Easter Blessings Abound On Sanibel


It’s SanibelSusan, reporting about another fun week on the islands. Many end-of-season events are wrapping things up and the spring weather here has been perfect – bright sunny warm breezy days, mostly in the 70’s, with gorgeous sunsets, followed by mild evenings.

Susan Yard 03-18-16

 

Lots of families and visitors are here on spring breaks and Easter vacations, so there has been lots of roadway traffic. Bike paths are busy too. Adding to that, Vice President Pence arrived yesterday and is expected to be here until next Friday enjoying Sanibel. (My lips are sealed as to which client’s home he is visiting.)

We’ve had plenty of action in the office too, with sales processing toward closings, others in-the-works, and our listings getting good action. After a few news items, below is the activity reported this week in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.

March Membership Meeting – Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

Congressman Francis Rooney – It was standing room only at 8 a.m. yesterday at the local Association of Realtors® monthly membership meeting. That’s because the speaker was Congressman Francis Rooney who came to update us on several important issues that affect our business.

arter rooney corace 03-30-18

Association affiliate member Dave Arter with Private Client Insurance Services, Congressman Rooney, & 2017 Association President Dustyn Corace

SanCap Mtg 03-29-18

Rooney is the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 19th congressional district which covers parts of Lee and Collier counties. He lives in Naples where he and his family have a base of diversified international group of companies that have created many jobs and economic opportunities in SW Florida and throughout the U.S. He also served many years as an U.S. ambassador.

His down-to-earth presentation cut right to the chase, explaining how the fight for water quality continues with good progress made in recent legislation, but often without the necessary appropriations. Attendees including Realtors®, business affiliates, and local leaders were encouraged to push with property owners to also contact their congressional leaders, not just here, but in other states to likewise recognize the importance of this resource and what must be done and funded to ensure its continuity. Segments from his pitch were included in a TV report last night on “water quality” that appeared on Wink News.

Congressman Rooney also briefly mentioned how the Federal flood insurance program has been extended until July. But, since it is now out of the federal budget package, could be in jeopardy. (You can be sure that local, state, and national Realtors® organizations are closely following that too.)

Florida Realtors logoFlorida Realtors® Honor Society – At the same meeting, five members of the local association were recognized by Florida Realtors® for achieving 2017 Honor Society. I am one of the lucky five – recognized for making the achievement for the 19th year.

FishFood for F.I.S.H. – Realtors® and attendees were reminded that in April the Association is collecting non-perishable food items to help F.I.S.H. of San-Cap replenish their food pantry which often gets low when the island thins out. Snowbirds and owners heading home for the summer are reminded to drop items at F.I.S.H. or call your Realtor® or SanibelSusan Realty. We will gladly pick your items up and get them delivered to the food pantry – or drop them off here at 2242 Periwinkle Way, Suite 3.

Upcoming Eventseaster61

  • 24th Annual Spring Festival – tomorrow March 31 from 9 to 11 a.m. hosted by The Children’s Education Center of the Islands, held at the Community Park, across the street from SanibelSusan Realty.
  • Easter Egg Hunt – tomorrow March 31 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sanibel Community Church. In addition to the hunt – for 2,500 pre-filled eggs, there will be games, crafts, bounce house, storytelling, & free lunch.
  • 7th Annual Easter Eggstravaganza – tomorrow March 31 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Island Inn, both inside and outside activities (those inside at Traditions on the Beach).
  • BIG ARTS Chorus Spring Concerts – Wednesday April 4 and Thursday April 5 at 7 p.m. at Schein Performance Hall. It usually sells out, so get tickets at www.bigarts.org. SanibelSusan is in the alto section.

Living Shoreline Approved Along Woodring Road

Sanibelcityseal logoAt Tuesday’s Sanibel Planning Commission meeting, approval was given for a project between the City of Sanibel and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to create a living shoreline along the eroded section of Woodring Road right-of-way. According to a report in the “Island Sun”:

us fISH & WILDLIFE LOGO“The project seeks to rebuild approximately 170 linear feet of existing rip-rap and stabilize approximately 710 linear feet of existing vegetated shoreline by the installation of “living shoreline”, an erosion control structure comprised of rip-rap, concrete pipes and “reefballs” …which provide additional protection from wave energy created by wind, waves, and boat wakes…The City has budgeted $200,000 for the project, which will likely go out for bids in late April, then be brought before Sanibel City Council in May or June…once approved, the project would be completed this summer in 30 to 45 days….”

Great American Cleanup – Sanibel Canals

Here’s a little scoop from Facebook:

kEEP AMERICA BEAUTIFUL“Join Coastal Keepers and the Ocean Tribe Paddlers on Saturday, April 21st for The Great American Cleanup, an initiative created by Keep America Beautiful. This is a paddle-based cleanup, so we will travel through Sanibel’s east end canals via paddlecraft, gathering litter along the way. If you do not have a paddlecraft, Ocean Tribe Paddlers has a limited number of loaner paddleboards and kayaks available.

“We will meet at Sanibel Sea School’s Flagship Campus at 8 AM for a briefing, then divide into small groups before driving to the Sanibel Boat Ramp to launch our vessels. Parking is available there for a small fee. All cleanup materials will be provided. After the event, participants are invited to return to Sanibel Sea School for refreshments.

“To register for The Great American Cleanup, please go to http://klcb.org/great-american-cleanup.html and choose Sanibel Canals as your location. We kindly ask that you register online in advance to help our friends at Keep Lee County Beautiful measure participation. To reserve a paddleboard or kayak, please contact oceantribepaddlers@sanibelseaschool.org before the event.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity March 23-30, 2018

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Nutmeg Village #205 2/2 $760K, Sunset South #10C 2/2 $799K.

5 price changes: Sanibel Inn #3522 2/2 now $699K, Sandalfoot #3C1 2/2 now $729K, Loggerhead Cay #163 2/2 now $779K, Sundial West #E104 2/2 now $899K, Atrium #201 3/3 now $1.435M.

5 new sales: Seashells #42 2/2 listed at $379.9K, Sundial West #F306 1/1 listed at $465K, Sundial East #P204 2/2 listed at $899K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #6 3/3 listed at $968.5K, Tanglewood #1A 3/2 listed at $1.045M.

5 closed sales: Captains Walk #D5 2/1 $288K, Spanish Cay #F3 1/1 $274K, Sanibel Seaview #C2 3/3 $920K, Loggerhead Cay #134 2/2 $935K, Kings Crown #317 2/2 $1.295M.

HOMES

5 new listings: 8991 Mockingbird Ln 3/2 $875K, 1438 Causey Ct 3/2 $895K, 1248 Par View Dr 4/4.5 $1.38M, 3790 West Gulf Dr 3/2.5 $1.699M, 413 Bella Vista Way 4/4 $2.495M.

14 price changes: 4542 Bowen Bayou Rd 3/2 now $515K, 998 Fish Crow Rd 3/2 now $599K, 610 Hideaway Ct 3/2.5 now $659K, 236 Hurricane Ln 2/3 now $689K, 4439 Gulf Pines Dr 3/2 now $695K, 4239 Gulf Pines Dr 3/2 now $699K, 4760 Rue Helene 3/2 now $879.5K, 3050 West Gulf Dr 3/2.5 now $949.9K, 1244 Par View Dr 4/3 now $1.099M, 1747 Jewel Box Dr 3/2 now $1.145M, 1349 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 now $1.155M, 852 Lindgren Blvd 4/3 now $1.159M, 490 Sawgrass Pl 3/2.5 now $1.649M, 2689 Wulfert Rd 4/5.5 now $1.894M.

11 new sales: 1438 Sandpiper Cir 3/2.5 half-duplex listed at $379.9K, 9471 Peaceful Dr 3/2 listed at $469K, 1283 Par View Dr 2/2 listed at $574K, 1410 Sand Castle Rd 2/2 listed at $609K, 225 Daniel Dr 3/2.5 listed at $699K, 727 Birdie View Pt 3/2 listed at $779K, 5410 Osprey Ct 3/2.5 listed at $799K, 239 Daniel Dr 3/2 listed at $998K (our listing), 330 East Gulf Dr 3/2 listed at $1.15M, 5403 Shearwater Dr 4/3 listed at $1.195M, 2167 Starfish Ln 4/4.5 listed at $1.875M.

8 closed sales: 3008 Singing Wind Dr 2/2 $360K, 1425 Causey Ct 4/3 $660K, 563 Hideaway Ct 3/2 $675K, 4791 Rue Helene 3/2 $830K, 1275 Par View Dr 3/2 $885K, 1114 Captains Walk St 3/3 $885K, 1470 Angel Dr 3/2 $875K, 4649 Rue Belle Mer 3/2.5 $2.45M.

LOTS

2 new listing: 978 Main St $184.9K, 2288 Starfish Ln $549K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 6027 Dinkins Lake Rd listed at $239.8K.

1 closed sale: 2998 Singing Wind Dr $150K.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Bayside Villas #5136 1/2 $399.9K.

1 price change: Sunset Captiva #302 3/3 now $2.495M.

1 new sale: Lands End Village #1665 2/2 listed at $975K.

No closed sales.

HOMES & LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

happy-easter4Happy Easter!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

 

Sanibel/Captiva Real Estate & September on Island


It is SanibelSusan – the lone one at SanibelSusan Realty today following a week of September quiet and more summer-like weather. Gulf waters are warm and clear, shell mounds are big, and the boating had been amazing with the occasional summer showers staying mostly inland this week, or at least inland until after dark.

2016-09-23 CLouds.jpg

Long-time (20-year) visiting Swiss client friends were in my office earlier today remarking that they have photographed the most beautiful sunsets this week. They viewed their first-ever green flash too. I am still waiting to see one.

2016-09-21-sunset

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® New Member Orientation

Sanibel realtors logoI participated in the Association’s new member orientation on Tuesday, where our Board of Directors and Committee Chairs urged the newbies to get involved by joining committees and aspiring to become part of the leadership team. It is always interesting to hear what new Realtors® did pre-real estate. Usually several are seasoned sales associates who sold in other parts of the country before coming to SW Florida. This group included a recent college graduate, and several professionals who changed careers (like me) to get here before they are too old to enjoy it. Those have included an engineers, teachers, attorneys, nurses, and an occasional artist or musician.

Continuing Education

Wednesday and Thursday, I completed the 14-hours of continuing education required to renew my Florida real estate license. Years ago, the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® worked with educators to prepare a class curriculum. It was approved by the Florida Real Estate Commission so sales associates and brokers here can complete these 2-year requirements without driving over the causeway or taking on-line classes. The class is revised and updated every two years.

Day 1, from 9-5, was instructed by Chuck Bonamer, and in three parts: Core Law; Security and Risk Management on the Internet; and Essentials of an Effective Web Presence. Thankfully Chuck Bonamer is one of the most in-demand instructors in Florida, one of those upbeat individuals who loves what he does and does it so well. He is a Realtor® Emeritus too (that’s 40 years plus). His active role in education at the state/national level and work in litigation, coupled with a son in the real estate internet business, keep him savvy, and his material relevant.

SCCF logoMy favorite part of our continuing ed is that Kristie Anders, Director of Education at SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation), is a state-approved instructor for the environmental segment of the curriculum. If any of you have taken a profession’s continuing education, I bet many will agree that much of the material covered is stuff that you will rarely, if ever, use. In this environmental segment, we learn things we really use – and use frequently – things that make us better island ambassadors.

2016-09-22-survey-baileyDay 2, from 8-4, with Kristie, began at the 28-acre SCCF Bailey Homestead Preserve. It was a great opportunity to peek back in history, see the latest restoration, tour the grounds and buildings, and hear about the process of its being.

A highlight is the windmill that operated the well that provided water to this Bailey family home that was built in the late 1800’s.

2016-09-22-windmillHard to believe that Mary Bailey moved here with just her three sons and without ever visiting the island. It was a full year before they had a home to live in. (Today, it is one of only ten historic buildings on the island.)

The Native Landscapes and Garden Center (formerly Native Plant Nursery) has moved to the Bailey Homestead Preserve, as has SCCF’s shop.

The gardens illustrate what is best grown in different environmental areas of the island. They offer free advice, sell plants and mulch (and deliver), and more.2016-09-22-garden-ctr

From the Homestead, we traveled to SCCF’s Board Room where their Natural Resource Policy Director, Rae Ann Wessel was in the audience to field questions on the latest federal, state, and local happenings regarding “clean” water and the Everglades restoration. If you haven’t signed the “Now or Neverglades” declaration, it is easy to do online at http://gladesdeclaration.org/

2016-09-22-turtlesIn the Nature Center, we heard about the island’s water supply, where it comes from and how it is processed at Island Water. Then we got up close and personal with an endangered indigo black snake and some local tortoises when we ran into SCCF’s Wildlife and Habitat Management Director, Chris Lechowicz. He heads the Pine Island Sound Eastern Indigo Snake Project, Diamond Terrapin Project, and Box Turtle Project.

