Summertime Real Estate Report from Sanibel & Captiva Islands

It’s SanibelSusan reporting the third week of “summer quiet” in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands real estate business. I have heard some interesting behind-the-scenes comments about how things have changed here this year. There definitely is a change in occupancy with accommodations mostly at capacity and the island busy, just busy having fun and not viewing or buying or listing real estate.

This week the “Periwinkle Way late-day traffic jam” reappeared. That usually is only during the winter months from about 3 to 7 p.m. when the islands are full and day workers are leaving. It is when traffic gets backed up at the 4-way stop. Typical late afternoon summer showers may have contributed to this extra summer traffic with more visitors on the road once the sun disappears.

The July 4th festivities last weekend were well attended, with a big turn-out at SanibelSusan Realty for the parade. Here are a few photos, some taken by my cell phone, but the good ones are credited to our pal, Scott Shew, who always is great about sharing his pictures. Thank you, Scott.

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As the week progressed, Scott shared a few more photos. These two at Ding Darling he said were taken when the no see-ums were out in full force so the bird in the second one might be dunking to avoid them.

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Below are a few news items followed by the action posted in the Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing Service over the last seven days, there wasn’t much!

Heat Wave Sweeps Through Housing Market

realtor.comFrom Realtor®Mag’s “DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS”:

“The housing market is getting hotter this summer, according to a preliminary analysis of June data from realtor.com®. The median list price nationwide in June rose 7% year-over-year, reaching $233,000. The median days on the market is 66 days, also down 7% year-over-year. Also, inventories are growing faster – 4% higher in June over May, but still down over last year. (That’s the case nationally, but not on Sanibel and Captiva where inventory is very low.)

“”Our early read of real estate trends in June suggests good news ahead for the U.S. residential real estate market, especially in the hottest markets with healthy growth in supply,” says Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com® Chief Economist. Traffic and searches on realtor.com® continued to set new highs in June. Unique users for June are now on pace for at least a 40% growth year-over-year and visits and searches at realtor.com® are expected to surge more than 50% and 30%, respectively, Smoke says.”

Economists Pinpoint Inventory Shortage Causes

wall street journalAs follow-up to the last article, this one based on The Wall Street Journal, June 26, has some answers:

“Inventories of homes for-sale remain low due to home owners staying put and homebuilders still keeping supplies tight, economists said during a panel discussion at the National Association of Real Estate Editors’ annual conference.

“Homes listed for resale in May were at a 5.1-month supply at the current sales pace. Most economists consider a supply of six to seven months to be balanced and healthy for the market.

NAR gray-logo“Economists at the National Association of Real Estate Editors’ annual conference pointed to several factors that are preventing sellers from putting their homes up for sale. Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of REALTORS®, blamed the bulk of the inventory shortage on the lack of new construction. “We will still have an inventory shortage if builders won’t build,” Yun said. “It is just simple math.”

“Other economists during the panel also said the persistent lack of equity four years into the housing recovery for a large number of home owners continues to prevent many would-be sellers. About 5 million homes in the U.S. — or 10% — are underwater, valued at less than the mortgage.

“Also, some home owners may be reluctant to sell partly because they refinanced in recent years at interest rates of less than 4% and they don’t want to give up those low rates, says Frank Nothaft, CoreLogic’s Chief Economist.

“The economists also noted a significant increase in single-family homes being offered for rent that have dented the overall supply of homes for-sale too. Nothaft estimates that since the downturn investors have purchased 3 million single-family homes and converted them into rentals.

“Other economists at the session also noted that stringent mortgage standards, prohibitive land costs, and limited lending to small builders was also prompting a lower supply of homes for sale.”

Study: Biggest Opportunities in Boomer Market

We aren’t giving up on those baby boomers just yet. They definitely are the largest market segment on the islands. Here’s what “DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS” said about them last Wednesday:

House canary logo“Though the real estate industry has made it a mission to bring Millennials into home ownership in recent years, a new study by research firm HouseCanary suggests we not ignore an inconvenient truth: Baby boomers have the buying power.

“The study raises questions about how wise it is to focus on Millennial buyers, given their economic limitations. If interest rates — which are expected to keep ticking up this year — were to increase to 6%, more than one in three Millennials would no longer be able to afford a home at their current prices, HouseCanary found. Millennials are carrying high debt with limited savings, and their career growth has been slow.

But baby boomers have fueled the housing market for decades as the biggest drivers of growth in the entry-level market in the 1970s and ’80s, as well as the move-up market in the ’90s and 2000s. Boomers aren’t slowing down: They’re expected to continue to drive household growth over the next 20 years “due to significant wealth and high home ownership rates,” according to HouseCanary. Over the past year alone, baby boomers accounted for 244% of household growth annually.

“”The vast imbalances in wealth and home ownership among baby boomers and Millennials are resulting in wide disparities in the demand for home buying versus renting,” says HouseCanary President JP Ackerman. “Our analysis indicates that rising interest rates and home prices will exacerbate the situation, as the Millennials’ ability to purchase homes will be severely jeopardized as monthly payments get further out of reach.”

“HouseCanary CEO Jeremy Sicklick says his company’s research indicates greater opportunity for developers to target the aging population with for-sale inventory while targeting the younger generation for-rent inventory.”

New Fire Station on Captiva

new-Captiva fire stationThe grand opening of the new fire station on Captiva is scheduled for Sat, July 18, from 10 a.m. until noon. The public is invited. It also is the 60th anniversary of the creation of the Captiva Island Fire District. During that time, it has transformed from a volunteer bucket brigade to a squad of highly-trained professionals with equipment for not just fighting fires but also for advanced life support. Congratulations!  www.CaptivaFire.com

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity July 3-10

Sanibel

CONDOS

3 new listings: Tennisplace #D31 1/1 $239K, Heron at The Sanctuary III #1B 3/2.5 $650K, Nutmeg Village #309 2/2 $799K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: Colonnades #15 1/1 listed for $225K.

3 closed sales: Sunset South #2D 2/2 $500K, Breakers West #C2 2/2 $522.5K, Nutmeg Village #214 2/2 $920K.

HOMES

2 new listings: 976 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 half-duplex $495K, 3402 West Gulf Dr 3/2 $2.2M.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 1774 Bunting Ln 3/2 listed for $539K.

1 closed sale: 1325 Par View Dr 3/2.5 $695K.

LOTS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 2460 Library Way listed for $324.9K.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

2 new listings: Bayside Villas #5144 1/2 $299.9K, Ventura Captiva #1B 2/2 $1.35M.

1 price change: Bayside Villas #5310 3/3 now $585K.

No new or closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings.

2 new sales: 16785 Captiva Dr 3/3.5 listed for $1.395M, 1105 Tallow Tree Ct 3/3 half-duplex 3/3 listed for $2.0449M.

1 closed sale: 16512 Captiva Dr 7/5.5 $6.525M.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

Good weekend wishes to all. Little rain is expected here over the next few days, so no traffic jams expected! Here’s hoping the sunsets are as beautiful as this one. (Thanks, Melissa!)

Melissa Sunset 07-09-15

Cheers! Susan Andrews (aka SanibelSusan)

Mid-May Royal Poinciana Beauty & Island Real Estate Happenings

Beach a

It is finally safe to say that the islands are back to off-season normal. The locals no longer need to share roadways/restaurants and the weather is beautiful with the first tell-tale indications of the rainy season evidenced this week by a few late day passing showers.

SANSLogoSanibelSusan showed a few homes on Monday and the team and I have otherwise been working on getting some listings sold and under-contract properties to the closing table. Also put a charming home under contract.

Three of our Sellers agreed to price reductions this week. We often see those this time of the year, when there is a post-season lull before summer vacationers start arriving.

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

Inventory Shortages Keeping Home Sales Low

realtor logoThe NAR (National Association of Realtors) annual legislative meetings are finishing up today at the nation’s capitol. Several representatives from our Sanibel/Captiva Islands Association are there, pressuring for reform in those issues affecting us most. Below is an article that was posted today on “Realtor®Mag” about NAR’s Chief Economist’s predictions while at these meetings.

“Home sales will pick up to a solid 5.3 million this year and are expected to hit 5.5 million next year, but until inventory constraints improve, the country’s large pent-up demand for home sales can’t be met, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said at the 2015 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C.

“Overall, the economy is on a steady growth track, with solid job formation, continuing low interest rates, and the large millennial generation entering its peak household-formation years. But with buyers having to compete for a limited selection of properties in many markets across the country, home prices are rising fast, making it hard for many first-time buyers to get into the market.

“Yun’s concerned that, as a result of these conditions, many households risk missing out on the wealth-building effect of home ownership at a time of low interest rates and strong price appreciation. “Young people are in a position to leave their parents’ home because job growth is picking up, but the lack of inventory and rising prices is making that hard,” he said.

“For lawmakers, there are important policy implications, because home ownership is the path most people take to building wealth. As more households find their options limited to renting, inequality—already rising across the country—will worsen. “Without home ownership, many people will not be able to enter the middle class,” he said.

“Despite the need for more inventory, builders are concentrating on the multifamily rental market right now, because that’s where the demand is, said Robert Dietz, vice president for tax and market analysis for the National Association of Home Builders. Dietz, speaking at the same forum on residential issues and trends, said the renter population has been the big growth story in real estate since the economic recovery began several years ago.

“There’s plenty of interest among builders to fill the need for more single-family homes, too, but small builders, who historically have been responsible for building two-thirds of new homes each year, can’t get the acquisition and development financing they need to get back into the market. Lenders want them to have buyers already lined up before they give them financing, Dietz said, making it hard for builders to get inventory in the market for buyers to look at. Also keeping housing starts down are a lack of skilled labor and a shortage of developed lots, he said. Prices of building materials are on the rise, too.

“Yun is forecasting 1.1 million housing starts this year, rising to 1.4 million next year. Prices are on track to rise 6% this year and then ease to a sustainable 4% next year, as more homes come on the market. He predicts long-term mortgage rates will stay at a low 4% this year, rising to 5.2% next year. Yun said interest rates will continue to rise, but he doesn’t expect big jumps in the years ahead because inflation remains in check and energy prices aren’t expected to go up to any significant degree in the years ahead.”

Realtor.com® Rolls Out a New Look

realtor.comHere is more coverage from the 2015 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo:

“Realtor.com® has unveiled a new look to its website and mobile platforms and launched a new advertising campaign that aims to position its brand as the best – “and truest” – provider of real estate information.

“The campaign marks the biggest marketing initiative in realtor.com®’s nearly 20-year history and comes at a time of increased competition in the real estate website arena, according to a news release.

“Its new graphic identity includes a two-tone logotype that highlights the “real” in realtor.com® in red letters and is intended to communicate that while competitors may feature conflicting or inaccurate information, “realtor.com® stands for what is real in real estate by delivering fresh and accurate listings,” according to the news release.

“”Serving buyers, sellers, and renters of properties with the best information and tools anytime, anywhere and communicating the value brokers and agents provide as trusted guides through the process is our utmost priority,” says Ryan O’Hara, chief executive officer of Move Inc., which operates realtor.com®. “This is what we mean by what’s real in real estate – and what sets us apart.”

“The campaign also highlights that message in new TV spots and web videos that feature actress Elizabeth Banks, who has been part of “The Hunger Games” franchise. The new ads will debut May 18 and run on major broadcast networks and cable channels.

“The new tagline in the campaign is “real estate in real time.” The new ads are also aimed at trying to appeal to a wide consumer base, from Millennials looking for affordable homes to young couples looking for more space and families seeking bigger, longer-term homes.”

REALTORS® Expand Influence Across The Globe

Miamo Assoc of RealtorMore info from the DC legislative meetings was posted yesterday in “DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS”. Our Miami colleagues are very excited about the event they are hosting in November which this year will be in partnership with NAR’s annual conferences in San Diego.

“The National Association of REALTORS® is expanding its presence across the world in an effort to educate more practitioners living in other countries as real estate increasingly becomes a global business.

“More international real estate conferences and summits will be held in the U.S. and abroad this year to connect American REALTORS® with those overseas, NAR’s Global Business & Alliances Committee announced during the 2015 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. Here are a few of the biggest ones:

“The first-ever International REALTOR® Conference will be held July 27 to 30 in Manila, Philippines, with the event’s main goal being to help REALTORS® in all corners of the globe conform to the Code of Ethics. “The REALTOR® brand is no longer an American brand,” said Shonee Henry, GBAC’s regional coordinator to Asia Pacific. “It’s now a global brand.”

“Tony Hanna, president of the Association of Professional Real Estate Agents of Mexico, announced a new initiative of the organization called AMPI USA. It’s aimed at teaching REALTORS® in the U.S. how to do business in Mexico. Courses on the topic will be offered at the AMPI International Real Estate Summit in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, which will be held June 24 to 28.

“In November, the Miami Association of REALTORS® will be holding its 21st annual International Real Estate Congress, a popular networking event that brings foreign investors and developers together with real estate professionals in a world-class city. But for the first time in its history, part of it will be held in the host city of NAR’s REALTORS® Conference & Expo, which is San Diego this year, so those already planning to attend NAR’s event can experience IREC as well. MAR has partnered with the San Diego Association of REALTORS® to host the second leg of the event Nov. 10 and 11 just before the kickoff of NAR’s conference on Nov. 13. The first leg of IREC will be held in Miami Nov. 8 and 9.

“Several delegates from NAR’s partnering organizations in foreign countries also were on hand to explain how NAR has helped them expand the REALTOR® brand at home.

Greece: The Greek economy is only now entering recovery mode, said Nikos Manomenidis, president of the Central European Real Estate Associations Network. That’s ushering in expanded opportunities for practitioners there, which has prompted a move to strengthen real estate standards there. Greek real estate organizations are now in the process of establishing the country’s first MLS, and they are adopting NAR’s Code of Ethics.

Canada: An astounding 72% of REALTORS® in Canada don’t collect referral fees, said Pauline Aunger, president of the Canadian Real Estate Association. That’s a lot of money being left on the table, particularly for the 10% of Canadian REALTORS® who work with international buyers and sellers, she said. CREA is working with NAR to teach its members how to establish and use referral fees, and CREA has also partnered with NAR to create the country’s first course for the Certified International Property Specialist designation.

Romania: In the 10 years since he first attended an NAR convention, Dan Negulescu, president of the Romanian Association of Real Estate Agencies, has helped build the country’s “mini NAR.” The organization has launched Romania’s first MLS, established commission structures, and adopted the Code of Ethics.

Taiwan: Michael Tseng, vice president of the Taipei Association of Real Estate Brokers, was the first Certified Commercial Investment Member designee in his country. Since then, he has launched several CCIM  initiatives, eventually making courses for the designation part of standard curriculum at Taiwanese universities. Higher-ed institutions in the country now also provide coursework for students to get their real estate license.

Jamaica: Five years ago, Jamaican REALTORS® launched their first MLS, and that’s a big reason why the nation has become the most popular in the Caribbean for U.S. buyers looking to purchase a second home, said Howard Johnson, past president of the REALTORS® Association of Jamaica. The country now has 700 REALTORS®, which represents 60% of all real estate practitioners in Jamaica, and they are hosting several trade missions a year from American associations.”

Governor Scott Signs Florida Bill on Drone Use

Florida Realtors logoThis was posted today on FloridaRealtors®:

“While the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not yet authorized drone use for most real estate functions in Florida, a bill (SB 766) passed by the Florida Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Scott yesterday creates new rules for drone use once the FAA does so.

“In general, the Florida bill provides privacy protections for residents fearful that a drone will be allowed to fly across their private property and take pictures.

“However, the bill provides some protections for the state’s Realtors by including “limited exceptions.”

“According to a Senate committee’s bill analysis, “A person or entity engaged in a business or profession licensed by the state may use a drone to perform reasonable tasks within the scope of his or her license.” In addition to the exception for state licensees, the bill allows drone use by tax collectors for assessing property for ad valorem taxes and pictures taken by an electric, water or natural gas utility.

“Outside those exceptions however, the bill bans “a person, a state agency or a political subdivision from using a drone to capture an image of privately owned real property … with the intent to conduct surveillance without … written consent if a reasonable expectation of privacy exists.”

Captiva Yacht Club Junior Sailing Camp

Captiva yacht clubCaptiva Island Yacht Club uses the U.S. Sailing Association’s curriculum at their Junior Sailing Camp for kids ages 8 to 15 and at all experience levels. Membership in the yacht club is not a requirement. Two sessions are scheduled this summer (June 15 to 26 and July 13 to 24). Camp will be held at the yacht club, located next to ‘Tween Waters Inn. For additional info, email: accounting@CaptivaYC.net.

22nd Annual Sam Bailey’s Islands Night

Island night LogoIt is a month away, but islanders already are looking forward to this year’s “Islands Night” at the Lee County Sports Complex.

Beginning with a parade, “Islands Night” is a local tradition of hometown camaraderie begun by islander Sam Bailey over 20 years ago.

On Wednesday, June 17, at the Sports Complex, the gates open at 5:30 p.m., with parade at 6:15, followed by a baseball game – Fort Myers Miracle versus Daytona Tortugas at 7:05. Tickets are free. It is where islanders celebrate the end of another “busy” season.

Royal Poinciana in Full Bloom

On my travels this week, I stopped a couple of times to snap photos of the beautiful Royal Poinciana trees that are in gorgeous full bloom this year. Some Mays, with the onset of the rainy season, their color is short-lived – not so this year. Below are a couple of photos of the brilliant orange canopies.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity May 8-15 

Sanibel

CONDOS

5 new listings: Tennisplace #E31 2/1.5 $369K, Sundial #F308 1/1 $385K, Sandpebble #1F 2/2 $399.9K, Lighthouse Point #131 2/2 $599K, Cottage Colony West #110 1/1 $639K.

3 price changes: Spanish Cay #F2 1/1 now $250K (our listing), Mariner Pointe #332 2/2 now $480K (our listing), Sanibel Arms #E8 2/2 now $497.4K.

1 new sale: Sundial #A301 2/2 listed for $869.9K.

4 closed sales: Sundial #F306 1/1 $345K, Sanibel Moorings #1622 2/2 $415K, Mariner Pointe #421 2/2.5 $515K, Dosinia #2B 3/2 $1.275M.

HOMES

2 new listings: 1658 Sabal Palms Dr 2/2 $850K, 1004 Fish Crow Rd 4/3 $925K.

6 price changes: 9477 Peaceful Dr 3/2 now $474.9K (our listing), 9106 Mockingbird Dr 2/2 now $499K, 1774 Bunting Ln 3/2 now $539K, 9012 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 now $549K, 1710 Sand Pebble Way 3/2 now $645K.

3 new sales: 9446 Beverly Ln 3/3.5 listed for $595K (short sale), Moonshadows #1A 3/3 listed for $899K, 375 East Gulf Dr 3/3 listed for $1.395M (our buyer).

5 closed sales: 475 Sea Walk Ct 3/2 $510K, 1445 Causey Ct 3/2 $790K, 6195 Henderson Rd 2/2 $1.15M, 5235 Indian Ct 4/3.5 $1.535M, 4627 Rue Belle Mer 3/2 $2.875M.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: Bayside Villas #5144 1/2 $275K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 16500 Captiva Dr 5/5 $5.8M.

2 price changes: 1105 Tallow Tree Ct 3/3 half-duplex now $2.099M, 11530 Paige Ct 4/5.5 now $3.98M.

No new or closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

Happy weekend!

A Cold Snap, But Still Happy Visitors on Sanibel/Captiva Islands

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It is a crisp but sunny Friday on Sanibel. With some record cold temperatures in Southwest Florida last night, islanders are happily enjoying a warm-up to the low 60’s today. It is expected to be back to the mid-70’s tomorrow and through the weekend.

Happenings at SanibelSusan Realty

SANSLogoThere was good sales activity on both Sanibel and Captiva over the last few days, we had one listing go under contract and another sale close, but our requests for showings are down from last weekend, mostly because there are long-term tenants in many of the properties we have listed.

Near-beach home sales continue to dominate the market as baby boomers continue to transition from income-producing condos to more residential properties.

The action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service over the last week follows a couple of news items below.

Sanibel’s Vegetation Standards Protect Homeowners

Sanibelcityseal logoGood reminders from the City – good for sharing – came with recent quarterly sewer bills. Below is the one titled “Sanibel’s Vegetation Standards Protect Homeowners”:

“For decades, Sanibel residents have sought to maintain the island’s sanctuary character by protecting our native environment. To help in this effort the City has adopted vegetation standards for homeowners and businesses. These include:

  • A requirement that at least 75% of all vegetation (trees, shrubs, and ground cover) on a property be native plants; up to 25% may be non-invasive, exotic species.
  • Property must be kept clear of 8 specific invasive exotic plants such as Brazilian pepper.
  • Pruning of native plants is limited to 25% of the total leaf area in any one year.
  • The type and use of fertilizer is carefully regulated to protect our water. This includes a ban on fertilizer use during the summer rainy season.
  • A permit is always required to trim mangroves, to trim in the beach zone (dune), and to move or remove any native protected plant.
  • All landscape contractors or persons hired to work on landscape must have a Sanibel Vegetation Competency Card. All professional fertilizer applicants must also be certified by the City.

“Native plants survive and thrive in our highly variable weather conditions (summer heat and rain and winter droughts), alkaline soil and proximity to salt water. They require little or no supplemental irrigation, do not need fertilizer and provide habitat for native wildlife.

“The Natural Resources Department section of the City’s website, www.mysanibel.com, offers information and photos of native plants, a listing of licensed contractors, Sanibel’s vegetation standards and codes, the Environmental reference Handbook prepared by the City’s Vegetation Committee, and much more. The Vegetation Committee also offers free native plant tours of the grounds at City Hall at 10 a.m. on the 2nd Wednesday and 4th Saturday of the month from November to April. Additional information is available by contacting the Sanibel Natural Resources Department at (239) 472-3700. “

Move Inc. Ready to Take on Zillow-Trulia

Realtor.com logosWednesday’s “Daily Real Estate News” had the latest on the Zillow-Trulia merger. It’s going to be an interesting year:

“The real estate portal space is heating up with Zillow and Trulia finalizing their merger Tuesday. The number of major competitors serving this market has been reduced to two big titans: Move Inc., which operates realtor.com®, and Zillow-Trulia.

“Following the Zillow-Trulia announcement, Move released a statement saying, “2015 will mark Zillow’s year of the merge and realtor.com®’s year of the surge.”

“In an e-mail yesterday to Move employees, CEO Ryan O’Hara elaborated. “My expectation is that the two of us will wage a spirited battle for the hearts and minds of consumers and the industry, and we will push each other to be better performers – more focused on the customer, quicker to innovate, more committed to adding value at every stage of the real estate cycle. In this way, everyone wins.”

“Zillow finalized its acquisition of Trulia Inc. for $2.5 billion in a stock-for-stock transaction Tuesday. The acquisition forms Zillow Group Inc., which also houses New York-based StreetEasy and rental search brand HotPads. The company faces increased competition now that realtor.com®’s operator has the force of News Corp behind it. This past November the global media company, which operates real estate portals internationally and owns such titles as The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s completed its acquisition of Move Inc., tying its name to the REALTOR® brand.

““There is no digital replacement for the human touch,” Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of News Corp said during the Real Estate Connect conference in New York in January. “No technology can meet all of someone’s needs. It takes a real person. … We want the shortest distance between the American Dream and a family’s reality to be realtor.com®.”

“The acquisition has already proved a boon to Move’s traffic. Move Inc.’s web and mobile traffic jumped more than 30%. In January, Move reported an all-time high of 37 million unique visitors to realtor.com®.

“Move/realtor.com® is extremely well-positioned to compete and thrive in this environment of industry consolidation and data-driven customers,” O’Hara said in his e-mail to employees. “Competing in business typically involves trying to be better, cheaper, faster or different than your competition. How will we compete?  By continuing to build the best web and mobile experiences for consumers and the best and most valuable tools for brokers and agents, and by providing the market with the most comprehensive, most accurate, and most up-to-date listings in the U.S.  I can also promise you we will quicken the pace of product innovation and apply more marketing muscle to our consumer and industry outreach.””

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity Feb 13-20 

Sanibel

CONDOS

4 new listings: Sundial #I301 1/1 $389K, Sundial #F303 2/2 $495K, Sundial #S404 3/2 $837K, Kings Crown #101 2/2 $1.195M.

10 price changes: Casa Blanca #6 1/1 now $254.9K, Sunset South #9D 2/2 now $399K, Mariner Pointe #813 2/2 now $469K, Ibis at The Sanctuary #201 2/2 now $475K, Blind Pass #G203 2/2 now $495K, Blind Pass #G203 2/2 now $495K, Sundial #R304 2/2 now $799K, Pointe Santo #B46 2/2 now $825K, Tanglewood #1A 3/2 now $1.149M, Sedgemoor #206 3/3.5 now $2.499M.

4 new sales: Sundial #C306 1/1 listed for $329K, Sanibel Siesta #105 2/2 listed for $424.5K, Donax Villlage #8 2/2 listed for $449K, Seawindd II #2 2/2.5 listed for $685K.

2 closed sales: Seashells #15 2/2 $319.5K, Sandpebble #3C 2/2 $327K.

HOMES

8 new listings: 475 Sea Walk Ct 3/2 $524.9K; 1322 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $565K; 580 Chert Ct 2/2 $580K; 4241 Old Banyan Way 3/2 $779K; 755 Pen Shell Dr 3/2 $899K; 1328 Seaspray Ln 4/4 $998,995; 1253 Anhinga Ln 4/4 $3.9M; 4241 West Gulf Dr 5/4.5 $3.995M.

14 price changes: 702 Donax St 2/2 now $399K; 982 Main St 3/2.5 multi-family now $445K; 1521 Wilton Ln 3/2 now $549K; 1228 Anhinga Ln 3/2 now $629K; 987 Sand Castle Rd 4/3.5 now $699K; 5406 Osprey Ct 3/2 now $729K; 1291 Sand Castle Rd 5/3.5 now $779K; 5424 Shearwater Dr 3/2.5 now $859K; 1188 Harbour Cottage Ct 3/3 now $925,555; 1138 Harbour Cottage Ct 3/2.5 now $1.295M; 375 East Gulf Dr 4/3 now $1.395M; 842 Limpet Dr 4/3.5 now $1.495M; 830 Limpet Dr 4/4.5 now $1.645M; 1490 Middle Gulf Dr 3/4.5 now $1.795M.

Front111 new sales: 1613 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex listed for $449K, 744 Martha’s Ln 2/2 listed for $479K (our Seller), 475 Sea Walk Ct 3/2 listed for $524.9K, 1294 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed for $529K, 3168 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 listed for $549.9K, 728 Windlass Way 3/2 listed for $649K, 248 Daniel Dr 3/2 listed for $749K, 8999 Mockingbird Ln 3/2 listed for $775K, 2582 Wulfert Rd 3/3.5 listed for $789K, 4037 Coquina Dr 3/3 listed for $799K, 1056 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed for $899K.

6440 Pine4 closed sales: 999 Dixie Beach Blvd 3/2 $585K, 1337 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 $1.025M, 6440 Pine Ave 3/3 $1.0875M (our Buyer), 1520 San Carlos Bay Dr 4/3.5 $1.92M.

LOTS

2 new listings: 540 East Lake Dr $197K, 3354 Barra Cir $319K.

1 price change: 6419 Pine Ave now $799K.

4 new sales: 9426 Sage Ct listed for $229,555; 3792 Coquina Dr listed for $329K; 6411 Pine Ave listed for $329,999; 4988 Joewood Dr listed for $459K.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Captiva Bay Villas #B 3/3.5 $2.095M.

1 price change: Gulf Beach Villas #2031 2/2 now $645K.

1 new sale: Gulf Beach Villas #2012 2/2 $615K.

1 closed sale: Beach Homes #18 4/3 $2.34M.

HOMES

2 new listings: 1105 Tallow Tree Ct 3/3 $2.195M, 16464 Captiva Dr 8/8.5 $7.495M.

No price changes.

2 new sales: 11491 Dickey Ln 4/4 listed for $1.799M, 17020 Captiva Dr 7/8/2 listed for $6.75M.

1 closed sale: 15301 Captiva Dr 4/3.5 $1.9625M.

LOTS

No new listings.

2 price changes: 956 South Seas Plantation Rd now $2.49M, 15879 Captiva Dr now $2.695M.

No new or closed sales.

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

Until next Friday, here’s a nice flock of roseate spoonbills to keep things cheerful!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

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The Sky is Blue & Real Estate is Selling on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

It is another sunny Friday on Sanibel – what we call, “another picture-perfect day”. It reminds me of yesterday when I complimented an island pal on her Sanibel photos and she said “use them anytime”. So, before the rest of Friday’s blog, here are a few feathered friend pictures – thanks to Ellie Hayward. She took the alligator pix too!

 

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

SanCapAssnLogoMore winter sales were announced at our local Association of Realtors® Caravan Meeting yesterday and calls for showings are picking up too.

Below are a couple of news items followed by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service action over the last seven days. “Season” is shaping up to be a good one. The statistics below indicate the few sales already in process. During the next three months, the number of sales should jump.

CONDOS                      HOMES                         LOTS

                      #  / Avg $ / Avg DOM    # / Avg $ / Avg DOM     # / Avg $ / Avg DOM

SANIBEL

Available        117 / 751,571 / 403       155 / 1,258,601 / 243    79 / 499,905 / 722

Pending         27 / 755,406 / 373          43 / 1,086,499 / 320     6 / 496,250 / 663

Sold/closed in:

2015 to 1/30  8 / 491,094 / 398           10 / 784,468 / 365         1 / 352,000 / 192

2014              164 / 650,418 / 286        206 / 838,672 / 265       27 / 424,198 / 495

CAPTIVA

Available       43 / 885,909 / 372          50 / 3,503,921 / 318      6 / 2,280,000 / 330

Pending        4 / 1,113,500 / 118         4 / 7,337,250 / 442        1 / 1,390,000 / 116

Sold/closed in:

2015 to 1/30  0 / N/A / N/A                  0 / N/A / N/A                  0 / N/A / N/A

2014              22 / 624,068 / 421         23 / $2,826,717 / 364     0 / N/A / N/A

Island Happenings

SANSLogoSanibelSusan.com continues to bring us listing inquiries and this week one came from a follower of the “Upcoming Events” also posted on our web site. Tracking island happenings keeps us current. Here are a couple of new items recently noticed.

  • SCCF logoWater Quality Exhibit at SCCF Nature Center – Water quality is a subject key to our real estate business and an item often discussed at our state Association of Realtors® Land Use Committee meetings. A new 5-panel exhibit at SSCF’s Nature Center is the first on the island about water quality. Educational and fun for all ages, the centerpiece of this SCCF exhibit includes a touchscreen with an in-depth RECON overview. RECON is the River Estuary Coastal Observing Network which was launched in 2007. RECON sensors along the Caloosahatchee River, Pine Island Sound, Tarpon Bay, and San Carlos Bay gather data which aids in research and management of the water in these areas. The Nature Center at SCCF is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sanibelcityseal logoMayor’s Report to CASI – Last Friday, Sanibel Mayor Ruane updated CASI (Condominium Associations of Sanibel, Inc.) on the progress City Council has made this year in its goals of improving water quality, stabilizing city finances, and encouraging sensitive redevelopment. A few statistics he mentioned include that 27% of Lee County’s tax revenues come from Sanibel. Of each Sanibel property owner’s tax bill, 15 cents is retained by Sanibel, while 85 cents goes to the county. With some carefully selected projects like the Sanibel Civic Core which is being planned for the city hall/library area and expected to include BIG ARTS, the Senior Center, and the Sanibel Community Association, City-owned property may be eligible for bringing some of those tax dollars back to the island.
  • CROW logoCROW’s New Speaker Series – Beginning in February and running through March, CROW is offering more interactive and educational programs. As they are announced, dates will be posted on SanibelSusan.com “Upcoming Events”. More info at www.crowclinic.org.

Existing-Home Sales Rebound: 5 Stats to Know

for sale signBelow is a summary article from “Daily Real Estate News” last Friday. It’s a good synopsis of the real estate market nation-wide.

“Home sales picked up at the end of 2014, closing off a year that had a sluggish start but then showed encouraging signs in the second half, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest housing report, released Friday.

“Existing-home sales rose 2.4% in December month-over-month, bouncing back after a dismal November. Total home sales –reflecting completed transactions of single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops – reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million in December. “Home sales improved over the summer once inventory increased, prices moderated, and economic growth accelerated,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Sales were measurably better in the second half – up 8% compared to the first six months of the year.”

“Overall for 2014, the median national existing-home price was $208,500, reaching the highest level since 2007, and a 5.8% increase from 2013 when it was $197,100. However, total existing-home sales were 3.1% lower in 2014 compared to 2013, NAR reports. Here’s a closer look at five housing stats from NAR’s latest report — reflecting December 2014 data — to gauge the market:

“1. Home sales: Single-family home sales rose 3.5% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.47 million compared to 4.32 million in November. Single-family home sales are 4% above the pace a year ago. Existing condo and co-op sales, on the other hand, dropped 5% in December.

“2. Home prices: The median existing-home price for all housing types in December was $209,500 – 6% higher than year ago levels. This marks the 34th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains.

3. Days on the market: Properties typically stayed on the market in December for 66 days, a slightly shorter time frame than a year ago when the average was 72 days. Short sales were on the market the longest amount of time at a median of 98 days in December, while foreclosures sold in 61 days. Non-distressed homes averaged 66 days on the market. About 31% of homes that were sold in December were on the market for less than a month, according to NAR.

“4. Distressed sales: Foreclosures and short sales edged up slightly in December, reaching 11% of sales compared to 9% in November. However, distressed sales are down from 14% a year ago. Of December existing-home sales, 8% were foreclosures and 3% were short sales. On average, foreclosures sold for a discount of 15% below market value while short sales were discounted 12%.

“5. Inventory: Total housing inventory at the end of December fell 11.1% to 1.85 million existing homes available for sale. That represents a 4.4-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from 5.1 months in November. Unsold inventory is now 0.5% lower than a year ago.

““A drop in housing supply in December raises some affordability concerns in the months ahead as minimal selection and the potential for faster price appreciation could offset the demand from buyers encouraged by a stronger economy and sub-4 percent interest rates,” says Yun. “Housing costs – both rents and home prices – continue to outpace wages and are burdensome for potential buyers trying to save for a down-payment while looking for available homes in their price range.”

“By Region: The following is a look at how existing-home sales performed across the country in December:

  • Northeast: existing-home sales fell 2.9% to an annual rate of 660,000. Sales are 3.1% above year ago levels. Median price: $246,600, up 3.2% above a year ago.
  • Midwest: existing-home sales dropped 3.5% to an annual level of 1.09 million in December. Sales are 2.7% below December 2013. Median price: $159,100, up 5.3% from a year ago.
  • South: existing-home sales in the South climbed 3.8% to an annual rate of 2.17 million in December. Sales are 7.4% above December 2013. Median price: $184,100, up 6.6% from a year ago.
  • West: existing-home sales surged 9.8% to an annual rate of 1.12 million in December. Sales are 2.8% above a year ago. Median price: $299,600, up 5.6% year-over-year.”

Housing Demand Rises, Supply Is Bigger Issue

realtor logoAs the market rebounds another concern was highlighted by Realtor.com in another recent article. We are already seeing signs of not enough inventory on Sanibel and Captiva too. We all know that shrinking inventory often results in rising prices.

“Several signs in the housing market point to higher demand for real estate, but the big question remains whether the supply will be able to meet the rise in demand, writes Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at realtor.com®, in new commentary at realtor.com®. “Supply is quickly becoming the biggest concern for healthy growth in home sales in 2015,” Smoke notes.

“Smoke points to the following three positive signs showing higher demand in the housing market:

Builders are more confident: Builders are remaining upbeat about the new-home market. The National Association of Home Builder’s Housing Market Index recently showed builder sentiment on the rise, with builders optimistic about the six-month outlook in the new-home market. New construction is starting to follow suit. Housing starts rose 4.4% in December, with that rise driven by an uptick in single-family construction. Single-family starts are at the highest number in six years, reaching a pace of 728,000 units in December. “That is a good early sign that homebuilders are gearing production for greater demand in the spring,” Smoke notes.

Low mortgage rates: Mortgage rates continue to hit new yearly lows, bringing borrowing costs down for home buyers and refinancers. As such, mortgage application activity rose to its highest level since June 2013 recently. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.63% last week, its lowest weekly average since May 2013, according to Freddie Mac. But economists are warning that the low rates won’t likely stick around much longer and could move up to 5% by the end of the year.

Existing-home sales rebounding: Demand has been growing in the existing-home sales market too. The annual pace of existing-home sales was 5.04 million in December, 3.5% higher than last year, according to the National Association of REALTORS® latest report.

“Housing supply remains the biggest issue, Smoke says. The inventory of existing-homes is at a 4.4-month supply at the current sales pace – well-below the 6-month supply that most economists consider healthy, according to NAR’s December report. “We need more markets to see listing growth over the next several weeks to keep appreciation at healthy, normal levels,” Smoke says.  “With three years of positive price appreciation behind them, existing-home owners in most areas should see conditions as very favorable for trading up. That is what the market needs to set the stage for significant growth this spring.””

Why I Bought Realtor.com®

Realtor_comlogoAs a Realtor® who has had successful results from Realtor.com, but many frustrations from inquiries from viewers looking at other third party real estate search sites, I have patiently been waiting for more news about Rupert Murdoch’s recent purchase. Here is the article posted on “Daily Real Estate News” yesterday. Love the last sentence!

“News Corp founder and executive chairman Rupert Murdoch took the stage at Real Estate Connect in New York on Thursday to explain why Move Inc., the operator of realtor.com®, was a better acquisition than its chief rivals in the online real estate space. Murdoch said Move and realtor.com® have a trifecta of powerful marketing points over Zillow and Trulia. “Move has the most up-to-date and accurate listings in the market,” Murdoch said, noting that realtor.com®’s listings are updated every 15 minutes.

““Move has a close relationship with the National Association of REALTORS®, and I believe real estate agents are crucial to every home sale in America,” he said. “Realtor.com® attracts transaction-ready consumers — they’re not just window shoppers — and that’s attractive to advertisers,” Murdoch said.

“Most people who begin their real estate search online eventually need human interaction and guidance, Murdoch said, and realtor.com® facilitates those connections. “There is no digital replacement for the human touch,” he said. “No technology can meet all of someone’s needs. It takes a real person. Realtor.com® helps bring home buyers, sellers, and agents together. We want the shortest distance between the American Dream and a family’s reality to be realtor.com®.”

“Murdoch reassured critics that News Corp’s goal is not to turn Move into a media company and take realtor.com® away from its mission of connecting agents with consumers. Instead, he said, he wants to enhance the realtor.com® user experience to help it better fulfill its mission. “We’re going to add to the user interface, make it more obviously friendly for agents and consumers,” Murdoch said. “We’ve got to make a better product, and then when we’re satisfied, we need to get out and market it hard. We understand that there’s a different business model in America,” continued the Australian-born media magnate, who owns media properties all over the world. “We don’t want to replace agents — we think they’re absolutely central.”

“Murdoch also predicted that the U.S. housing market would continue to expand and recover — another reason he was interested in buying a real estate company. He said the data he’s been seeing from Move thus far is encouraging, and the U.S. market offers the best bet for long-term growth in the world.

“Murdoch ended on a note that easily became the most talk-about moment of his appearance at Real Estate Connect. He said he believed in the ability of the realtor.com® name to attract consumers away from the site’s rivals because “we all know what ‘REALTOR®’ means.” And then he quipped: “What the hell does ‘Zillow’ mean?””

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity January 23-30 

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Sanibel Arms West #L5 2/2 $524.9K, Sanibel Sunset #202 3/2 $1.795M.

3 price changes: Captains Walk #C7 1/1 now $244K, Sanibel Arms West #J4 2/2 now $459K, Sanddollar #A104 2/2 now $819K.

4 new sales: Sundial #F406 1/1 listed for $359.9K, Sanibel Arms West #L5 2/2 listed for $524.9K, Loggerhead Cay #191 2/2 listed for $660K, West Shore #6 3/3 listed for $1.795M.

1 closed sale: Pointe Santo #A2 2/2 $782.25K.

HOMES

8 new listings: 4109 SanCap Rd 2/1 $324K, 4619 Brainard Bayou Rd 3/2 $599.9K, 1085 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $669K, 1182 Kittiwake Cir 3/3 $739K, 923 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2 $889K, 1331 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 $985K, 5418 Osprey Ct 4/3.5 $1.195M, 4525 Waters Edge Ln 3/3.5 $4.495M.

8 price changes: 2621 SanCap Rd 3/2 now $279K; 1602 Serenity Ln 3/2 now $499K; 9032 Mockingbird Ln 3/2 now $619,995; 741 Nerita St 3/2 now $679K; 3131 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $704,999; 1224 Par View Dr 3/3 now $1.099M; 518 N Yachtsman Dr 3/3 now $1.179M; 2255 Troon Ct 4/5.5 now $1.55M.

6 new sales: 320 Palm Lake Dr 2/2 listed for $424K, 590 Lake Murex Cir 2/1.5 listed for $635K, 5753 Pine Tree Dr 3/4 listed for $749K, 1337 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 listed for $1.149M, 6440 Pine Ave 3/3 listed for $1.295M (our sale), 536 Lighthouse Way 4/4.5 listed for $3.395M.

1 closed sale: 960 S Yachtsman Dr 3/3 $1.299M.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 1311 Par View Dr now $269.9K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

2 new listings: Tennis Villas #3115 1/1 $294.9K, Beach Villas #2614 2/2 $620K.

2 price changes: Bayside Villas #4114 1/2 now $269.9K, Bayside Villas #5316 3/3 now $619K.

No new or closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 928 S Seas Plantation Rd 5/5.5 $4.175M.

1 price change: 17130 Captiva Dr 4/4 now $4.499M.

2 new sales: 43 Oster Ct 2/2.5 listed for $784.9K; 16585 Captiva Dr 5/4/2 listed for $2,799,585.

No closed sales.

LOTS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 16915 Captiva Dr listed for $1.39M.

No closed sales.

This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.

Until next Friday – best weekend wishes to all – from Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

It’s 70 Degrees, with Real Estate Popular on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

It’s SusanSusan reporting that it has been another good week here on the islands. With Sanibel and Captiva weather reported to have some of the warmest temperatures in the nation, real estate here once again has become seasonally popular! The below photo was taken earlier this week at Sundial Beach Resort.

Boardwalk aBelow are a few news items, followed by the activity posted over the last seven days in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® 1st Caravan of 2015

SanCapAssnLogoAfter a 2-week reprieve with the Thursday holidays, yesterday’s Association of Realtors® Caravan meeting was well attended. With close to 20 east-end properties on tour, it was tough for lookers to see them all, but both David and Elise had good turnouts in Gumbo Limbo and at Sundial. At the meeting, I also announced our new listing in The Sanctuary, advising that it will be open next Thursday morning when the Caravan rotates to west end.

sundial-logoTomorrow night is our annual Installation and Awards Banquet which is being held in Sundial’s new upstairs conference facilities. As the emcee again this year, it is always fun to welcome leadership teams from our surrounding associations in District 5 (Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs/Estero, Fort Myers & The Beach, and Cape Coral).

Florida Realtors logoWe also have Florida Realtors® 2015 President, Andrew Barber coming to install our new Board of Directors, while Florida Realtors® 2013 President and now National Association of Realtors® District Vice President, Dean Asher will install the officers.

My script is ready; now I just need to keep the names of the annual award winners a secret until tomorrow night.

6 Market Types You Will See This Year

I got a kick out of the below article which was posted Tuesday on Realtor®Mag’s “Daily Real Estate News”. Sanibel and Captiva Islands don’t exactly fall into the “Comeback Kids” category, but our market is coming back!

REDFIN logo“From the stalwarts to the tech magnets and comeback kids, the new year is likely to see several types of markets. Redfin recently highlighted six “housing market personas” that the real estate brokerage believes will be driving the continued recovery in 2015. Here’s an overview of the personas and the pros and cons of each:

Stalwarts: “Strong economies, lots of Millennial buyers, yet still affordable.” Good news: Lots of jobs and booming economies. Bad news: Picky buyers and lack of selection. Markets that fit this persona: Chicago, Houston, and Dallas.

Topping Out: “Sky-high prices that will peak and even dip into negative territory this year.” Good news: Strong economies and well-paying government jobs. Bad news: Bidding wars and low inventories. Markets that fit this persona: San Francisco; San Jose, Calif.; and Washington, D.C.

Tech Magnets: “Tech-driven economies, young wealth; getting more expensive, with growth limited by zoning or geography.” Good news: Lots of wealthy households. Bad news: Little room to expand, and suburbs losing popularity. Markets that fit this persona: Boston, Seattle, and Denver.

Comeback Kids: “Markets hit hard by the financial crisis that will see a pickup in sales in 2015.” Good news: Lots of investors and broad-based job growth. Bad news: Few affordable single-family homes, and new construction mostly limited to the luxury market. Markets that fit this persona: Miami; Atlanta; and Orlando, Fla.

Sleepers: “Not in the news much, but mid-priced cities with good economies and job opportunities.” Good news: Lots of new development and big tech-job gains. Bad news: Not many affordable homes available. Markets that fit this persona: Baltimore; Philadelphia; and Raleigh, N.C.

Down But Not Out: “Hit hardest by housing crisis, fewer jobs, still working through foreclosures.” Good news: Lots of homes for sale. Bad news: Overzealous builders and cookie-cutter remodels. Markets that fit this persona: Las Vegas; Phoenix; and Tampa, Fla.”

Speed Limit Reduced to 20 mph in The Dunes

DunesEntrySignAt Tuesday’s Sanibel City Council Meeting following a presentation which detailed the results of a traffic study in The Dunes subdivision, the speed limit was reduced by unanimous City council vote to 20 mph effective immediately.

Those looking to avoid the Periwinkle Way traffic by scooting through The Dunes had better do it slowly!

Zillow, ListHub to End Listings Agreement

Zillow logoAn Inman News article on Tuesday, “Rupert Murdoch Playing Hardball with Zillow”, resulted in the following posting on Wednesday’s “Daily Real Estate News”:

“The real estate website Zillow will soon stop receiving feeds of hundreds of thousands of for-sale home listings from ListHub within the next three months, as it expects to transition to its own listing syndication tool.

Zillow’s contract with ListHub expires on April 7. ListHub is a listing syndicator owned by Move Inc., operator of realtor.com®. Zillow officials say they plan to get more listings directly from multiple listing services and brokers through a new service called “Data Dashboard.”

In a statement, Move Inc. said that “ListHub has been negotiating in good faith a new listing distributing and reporting agreement with Zillow on terms that reflect the best interests of the brokerage industry. As communicated in public announcements, Zillow decided to end those negotiations and announced the launch of their own platform. Zillow chose their own route for their business model and interests.”

“Zillow’s has been receiving listing data via ListHub since April 2011. Since Move’s acquisition by News Corp in December, there has been speculation about whether the agreement would be extended.

“With the ListHub contract ending, Zillow’s continued flow of listings will hinge on the appeal of Data Dashboard and broker and MLS participation with it. “A few hundred thousand listings” of the 3.6 million currently displayed on Zillow would be disrupted if the ListHub contract ended today,” said Katie Curnutte, a Zillow spokeswoman, in a report on Inman News. So Zillow officials are now reaching out to MLSs and brokers to participate in Data Dashboard. Since many of Zillow’s MLS partners with Data Dashboard, so far, are located in large urban areas, Curnutte told Inman News that rural areas initially may be the most affected by the end of the agreement with ListHub.”

The Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service does not syndicate its listings so they are not specifically part of this ListHub/Zillow discussion. But, many island Realtors®, me included, also have their listings posted in the regional database (covering areas from Cape Coral to Naples) through a secondary affiliation membership with the Association of Realtors of Fort Myers & The Beach. I do this to broaden the local exposure of my listings and to give them double national exposure because by having two memberships each of our listings gets two postings on Realtor.com. Those second listings, the ones inputted into the regional database, are the ones that are syndicated to a variety of other real estate search sites, like Zillow, because the Fort Myers association does syndicate its listings through a third party, called Point2.

The evolution of how the internet is affecting real estate sales and the future of the profession is interesting and obviously changing, but the local island association (me too) still subscribes to the notion that it takes someone here with first-hand knowledge of the islands to best serve both sellers and buyers on Sanibel and Captiva. After all, real estate on a barrier island is significantly different from that in most home towns.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity January 2-9 

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Loggerhead Cay #522 2/2 $695K, Sand Pointe #228 2/2 $799K.

2 price changes: Dugger’s Tropical Cottages #4 1/1 now $279K, Seascape #105 3/3 now $1.895M.

5 new sales: Spanish Cay #F6 1/1 listed for $275K, Lighthouse Point #113 2/2 listed for $499K, Sand Pointe #235 2/2 listed for $699K, Kings Crown #307 3/2 listed for $899K, High Tide #A101 3/2 listed for $1.199M.

4 closed sales: Colonnades #51 1/1 $170K, Spanish Cay #A6 1/1 $252.5K, Tennisplace #C35 2/1.5 $290K, Sanibel Surfside #133 2/2 $824K.

HOMES

8 new listings: 2984 Island Inn Rd 3/2 $599.9K, 1409 Causey Ct 3/3 $624.9K, 1173 Kittiwake Cir 4/2 $789.9K, 625 Sea Oats Dr 3/3 $799K, 1351 Middle Gulf Dr 3/3 $989K, 657 Birdie View Pt 3/3 $999K, 1740 Dixie Beach Blvd 3/2.5 $1.29M, 836 Sand Dollar Dr 3/2/2 $1.295M.

9 price changes: 702 Donax St 2/2 now $424K, 3168 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $549.9K, 590 Lake Murex Cir 2/1.5 now $635K, 732 Durion Ct 3/2 now $719.9K, 218 Daniel Dr 2/2.5 now $829K, 1287 Par View Dr 3/2 now $889.5K, 6440 Pine Ave 3/3 now $1.295M, 1520 Angel Dr 4/3/2 now $1.398M, 842 Limpet Dr 4/3.5 now $1.595M.

3 new sales: 1712/1714 Sand Pebble Way 4/2 duplex listed for $399K, 457 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 listed for $475K, 999 Dixie Beach Blvd 3/2 listed for $599K.

3 closed sales: 1661 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex $350K (foreclosure), 1203 Isabel Dr 2/3 $995K, 2302 Wulfert Rd 4/5 $1.25M.

LOTS

No new listings.

2 price changes: 1304 Eagle Run Dr now $249K, 6411 Pine Ave now $329,999.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Tennis Villas #3234 2/2 $427K.

No price changes, new or closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 16177 Captiva Dr 7/7 $6.95M.

No price changes, new or closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.

IMG_0846copyeUntil next Friday, above is one of my favorite photos of our island feathered friends (thank you, Hans),

Susan Andrews (aka SanibelSusan) at 239-472-HOME (4663), 888-603-0603, Susan@SanibelSusan.com, SanibelSusan Realty Associates Realtor/Broker/Owner

The December Fun Continues on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

SanCapAssnLogoWith the holidays fast approaching and folks scurrying to prepare, this week there likewise was a sudden flurry of real estate activity on Sanibel.

Several sales were announced at our Association of Realtors® weekly Caravan Meeting yesterday, while later in the day SanibelSusan got the listing paperwork signed on a home in The Sanctuary which will be posted as a new listing next week. At about the same time, two offers were received on two properties that we have listed. Those too are “in the works”! Season may be here early. We sure hope so!

The action posted in the Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing Service follow a couple of news items below. You will notice that we have a new listing on Martha’s Lane too. Below are a few photos:

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Realtors® Support Friends Who Care Toy Drive

Kiwanis santaFriends Who Care, Inc. has been assisting island residents since 1983, providing for children and adults in crisis situations, and working anonymously through information from local churches and schools. Again this year, the islands Association of Realtors® joined the effort by donating, collecting, and buying toys/gift cards which were presented to this non-profit at our meeting yesterday. The items will be sorted, wrapped, and ultimately delivered on December 23 to those in need by The Sanibel-Captiva Kiwanis Club Santa Run. Big thank you to teammate Elise’s kiddos, Payton and Ryan, who did the toy shopping for SanibelSusan’s donations this year!

Real Estate’s Most Loyal Age Group

bloomberg businessweekMy experience shows that this is the trend on Sanibel and Captiva too. This is what “Bloomberg Businessweek” had to say on Monday about real estate’s most loyal age group:

“Americans age 65 and over are holding onto home ownership instead of downsizing into rentals or moving to senior centers, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. Indeed, the largest jump in buyers this year was among people between the ages of 65 and 74. This age segment increased to 13% of all buyers from 10% a year earlier, according to National Association of REALTORS® data.

“”They want to remain as home owners now because it represents stability, so they don’t have to deal with generating fluctuating payments for rent,” says Chris Mayer, a real estate professor at Columbia University Business School in New York. Even during the housing crisis, the home ownership rate for Americans 65 and over stayed around 80% while it dropped for every other age group, according to Census Bureau data. Since then, Americans under 35 have seen the largest decline in home ownership, falling to 36% from 48%, Census data shows.

“In 1982, the home ownership rate for every age group was higher than it was in 2013 — except for those 65 and over. “This group has been a ballast for the market,” says Chris Herbert, acting managing director at Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. “If not for them, we would have seen a much lower home ownership rate overall, more homes on the market, and more weakness.”

“Seniors usually have less mortgage debt than younger home owners, greater wealth than they had four years ago, and longer lifespans than previous generations, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. For those aged 65 to 74, their median net worth rose 5% to $232,100, which is the largest gain for any age group from 2010 to 2013, according to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. “They have a quadruple bonus: They benefited from real estate, the best in equity and bond returns, plus higher GDP per capita growth well before the crisis during the 1980s and 1990s,” says Amlan Roy, head of global demographics and pension research for Credit Suisse Group AG’s investment bank in London. “It’s unlikely to repeat.”

“While older Americans are staying in real estate, they are carrying more mortgage debt than previous generations, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In 2010, about 40% of those over 65 were still making house payments compared to more than 70% of those 50 to 64, according to a report earlier this year by the Joint Center for Housing Studies.”

Older Americans are indeed a pillar of the housing market!

Six Features in Demand Among Luxury Buyers

In Refin’s blog this week, an article says:

REDFIN logo“Luxury sales have been soaring in recent months, outpacing the rest of the housing market. Deals on existing homes priced above $1 million climbed more than 16% in October compared to a year ago, according to National Association of REALTORS® housing data. The increase was bigger than that of any other price segment.

“So what home features are these luxury buyers on the hunt for in their million-dollar–plus homes? The real estate brokerage Redfin recently uncovered some trends in home features and interior designs by looking at what’s in demand among their luxury clients as well as what’s trending on luxury listings. Here are some of the luxury home design trends they noticed driving 2014:

  1. Luxury showers: Forget the Jacuzzi tub. The luxury buyer wants a luxurious shower. “Since most people take more showers than baths, they want to have a stand-alone shower with multiple shower heads,” notes Charlie Baker, a Redfin real estate professional in San Diego.
  2. Fire pits by pools: Fire pits and gas fireplaces beside a pool are gaining in popularity, says Roseann Cossman, a Redfin real estate professional in Phoenix. “One quick way to warm up after a dip in the pool is to curl up next to a fire, and now that fire is just steps away,” Crossman says.
  3. Tasting rooms: Wine cellars are no longer a dark place in a basement or a closet. Home owners are placing more in living areas to host tastings with friends.
  4. White kitchen cabinets: High-end kitchens with cabinets in white, gray, or black with matching or contrasting countertops are gaining in popularity among the luxury market, notes Anna Schwoerer, a Redfin real estate professional in Virginia. Meanwhile, natural-colored wood cabinets are on their way out, she says.
  5. Quartz countertops: Luxury properties are showing more quartz or sandstone in countertops and making granite countertops look more outdated, says Jordan Clarke, a Redfin real estate professional in San Diego. “Quartz comes with a few benefits over granite; it is not as porous and therefore requires less maintenance, it is less prone to staining, and it is better able to withstand abuses during its lifetime,” Clarke says.
  6. Grand powder rooms: The powder room is getting a big makeover. These half-baths are getting more attention and fancier with elaborate mirrors, sinks, and lighting fixtures.”

Island Events & Festivities Continue 

Sanibelcityseal logoA news release from the City today included info on a couple of special events this weekend.

Here is the scoop on those events and some others occurring this weekend on Sanibel and Captiva.

Today (12/12)

6-9 p.m.            Grand opening of the South Seas Holiday Stroll

Tomorrow (12/13)

10 a.m.-3 p.m.   Art on the Veranda at Bailey’s Center

4:30 p.m.          Junkanoo Parade on Captiva in the village

5:30-7:30 p.m.   Captiva Lighted boat parade, view from McCarthy’s, Jensens’, Green Flash, ‘Tween Waters

6-9 p.m.            South Seas Holiday Stroll

8 p.m.               Boat parade after-party at Captiva’s Keylime Bistro

Sunday (12/14)

8.a.m.-1 p.m.     Sanibel Island Farmers Market on City Hall Grounds

6-7 p.m.            Captiva Community Carol Sing at Chapel by the Sea

BIG ARTS Community Chorus Holiday Concert

BIG-ARTS-Community-chorus-holiday-concert-2009It was great to see teammates, colleagues, client, and friends in the audience at our BIG ARTS Community Chorus Holiday Concert on Tuesday night.

If you like the “12 Days of Christmas” song, below is the final verse of the rendition that we sang during the concert. Words were written by chorus-mate, Mike Bugler. It’s fun!

‘Twas the twelfth day of Christmas,

On Sanibel, by the sea

I saw Twelve Dolphins Dancing

Eleven Lighthouse Lookers

Ten Pelicans Plunging

Nine No-See-Ump Swatters

Eight Tourists Tanning

Seven Shellers Shelling

Six Billy’s Bikers

Five Man-a-tees

Four Wading Birds

Three Fishing Men

Two Turtle Tracks

And a Gator in the Sanc-tu-ary!

White_Christmas_(musical)Chorus-mate, Dick Brown, Dad to author Dan Brown, also composed his own verbiage for the familiar Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas”.

With a few of the verses changed for some soloists dressed in different attire, it drew a few laughs from the audience too.

Soloist (a Sanibel gal):

The sun is shining, the sea is blue,

The orange & palm trees sway.

There’s never been such a day

In Sanibel U.S.A.

But it’s December the twenty-fourth,

And I’m longing to be up north.

Refrain:

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas

Just like the ones I used to know,

Where the treetops glisten

And children listen

To hear, sleigh bells in the snow.

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas

With ev’ry Christmas card I write.

May your days be merry and bright,

And may all your Christmases be white.

Soloist (in heavy winter clothing):

I’ve had it with this white Christmas,

I’ve had enough of all this snow.

I’m so tired of my wool coat,

My runny nose & sore throat,

And spreading flu ‘neath mistletoe.

 

Refrain:

We really love our grandchildren

Although two weeks with them’s a lot.

Oh, to be on Captiva, on a yacht,

Where all our Christmases are hot!

Soloist (island couple in beach attire):

There’s nothing like a green Christmas,

Not like the ones we used to know.

Instead of ice-chipping,

We’ll go skinny-dipping,

And dream of never shov’ling snow!

Refrain:

We’re dreaming of a green Christmas,

With sunny skies & a warm beach scene.

May your days be merry and serene

And may all your Christmases be green!

I’m dreaming of a warm New Year

With all my friends on Sanibel

Where I’ll walk the beach

And maybe reach

To find a rare junonia shell.

I’m dreaming of a warm New Year

With all my friends so dear & swell,

Where my soul is happy, & I’m well,

With all my friends on Sanibel.

 

Stinton: News Corp Deal Is a ‘Global Play’

Realtor.com logosThis article posted on-line yesterday on “Daily Real Estate News” elaborates on the recent acquisition of Realtor®.com by News Corp:

“National Association of Realtors® “NAR CEO Dale Stinton talked about the global opportunities that could come out of News Corp’s acquisition of Move Inc. in a wide-ranging interview he gave on Real Estate Coaching Radio earlier this week.

“”What’s missing [when people talk about the News Corp acquisition] is that this is going to be a global play,” Stinton told radio host Tim Harris. “This is the first time you’ve seen the largest trade association in the world, combined with the No. 3 portal in the space, matched up with a platinum-level media company that knows how to deliver messaging and branding to the public. That triumvirate is a very strong, unique basis for approaching the consumer.”

“One thing people often forget, Stinton said, is that NAR has global reach, too—relationships with more than 80 cooperating real estate associations around the world. While Stinton said it was too difficult to predict exactly what changes News Corp would make, creating a much better consumer experience and getting realtor.com® back into the No. 1 position are top priorities.

“Stinton called the News Corp acquisition one of the milestone events during his 31-year career with the association. Others included the creation of realtor.com® during the formative years of the Internet, the decision to marshal REALTOR® Party resources to advocate on the state and local level, and NAR’s eight-year, ultimately successful, campaign to prevent banks from owning real estate companies. “Imagine what the [financial] crisis would have looked like if banks had been in real estate,” he said.

Among other topics Stinton touched on were the association’s efforts to set REALTORS® apart from non-member licensees in consumers’ minds and increasing the availability of safe, affordable mortgage credit.”

Loan Defaults Plunge to Pre-Recession Levels

real estate daily newsThis is good news, also posted on “Daily Real Estate News”, on Wednesday:

“More home owners are keeping up with their mortgage payments. The nationwide mortgage loan delinquency rate — the number of borrowers 60 or more days past due on their mortgage — is projected to drop to 3.12% by the end of this year. By 2015, TransUnion researchers predict, the delinquency rate will reach 2.51%, the lowest level since reaching 2.61% in the third quarter of 2007, prior to the Great Recession.

“Mortgage delinquencies peaked in the first quarter of 2010 at 6.93%. Since then, the delinquency rate has steadily been dropping.

““We expect the national mortgage loan delinquency rate to continue its decline throughout 2015, marking four consecutive years of quarterly decreases,” says Steve Chaouki, head of financial services for TransUnion. “We anticipate interest rates to remain relatively low next year and unemployment rates to continue their decline, both of which should help fuel home sales and improve consumers’ ability to pay.

“Foreclosures are also expected to continue to funnel through the legal system in 2015, which will reduce delinquencies that have been lingering for some time,” he continues. “All of these factors will contribute to a further decline in mortgage delinquencies.”

“Nevertheless, TransUnion researchers project that while delinquencies will likely fall to precession levels, they likely will remain above the historic norm of 1.5 to 2%.  Delinquencies had started to rise prior to the recession.

“TransUnion predicts that 33 states will have delinquency rates lower than 2.5% by the end of next year.

“The largest mortgage delinquency rate drops likely will occur in Nevada (dropping from 4.65% to 2.97%); Georgia (falling from 3.31% to 1.92%); Maryland (falling from 4.17% to 2.83%); and Illinois (down from 3.37% to 2.17%), according to TransUnion’s report.

“On the other hand, delinquency increases are projected to occur in only three states: Idaho (rising from 2.16% to 2.44%); Massachusetts (inching up from 3.18% to 3.265) and North Dakota (up from 0.97% to 1.02%).”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity December 5-12

Sanibel

CONDOS

3 new listings: Seashells #27 2/2 $323K, Sanibel Arms West #B5 2/2 $499K, Loggerhead Cay #202 2/2 $559.9K.

2 price changes: Colonnades #44 now $189.5K, Lighthouse Point #219 2/2 now $449.8K.

4 new sales: Spanish Cay #A6 1/1 listed for $259.7K, Sanibel Surfside #133 2/2 listed for $849K, Pointe Santo #A2 2/2 listed for $849K, Wedgewood #204 1/1 listed for $2,225,555.

4 closed sales: Colonnades #1 1/1 $185K, Sundial #C307 1/1 $305K, Sundial #I203 1/1 $359K, Sandalfoot #5A3 2/2 $820K.

HOMES

8 new listings: 744 Martha’s Ln 2/2 $479K (our listing), 963 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $599.9K, 1024 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2 duplex $649K, 9012 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 $700K, 5406 Osprey Ct 3/2 $779K, 4037 Coquina Dr 3/3 $848K, 1429 Sanderling Cir 3/3.5 $1.575M, 2984 Wulfert Rd 4/3 $2.2M.

4 price changes: 1938 Roseate Ln 3/2 now $349K, 1452 Sandpiper Cir 2/2 half-duplex now $359K, 3001 Singing Wind Dr 3/2 now $449K (short sale), 6111 SanibelCaptiva Rd 5/4/3 now $18.95M.

6 new sales: 2407 Shop Rd 2/1 listed for $339K; 4599 Brainard Bayou 3/2/2 listed for $529K; 1674 Bunting Ln 3/2 listed for $549K, 490 Christine Rd 2/2 listed for $569,555; 1800 Woodring Rd 2/2 listed for $1.349M, 2302 Wulfert Rd 4/5 listed for $1.449M.

3 closed sales: 705 Oliva St 3/2 $747.5K, 1339 Par View Dr 3/2.5 $950K, 784 Birdie View Pt 4/4 $1.615M.

LOTS

1 new listing: Pine Ave $200K.

4 price changes: 9239 Dimmick Dr now $149K, 1299 Par View Dr now $229K, 1336 Eagle Run Dr now $245K, 6486 Pine Ave now $379.9K (foreclosure).

3 new sales: 864 Birdie View Pt listed for $349.5K, 860 Birdie View Pt listed for $389K, 1540 San Carlos Bay Dr listed for $1.195M.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

Nothing to report.
HOMES

1 new listing: 11523 Andy Rosse Ln 5/5.5 $2.795M.

No price changes, new or closed sales.
LOTS

1 new listing: 11545 Wightman Ln $1.345M.

No price changes, new or closed sales.

This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.

Susan

Until next Friday, happy weekend wishes to all,

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Sanibel Weekend Weather Forecast in Degrees F – Saturday 75 & Sunday 79 – WhoooHooo

SanibelSusan is back at her post this week where it is always great to get home and back to business even after a wonderful fun-filled vacation. Island traffic is noticeably heavier now than it was three weeks ago, while the weather remains mostly the same – sunny and picture perfect, unlike those nasty photos we are seeing on the news with snow and cold weather elsewhere.

Now through Easter is always a great time to be enjoying winter in Southwest Florida. I had lunch today with a colleague in the vacation rental business and he said that their phones are ringing off the hook with folks looking for last-minute holiday reservations.

Our listings had a few showings this week and our local Association of Realtors® Thursday Caravan meetings have changed to the “season” schedule of every week. Following a few news items below is the action posted in the Sanibel/Captiva Multiple Listing Service over the last seven days.

On teammate David’s travels this week he took the following bird photos. I thought you might enjoy them too – from osprey to sandpiper to eagle. (Bet you notice the mono-filament line wrapped around the osprey too. It’s a good reminder to always be careful with that stuff.)

osprey fishing line

 

Sandpiper

Eagle

On the real estate front, the number of units available still is down, though business is picking up, albeit is slowly. Homes and larger-sized condos continue to be in most demand. All indications are that it will be a terrific winter with prices continuing to rebound – we sure hope so!

Island Sales Stat Summary

Sanibel                         Condos                        Homes                         Lots

                                     #          Avg Price         #          Avg Price         #          Avg Price

For sale                        112      708,608           149      1,308,066         90        503,335

Closings pending         16        634,519           21         948,452           5          305,180

2014 sold thru 11/12    145      661,379           183      823,155           22         453,957

2013                             161      573,557           197      910,321           26         416,502

2012                             151      551,244           183      823,598           33         487,687

Upcoming Island Events

Shell MuseumNov 16 – tomorrow – Sat – 19th Birthday The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum – so free admission from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. www.shellmuseum.org

taste of the island logo_2014Nov 16 – Sun – 33rd Annual “Taste of the Islands” at The Dunes from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. (postponed from last week)

BIG Arts logoNov 21 – Fri – BIG ARTS Strauss Theater reopens for the 2014/2015 season with “Divas” which includes hits by some of the most successful female vocalists including Judy Garland, Aretha Franklin, Carole King, & Whitney Houston. “Divas” runs until Dec 4, www.bigarts.org/theater

Sanibel Community HouseNov 23 – Sun – Sanibel Thanksgiving Celebration at The Community House at 6:45 p.m. The BIG ARTS Community Chorus (& your favorite (I hope) alto) will be performing.

Luminary SantaDec 5 – Fri – 30th Annual Sanibel Luminary from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. (rumor has it that there will be another flash mob at Bailey’s this year)

Dec 6 – Sat – Captiva Luminary from 5:30 p.m. until 9 p.m.

Captiva Boat paradeDec 13 – Sat – Captiva Holiday Village 5th Annual Lighted Boat Parade at 6 p.m.

 

 

It’s Final: News Corp Acquires Realtor.com®

Realtor.com logosToday’s announcement from “DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS”:

“Media giant News Corp has officially completed its acquisition of Move, Inc., firming up its stake in the online real estate arena and tying its name to the REALTOR® brand. Move, Inc. is a leading provider of online real estate services and the operator of realtor.com®. News Corp says the merger will extend the media company’s global and digital operations as well as “bolster the real estate pillar of its business.”

“In partnership with the National Association of REALTORS® and its one million members, we look forward to turbo-charging realtor.com® and making it the most popular and profitable property site in America,” Robert Thomson, chief executive of News Corp, said in a statement.

“News Corp, a media and publishing business of which Rupert Murdoch serves as the executive chairman, owns such titles as The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s. It also has a majority ownership of the REA Group Ltd., a leading Australian residential property website. The Move network of websites reaches more than 30 million online visitors per month.

““We provide people with the information, tools and professional expertise they need to make the best and most informed real estate decisions, and we work to uphold the indispensable role of the professional in the real estate experience,” Steve Berkowitz, chief executive officer of Move, told REALTOR® Magazine in late September after the merger was announced.   “News Corp shares our vision, which is one of the many reasons this combination is such good news for our customers, consumers, and the industry as a whole.”

“National Association of REALTORS® President Chris Polychron praised the deal.  “The National Association of REALTORS® is excited about NewsCorp’s successful acquisition of Move, Inc.,” Polychron said in a statement released this morning. “REALTORS® are about making consumers’ real estate dreams a reality, and the unique strengths of News Corp, Move, and our REALTOR® members will enhance our ability to do that. NAR looks forward to its new partnership with News Corp and is committed to working with both companies to seek and develop new opportunities that help REALTORS® and consumers flourish in today’s real estate marketplace.””

The Next Big Home Feature Buyers Want?

Here’s some info from Wednesday’s “DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS” on-line:

houses-clipartfree-christian-clip-art--image-of-a-house-a-home---cropped-image-xoshp3ls“Home owners are showing a bigger appetite for smart home technology. Nearly half of consumers — 46% — say it’s important their current home or the next home they purchase have smart home technology, according to a survey conducted by ERA Real Estate and HGTV of nearly 2,500 consumers who recently participated in an HGTV national focus group on smart home technology.

“Home owners and buyers say they see the value in smart home technology for comfort, safety, and cost savings, and 51% surveyed say they would consider installing smart home technology in their home to make their home more marketable to future home buyers.

“The younger segment of the millennial generation is the most likely age group to spend money on smart home technology — 10 times more likely than the percentage of generation X members who say they’d consider adding smart home technology to their homes, the survey reported. “While still a growing trend, smart home enhancements have the potential to increase savings, safety, and resale value,” says Charlie Young, president and CEO of ERA Real Estate. “As we have seen through this survey and our one-on-one interactions with buyers and sellers, a smart home is one that is well positioned for the future and aligns with a growing reliance on mobile technology.”

“Indeed, 70% of millennials say it’s important that smart home technology integrate with their smartphone.

While smart home technology has often been thought to be driven by mainly security, survey researchers did not find security as the main motivation for adding smart home technology. Instead, home owners say they’re using or wanting smart home technology mainly because of the money-saving potential, such as through automated climate control, energy management, remote home monitoring, and lighting control systems. What’s more, consumers of all generations said they’d automate their thermostats before their lighting or security systems, and one in 10 Americans say they’d automate their TV over their lighting or security systems.”

Life Doesn’t Rise or Fall With Interest Rates

realtor logoAs a long-time fan of NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, here is his article from the November “Realtor®Mag”:

“Housing market can weather the effects of expected mortgage spikes.

“Mortgage rates haven’t budged, remaining at historic lows throughout the year amid economic growth that has generated 2.5 million net new jobs over the past 12 months and a record high stock market. But uncertainty looms in light of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s announcement that the economic stimulus program known as “quantitative easing” will halt by year’s end. Moreover, an increase in the short-term Fed funds rate is expected by the middle of 2015. The course of U.S. monetary policy, in short, will be less accommodating going forward.

“In the meantime, perhaps because of geopolitical risks in the Middle East and Ukraine, or because of weaker economic conditions in Europe, a plentiful amount of money has flowed into the safe U.S. bond market, thereby holding interest rates down. Inflation has been low so far, too, rising only by 2%, another factor behind the low rates.

“Sooner or later, though, interest rates will have to rise. From the low 4% rate that prevailed for most of this year, the average mortgage rate will likely cross over the 5% threshold sometime in 2015 and probably rise to near 6% by 2016. Such a change makes homes less affordable, a clear negative for residential sales. But job creation and the accompanying rise in consumer confidence, along with some loosening of underwriting standards, might more than compensate for the rising rates.

“But what will be the impact on home owners who have locked in super low rates? How resistant will they be to giving those up? That’s something we’ll be tracking. But if past behavior is a guide, most home owners won’t stay put just to hang onto a low mortgage rate.

“Our own research supports this. Nearly half of recent buyers indicated the desire to have a different-sized home or live in a different neighborhood as the key reason for moving. Having kids and selecting a school district they like makes people move. Another third of recent movers cited changes in a job or ­marital status. Retirement was a factor for ­others. Only 3% mentioned changes in mortgage costs as a reason for moving.

“Low interest-rate lock-ins seem to matter far less than life cycle events. Even as rates move up, life moves on.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity November 7-14

Sanibel
CONDOS

4 new listings: Spanish Cay #C5 2/2 $379K, Blind Pass #G203 2/2 $520K, Island Beach Club #330C 2/2 $795K, Shell Island Beach Club #5A 2/2 $895K.

4 price changes: Colonnades #51 1/1 now $179K, Loggerhead Cay #453 2/2 now $459K, Sundial #Q202 2/2 now $694K, Sanibel Surfside #133 2/2 now $849K.

3 new sale: Tennisplace #C35 2/1.5 listed for $310K, Ibis at The Sanctuary #301 2/2 listed for $449K, Sayana #103 2/2 listed for $715K.

2 closed sales: Sundial #I103 1/1 $314K, Pointe Santo #B45 2/2 $710K.

HOMES

3 new listings: 548 Chert Ct 2/2 $585K, 1026 Bird Watch Way 3/2 $589K, 4577 Waters Edge Ln 4/3 $2.995M.

4 price changes: 590 Lake Murex Cir 2/1.5 now $649.9K, 1337 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 now $1.149M, 375 East Gulf Dr 4/3 now $1.589M, 4265 West Gulf Dr 4/4.5 now $4.395M.

2 new sales: 1901 Sanibel Bayou Rd 4/3 4/3 listed for $829K, 1339 Par View Dr 3/2.5 listed for $999.9K.

1 closed sale: 800 Birdie View Pt 3/3.5 $975K.

LOTS

3 new listings: 707 Emeril Ct $319K; 5633 Baltusrol Ct $349,555; 4334 West Gulf Dr $959,959.

3 price changes: 6411 Pine Ave now $335K, 6486 Pine Ave now $399.9K (foreclosure), 4988 Joewood Dr now $529K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva
CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: Bayside Villas #5230 1/2 listed for $309K.

No closed sales.

HOMES

Nothing to report.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.

Whether selling or buying, please call The SanibelSusan Team.

Susan, David, Elise, and Lisa are island experts and ready to help you!

SANSLogo

Florida Real Estate Market Rebounding, Eagles, & Island Action

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

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

 Two Real Estate Reports Suggest Florida Rebound

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

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

Captiva Views

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

Sanibel Eagles

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

Lots of Singing

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

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

Florida’s 2012 NAR President Outlines Agenda

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

Homeowners’ Monthly Mortgages Down ~40% 

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

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

From the South Florida Water Management District November Newsletter

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

Sanibel & Captiva MLS Activity November 11-18

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

Captiva
CONDOS
1 new listing: Lands End Village #1636 3/3 $2.25M.
No price changes.
2 new sales:  Beach Villas #2613 1/1 listed for $450K, Captiva Bay Villas #D 3/3.5 listed for $2.995M.
No closed sales.
 
HOMES
1 new listing: 16838 Captiva Dr 6/7.5 $6.75M.
2 price changes: 11530 Chapin Ln 3/2 now $1.099M, 15867 Captiva Dr 7/7.5 now $6.495M.
3 new sales: 51 Oster Ct 2/2.5 listed for $695K, 15 Seascape Ct 3/2 listed for $749K, 11536 Wightman Ln 3/3 listed for $799K.
No closed sales.
 
LOTS
Nothing to report.

This representation is based in whole or in part on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market. The information provided represents the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions. If your property currently is listed with another broker, this is not intended as a solicitation of that listing.

 

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

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

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