October Scoop from Sanibel & Captiva Islands

It’s another happy Friday on Sanibel. SANSLogoIsland traffic picked up considerably both yesterday and today with folks arriving for the long Columbus Day holiday weekend. Hopefully some of them will be interested in real estate. SanibelSusan Realty will be open and ready!

Fabulous island-style fall weather is expected too, with no rain in the forecast until the middle of next week. With a drop in humidity and evening temperatures to drop into the 60’s, we look forward to some of the best island weather! October is really here!

Redfish Pass

Redfish Pass

With all of the ugly media reports this week, we want more positive news. So, here’s some for the team – we had another condo listing go under contract this week, had a nice SanibelSusan closing today and another one scheduled for Tuesday where we helped both the buyers and sellers achieve their goals. Woohoo! Many thanks to all!

Lands End

Lands End

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

Sanibel Skate Park

Autumn-Skate-Park-Hours-Sanibel-Recreation-Center_mediumDid you know that Sanibel even has a skate park? It is at the Sanibel Recreation Center and is open Thursdays from 2-4 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Skateboards and roller blades are welcome, users must provide their own equipment, and helmets are mandatory. All participants also must have a valid Rec Center membership and have a skate park release form completed by an adult. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. More info is on http://www.mysanibel.com.

Florida Regulators Developing Guidelines to Bring Flood Insurers to the State

TampaBayTimesThis article was posted by a St. Pete Realtor® who read it in the “Tamp Bay Times” this week. I sure hope this happens. It could offer some insurance relief.

“Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty said Wednesday that his office is in the process of developing a “set of simple guidelines” for insurance companies to request approval to write primary flood insurance in Florida as an alternative to the Federal Floods Insurance Program. “The guidelines will not only provide a framework for the approval of rates and forms for flood coverage, but will also address financial requirements that must be met for insurers to write this new coverage,’’ McCarty said in a statement.

“The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation was barraged with questions Wednesday after McCarty’s deputy, Rebecca Matthews, told the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee on Tuesday that OIR was working with companies to help them write primary flood coverage in the state to give them an alternative to paying the massive price increases expected as a result of federal reforms.

“The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 attempted to phase in a series of rate increases in the National Flood Insurance Program as a way to close the program’s $24 billion deficit. But estimated 268,000 Floridians with older homes in high risk flood zones will lose their subsidized rates when they sell their homes, hitting buyers with triple digit increases in their flood insurance premiums in many cases.

Gov. Rick Scott and Florida’s congressional delegation have appealed to Congressional leaders to pass a delay in the rate hikes but, with Washington at a standstill, nothing has happened. Meanwhile, real estate experts say the rate shock on buyers could freeze Florida’s slowly-thawing real estate market. They are urging state leaders to come up with an alternative for the nearly 2 million homeowners who now have NFIP policies.

“A handful of companies are currently writing primary flood coverage in Florida, but they are generally specialty companies and write flood coverage only for high value homes, said OIR spokeswoman Amy Bogner. Insurers can either write the flood policy as a stand-alone flood policy or as an endorsement onto a homeowners policy, she said.

“Some of the companies current writing flood insurance include: Chubb (Federal Insurance Company); AIG (Chartis Property Casualty Company); Wright National Flood Insurance Company; Privilege Underwriters Reciprocal Exchange; Firemans Fund Insurance Company; ASI (American Strategic Insurance Corporation); Markel American Insurance Company.

“Scott was asked on Wednesday whether he would support policies to make it easier for insurers to provide alternative insurance in Florida but the governor refused to answer and instead blamed President Barack Obama. “The president signed the bill. He could have an impact by stopping it,” Scott told reporters. “He needs to put a pause on that bill.””

Florida Announces Support For Mississippi’s Lawsuit Against FEMA

Photo Credit Meredyth Hope HallIn a press release late Thursday from the Governor’s office (eog.myflorida.com):

“Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi today announced that they will be filing an amicus brief, or “friend of the court” brief, in Mississippi’s lawsuit against the federal government’s unfair National Flood Insurance Program’s rate hike. Governor Rick Scott said, “President Obama is failing to save Florida families from huge flood insurance rate hikes and that is why we are going to support Mississippi in their lawsuit against FEMA. This unfair rate hike could devastate Florida’s real estate market and homeowners.

““I want to thank Senators Rubio and Nelson for working across party lines on this issue, especially during such a time of partisanship in Washington. Ultimately, the buck stops with the President and that’s why we continue to ask him to get his agency- FEMA- to undo this unfair insurance rate hike on Florida families.”

“Attorney General Pam Bondi said, “Due to Congress’ failure to better protect consumers, Floridians are now facing increased flood insurance rates that could force them from their homes and hurt the economy. While we are in frequent communication with OIR to determine whether we can legally take additional action, we support Mississippi’s lawsuit.”

“Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater said, “The National Flood Insurance Program was created to help families who live in flood prone areas, but the recent changes are going to cause more harm than good. I am appreciative of Senator Rubio, Senator Nelson and all of Florida’s Congressional members who are working toward making the appropriate legislative changes, and I am appreciative of states like Mississippi that are helping Washington realize immediate action needs to be taken to fix the problem.””

Freddie Mac‘s Plan to Stall Impact of Shutdown

FreddieMacLogo_3An on-line REALTOR®Mag article in “Daily Real Estate News” on Tuesday, says: “With the government shutdown now in its second week, Freddie Mac has issued intermediate guidelines to lending institutions for approving home loans and modifications to keep the housing market from grinding to a halt.

“Federal employees and contractors are not receiving paychecks during the government shutdown, but Freddie Mac is allowing lenders to approve mortgages for those borrowers — even in the absence of steady income — assuming they meet other loan requirements and plan to return to work once the government reopens.

“”Today’s bulletin is intended to give lenders the certainty to continue approving and delivering new mortgages that meet Freddie Mac guidelines to eligible borrowers, such as federal employees and contractors, during the temporary shutdown,” says Dave Lowman, Freddie Mac executive vice president of single-family business. “We are also reminding servicers of our forbearance options to assist qualified home owners with Freddie Mac mortgages to minimize the shutdown’s impact on our nation’s families and communities.”

“Freddie Mac has mortgage relief and forbearance policies available to public- and private-sector employees who are affected by the government’s shutdown. One of the biggest hurdles for lenders is being unable to verify borrowers’ income directly from the IRS during the government freeze. But both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have said they would adjust policies as needed so that loans and modifications could continue to be approved.”

Survey: Gov’t Shutdown Deflating Housing Optimism

fannie-mae-logoAnother “Daily Real Estate News” article also on Tuesday offered the following glum news: “Though Americans have expressed optimism about the housing recovery over the last few months, their feel-good attitudes took a turn for the worse in the run-up to the government shutdown, Fannie Mae reports in its latest National Housing Survey.

“”Our September National Housing Survey results show that the improvements in consumer housing attitudes witnessed in recent months softened ahead of the government shutdown,” says Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s senior vice president and chief economist. “Americans’ awareness of policy uncertainty leading up to the October 1st shutdown, and the pending debt-ceiling debate, appears to have grown as indicated by an apparent cautionary holding pattern in overall consumer housing and personal finance sentiment.”

“The percentage of Americans who say they believe home prices will increase over the next 12 months fell from 55% in August to 52% in September. And 63% say they believe mortgage rates will keep rising, an all-time high for the survey and an uptick from 60% in August.

“Still, 72% say it’s a good time to buy a house, and 38% say it’s a good time to sell, according to the survey.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity from October 4-11


Sanibel River from Spanish Cay

Sanibel River from Spanish Cay

5 new listings: Colonnades #13 1/1 $169K (short sale), Loggerhead Cay #362 22/2 $512K, Loggerhead Cay #351 2/2 $548K, Sundial #Q202 2/2 $780K, Island Beach Club #220D 2/2 $849K.
2 price changes: Shorewood #2B 3/3 now $1.449M, Plantation Village #B321 3/3 now $2.499M.
2 new sales: Spanish Cay #F7 1/1 listed for $264K (our listing), Nutmeg Village #214 2/2 listed for $899K.
3 closed sales: Tennisplace #D31 1/1 $170K, Sanibel Arms West #M4 2/2 $424K, Sanibel Arms #D1 2/2 $445K.

3 new listings: 6451 Pine Ave 3/2 $489K, 1342 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $599K, 1480 Angel Dr 3/3 $1.499M.
5 price changes: 2729 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 now $1.175M, 2520 Harbour Ln 3/2.5 now $1.275M, 1748 Jewel Box Dr 4/4 now $1.389M, 829 Tulip Ln 5/4.5 now $2.295M, 3869 West Gulf Dr 6/7/2 now $9.495M.
1 new sale: 2279 Troon Ct 3/4 listed for $1.395M.
3 closed sales: 1183 Kittiwake Cir 3/3 $670K, 1735 Jewel Box Dr 4/3 $1.175M, 6014 White Heron Ln 3/3.5 $1.25M.

Pool 6

Island Woods pool

No new listings.
1 price change: 1898 Woodring Rd now $2.495M.
No new sales.
4 closed sales: 1847 Farm Trl $207.5K (our listing), 3358 Saint Kilda Rd $284K, 2323 Starfish Ln $300K, 3761 Coquina Dr $317.5K.

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.
1 closed sale: Lands End Village #1631 2/2 $1.085M.