After some dip-netting along SCCF’s wetlands, we traveled to Captiva where we boarded “Playtime” which is a 45’ catamaran out of McCarthy’s Marina with Captiva Cruises. As we headed up the channel, we passed the J.N. “Ding” Darling cottage on pilings over the water. He loved it – not his wife!

2016-09-22-dingWith Dr. Rick Bartleson from SCCF’s Marine Lab on board, from there, we headed to RECON Station #39 which is out in Pine Island Sound off Redfish Pass.

2016-09-23-reconThere phone equipment sends data back to the lab every three hours (like “E.T., phone home”). It provides some of the best local weather info – way more accurate than the weather reported from news stations in tall buildings in downtown Ft Myers. Go to http://recon.sccf.org/ if you want to check it out.

Since our classwork is time-sensitive when we docked at Cayo Costa, we only had time to quickly cross the boardwalk to the beach and back.  The photo below is on Cayo Costa beach – likely how Sanibel used to be.

2016-09-23-cayo-costa

During the boat trip, Kristie covered life in the estuary, development on the islands, and more on island wildlife flora & fauna. So the next time, I am out showing property, you can be sure there will be talk of protecting the sea grasses; bald eagles, hawks, pelicans, and kites; sea turtle nests and coyotes; puffer fish, trigger fish, and other critters from our waterways. (Photo here showings the beautiful afternoon weather, looking toward Cabbage Key and Useppa Island.)

2016-09-22-useppa-cabbage-key

history-galleryThe class finished at the Captiva Historical Gallery which is within the Captiva Community Center, next to the library.

Constructed to resemble the inside of the old mail boat “Santiva”, viewing this mini-museum is fun and quick. Free too. Photo to the right shows the gallery.

The History of Sanibel’s CHR

Though I have lived full-time on Sanibel for over 24 years, I did not know the entire history of CHR (Community Housing & Resources) until I read it in their fall newsletter. I bet they don’t mind that I repeat it here. It’s a wonderful real estate story.

chr-logo_main“Beginning in 1978, a group of volunteers from Sanibel and Captiva formed with a goal to provide affordable housing in support of the growing island workforce. Community Housing and Resources was formed, and the organization became a 501(c)(3) in 1979.

“CHR’s first effort a providing housing was to secure an old cottage relocated to a lot on Sanibel Island. CHR held a lottery to select who got to live in the house. The chosen couple were obligated to care for the property and when it was sold, CHR would get 20% of the proceeds. The couple ended up living there for 17 years.

“In 1983, the City of Sanibel was working on their tactics to implement the affordable housing policies contained in the Land Use Plan that was written when Sanibel was incorporated. Thanks to very dedicated and persuasive CHR board members, CHR’s model program was developed and pitched to the City, who in response created a housing foundation and hired CHR to fulfill that function. CHR was also granted funding to hire their first executive director. They hired Dorothy Newman who had extensive experience in housing, especially in federal programs. That year she generously donated her entire salary back to CHR (approximately $20K).

“Under Newman’s leadership, the first project developed was land given to CHR by Sam and Francis Bailey. Local company Mariner Properties donated several cottages that were then rebuilt by local builders and turned into two duplexes and one single-family home. It is now known as Beach Road.

“The next property to be completed was at Sanibel Highlands on Whitehall Road, which was finished in 1990, the same year that the unit located at Rabbit Road was acquired. Quickly after, additional land across from the Casa Ybel Resort, a former airstrip, was proposed to be the home of a new golf course. When the City turned down this proposal, the land became zoned for houses and CHR was given a portion of the land to develop into family housing. This became known as Airport Way, which officially became home to residents in 1992.

“CHR then got to work on their next project, Mahogany Way. The land was purchased in 1991 from funds from a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and a loan from the City secured by required contributions from the developers of The Sanctuary. Construction costs were financed by CHR’s consortium with seven local banks and Mahogany Way’s 14 units officially opened in Spring 1993. CHR also purchased its four units located in Lake Palms on Wooster Lane in 1992 and 1993 by means of a Community Development Block Grant.

“In the late 90’s/early 2000’s, CHR developed the portion of its program dedicated to serving long-time senior residents on the island, represented by the senior-only property of Casa Mariposa which was opened in 2001. This property is city-owned and backs up to protected preserve land.

“In 2003, CHR agreed on a debt for land swap with the City of Sanibel. CHR-owned properties, Beach Road, Sanibel Highlands, Airport Way and Mahogany Way, were traded ot the City to erase debt. The City now owns the land these properties are located on and CHR leases the land back.

“The Woodhaven property, which was sold to the city by a local land developer, is a 12-unit complex that was completed in 2005.

“CHR’s Riverview complex, which is a two-story, 10-unit building, was purchased in 2009. That same year, CHR acquired a single dwelling located at Algiers Beach as well as opened its complex of duplexes located at Centre Street. Centre Street is now home to eight of CHR’s Limited Equity Ownership (LEO) properties. The other LEO properties are located at Sanibel Highlands (Whitehall Road) and Beach Road.

“Continued funding from grants, private donors, and most significantly, resident rental income, has enabled CHR to continue to offer affordable housing options to the people of Sanibel for nearly 40 years.”

Note: “CHR’s LEO program allows qualified workers of Sanibel to purchase affordable housing on the island. The purchasers of LEO properties own their unit, but the land continues to be owned by CHR, similar to a condo purchase. When the owner is ready to sell, they must sell it back to CHR at a predesignated price.”

Go to www.SanibelCHR.org for more info.

Sanibel Budget Approved

Sanibelcityseal logoOn Wednesday, City Council unanimously approved Sanibel’s new budget which was mentioned in last week’s update. As posted today online at the “Santiva Chronicle”:

“We are coming back from an historic low in 2013 while continuing to drop the millage rate,” said Finance Director Steven Chaipel regarding property values.

“Less than 15% (14.9%) of a Sanibel resident’s tax bill goes to Sanibel with Lee County accounting for 26.2%, Lee County Schools 45.2% and independent special districts 13.7%.

“Tied to the budget are recent ordinances raising the non-resident season beach parking decals 10%, modest increases in fees at the Recreation Center and a restoration of building and development permits that have been waived since the economic downturn of 2008. Also recently approved were 3% increases in sewer and water reclamation fees…

“Wednesday’s budget hearing and final vote was the last in a series of budget hearings and committee meetings that make up the annual budget process….”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity September 16-23, 2016

Sanibel

CONDOS

1 new listing: Tennisplace #E33 2/1.1 $329.5K

1 price change: Cottage Colony West #136 1/1 now $624.9K (our listing, photos below)

No new or closed sales.

HOMES

5 new listings: 970 Palm St 3/2 $525K, 1364 Jamaica Dr 2/2 $629.9K, 3850 Coquina Dr 3/3 $899K, 1234 Middle Gulf Dr 3/3 $1.299M, 1052 Whisperwood 3/3 $1.489M.

2 price changes: 1585 Serenity Ln 3/3 now $589K, 513 Lighthouse Way 3/3 now $1.88M.

3 new sales: 956 Dixie Beach Blvd 2/1 listed at $369K, 1121 Sabal St 3/2.5 listed at $699K, 5771 Baltusrol Ct 3/4 listed at $1.398M.

No closed sales.

LOTS

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

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: Bayside Villas #5240 1/2 listed at $327K

No closed sales:

HOMES & LOTS

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

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

2016-09-22-john-bailey

As the base of the windmill at SCCF’s Bailey Homestead Preserve

Enjoy your weekend…until next Friday, Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Good Action at SanibelSusan Realty During Dog Days of Summer


TheSanibelsusan Logo whole SanibelSusan Team is back to work – as the Lee County kiddos are all back to school. That sure was a quick summer!

This week, island real estate activity continues to be sporadic, though we received more calls about new listings for “season”, likely the result of our recent newsletter mailing. Proposals and presentations for those usually continue through the end of the year.

One of our condo listings went under contract last weekend (we like doing both sides of a transaction) and a couple of other listings had offers. Negotiations still are underway on those, with fingers crossed.

A few other listings had showings with good feedback, so though it is that time often referred to as the “dog days of summer”, we are pleased with this week’s happenings.

No Sanibel/Captiva Association of Realtors® Caravan meeting yesterday, but a membership breakfast is next Thursday, so I hope to have more news to announce by then. Meanwhile after a few news items below is the action posted in the Sanibel/Captiva Multiple Listing Service since last Friday.

Best States for Business

Every year “Chief Executive Magazine” rates the best and worst states for doing business in the U.S. The good news is that Florida again is #2 this year. It held the same position last year. While Texas continues its reign as #1. For more info on where the other states rank, go to http://chiefexecutive.net/2016-best-and-worst-states-for-business-full-list/

Florida the sunshine stateAs the article says, “Texas and Florida top the list, as they have every year for the past 12 years that we have conducted this survey. Despite having been hit hard by the shale energy bust, Texas is still held in high esteem by CEOs for its favorable economic reforms. But each year, Florida steadily edges up in the qualitative measures. The Sunshine State added 1 million private-sector jobs over the last five years, cut taxes 50 times and got rid of 4,200 burdensome regulations. In 2014, it surpassed New York as the third-biggest state for companies to flourish.” Hooray for The Sunshine State!

Renovation Tips to Attract Buyers

realtor logoAn article posted yesterday on line at the National Association of Realtors® “Daily Real Estate News” was titled “Renovation Tips to Attract Millenial Buyers”. However, I have heard plenty of buyers – various ages – interested in the same features. Here’s what the article says:

“Generation Y makes up the largest pool of potential buyers, and builders and current home owners alike are keeping their needs in mind when building and renovating homes.

“The millennial generation is overwhelmed with options and information online, which is also reflected in their home search process. They are not looking to settle for a home that is good enough, they want to find one that is ready to move in and enjoy right away.

“”They’re picky,” says Peggy Yee, a supervising broker at Frankly Realtors in Vienna, Va. told Consumer Reports recently. “Millennials have specific needs, and if your home doesn’t meet them, they’re going to move on to the next house.”

“When your clients are looking to tackle a renovation project, Consumer Reports suggests they should focus on improving these four areas of the home that will make it an easier sell and appeal to younger buyers: (SanibelSusan says these appeal to older buyers too!)

“Create a Laundry Room – Young buyers want to separate their laundry from their main living space. Having a separate laundry room is so important to millennials, in a recent survey 55% of them said they wouldn’t even consider a new home without one.

“Get Smart – Having energy efficient, up-to-date appliances and including smart home technology in a home is a big value-add for young buyers. As NAHB reports, over two-thirds of millennials say smart home technology is a good investment, and they are willing to pay 3 percent more for these upgrades. But as Consumer Reports cautions, “keep in mind that high-tech features can quickly become poor investments because technologies evolve quickly.”

“Make Working from Home Easier – Many millennials have jobs with flexible schedules and work from home policies, so owners should think of ways they can re-imagine a space to make telecommuting a reality. As Consumer Reports points out, “It’s also relatively inexpensive to convert a room into an office; a basic desk, office chair, and door should do the trick.”

“Focus on Outdoor Spaces – Many young buyers are looking for a home that’s move-in ready and comes already equipped with thoughtful landscaping and a outdoor space for entertaining. This type of space doesn’t have to be fancy either. Just adding a patio or deck that has room for seating and a grill should do the trick to attract these buyers.”

Tourism Numbers Decline from Last Year

santiva chronicle“Santiva Today” this morning posted an article based on info from “The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel Tourist Development Council” (TDC), it says in part:

Lee Visitors Convention Bureau logo“The Tourism Development Council got together in Fort Myers on Thursday and that was the occasion to receive the latest tourism numbers for Lee County. One would expect the numbers to be down in view of the bad water and bad publicity resulting from Lake Okeechobee discharges, and they are.

“The TDC’s spring statistics show a decrease in average occupancy rate, the average daily rate charged for a room and revenue available per room for hotels, motels, resorts and bed and breakfasts. Rentals of condominiums, cottages and vacation homes were also down as was occupancy in RV parks and campgrounds.

“As the TDC notes, the declines are modest, but they are declines. The hotel-motel-resort-B&B occupancy rate in the spring fell from 70.4% in 2015 to 69.5% with the average daily rate dropping from $149.43 to $147.61. The average daily rate charged, or RevPAR, went from $105.16 last year to $102.65 this year.

Although the average daily rate for condos and vacation homes jumped from $180.73 to $186.08, occupancy in these units fell nearly 4% from 73.3% in spring 2015 to 69.4 this spring. The RevPar fell more than $3 from $132.47 in 2015 to $129.19 in 2016….

“The TDC said 77% of this spring’s tourists came from within the United States. That’s down from 83% last year. Germany made up most of the difference by providing 11% of the tourists this year compared to 5% last year. Great Britain sent us 5% of our tourists and Canada 4%, numbers that are basically in line with 2015.

“Seven percent of the American tourists came from Indianapolis with Boston second at 6%. Chicago and New York gave us 5% each. At 3% each were Detroit, Cleveland, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Denver, Atlanta, Cincinnati and St. Louis.”

