Almost Mother’s Day on Sanibel & Captiva


Another sunny Sanibel Friday has arrived. The rainy season may be beginning as the first of the big white summer popcorn clouds rolled in late yesterday which resulted in some island showers last night. This afternoon, after a morning of bright blue sky, it looks like those clouds again are forming on the eastern horizon. Early summer is when rain often come across the state & rolls onto the island from the mainland. The joke is that though the rest of Lee County gets wet from these showers, they always don’t make it to the island – as they don’t have toll money.

This was the first week of the Association of Realtors® off-season biweekly Caravan schedule, so there was no meeting yesterday. There has been some sales activity though, three condos and two homes on Sanibel went under contract this week. I got one of them done last Sunday with folks who viewed Saturday and were at the airport boarding. Gotta love modern technology!

Mom & child

The SanibelSusan Team wishes all the Mom’s a Happy Mother’s Day on Sunday.

The action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service since last Friday follow a couple of news items.

A Look at the Real Estate Market Nationally

REALTOR-Magazine_Logo_Realtor® magazine’s May-June 2019 issue had another article from my favorite economist, Lawrence Yun. Though his comments are about real estate nationally, it has good news.

“Consumer confidence remains high and many people are saying now is a good time to buy. Inventory is also increasing, reducing buyers’ concerns they’ll be elbowed out of the way whey they try to buy.

“But the market is bifurcated. Moderately priced homes are in high demand while upper-end homes are moving slowly. Affordability is what consumers are looking for….

“With the economy set to grow this year, we expect to set a record with more than 120 consecutive months of GDP expansion. More than 20 million net new jobs have been added, and the average wage has increased to $23.18 per hour, up 3.5%, the largest annual rise in a decade. Consumer confidence is following suite; the index reached 124 in March compared to the 50-year average figure of 93. Moreover, 37% of consumers strongly believe now is a good time to buy, according to National Association of Realtors® figures for the 1st quarter of 2019, up from 34% in the prior quarter. Low mortgages rate help. But a good economy and more inventory are also boosting consumers’ outlook….”

“Existing home sales jumped almost 12% in February. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun attributes the surge largely to the Federal Reserve’s plan to keep interest rates low for the remainder of the year. The one-month gain is among the largest ever recorded by NAR.”

Want Flood Insurance for Hurricane Season? Hurry Up!NationalFloodInsuranceProgr

Good reminder article posted on-line at Florida Realtors® on Monday:

“WASHINGTON – May 6, 2019 – While some Florida homeowners have private options, national flood insurance has a 30-day waiting period in most cases – and hurricane season starts in 25 days.

“As it stands now, the entire National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) expires on May 31, 2019. Should that happen, homeowners won’t lose coverage, but homebuyers may not be able to secure coverage even if it’s demanded by their lender. Congress may have a new plan in place for the program by then, or they may authorize a short-term extension as they have done in the past.

“In any case, homeowners and buyers should prepare for the possibility of another NFIP hiatus. NFIP issued the following commonly asked questions about flood insurance coverage:

Why do I need flood insurance? Standard homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover floods, and it’s wise to consider flood insurance even if you are not required to purchase it. Even if you live outside a high-risk flood zone, called a Special Flood Hazard Area, it’s a wise decision to buy flood insurance. In fact, statistics show that people who live outside high-risk areas file more than 25% of flood claims nationwide.

“It’s often said that wherever it rains, it can flood. So, while flood zones are specific geographic areas where there is a higher statistical probability of a flood occurring, floods do occur elsewhere. Florida, for example, has exceeded that statistical probability, putting more homes and properties at risk than expected over the last five years.

“FEMA calculates that just three inches of floodwater in a home likely will require replacing drywall, baseboards, carpets, furniture and making other necessary repairs. If you don’t have flood insurance, your likely out-of-pocket cost (based on a 1,500-square-foot, one-floor home) is estimated at $15,000. For six inches of water, estimated loss jumps to an estimated $23,000. And 18 inches or more could require repairs to electrical, heating and cooling systems plus replacing doors, appliances and cabinetry. The estimated cost: $30,000.

“How does flood insurance work? If a community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), both building and contents coverage can be included in a policy for homeowners and businesses. Renters can get coverage for contents only. Policies issued by the NFIP pay even if a federal disaster isn’t declared.

“In Florida and other states recently impacted by hurricanes, NFIP streamlined the claims process, enabling policyholders to receive advance payments to jump-start rebuilding. Some policyholders were recently able to get advance payments up to $5,000 without an adjuster visit or additional documentation. Some received advance payments of up to $20,000 if they had photos/video evidence and receipts or a contractor’s estimate.

A Preferred Risk Policy (a lower-cost flood insurance policy) provides both building and contents coverage for properties in moderate-to-low risk areas. This policy can be purchased for as little as $325 per year.

“When should I buy a policy? As soon as possible. There’s a waiting period. NFIP cannot pay a claim without a policy in effect when damage occurs. A new insurance policy from NFIP becomes effective 30 days after you buy it, unless the purchase is associated with the origination, renewal or extension of a federally backed loan on property in a high-risk area.