No new listings.
1 price change: 15301 Captiva Dr 4/3.5 now $2.249M.
1 new sale: 16838 Captiva Dr 7/7.5 listed for $4.995M
No closed sales.

Nothing to report.

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

Happy October, wherever you are! SanibelSusan

2-Sale Double-Dip Week Plus a New Great Listing for SanibelSusan

IMG_1732We had a flurry of activity at SanibelSusan Realty this week. There was no Realtor Caravan meeting yesterday, but I (Susan) had two unexpected sales (both my listings – love those) – one by a past client and the other a new customer who called from reading my Friday blog. How about that!

Dunes logoYesterday, we received a terrific new listing in The Dunes. A photo taken from the great room of this house at 1311 Sand Castle Road is shown above. It has peaceful lake views perfect for wildlife watching.

With good feedback from other listings that were shown this week too, our fingers are crossed on a couple of those! Maybe “season” is starting early!? That sure would be nice!

Sancapbank logoSpecial shout-outs to Dan Cronin, Assistant Vice President and Loan Officer, with the Sanibel-Captiva Community Bank and Ron Dehler, Chief Inspector, with Horizon Inspection Service, Inc. for their expert service this week too!Ron Dehler448_FJ_Ron_house

Great to refer business to folks who respond, professionally and quickly!

Mid-September on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

Sunset-croppedThe peak day of hurricane season was Tuesday, so hopefully Southwest Florida will wind down through the next two months with less rain and no storms. Though it has been one of the wettest summers in recent history, there has been wonderful weather the last few days. The typical afternoon/evening showers have not made it to the island, though there has been some pretty serious flooding in some areas off-island.

It also was reported on the news that the water releases from Lake Okeechobee will be reduced 60% beginning today because the water level in the lake is down to a more reasonable level. There have been a few inquiries about the water, but mostly locals are fielding visitor questions about what is open and what’s not. With schools back in session, September is usually the islands’ quietest month. Ding Darling Drive remains closed until October 1. The Sanibel Movie Theater is closed all month and many restaurants and shops continue to close for fix-ups and vacations.

Here are a couple of wind insurance news items followed by this week’s action in the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.

Florida Approves Citizens Property Insurance Hikes

Citizens_logoSometimes these news items are not much fun to post. Earlier this week the “Associated Press” posted the following article from Tallahassee:

“Florida customers of the state’s largest property insurance company – including many homeowners who live near the coast – will be paying more in the coming year. State regulators on Monday announced that they had approved an overall statewide rate hike of 6.3% for customers of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. The hike means that the state-created Citizens – which has 1.22 million policyholders – will have raised its rates for four straight years.

“The Office of Insurance Regulation’s hike is slightly smaller than what Citizens officials had requested. The increases would take effect in January and February 2014.

“But the range of hikes varies depending on where homeowners live and what type of policy they have with the insurer. Many policyholders in South Florida as well as coastal counties such as Sarasota, Escambia and Volusia may see a 10% jump in their insurance bills while the rate change will be lower for those who live further inland.

“Barry Gilway, president and CEO of Citizens, maintained that exposure to hurricanes and sinkholes were the “major drivers” behind the need for the rate hikes this year. In a statement, Gilway said he was pleased that regulators “agreed with our overall approach.”

“Citizens would have likely asked for larger increases next year – but state law does not allow Citizens to raise rates on most coverage more than 10% a year. That cap does not apply to sinkhole coverage.

“The final order issued by regulators allows sinkhole rates to go up by 20% in Hernando and Pasco counties and 50% in Hillsborough County.

“Citizens has the power to place a surcharge, also called a “hurricane tax,” on its own policies and on the policies of most insurance policies if it can’t cover its losses following a major storm. That has prompted a push by Gov. Rick Scott and others to force Citizens to improve its finances. Citizens has billions of dollars in surplus now, but a series of a storms, or back-to-back years with major hurricanes, could wipe out the surplus. “The agency’s action will allow Citizens to continue providing quality service to our 1.2 million policyholders while reducing the risk of assessments on all Floridians,” Gilway said in his statement.

Citizens Insures Thousands of Out-of-State Owners

FLRealtors_newlogoContinuing with more news about Citizens, I read this article on FloridaRealtors this morning. It was sourced to “The Miami Herald” yesterday.

“When Citizens Property Insurance sends out its monthly customer bills, only 31% of them go to the same house that is insured. The rest go to other mailboxes in Florida – and around the globe, according to data analyzed by the American Consumer Institute of Citizen Research. More than 19,000 bills go to people who live in Canada, nearly 27,000 go to New Yorkers, almost 12,000 go to folks in New Jersey and hundreds more go to England, Germany and France. From Singapore and China, to South Africa and Luxembourg, Florida’s state-run insurance company is providing subsidized insurance coverage to 22,775 property owners who reside abroad. Another 176,465 policies go to homeowners with primary addresses in other states, the study found.