Sanibel Community House on Track to ReOpen Early December

Posted yesterday by “The Santiva Chronicle” was an update on the renovations underway at The Community House. Watching the work progress is fun for us since our office is so close. Here some tidbits from the article:

North room community house

Photo by “Santiva Chronicle” of the north (historic) room

“Teresa Riska-Hall understands the value of Sanibel’s Community House from first-hand experience. “My husband and I held our wedding reception there more than 27 years ago,” she said. “It is near and dear to our hearts.”

“Riska-Hall, who has served as Executive Director of the Sanibel Community Association since 2010, is in charge of the Community House’s massive restoration project, and she reports that all is proceeding according to plan, with the reopening slated for early December.

““I have been working on the project for several years,” she says. “Watching it come to fruition at long last is truly exciting.” Part of Riska-Hall’s task is to preserve the Association’s historic outbuildings. These structures include the old Shell Fair Galley, the Shell Shed and the Live Shell Exhibit.

““We want to keep our heritage alive, even as we make huge changes in the House’s overall design,” Riska-Hall said. According to Riska-Hall, the Live Shell Exhibit outbuilding has been crucial to the Shell Fair’s function. “Sanibel School students spend a year learning about sea-life, after which they serve as teachers during the Shell Fair,” Riska-Hall noted. “These kids demonstrate their expertise with live specimens in the Live Shell’s Exhibit’s touch tank. We will move this important structure behind the main building for continued use.”

“Riska-Hall reports that the contractors have been confronted with plenty of surprises during the renovation. “One big surprise was finding old library books in the wall of the main building. They date back to the original Sanibel Library, which first opened its doors at the Community House,” she said.

“Another surprise was finding a cistern beneath the flooring. “That was quite a shocker,” she said. “The old floor came off in pieces, but it is still precious to us, so we will repurpose the wood. It won’t be discarded.”

“Riska-Hall acknowledged that installing the new roof over the auditorium required an unanticipated budget increase of $10,000, “but it is well worth the additional expense. The updated roof, plus the new wood flooring and acoustic panels, will improve the auditorium’s sound environment.”

“According to Riska-Hall, money had been budgeted for foundation work and flooring, for moving the historic buildings, and for upgrading the electrical system. “More is required, and we continue to seek funds for these added expenditures,” she said, “but we are close to our funding target.”

“New amenities greeting patrons when the project is complete include a sizable under-cover patio to provide drop-off capability, larger restroom facilities and wider east and west auditorium doors. “We will have easy entrance on all four sides of the structure,” she said, “and our kitchen will double in size!”

“The project also includes the acquisition of 1,250 new native plants, to meet the city’s landscaping standards. “We were able to save our coonties, our tabebuiah trees and our palms—virtually all of our existing native plants,” Riska-Hall said. “We are moving them to new sites on the property.”

“Given all of the unanticipated challenges, “that we are on schedule is amazing! The structure will be roofed-in by the end of next week. Then the project will really speed up,” she said. “It’s a challenging time, but everything is working out. We are extremely happy about that.”

“Riska-Hall reports that the Community House’s calendar for the coming season is filling up fast. “Folks should call now for reservations,” she says. “Do not delay!” To schedule activities at the Community House, contact Riska-Hall at 239 472 2155, or send an email to Teresa@sanibelcommunityhouse.net.”

Update on Renovations at The Sanctuary Golf Club

Sanctuary 08-12-16 Dining

Their photo of the Bridge Room

The Sanctuary Golf Club’s Facebook page recently posted some photos of their ongoing renovations.

The refurbishment of The Clubhouse is well underway. The new décor is in a beachy-chic palette with all new carpeting, paint, and furniture.

The club has remained open during these updates with the new-look at the Clubhouse expected to be completed in November.

Demolition of the old and construction of the new nearby Fitness & Wellness Center began in May. Weather permitting, completion there is expected in March 2017.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity August 5-12, 2016

Sanibel

CONDOS

1 new listing: Pointe Santo #D6 2/2 $735K.

3 price changes: Loggerhead Cay #313 2/2 now $539K, Lighthouse Point #129 3/2 now $649K (our listing), Sundial West #A208 2/2 now $809.9K.

LP Beach

Beach overlooking San Carlos Bay in front of Lighthouse Point

LP pool

Lighthouse Point pool

2 new sales: Sandpebble #2B 2/2 listed at $424.9K (our listing & sale), Loggerhead Cay #331 2/2 listed at $499K.

1 closed sale: Sanddollar #C101 2/2 $837.5K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 9240 Belding Dr 3/2.5 $625K.

2 price changes: 9292 Belding Dr 3/2.5 now $439K, 1306 Seaspray Ln 3/4 now $3.75M.

1 new sales: 9468 Peaceful Dr 3/2 listed at $759K.

2 closed sales: 726 Cardium St 3/3 $745K, 739 Pyrula Ave 3/3 $1.05M, 2311 Starfish Ln 4/3 $1.15M.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 1304 Eagle Run Dr now $299K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Ventura Captiva #2A 3/3 $975K.

1 price change: Tennis Villas #3125 1/1 now $254K.

No new or closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings or price changes.

3 new sales: 35 Sea Hibiscus Ct 3/2 listed at $950K, 11523 Wightman Ln 4/4 listed at $1.949M, 16177 Captiva Dr 7/7 listed at $5.95M.

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 general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.)

bella 08-16.jpgUntil next Friday, here’s hoping your dog days of summer are as great as those on the islands!

(That’s my grand-dog Bella after a dip in my pool this week! She loves it!)

Susan Andrews aka SanibelSusan

Sanibel Summer & Ospreys, oh my…


It is Susan reporting that it has been another “quiet” week on the islands. No Association of Realtors® caravan meeting yesterday, but the activity in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service over the last seven days follows a few news items below.

First a few photos  from our friend, Scott, who shares his pictures with us – for the blog. These ospreys love his dock! Thank you, Scott!

Sea Turtle Nests Break Record on East Sanibel

kemp turtleFollowing up on last week’s post about sea turtles, SCCF’s (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) blog on Wed, July 13, posted the following:

“Today SCCF’s Sea Turtle Program confirmed that Sanibel’s East End has broken the record for nest numbers since we began recording. We officially have 122 loggerhead nests on the East End.

“2015 was the previous record holder with 120 nests. Prior to that, the average for nests on the East end was 38 per year! We are having an excellent season!

“Here’s how you can ensure all those nests, hatchlings, and momma’s stay safe:

  • Respect all staked nests.
  • Turn off all lights – Nesting females and hatchlings primarily emerge after dark so remember to turn off all lights. Sea turtles use the brightest horizon to navigate towards the water. Any artificial lighting will cause confusion and steer turtles in the wrong direction. This includes beachfront lighting, flash lights, flash photography, and even iPhones.
  • Remove all beach furniture and toys – Clear everything off the beach from 9 p.m. – 7 a.m. Obstacles on the beach can cause nesting females and hatchlings to become entangled.
  • Fill in all holes on the beach – if you dug a hole on the beach please fill it in. Nesting females and hatchlings can fall into holes, causing them to be vulnerable to predators.
  • Never approach a nesting sea turtle – if approached the sea turtle will likely abandon her nesting attempt

sea-turtle-eggsLoggerhead Sea Turtle Facts

  • Loggerheads are one of seven species of sea turtles in the world
  • Nesting/hatching season occurs from April 15 through October 31
  • Adult loggerheads can grow to more than 3-feet long and weight 200 to 350 lbs
  • A female loggerhead may nest around 3-6 times per season
  • Each nest contains 100 or more leathery ping-pong ball sized eggs
  • Incubation takes about 55 to 65 days depending on sand temperature
  • It may take 30 years or more for loggerhead hatchlings to reach maturity.”

2016 Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate

realtor logoThe National Association of Realtors® (NAR) just issued the results of the annual survey by their Research Division which measures the share of U.S. residential real estate sales to international clients. The report divides those international or foreign clients into two types:

  • Non-resident foreigners who are non-U.S. citizens with permanent residences outside the U.S. They typically purchase for investment, vacations, or other visits of less than six months.
  • Resident foreigners who also are non-U.S. citizens, but are recent immigrants (or in the country for less than two years) or temporary visa-holders residing for more than six months for professional, educational, or other reasons.

The report contains some interesting information. Here are a few excerpts:

  • “Amid slower economic growth in many countries and the strengthening of the U.S. dollar, fewer non-resident foreigners purchased U.S. residential properties while resident foreigners stepped up their purchases. Meanwhile more U.S. domestic clients searched for properties abroad…
  • Foreign buyers purchase $102.6 billion of residential property from April 2015 – March 2016, a decrease from $103.9 billion in the previous 12-month period…
  • Non-resident foreigners accounted for 41% of foreign buyers while resident foreigners made up 59%. In past years, the number of foreign buyers was split almost evenly between resident and non-resident foreign buyers…
  • Foreign buyers typically purchase more expensive properties…
  • 45% of foreign buyers who purchased residential property came from China ($27B), Canada ($8.9B), India ($6.1B), the United Kingdom ($5.5B), and Mexico ($4.8B)…
  • Non-resident foreign buyers made up the bulk of buyers from Canada and the United Kingdom while resident foreign buyers came from China, India, and Mexico…
  • Although foreigners purchased property nationwide, five states accounted for 51% of total residential property purchases: Florida (22%), California (15%), Texas (10%), Arizona (4%), and New York (4%)…
  • 72% of non-resident foreigner buyers purchased the property as a vacation and/or residential rental property for investment while 21% of resident foreign buyers purchased the property for vacation and/or rental use…
  • 50% of reported transactions were all cash…
  • Previous client contacts and referrals accounted for 47%….”
  • Florida and Arizona attracted buyers from Latin America, Europe, and Canada who tend to purchase properties in warm climates for vacation purposes…
  • The outlook for international real estate activity in the U.S. remains positive. The decline in the value of the British Pound following Brexit is likely to mean fewer buyers from the United Kingdom. However, businesses and foreign real estate investors may choose to stay away from the United Kingdom, and the United States could become an attractive alternative.”

Corps to Cut Back Lake O Releases

SCCF logoAs reported on line yesterday (July 14) by the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF):

“Some good news — the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has granted the request made during this week’s Periodic Scientists Call to reduce flows from Lake Okeechobee to 2,800 cfs measured at the Franklin Lock from last week’s average 4,158 cfs. Flows to the St. Lucie will be reduced to 650 cfs.  There should be some improvement in water clarity because of the reduction — but that would also require that rainfall not be heavy enough to increase the amount of runoff from the Caloosahatchee’s own watershed.

“SCCF participates in a weekly conference call with the Army Corps and South Florida Water Management District as part of a local stakeholders group, which also includes J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, the City of Sanibel, Lee County, the Town of Fort Myers Beach and the City of Cape Coral.  As part of this process, the partners prepare a weekly Caloosahatchee Conditions Report.  During this week’s call, stakeholders requested a slowdown on the lake releases.

You can find the reports on our website.”

In other SCCF news, their Natural Resource Policy Director Rae Ann Wessel spoke at a congressional hearing yesterday in DC on the water quality crisis in Southwest Florida and St. Lucie, Martin and Palm Beach counties on Florida’s east coast. In part, she said:

“We need to recognize this is a national issue requiring science that informs and directs public policies to protect the natural resources in our backyard,” Wessel testified. “This is an economic crisis as well as an environmental one, with 47,000 jobs in our $3 billion tourism industry at stake. We must act now to stop the harmful algal blooms that extend over 35 miles of the Caloosahatchee as we speak. We ask four things of Congress today. Bring greater science to bear in seeking solutions. Pass WRRDA (The Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2016). Continue the Tamiami Trail bridging. Accelerate the implementation of the CERP (Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan) project to store water in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) south of Lake Okeechobee. These four actions will provide the greatest impacts for resolving the water quality crisis on Florida’s two coasts.”

The Interagency Working Group hearing was the start of “Lagoon-Gulf Action Day” on Capitol Hill. Participating agencies included:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

United States Geological Survey (USGS)

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity July 8-15, 2016

Sanibel

CONDOS

No new listings.

3 price changes: Sanibel Arms #F2 1/1 now $515K, Sandpiper Beach #203 2/2 now $699K, Tanglewood #1A 3/2 now $1.1479M.

No new or closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 4428 Waters Edge Ln 3/2.5 $1,299,999.

5 price changes: 1746 Windward Way 3/2 now $540K, 810 Elinor Way 3/2 now $649K, 519 Kinzie Island Ct 3/2.5 now $1.395M, 513 Lighthouse Way 3/3 now $1.929M, 1306 Seaspray Ln 3/4 now $3.895M.

3 new sales: 726 Cardium St 3/3 listed at $775K, 760 Windlass Way 3/3 now $979K, 2251 Starfish Ln 4/3.5 listed at $1.295M.

2 closed sales: 2407 Shop Rd 3/1 $330K, 1317 Eagle Run Dr 4/3.5 $1.075M.