“Even if I’m not in a flood hazard area, can I purchase flood insurance? Yes, providing your community participates in NFIP. You’re eligible to purchase a flood policy with the same coverage you would receive if you lived in a high-risk area.

“Can I get flood insurance if I’m renting a property? Yes. If you live in a community that participates in NFIP as a renter, flood insurance covers the contents of your home, apartment or business at a rented location. An insurance agent can talk about the costs and ways to lower those costs.

“NFIP policy holders choose their amount of coverage. The maximum for one to four family residential structures is $250,000 in building coverage and $100,000 in contents coverage. For residential structures of five or more units, the maximum is $500,000 in building coverage and $100,000 in contents coverage. The maximum for businesses is $500,000 in building coverage and $500,000 in contents coverage.

“How much will I get from NFIP after flood damage? There are some misconceptions about the amount a policyholder will receive following flood-caused damage. While a policy may state it covers losses up to a certain amount:

  • The amount paid to the policyholder on a homeowner’s flood insurance policy will cover only the cost of actual damage caused by the flood.
  • The amount paid on contents will cover only actual losses caused by the flood.
  • The amount paid to businesses covered for structure and contents will be only for actual losses by the flood.

“Where can I buy flood insurance? Contacting your insurance company or agent. For an agent referral call 800-427-4661 or visit FloodSmart.gov.”

SanibelSusan Realty has the following local insurance providers on their vendor list:

Visit the BIG ARTS Construction Site

If you are wondering about the progress of the new facility being constructed at BIG ARTS on Dunlop Road next to City Hall & the Historical Village & Museum, they have installed a camera on the construction site. You can click on the video all summer on at https://bigarts.org

 

Work is ahead of schedule with the grand opening expected in January 2020. In the meantime, BIG ARTS staff have expanded their temporary office space behind SanibelSusan Realty.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity May 3-10, 2019sancap GO MLS logo

Sanibel

CONDOS

3 new listings: Blind Pass #E202 2/2 $470K, Gulfside Place #326 2/2 $1.449M, Pine Cove #202 3/2 $1.55M.

5 price changes: Sand Pointe #111 2/2 now $684.5K, Island Beach Club #210B 2/2 now $739K, Sundial #P203 2/2 now $899K, Beachcomber #D101 2/2 now $1.05M, Villas of Sanibel #A102 3/3 now $1.295M.

3 new sales: Loggerhead Cay #471 2/2 listed at $544K, Cottage Colony West #112 1/1 listed at $605.9K, Lighthouse Point #229 3/2 listed at $675K.

5 closed sales: Island Beach Club #310B 2/2 $635K, Oceans Reach #4B1 1/1 $680K, Sundial #A201 2/2 $825K, Loggerhead Cay #133 2/2 $870K, Signal Inn #19 3/2 $1.045M.

HOMES

3 new listings: 1550 Centre St 3/2 $665K, 955 Lindgren Blvd 3/2 $985K, 1460 Middle Gulf Dr 3/4.5 $1.949M.

12 price changes: 1357 Jamaica Dr 2/3 duplex now $549K, 681 Rabbit Rd 3/2.5 now $599K, 1441 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 now $649K, 1223 Par View Dr 3/2 now $810K, 5659 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 2/2 now $924.9K, 1244 Par View Dr 4/3 now $979K, 772 Birdie View Pt 3/3.5 now $1.169M, 2303 Troon Ct 3/3.5 now $1.189M, 2385 Wulfert Rd 4/5 now $1.299M, 599 Lake Murex Cir 3/3.5 now $1.349M, 4709 Rue Belle Mer 3/2 now $3.199M, 6111 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 5/4/3 now $16.895M.

2 new sales: 5869 Pine Tree Dr 3/2 listed at $595K (our buyer), 9224 Dimmick Dr 3/2 listed at $859.9K.

5 closed sales: 1018 Demere Ln 4/2 $599K, 1160 Junonia St 3/2 $700K, 2510 Harbour Ln 2/2 $1.15M, 928 Beach Rd 4/3 $1.295M, 4355 West Gulf Dr 4/4/2 $5.25M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 2438 Wulfert Rd $349K.

No price changes or new sales.

1 closed sale: 6217 Starling Way $1.3M.

Captiva

CONDOS

Nothing to report.

HOMES

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

1 closed sale: 11535 Wightman Ln 4/4 $1.73M.

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.

mother-duckUntil next Friday, Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

The clip art to the right is reminiscent of Dave’s open house yesterday on Limpet Dr. He found ducks frolicking in the swimming pool. “When the owners’ away, the ducks will play.”

Happy Mother’s Day!

Easter Blessings Abound On Sanibel


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

Susan Yard 03-18-16

 

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

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

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

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

arter rooney corace 03-30-18

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

SanCap Mtg 03-29-18

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

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

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

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

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

Upcoming Eventseaster61

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

Living Shoreline Approved Along Woodring Road

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

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

Great American Cleanup – Sanibel Canals

Here’s a little scoop from Facebook:

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

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

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

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

Sanibel

CONDOS

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

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

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

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

HOMES

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

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

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

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

LOTS

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

No price changes.