“At least 1 million of the nearly 1.3 million monthly bills for homeowners policies stay in Florida, but that includes an estimated 500,000 policies that go to addresses different from the property that is insured. As Florida grapples with how to lower the cost of homeowners insurance along its hurricane alley, the out-of-state subsidies are a luxury it cannot afford, said Steve Pociask, president of the Washington, D.C.-based think tank that reviewed Citizens’ billing lists. “It all comes down to affordability,” he said. “People who live here and have their primary homes insured here are teachers, police, service workers and they are being stung by higher prices, while 27,000 people who have their bills sent to New York are getting subsidized insurance. Why do we want to subsidize these folks?”

“The inequities are enough to prompt Sen. David Simmons, the chairman of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee to draft legislation to require that out-of-state policyholders whose second homes or vacation are insured by Citizens no longer receive subsidized rates. “It is a real issue,” said Simmons, R-Maitland. “We thoroughly investigated it. The people who have the wind-only policies in the coastal accounts pay comparatively less than people who have personal accounts who are paying close to actuarially sound rates. It’s grossly unfair.”

“Pociask’s findings have also prompted a coalition of business and environmental groups this week to call for legislation to ban property owners whose primary residence is out of state from qualifying for Citizens insurance, which are offered at below-market rates. “It is bad public policy to continue to allow public subsidies for wealthy, out-of-state homeowners, including coastal homeowners who should be paying a fair price to live in a vulnerable area,” said Manley Fuller, president of the Florida Wildlife Federation and a member the Stronger Safer Florida Coalition, whose goal is to reduce the risk of hurricane losses in the wake of a major storm.

“The study, produced independently by Pociask using data supplied by Citizens, does not distinguish between policyholders who own or rent their property to full-time residents in Florida but receive their bills out of state, and those who live in Florida only part of the year. It’s a controversial suggestion in a state where steady improvements in the real estate market are being driven in part by international buyers.

“For example, in Sunny Isles Beach, development is under way for eight luxury condominiums, most of which are being marketed to foreign and out-of-state investors. Mayor Norman Edelcup predicts the city’s property tax base will double in the next five years because of it. But, he said, access to property insurance is key. “If Citizens were to deny insurance coverage to non-resident owners – in effect creating second class citizens – I would be totally against it,” he said. If those property owners are denied Citizens coverage, and can’t obtain insurance from an alternative carrier, “that would immediately cut those buyers out of the market and that would have a dramatic effect on us,” he said.

“Legislators tried to impose a surcharge on non-homesteaded property once before, in 2006. But the measure, which was adopted by legislators as part of a sweeping insurance reform bill, was repealed the next year in the wake of spiraling insurance costs at the state-run carrier. Under the current system, anyone who obtains a Citizens policy faces the risk of being charged additional assessments if the state runs out of money to cover claims in a massive storm. Floridians who don’t carry Citizens coverage would also face fees to bail out the state carrier, leading some to question the fairness of giving out-of-state residents subsidies if they escape the added costs. “We should not be subsidizing insurance – period – because it distorts risk and it distorts the market,” said Christian Camara, Florida state director of the R Street Institute, a free-market think tank. “But we especially should not be subsidizing folks who do not live in Florida and would not be subject to the assessments in a worst-case scenario.”

“Efforts to shrink Citizens and reduce the potential size of those assessments was the focus of a major property reform bill passed last session. Under the plan, Citizens established a clearinghouse to encourage private insurers to take over Citizens plans, limited the maximum Citizens policy from $2 million to $1 million and eliminated subsidizes for new construction in environmentally-sensitive coastal areas.

“But Pociask, who said his organization receives no funding from Florida entities, warns that because of the large number of out-of-state policyholders, the reforms may not do enough to ease the financial burden on Florida residents if a massive storm were to hit. “The whole idea of having that investment from other countries is really good for the state, but, the question is, should somebody else be on the hook for paying for their insurance?” he asked.

“Simmons said he is prepared to find the answer with legislation next session. “Our plan is to address the inherent inequities that exist without denying anybody access to Citizens,” he said. “But we want to make sure the existing Citizens policyholder are not subsidizing other policyholders who are out of state.””
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity from Sep 6-13