LOTS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 1242 Anhinga Ln listed at $525K.

1 closed sale: 2988+2993 Wulfert Rd $799K.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Bayside Villas #4214 1/2 $317.5K.

No price changes, new or closed sales.

HOMES & 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.)

Scott shared this sunset photo too! It’s a beauty!

Sunset 07-09-16

Thanks again, Scott ! Here’s hoping everyone’s weekend sunsets are beautiful too!

TGIF! Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Another Picture-Perfect Friday on Sanibel Island


Another Friday has arrived with the islands settled into a steady post-season routine – essentially no traffic delays on Periwinkle, no lines at local restaurants, but still vacationers here enjoying summer-like weather at the beaches, on the bike paths, and outdoors in general. They are benefiting from lower off-season accommodation rates too.

dolphins 11-6-15

Overall, inventory remains fairly low and sales activity is a little slow. At our last “season” weekly Realtor® Caravan meeting yesterday, only a couple of new sales were announced and just six new listings were open for viewing.

The schedule of these Thursday morning caravan meetings has now switched to the ever-other-week summer schedule which will apply until new listing activity picks up again in the fall. The next meeting on May 12 will be an “Open Caravan” – meaning property that either east or west-end properties may be included. That “open” schedule flexibility will continue until fall.

Sanibel Inventory in Perspective

sancap GO MLS logoUsing the data from the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service as of April 29 and comparing the activity year-to-date with the sales during the same timeframe last year, here are the standings. Also included are the same statistics for 2006 – the year of the market “peak”. Though ten years ago, it is interesting how those statistics compare to the same 4-month period (January 1 through April 29).

# for Sale                         # Sold/Closed 2016  # Sold/Closed 2015   #Sold/Closed 2006

Median Asking Price     Median Sale Price     Median Sale Price     Median Sale Price

SANIBEL CONDOS:

96                                       56                                   64                                   73

$662,450                          $664,500                    $662,000                      $799,000

SANIBEL HOMES:

154                                       59                                  94                                  59

$997,000                          $795,000                    $764,000                      $899,000

What does this mean? Though inventory is low, particularly when compared to previous years, there still is a lot. At the current rate of sales, there are about seven months of condo inventory and over ten months for homes.

Typically, there are fewer island sales in the spring and summer, with more last quarter and first quarter, but this year is a bit of an anomaly. The median sale price is up, but the number of units sold is down, both for condos and homes. If election year jitters calm down, it certainly will help.

A couple of the articles below about the economy and predictions for the rest of the year offer more insight. The action posted over the last week in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service follow the news.

Work To Upgrade AT&T Signal Under Way at Donax Tower

flag cell towerAccording to an article posted in last Friday’s “Santiva Chronicle”, “AT&T appears to be getting closer to the long-awaited signal upgrade on Sanibel. Heavy equipment is presently on the site along Donax Street where the cellphone tower that doubles as a heavy-duty flagpole sits. AT&T told the city early this year that the upgrade would occur in the second quarter of 2016.

““The city issued a building permit to the AT&T subcontractor well more than a month ago and the city had been previously advised that AT&T planned to install its communications equipment during the second quarter of 2016,” City Attorney said in an e-mail on Thursday, April 21.

AT&T_logo_svg““Our understanding is that the AT&T subcontractor has now commenced construction of the ground building that will house the generator and ground equipment which supports the communications equipment to be installed within the tower,” Cuyler said.

“Finally getting the new equipment running on the Donax tower will help alleviate the frustration AT&T customers have experienced with weak signals and dropped calls….”

Islanders Briefed on Blind Pass at Stakeholders Meeting

santiva chronicleAs reported in the “Santiva Chronicle” this week – “Keep Blind Pass open and keep it open in a correct way – That was the consensus of about 100 people attending the Blind Pass Inlet Management Study meeting at The Sanctuary clubhouse Thursday evening, April 21.

“The meeting was hosted by the Lee County Natural Resources Division to discuss the status of the ongoing study of Blind Pass and to take input from stakeholders. It drew a cross section ranging from Sanibel and Captiva officials, to members and officials of island non-profits and residents of the immediate area.

““Everything is on the table. We have powerful tools to develop this model,” Steve Boutelle, operations manager of the Lee County DNR, said.

“The meeting was to take community input to supplement the vast amount of data that is being gathered to determine the best way to keep one of the key inlets open and the water within it circulating as it should be.

Blind Pass is the inlet that separates Captiva and Sanibel. Its history, which was reviewed by B&I, the consulting firm hired by the DNR, is one of closing, opening and moving around as a result of natural forces and human intervention.

BlindPass_1953_4H_75

“Michelle Pfeiffer of B&I presented a number of slides and charts, and she also had aerial shots of the various shapes the volatile inlet has taken through the years. The most dramatic was in 1972 when Hurricane Agnes marched through, “forever altering Blind Pass,” according to B&I’s Tom Pierro.

Blind pass 2002

“Blind Pass has been dredged and one more dredging is scheduled before the current permit to do so expires. Presently the pass is in extremely shallow condition with people easily wading across and causing boats with shallow drafts to struggle.

blind pass sanibel

“Ann Vanderbilt spoke for the 300 members of the Bayous Preservation Association, a citizens group that works to restore and maintain the water quality in the area, including Blind Pass. She was the first of several to point out the recent cooperation between stakeholders when it comes to Blind Pass.

“The DNR got valuable input from knowledgeable residents of the surrounding neighborhoods, including Harvey Padewer and John McCabe. Both men spoke for others in the hope that whatever decision is arrived at for Blind Pass, that it will keep the water circulating and improve water quality.

““Blind Pass has a history of opening and closing. The decision has been made to keep it open. Our goal is to determine how best to do that,” Boutelle said.

““The study is in the very early stages, so it is very important to get input from you at this time,” Pierro told the stakeholders.

“Tidal inlets that connect the ocean to estuaries are important to the ecology of estuaries. Decreased water flows in the estuaries generally lead to increased sedimentation and accumulation of nutrients.

“Thursday’s meeting was the first of three. The DNR team said it expects a second meeting in two months with a third to follow.”

4 Housing Predictions for the Rest of 2016

FreddieMacLogo_3From Monday’s “Daily Real Estate News” on line, sourced to: Freddie Mac

“Freddie Mac economists are still upbeat about the housing market’s outlook for the rest of the year, despite recent data that showed a gloomier first quarter in economic growth than originally projected. According to Freddie Mac’s April outlook, housing will “maintain its momentum in 2016 and be an economic engine of growth.”

“”We’ve revised down our forecast for economic growth to reflect the recent data for the first quarter, but our outlook for the balance of the year remains modestly optimistic for the economy,” says Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “However, we maintain our positive view on housing. In fact, the declines in long-term interest rates that accompanied much of the recent news should increase mortgage market activity, particularly refinance.”

“Economists made the following predictions for the remainder of 2016:

  • Employment: The labor market is expected to stay strong. The unemployment rate is projected to drop back below 5% for 2016 and 2017. “Stronger economic growth for the remainder of 2016 and reduced slack in the labor market will drive wage gains above inflation, though the gains are likely to be modest,” Freddie’s report notes.
  • Mortgage originations: Loan originations are estimated to rise by $50 billion in 2016 and reach $1.7 billion. The forecasted boost is a result of low mortgage rates that are fueling a refinancing boom.
  • Mortgage rates: Low mortgage rates are expected to stick around longer. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.7% in the first quarter. “After lowering the forecast for subsequent quarters by a tenth of a percent, expect rates to average 4% in 2016,” Freddie Mac researchers note.
  • Housing prices: Home prices will rise by 4.8% in 2016 and by another 3.5% in 2017, Freddie Mac researchers predict. These rising home prices will lead home owners’ to see more equity gains.”

Why the Economy Is Slowing

NAR gray-logoBy my favorite economist as posted in RealtorMag” last Thursday, this article is sourced to “Forbes”, April 19, 2016:

“The economy has been on a roller coaster ride the past few years. Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, points to two main reasons behind the latest slowing of the economy: Constrained homebuilding and business spending.

“Homebuilders have been slow to up their production of new homes. They’ve been plagued with labor shortages and a shortage of suitable land for development. They’re also facing new housing permit rules and new financial regulations on small-sized banks. All of these factors are contributing to an “abnormally sluggish homebuilding recovery in this cycle,” Yun notes in his column at Forbes.

“What’s more, this contraction in home building is contributing to an overall sluggishness in the economy, Yun says.

“Housing starts in March were about 1.09 million units at an annualized pace. While it is up 14.1% from a year ago, it’s still far from historical levels.  Normal activity is usually about 1.5 million housing starts a year. Yet, builders have been producing fewer than 1.1 million units since 2008. Prior to that, housing starts had not dipped below that level since 1981 and 1982, when mortgage rates were near 20%, and in 1991 when the economy was in a recession.

““Had the housing starts rebound been like in past cycles – that is, quickly getting back up to 1.5 million new units – then broad economic growth would have been markedly stronger,” Yun notes in his recent column at Forbes.

““With soft housing starts, GDP growth is similarly expected to be soft, barely above the zero growth line in the first quarter. … Had the economy moved along at the normal historical growth rate of 3% average annual GDP growth compared to what we actually experienced over this past decade, the typical American would have an additional $7,000 this year.”

“But homebuilding isn’t the only factor leading to a slowing economy. The economy also has been slowing due to “an unusual trend in recent years of business spending being below corporate profits,” Yun says.

“He explains: “For most of U.S. history, business spending (defined as the sum of spending for non-residential equipment and intellectual property products in GDP accounting) was higher than corporate profits. Borrowing, typically by new small businesses, had permitted more spending. That is, America always had more entrepreneurial ideas than money. But in recent years, ideas are apparently no longer in abundance and corporate cash is sitting on the sidelines and not doing much.”

“Yun notes that he believes an increase in homebuilding and business spending are key to getting the economy back on track.”

Turtle Nesting Season Begins Sunday

Turtle CrawlAs reported in “The News-Press” on Wednesday: “Although nesting season doesn’t start until Sunday, there have been two nests this year, on Captiva and Fort Myers Beach.

“Turtle nesting season runs from Sunday, May 1, through Oct 31.

“Turtle nesting season begins Sunday and experts are hoping the four-year trend of high nesting continues.

After almost a decade of a low count of nests, females have been coming ashore in higher numbers since 2012. But Eve Haverfield, president and founder of Turtle Time, says that doesn’t mean 2016 will be another top year.

Sea Turtle Nest

“We are hoping for the best,” she said. “Last year was a good season and we are hoping for another one.”

She said a real pattern has not been established with nesting numbers.

““They are better, but they are not out of the woods yet,” Haverfield said. “Just because you had one or two or three good years, that does not mean the species has recovered. You don’t want to draw conclusions over a few years.”

“Still Haverfield is always positive about turtles. “We are eternally optimistic,” she said.

Seaturtlehatchlings

“Last year Bonita Beach had the first nest of the season, but this year that honor goes to Captiva that had a nest laid on April 21. That is just one day short of the record for the earliest nest laid there on April 20, 2012.

“Kelly Sloan, turtle coordinator for the Sanibel/Captiva Conservation Foundation, is excited about having the first nest and also about a new program piloting on Sanibel. For the first time Sanibel will have two volunteers that patrol the beach four or five nights a week to tag the mother turtles.

“Tagging has been done for years on Keewaydin Island in Collier County and by Mote Marine. Sloan said tagging on Sanibel will add to the pool of knowledge and let researchers see if there are changes in patterns and the genetics of the turtles that come on shore. “Part of the reason is to see if there is a genetics break at San Carlos Bay,” Sloan explained. Her 120 volunteers will also be patrolling Sanibel and Captiva in the morning and putting screens around the nests to prevent coyotes from eating the eggs. Sloan said this program was very successful last year. “We are hopeful for another great year,” Sloan said.

“Maura Kraus, senior environmental specialist for Collier County Natural Resources is also hopeful for another great turtle season. “We are hoping it is all the work we have been doing all these years. Everything we have been doing, hopefully we are seeing an upward trend,” Kraus said. Kraus said for the last three decades there has been a strong push to help sea turtles, from more public awareness to turtle excluder devices on shrimp boats to the work done on beaches around the state.

loggerhead_sea_turtle_baby_blog““Loggerheads take 30 years to reach maturity. So hopefully we are seeing the results of our hard work,” she said. Kraus is feeling a lot better about turtle season now than she did in the past. “In 2002 we were getting a little nervous. It was pretty worrisome,” she said about the low number of nests then.

“Kraus said most people in Collier County comply with keeping lights from shining on the beach and pulling furniture from the sand at night. But one problem she does see is people who dig holes in the sand and then don’t fill them in. “So we want to make sure people fill in the holes,” Kraus said. “People should stay off the beach at night. Everyone has their lights on their phones and their cameras on the phones and we don’t want that on the beach at night.”

“Although nesting season doesn’t start until Sunday, volunteers have been monitoring the beaches since April 15. So far there have only been two nests this year, the one on Captiva and one laid on April 25 on Fort Myers Beach.

