Raising Sanibel RPAC Dollars & Reporting on Turtles, Restaurants, Events, & More…

SanibelSusan here reporting more blue skies and rain-free island weather this week. Daytime temperatures now are mostly in the mid-80’s, followed by nights dipping into the low 70’s. Roadways are getting busier as more snowbirds return.

As summer projects finish up, fall projects are underway in a few locations. At Pointe Santo, new roofs are going on, while at Mariner Pointe, their project is wrapping. On Captiva, their beach renourishment project is ahead of schedule, expected to complete later this month, while on the Sanibel causeway, work continues both on bridge repairs and the multi-year causeway improvement project.

In the world of real estate, there were a few more island listings this week. Sanibel now is up to 29 homes and 21 condos for sale. On Captiva, eight homes and three condos are available. There also were a few new sales and several closed sales.

After a couple of news items below are the details on the action since last Friday in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service.

What’s Up With Sanibel-Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

Wednesday after work was the 25th Annual Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® End of Season Party and RPAC Auction. Usually held in the spring after the busy winter season, this year, the event again was delayed because of the pandemic. Though, it probably is accurate to say that “season” never really ended this year, it was great to socialize again in-person with colleagues. It had been almost two years since some of us had been together. Held at The Sanctuary, the event began with an afternoon golf tournament followed by the party with auction.

The final tally of RPAC dollars raised has yet to be announced, but the islands Association of Realtors® usually is the recipient of state awards for the goals they surpass and level of organization participation. (Awards from last year shown here.) Hopefully enough was received this year to garner a few more.

RPAC (Realtor® Political Action Committee) has been around since 1969 and promotes candidates who will protect and promote the real estate industry and individual property rights. From each dollar raised, 30% goes toward national issues through the National Association of Realtors®, 35% to Florida Realtors® for state issues, and 35% to local associations. Funds here have been used for such environmental issues as to improve water quality, prevent over development, ensure redevelopment, and beach renourishment.

Looking to Tallahassee, each year the Florida legislature introduces more than 4,000 bills. Florida Realtors® monitors each one and, when appropriate, works to influence the bill’s direction. RPAC isn’t Republican, isn’t Democrat, but provides an independent voice, fighting for homeowners and Realtors®.

This year for the auction, SanibelSusan again donated a Jumbo Lobster Dinner for 4 (or gift certificate) from the Lobster Net in Brewer, Maine. If you ever want fresh Maine seafood, delivered right to your door, check them out at www.TheLobsterNet.com.

The donation is always a hit. Thanks to affiliate Attorney Nikki Naumann for buying this year and introducing attendees to the youngest at the event, her adorable new daughter Blake Savannah, just two months old.

Sanibel/Captiva Sea Turtle Update

SCCF photo

The 2021 island sea turtle season is finishing up. Nesting ended September 30 and nearly all nests have hatched. This year, there were 931 nests on the islands. That number ties the record set last year. So far, 46,726 hatchlings have made it to the Gulf with just a few nests still incubating.

SCCF’s (Sanibel & Captiva Conservation Foundation) team of 100 trained and experienced volunteers survey the 18 miles of island beach (from Sanibel Lighthouse to Blind Pass). Each week from April 15 through October, they start their surveys around 6:30 a.m. and walk their assigned stretch of beach (approximately one mile) to look for tracks that the sea turtle left behind the previous night. Becoming a sea turtle volunteer requires committing for the entire nesting season and completing training in early April. For more info, go to http://www.sccf.org/our-work/sea-turtles.

Matzaluna Restaurant

Island restaurant news is always big news. This week on their Facebook page, Matzaluna posted: “So the rumors are true. After 26 wonderful years, we are closing shop and leasing the premises to another group. Will be business as usual until mid-November. Stop by, see the crew and get your fill of our Italian specialties and wood-fired pizza.”

According to the gossip mill at the Realtor® event Wednesday, I heard that 400 Rabbits owners are opening a restaurant at the Matzaluna location. Also, that their owners (from Paper Fig Kitchen) in addition to opening their 2nd take out at The Fig East End also are opening a new restaurant at the former site of Il Tesoro on Tarpon Bay Rd. Scheduled to open mid-November, the new one will feature a Pan Asian Kitchen and be called “Bamboo”. Stay tuned for more restaurant news.

Reopenings & Upcoming Events

Sanibel Historical Museum & Village Reopening – Both the museum and village are reopening next week for season on October 19. The museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, with masks required inside the buildings. Their new pavilion also is scheduled to open in December. Full guided tours will be available only if reserved in advance for groups of no more than six and depending on docent availability. Upcoming season highlights include two Twilight Talks (March 15 and April 5) and their annual gala fundraiser which this year will be a movie premier at The Community House on Sanibel on February 22. More info at http://www.SanibelMuseum.org.

The Seahorse Social – School PTA Fundraiser – Tickets are on sale for the Sanibel School’s first large-scale fundraiser in over a year. The Seahorse Social is scheduled for October 22 from 6:30 to 10 p.m. at The Community House and will feature Spanish- and Latin-inspired food and drinks, live music by the Heat Latin Jazz Band, a performance by school Steel Drum Band, and live and silent auctions. To buy tickets, visit http://www.TheSanibelSchoolPTA.com.

29th Annual SCCF Tennis Tournament – To register for the upcoming annual Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) tennis tournament on November 13 and 14 at Beachview Tennis Club, contact Club owner/pro Toni Halski at 239-472-9099.

Tween Waters 2021 Tree Lighting Celebration – Once fall arrives and pumpkins are out, Thanksgiving and Christmas are not far behind. If planing ahead, the Tween Waters 2021 Tree Light Celebration is Friday, November 26 at 4:30 p.m. This annual event is when their 30’ Christmas tree is lit and 200,000+ holiday lights start dancing in synchronicity at Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa on Captiva. The celebration includes holiday music, fireworks show on the beach, laser lights, and even real snow falling for palm trees. Though viewable by some public areas (like the beach and gulf), the resort itself has limited parking, open to guests of Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts (which include Tween Waters, West Wind Inn Island Resort, Beachview Cottages, and Castaways Cottages) and those with dinner reservations at Old Captiva House and Crow’s Nest Bar & Grille. More info at http://www.tween-waters.com/tree-lighting-celebration.

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

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Pointe Santo #A21 2/2 $1.15M, Sand Pointe #111 2/2 $1.2M.

No price changes.