3 new listings: Beach Road Villa #103 2/2 $349.5K, Sanibel Moorings #1622 2/2 $439K, Sanibel Arms West #M4 2/2 $450K.
2 price changes: Blind Pass #E206 2/2.5 now $479K, Pointe Santo #B25 2/2 now $749K.
4 new sales: Duggers Tropical Cottages #2 1/1 listed for $249K, Mariner Pointe #1042 2/2 listed for $424K (our listing & sale) (picture of that view above), Sanibel Arms #D1 2/2 listed for $450K, Sunset South #3B 2/2 listed for $595K.
1 closed sale: Sanibel Siesta #210 2/2 $414.5K.
4 new listings: 1039 Beach Rd 2/2 $340.5K; 579 Rabbit Rd 3/3.5 $579,555; 1311 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $749.9K (our listing); 600 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2.5 $1.195M.
2 price changes: 1809 Bowmans Beach Rd 3/2 now $499K, 1342 Junonia St 3/3 now $629K.
4 new sales: 659 Donax St 2/2 listed for $449K (our listing & sale),  470 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 listed for $495K, 4585 Bowen Bayou Rd 4/4 listed for $645K, 200 Robinwood Cir 3/3.5 listed for $1.268M.
3 closed sales: 1520 Centre St 2/2 $319K, 1941 Roseate Ln 3/2 $420K, 1066 Bailey Rd 3/3 $721K (short sale).
No new listings.
1 price change: 4954 Joewood Dr now $399K.
1 new sale: 5439 Osprey Ct listed for $379K.
No closed sales.
No new listings, price changes, or new sales.
1 closed sale: Bayside Villas #5134 1/2 $257K.
1 new listing: 16249 Captiva Dr 3/3 $2.995M.
1 price change: 11525 Chapin Ln 4/4 now $1.449M.
No new or closed sales.
Nothing to report.

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


Here’s to sunny weekend weather…on the islands & beyond…

First Day of Summer & Real Estate News on Sanibel Island

It is another sunny summer afternoon on Sanibel Island. Here are a few news items, followed by the Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service activity for the past seven days.

June 20, 2013, gulf beach on the Captiva side of Blind Pass, photo by Lisa Murty

June 20, 2013, gulf beach on the Captiva side of Blind Pass, photo by Lisa Murty

Monthly Realtor Membership Meeting

ASSOC LogoYesterday, our June Sanibel and Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Membership Meeting was well attended, but only a handful of new listings and sales were announced. There also were few properties on the morning caravan – definitely more indications that we are now in what is usually called the “off season”.  (In fact, with the Independence Day festivities now less than two weeks away, there will not be another Realtor® Caravan until our next membership meeting the middle of July. There just are not enough new listings this time of the year.)

In keeping with the 2013 Professional Development Committee’s program to learn from our affiliate business partners, the educational session portion of yesterday’s meeting covered “Red Flags” in the title company business. Thanks to Nanci Berlin with Barrier Island Title Services, Amanda Curran with Superior Title Services, Doug Stevens with Stewart Title Company, and Cathy Mann-Seiple with Fidelity National Title of Florida for participating.

Teammates Dave and Lisa viewed caravan properties and while out-&-about snapped a couple of beach pictures in the Blind Pass area.

The beach at Blind Pass yesterday, photo by David Anderson

June 20, 2013, beach at Blind Pass looking to Sanibel side, photo by David Anderson

SanibelSusan Team Action

SANSLogoI was out showing property twice this week to long-time clients and then after having a good walk-in, also met several times with some folks considering moving here. These prospective buyers both were disappointed that there is not much inventory that meets their requirements (gulf-front homes for one couple and entry-level homes near the beach for the other).

Those are the two of the products that have seen the most action this year. For example on the beach on West Gulf Drive, where homes can be in the $2‑ to 10‑million range, there are just three currently for sale, while five already have sold and closed this year. At the other end of the price spectrum, considering near-beach Sanibel pool homes under $550K, those choices are limited too. Six homes like that have already have sold with just three remaining for sale. Sure wish we could get the same interest in the mid-price range properties, particularly condos, a lot of that inventory remains.

We received a new condo listing this week that it is not the typical gulf-side 2 bedroom/2 bath, but rather a fully remodeled and expanded ground-level 3 bedroom with bay views at Mariner Pointe. Mariner Pointe, near the causeway and adjacent to the Sanibel Marina, is the island’s only peninsula complex and great spot for boaters, fishermen, outdoorsmen, and other water lovers. Owners there include use full-time residents, 2nd-home owners, snowbirds, vacationers, and some investors too, as weekly rentals are permitted. With on-site manager, long-time grounds staff, and multiple amenities (deeded beach access on East Gulf Dr, 2 swimming pools, tennis courts, shuffleboard, private fishing pier, bbq areas, and boat dockage (by annual lease)), it also offers some of the most affordable condo living on the island.

One of the two community pools at Mariner Pointe overlooks San Carlos Bay

One of the two community pools at Mariner Pointe overlooks San Carlos Bay

Sanibel Lighthouse – Summer Rehab Project

CornerLighthouseThis past Monday, June 17, the City of Sanibel began a rehabilitation project to the Sanibel Lighthouse and construction will continue through September 2013. The road leading to the Lighthouse starting just beyond the fishing pier parking lot will be closed for use during this construction project. The fishing pier and adjacent parking lot will remain open.