“Now that nesting season is beginning, Haverfield wants people living along the beach to use amber LED lighting and to close their drapes at night. Hatchlings follow the lights of the horizon to find the water and can be disoriented by unnatural light.  She said most people do comply, but there are some that still shine too much light on the beach. “People have been very supportive,” Haverfield said. “People love the fact that sea turtles nest on our beaches.”

FACT BOX

*Loggerheads are the most common sea turtles in Florida

*Adults grow to more than 3-feet long and weigh 200-350 pounds

* They may travel thousands of miles from feeding grounds to nesting beaches

* Female turtles nest on the same beaches where they were born.

* A female loggerhead may nest 1-7 times during a season at about 15 day intervals

* Incubation takes 55-65 days

* The temperature of the nest determines the sex of the hatchlings. Cooler sand produces mostly males, while warmer sand produces mostly females.

* Hatchlings are about 2 inches long

* Hatchlings emerge at night and are guided by the lighter Gulf horizon to the water

THE LAW

Both interior and exterior lights must not be visible on the beach.

People can explore the different options of LED fixtures at: http://myfwc.com/conservation/you-conserve/lighting/certified

Beach furniture must be removed from the beach from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. (must be behind the dunes and vegetation or up against the house)

The rule is in effect from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. May 1 to Oct. 31.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity April 22-29, 2016

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Lighthouse Point #122 2/2 $499K, Sanibel Arms West #B8 2/2 $548.9K.

3 price changes: Beach Road Villa #105 2/2 now $424K, Blind Pass #A102 2/2 now $429K, Sanibel Surfside #127 2/2 now $1.065M.

3 new sales: Donax Village #14 2/2 listed at $529K, Sanctuary Golf Villages 1-1 2/2.5 listed at $595K (our sale), Clam Shell #E 3/2.5 listed at $995K.

3 closed sales: Sanibel Moorings #211 1/1 $365K, Shell Island Beach Club #5A 2/2 $790K, West Shore #3 3/3 $1.637M.

HOMES

5 new listings: 956 Dixie Beach Blvd 2/1 $410K, 3118 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 $619.9K, 810 Elinor Way 3/2 $679K, 2313 Wulfert Rd 4/3 $1.15M, 243 Southwinds Dr 4/2.5 $1.195M.

8 price changes: 2407 Shop Rd 3/1 now $349K; 1635 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex now $464K; 535 Birdsong Pl 3/2 now $499,999; 5306 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/2 now $625K; 5299 Ladyfinger Rd 3/3 now $749K; 588 Hideaway Ct 3/2 now $779K; 563 Hideaway Ct 3/2 now $795K; 1238 Isabel Dr 5/3/2 now $3.864M.

6 new sales: 1322 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed at $529.9K, 441 Lake Murex Cir 3/3 listed at $569K, 702 Oliva St 3/2 listed at $649K, 1858 Farm Trail 3/2 listed at $649K, 676 Emeril Ct 3/2 listed at $749K, 841 Lindgren Blvd 2/2 listed at $899K.

3 closed sales: 1565 Bunting Ln 3/2 $585K, 911 Strangler Fig Ln $2.219M, 3421 West Gulf Dr 5/4.5 $6.8375M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 1329 Par View Dr $349K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 1310 Par View Dr listed at $359,555.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Seabreeze #1251 3/3 $2.25M.

No price changes, new, or closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 15 Seascape Ct (Sunset Captiva) 3/2.5 $995K.

2 price changes: 1135 Longifolia Ct 4/4.5 now $4.295M, 16560 Captiva Dr 7/7.5 now $6.5M.

1 new sale: 19 Urchin Ct 2/2.5 listed at $879K.

No closed sales.

LOTS

1 new listing: 956 S Seas Plantation Rd $2.1M.

1 price change: 16298 Captiva Dr now $5.049M.

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, Susan Andrews aka SanibelSusan

Almost Halloween 2015 on Sunny Sanibel Island


sanibel sunset 10-28-15It’s SanibelSusan, reporting another bright sunny warm yet fall-like (lower humidity) Friday on Sanibel Island! How about this sunset that I snapped this week on the causeway.

Sanibel/Captiva Real Estate News

sancap GO MLS logoCommuters are adding a few minutes to their travel time now that the roadways are busier, but island real estate business has been slow to pick up this fall. Below are quick summaries of the Sanibel & Captiva inventory and sales this year, followed by a few news items, then the action posted in the Sanibel/Captiva Multiple Listing Service over the last seven days.

Some points worth mentioning are that the number of home sales closed on Sanibel year-to-date already exceeds the number of sales in every year since 2005. The prices aren’t back to those levels, but the activity has returned. Sanibel lot sales are following suit, with the number of closed vacant residential lot sales this year also already more than any year since 2005. The number of Sanibel condo sales still lag a little, but could reach a similar level by year end.

Sanibel:

Condos: 88 for sale, average asking price $796,733; 140 sold/closed this year, average sale price $699,762.

Homes:  102 for sale, average asking price $1,404,272; 212 sold/closed this year, average sale price $875,895.

Lots:      62 for sale, average asking price $459,983; 38 sold/closed this year, average sale price $388,103.

On Captiva, where the number of sales is smaller, the correlation is different; however, the average Captiva 2016 sale prices – condos, homes, and lots – are all higher than recent years.

Captiva:

Condos: 33 for sale, average asking price $779,845; 30 sold/closed this year, average sale price $1,112,050.

Homes:  36 for sale, average asking price $3,731,652; 20 sold/closed this year, average sale price $3,168,625.

Lots:      3 for sale, average asking price $2,564,667; 2 sold/closed this year, average sale price $2,847,500.

SanibelSusan Realty Happenings

Sanibelsusan LogoIn the Office – Last weekend brought two offers on our new listing at Island Beach Club which illustrates how a unique property generates quick interest. With sellers and buyers all in different locations, that offer was a good test of the new Forms Simplicity program (available through Florida Realtors® so it always has the most up-to-date forms).

Remembering back to the days when contract paperwork was mailed and took days, this new process also is an improvement over faxing or scanning/emailing. Anyone with an email address can receive and sign documents with Forms Simplicity software. Wherever you are, documents can be e-signed by cell phone, iPad or tablet, or computer – it’s easy and a big timesaver.

Sanibel realtors logoAt the Association – Yesterday was the last Thursday until spring without a Realtor® Caravan meeting. Starting next week, Caravans will rotate every Thursday morning between West End and East End with 15 properties allowed on tour each week. Per our Association MLS rules, each property may be on tour only once every six months.

Florida Says All State Insurers OK for 100-Year Storm

Florida Realtors logoThe below article from the “Miami Herald” was posted Wednesday on FloridaRealtors® on-line. It has good news about Florida insurance providers:

“Even if Florida gets blasted by four hurricanes in one season as it did a decade ago, 67 Florida-based insurance companies tested by the state have enough of a financial cushion to handle the damage, according to a new report touted by the state’s top financial regulator Monday.

“Although the report contains little specifics for customers to compare carriers, the state’s chief financial officer Jeff Atwater praised the results. He said the report, which shows every Florida-based insurer passing every “stress test” scenario, should inject a new level of confidence in Florida’s rebounding insurance industry. “Consumers deserve to have confidence in their carrier, and we’ll continue to share information that shows the processes that are undertaken to test their financial strength,” Atwater said in a statement to the media.

The new report comes as state-run Citizens Property Insurance Company continues to aggressively depopulate itself by pushing customers toward private insurance carriers – often through tactics that Atwater himself has worried are close to “scare tactics.” Since 2012, about one million customers have been ushered out of Citizens, with another 130,000 slated for removal by the end of the year.

“Atwater said he called for new aggressive stress testing of insurance companies partly because he knew homeowners were being led toward private companies that many may have never heard of and may have questioned if they could sustain a major catastrophe. He said the last thing Floridians need to be anxious about during hurricane season is whether or not their insurance provider will be there after a major storm.The new testing ran all 67 insurance companies through storm models that are based on three past historic storm seasons: a 1947 Fort Lauderdale storm, a 1921 Tampa Bay direct hit, and 2004’s season in which four storms struck Florida, leading to 1.6 million insurance claims.

In the 2004 models, even after having four storms hit, the report says all 67 companies passed – meaning they had enough surplus equal to 10% of their liabilities after payouts from all the storms were accounted for….”

More States Help With Association-Condo Issues

realtor logoI agreed to chair the Sanibel/Captiva Association of Realtors® ombudsman group next year, so it was with interest that I read that homeowners associations are using a similar process with their complaints. Using ombudsmen is fairly new to the Realtor® organization which already has a long-standing process for reviewing written grievances and holding hearings when merited. 2016 will be the 2nd year that the islands Realtors® have used ombudsmen to enhance communications and perform initial problem-solving to callers concerning Realtors® and real-estate-related transactions.

The below article from the Sebring, FL “News-Sun”, was reposted Monday, Oct 26, on “FloridaRealtors®”. It describes how home and condo associations are employing a similar process.

“Has your homeowner association fined you for painting your house purple? Have you ignored requests to pay annual maintenance fees for your condo’s clubhouse and swimming pool? Has your association refused to let you see its financial documents?

“These are the types of conflicts that frequently erupt between residents and homeowner or condo associations. Some can get quite heated – or downright nasty.

“A small but growing number of states are trying to tackle the problem by creating ombudsman or homeowner information offices to handle the deluge of complaints that often land at state and local agencies. The goal is to educate residents and association board members about their rights and responsibilities under the law and help settle disputes before they wind up in court.

“”You’re dealing with people and personalities and homes and emotions,” said Heather Morton, a legislative analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures. “Having an ombudsman is a way to have somebody a little more neutral offer help and information to the homeowners and the board, and possibly mediate and bring the parties together so they can reach an amicable solution.”

“Last year, Delaware and Illinois passed laws creating ombudsman offices. Delaware’s opened this year; Illinois’ legislation becomes effective in July 2016. Four other states – Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Virginia – already have an ombudsman or a homeowner information center.

“Ombudsman bills were introduced this year in six states – Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire and New York – but none passed, according to the Community Associations Institute, or CAI, a trade group for homeowner and condo associations and their managers.

“More than 66 million Americans live in planned communities of single-family homes, or in condominiums or co-ops, according to CAI. The residents automatically become members of an association when they move in and must comply with the association’s covenants and bylaws.

“Elected volunteer board members usually are responsible for association finances and enforcing the rules. The boards require dues to operate and maintain common areas, such as clubhouses and sidewalks and, in some places, services such as snow removal and garbage pickup. They can levy fines and place liens on properties when homeowners haven’t paid their fees. And they can regulate the exterior appearance of a home, and enforce rules that affect parking and pets.

“Over the decades, the number of associations in the U.S. has exploded, climbing from 10,000 in 1970 to 333,600 in 2014, according to CAI. Florida, California, Texas and Illinois have the largest number of associations.

“Ombudsmen say they’re making a difference by preventing conflicts from escalating into legal battles….”

New Island Business – La France Alterations & Dry Cleaners

LaFrance logoSaw a social media posting this week about La France Alterations & Dry Cleaners opening at 2496 Palm Ridge Road #3. That’s in the same shopping center as Subway and The Pecking Order. La France already services other areas of Lee, Collier, Charlotte, and Sarasota Counties, plus Boca Grande. Offering dry cleaning, laundry, clothing alterations and repair, they have free pick-up and delivery service. Watch for their grand opening at www.LaFranceCleaners.com

Island Halloween Happenings

IslandPawsToday – Oct 30 – Island Paws annual Howl-O-Ween Bash – 5 to 7 p.m. – At the Over Easy Café patio. $10 donations to benefit the Gulf Coast Humane Society. Judging at 6:30 p.m. for the best pet costume. Raffles, prizes, and good bags too.

Community House logoSat – Oct 31 – Sanibel Community House annual Costume & Candy Fall Carnival – 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. – Admission is one bag of wrapped candy per family – festivities include carnival and homemade games, skit, and hay rides. Costumes encouraged with prizes awarded. Hamburgers, hotdogs, & pizza available.

TweenWatersLogoSat – Oct 31 – ‘Tween Waters annual Hallo ‘Tweened – adult part 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. with music by the Bret Foreman Band. Admission $15. Costumes judged at midnight.

Sanibel Beach Parking Permits

Sanibelcityseal logoSanibel residents and property owners can purchase their 2016 Sanibel Beach Parking Permits starting Sunday, Nov 1, at the Sanibel Recreation Center, seven days a week during operating hours (Mondays through Thursdays 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Fridays 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Saturdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sundays noon to 5 p.m.)

To qualify for any Beach Parking Permit, bring valid vehicle registration for each vehicle and a valid government issued identification. A driver’s license showing a Sanibel address or proof of Sanibel property ownership is required to purchase a resident/property owner “A” sticker. 2016 parking permit decals are valid through Nov 30, 2016.

