gulf Dr #1F (Moonshadows) 3/3 half-duplex $708,375; 1406 Causey Ct 3/2.5 $830K; 1271 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 $880K; 1437 Causey Ct 3/2.5 $902K; 940 Lindgren Blvd 3/2 $935K.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 1159 Golden Olive Ct now $1.599M.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 4767 Tradewinds Dr $1,435,750.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

6 new sales: Bayside Villas #5110 1/2 listed at $369.5K, Bayside Villas #4204 1/2 listed at $389K, Bayside Villas #5136 1/2 listed at $399K, Bayside Villas #5228 12 listed at $399K, Bayside Villas #4220 1/2 listed at $415K, Beach Villas #2422 1/1 listed at $545K.

1 closed sale: Tennis Villas #3120 1/1 $300K.

HOMES & LOTS

No new listings, price changes, new or closed sales.

This representation is based in part on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.  Data maintained by the association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market.  The information provided represents the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.

Below is our ad from today’s “Island Sun”.

Until next Friday, Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Another Beautiful Friday on Sunny Sanibel

Another Friday again is here with the SanibelSusan Team reporting a few more inquires and showings with our listings, plus two new listings this week. (See the views from those listings below.)

View from Mariner Pointe #541

View from Lighthouse Point #229

During the same time, as islanders/visitors continued to dodge summer showers, all eyes were on Hurricane Laura as it gained strength through the gulf. Our thoughts are with those affected by the storm.

Almost daily, Sanibel and Captiva have been getting a good soaking. Wednesday’s afternoon dousing was strong and heavy with minor flooding in some areas. Thankfully, most of that water now has disappeared.

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

2020 Florida Realtors® Virtual Convention

This week was the first Florida Realtors® “virtual” convention. Since the mid-90’s, each August, I have attended these annual conventions in person in Orlando. It certainly was a different experience being virtual. Though it was a disappointment not to network with colleagues, it certainly was easy to hear/see the educational sessions and inspiring keynote speakers from the convenience of office or home. Those I viewed had excellent attendance, perhaps a plus from it being remote and FREE.

Kudos to Realtor® friends, Mike Bruno from Sarasota and Mari Colgan from Tampa who were the event chair/co-chair. Below are a few tidbits from a couple of the sessions I attended via ZOOM.

From the Legal Update presented by Florida Realtors® Law and Policy team, we learned that Florida’s Department of Business & Professional Regulation shows that there are 205,926 active sales associates; 21,641 active broker/sales associates; and 41,844 active brokers. Huge numbers!

When I first got involved with the state leadership team and became part of the Professional Development Committee’s Audition Panel for instructors, we used to say that when folks moved to Florida, they got a real estate license right after they got their Florida driver’s license. That still may be the case.

Florida Residential & Economic Trends (by Dr. Brad O’Connor, Florida Realtors® Chief Economist)

Brad and his research department track data from every area and with input from every Realtor® association in the state. He said that before the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was looking to be a record-breaking year for residential real estate in the Sunshine State. Even with that derailing of the U.S. economy, Florida home values remained stable and sales overall are surging this summer.

In comparing pending sales of existing homes by month to last year, in January and February, Florida sales were more than 12% ahead of last year. Then COVID hit. In March pending home sales were down 22% and in April down 35%. Pending sales of existing condos were off even more, during those winter months which typically bring the most sales in Florida. In March, Florida pending condo sales were off 35%, when compared to 2019. In April, condo sales were down 56%.

May was a month of transition. Pending home sales were up 2.3%, but condo sales still were off, lagging 16% behind last year. Over the summer, pending sales of both homes and condos have improved state-wide. Year-to-date, Florida home sales are up (though less than 1%), while condo sales are down more than 8%.

Interestingly, when looking at actual closed sales by county, Lee and Collier have had more sales than many areas. So far, demand in Florida has recovered faster than supply. Home inventory is down, but not so with condos.

Another interesting tidbit is that the loss in employment is much less in Florida, than nationally.

What is the outlook for Florida’s housing and economy? Brad said several factors will affect this:

  • Inventory shortage looms large
  • Fiscal and monetary policy responses/stimulus
  • Mortgage forbearance & loan delinquency packages
  • Renter eviction moratoria
  • International buyer activity
  • Pandemic progression & school re-openings.

Calling the iBuyer Bluff (by Steven David)

Maybe you are not familiar with the term iBuyer, but I bet you have heard of Zillow, seen their website, and looked up their Zestimate® for a property, maybe your own home. Did you know that the actual market value of a property and a “Zestimate®” are WAY different? (P.S. FYI, an iBuyer is a company that uses technology to make an instant offer on your home.)

As a long-time fan of Steven David, in this class he provided data and calculations that explain the bottom-line difference Realtors® make in listing/selling property.

What is a Zestimate? Steven said that by Zillow’s own account, a Zestimate is the “estimated market value” of a property. By estimated, they mean a home value assigned using proprietary computer algorithms developed by statisticians. A Zestimate does not involve human touch, vision, or interaction.

I deviated from Steven’s presentation and looked up exactly what Zillow says on their website – by their own definition: “Zillow is the leading real estate and rental marketplace dedicated to empowering consumers with data, inspiration and knowledge around the place they call home, and connecting them with the best local professionals who can help.” What does this definition mean? It means Zillow is a marketing company, looking to profit from real estate transactions.

Steven David, through his presentation, commented on how professional Zillow was in their email interactions with him, but the difference between what they said a property is worth and what they were willing to pay for it was astounding.

He used as an example a property in an area that he knows in Margate, FL that had a Zestimate® value of $260,071. Again, Zillow carefully explains on their site that a Zestimate is an estimate of valuation using basic facts or computer-generated data.