Mark Your Calendars for the 1st Upcycle Art Fest on Sanibel

upcycle_logoDing Darling Wildlife Society has announced a new event to benefit the J.N. “Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. To be held at the Sanibel Community House April 26-27, 2014, in the spirit of “Ding” Darling, this inaugural event will provide an artistic venue and marketplace to showcase fine art and craft of the highest quality made from recycled and repurposed material. It also will educate and entertain the public on the importance of recycling and protecting wildlife.

Should Boomers Worry About Millennials’ Housing Shift?

realtor logoRealtorMag on-line in their Daily Real Estate News on Monday reposted an interesting article from “The New York Times” about home loans for millennnials. If you missed it, in part, it says:

“The Millennial generation is showing different housing preferences than previous generations, and some analysts say that Baby Boomers may be growing concerned that they will have a tough time selling their suburban, larger homes due to the Millennials’ differing tastes. The Millennial generation has been called a key to the housing recovery, and housing experts are taking careful note of how the younger group’s housing preferences differ from previous generations.

“A new survey by the Urban Land Institute’s Terwilliger Center for Housing shows that about 60% of the millennial generation say they prefer a mix of housing choices and prefer to be near shops, restaurants, offices, and transit. Seventy-five percent of Millennials say they value walkability. Of the 63% of Millennials who say they plan to move within the next five years, about 40% say they expect to move to multifamily housing.

““I do think their preferences are going to result in sustained change,” says Lynn Ross, the executive director of the ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing. “This group is so different from previous generations.”

One of the biggest obstacles facing this generation is student loan debt. Fifty-four percent of those aged 22 to 32 said that debt is their biggest financial concern. Forty-two percent referred to their debt as “overwhelming.” “This generation has been through an incredibly difficult time, and I think it is ultimately going to operate very similarly to the generation that went through the Great Depression,” Ross says.”

Florida Realtors Take Part in Florida Governor Scott’s Business Mission to France

I read a Paris posting this week by our Sanibel pal and Florida Realtors® 2013 President Dean Asher and our Association’s Senior Vice President of Public Policy, John Sebree.

Here's Dean in Paris.

Here’s Dean addressing trade mission attendees.

“Representing Florida’s Realtors® and the interests of the state’s real estate industry, Florida Realtors® President Dean Asher and Senior Vice President of Public Policy John Sebree are in France this week with Gov. Rick Scott and other key business leaders to show French companies and individuals that “Florida is a great place to do business.” The trade mission is at the 50th International Paris Air Show.

Representatives from about 80 Florida-based aviation, aerospace and defense companies, educational institutions and economic development agencies are participating in the bi-annual Paris Air Show, which is recognized as one of the world’s top aviation and space industry events, according to Enterprise Florida…

“The Sunshine State is home to one of the largest aerospace and aviation industries in the U.S. – Florida has more than 2,000 companies related to the industry, 12 aviation military bases, three spaceports and dozens of colleges and academic programs that offer aerospace and aviation training. The industry employs more than 87,000 workers across the state.

“During the event, Asher and Sebree met with members of the French national real estate federation, known as FNAIM, to discuss expanding the ties between the two associations, and developing more real estate opportunities. FNAIM is the largest professional real estate organization in Europe. The organization represents about 8,000 agencies and 37,000 real estate experts specializing in over 12 different professions in the property sale, management expertise and consultancy sector.

““French buyers see Florida as a great destination for a second home,” says Asher. “According to Florida Realtors’ latest research (the 2012 Profile of International Home Buyers in Florida), buyers from France are investing all over the state.” The 2012 report found that French nationals made up 5% of the international buyers purchasing homes in the Miami-Miami Beach area; 5% of the international home buyers in the Orlando-Kissimmee area; 6% of international home buyers in the Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice area; and 10% of international home buyers in the Palm Beach area.”

SanibelSusan has worked with many European buyers through the years and too has recently noticed more visitors from France. Just last year, I sold a wonderful east-end near-beach lot listing to a wonderful couple who live in France for part of the year. Loving Florida and especially Sanibel is an international experience! They are building a vacation home here now.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity June 14-21



5 new listings: Sanibel Siesta #501 2/2 $539K, Loggerhead Cay #252 2/2 $579K, Mariner Pointe #711 2/2 $599.9K (our listing), Sanddollar #A104 2/2 $879K, Bougainvillea #4 3/3 $1.125M.

2 price changes: Sundial #G205 now 1/1 $299,999, Tamarind #A101 2/2 now $1.505M.

1 new sale: Spanish Cay #C3 2/2 listed for $339K.