“A” resident/property owner $12: resident and/or Sanibel ad valorem taxpayer property owners, “A” permit parking only at beach access lots 1 through 7 on West Gulf Dr.;

  • “B” nonresident permit $90: nonresident/non-Sanibel ad valorem taxpayer property owner;
  • “C” restricted permit $90: resident and nonresident;
  • “A/C” resident/property owner permit $102;
  • “B/C” nonresident permit $180;
  • Decal transfer or reissue fee: $3: residential and restricted;
  • General parking meter rate: $4 per hour or any fraction;
  • General parking at $4 per hour or “C” permit required for parking at Gulfside City Park (Algiers), boat ramp and the Causeway parking lot.

How We Will Avoid Another Recession

NAR gray-logoMore good news from my favorite economist, posted in Wednesday’s “Daily Real Estate News” on ”Realtor®Mag”:

“The economy may be showing signs of slowing lately, but the housing market is likely to keep its positive momentum rolling, writes Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, in a new column for Forbes. In fact, he predicts that it will be housing market gains that enable the overall economy to avoid a recession.

“Indeed home sales, construction, and prices have all been rising and are expected to continue to increase. Over the last year, existing-home sales have risen 7.9%; new-home sales are up 17.7%; housing starts have risen 12%; and the median price of sold homes is up 6.4% (all along on a year-to-date basis).

“The main reason behind the gains is a rising population, Yun notes. At the turn of the century about 282 million people were living in the United States, but that number has jumped to 322 million today. Taking into account births and deaths and international immigration, about 2 to 3 million additional residents arrive in America every year.

““As long as Americans believe in the American Dream of steadily moving up the economic ladder – from renting to a starter-home to a better home to eventually a retirement comfort home – there are plenty of legs in America that will be moving around in the upcoming years to further boost the housing market,” Yun writes.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity October 23-30

Sanibel

CONDOS

7 new listings: Mariner Pointe #1073 2/2 $485K, Loggerhead Cay #471 2/2 $499K, Sanibel Arms West #M8 2/2 $519K, Cottage Colony West #126 1/1 $649K, Pointe Santo #D5 2/2 $725K, Sanibel Arms West #C4 2/2 $894K, Nutmeg Village #113 2/2 $1.079M.

1 price change: Nutmeg Village #307 2/2 now $599K.

7 new sales: Tennisplace #E31 2/1.5 listed at $349.5K, Sanibel Arms #E8 2/2 listed at $487K, Seawind #105 2/2.5 listed at $524.8K, Lighthouse Point #221 3/2 listed at $589K, Sundial East #T302 2/2 listed at $729K, Island Beach Club #260D 2/2 listed at $1.1M (our listing), Somerset #B201 3/2.5 listed at $1.95M.

3 closed sales: Sandpebble #1F 2/2 $365K, Ibis at The Sanctuary #A301 2/2 $440K, Sanddollar #A203 3/2 $979K.

HOMES

3 new listings: 3181 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 $570K, 3850 Coquina Dr 3/3 $929K, 6101 Starling Way 3/3 $1.298M.

No price changes.

5 new sales: 215 Palm Lake Dr 3/2 listed at $579K, 2449 Harbour Ln 2/2 listed at $989K, 2540 Coconut Dr 4/3.5 listed at $999.5K, 3728 West Gulf Dr 5/5 listed at $1.995M, 4355 West Gulf Dr 4/3 listed at $3.575M.

1 closed sale: 430 Surf Sound Ct 3/2 $757.5K.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 5148 Sea Bell Rd now $215K.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 3855 Coquina Dr $240K.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Bayside Villas #4202 1/2 now $315K.

2 new sales: Bayside Villas #4106 1/2 listed at $295K, Gulf Beach Villas #2031 2/2 listed at $629K.

No closed sales.

HOMES & 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 Halloween to all…   Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

happy-halloween-clip-art-absolutely-free-halloween-clipart3

Just Another Happy Friday on Sanibel Island


It’s another happy day on Sanibel Island! The weather is a glorious breezy sunny 82 degrees this afternoon with the forecast the same for the next week.

Beach in front of Sanibel Arms West

Beach in front of Sanibel Arms West

Below are a few news items followed by the action posted in the Sanibel/Captiva Multiple Listing Service over the last seven days.

SanibelSusan Realty Office Happenings & Sanibel/Captiva Real Estate News

croppedTVcabinetIn getting ready for season, we had the office carpet cleaned this week which led to us cleaning out a few file cabinets.

croppedsofaOur old palm pilots, digital cameras, and laser-jet printers which have been replaced with newer technology are now at Goodwill. Who knew they would take that stuff? They even will help with pick-up.

Phone inquiries this week again were mostly about selling, though we had a few good showings too.

View at Island Beach Club #260D

View at Island Beach Club #260D

Teammate Dave held an open house with a big turn-out Wednesday afternoon at our new Island Beach Club listing.

He and Assistant Elise held it open again Thursday morning for Realtors® during our Association’s last bi-weekly caravan.

Weekly Thursday-morning caravans begin again in November – alternating between east-end and west-end properties – and continue weekly until May – or when business slows down.

Beach in front of Island Beach Club

Interestingly during the announcement segment of yesterday’s meeting, only a handful of sales were mentioned though there was plenty of chatter about properties getting offers that didn’t make it to contract. This time of the year, it’s not unusual for Sellers in receipt of a less-than-perfect offer to say “We’re just going into season, so I’m waiting for a better offer”. History shows that rarely happens, but I do agree that this is the time of the year to be ambitious!

The best window of opportunity for island sales is between now and Easter. There usually is a little slowdown around the holidays, then the most activity in February and March when the island is busiest.

Upcoming Island Events

  • Discover DingThrough Oct 24 – 26th Annual “Ding” Darling Days – has continued all week and ends with Conservation Art Day tomorrow. Event schedule at www.dingdarlingdays.com.
  • baileyfest 2012Sunday, Oct 25 – 30th Annual BaileyFest Celebration – From noon until 4 p.m. at the Bailey’s Shopping Center. I’ll be there at noon singing with the BIG ARTS Community Chorus as we kick-off the afternoon of fun.
  • bailey-mathews shell museum signShell Museum Will Soon Celebrate its 20th Anniversary!   As part of the celebrations, the Bailey Matthews National Shell Museum will host events on two days in November: On Saturday, Nov 14, will be a Free Day, with assorted activities offered to visitors. On the actual anniversary date, Thursday, Nov 18, there will be an open house to members, friends, and neighbors.

White Pelicans – Snowbirds Are Back

white-pelicans from trip advisorDing Darling Wildlife Society posted in their weekly on-line newsletter that the White Pelicans have officially arrived again. A flock was spotted in the Refuge on Monday, Oct 19. They say that other winter birds beginning to arrive include Woodstorks and Pied-Billed Grebes.

Did you know that a pelican’s lower mandible (bottom jaw) serves as a framework for its big stretchy pouch which can expand and hold up to three gallons of water, which could weigh up to 24 pounds?

Humorist Dixon Lanier Merritt wrote a famous pelican-themed limerick in 2010: “Oh, a wondrous bird is the pelican! His bill holds more than his belican. He can take in his beak enough food for week, but I’m darned if I know how the helican.”

Along with the feathered visitors, more winter-resident snowbirds arrived this week as traffic increased. Late afternoons on Periwinkle, it’s close to “season” traffic already.

Plenty of winter singers came back early too – as the first rehearsal of the BIG ARTS Community Chorus this week had close to 60 in attendance. That’s a record!

What Luxury Buyers Desire in a Home

NAR gray-logoFrom NAR’s (National Association of Realtors®) on-line “DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS” on Oct 21:

“High net worth individuals aren’t being deterred by rising prices. 54% of them say they plan to make an investment in real estate this year, up from 48% in 2014, according to a survey of the wealthiest 1.5% of the U.S. population by Coldwell Banker Previews International and Ipsos Connect.

“High net worth individuals surveyed give the following reasons for buying real estate:

  • 40% cited investment attractiveness
  • 39% desired to live in a specific location
  • 38% sought a safer investment than the stock market
  • 31% wanted to take advantage of low interest rates.

“Among the group members, residential real estate comprises an average 38% of their net worth. What’s more, 43% purchased real estate in the past five years, and 57% paid cash for their home purchases, according to the survey.

“What are the most desired home features among the wealthy? The survey found that its respondents listed as the top desires in a property:

  • Move-in” condition: 43%
  • Fully automated and wired home environment: 41%
  • LEED-certified green home: 36%
  • Open floor plans: 36%
  • Home gyms: 34%
  • Home theaters: 32%
  • Safe rooms: 30%

“Among high net worth individuals, Generation X members tended to pay the most for their properties. On average, they spent $5.24 million on their home purchase compared to $4.96 million by millennials and $1.55 million among baby boomers.”

Florida’s Single-Family Home Sales Up 13.4% in Sept

Florida the sunshine statePosted yesterday, Oct 22, on Florida Realtors® on-line:

“Florida’s housing sector continued its momentum with more sales, rising median prices and a tight inventory of homes for sale in September, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®. Closed sales of existing single-family homes statewide totaled 23,574 last month, up 13.4% over September 2014.

“”Florida’s housing sector continues to show strength with more closed sales and an uptick in new listings,” says 2015 Florida Realtors President Andrew Barbar, a broker with Keller Williams Realty Services in Boca Raton. “September marked the 46th month that statewide median sales prices increased year-over-year for both single-family homes and townhouse-condo properties. Sellers received a higher percentage of their original list price, with single-family homes getting on average 94.3% and townhome-condos getting 93.2% on average…Sellers should take advantage of the strong market conditions with rising median prices, while would-be buyers can benefit from interest rates that currently remain at historically low levels and greater access to mortgage financing.””

Top 10 Stupid Staging Ideas

NAR gray-logoYes, the heading of this article posted on-line Oct 5 by NAR (National Association of Realtors®) blog contributor Justin Riordan of Spade and Archer Design Agency sounds negative; but the article has some good advice.

Spade Archer design agency“Not all home staging is created equally. Staging Darwinism is real and only the smart survive. Below we countdown the top 10 “stoopidest” home staging ideas.

“#10. Bake cookies right before your open house. Our sense of smell is very closely related to our sense of memory. True enough, for some people, the smell of freshly baked cookies may bring back fantastic memories of days past when their loving mother baked cookies every Saturday afternoon. However, I use to work at Mrs. Fields, and my boss was a real jerk. Whenever I smell freshly baked cookies … I get slightly nauseous and a bit angry. Your house should smell like nothing when it is being shown. Scented homes lead to one of two reactions:

  • Buyers who are chemically sensitive get headaches, irritated eyes, or nausea and want to leave immediately.
  • Buyers wonder what you are trying to cover up and immediately become suspicious that you are a shyster.

“#9. My house won’t sell unless it has plants in it. Live plants or flowers in a vacant house tend to become dead plants very fast. Unless you are dedicated to checking on these plants regularly, you need to skip them, because nothing stops a house from going pending like dead plants. Fake plants are just that, fake. When it comes down to it, staging is creepy. You are in a house that appears to be occupied and yet, it is not. Every time you add something fake, it is one more reminder that this is not real and thus adds to the creepy factor.

“#8. If they can’t see past that “   “ then they don’t deserve to buy my house. The truth is, if they can see past “___” then you did a poor job preparing your house for the market. If you find yourself saying this, think again.

“#7. I can just lightly stage this room and it will work. Light staging or, as I call it, “the placing of random objects in a room,” like a chair and a rug in a bedroom, does not help sell houses. It will actually slow the process down. Staging is only meant to do three things:

  • Show the room’s purpose
  • Show the room’s scale
  • Add light to the room

“Random objects in a room serve only to draw attention away from the house. Light staging is like hiring a clown to dance in front of a rack of dresses to help sell the dresses. Your buyers end up paying more attention to the clown than they do the dresses. Either stage the room completely, or don’t stage it at all.

“#6. I am paying for the staging, you should only stage with things I like. You are correct in that you are paying for the staging, but you are incorrect in that you think you are the customer. Really when it comes down to it you are now a retailer, trying to sell a product. You have hired a stager just as a department store would hire a visual merchandiser to display their items to sell to a customer. Your stager is concerned about what the potential buyer will like. You should be too.

“#5. The style of the staging should match the style of the house. Nobody has an entire household full of mid-century modern furniture. When staging a home we want the house to look obtainable. We want our clients to say, “Hey, I could do that!” By staging with an eclectic mix of furniture that does not necessarily “go” with the house, we prove to people that their mis-matched, rag-tag lot of furniture could look good in the house as well.

“#4. We should make everybody take off their shoes before they enter. Why in the world would you ask people to be uncomfortable in their new home, the first time they see it in order to protect floors that will no longer belong to you in a matter of weeks? Regardless of how or if you ask, thoughtful people with dirty shoes will remove them before coming through; thoughtless people will leave them on.

“#3. We should pull out the staging as soon as the house goes pending. Uh-oh! You pulled out your staging before the inspection period ended in order to save a few bucks on rental furniture. Now your sale has failed because the buyer didn’t like the condition of the water heater. I see that frowny face. Next time leave it in through the inspection period, better yet, through the financing contingency.

#2. Staging can fix anything. I so wish this was true, but often, it is not. Sometimes things are so bad, they need to be fixed prior to, or in lieu of, staging. If your entire house is painted in rainbow tie-dye, no amount of staging can help you.

“And the #1 “stoopidest” idea … “Staging is easy.” It is amazing how many sellers I meet on a daily basis. Nearly every single day somebody calls me to explain to me why they don’t need staging services. They say they know exactly what their house needs in order to sell, and how they have a lot of experience doing what I do and they could just do it themselves. I always wonder to myself, “Then why are you calling me?” The truth of the matter is, home staging is not as easy as it looks. I often compare it to women’s gymnastics. You know you are doing it right when it looks effortless. If you get a chance Google “Nadia Comaneci, perfect score” and watch the video. I don’t think she even broke a sweat. Good home staging looks like that. What it all comes down to is that “staging is easy” is the No. 1 biggest myth we would love to perpetuate. In the end, “stoopid” staging does nothing to help you and could actually hurt your sale. You need a competent staging professional if you want top dollar for your house.”

Beach in front of Sanibel Moorings

Beach in front of Sanibel Moorings

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity October 16-23

Sanibel

CONDOS

4 new listings: Blind Pass #E206 2/2.5 $412K, Loggerhead Cay #331 2/2 $515.9K, Island Beach Club #P2E 2/2 $1.079M, Nutmeg Village #113 2/2 $1.079M.

1 price change: Tigua Cay #489 3/3.5 now $2.235M.

5 new sales: Sandpebble #1F 2/2 listed at $384.9K, Sundial West #H103 2/2 listed at $460K, Sundial East #N301 2/2 listed at $739K, Tarpon Beach #204 2/2 listed at $745K, Junonia #201 3/2 listed at $1.195M.

2 closed sales: Signal Inn #14 2/2 $700K, Wedgewood #104 3/3.5 $2.3125M.

HOMES

5 new listings: 1121 Periwinkle Way 3/2 $519K, 215 Palm Lake Dr 3/2 $579K, 626 Kinzie Island Ct 3/2.5 $2.09M, 2518 Tropical Way Ct 3/3.5 $2.595M, 536 Lighthouse Way 4/4.5 $3.495M.

5 price changes: 9032 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 now $499.9K, 1076 Sand Castle Rd 2/2 now $589K, 1410 Causey Ct 3/2 now $699K, 1312 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $749K, 3911 West Gulf Dr 5/5.5 now $4.498M.

5 new sales: 9012 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 listed at $539K, 720 Elinor Way 3/2 listed at $649K, 426 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 listed at $669K, 689 East Rocks Dr 3/3 listed at $768.5K, 1188 Harbor Cottage Ct 3/3 half-duplex listed at $899,555.

3 closed sales: 999 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 $499K, 1183 Kittiwake Cir 3/2 $737.5K, 1198 Harbor Cottage Ct 3/3 half-duplex $850K, 3790 West Gulf Dr 3/2.5 $1M.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 5706 SanCap Rd now $449K.

2 new sales: Pine Ave, Lot 24 listed at $248.5K, 1243 Par View Dr listed at $349K.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Bayside Villas #5216 1/2 $325K.

1 price change: Bayside Villas #4206 1/2 now $294K.

No new or closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings.

3 price changes: 11461 Dickey Ln 3/2 now $1.395M, 11530 Paige Ct 4/5.5 now $3.78M, 16151 Captiva Dr 4/3 now $9.68M.

1 new sale: 953 S Seas Plantation Rd 5/5.5 listed at $6.299M.

No closed sales.

LOTS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 11545 Wightman Ln listed at $1.245M.

No closed sales.

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

Beach in front of Compass Point

Beach in front of Compass Point

Dodging Summer Storms & Wonderful Sunsets on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


Florida Realtors logoFollowing the Florida Realtors 2015 Convention, The SanibelSusan Team and I are back into the swing of things on Sanibel. Though the islands are pretty quiet now – sometimes no cars passing by on Periwinkle Way – we all will be anxiously watching the weather this weekend hoping that Tropical Storm Erika heads away from Florida. Heavy but occasional showers this week have “greened” the island up, while there have been reports of minor flooding in some of the heavily traveled areas off island.

SanibelSusan Realty Associates

Sanibelsusan LogoWe are happy to report that though there was only one new listing on Sanibel this week, it was a new condo listing at SanibelSusan Realty.

A few of our listings had good showings this week too, but not much sales action was reported. Below are a few news items followed by the activity posted since last Friday in the Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing Service.

Barrier-Island-Title-Web-bannerToday we had an advance signing for an upcoming closing. Barrier Island Title Services, Inc. who holds our company escrows and performs most of SanibelSusan’s closings, usually, with notice, can prepare closing documents in advance. In this case, the sellers’ signing coincided with their last island visit before the actual closing date. The sale will not officially occur until later, but signing ahead eliminates the need for a mail-away for that half of the sale. Thanks to Barrier’s Closing Officer Angie Martin for facilitating this convenience.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

SanCapAssnLogoOur local Sanibel & Captiva Association of Realtors® held its August membership breakfast meeting yesterday. Members were updated on the leadership team’s meetings in Orlando last week and the educational segment of the meeting included a presentation by Board Certified Real Estate Attorney Ned Hale on the new Consumer Protection Financial Bureau Rules that become effective October 3. Known as the Integrated Mortgage Disclosure Rule, here are some highlights.

Integrated Mortgage Disclosure Rule

Federally-mandated changes affect residential sales with mortgage financing and apply to any loan application taken by a lender on or after October 3. They are the result of the Dodd-Frank-Act of 2010.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an entity created by the Dodd Frank Act, issued a new Truth in Lending Act (TILA) final regulation that, among other things, created two new forms (each with many variations) and new 3-business day delivery requirements.

Beyond possibility adding more time to the window from contract to closing, the changes also involve new terminology. For example, a new form called the “Loan Estimate” replaces the former Good Faith Estimate (GFE) and Initial Truth-in-Lending Disclosure (TIL). More importantly, a new “Closing Disclosure” will replace the HUD-1 Settlement Statement and Final Truth-in-Lending Disclosure (TIL).

Under the new rule, the consumer is required to receive the new “Loan Estimate” three business days after application. What constitutes application? 1. Consumer’s name, 2. Consumer’s income, 3. Consumer’s social security number, 4. A property address, 5. An estimate value of the property, 6. The mortgage loan amount sought. The “Loan Estimate” will be issued by the lender or mortgage broker.

The consumer also is required to receive the new “Closing Disclosure” three business days before the closing or when the loan is consummated. The “Closing Disclosure” will be issued by the lender or settlement agent if the lender delegates that responsibility to them.

How is this going to impact a Realtor® and their business?

  • Closings may take longer because of the 3-business day review periods.
  • Different forms will be used for most transactions.
  • Realtor® contact information and license numbers will be on the new “Closing Disclosure”.
  • Buyers may receive multiple “Loan Estimates” due to changed circumstances, multiple applications, or multiple applications with different loan products with the same lender.
  • Clients may receive multiple “Closing Disclosures”, some with a three business-day waiting period and some without, and some before closing and some after.

Like all new rules, there will be a learning curve, but I think that we can assume that the closing process will take longer if there is a mortgage. If a transaction, with bank financing, normally would take 30-45 days to close, it likely will take longer. If expenses are to be included on a “Closing Disclosure”, the lender and the title company will need the invoices well in advance of the closing date. Contact information for home- and condo-owners associations will need to be provided earlier too. Realtor® communication will remain key, particularly with lenders and title companies regarding any potential delays, out-of-state signings, powers-of-attorney, or seller credit adjustments. Getting from contract to closing always takes Realtor® attention and diligence – but after October 3, it will be even more important.

Upcoming Realtor Events

Wondering what local Realtors® are doing to help the community? Many of us have marked our calendars for the upcoming events.

  • SCCF logoCoastal Clean-up – Sep 19 – Realtor® teams will participate in this world-wide Coastal Clean-up event which here is organized by SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation).
  • Habitat for Humanity – Date TBD in Sep – In May, Sanibel Realtors® prepped and painted a new Habitat for Humanity home in San Carlos Park. It was especially rewarding because the Mom, who with her children would be moving into the home, worked hand-in-hand. A date for some new home building tasks soon will be assigned to Sanibel’s Realtors®.Habitat_for_humanity logo
  • Meals of Hope – Date TBD in Nov – Meals of Hope is a local non-profit that arranges for the packaging of nutritional meals by volunteers. The food packages then are distributed by accredited food bank partners. Last summer, Elise and I joined other real estate association colleagues from Southwest Florida in one of these food packaging events in Bonita Springs where over 20,000 meals were put together in an afternoon. Many of these meals went to children and their families who were not getting school-provided meals because of the summer school break. meals of hopeSince its start in 2007, Meals for Hope has packaged and distributed more than 27 million meals. The upcoming Sanibel/Captiva Islands Realtor® event will be held at the association’s meeting room where we hope to package at least 5,000 meals.
  • american heart logoHeart Walk – January 31 – Realtors® again will participate in this early-2016 fundraiser where the Sanibel/Captiva Heart Walk goal is to raise $50K for the American Heart and American Stroke Associations.

Where to Dine in September?

diningIf you are planning to be on the island next month, remember that is when many of the local restaurants and stores perform their annual housekeeping and repairs, while many employees get well-deserved vacations. Here are a few of the temporary closings that we heard about this week.

  • Bleu Rendez-Vous French Bistro – Closes after dinner on tomorrow (8/29) and will be closed the month of September.
  • Over Easy Café – Will be closed for just ten days, September 14-24.
  • Traders Café & Store – Closes after dinner on tomorrow (8/29) and will be closed most of September (until 9/29). They will, however, be open for dinner the evening of September 28 from 5 to 9 p.m. for the annual Celebrity Island Dinner to benefit The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum. Tickets are required, www.shellmuseum.org

Winter-Weary Home Buyers Heading to Florida

wall street journalThanks, Scott, for sharing the following article from the August 19th “Wall Street Journal”.

“In terms of real estate, the winter of 2014-15 may be the best thing that ever happened…to Florida.

The Sunshine State is No. 2, behind California, in jumbo volume for both primary and secondary homes at Quicken Loans, says Bill Banfield, vice president at Quicken, one of the country’s largest jumbo lenders. “When you have got people who get cold in the wintertime, they start thinking about places they would rather be. And that places Florida at the top of the list,” he says.Florida the sunshine state

“In June, sales of single-family homes were up 19.6% and condo sales 14.6% in Florida compared with a year ago, according to Florida Realtors, the state’s largest trade association for residential real-estate professionals.

“The median home-sale price for single-family homes in Florida is $203,500, well under the $417,000 limit for government-backed loans in all but two counties in the state. Driving jumbo lending are markets like Miami Beach, where conforming loans are capped at $417,000 but the median sale price of a bay-front home is $2.7 million and waterfront estates can reach $40 million.

florida“At Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, the top metro area in Florida for jumbo lending is Naples-Marco Island, located in Collier County, where the conforming loan limit is $425,000. (The only other county that exceeds the $417,000 limit is Monroe County in the Florida Keys, where conforming loans are capped at $529,000.)

“Other Florida metro areas with high jumbo volume include Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach area (median sales price $295,000), North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota ($245,000), Cape Coral-Fort Myers ($212,250) and Jacksonville ($212,000), says Andre Brooks, Florida regional sales manager for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, which holds the largest volume of jumbo mortgages in the U.S.

“Lenders say that many borrowers in Florida are retirees moving south or out-of-state residents buying vacation homes. But another big demographic is self-employed entrepreneurs, says Tom Wind, executive vice president of home lending at Jacksonville, Fla.-based EverBank. Small-business owners like the fact that Florida has no state income tax and a business-friendly environment, he adds.

“EverBank also does most of its Florida jumbo lending in the south and southwest coastal regions, with the majority of loans in the $800,000 to $1 million range, Mr. Wind says. “We see a lot of people coming from the Northeast to the east side of Florida, and from the Midwest to the West Coast,” he says.

“Foreign buyers, mostly from France and South America, are also big in the Miami area, where more than half of sales this summer have been cash transactions, says Ines Hegedus-Garcia, an agent with Miami-based RelatedISG International Realty. In hot areas like Miami Beach, home buyers should be prepared for bidding wars and final sale prices above listing prices, she adds. In competitive markets, borrowers are sometimes losing out to cash buyers even when they bid higher.