7 new sales: Sundial #F407 1/1 listed at $569K, Villa Sanibel #1D 2/2 listed at $799K, Villa Sanibel #3A 2/2 listed at $810K, Mariner Pointe #622 2/2.5 listed at $849K, Oceans Reach #4C1 2/2 listed at $899K, Sanibel Arms West #E3 2/2 listed at $965K, Nutmeg Village #109 2/2 listed at $1.299M.

No closed sales.

HOMES

4 new listings: 2138 Egret Cir 3/2 half-duplex $769K, 4619 Bowen Bayou Rd 3/2 $996K, 1665 Sabal Palm Dr 3/2 $2.25M, 2391 Wulfert Rd 4/5 $2.395M.

1 price change: 719 Durion Ct 3/2 now $995K.

1 new sale: 2030 Sunrise Cir 3/3 listed at $1.625M.

5 closed sales: 720 Elinor Way 3/2 $939.9K, 556 Sea Oats Dr 3/2 $995K, 5786 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 2/2 $1M, 4954 Joewood Dr 3/2 $1.599M, 4771 Tradewinds Dr 3/3 $2.99M.

LOTS

2 new listings: 0 Bowmans Beach Rd $145K, 5850 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 499K.

No price changes.

3 new sales: 1219 Par View Dr listed at $449K, Rue Bayou lot 17 listed at $699K, 3938 West Gulf Dr listed at $899K.

2 closed sales: 1272 Par View Dr $449K, 2133 Starfish Ln $475K.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings

1 price change: Beach Homes #2 3/3 now $3.395M.

1 new sale: Lands End Village #1649 2/2 listed at $1.395M.

No closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 11530 Paige Ct 4/4.2 listed at $4.799M.

No closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

Below is our ad from the “Island Sun” this week.

Enjoy your weekend & next week too!

See ya next Friday, Susan Andrews aka SanibelSusan

Lotsa Rain & Lotsa Shells

It has been another quiet few days on Sanibel. Luckily Tropical Storm Colin passed to the north, though it brought some much needed rain which has continued off and on through much of the week. By today, most of us are over it, but the rain continues. Certainly not a good week to be here on vacation if you are a sun-worshipper, but the shelling is amazing!

Rainy lighthouse sanibel-island

A few turtle and snowy plover nests were damaged from high water, but many remain on Sanibel’s both east and west end and Captiva. Turtle patrols are out checking nests every day. Interestingly those sea turtles do not lay all of their eggs at one time, so Mother Nature planned for events like these.

SanCapAssnLogoUnfortunately, it was another slow week for real estate too. Attendance was down yesterday at the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® meeting and the nine properties open for Caravan after the meeting had to deal with the buckets of rain that continued most of the day. No condos went under contract this week on either island, just two homes sold on Sanibel, none on Captiva. More details on the week’s action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service follow some news items below.

Hurricanes

santiva chronicleMost islanders do not like to think about hurricanes, but there was a nice article with some island history published in the “Santiva-Chronicle” on Monday, June 6.

rotary logoWith June the start of hurricane season, the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club had SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) Education Director Kristie Anders as their speaker at their meeting last week. This is the report that they provided to the paper.

SCCF logo“Well here it is the first week of June and we’re already talking about a tropical disturbance in the Caribbean.  Watchful eyes are keeping a lookout on this storm and are tracking it’s movements in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.  After all, we are now officially in Hurricane Season…June 1 through Nov. 30 and although early in hurricane season, these tropical disturbances can take unexpected twists and turns intensifying into full-blown hurricanes, at any time.

“Our Rotary speaker this week was Kristie Anders, SCCF education director, talking about hurricanes. She started out by giving us this statistic:  50% of our Island residents have never been through a hurricane season here on the Islands.  This is important to note, since this year the predictions “The 2015 hurricane season was somewhat benign in the Atlantic, but if La Nina kicks in this coming summer (as predicted), it could be a troubling season,” according to NASA climatologist Bill Patzert.  By the numbers: 14 named storms, 8 of those storms becoming hurricanes and 4 of those hurricanes becoming major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher)

“Anders said, “Hurricane season is a roll of the dice.”

“Kristie gave us a look-back at previous storms that have hit our area:

  • 1873 NO NAME a hurricane hit Punta Rassa wiping away all the buildings and demolishing the area with raging winds and a 14’ storm surge.
  • 1910 “The BIG STORM” hit the Islands destroying all the crops.
  • 1919 “Key West Hurricane” washed over the islands, salting the soil.
  • 1921 “The Tampa Bay Hurricane” Category 3 Captiva was split at Red Fish Pass.
  • 1926 “The Great Miami Hurricane” Category 4 This storm was very destructive to the Islands.  Captiva was severed from Sanibel when a hurricane storm surge created a new channel – Blind Pass.
  • 1960 “Hurricane Donna” Category 4 The dry hurricane.  Damage to the roads was caused by the tides that “crested four to six feet above normal.  Australian pines, insecurely anchored by wide-spreading but shallow roots, fell like tenpins across the main road that travels down the center of Sanibel and along the Captiva Gulf. Much of the Captiva road was impassable, parts of the Sanibel road were blocked under sand drifts, and tree falls. Upper Captiva washed away.”
  • And Now to Hurricane Charley – 2004 Hurricane Charley Category 4… winds of 131 mph.  Turns from simple tropical Storm to Hurricane…changes course from going to Tampa… hits dead on North Captiva, Captiva, and Sanibel.  Mandatory evacuation of Islands…some stayed…Islands closed.  Although 18-foot storm surge was predicted, luckily that wasn’t the case.  Wind and tornadoes disseminated fauna, foliage, and homes on the islands. The Islands had no functioning sewer system, electricity, or water.  Phone lines were downed.  Electricity was knocked out and not restore for about five days.  Roads were blocked with fallen trees and debris.  North Captiva Island was split in two by the hurricane.  Residents could not return to the Islands until roads were cleared.  Kristie and her husband Red lived on North Captiva and were caught off guard by Hurricane Charlie, they did not evacuate in time.  The National Weather Service and local meteorologists gave confusing information as to the direction of the storm and at some point, it was too late.  The damage to North Captiva was incredible, roofs were destroyed, windows blew in, and walls collapsed.  No electricity and no communication channels.  Boats and planes were destroyed; there was no way off the Island.  It wasn’t until the Monday after the storm that the National Guard arrived by boat to assess the damage to island property and secure property from vandalism. They realized Kristi and Red were not looters but residents of North Captiva. The soldiers helped in the cleanup of the Island.

“There were definite lessons learned by the residents that stayed on the Islands during the storms…don’t mess with Mother Nature.  Most of them definitely will not do that again.

“Resident hurricane passes are now available at Sanibel City Hall…don’t wait.  Hurricane forecasts give indications of the path of these storms…when it looks like the storm is coming this way, make hotel reservations…Kristie’s suggestion…somewhere near I-75.  Take forecasts of storm surges seriously.

Sanibel-Captiva Rotary will not be meeting at the Dunes Golf & Tennis Club for the next two months. On Friday, June 10, our meeting will take place at the Sanibel Shell museum starting with breakfast at 7 a.m.  Further meeting information, can be found at http://www.sanibelrotary.org or check our Facebook page Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club.  Guests are always welcomed at all of our San-Cap Rotary meetings.”

America’s Favorite Towns

Though it’s undoubtedly good for business, sometimes the locals cringe when Sanibel makes another “list”. Here’s one recently posted by “Travel + Leisure” magazine. According to the article:

“Travel + Leisure’s America’s Favorite Places survey opened on 10/8/2015 and closed on 04/15/2016. It was open to everyone, and ran alongside a sweepstakes. The open-response survey asked respondents to submit their favorite place and rate it in over 65 categories, including affordability, notable restaurants, and public parks. Towns were defined as governed bodies with a population less than 100,000. After discarding incomplete ballots and cities that received less than 8 votes, each entry was ranked according to an average score.”

Here are the top 30 favorite towns:

30. Sedonz, AZ
29. Hilton Head, SC
28. Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
27. Naples, FL
26. Key West, FL
25. Duluth, MN
24. Laguna Beach, CA
23. Charlottesville, VA
22. Santa Barbara, CA
21. Newport, RI
20. Williamsburg, VA
19. Aspen, CO
18. Red River, NM

Lighthouse1

Sanibel Island

 

17. Sanibel Island, FL
16. Durango, CO
15. Cape May, NJ
14. Pigeon Forge, TN
13. La Jolla, CA
12. Sarasota, FL
11. Sonoma, CA
10. Asheville, NC
9. Traverse City, MI
8. Staunton, VA
7. Portland, ME
6. Harrisonburg, VA
5. Atlantic City, NJ
4. St. Augustine, FL
3. Sante Fe, NM
2. Provincetown, MA
1. Park City, UT

Sanibel StoopNice to see that five of the top 30 are in Florida. The write-up about Sanibel Island says, it “scored highly as a beach vacation and vacation getaway, but it enhanced both of these standings by getting a perfect score for free things to do.

“Indeed, the most popular thing to do here costs nothing: browsing the multitudes of seashells (there are reportedly 200 different kinds) on the beaches, an action known as the Sanibel Stoop…The island also ranked well for affordable cuisine….”

What is Your Opinion of Sanibel’s Civic Core Project?

As posted this week in several local publications, the Sanibel Civic Core group wants to know your opinion of the project and has created a website (sanibelccp.org) where citizens may see details and comment.

Civic Core Concept 02-16

The Civic Core project would rebuild BIG ARTS and move the Center-4-Life to the Civic Core campus near BIG ARTS, City Hall, and the Library. It would be a multi-purpose facility designed to host a variety of different events. It would add about 400 parking spaces and have the benefit of relieving some of the traffic congestion on Periwinkle Way during events.

The Civic Core project weighs in with a hefty $42 million price tag with the money coming from – grants totaling $22 million, $12 million from BIG ARTS, and $8 million from Sanibel taxpayers which would have to be approved in a ballot referendum.

The community’s ultimate opinion on the Civic Core project will be decided in the voting booth, but before that happens the Civic and Cultural Core Working Group has posted the website to ensure that voters are informed. Check it out at www.sanibelccp.org.

Property Values Up Throughout Lee County

Good news posted on-line at CaptivaSanibel.com on Wednesday. It says:

“For the fourth year in a row, property values in Lee County continue to increase according to the preliminary estimated Taxable Values for 2016 released late last month and that increase is 6.62% countywide.

LeePALogo.png“We have 91 taxing authorities in Lee County and there are no negative percentages anywhere in the county,” said Lee Property Appraiser Ken Wilkinson. “I think they will all be pleased. Of course, we have another month to work on the figures so the value could still go up some as we check for errors.”

“The total taxable value on new construction countywide rose from $972.5 million in 2015 to over $1.3 billion for 2016. New construction figures in Sanibel rose from more than $13 million last year to more than $18 million this year.

“We had a surge in new construction from 2015 to 2016,” Mayor Kevin Ruane said. “I think when the economy improves more people take advantage of that.” He said there are around 170 lots on Sanibel that are still buildable.

“Wilkinson’s office faces a July 1 deadline to notify the taxing authorities of their final estimate value figures, which will then be used by government agencies to set the millage rate through two required public hearings.

Those figures also will be sent to Tallahassee for approval, but, Wilkinson said, the state has never not approved the figures. The final estimate figures will be mailed to every property owner in the form of TRIM notices in mid-August.

“After the TRIM notices arrive, property owners then have 25 days to contact the appraiser’s office to appeal their taxable value if they think it is too high.

“Cape Coral’s total taxable property values are up 6.64% over 2015. Fort Myers Beach values rose by 6.72%, Sanibel by 3.98% and Fort Myers increased by 8.44%.

“Ruane said Sanibel did not go down 45 to 50% like other places did in 2007 and when considering an increase in percentage it is hard to go up as much when the decrease is not as large. “We historically have a better percentage between June and July,” he said, adding that he believes they will be closer to 5% once July comes.

“Ruane said the difference between Sanibel’s increase and Cape Coral and Fort Myers is those cities are still down 25%.

Sanibelcityseal logo“We are in single digits. They have to make up more than 20% than I do,” he said. Ruane said the percentage is kind of exactly where he thought they were going to be. “Would I like property values to go up more, yes, (but) Sanibel values continue to rise,” he said. “We continue to be noted as a great place to come.”

“The City Council will discuss a preliminary budget at its Tuesday, June 7 meeting, which Ruane said includes a budget planned around 3 and 4% for property values.

“Among the local fire districts, Upper Captiva increased the least, just 0.25%, and Fort Myers Beach rose the most at 6.06%. Captiva Fire District increased just 0.44%, Matlacha-Pine Island by 5.06, North Fort Myers by 5.47 and Sanibel by 3.84%. Lehigh fire district opted out of the county tax roll for 2016 by passing a Fire Service Assessment tax instead.

“Property values started to rise in Lee County overall three years ago while some communities still saw decreases. Most property in the county increased for 2013 with few exceptions. These last two years every city, town and taxing district in the county is seeing higher values. The Lee County market lost half of its total value between 2007 and 2013 when the market started to turn around.

“The annual process is complete when tax bills start arriving in property owners’ mailboxes in November.”

4th of July on Sanibel

In less than a month, the islands again will be celebrating another holiday. Wondering what’s in store for July 4th here this year? Morning, noon, and night, the line-up is below:

  • 2003 BonneParade

    An oldie

    26th Annual Independence Day Parade – Beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the corner of Tarpon Bay Road and Periwinkle Way, the parade travels down Periwinkle Way to Casa Ybel Road. It is small town fun at its finest with many local businesses, organizations, community members and families participating in decorated vehicles and tossing goodies and holiday mementos to parade watchers. A good vantage point is the lawn in front of SanibelSusan Realty or just across the street under the shade trees bordering Community Park. Wear your red, white, and blue, and bring your lawn chair or blanket to join in the festivities!

  • 2016 July 4 Road Rally37th Optimists Club July 4th Road Rally – Register your team to rally against others as you follow a predetermined course around both islands while solving puzzles and guessing clues. A team includes a vehicle, driver, navigator, and spotter(s). The event begins at noon in The Timbers/Sanibel Grill parking lot with staggered start times (a vehicle begins every 2 minutes). It also ends there with an afterglow party where prizes are awarded for time, mileage, the most correct answers to the quiz, best decorated vehicle, and the team that traveled the farthest to get there. More info and entry forms on the club’s website and on their Facebook page at Sanibel-Captiva Optimist Club, or at Bailey’s General Store, Sanibel Café, Sanibel-Captiva Community Bank, in the local papers, or at the starting line just before the event. Don’t think you have to know the island to win, following the directions and being observant are key!
  • fireworks clip artFireworks – At dusk, the causeway islands are where many residents and visitors gather to watch the fireworks which are launched right at dark from the bayside end of Bailey Road. Better get there early to get a spot. Or, see them from the water. Adventures in Paradise has a Sanibel Fireworks Cruise. You can book on-line at www.AdventuresinParadiseInc.com.

Sanibel Historical Museum Free Admission Day

Museum LogoFor the 3rd year, The Sanibel Historical Museum and Village is offering free admission for all visitors on Saturday, June 18. This time of the year, the Museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a full guided tour at 10:30 a.m.

The museum closes for the summer on August 1, reopening October 18. More info at http://www.sanibelmuseum.org.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity June 3-10, 2016

Sanibel

CONDOS

1 new listing: Tarpon Beach #110 2/2 $799K.

2 price changes: Sanibel Inn #3512 2/2 now $689K, Sundial East #M301 2/2 now $749K.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: Clam Shell #E 3/2.5 $995K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 1114 Captains Walk St 3/3 $1.095M.

7 price changes: 1746 Windward Way 3/2 now $569K, 3118 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $599.9K, 5749 Pine Tree Dr 3/3 now $675K, 726 Cardium St 3/3 now $775K, 1501 Sand Castle Rd 5/3.5 now $999K, 792 Birdie View Pt 3/3.5 now $999K, 1238 Isabel Dr 5/3/2 now $3.499M.

2 new sales: 2115 Sunset Cir 3/2 listed at $459K, 1487 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 listed at $799K.

6 closed sales: 441 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $550K, 938 Strangler Fig Ln 2/2 $571.5K, 1858 Farm Trail 3/2 $610K, 1130 Junonia St 3/2 $669K, 9027 Mockingbird Dr 4/3 $755K, 882 Beach Rd 4/3 $1.3M.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 5121 SanibelCaptiva Rd now $215,555.

1 new sale: 1837 Buckthorn Ln listed at $439.9K.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

Nothing to report.

HOMES

1 new listing: 31 Urchin Ct 3/3 $975K.

2 price changes: 35 Sea Hibiscus Ct 3/2 now $350K, 11500 Chapin Ln 4/4.5 now $1.795M.

No new or closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

(This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market. The information provided represents general real3 estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.)

 Until next Friday, bring on the sun! 

(Oops, it’s 3:10 p.m. & the sun just peeked out, let’s hope it stays!)

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Trip advisor sanibel beach cottages afternoon-storms-rolling.jpg

Another Weekend of Beautiful Weather Expected

All’s well again this week on sunny Sanibel Island. After days of seemingly summer-like weather, Wednesday brought the first shower of the rainy season. After much-needed downpours for most of the afternoon, a low-humidity cool front arrived which resulted yesterday in plenty of sun, but temperatures into the low 70’s with a nice breeze. Today temps crept back up to the high 70’s, then it likely will bump back up into the low 80’s for the weekend, which should be perfect for those here celebrating Mothers’ Day.

Both phone and island traffic were light this week. With the end of the school spring breaks, visitor traffic likely will be off until these same schools are out for summer breaks. The locals look at this as the perfect time to again enjoy The Over Easy Café, Gramma Dot’s, and other island eateries that can have long lines “in season”.

Many agree that May and October are their favorite months – little hustle bustle and the best weather.

This week at SanibelSusan Realty, several of our listings had showings, with a few more scheduled this weekend, and we had two closings. Some post-season celebratory events are happening now too. A few tidbits about them and some news items are below, followed by a report of the activity posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service over the last seven days.

“Ding” Darling & Doc Ford’s Tarpon Tournament

Ding-Darling-Doc-Fords-Tarpon-Tourney-5th-anniversaryTonight and tomorrow are the 5th annual “Ding” Darling & Doc Ford’s Tarpon Tournament. The weather couldn’t be better and the water quality is good, so hopefully the first tarpon of the season have arrived.

The event begins with a captains’ meeting, anglers’ dinner, and auction tonight (5-9 p.m.) with the actual fishing tomorrow from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. All sponsorships and gifts go to the “Ding” Darling Wildllife Society, while 100% of the entry fees go to tournament winners. Last year, it netted more than $50K for conservation and education at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

We have several friends and clients participating in the tournament. Here’s hoping that this year’s event brings more success and that our pals catch winners. (Note this is a “catch, release, & care” tournament. Tarpon weight/size is estimated by photo or video only, with all tarpon immediately released.)

Ding Darling Society logoFifty boats participate, with four to six anglers per boat. These anglers come from all over.