4 closed sales: Sundial #C201 1/1 $225K, Sanctuary Golf Villages #3 2/2.5 $500K, Pointe Santo #C32 2/2 $575K, Pelicans Roost #206 2/2 $780K.


2 new listings: 1709 Sand Pebble Way 4/3 $449K, 5753 Pine Tree Dr 3/4 $895K.

4 price changes: 1409 Sandpiper Circle (1/2 duplex) 2/2 now $299K, 3168 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $629K, 1251 Anhinga Ln 3/3 now $1.995M, 428 Bella Vista Way 4/4 now $1.996M.

2 new sales: 1076 Captains Walk St 2/2 listed for $575K, 1241 Junonia St 3/3 listed for $719K.

2 closed sales: 916 Beach Rd 3/3 $800K, 1694 Dixie Beach Blvd 3/2 $950K.


1 new listing: 4405 West Gulf Dr $7.998M.

2 price changes: 1307 Par View Dr now $245.5K, 1837 Buckthorn Ln now $379K.

No new or closed sales.



1 new listing: Lands End Village #1660 3/3 $1.595M.

No price changes.
2 new sales: Sunset Beach Villas #2222 1/1 listed for $529K, Lands End Village #1611 2/2 listed for $1.215M.

No closed sales.


1 new listing: 16785 Captiva Dr 3/3.5 $2.35M.

No price changes.
1 new sale: 15166 Wiles Dr 3/2.5 listed for $2.995M.

No closed sales.


Nothing to report.

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

Wishing you a weekend of sunny summer days & bright moonlit nights!

Here's the resident turtle in the bayou behind our lot listing at 4626 Buck Key Rd, photo by David Anderson

Here’s the resident turtle in the bayou behind our lot listing at 4626 Buck Key Rd, photo by David Anderson


Another view of Blind Pass on June 20, 2013. Photo by Lisa Murty.

Another view of Blind Pass on June 20, 2013. Photo by Lisa Murty.

Yippee…It’s Already Like Summer on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

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Here are a few news items from SanibelSusan, followed by the activity in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing System since last Friday. You will notice from the tidbits below that it has a been a big week (or at least “big” for the island) for animal sightings. So thanks to our pal and photographer, Jim Anderson, JMA Photography, above are some of the animals that he has photographed on the islands. My favorite is the yellow-crowned night heron with baby. (Isn’t it amazing how such ugly chicks can turn into such beautiful birds?) Giant grasshoppers, like the one Jim filmed, are hopping in my garden now too. But another signal that spring/summer weather is here!

Memorial Holiday Week

The islands were fairly busy this week, but mostly with families and visitors enjoying the great outdoors and our wonderful “like-summer” weather. We had a few listings shown, though not as many as we hoped. One bit of good news was a “heads up” call yesterday that an offer is on its way for one of our listings. This was an off-week for Realtor® Caravan; the next one will be Thursday coming.

“The SanibelScoop with Captiva Chatter”

The office team again this week has been updating our database in preparation for our first newsletter mailing in several months. We try to stay green, particularly by urging folks to read this blog, but many continue to ask us about them and like to hold that piece of paper, so we occasionally will prepare and bulk mail a “The Sanibel Scoop with Captiva Chatter”. We do not want to miss an opportunity to get our listings sold, so a June issue soon will be mailed to all island property owners as well as our prospective-buyer contacts. It goes to the printer today! All listings with photos will be included. If you are not on our mailing list and would like to receive this mailing, please give me a call at 888-666-0603 or 472-HOME (4663) or send an e-mail to Susan@SanibelSusan.com.

Education Boardwalk Update

I received the following news this week from the Ding Darling Wildlife Society (DDWS):

“The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge reports steady progress on the new Children’s Education Boardwalk project between the Sanibel School and Indigo Trail within the Refuge. The City of Sanibel has approved the site, and architect Amy Nowacki is working on the design. Refuge rangers met with teams of teachers to solicit their ideas for the boardwalk. One suggested that an observation tower be added to the boardwalk, and the Refuge is currently considering that option. DDWS is planning on reprising fundraising efforts to pay for the addition. Other teachers requested easy access to water to facilitate taking water samples…The boardwalk will cross a brackish wetland currently inaccessible to the public en route to the refuge’s Indigo Trail. It will give school children and visitors up-close views of alligators, wading birds, and an opportunity to learn more about the importance of water in our lives. The walkway will meander through mangroves and expand into an in-the-round venue to accommodate up to 25 students and other groups….Plans to break ground are estimated to be September 1, 2012.”

Rare Smalltooth Sawfish

In other news from the Refuge, a rare smalltooth sawfish was seen at “Ding” on Tuesday in Tarpon Bay. The little 2-foot pup was probably born only a few weeks ago, which is good news for this critically endangered fish.

Sanibel Bear

As a Facebook follower, it was of interest mid-week to read about several sightings of the Sanibel bear. It was first spotted on the island last July, but recently has wandered away from the Refuge and seen walking down Dixie Beach Blvd near Sanibel Isles, Water Shadows, and The Dunes. News crews even picked up it, with announcements yesterday and today on the local TV stations. As a protective measure, Sanibel’s finest should be advised of sightings. Islanders are reminded to keep their trash “in” until the morning of pick-up.

Florida Perceived as Having a Competitive Business Tax

This article was posted Wednesday in the Orlando Business Journal on-line:

“A survey of corporate leaders gives high marks to Florida’s business tax structure. The survey run by a New York based tax consulting firm, Alvarez & Marsal, polled a cross-section of chief financial officers across the country and found that Florida is one of the top three states perceived as offering a favorable business tax policy, reported the Associated Press. Florida has one of the nation’s lowest corporate income tax rates at 5.5%. However, owing to exemptions, some businesses pay much less. They have the full backing of Gov. Rick Scott who has pushed to end corporate tax over time and has allowed tax exemptions to increase in number, the AP reported.”

Federal Flood Insurance Program Gets 60-Day Extension

An AP article posted yesterday says:

“Congress has given itself two more months to come up with long-term solutions for the debt-burdened federal program that provides insurance for homes and businesses in areas subject to flooding. A voice vote in the House Wednesday extended the life of the National Flood Insurance Program for 60 days, assuring that people in flood-risk areas will continue to have access to the flood insurance they need to close on mortgages or obtain refinancing. The program was slated to expire today.

“The last full-scale reauthorization of the NFIP, a wing of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, occurred in 2004. Since 2008, the insurance provider has stayed alive through a series of 16 short-term extensions while lawmakers debate how to restore its fiscal soundness. The NFIP was largely self-financing until it was overwhelmed by claims from hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. It now owes nearly $18 billion to the Treasury.

“Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Ill., chair of the House Financial Services subcommittee on insurance, said she hoped Wednesday’s 17th stopgap measure would be the last, “because this program is too important to let lapse, and too in-debt to continue without reform.” She said Senate leaders had given public and private assurances that they would vote on a long-term extension in June.

“The House last year passed a five-year extension that allowed for increased premiums and ended some subsidies, but the Senate has been unable to get a companion bill to the floor for a vote. The Senate last week passed the 60-day extension after adding a provision by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., that would gradually eliminate premium rate subsidies for people buying second homes and vacation homes in flood-prone areas. Coburn said that could save the program $2.7 billion over 10 years.

“The NFIP was created in 1969, partly to fill the gap left by the unwillingness of private insurers to provide flood insurance. It now covers some 5.6 million policyholders in 21,000 flood-prone communities.” (including Sanibel & Captiva)

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity May 25 – June 1:



2 new listings: Blind Pass #A204 2/2 $369.5K, Bayview Village #2A 3/3 $699.9K.

3 price changes: Seashells #6 2/2 $335K, Sanddollar #B104 2/2 now $935K, Cyprina Beach #1 2/2.5 $1.295M.

3 new sales: Sanibel Moorings #1412 1/1 listed for $269,962; Seashells #26 2/2 listed for $274K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #3-2 3/3 listed for $450K.

5 closed sales: Sanibel Arms #D2 1/1 $224K, Mariner Pointe #1043 2/2 $290K (our listing), Sandpiper Beach #205 2/2 $520K, Sand Pointe #132 2/2 $570K, Tarpon Beach #101 2/2 $600K.


2 new listings: 701 Nerita St 3/2 $519K, 9007 Mockingbird Dr 3/3 $1.2M.

3 price changes: 1274 Par View Dr 3/3 now $644K, 760 Birdie View Pt 4/3.5 now $849K (short sale), 2367 Wulfert Rd 4/3.5 now $1.094M.

1 new sale: 1663 Bunting Ln 3/2 listed for $344K (short sale).

3 closed sales: 3940 Coquina Dr 3/2 $450K, 1429 Jamaica Dr 4/3 $450K, 1570 Sand Castle Rd 4/3.5 $876.2K (short sale).


1 new listing: 1310 Par View Dr $369K.

2 price changes: 545 Rabbit Rd now $179K (our listing), 837 Limpet Dr now $899K (our listing).

No new or closed sales.



1 new listing: Lands End Village #1610 3/3 $1.925M.

1 new sale: Lands End Village #1664 3/3 listed for $1,597,900.

1 closed sale: Beach Villas #2517 1/1 $415K. 


No new listings.

1 price change: 16645 Captiva Dr 8/9/2 now $4.199M.

No price changes or new sales.

1 closed sale: 11521 Wightman Ln 4/3 $1.45M.


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.