“Here are a few more tips for Florida jumbo borrowers:

  • Higher down payments. While jumbo mortgages typically require a 20% down payment, some Miami sellers will also make that mandatory even when the buyer’s lender has looser requirements, Ms. Hegedus-Garcia says. “The seller wants to see a stronger buyer,” she adds. Many Florida borrowers put down even more, 30% or 40%, on homes in the $1 million range, Mr. Banfield says.
  • Cash now, finance later. One way that jumbo borrowers compete with cash buyers is to purchase with cash and then refinance a few months later, Mr. Brooks says. Roughly half of Quicken’s Florida jumbos are refinances, Mr. Banfield says.
  • Consider an ARM. About 40% of Wells Fargo’s jumbo mortgages in Florida are adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) compared with only 10% of the general mortgage population, Mr. Brooks says. Quicken also sees a lot of ARM borrowers who aren’t quite at retirement but want to buy a second home. They get a jumbo with low rates for the initial five years, for example, then use the proceeds from the eventual sale of their primary home to pay off the ARM before higher rates kick in, Mr. Banfield says.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity August 21-28

Sanibel

CONDOS

Pool

Compass Point pool

1 new listing: Compass Point #221 2/2 $699K (our listing).

3 price changes: White Caps South #5 1/1 now $520K, Mariner Point #813 2/2 now $549K, Seascape #301 3/3 now $1.139M.

1 new sale: Sundial B408 1/1 listed at $465K.

4 closed sales: Sundial #H302 2/2 $550K, Island Beach Club #P2E 2/2 $720K, Sundial #A301 2/2 $845K, Lighthouse Point #323 3/2 $830K.

HOMES

No new listings.

1 price change: 1004 Fish Crow Rd 4/3 now $899K.

2 new sales: 580 Chert Ct 2/2 listed at $580K, 2255 Troon Ct 4/5.5 listed at $1.55M.

4 closed sales: 9439 Coventry Ct 2/2 $515K, 1314 Tahiti Dr 2/2 $525K, 1409 Albatross Rd 3/2 $565K, 554 East Rocks Dr 3/2 $680K.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 2486 Wulfert Rd now $205,555.

1 new sale: 247+255 Robinwood Cir listed at $229K.

1 closed sale: 9239 Dimmick Dr $133K.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Bayside Villas #5310 3/3 now $580K.

1 new sale: Captiva Shores #1A 3/2.5 listed at $1.55M.

1 closed sale: Beach Homes #30 3/2 $2.1M.

HOMES

1 new listing: 11546/48 Wightman Ln 3/2.5 $3.8M.

1 price change: 11520 Andy Rosse Ln 5/5 now $2.29M.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 11516 Andy Rosse Ln 6/6 $2.225M.

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.

Until next Friday, here’s hoping that Erika heads out to sea & misses Florida completely!

Fingers crossed, 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

Pre-Thanksgiving 2014 on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


Fishing PierSanibel and Captiva Islands got a pre-winter chill this week with temperatures down into the high 40’s on Tuesday night when some of that polar vortex weather made its way to Florida. It’s back into the 70’s during the day now, with the next cool-down expected on Wednesday just in time for Thanksgiving which is expected to be sunny, but in the mid-60’s. Perfect cooking weather!

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

City Presentation to Island Realtors®

Group at SanctuaryYesterday at the November Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® monthly membership meeting, Sanibel City Manager Judie Zimomra and her management team including Planning Director, Jim Jordan; Police Chief, Bill Tomlinson; and Interim Director of Natural Resources, Holly Milbrandt, were the speakers.

judie zAlways our most heavily attended meeting of the year, their talks were a great reminder, particularly at Thanksgiving time, of how lucky we are to live and work on this wonderful island and how fortunate we are to have such a terrific City Manager leading the way. Judie as Sanibel’s City Manager for 14 years has seen us through hurricanes, a sewer system installation, and garnered many accolades for the island.  She and the City Attorney are the two Council-hired employees that provide the checks and balances to each other and to our local government. Here are a few highlights from her pitch:

Sanibelcityseal logoSanibel recently celebrated their 40th anniversary of City incorporation – a City governed by councilmen with no posted political affiliations but rather by individuals who cooperatively support the Sanibel Plan and harmonious island life. This 5-seat council elects two members every four years and three others four years later. This March, two terms are up.

In elaborating on the history of the island for some of our newer members, the City Manager reminded us that Island Water is a non-profit, that the Sanibel Fire Department is not part of City government; but rather is an independent district, much like the Sanibel Library which also is independent.

sanibelmapbikeRecently, Sanibel was promoted to the “silver level” nationally for its offerings as a biking community. After being awarded the “bronze level” some years ago, it indeed is another feather in the Sanibel cap to now be ranked one of the top four biking communities in the state of Florida. (The silver level is the highest achieved in the state with the other three recipients being Gainesville, Venice, and The Villages.)

This alternative transportation method now boasts additional connectivity by the recent expansion of the path along Causeway Road, Periwinkle Way, and through the conservation land around the Bailey Homestead. For example, from the peninsula of Marine Pointe, where I used to live, bikers now can go via the boat ramp and under the bridge onto the path and on to Jerry’s or even Bailey’s for groceries.

Judie also told us about two big grants recently awarded to the City. A $200K grant will fund building a dedicated bike path on Bowman’s Beach Road and separate the cars from the bikers, improving safety and providing a better way to the beach for owners in The Sanctuary and for the 32 new homes that soon will be constructed near the Wulfert Road entrance.

A second grant for $469K was garnered by the City and “Ding” Darling. It will be used to construct a new entrance and egress to Wildlife Drive.

Judie too spoke about the new agenda management software that has been added to mySanibel.com making it possible for those on-line but in remote locations to listen “live” to City meetings. So even if you are on vacation, up north, or on an iPhone/iPad here, you can plug in to hear any City meetings. The new software also archives the meeting recordings so it is possible to revisit them after-the-fact. Meeting handouts are bookmarked as attachments too, so the listener can follow along with the printed material. As Judie said, “It’s user-friendly software. If you can watch a cat dance in a YouTube video, you can do this too.”

Our City Manager and her team often speak out-&-about on the island, particularly during “season” at various events and annual meetings. If you have a chance to hear them, you too will be reminded of what a great job they do for us!

Rush to Buy Homes During the Holidays?

ForbesThe below article in “Daily Real Estate News” on Monday was sourced to Forbes.com (November 14). Though the islands are not a traditional year-’round market for real estate sales, much of what the article says applies here too. Here is the exact article, followed by some personal comments.

“Home owners may be doubtful that the months of November and December will bring about a home sale. After all, aren’t potential buyers sidetracked with the holidays and likelier to postpone their house hunt due to bad weather and shorter days?  But sometimes the “off-peak” time to sell can actually be the perfect moment for sellers. Several studies show that, on average, homes listed in November and December are more likely to sell, sell more quickly, and more closely approach the asking price, according to an article at Forbes.com.

“A 2011 study conducted by realtor.com found that 60% of real estate professionals advise their sellers to list a home during the holidays because they believe it’s an opportune time to sell. Nearly 80% of the real estate professionals surveyed said that more serious buyers emerge during the holidays, and 61% say less competition from other properties makes it an ideal time to sell.

“Thanksgiving is particularly good, the article notes. Buyers may have held out through the busy summer months hoping to find a better deal, but now they may be searching with increased urgency. Some buyers may be motivated to close before the end of the year for tax purposes. They can purchase a home late in the year to deduct home purchase costs on their taxes, such as points, interest, and property taxes. Also, certain sellers who sold their homes during the summer season may be facing a capital gains tax. They may be highly motivated to buy in November to avoid paying capital gains tax (since closing on the purchase of another house is required within 180 days.”

On Sanibel and Captiva, the most island sales occur first quarter, followed by last quarter when we have the most prospective buyers in town, and sometimes related to the weather. SanibelSusan agrees that holiday buyers can be serious and may make an emotional purchase because of the holidays. A sale I made on Christmas Day to a family that often only gets here then, was a special one. The SanibelSusan Team holidays are spent in town so we are ready to service our listings and show property to any prospective buyers wanting to view property. We will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, but still available and nearby if we get a showing request then.

5 Real Estate Predictions for 2015

FreddieMacLogo_3Here’s what Freddie Mac posted on this subject:

“Expect the home-purchase market to strengthen along with the economy in 2015, according to Freddie Mac’s U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for November. “The good news for 2015 is that the U.S. economy appears well-poised to sustain about a 3% growth rate in 2015 — only the second year in the past decade with growth at that pace or better,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Governmental fiscal drag has turned into fiscal stimulus; lower energy costs support consumer spending and business investment; further easing of credit conditions for business and real estate lending support commerce and development; and consumers are more upbeat and businesses are more confident, all of which portend faster economic growth in 2015. And with that, the economy will produce more and better-paying jobs, providing the financial wherewithal to support household formations and housing activity.”

“Freddie Mac economists have made the following projections in housing for the new year:

Mortgage rates: Interest rates will likely be on the rise next year. In recent weeks, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has dipped below 4%. But by next year, Freddie projects mortgage rates to average 4.6% and inch up to 5% by the end of the year.

“Home prices: By the time 2014 wraps up, home appreciation will likely have slowed to 4.5% this year from 9.3% last year. Appreciation is expected to drop further to an average 3% in 2015. “Continued house-price appreciation and rising mortgage rates will dampen affordability for home buyers,” according to Freddie economists. “Historically speaking, that’s moving from ‘very high’ levels of affordability to ‘high’ levels of affordability.”

“Housing starts: Homebuilding is expected to ramp up in the new year, projected to rise by 20% from this year. That will likely help total home sales to climb by about 5%, reaching the best sales pace in eight years.

“Single-family originations: Mortgage originations of single-family homes will likely slip by an additional 8%, which can be attributed to a steep drop in refinancing volume. Refinancings are expected to make up only 23% of originations in 2015; they had been making up more than half in recent years.

“Multi-family mortgage originations: Mortgage originations for the multi-family sector have surged about 60% between 2011 and 2014. Increases are expected to continue in 2015, projected to rise about 14%.”

“Ding” Darling Thanksgiving

Ding Darling Society logoThe “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society has the copyright to political cartoonist Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling’s work of November 1908 which is captioned “People who only remember to be thankful once a year sometimes get badly out of practice.” It is posted in their newsletter this week, where they also say,

“We at “Ding” Darling are thankful every day that the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist possessed the forethought to preserve Sanibel acreage for wildlife and the enjoyment of generations to come. Happy Thanksgiving one and all. Start a new holiday tradition and tour around Wildlife Drive on Thanksgiving Day and give thanks for all you see. (Note: The Refuge Visitor & Education Center will be closed that day, but all other facilities will remain open.)”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity November 14-21

Sanibel

CONDOS

9 new listings: Spanish Cay #B2 2/2 $394K; Sanibel Moorings #1422 2/2 $419,914; Coquina Beach #4B 2/2 $458.8K; Loggerhead Cay #351 2/2 $529K; Heron at The Sanctuary #1B 2/2.5 $675K, Tarpon Beach #204 2/2 $785K, Snug Harbor #113 2/2 $1.049M, West Shore #6 3/3 $1.795M, Wedgewood #204 3/3.5 $2,225,555.

4 price changes: Sanibel Moorings #1622 2/2 now $439K, Ibis at The Sanctuary #201 2/2 now $479K, Signal Inn #14 2/2 now $799K, Sanibel Seaview #C3 4/4 now $1,999,999.

2 new sales: Colonnades #51 1/1 listed for $179K, Seashells #11 2/2 listed for $321.9K.

View from Island Beach Club #P6D, both listed & sold by SanibelSusan

View from Island Beach Club #P6D, both listed & sold by SanibelSusan

4 closed sales: Sundial #H407 1/1 $380K, Sanibel Moorings #611 2/2 $435K, Sayana #202 2/2 $800K, Island Beach Club #P6D 2/2 $969K (our listing & sale).

HOMES

7 new listings: 4599 Brainard Bayou 4/3 $529K, 1211 Periwinkle Way 3/2 $540K, 660 Durion Ct 2/2 $549K, 2449 Harbour Ln 2/2 $895K, 2543 Tropical Way Ct 3/2.5 $995K, 2302 Wulfert Rd 4/5 $1.449M, 1779 Venus Dr 3/5.5 $3.998M.

6 price changes: 1835 Ardsley Way 2/1 now $309K, 395 Old Trail Rd 5/4 now $859K, 6433 Pine Ave 4/3 now $875K, 1748 Jewel Box Dr 4/4 now $1.098M, 600 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2.5 now $1.279M, 2118 Starfish Ln 4/5 now $1.859M.

2 new sales: 543 Chert Ct 3/2 listed for $499K, 701 Durion Ct 3/2 listed for $530K.

1 closed sale: 6451 Pine Ave 3/2 $489K.

LOTS

1 new listing: 5723 Baltusrol Ct $399K.

1 price change: 5307 Umbrella Pool Rd now $379K (our listing).

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 861 Birdie View Pt $318.9K.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: Marina Villas #603 2/2 listed for $640K.

No closed sales.

HOMES

4 new listings: 11461 Dickey Ln 3/2 $1.495M, 11530 Paige Ct 4/4.5 $4.1M, 1121 Schefflera Ct 4/4.5 $4.499M, 16151 Captiva Dr 4/3 $10.8M.

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.

Best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving from The SanibelSusan Team!

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