What does this mean? It means that no one actually viewed or visited the property, no people were involved in the calculation, no “real” comparables were used, and who knows if that value is what “real” people will pay for it.

Zillow also offered to buy this same property (with $260,071 Zestimate®) for $226,550 and that offer is before they deducted their fees and selling costs.

Here is some info about those: From the $226,550, they deducted 6% selling costs. (Maybe what they think a sales commission could be.) Then they deduct a 1% Zillow service fee. Now the Seller net is down to $210,645, but there is more!

They then deduct closing costs (in this case $3,461). (Maybe they know who pays what for closing costs in that county or area, or maybe it is another Zestimate. The closings costs at that sales price wouldn’t have been that much here.)

Next, they deduct repairs and upkeep based on what they consider the market average for a property in that price range. In this case, they said the repairs needed would be between $9,800 and $17,200. (Where do these numbers come from? Have you ever sold a property that needed that much in repairs?)  For his example, Steven used an average of Zillow’s repair range or $13,500.

Are you wondering how they can deduct monies to fix up a property that they have not seen? Maybe that property is in tip-top condition and does not need a thing.

Pure and simple, using this actual example with the documentation to prove it. Zillow would buy the property they Zestimate at $260,071 for $226,550, with a net to Seller of $193,684 (after deducting their costs of sale). That is more than 25% less than their own Zestimate®.

So, the question becomes, why pay someone to get you less than fair market value? It has been proven time and time again though real sates data, that Realtors® bring added value to a transaction. Above and beyond the money, Realtors® bring hope and confidence to a transaction.

The virus is driving demand to real estate with folks vacating big cities and Florida being one of the best states for growth. Real estate “always” comes back and long-term “always” works. Do not be swayed by an estimate or Zestimate® and do not be taken advantage of by someone who does not know your community and has not seen your property.

Steven said that the total value of all real estate in the United States is $38 trillion. With Zillow, those owners could lose trillions. Be smart, know that a Zestimate may include as much or more than 25% in guesstimated fees.

City of Sanibel COVID-19 Update

On Tuesday, Mayor Ruane extended Sanibel’s declared State of Emergency in response to COVID-19, until September 1, 2020, unless further extended. (Per State Statute the maximum time for a Mayoral Declaration of Emergency is seven days, so it must be updated weekly while there are emergency conditions.)

The proclamation #20-060 and posting on the City’s website says: “Per the State Department of Health the number of COVID-19 positive cases reported in the 33957 zip code since the inception of the pandemic remains at 41. This is the accumulative number of COVID-19 positive cases since March 26, 2020 not the number of currently active cases.

No new cases on Sanibel have been reported by the Florida Department of Health for the past eleven days. This is not a reason to lessen our community’s diligence in reducing the spread of the virus. To assist the citizens of Sanibel, City staff track Sanibel specific trends of the COVID-19 cases, released to the public by the State Department of Health. As of today (March 25, 2020), the total number of COVID-19 cases reported on Sanibel represent 0.2% of the total COVID-19 cases reported in Lee County (in which Sanibel is located) since the inception of the pandemic. Per the U.S. Census Bureau 2019 Population Estimate, Sanibel represents 0.9% of the total population of Lee County.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity August 21-28, 2020

Sanibel

CONDOS

5 new listings: Mariner Pointe #541 2/2 $515K (our listing), Lighthouse Point #229 2/2 $712K (our listing), Island Beach Club #220F 2/2 $745K, Pelicans Roost #102 2/2 $959K, Pelicans Roost #106 2/2 $979K.

3 price changes: Mariner Pointe #813 2/2 now $569K, Sanibel Inn #3514 2/2 now $705K, Sanibel Surfside #125 2/2 now $950K.

3 new sales: Spanish Cay #F4 2/2 listed at $399,999; Sand Pointe #223 2/2 listed at $749K; Plantation Village #322 3/3 listed at $2.55M.

1 closed sale: Colonnades #13 1/1 $283K.

HOMES

2 new listings: 915 Main St 2/1 $439K, 3935 Coquina Dr 4/3 $949,949.

5 price changes: 4044 Coquina Dr 2/2 now $499K, 9455 Beverly Ln 2/2 now $524K, 979 Whelk Dr 3/2.5 now $900K, 1672 Hibiscus Dr 3/2 now $925K, 676 Gopher Walk Way 4/5 now $1.575M.

7 new sales: 9247 Dimmick Dr 3/2 listed at $580K, 1068 White Ibis Dr 3/3 listed at $719K, 215 Robinwood Cir 4/3 listed at $829K, 2984 Island Inn Rd 3/2 listed at $849K, 1170 Buttonwood Ln 4/2 listed at $899K, 919 Pecten Ct 3/3/2 listed at $999K, 537 Lake Murex Cir 3/3 listed at $1.095M.

8 closed sales: 1567 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 $540K, 9426 Beverly Ln 3/2 $560K, 1827 Middle Gulf Dr 2/2 $589K, 1813 Farm Trl 3/2 $610K, 1476 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $670K, 1515 Angel Dr 3/2 $810K, 660 Durion Ct 3/2 $850K, 401 Lagoon Dr 4/4 $858K.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 5627 Baltusrol Ct now $289K.

1 new sale: 4334 West Gulf Dr listed at $989K.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: Beach Homes #30 4/4.5 listed at $3.65M.

1 closed sale: Tennis Villas #3234 2/2 $472K.

HOMES

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: 11547 Laika Ln 4/4 $1.725M.

LOTS

No new listings, price changes, new or closed sales.

This representation is based in part on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.  Data maintained by the association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market.  The information provided represents the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.

Below is our ad from today’s “Island Sun”. I had fun preparing that one!

Until next Friday, enjoy your weekend, the last few weeks of summer, & please contact The SanibelSusan Team if we can help you with real estate on the islands!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan