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

Singing, Selling, & Other Fun on Sanibel Island

It has been a busy week on the islands and for The SanibelSusan Team.

Occupancy is high with it being the last real week of “season”. Many accommodations also are booked for the next two weeks, but some winter residents already have headed home.

We had busy days in the office and SanibelSusan made it through our three BIG ARTS Community Chorus performances too. Tuesday was an especially productive day with another nice closing, an offer negotiated on a listing, and an offer written and accepted on a replacement property.

Teammate Dave held an open house all day on Wednesday, I showed property Thursday, and on various days Dave opened listings for showings too. All-in-all, a great week. I won’t mention the traffic.

Below are a few news items followed by the activity posted in the Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing service this week.

PAWS (Protection of Animal Welfare Society)

PAWS quiltWednesday evening was a fundraiser for PAWS (Protection of Animal Welfare Society) at The Community House. PAWS is a non-profit that cares for stray and abandoned animals on Sanibel and Captiva.

Next time you at SanibelSusan Realty, check out the colorful beach-scene quilt hanging near our entry. I was the successful bidder for that piece which was made and donated by our friend, Sheila Rodriguez.

PAWS has cared for over 1000 animals (mostly cats and dogs) since it began in 1987. If you are interested in helping them too, call Pam 239-472-4823 or Diane at 484-574-6419. They are always happy to accept donations and looking for those willing to foster and/or adopt.

Upcoming Island Events

CROW Mason-Jars-2CROW’s Southern Comfort Benefit – Tomorrow night (Sat, April 2) from 6 to 9 p.m. at The Community House.

SCCF’s Beer in the Bushes Fundraiser – Next Sat (April 9) from 6 to 10 p.m. on the grounds of SCCF’s new Nature Center.

Lighthouse Day Celebration at Sanibel Historical Village – Wed (Apr 13) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Civic & Cultural Core Project (CCP) Community Working Group Presents Plans at City Council

Artist concept of civic core project

Good news here…the below press release was issued on Monday.

“A volunteer community working group comprised of leaders from the following organizations presented  updated plans for the creation of a new Civic and Cultural Core campus and community green at a special workshop of the Sanibel City Council on March 28, 2016:  The Sanibel Community House/Community Association (SCA), represented by Board members Tom Sharbaugh and Richard Johnson; Katie Reid and Shirley Schulz of Island Seniors, Inc.; and Ralph Clark and Chuck Ketteman, Board members of BIG ARTS.  The volunteer group worked closely with City staff in developing the proposal.

“The vision of the CCP is to create a place consistent with the Sanibel Plan where people of all ages can gather to celebrate community, the arts, culture, life-long learning and healthy living.

“The Civic Core project is an extremely positive move by major non-profit organizations working together, to provide a better quality of life for all Sanibel residents and visitors.  It will meet the social, educational, cultural and recreational needs of the total community,” said Katie Reid of Island Seniors, Inc.

“The civic and cultural core campus would be constructed on approximately 25 acres of land owned by the City of Sanibel and other participants, stretching east and south of The Sanibel Library.

“Under the current design concept, the new Center 4 Life building, the performance hall, theater, and learning center would be inter-connected to the existing Library, City Hall and Sanibel Historical Museum by meandering walkways and generous  bike and pedestrian paths. It includes additional green space and a large community green for public gatherings.

“The inter-connected campus design creates new and easier access to all these public facilities, significantly increased parking and much-needed new homes for BIG ARTS and The Center 4 Life, whose current buildings have exhausted their useful life and are incurring increasing annual maintenance costs in the face of growing  community need for services.  Two new outdoor pavilions on the community green will allow SCA’s major outdoor events to be moved away from Periwinkle Way, resulting in improved pedestrian and vehicular safety.

““One of the challenges we face as a community is congestion during our peak season. The Civic and Cultural Core design addresses this issue by moving traffic off Periwinkle Way to convenient, shared parking.  Without pedestrian crossings, traffic will flow effectively and safely for all our residents and guests,” said Richard Johnson, SCA Board member.

“The current CCP construction cost is projected at $42M, not including the value of land being designated to the project by the City. The construction cost of the new facilities would be paid for from public and private sector funding and, once built, would be owned by the City and leased to the nonprofit organizations.

“The CCP vision, concept, budgets and design have been honed over a two and ½ year period marked by multiple public workshops and numerous revisions in response to community comments, City requirements, and sensitivity to smart traffic planning and safety. Multiple site access points, as well as ongoing comprehensive and detailed analysis of current and projected attendance and traffic patterns at all times of year and in all parts of the day, have been integral to the design.

““The working group of the Civic Core has been carefully listening to our residents every step of the way as we work together. We are convinced that what is developing is a community resource that will help solve serious existing problems and provide a wonderful gathering place for citizens and visitors,” said Ralph Clark, Vice President of the BIG ARTS Board of Directors

“The purpose of the March 28 special workshop was to afford Council members and the community a chance to learn more about and discuss the project. Next steps include approval of the revised project master plan at the Council’s planned April meeting, and pursuit of additional funding partners. The project will require a referendum vote by Sanibel citizens for final approval.”

End of Internet Tax Will Boost Real Estate

Recently posted on “Daily Real Estate News” on line:

“Ten states today levy what are known as Internet access taxes.

“That might come as a surprise to many people, since the taxes are largely invisible. They’re levied on companies like Verizon and Comcast, the Internet service providers (ISP) that manage the infrastructure through which Internet traffic flows. These companies pass the taxes on to consumers in the form of higher fees.

“Back in 1998, Congress limited the taxes to just the 10 states—Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin—by passing the Internet Tax Freedom Act. Since then, Congress has gone back and reauthorized the law every few years, because the original ban was only temporary.

“That will change now. Congress just a few weeks ago passed the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act, and, as the name implies, makes further bans unnecessary. What’s more, the 10 states that levy the taxes will have to stop by June 30, 2020. The National Association of REALTORS® has been one of the biggest advocates for making the ban permanent and ending the taxes because of the importance of the Internet to the industry.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity March 25-April 1, 2016

Sanibel

CONDOS

3 new listings: Sanibel Arms West #L4 2/2 $524.9K, Atrium #201 3/3 $1.695M, Atrium #203 3/2 $1.795M.

7 price changes: Sandpebble #2B 2/2 now $424.9K (our listing), Coquina Beach #4C 2/2 now $489.9K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #1-1 2/2.5 now $635K, Bayview Village #2A 3/3 now $693K, Sundial East #S404 3/2 now $825K, Tanglewood #1A 3/2 now $1.1999M, Shorewood #2B 3/3 now $1.349M.

Front View b.jpg

At Sandpebble overlooking the Sanibel River

 

4 new sales: Cottage Colony West #126 1/1 listed at $649K (our buyer), Sanctuary Golf Villages I #2-2 3/3 listed at $710K, Nutmeg Village #309 2/2 listed at $799K.

BeachPath

View of the gulf from Cottage Colony West at Casa Ybel Resort

 

5 closed sales: Sundial East #O402 2/2 $615K, Surfside 12 #A2 3/2 $632K, Wedgewood #306 3/3.5 $1.28M, Gulfside Place #317 2/2 $1.4M, Atrium #302 2/2 $1.5575M.

HOMES

4 new listings: 2114 Egret Cir 3/2 $498K, 9468 Peaceful Dr 3/2 $769K, 500 Periwinkle Way 3/3 $1.248M, 4449 Waters Edge Ln 3/2/3 $4.795M.

16 price changes: 575 Piedmont Rd 3/2 now $425K, 9292 Belding Dr 3/2.5 now $449K, 535 Birdsong Pl 3/2 now $535K, 1602 Serenity Ln 4/2 now $539K, 1410 Causey Ct 3/2 now $649K, 5303 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/2 now $649K, 1125 Captains Walk St 3/3 now $649.9K, 1133 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $679K, 677 Durion Ct 3/2 now $748K, 2549 Harbour Ln 3/2 now $779K, 3335 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $779K, 9027 Mockingbird Dr 4/3 now $799K, 1121 Skiff Pl 3/3 now $949K, 1317 Eagle Run Dr 4/3.5 now $1.195M, 932 Whelk Dr 3/3 now $1.495M, 513 Lighthouse Way 3/3 now $2.26M.

4 new sales: 1258 Par View Dr 3/2 listed at $749K, 557 N Yachtsman Dr 4/3 listed at $749K, 645 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 listed at $789K, 4355 West Gulf Dr 4/3 listed at $3.8M.

5 closed sales: 847 Casa Ybel Rd 2/2 $395K, 9012 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 $492K, 1065 Fish Crow Rd 2/2 $655K, 5743 Baltusrol Ct 3/3/2 $1.35M (our listing), 1656 Hibiscus Dr 4/3.5 $2.1M.

20150813_140700.jpg

Home sold at Augusta Greens in The Sanctuary

 

LOTS

1 new listing: 1837 Buckthorn Ln $439.9K.

No price changes.

2 new sales: 6159 Starling Way listed at $619K, 837 Limpet Dr listed at $749K (our listing).

straight view.jpg

View from 837 Limpet Dr

 

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: Beach Homes #20 3/3 listed at $2.499M.

No closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings.

1 price change: 16979 Captiva Dr 7/6.5 now $4.485M.

No new or closed sales.

LOTS

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: 16297 Captiva Dr $1.4M.

(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.)

tgif 2.jpgHappy Friday!

Susan Andrews aka SanibelSusan

TGIF – The Last One in February 2016

It’s SanibelSusan reporting a few more days of island winter weather. A cold-front arrived here with a little rain on Wed evening. Since then, we’ve had bright blue skies, but temperatures only into the high 60’s yesterday, today, and tomorrow. That is great weather for showing property.

Beach

Beach in front of Olde Middle Gulf Dr

 

The week’s real estate activity as posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service follows a few news items below.

Island Weather

No rain is the forecast for the next five days and, according to AccuWeather, with the weekend setting up as an excellent one. Today’s high will be around 68 degrees, with 65 on Saturday and 73 on Sunday.

Beaches

Low tide set up perfectly for shell seeks this morning when it came in at 8: 34 a.m. Tomorrow (Sat), it will be at about 9 a.m., with high tide about 2:30 p.m.