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

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

Captiva

CONDOS

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

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

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

No closed sales.

HOMES & LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

happy-easter4Happy Easter!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

 

Sanibel Luminary 2017 Is About to Begin


11-24-2017 beach

Lake O releases are being reduced again starting today, but already one can see water quality improving.

 

 

It’s SanibelSusan posting her Friday island blog a little early today as it’s almost time to head out for the kick-off of Sanibel Luminary at The Sanibel Historical Village and Museum. The islands Community Chorus is singing from 4-4:45 p.m., followed by the Sanibel Band. Then at 5:30 p.m., the official Luminary Trail is lit with festivities until 9 p.m.

The islands already are twinkling with holiday lights and decorations, but it hardly feels like December weather. Yesterday it hit the mid-80’s, but it’s back into the high 70’s today.

More of the same is expected until the end of next week when a cold-front (Florida-style) is expected. (That means perhaps highs in only the 60’s next Thursday and Friday.)

This weekend, it looks like attendees can forget their ugly Christmas sweaters and go with “shorts’ for Sanibel’s Luminary tonight and Captiva’s tomorrow.

SanibelSusan Realty Happenings

In preparation, the island seems to have settled into a pre-Christmas mode this week. Little sales action was announced yesterday at the Thursday Realtor® Caravan meeting.

I was pleased to announce the quick sale of our new listing overlooking Dinkins Bayou on Harbour Lane and we had two of the properties on the 9 a.m. to noon Caravan that followed the meeting.

The action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Services since last Friday follows a couple of news items below.

Upcoming Events

  • Elf Jr. The Musical – This comedy is running from now through Tues, Dec 5 at The Community House. The Community House theater is a unique space with the audience on three sides, you become part of the show. Creative Theater Workshop will also have auditions for Aladdin, Jr on Sat, Dec 2 at The Community House for youth ages 8 to 18. This show will feature workshops in stage combat, special effects, fencing/sword fighting, singing, dancing and acting. Audition sign-ups at www.CTW.Life.
  • Shell Harbor Boat Parade – This is a new event planned by the homeowners’ association to be held Sat Dec 16 with boats gathering at 5:30 p.m. and the parade starting shortly after. It will begin just outside Sanibel Harbour in San Carlos Bay and proceed down the main Shell Harbor canal before turning around in the Victoria Cove basin. Find more info at the Shell Harbor Property Owners Association Facebook page.

2017 Hurricane Season Has Ended – But Issues Linger

The following article from Tallahassee was posted yesterday on line at FloridaRealtors® and credited to Jim Turner of “News Service of Florida”.

“Thursday was the last day of the highly active, deadly and destructive 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, but Floridians will feel its impact for years.The massive hit from Hurricane Irma caused direct physical and emotional impacts in Florida, and ripples continue to come ashore as thousands of people flee Hurricane Maria’s devastation in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“Politicians are scrambling to determine how much of the next state budget will be dedicated to covering losses that may or may not be paid by the federal government. They’re also looking at regulatory changes for nursing homes and debris-removal companies, as well as changes dealing with issues such as evacuation lanes, shelters and a potential state fuel reserve.

“Gov. Rick Scott, who was a visible face before and after Irma struck, said Monday that he’d like to boost the availability of propane for generators before the 2018 storm season. “You always learn something,” Scott said. “Everybody had generators. This last time we started running low on propane. I want to make sure that doesn’t happen again. But everyone did a good job. Highway safety, we kept the fuel going.”

“Visit Florida spent $5 million to tell potential tourists that the state quickly reopened after Hurricane Irma, even as scars from the September storm remain etched across agricultural fields and the Florida Keys….

“Members of the House Select Committee on Hurricane Response and Preparedness will meet Monday and discuss potential storm-related recommendations for the 2018 legislative session, which starts in January. Among the possibilities are legislation about housing, agriculture tax relief, hardening for emergency-operations centers and management of shelters.

National weather service logoMark Wool, the warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Tallahassee office, called 2017 the busiest for the Atlantic since 2005.”We didn’t have any things working against tropical cyclone development like in recent years,” Wool said. “There was no El Nino in effect, which tends to suppress things. Didn’t see a lot of dust coming off Africa. We had a very warm ocean and the depth of the warm water was quite large. And all of those things tend to fuel development of a lot of storms.”

“Emergency management officials each year stress preparing for hurricanes. But Wool said the flatness of Florida requires additional vigilance by coastal communities against flooding, as the state is also experiencing a period of rising sea levels. “Parts of South Beach are flooding now without any storms. Blue skies, tidal flooding, the king tides,” Wool said. “We’ve seen times in the historic record where we’ve had large fluctuations in sea level, and we’re certainly on the upswing.”

“As of Nov. 13, more than 830,000 property owners across the state had filed claims for $5.88 billion in insured losses from Irma, which was one of four storms – Tropical Storm Emily, Irma, Hurricane Nate and Tropical Storm Philippe – that had a direct impact on the state during the six-month hurricane season.

Emily in early August made landfall on Anna Maria Island and quickly was downgraded to a tropical depression. Nate brushed the western Panhandle on Oct. 8 as the center of the storm came ashore near Biloxi, Miss. Philippe brought rain and couple of tornadoes to the southern part of the state as it made landfall Oct. 29 with 45 mph winds in Southwest Florida.

Hurricane irma map“Overall, there were 17 named storms this year. The most devastation came from Harvey’s Aug. 26 landfall in Texas, Irma’s double landfall and run-up of Florida starting Sept. 10, and Maria’s destruction of utilities and other infrastructure across Puerto Rico on Sept. 20. While spinning in the Atlantic, Irma reached maximum sustained winds of 185 mph, a pace it held for a record 37 consecutive-hours. Nate also set a record in October for the fastest forward motion recorded for a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico.

“We certainly did establish some records,” Wool said. “Harvey’s rainfall established a new rainfall record for one system in the United States. I think some areas had 60 inches of rains, which was phenomenal.”

“Irma also set new benchmarks for evacuees – an estimated 6.5 million people left their homes in advance of the storm – and power outages and restoration crews. Florida Power & Light, for example, reported 90% of its customers – about 10 million people – were without power on average 2.3 days.

“The agriculture industry has put a preliminary estimate of $2.5 billion on its losses from the storm.

However, Florida leaders have yet to convince the White House and Congress to include an estimated $761 million in losses to the citrus industry in a series of disaster-relief packages this year. State Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam again implored Florida’s congressional delegation on Tuesday to support U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney’s proposal to add $1.5 billion for Florida’s agricultural industry to a $44 billion disaster-relief request sent to Congress on Nov. 17 by the White House Office of Management and Budget.

“While awaiting federal assistance, Scott authorized a $25 million interest-free loan program for citrus farmers.

“Visit Florida, meanwhile, directed $5 million from its tourism budget for a special post-Irma marketing campaign, and Scott has requested lawmakers boost Visit Florida’s marketing dollars from $75 million in the current year to $100 million because of the need to have post-disaster marketing money readily available.

“Despite the state saying tourism numbers continue to climb, hotels remain closed in parts of the Keys, where housing issues have grown for workers after Irma devastated a number of areas outside of Key West. The Islamorada Resort Company, which hired more than 500 construction workers to repair storm damage at four locations on the islands, is reopening the first of the four on Dec 15 and the second a month later….”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity November 24-December 1, 2017

Sanibel

CONDOS

4 new listings: Captains Walk #D5 2/1 $299.5K, Sunset South #7C 2/2 $598K, Cottage Colony West #101 1/1 $649K, Shorewood #2B 3/3 $1.568M.

3 price changes: Seashells #40 2/2 now $349.9K, Kimball Lodge #303 1/2 now $599K, Pointe Santo #B2 2/2 now $799K.

4 new sales: Seashells #44 2/2 listed at $339K, Sunset South #1C 2/2 listed at $685K, Nutmeg Village #205 2/2 listed at $769K, Bougainvillea #A3 4/4 listed at $3.695M.

2 closed sales: Seashells #11 2/2 $331K, Nutmeg Village #100 2/2 $950K.

HOMES

10 new listings: 1438 Sandpiper Cir 3/3.5 half-duplex $414K; 5306 Ladyfinger Lake 3/2 $549K; 9240 Belding Dr 3/2.5 $585K; 749 Cardium St 3/2 $769K; 1450 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $799K; 1807 Serenity Ln 3/2 $799,999; 3239 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 $979K, 899 Almas Ct 3/2 $1.249M; 490 Sawgrass Pl 3/2.5 $1.695M; 547 Kinzie island Ct 4/4.5 $1.789M.

6 price changes: 4542 Bowen Bayou Rd 3/2 now $572K, 1317 Par View Dr 3/3 now $629K, 241 Violet Dr 3/2.5 now $750K, 932 Whelk 4/3 now $1.224M, 1672 Hibiscus Dr 3/2 now $1.269M, 411 Bella Vista Way 4/4 half-duplex now $2.15M.

5 new sales: 915 Palm St 3/2 listed at $475K, 1187 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 listed at $635K, 2030 Sunrise Cir 3/3 listed at $649K, 2510 Harbour Ln 2/2 listed at $749K (our listing), 411 Bella Vista Way 4/4 listed at $2.15M, 4649 Rue Belle Mer 3/2.5 listed at $2.595M.

2 closed sales: 1270 Bay Dr 3/2 $1.334M, 3547 West Gulf Dr 4/4 $3.9M.

LOTS

1 new listing: 2460 Library Way $349K.

1 price change: Lot 27, Leisure Acres now $59K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Sunset Beach Villas #2212 1/1 $530K.

1 price change: Beach Villas #2617 1/1 now $525K.

No new or closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 11535 Chapin Ln 4/3 $1.449M.

No price changes, new, or 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 transaction.

Wishing you fair weather & a great weekend too! Susan Andrews aka SanibelSusan

SanCap Aerial 11-29-2017 Jim Szabo

Photo posted on Facebook by Jim Sazbo SanCap Aerials

Island Life – Getting Back to Normal


It’s SanibelSusan, reporting that there has been good progress this week in getting the islands back in order post-Irma – with more owners returning, more summer projects wrapping up, and more tree debris removed from the sides of local roadways

Post Irma Recovery

Today is the 18th consecutive day of roadside debris collection with three huge trucks and one smaller one working systematically from one end of the island to the other. The latest report from the City said that sweeps will continue until every roadway (public and private) have been serviced twice. So far 40,000 cubic yards of what has been collected has been converted to mulch, with the City finalizing plans to offer it to the community free.

Yesterday bright-and-early, I was excited to have a claw truck removing the huge pile in front of my home. This is a long tedious process with piles growing and utility lines often hampering efforts, but the crew was careful and efficient.

FISH 2017 10 K raceBecause of the main debris collection site being on Island Inn Road, the City is working with F.I.S.H. to come up with an alternate route for the F.I.S.H. annual 10K fundraiser race which is scheduled for October 28. I got a call from Nicole McHale, 2017 F.I.S.H. Board of Directors Chair, asking if I could get Realtor® volunteers willing to work that morning, manning the route, particularly at driveways, to aide in runner and public safety. The call is out, with plenty of us already volunteering.

A little advice to those not back on-island yet, bring patience. Those looking for pressure/window washing contractors and screen repairmen will likely have a wait. I’ve heard that screening material now is in short supply, compounding the delay for some repairs. Last night, the local news reported that it may take months, if not years, for some cage work to be completed. Orange barricade fences are recommended where needed for safety.

I got a letter from my landscaper advising that they expect to have their customers’ properties back to normal by Christmas. So, we are thankful that island damage was minimal and look forward, with patience, to a warm and wonderful fall and winter season.

Sanibel Approves Budget; Irma Plays Big Role

santiva chronicleSanibel City Council met yesterday, below is the article posted this morning at “Santiva-Chronicle” on-line:

Sanibelcityseal logo“Sanibel will operate on a budget lower than last year in 2018 and it will include expenses from Hurricane Irma, higher beach parking rates and a 15% increase in the cost of a membership at the Recreation Center.

“The City Council gave final approval to the 2018 fiscal year budget at a special budget meeting at City Hall on Thursday, Oct. 5. Most of the budget details had been finalized in the council’s regular meeting and budget hearing on Oct. 3 and Thursday’s meeting was a formality.

“The city’s final approved budget total for fiscal 2018 is $60,033,596. It was prepared based on a millage rate of 1.9139, which is the same as last year.

“By everyone’s assessment, the City of Sanibel performed well before, during and after Hurricane Irma, which came through on Sept. 10. The massive post-Irma cleanup has been orderly, but it still goes on and it hasn’t come without a cost.

“Irma caused Sanibel to dip into its 2017 disaster relief money and that is reflected in the new budget’s beginning fund balance. The disaster reserves haven’t been restored to the 2017 level and the city anticipates that state and federal reimbursements might be a long process. The reserve for disasters is budgeted to be reduced from $4.5 million to $3.7 million due to Hurricane Irma recovery expenses.

“The budget hit from Irma is a one-time occurrence, but the city’s budget woes involving beach parking and the Recreation Center are lingering problems. The council addressed both in the meetings leading up to the final budget approval session.

“The deficit in the beach parking fund now sits at $1.8 million. At its regular meeting on Oct. 3, the council on a 4-1 vote raised the hourly beach parking fee from $4 to $5, raised the B decal for non-resident parking from $99 to $124 and the BC decal for non-resident parking with a boat from $198 to $248. The increase goes into effect Nov. 15.

“The gap to make ends meet for the Recreation Center in the tentative 2018 budget was $384,000. The cost of classes at the Recreation Center will not increase, but much is coming under the knife and membership fees are going up 15% following action by the council at the Tuesday budget meeting an in an emergency meeting Thursday just prior to the final budget hearing.

“Several citizens appeared at the Tuesday budget hearing and they were relieved when Mayor Kevin Ruane said at the top of the meeting that class prices at the Rec Center will not go up. None of them complained at the 15% increase the council arrived at after discussion.

“Ruane presented figures showing that the 15% increase will offset $105,000. He also gave figures for 5% ($35,000), 10% ($70,000), 20% ($140,000) and 25% ($175,000). Several times over the past few years Ruane has said that he believes the cost of a membership is a value not offered in other communities. Councilman Jason Maughan picked up on that theme at the Tuesday budget meeting. “We are below one-half where everyone else is,” Maughan said. “I say we raise it 25% and call it a day.” “Is there a sweet spot?” Councilman Chauncey Goss asked. Recreation Department Director Andrea Miller suggested that 10 to 15% would be a good compromise. The council decided on 15% by unanimous vote.

“The second reading and public hearing would have occurred at the Nov. 7 council meeting, but that was moved up to the emergency meeting Thursday, where it passed on a unanimous vote. Since it was an emergency action, the council is required to approve the increase through the normal process in the coming months. The effort to bring the Recreation Center back to financial fitness will also include cuts totaling $76,000 in operating expenses and $156,000 in staff reductions.

“The 2018 final budget adopted Thursday is 3.9% lower than the 2017 adopted budget of $62,468,100 and 8.43% lower than the 2017 amended budget of $65,302,567.

“While the millage rate remains the same as 2017, it will raise more tax dollars. Sanibel’s taxable property value for fiscal 2018 was assessed by the Lee County Property Appraiser at $5.05 billion, which is 6.17% higher than the final posted value in 2017.

“Ruane said Thursday that had it not been for Irma, the city could have gone to the rolled-back millage rate of 1.8132. All of the budget proceedings were to have taken place in September, but were pushed back to October by the passage of Hurricane Irma.”

Water Quality

West wind 2017-10-06.jpgPhoto above taken this afternoon at the beach in front of West Wind Inn. The beach is narrow and the water still churned up from recent rain and wind, but the water looks pretty typical for post-storm.

I had lunch yesterday with a Realtor® pal often involved in continued efforts locally to improve water quality. Many of you have seen the aerial photos showing the discolored water in the bay now. That really does happen whenever there is a big rainfall and dead vegetation is churned up, particularly in mangrove area. Now, exacerbated with Lake Okeechobee releases. According to this week’s report on www.MySanibel.com:

“As of October 2, 2017, the elevation of Lake Okeechobee was 16.47 feet. Click here to see the Current Level of Lake Okeechobee .  The Lake is currently within the Top of the High Sub-band of the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS2008). The Lake level is currently 0.71 feet HIGHER than it was at this time last year and approximately 1.71 feet HIGHER than it was in 2015.

“Heavy rainfall associated with Hurricane Irma resulted in Lake Okeechobee levels rising dramatically during the past three weeks. This prompted the US Army Corps of Engineers to begin regulatory releases to the estuaries. Click here for links to weekly Caloosahatchee Conditions Reports.

“During this past week, flows at the Franklin Lock averaged 10,497 cfs, with approximately 57% of the flow coming from Lake Okeechobee. Average flows are currently more than three and half times the high-flow ecological harm threshold of 2,800 cfs establish for the estuary, resulting in very poor salinity levels throughout the estuary.

“Water clarity in San Carlos Bay and along Sanibel’s beaches are being impacted by runoff from the Caloosahatchee watershed and discharges from Lake Okeechobee. Click here to see an aerial of the current water conditions at Lighthouse Beach Park.

As my lunch friend said, it is probably inevitable that there will be a bloom of red tide this winter, if not sooner. Please stay involved in efforts to improve water quality. Red tide is a natural phenomenon, but it can be limited/prevented.\

Trump Signs NFIP Extension Into Law

NFIPOn September 8, President Trump signed a 3-month extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that was due to expire on September 30. The signed legislation also authorized $15.25 billion in emergency funding for disaster relief and rebuilding that includes $7.8 billion for victims of Hurricane Harvey.

The program now will remain in effect until December 8. The NFIP provides flood insurance to 5 million homeowners nationwide. Lenders require flood insurance in order to close on mortgage financing if the home is in a flood zone.

The National Association of Realtors® supports the 21st Century Flood Reform Act, H.R. 2874, which passed the House Financial Services Committee a few weeks ago. The bill would reauthorize the program for five years, encourage private insurers to enter the market, cap annual insurance premiums at $10,000, and grandfather existing rates for certain homes that are already covered and in compliance with building standards. It also would make money available for owners to elevate their homes or take other flooding precautions and enable communities to use flood mapping techniques that are more accurate than the government’s. The bill would make a number of other reforms, including improvements to the processes for owners who file a claim or want to submit an appeal. (For updates, go to www.floodsmart.gov )

36th Annual Taste of the Islands

crow 36th tasteC.R.O.W.’s (Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlfe) 36th Annual Taste of the Islands will be held Sunday, November 12, at the Sanibel Community Park (across the street from SanibelSusan Realty). Gates open at 12 p.m. and close at 5 p.m. The event features live music and showcases Sanibel and Captiva Islands’ vibrant and diverse restaurant community. New this year, guests can meet CROW’s Animal Ambassadors in the Sanibel Community House.

Live entertainment will be provided by the LCEC Killa-Watts. This unique musical group started as a fundraiser a few years ago and has grown, benefiting many causes throughout the Southwest Florida community. The core Killa-Watts members have been true to the mission of making music, having some fun, and helping those in need by sharing their talent at little, or no cost to help raise funds for worthy causes. They have opened for Lee Greenwood for a Veterans fundraiser, played dozens of United Way and Chamber of Commerce events, and supported efforts to fight Cancer, Heart Disease, Diabetes, and many other worthy causes.

Admission to Taste of the Islands is $7 and children younger than 12 years of age are free. Guests purchase CROW Bucks to get their “tastes” from participating restaurants. Item prices range from one to six CROW Bucks. Admissions and CROW Bucks are available for purchase at the event and in advance through CROW’s website (click here to buy online) and can be picked up at the Will Call booth at Taste of the Islands. Proceeds from Taste of the Islands ensure CROW’s continued success in providing the highest quality care and treatment of injured, ill and orphaned wildlife through state-of-the-art veterinary care. Funds also support public educational exhibits in the Visitor Education Center. Healthy wildlife means a healthy environment for all of us. For more information about the 36th Taste of the Islands, please visit http://www.crowclinic.org/articles/36th-taste-of-the-islands.

SanibelSusan Realty Scoop

Not a lot of island real estate action this week, but we did get a few inquiries from Sellers thinking about listing for “season” and the roadways are getting busier, indicating they “are back” and inventory may increase.

Florida Realtors logoCommittee assignments for 2018 at Florida Realtors® came out this week. It looks like the old gal isn’t going to be retiring anytime soon. Committee work yields good business connections, so I am happy to serve on the state leadership team again next year. The Mid-Winter Business Meetings are the end of January, with my five committees all during a 2-day window, so it will be a quick trip to Orlando for me then. The other committee obligation in Orlando is during the annual governance meetings in August (that sure seems like a long way off, and appreciated that it’s in what’s typically a slow time here).

We are hopeful that the island will be busy this weekend with some folks celebrating a 3-day Columbus Day holiday. We’ll be working.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

Sanibel realtors logoNo Association of Realtors® Caravan this week. The every-other-week schedule was revised to skip two weeks because of the Association’s annual meeting at the end of October. Next Thursday, we will have our new home listing in Gumbo Limbo on Caravan.

The action posted since last Friday in the Sanibel/Captiva Multiple Listing Service is below.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity September 29-October 6, 2017

Sanibel

CONDOS

3 new listings: Lighthouse Point #217 3/2 $499K; Blind Pass #B207 2/2.5 $499,997; Plantation Village #312 3/2.5 $1.79M.

5 price changes: Blind Pass #E205 2/2.5 now $409K, Loggerhead Cay #463 2/2 now $519K, Snug Harbor #312 3/2 now $699K, Sand Pointe #215 2/2 now $719K, High Tide #C101 now $995K.

1 new sale: Sundial West #H406 listed at $789K.

3 closed sales: Sanibel Moorings #931 2/2 $490K, 1311 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $750K, Royale Tern #103 3/3.5 $1.43M.

HOMES

5 new listings9448 Begonia Ct 3/2.5 $699K (our listing), 585 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $725K, 707 Cardium St 3/2 $899K, 6123 Starling Way 3/2.5 $1.2999M, 2915 Wulfert Rd 5/6.5 $3.4M.

1 price change: 8995 Mockingbird Dr 3/3.5 now $949K.

2 new sales: 655 Anchor Dr 3/3 listed at $749K, 2628 Coconut Dr 3/2.5 listed at $1.35M.

4 closed sales: 2150 Egret Cir 3/2 $505K, 9455 Beverly Ln 2/2 $525K, 587 Sea Oats Dr 3/2 $660K, 3364 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 $670K.

LOTS

1 new listing: 6411 Pine Ave $363.5K.

No price changes.

2 new sales: 2501 Wulfert Rd listed at $183.9K, 1026 Fish Crow Rd listed at $395K.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

3 new listings: Beach Villas #2523 1/1 $539K, Sunset Captiva #204 2/2 $1.249M, Beach Homes #18 4/3 $3.445M.

No price changes or new sales.

2 closed sales: Bayside Villas #4118 1/2 $337K, Lands End Village #1614 3/3 $2.3M.

HOMES

No new listings.

1 price change: 15831 Captiva Dr 2/2.5 now $4.975M.

No new or 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.

Enjoy your weekend!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Almost Thanksgiving on Sanibel & Captiva


pilgrims-and-indiansSusan here, reporting the end of another busy week at SanibelSusan Realty Associates.

For those not in town, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that this week has been the weather that makes most locals happy. Bright breezy days with temperatures down into the 60’s at night. The highs forecast for the next week range from low to high 70’s.

Picture perfect Thanksgiving weather for those lucky enough to be here for the holiday. Great weather for viewing property too, so we hope to have lots of real estate inquiries over the next week.

We had good showing action this week with some weekend and early week showings already scheduled for next week. It should be a busy one – holiday and all.

The activity posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service since last Friday, follows a few news items.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

Sanibel realtors logoYesterday morning was the local Association of Realtors® November Membership meeting.

At The Sanctuary – This week being a West-End Caravan, it was handy that the meeting was at the newly refurbished Clubhouse at The Sanctuary. Here are a few photos of the new décor. It is beautiful with a natural coastal modern casual vibe.

sanctuary-11-17-16-lobbysanctuary-11-17-16-living-rmsanctuary-11-17-16-club-fireplacesanctuary-11-17-16-club-dining

After the meeting, I got a private tour of the new 6000 sq. ft. fitness center by Club Manager Ken Kouril. This building is under construction, but is two months ahead of schedule. Now due to open in January. It will be a wonderful improvement for Sanctuary owners too. The facility which replaces a smaller building taken down some months ago, will house larger areas for exercise equipment, plus a huge yoga studio, special spa treatment rooms, and larger locker/baths/changing areas. The new pool outside is large – as big as the Rec Centers – and elevated with expansive deck area. Next to the tennis courts will be court(s) for the new popular sport – pickle ball.