This year, there again are a couple of teams from the UK, including one called “Fish & Chips” and some of the local teams advertise their sponsors in their team names, like “RS Walsh Landscaping”, “Florida Weekly”, and “Diversified Yacht Services”.

Jensen-logoJensen’s Marina/Operation Open Arms always dedicates their team to veterans.

Then, there is the team of gals, called “Fishin’ Divas”. Follow the tourney and their results at http://www.dingdarlingsociety.org/tarpon-tourney.

Sanibel & Captiva Island Association of Realtors®

rpacYesterday afternoon/evening was the 21st annual local association of Realtors® “after season” celebration which this year included a golf scramble, Cinco de Mayo party, and auction, all benefitting RPAC (Realtors® Political Action Committee).

Often held at The Sanctuary, this year because of their ongoing clubhouse remodel, it was moved to The Dunes where attendees, golfers particularly, were thankful that the deluge was the day before. It was a great day for golf – even with the cooling breezes.

RPAC 2016

A few colorful pals exiting RPAC event last night. L to R: Past-President of Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors Bruce Cochrane & his wife Lisa (also affiliate member); 2016 Association President Lori Pierot, & Realtor Marlene Donaldson.

The total amount raised has not been announced yet, but the Sanibel & Captiva Association of Realtors® takes great pride in garnering awards each year from Florida Realtors® for their RPAC participation.

 

RPAC Lobsters 2016RPAC contributions by island Realtors® are high as we have seen the results of these dollars used close-to-home to support Realtor®- friendly legislators who protect property rights, to protect against ordinances which could harm real estate and promote those with positive influence (like build-back), to clean waterways, to provide competitive/affordable flood insurance, to protect the environment, and for beach re-nourishment. Another grant currently is in the works for another water quality study too. We love to see RPAC dollars at work!

For the auction, SanibelSusan Realty donated a jumbo Maine lobster bake dinner for six (gotta honor those Maine roots). It sold for a pretty penny and I purchased a couple of items too, both at the live and silent auctions.

DunesEntrySignAll-in-all, it was a fun time – super nice way to celebrate the end of “season”, and for a cause that helps us all.

The Dunes, our local RPAC committee, and our Association of Realtors staff, all did an excellent job.

Thanks to everyone involved, including fellow contributors!

Summer Hours at Sanibel Historical Village

Touring-the-Sanibel-Historical-Village-MuseumSummer hours have begun at the Sanibel Historical Museum & Village. It is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and it will close from July 30 until October 18th when it will reopen again with full-time hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

Wonder why? These buildings go back to pioneer days and are not air conditioned.

The Museum and Village were founded in 1984 to preserve, share, and celebrate Sanibel history. Its buildings and thousands of artifacts tell the story of the island from the Calusa and Spanish eras to the early pioneer families who settled on Sanibel in the 1800s.

Nine historic buildings have been moved from their original island sites and brought to the village with each building restored to its original state. More info at www.sanibelmuseum.org

Current Events Will Meet Through Summer

Island Sun logoAs posted in today’s “Island Sun”:

“For more than 34 years, men and women of Sanibel and Southwest Florida have met weekly to enjoy civil discourse on domestic and international news. The group meets every Monday year-‘round for two hours in Phillips Gallery at BIG ARTS starting at 10 a.m. Current Events will continue to meet during the summer months….”

City May Eliminate Cost Accumulation & 50% Restrictions

Sanibelcityseal logoAs reported in the “Santiva-Chronicle” on Wednesday:

“Sanibel took a step Tuesday, May 3, toward removing a pair of restrictions that will allow property owners to more easily make repairs without losing the city’s rating for flood insurance.

“The City Council directed the Planning Department to draft an ordinance that would remove the five-year cost accumulation period for improvements and what is known as the 50% rule for substantial improvements.

“The council sent the matter to the Planning Commission with a view toward an ordinance returning to the council for a first reading at the June 7 meeting followed by a public hearing and vote at one of two meetings in late July.

“Both the five-year cost accumulation period and the 50% rule were once part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency requirements for flood insurance, which Sanibel has been a part of since 1979. Both have been removed and the city’s consultant has advised the city that it will not lose its Class 5 flood insurance rating with FEMA if it removes both restrictions.

““We anticipate that this will help homeowners in projects such as impact windows, shutters and other things to make structures more sound,” Planning Director Jim Jordan told the council. “It removes a lot of the obstacles for homeowners to make improvements.”

“Mayor Kevin Ruane made the motion to send the ordinance to the Planning Commission with the “enhancements” of removing the restrictions.”

Causeway Traffic Numbers About the Same As Last Year

Although we all did plenty of complaining about traffic this winter, the numbers published this week in the local papers say that causeway traffic was not much more than 2015. Here are a few excerpts from today’s “Santiva-Chronicle”:

sanibel causeway“March is Sanibel’s busiest month, the month when the traffic is at its peak. It’s the month when, all else being equal, Sanibel can gauge how well it got through with its traffic campaign. The city has to like what it sees from the Sanibel Causeway.

“The causeway is a leading traffic indicator and numbers from Lee County for March show that traffic on the bridge during the busiest month showed only a slight increase over 2015. The numbers show that 356,633 vehicles used the causeway in March compared to 355,695 in March 2015. That’s an increase of 938 vehicles, a miniscule 0.26%.

“The three-month totals show a less than 1% increase in traffic for the year. Through three months last year, the causeway total was 963,446 and through March of this year it’s 965,586, an increase of 2,140 vehicles.

“Sanibel has taken several steps to calm the traffic on the island during the peak season. As it regards the causeway, the most important steps were the city’s messages to day-tripping tourists. Instead of coming here and driving around, come get a bicycle and stay awhile has been the crux of the city’s plea. It was delivered in a variety of ways, including a video with Mayor Kevin Ruane. The city also mounted three live traffic cameras that can be viewed at www.mysanibel.com.  One of them is on the causeway.

“The causeway numbers aren’t perfect indicators through three months. January was plagued with 16” of rain and that put a damper on tourism on several days. Causeway traffic fell 2.53% in January. The numbers show 299,519 vehicles went through the toll plaza in January and that’s down from 307,302 in January, 2015. It was the first time in 22 months causeway traffic fell. But city officials were hesitant to celebrate that number because of all the rain.

“Figures from Lee County show that 309,434 vehicles used the causeway in February. That’s up 8,985 vehicles from 2015 and technically goes down as an increase of almost 3%. But 2016 is a leap year and the 29th day skews the numbers.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity April 29-May 6, 2016

Sanibel

CONDOS

6 new listings: Sundial West #F105 1/1 $399K, Ibis at The Sanctuary #A302 2/2 $485K, Loggerhead Cay #592 2/2 $549K, Tarpon Beach #201 2/2 $745K, Sandy Bend #6 2/2 $950K, Pine Cove #102 3/2 $1.495M.

1 price change: Island Beach Club #210B 2/2 now $589K.

2 new sales: Sanibel Arms #E2 1/1 listed at $375K, Lighthouse Point #325 listed at 2/2 $830K.

10 closed sales: Mariner Pointe #951 1/1 $410K, Sanibel Arms West #J4 2/2 $425K, Sundial West #B207 1/1 $470K, Sanibel Arms West #A6 2/2 $525K, Compass Point #203 2/2 $651K, Cottage Colony West #126 1/1 $620K (our buyer), Sanctuary Golf Village I #2-2 3/3 $650K, Nutmeg Village #309 2/2 $765K, Snug Harbor #113 2/2 $900K, Snug Harbor #121 3/2 $970K.

 

CCW 126

Cottage Colony West #126

 

HOMES

10 new listings: 2150 Egret Cir 3/2 $489K; 1439 Albatross Rd 3/2 $499,994; 3927 Coquina Dr 3/2 $599,995; 1585 Serenity Ln 3/3 $599K; 752/754 Cardium St 4/2 multi-family $639.9K; 5292 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/2 $669K; 726 Cardium St 3/3 $795K; 8995 Mockingbird Dr 3/3.5 $990K; 2479 Blind Pass Ct 3/2 $1.3M; 1528 San Carlos Bay Dr 3/3 $2.295M.

5 price changes: 9475 Beverly Ln 3/2 now $529.5K, 5749 Pine Tree Dr 3/3 now $699K, 760 Windlass Way 3/3 now $979K, 1326 Seaspray Ln 4/4.5 now $2.395M, 4190 Dingman Dr 4/3.5 now $2.5M.

4 new sales: 1717 Sand Pebble 3/2 listed at $449K, 2114 Egret Cir 3/2 listed at $498K, 1410 Causey Ct 3/2 listed at 599K, 1658 Sabal Palm 2/2 listed at $875K.

14 closed sales: 1717 Sand Pebble Way 3/2 $400K, 1125 Captains Walk St 3/3 $560K, 958 Cabbage Palm Ct 2/2 $590K, 1475 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $725K, 689 East Rocks Dr 3/3 $745K, 577 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $750K, 249 Daniel Dr 2/2.5 $755K, 236 Palm Lake Dr 3/2 $845K, 3711 Agate Ct 3/2.5 $885K, 460 East Gulf Dr 2/2.5 $1.289M, 907 Kings Crown Dr 4/3 $1.95M, 2518 Tropical Way Ct 3/3.5 $2.15M, 1018 Whisperwood Way 3/5 $2.2M, 1196 Bay Dr 4/4.5 $2.59M.

LOTS

No new listings.

2 price changes: 1311 Par View Dr now $294.9K, 4538 Bowen Bayou Rd now $299,555.

No new sales.

NewStraight

View from 837 Limpet Dr

2 closed sales: 6159 Starling Way $608K, 837 Limpet Dr $725K (our listing).

 

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings.

1 price change: Bayside Villas #5316 3/3 now $599K.

No new sales.

2 closed sales: Bayside Villas #5208 1/2 $280K, Lands End Village #1641 2/2 $1.3M.

HOMES

No new listings.

3 price changes: 11526 Laika Ln 4/4 multi-family now $1.85M, 16464 Captiva Dr 8/8.5 now $6.395M, 16151 Captiva Dr 4/3 now $8.8M.

1 new sales: 15 Seascape 3/2.5 listed at $995K.

1 closed sale: 11535 Andy Rosse Ln 4/4 $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.)

Dave & Mom 08-1976

When Dave & I were a lot younger, 1976

’til next week…Happy Mothers’ Day!

 

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

mothers-day-border-clip-art-5

Columbus Day Weekend 2015 on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

As another week comes to a close, SanibelSusan reports that although many new listings are coming on the market for “season”, there was not much sales action again this week.

Here is a quick summary of the Sanibel and Captiva real estate sales since the first of the year compared to last year and the year before. Also included is inventory today. Note these prices are averages.

SANIBEL   CONDOS # Average Price HOMES # Average Price LOTS # Average Price

For sale        84      $763,929                 101      $1,365,647           65         $462,128

Sold/closed Jan 1 to Oct 9:

2015            133     $674,347                 205         $876,028           36          $392,344

2014            132     $672,330                 174         $821,266           20          $452,903

2013            138     $563,493                 175         $922,938           18          $450,364

CAPTIVA   CONDOS # Average Price HOMES # Average Price LOTS # Average Price

For sale         37      $743,454                  36       $3,798,014           4        $2,234,750

Sold/closed Jan 1 to Oct 9:

2015              30      $1,112,050              19       $3,269,079            2          $2,847,500

2014              17           $660,471            23       $2,826,717            0           N/A

2013              27           $665,630           15       $2,642,267             1             $650,000

(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.)

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

Island Weather, Happenings & Upcoming Events

Farmers Market Girls 10-4-2015Between some occasional showers, the opening of Sanibel’s Farmers’ Market last Sunday morning was a great success. Lots of locals were in attendance with a terrific variety of goods available for those looking for fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood, prepared food, and much more. Big thank you to the market organizers, Jean Baer and Betsy Ventura.

Farmer Market bagsThis year they have some new recyclable shopping bags too, I bought a few to hold some future closing gifts!

Sanibel Farmers’ Market is open every Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. through April. See you there!

Since last weekend, island weather has been pretty nice. Temperatures are in the low to mid 80’s, the humidity is down, and sunshine is expected every day for at least the next week.

Theater-in-SanibelTonight through Sunday – BIG ARTS Herb Strauss Theater – With a cast of 35 children, the debut of “Flat Stanley”, the 1st children’s theater show from Creative Theater Workshop is being performed at Strauss Theater.

Touring-the-Sanibel-Historical-Village-MuseumOctober 20 – Sanibel Historical Museum and Village reopens with new expanded hours. Opening two weeks earlier than last year and adding an additional day to their schedule, the Museum will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with guided tours from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

November 8 – 34th Annual Taste of the Islands – from 12 to 5 p.m. at Sanibel Community Park across the street from SanibelSusan Realty. This is CROW’s largest fundraiser of the year. Volunteers are needed, forms available at www.crowclinic.org

2015 Tast of the Islands

Through 2017, Market Should Stay Strong

More positive indicators in Tuesday’s “DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS”:

Urban Land Insititute logo“You can expect at least three more years of favorable real estate conditions, with the overall housing market projected to continue expanding at steady levels from this year through 2017, according to a new survey from the Urban Land Institute Center for Capital Markets and Real Estate, based on 49 of the real estate industry’s top economists and analysts.