Tonight, evening sunset on Captiva comes at 6:28 p.m., only about a minute later tomorrow night.

Sanibel sunset 2011

Upcoming Island Events

2016 shell fairMar 3 to 5 – 79th Annual Sanibel Shell Festival – at The Community House from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thurs and Fri, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sat.

Mar 16 – Sanibel Historical Village’s Let’s Get Historical USO Canteen Dinner & Dance – at 6 p.m. on the grounds of the historical village.

Apr 9 – Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation’s 5th Annual Beer in the Bushes – from 6 to 10 p.m. on the grounds of SCCF’s Nature Center.

Sales Make Gains, Prices ‘Rising Too Fast’

realtor logoFrom yesterday’s “Realtor®Mag” on line:

“Existing-home sales kicked off 2016 on solid footing, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest housing report, released Tuesday. Existing-home sales in January moved to their highest annual rate in six months, while constrained inventory levels also pushed home prices to their fastest increase since last April, according to the report.

“All regions in the U.S. saw increases in January sales, except for the West region.

“Total existing-home sales, which encompass completed transactions for single-family homes, condos, town homes, and co-ops, inched up slightly by 0.4% in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.47 million.

“Sales are 11% higher than a year ago, which is the largest year-over-year increase since July 2013.

““The housing market has shown promising resilience in recent months, but home prices are still rising too fast because of ongoing supply constraints,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Despite the global economic slowdown, the housing sector continues to recover and will likely help the U.S. economy avoid a recession.”….

Regional Breakdown

“Here’s a closer look at how existing-home sales performed across the country in January.

“Northeast: Existing-home sales rose 2.7% to an annual rate of 760,000, and are 20.6% higher than a year ago.  Median price: $247,500 — 0.9% above January 2015.

Midwest: Existing-home sales increased 4% to an annual rate of 1.30 million in January, and are 18.2% above a year ago. Median price: $164,300, up 8.7% from a year ago.

“South: Existing-home sales were at an annual rate of 2.24 million in January — unchanged from December — and are 5.7% higher than a year ago. Median price: $184,800, up 8.5% from a year ago.

West: Existing-home sales dropped 4.1% to an annual rate of 1.17 million in January, but remain 8.3% higher than a year ago. Median price: $309,400, 7.4% above January 2015.”

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

Southwest Florida Housing Market Has Slowed – and That’s Good

naples daily news logoNarrowing the field down to just Southwest Florida, here’s an article posted on line at FloridaRealtors®. It came from ”The Naples Daily News”:

“The housing market is showing signs of slowing and local experts say that’s OK. Home resales are slowing – and so are land sales for new homes and developments.

“We’re in the middle of a downshift in the marketplace. And it’s a good thing,” said Denny Grimes, president of Denny Grimes & Co. in Fort Myers. Grimes was one of three expert speakers at Market Watch 2016, sponsored by the News-Press and held at the Harborside Event Center in downtown Fort Myers on Tuesday night. All agreed the housing market is changing in a big way, sharing their thoughts on the future of real estate with a sold-out crowd in the hundreds.

“Generally speaking, home resales started falling from Sarasota to Naples in the last two to three months of 2015, Grimes said. “It’s kind of across the board,” he said. “We saw sales down in Lee County 30% in January.”

So what gives? While the roads are full, as they usually are in season, and buyers are out looking for houses, he said, the consumer confidence tank is “low on fuel.”

“Part of the low confidence, he said, is “our fault,” with home prices rising too quickly. “We have seen tremendous price increases in the last two or three years and we are pricing ourselves out of a lot of the market. You can ask for more, but buyers won’t pay it,” Grimes said.

“There are a few exceptions. The luxury market in Naples is still going strong, with the volume of resales rising 18% in the more than $5 million price category and 11% in the $1 million to $5 million segment in 2015, over 2014.

“”I think the luxury market and ultra-luxury market is being driven by people saying, ‘If not now, when?'” he said.

It’s clear the “Louis Vuitton” market of Port Royal in Naples, he said, is different, with 37 existing homes selling there last year, generating more than $300 million in sales, for an average price of about $8 million. Homes don’t really go “on sale” there, he said. “You want to be in Port Royal? You pay the price and you come,” Grimes said. “That is an anomaly. I can’t find that type of behavior anywhere else. It may be the only place on the Gulf Coast of Florida like that, which speaks highly for that area.”

“Except for the ultra-luxury market, he predicts home price growth will slow down this year, and could even retreat a little bit. “We have to slow down. We are going too fast for our own good,” Grimes said.

“Randy Thibaut, president of Land Solutions Inc. in Fort Myers, agrees a slowdown is needed, coming from a different angle. Last year, new home permits soared in Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties. Builders pulled about 13,000 permits in the three counties, for a 44% increase over 2014. Lee saw the biggest increase and that was driven mostly by a boom in apartment construction.

“Apartments are in higher demand because of the rising home prices. First-time buyers are still looking for homes priced at $200,000 to $250,000, which can be found in very few places in Southwest Florida, Thibaut said.