“Still, compared to previous forecasts, the latest ULI forecast is less bullish on its outlook. Overall, real estate indicators are expected to be better than their 20-year averages this year, except among the following indicators that are forecasted to perform worse: commercial property price growth, equity REIT returns, retail availability rates, and single-family housing starts.

““The latest Consensus Forecast has picked up on recent growth concerns and stock market corrections around the world,” says William Maher, ULI leader. “The U.S. economy and real estate markets are in much better shape than most other countries, but global economies and capital markets are increasingly inter-related. Still, the vast majority of indicators in the forecast indicate favorable economic and capital markets in the U.S., as well as moderately strong real estate fundamentals and investment returns.”

“Additional highlights from ULI’s Consensus Forecast:

  • Commercial property transaction volume is predicted to rise for another two years and then level off to $500 billion by 2017.
  • Commercial real estate prices are forecasted to rise by 10% in 2015 and then slow to a 6% increase in 2016 and to 4.5% in 2017 – below the long-term average
  • Vacancy rates are projected to decrease slightly for office and retail over the next three years. On the other hand, industrial availability rates and hotel occupancy rates are projected to improve in 2015 and then basically plateau in 2016 and 2017.
  • Single-family housing starts are projected to increase to 745,000 in 2015; 842,000 in 2016; and 900,000 in 2017. Despite the increases, starts are expected to remain below the 20-year average.
  • Home prices are expected to moderate to 5% this year; 4.3% growth in 2016; and 3.9% in 2017.”

What Zillow Doesn’t Want You To Know

buildzoom logoPosted on BuildZoom.com on Monday, this was written by their Chief Economist, Issi Romem:

“Almost every home buyer begins searching for his or her dream home online. Today, that largely means looking for listings on Zillow Group portals, Zillow and Trulia, or on Realtor.com.

“But which one is the best place to begin that search?

“Depending on where you happen to reside — and especially if you intend to relocate — the portal you choose to search may be more important than you realize.

“The crucial point for homebuyers, realtors and investors to take away is that the number of listings being provided still varies widely from city to city.

realtor.com“According to comScore, Zillow and Trulia combined attract far more web traffic than Realtor.com. However, since News Corp. acquired Realtor.com the number of unique visitors to that site has steadily grown, and notably has now surpassed Trulia to become the second most popular portal.trulia-logo

“But Realtor.com has a different advantage. Before its recent acquisition by News Corp., Realtor.com operator Move, Inc. had a 10-year head start, backed by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). This advantage has translated into the Realtor.com site having more timely, accurate and comprehensive nationwide listings. This is a result of receiving and updating data from almost all of the 800+ multiple listing services (MLSs) in the U.S. every 15 minutes.

Zillow logo“The discrepancy between the number and quality of listings available on the Zillow Group portals and on Realtor.com attracted a great deal of attention in April, when ListHub — a key aggregator of MLS data, now controlled by News Corp. — terminated the contract, and stopped providing listing information to Zillow Group.

“In anticipation of the event, Zillow Group scrambled to negotiate its own agreements with individual MLSs to obtain listings which it had previously obtained from ListHub. By mid 2015 Zillow Group had signed agreements with just over 300 MLSs.

“In April, we tracked the overnight change in the number of listings on the different portals after ListHub’s agreement with Zillow Group expired. Although the number of listings on Zillow and Trulia fell markedly overnight, we gave Zillow Group the benefit of the doubt by expressing our belief that it was well poised to obtain many more MLS agreements.

“Nevertheless, we soon faced a string of cease-and-desist letters from Zillow Group’s counsel, ordering us to retract the blog post on the grounds that we collected the information therein in an automated fashion that violated the portals’ terms of service. Fearing the implications of a lawsuit by a large corporation — regardless of the ultimate outcome — we obeyed the order by retracting the blog post.

“Since then, we have recorded the number of listings on Zillow.com and Realtor.com for the core cities of the 51 largest U.S. metro areas. So as not to violate Zillow.com’s terms of service we have done so manually (hence the limited number of cities). On Friday, Zillow Group issued us a new order to cease-and-desist….

“As of September 21, Zillow.com has fewer listings than Realtor.com in 42 out of 51 cities. The discrepancy is often quite substantial: in 30 of the 51 cities, Zillow.com has more than 20% fewer listings, and in 15 of the 51 cities Zillow.com is behind by more than 60%!

“In a handful of cities, notably Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix and Detroit, Zillow.com provides more listings than Realtor.com. While this may indicate the absence of some listings from Realtor.com, it may also reflect data quality issues in Zillow’s database, such as incorrect listing details, or duplicate or expired listings. We encourage readers to compare listings in these cities and form their own opinions. Here is a link to the guidelines for comparing apples-to-apples on the Zillow.com and Realtor.com websites.

“At least superficially, the numbers appear to support Realtor.com’s claim of having superior data, but does Realtor.com’s advantage matter for Zillow Group?

“As long as Zillow Group continues to draw substantially more traffic than Realtor.com, agents and brokers will continue to feel compelled to advertise on its portals. As a result, Zillow Group revenue is less sensitive to its listing coverage than one might think. Yet the danger remains that consumers will eventually recognize the discrepancy and flock to Realtor.com or elsewhere in search of more comprehensive and accurate listings. If this happens, agent and broker dollars will follow.

“Going forward, Zillow Group has the ability to close the listing gap as it continues to sign additional local MLS agreements, but will it succeed? Judging by its limited progress on this front between April and September…it is destined for an uphill battle. The nature of relationships between the MLSs and Zillow Group’s portals are the subject of passionate disagreement, and it appears that Zillow Group is finding it difficult to win over “multiple” hearts and minds.”

San Cap LogoFYI – The Sanibel and Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service does not syndicate its listings through Zillow or any third party site. Through the islands association of Realtors, listings are on-line to members at SanCapMLS.com and to the public on SanibelRealtors.com and Realtor.com.

Since SanibelSusan also belongs to the Southwest Florida Regional MLS (SWFLRealtors.com), our listings are posted twice on Realtor.com. Because the regional MLS also offers syndication. Our listings also are on Zillow, Trulia, and other real estate search sites. Additionally through the regional MLS, our listings are shared with other participating Florida MLS’s, through a cooperative agreement called MLS Advantage.

The 8 Biggest Concerns for Realtors®

realtor logoGood write-up in the October issue of “Florida Realtor®” which says:

“Realtors® are strongly confident about the housing market’s outlook although confidence has eased since the beginning of this spring, according to a recent Realtors® Confidence Index, a monthly survey…about local market conditions. The Realtors® Confidence Index survey stressed these concerns:

  1. The TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure regulations, which took effect October 3, and concerns that they could delay closings.
  2. Tight inventory with a limited number of homes for sale.
  3. Affordability issues: Fewer affordable homes so sellers are also hesitant to move.
  4. Financing issues, such as difficulty in qualifying for a mortgage due to higher FICO credit and down payment standards, a protracted mortgage approval process and condo-financing issues.
  5. Appraisal issues: conservative estimates, out-of-town appraisers, and slow turn-around.
  6. Rising interest rates.
  7. Declining demand from international buyers due to a strong U.S. dollar.
  8. Uncertainty about flood insurance rates and reform.”

Casa Ybel Sets the Bar High for Sanibel Island Resorts

Thistle Lodge View USA TodayNice article about Casa Ybel and Thistle Lodge on Monday’s USA Today’s “10Best.com”. (Both of these photos came from that web site.)

I had lunch at Thistle Lodge a couple of weeks ago and the food and view continue to be magnificent. Some don’t know that most of this resort is comprised of timeshare units, but the five westerly buildings of eight units each are privately-owned 1-bedroom condominiums called Cottage Colony West. None are currently available, but there always are buyers for these income-producers. I got a request just yesterday. There have been three sales there this year with prices back into the 6’s. Here’s the recent article from 10Best.com:

Thistle Lodge USA today“To get the story of one of the most historic beachfront resorts in the Fort Myers area, you’ll have to go back to the late 1800s. That’s when former missionary George Barnes homesteaded nearly 500 acres on Sanibel, building the island’s first church, a cottage that evolved into the first inn and eventually the award-winning Casa Ybel Resort.

“When one of the missionary’s daughters married a resort guest, the two built a Victorian home on the property, naming it Thistle Lodge. Celebrities and dignitaries the likes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford visited the lodge.

“Recreated in 1979, today it is home to a beloved restaurant for both resort guests and locals. Diners not only love the view of the beach from its big windows, but also the partnership between Thistle Lodge and winemakers at Rutherford Wine Company in Napa Valley, Calif.; they’ve created a private label Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio. The rest of the wine list spans the globe, offering valuable tasting notes and affordable pricing.

One menu item not to miss is the Lobster and Lump Crab “Diver” Scallops. In this signature dish, scallops are topped with lobster and crab, encrusted and baked. The dish is finished with a citrus buerre blanc and served with baby field greens and jasmine rice. The Pecan Seared Salmon is another hit.

“While the menu leans heavily on seafood, the lodge serves succulent steaks, hand carved in house, along with an herb-crusted lamb and a veal tenderloin in a smoked pomodoro romesco.

“Besides at Thistle Lodge, guests can dine around the pool bar at Coconuts. The smell of the grill is hard to resist, as the resort has a popular grilling station every weekend and almost every day during season (winter and spring).

“As for the rest of the resort, managers are constantly upgrading its amenities and accommodations. The one- and two- bedroom suites are spacious and well equipped. Their screened lanais face the water, creating the perfect space for your morning coffee or evening cocktails. New this season are upgraded kitchens in all of the units.

““Some of the same people have been coming here for decades, so we are always trying to enhance their experience,” says Casa Ybel’s General Manager Froilan Ramirez. Casa Ybel has it all; it’s perfect for romance, while still accommodating to families. The Kids Club offers daily themes and activities that range from lizard hunting to arts and crafts. The resort even offers babysitting services to allow parents a date night. If you must do some work during your vacation, the resort Wi-Fi has been shored up enough to reach the beach, for your office under an umbrella.

“Other amenities include tennis and basketball courts, along with clinics to improve your skills. Less strenuous activities include horseshoe and croquet, to name a few.

“However, some of the best things to do are on the beach. Casa Ybel’s striking, white-sand beach is full of shells and beautiful blue water. It’s also host to some of the most amazing sunsets you’ll ever see.

“The grounds here are gorgeously landscaped, providing a calm, inviting atmosphere. Many guests like the fact that Casa Ybel is slightly off the beaten path, yet still a quick bike ride to shopping, nature preserves and other sites. One getaway here, and you’ll understand why visitors return year after year.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity October 2-9

Sanibel

CONDOS

7 new listings: Captains Walk #B8 2/2 $335K, Sanibel Arms #B1 1/1 $369K, Loggerhead Cay #223 2/2 $559.9K, Compass Point #111 2/2 $1.159M, Sunset South #5A 2/2 $1.224M, Gulfside Place #203 2/2 $1.295M, Sanibel Seaview #1 2/2 $1.349M.

3 price changes: Heron at The Sanctuary #1B 2/2.5 now $625K, Sundial #T302 2/2 now $729K, Seascape #301 3/3 now $1.195M.

1 new sale: Sundial #F201 2/2 listed at $729K.

No closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 1314 Par View Dr 4/3 $995K.

1 price change: 1237 Isabel Dr 5/6.5 now $2.795M.

2 new sales: 1148 Shell Basket Ln 4/2 duplex listed at $699K, 1183 Kittiwake Cir 3/2 listed at $749K.

3 closed sales: 1835 Ardsley Way 2/1 $315K, 1644 Atlanta Plaza Dr 2/2 $462K, 2981 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 $1.2M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 2501 Wulfert Rd $249K.

No price changes or new sales.

1 closed sale: 2142 Starfish Ln $383.5K

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Bayside Villas #4302 3/3 $649K.

No price changes, new or closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings.

2 price changes: 11490 Old Lodge Ln 3/3.5 now $1.298M, 16697 Captiva Dr 5/4 now $8.05M.

1 new sale: 15172/174 Wiles Dr 7/5.5 multi-family listed at $7M.

No closed sales.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 16297 Captiva Dr now $1.595M.

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.)

christopher-columbus-day-clip-art-661308Best wishes for a terrific Columbus Day weekend 2015!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

P.S. Lots of new things to do have been added to the list under “Upcoming Island Events” above. Some get sold out early, so be sure to check the list often.