“In Collier County, the median home price – the price at which half the homes sell for more, and half for less – rose to $430,000 in December. For that reason, it makes sense that Maple Ridge at Ave Maria, where there are still homes available for less than $300,000, was the top selling subdivision last year in all three counties, he said. “The reason why is price and value,” Thibaut said. “So it’s one of the last places people can get a value.”

Some of the buyers in Maple Ridge are coming from the east coast of Florida, and commuting back and forth to their same jobs over there because they can get more home for their money in Ave Maria and they often have a shorter drive than they would on Interstate 95. Thibaut described the trend as mind boggling. “Wow,” he said. “That is crazy.”

“Land prices for residential development now exceed where they were in 2005 at the “peak of the peak,” which is giving builders reason to pause, Thibaut said. “We are seeing builders, developers and equity firms starting to tap the brakes on land transactions because the prices in some cases, in a lot of cases, have gotten to the point where they can’t meet buyers’ price demand requirements and are pushing the limit to still make margins,” he said.

“The pause is good for many reasons, Thibaut said. “We have a great shortage of labor and we are having a tough time meeting the demand for the sales and products that are being built and permitted,” he said.

Some builders have already noticed a slowing demand for new homes, with several starting to offer incentives to entice buyers to purchase the inventory. One of the areas where that is happening is in the Immokalee Road corridor in North Naples, which has seen a surge in new construction over the past few years.

“High-rise condominium construction is back, with five projects planned or under construction from Naples to Estero, and it will be something to watch this year, along with continued apartment construction, which one speaker described as “white hot,” especially in Lee County. “Apartments are really pulling the market,” said Stan Stouder, a commercial real estate broker with CRE Consultants in Fort Myers.

“He showed a picture of a tugboat pulling a big cargo ship to bring home his point. In Southwest Florida, he said, 2,557 apartment units will be built this year, twice the number as last year, Stouder said. Apartments aren’t just attracting students, but millennials with too much student debt and not enough money for a down payment, would-be buyers with bad credit, and even boomers who can no longer afford the hefty home prices.

“”Boomers are coming in great waves,” Stouder said. “But they are less affluent. So their pension plans might have been wiped out, their 401ks might have gone down. Their houses may be selling now, but selling for less than they hoped they could get. They still want to come to Florida. Maybe they can’t afford a second home, but they can afford to rent an apartment.””

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity February 19-26, 2016

Sanibel

CONDOS

3 new listings: Beach Road Villa #105 2/2 $434K, Mariner Pointe #522 2/2 $519K, Kings Crown #208 2/2 $825K.

6 price changes: Sanibel Arms West #J4 2/2 now $429K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #1-1 2/2.5 now $645K, Sanibel Inn #3522 2/2 now $699K, Lighthouse Point #325 2/2 now $830K, Compass Point #151 3/2 now $1.195M, Golden Beach #2 3/2.5 now $1.499M.

4 new sales: Mariner Pointe #1073 2/2 listed at $454.5K, Shell Island Beach Club #5A 2/2 listed at $864.9K, Tanglewood #3 3/3 listed at $1.595M, High Tide #A301 2/2 listed at $1.895M.

2 closed sales: Sundial West #H103 2/2 $415K, Tigua Cay #489 3/3.5 $2M.

HOMES

10 new listings: 1635 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex $489K; 3301 Twin Lakes Ln 2/2 $599K; 4648 Buck Key Rd 3/2 $679K; 1133 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $699K; 5299 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/3 $799K; 1724 Bunting Ln 3/4 $1.089M; 746 Windlass Way 4/3 $1.149M; 6011 Clam Bayou Ln 3/3 $1.395M; 4353 Gulf Pines Dr 3/2.5 $1,478,999; 584 Kinzie Island Ct 3/3.5 $1.995M.

8 price changes: 2407 Shop Rd 3/1 now $354K, 575 Piedmont Rd 3/2 now $490K, 5267 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/2 now $794K, 3335 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $799K, 1321 Par View Dr 3/2.5 now $899K, 1121 Skiff Pl 3/3 now $1.095M, 1238 Isabel Dr 5/3/2 now $3.965M, 1306 Seaspray Ln 3/4 now $3.995M.

9 new sales: 1490 Sand Castle Rd 2/2 listed at $515K, 441 Lake Murex Cir 3/3 listed at $599K, 1113 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed at $639.9K, 1460 Court Pl 6/5.5 listed at $649K, 1970 Wild Lime Dr 4/3 listed at $699K, 577 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 listed at $769K, 595 Birdsong Pl 4/2 listed at $849K, 1328 Seaspray Ln 4/4 listed at $849K, 696 Kinzie Island Ct 4/5 listed at $2.395M.

1 closed sale: 693 Emeril Ct 3/3 $660K.

LOTS

2 new listings: 2310 Wulfert Rd $339K; 5830 Sanibel-Captiva Rd $399,555.

No price changes, new, or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Sunset Beach Villas #2318 2/2 $595K.

1 price change: Bayside Villas #4302 3/3 now $605K.

2 new sales: Beach Homes #29 4/4 listed at $2.5M, Beach Homes #27 5/3 listed at $2.599M.

No closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings.

2 price changes: 15133 Captiva Dr 3/3 now $3.495M, 13550 Palmflower Ln 4/3.5 now $4.495M.

4 new sales: 11515 Murmound Ln 3/3 listed at $1.494M, 11525 Chapin Ln 4/4 listed at $1.495M, 11535 Andy Rosse Ln 4/4 listed at $2.339M, 16251 Captiva Dr 7/4.5 listed at $2.495M.

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.)

Enjoy your weekend, folks, wherever you are!

The last February 2016 island weekend is going to be terrific!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Canalside docks from website

Canal side at Sanibel Moorings

It Sure is Quiet on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

It’s SanibelSusan reporting that this week, it is REALLY QUIET on the islands – hopefully the end of that lull between “season” and the arrival of summer vacationers. Lee County Schools are out today, so maybe we will see more Floridians on the island in the upcoming weeks. In the meantime, the reprieve is giving the locals a little time to stop and smell the roses, or in my case, appreciate my bougainvillea explosion and happy trumpet bush.

June 1 2015 my bougainvillea explosion April 16 Angel Trumpet

Happenings at SanibelSusan Realty

SANSLogoOver the last seen days, we had a few listings shown, but no offers or even routine buyer traffic through the office.

SanCapAssnLogoThe local Association of Realtors® did not have a Caravan meeting this week. The next one is June 18, which also is a monthly Membership Meeting. The real estate activity posted this week in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service follows a few news items below.

ASSOC LogoOn Tuesday, I taught my annual class at the Association Office. Each summer, the Sanibel/Captiva Islands Association offers the 12 modules of instruction that are needed for Realtors® to earn their SCIS designation (Sanibel & Captiva Islands Specialist). Nearly 15 candidates this year are working to earn theirs, looking to join our 75 active certificate holders. You-know-who was in the first class many years ago.

Three years ago, I wrote the module on the Resort & 2nd Home Market and have taught it each year since. Here are a few tidbits that were added this year to the class handout:

  • Last year, vacation home sales nationally climbed to an estimated 1.13 million, the highest since NAR (National Association of Realtors®) began tracking those statistics in 2003. This was an increase of 57% over the number sold in 2013. Vacation home sales in 2014 nearly doubled the combined total of the previous two years. Nationally, vacation home sales were 21% of all transactions in 2014.
  • As vacation home sales soared & despite a strong rental demand, investment purchase dropped for the 4th consecutive year to their lowest since 2010. (These national statistics are on trend with Sanibel/Captiva too.)
  • Why? Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist, says: “Affluent households have greatly benefitted from strong growth in the stock market in recent years, & the steady rise in home prices has likely given them reassurance that real estate remains an attractive long-term investment. Furthermore, last year’s impressive increase also reflects long-term grown in the numbers of baby boomers moving closer to retirement & buying 2nd homes to convert into their primary home in a few years.”

Upcoming Events

Ding Darling signTomorrow, Sat, June 6 – National Trails Day kicks off free summer programs at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge with special activities held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Events tomorrow include scheduled hikes on Indigo Trail & the Wildlife Education Boardwalk; Reading in the Refuge & Animal Tracking 101 in the Visitor & Education Center; & Animal Olympics on Indigo Trail. Bi-weekly family nature films & weekly walks & nature crafts highlight the free summer programs offered through August 9. See full schedule at www.dingdarlingsociety.org/summer-programming.

Island night LogoWed, June 17 – 22nd Annual Sam Bailey’s Islands Night at Lee County Sports Complex, gates open at 5:30 p.m., parade at 6:15 p.m., game starts at 7:05 p.m.

historical village logoSat, June 20 – FREE ADMISSION to The Sanibel Historical Village, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

 

 

“Know Before You Owe” Disclosure Forms

Florida Realtors logoFrom the June 2015, “FloridaRealtor®” magazine:

“On August 1, 2015, new rules go into effect to combine the Good Faith Estimate and the initial Truth in Lending (TIL) disclosure into a single “Loan Estimate” and combine the HUD-1 Settlement Statement and the final TIL disclosure into a single “Closing Disclosure”. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) refers to these as the “Know Before You Own” disclosure forms.

“Because of the new requirements, at least initially, it might be unrealistic to plan a 30-day closing for most transactions. Until we see what impact the new rules will have, NAR (National Association of Realtors®) advises to plan on 45-day closings instead of 30-day closings, and to be ready for closing (including doing the walk-through) a week in advance.

“These modifications, which come as part of the CRPB’s changes to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, will apply to most closed-end consumer mortgage loans.

“As part of the new rules, the lender must give the loan estimate to the buyer within three business days after the lender receives a completed application from the buyer. A completed application contains six items of information: buyer’s name, income, Social Security number, property address, estimated property value and loan amount.

“The lender or the closing agent must give the buyer the Closing Disclosure at least three business days prior to closing. Changes to the information provided in the document may require a revised Closing Disclosure and an additional three-day review period to be given. Buyers may waive the review period for a bona fide financial emergency.”

Upcoming Summer Projects on the Islands

Sanibelcityseal logoSummer into fall, when fewer occupants will be disturbed, is when most associations allow noisy projects in their communities. When working with Buyers thinking of purchasing a property that is in need of renovation, we always advise that they pay strict attention to the association rules and guidelines on how and when those projects may be accomplished, including what approvals and permits may be required. Some associations also have restrictions on what the improvements may be. For those looking for contractors, www.MySanibel.com has a list, by discipline, of those licensed here.

One of those summer projects began this week, at Seascape. Their stucco restoration project began June 1; while at Sunset South, we understand that their Building 8 will be reconstructed beginning July 1.

Coming over the same Sanibel causeway bridge after Debby passed

Some broader news is that last week, the City (Sanibel) was notified by the Lee County Department of Transportation that they will be performing bridge maintenance on all three causeway bridges beginning Monday June 8 and ending Thursday June 18, weather permitting. The bridges will remain open during this time, but there may be some lane shifts.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity May 22-June 5 

Sanibel

CONDOS

1 new listing: Loggerhead Cay #474 2/2 $489.9K.

1 price change: Sundial #R401 2/2 now $824K (our listing).

6 new sales: Captains Walk #F6 2/2 listed for $319.9K, Mariner Pointe #121 1/1 listed for $369K, Sunset South #2D 2/2 listed for $525K, Pointe Santo #C4 1/1 listed for $639K, Island Beach Club #P2E 2/2 listed for $799.9K, Seascape #201 3/3 listed for $1.795M.

2 closed sales: Ibis at The Sanctuary A101 2/2 $449K, Ibis at The Sanctuary #B201 2/2 $435K.

HOMES

2 new listings 9439 Coventry Ct 2/2 $525K, 1730 Jewel Box Dr 4/3 $1.85M.

4 price changes: 9032 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 now $598.4K, 1460 Court Pl 6/5.5 multi-family now $649K, 1328 Seaspray Ln 4/4 now $895K, 1245 Isabel Dr 3/3.4 now $1.649M.

2 new sales: 778 Cardium St 3/3 listed for $449K, 4620 Rue Bayou 3/3 listed for $899K.

6 closed sales: 4109 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 2/1 $275K, 828 Rabbit Rd 2/1 $360K, 257 Daniel Dr 3/2 $604K, 1755 Jewel Box Dr 3/2 $685K, 667 Anchor Dr 4/3.5 $1.05M, 3400 West Gulf Dr $1.1M.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 3723 West Gulf Dr now $2.895M.

2 new sales: 0 Bowmans Beach Rd now $125K, 247 + 255 Robinwood Cir now $229K.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

2 new sales: Beach Villas #2322 1/1 listed for $499K, Marina Villas #706 2/2 listed for $625K.

1 closed sale: Bayside Villas #5318 3/3 $600K.

HOMES

No new listings.

1 price change: 16897 Captiva Dr 5/5.5 now $3.09M.

No new or closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

Until next Friday, Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Summertime on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

Visit SW FloridaSouthwest Florida made the national news this week with some of the highest rain recorded in Naples (some 7″ on Monday, when the previous record was 2″). Sanibel and Captiva Islands had a lot then too, but the sandy soil here managed to absorb it quickly. Personally, I had a little fall-out from the storms, when lightning hit the prized Bismark palm in my front yard. Just the price we pay for summers in Florida!

The beaches remain busy with summer vacationers, but the local children are getting ready to go back to school, in less than two weeks, on August 18. Yesterday, I heard that the number of vacation rental check-ins tomorrow is dropping off. Then that business really comes to an almost screeching-halt the following Saturday. That is the norm here late August and September and the reason why many restaurants and businesses close up then for annual maintenance work and vacations. Now through the end of September often is the slowest time of the year on the islands, but still a great time to come.

another-perfect-sunset

A few SanibelSusan listings were shown this week and though we had an Association of Realtors® biweekly caravan meeting yesterday, I was the only one to announce a new sale (Spanish Cay #A4) and only one new listing was on Caravan for viewing. These are more indications of how S-L-O-W, it can be here late summer. The action posted in the Multiple Listing Service follow a couple of news items below. The first is a list of a couple of closings that were announced this week:

Short-Term Closings

Bag Day Noah's arkNoah’s Ark Thrift Shop (located behind St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church at 2304 Periwinkle Way) annual Bag Day is August 15 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Bags will be sold for $4 each, and can be filled with anything that fits inside. Larger items will be 80% off. Noah’s Ark will not be accepting donations again until after September 1.

Sanibel Historical VillageThe Sanibel Historical Village closed its doors on another season on July 30 and will reopen in November. There will be a lot of changes when the museum reopens. Shore Haven, the 1924 Sears Roebuck house is in the final stages of preparation to serve as a welcome center for guests and a staging area for docents. People are welcome to walk the grounds of the village during the off-season with signage for the buildings giving visitors a picture of life in old-time Sanibel. When the village reopens November 5, hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with docent-led tours at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. More info at www.sanibelmuseum.org.

Donax Beach AccessDonax Street Beach Access closed yesterday and will remain close through August 20 for maintenance work.

Similar work was finished this week at the Nerita Street Beach Access which reopened yesterday.

Henderson Boat Ramp is closed for dredging as part of the City’s maintenance of canals in the Pine Tree Drive canal system. The ramp will remain closed until the dredging is complete which is expected to take four months.

Cyclists Focus on Sanibel

bicycle_clip_artSanibel City Manager, Judie Zimomra, posted the following on Facebook earlier this week. What nice recognition of the island’s terrific bike path system and its history: “…thanks to Sanibel resident Tom Sharbaugh this concise history of our Shared Use Paths system is currently posted on the Bike Walk Lee Blog…….& a tip of the hat to the three Sanibel Moms who were the birthmothers of our path system that now provides recreation, transportation, exercise & fun to thousands of our residents & visitors daily…”

“Thursday, July 24, 2014. This week’s BWL column, written by Tom Sharbaugh, shares the history of the Sanibel Island path system. Anyone looking for proof that interested citizens can advance the cause of bike/ped safety in their community need look no further than nearby Sanibel Island for a good example.

News Press logoBikeWalkLee’s News-Press “Go Coastal” Column: 7/24/14 By Tom Sharbaugh

“When the Sanibel Causeway opened in May 1963, it brought a period of intense development to what was previously a sleepy barrier island.

“For cyclists and pedestrians, it also brought a nightmare as they were forced to share narrow island streets with non-stop traffic, including heavy construction vehicles. Without benefit of bike lanes or sidewalks, every trip by bike or by foot became a life-threatening experience.

“Eventually, residents had had enough, and a few concerned citizens decided to do something about it. In December 1972, four island women — Grace Whitehead, Mariel Goss, Sherry Vartdal and Starr Thomas — organized the Sanibel Bike Path Committee to work toward creation of a system of “hike and bike” trails for the community. As mothers of young children, these women had a special interest in improving safety for bicycles and pedestrians.

The group adopted a slogan: “Preserve, Protect and Pedal.”

“Preserving the environment and wildlife was (and still is) a hot button with Sanibel residents. Protecting children with safer streets was a key goal of the effort, and pedaling was promoted as a healthy alternative to motor vehicles for getting around the island. (It is interesting that these same themes are alive on the island today.)

“After unsuccessfully seeking help from Lee County and state entities, organizers determined that if their effort was going to succeed, they would have to drive it through local efforts, raising money for the project and calling attention to the importance of their cause.

“What followed is a classic example of “bootstrap activism,” as the founding women geared up local fundraising efforts. They placed donation jars at local businesses, which raised their first $1,180.

“They created a local phone directory for Sanibel and Captiva, selling the first edition for $2 with all proceeds going toward building the new bike path. They sold T-shirts and sand dollar necklaces, and they organized fundraising dinners.

“In addition to raising money, the organizers looked for ways to increase awareness about why this was an important community need. In February 1974, the women organized a protest during which 15 bicyclists rode the length of Periwinkle Way in the middle of the traffic lane during rush hour.

“After determining that bikes had the same rights as motor vehicles to be on the road, they decided to use this as a demonstration to county commissioners and law enforcers that a safer alternative was needed for bikes and pedestrians.

“Later, the group invited all the Lee County Commissioners to a pot luck luncheon, after which they drove them around the streets of Sanibel to see first-hand the unsafe road conditions.

“Eventually, these efforts made a difference. Influenced by the Sanibel group’s activities, Lee County developed a plan for a county-wide network of paths and a funding strategy for county and state funding to pay construction costs. Also that year, Florida’s Department of Transportation (FDOT) set aside $2 million in federal funds for bike path construction.

“And when the City of Sanibel was incorporated in late 1974, the path system was a prominent issue; candidates for the first City Council election were asked to state their positions regarding the path system. In 1976, the first 2½ miles of Sanibel’s path were built along Periwinkle Way, funded by $10,000 in seed money from the Sanibel Bike Path Committee, matched by a similar amount from FDOT.

“Since those early days, Sanibel’s path system (now known as a “Shared Use Path”) has been expanded many times and now covers over 25 miles of off-road pathways. Responsibility for overseeing path construction & maintenance now rests with the City of Sanibel, funded by city tax revenues. But stewardship of the path continues to be a responsibility shared between the city and the citizens of Sanibel.

“In recent years, the job of advocating for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and safety has been taken on by the Sanibel Bicycle Club. Founded in 1994, the club has worked closely with the city and its Department of Public Works to identify path expansion opportunities, maintenance needs and safety issues, and to provide volunteer help for path-related projects.

“In a throwback the path’s early history, in 2005 the Sanibel Bicycle Club established the “Sanibel Trails In Motion” fund, a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to raising money through donations to pay for path enhancements. To date, Sanibel Trails In Motion has collected more than $57,000. The Trails In Motion Fund helped to pay for preparation of Sanibel’s 2009 Shared Use Path Master Plan, in partnership with the city.

“In the past 10 years, Sanibel’s path system has been extended to new parts of the island, widened in heavily traveled areas, and separated from the roadway with a grassy median. Recent focus has been updating crosswalks and adding safe interconnectivity of the path with major destination locations.

Anyone looking for proof that interested citizens can advance the cause of bike/ped safety in their community need look no further than nearby Sanibel Island for a good example.”

— Tom Sharbaugh is a member of the Sanibel Bicycle Club and the BikeWalkLee steering committee. BikeWalkLee is a community coalition raising public awareness and advocating for complete streets in Lee County—streets that are designed, built, operated and maintained for safe and convenient travel for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Information, statistics and background online at www.BikeWalkLee.org. Click the blue link for a copy of the Sanibel Path system map.

Florida Has Most Visitors Ever

floridaThis is a repeat of a special report on news-press.com by Karl Etters on Wednesday, August 5, 2014:

“More travelers visited Florida in the first quarter of this year than during any other three-month period in the state’s history. Data from Visit Florida showed that from January through March, 26.7 million visitors entered the state, a half-million more than the previous record set last year. The uptick in tourism, and the impact on the state’s economy, was lauded in Tallahassee on Monday by Visit Florida and the non-profit TaxWatch.

“The numbers represent an increase of 38,000 tourism related jobs and 37,000 outside of the industry related to strong 2013. The study also shows that travel related jobs in the state during the first three months are up 3.5% compared to the same time in 2013.

“The Legislature approved a budget with $74 million in funding for marketing and promotion by Visit Florida, a huge increase from the $10.5 million the year before. “If the state increases its tourism spending, private businesses do as well and private investment is great for the state of Florida,” said TaxWatch chief economist Jerry Parrish.

“Visit Florida, public-private agency, is required to have a one-to-one match in private funding. Over the past seven years it averaged $2.08 in private money for every public dollar. Parrish said aside from being a boon in communities statewide, more visitors put money into the state coffers for paying off state debt, lessens the tax burden on state residents, makes tax-free holidays possible and contributes to infrastructure funding.

“The increase in visitors is part of a three-year trend of more travelers, international and domestic. “There’s no question the state of Florida and the tourism industry in the state of Florida has a tremendous amount of momentum,” said Visit Florida President and CEO Will Seccombe. Data show that in the first six months of 2014, hotel room rentals increased 10%.

“In 2013, 94.3 million visitors came to the state. That number has been rising from 80.8 million in 2009, a record low. Robust tourism visitation for June in Collier County resulted in continued high occupancy at hotels and short term rentals at close to 70% and a 14.2% increase in tourism direct spending over June of 2013. Year-to-date direct spending by visitors is nearing $759 million, 11.4% ahead of the pace for 2013. “Tourism and hospitality industry direct and indirect employment in Collier County increased by 4.0% in 2013 and reached a peak of 38,800 during the 2014 winter season. Our summer visitation and occupancy continues to be close to capacity, which means that more of those employed will be able to keep their jobs without being subjected to seasonal layoffs,” said Jack Wert, Collier tourism executive director. “Our community has enjoyed 41 straight months of job growth in the tourism and hospitality sector.”

“The Bureau of Labor Statistics data totals the average annual employment and total annual wages for each of the state’s 67 counties. In 2013, the leisure and hospitality category of private-sector jobs pushed more than 24,000 jobs in Collier County with a total annual salary over $627 million. Lee County jobs totaled more than 34,000 with annual wages topping $734 million countywide. “We’ve always known that tourism creates jobs and there is an absolute return on our investment,” said Tamara Pigott, executive director for Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau. “We’re very supportive in helping Florida get to that 100 million (visitors) number. We want to grow our visitation, and we do believe in that partnership. All ships lift in a rising tide, and we are supportive of their funding. We all have a symbiotic relationship — their promotion efforts and ours.””

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity August 1-8

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Loggerhead Cay #322 2/2 $519K, Sanibel Inn #3512 2/2 $725K.

3 price changes: Sundial #D207 1/1 now $258.990; Seascape #105 3/3 now $1.795M, Seascape #204 3/3.5 now $1.895M.

No new sales.

2 closed sales: Coquina Beach #5G 2/2 $372.5K, Sundial #J307 2/2 $501K.

HOMES

3 new listings: 1063 Blue Heron Dr 3/2 $545K, 1195 Par View Dr 3/2.5 $1.195M, 2010 Sunrise Cir 5/3 $1.379M.

1 price change: 1377 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $469K.

5 new sales: 421 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 listed for $499K, 1225 Junonia St 3/2 listed for $649K; 1504 Angel Dr 4/3 listed for $745K; 1048 Kings Crown Dr 4/4 listed for $1,224,995; 766 Sand Dollar Dr 4/5.5 listed for $1.495M.

5 closed sales: 2079 Wild Lime Dr 3/2 $480K, 236 Hurricane Ln 3/3 $530K, 1049 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2 $590K, 2569 Coconut Dr 2/2 $622K, 5313 Punta Caloosa Ct 4/3 $820K.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

Captiva
CONDOS

1 new listing: Bayside Villas #4212 1/2 $275K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: Sunset Beach Villas #2313 1/1 listed for $539K.

No closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 16910 Captiva Dr 4/4 $4.835M

No price changes or new sales.

2 closed sales: 11411 Old Lodge Ln 4/2 $900K, 11547 Wightman Ln 2/2 $1.275M.

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.

Happy Weekend to all! SanibelSusan

Here is a photo taken on Wednesday from the beach access next to Sanibel Siesta!

IMG_2773[1]