News From City Hall – The speakers at the meeting were Sanibel City Manager Judith Zimomra; Sanibel Senior Planner Roy Gibson, and City Accounting Operations Manager Laura Zautcke.

sanctuary-speakers-11-17-16

Sanibel City Manager – Judie began her comments with “Every town is unique. Everyone thinks theirs is. Sanibel really is.”

As partners in our industry, Judie further described how the City works to keep government lean and taxes low and how Council has focused on ways to systematically increase property values, by getting growth through reinvestment. Examples are renovations of commercial buildings like Bennett’s Fresh Roast which formerly was an old real estate office and Huxters Center which recently updated both inside and out through a new waiver system.

Sanibel Senior Planner – Roy’s power point further discussed planning and zoning initiatives for redevelopment of nonconforming island properties. The goal of the redevelopment vision statement is to provide equitable process for redeveloping non-conforming properties that existed at the time of incorporation to redevelop through a transparent process without expanding existing non-conformities. The redevelopment process steps include reviewing the existing Land Development Code regulations and amending them to enhance incentives and improve standards for redevelopment, including Build-back Regulations (non-conforming structures and non-conforming uses), Resort Housing District, and Commercial District standards.

Other recent amendments to Sanibel regulations related to redevelopment include pervious brick pavers (excluded from coverage calculations) and a revised definition of substantial improvement. Regarding pervious pavers for residential driveways, the pavers now are excluded from calculations of impermeable coverage. This exclusion applies only for conforming properties, and currently only applies to driveways for single-family and duplex properties.

Regarding substantial improvements – this is a big change. “Substantial improvement means any repair, reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition or other improvement, or combination or accumulation of any repair, reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition or other improvement of a structure in which the cost of the improvement equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of the structure at the time that an application is filed”. This 50% rule used to apply for five years, now it applies per project, so allows for more improvements in shorter timeframes.

Sanibel City Accounting Operations Manager – During Laura’s financial presentation, she described the changes in the City’s 2016/2017 budgets. Her pie chart on taxes paid by Sanibel citizens based on final rates adopted by taxing authorities in September showed the 2016 average residential taxable value to be $558,975 with an average tax bill of $8,641. Of that bill, 45.2% goes to Lee County schools, 26.2% goes to Lee County, 14.9% goes to the City of Sanibel, and 13.7% goes to independent districts (like the Sanibel Library District, Sanibel Fire & Rescue District, etc.)

She also proudly described how Sanibel’s operating millage rate steadily has gone down from 2.5 in 2007 to 1.9139 which was the rate in 2016 and will be again in 2017.

Essentially during the same time, 2006 to 2015, Citywide outstanding debt (governmental, sewer, & pension) has gone from $79,147,305 to $40,634,677.

Thanks to these speakers for keeping our Realtors® up-to-date on what is happening at City Hall. We appreciate these annual presentations and City cooperation with us and our members whether it be researching properties, their permit histories, improvement potential, or in educating us on ways to improve our services. We are very lucky to have them, their resources, and partnership.

1 in 4 Florida Owners With Mortgage is ‘Equity Rich’

Florida Realtors logoPosted on line yesterday at FloridaRealtors®:

“ATTOM Data Solutions’ Q3 2016 U.S. Home Equity and Underwater Report finds that 23.4% of U.S. homeowners with a mortgage are equity rich, meaning their loan-to-value ratio is 50% or lower. It’s a year-to-year increase of more than 2.6 million owners.

“In Florida, the ratio is similar, according to ATTOM, where 23.2% of owners with a mortgage are equity rich.

On the flipside, 16% of Florida owners with a mortgage are still “seriously underwater,” meaning they have a loan-to-value ratio of 125% or higher. Nationwide, the seriously underwater percentage is 10.8% – a year-to-year decrease of 854,000-plus homeowners.

“”Close to one in every five U.S. homeowners with a mortgage is now equity rich thanks to a combination of rising home prices and lengthening homeownership tenures,” says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions.

“”Median home prices increased on a year-over-year basis for the 18th consecutive quarter in Q3 2016, and homeowners who sold in the third quarter had owned their home an average of 7.94 years – a new high in our data and substantially higher than the average homeownership tenure of 4.26 years pre-recession,” says Blomquist. “As homeowners stay in their homes longer before moving up, they are amassing more home equity wealth.”

“A closer look by metro areas finds no Florida city in the top 10 on ATTOM’s list, however. Still, one city – Cape Coral-Fort Myers – was notable for being the only state city in the list of seven metro areas that saw the number of equity-rich homeowners increase by more than 10% as the area logged a 11.5% point increase.

However, one Florida metro area also made ATTOM’s list of seven cities where more than 20% of homeowners with a mortgage are still underwater: Lakeland-Winter Haven ranked at No. 7 with an even 20%.”

Upcoming Island Events

Nov 20 – Sunday – Sanibel Annual Thanksgiving Celebration beginning at 6:30 p.m. at BIG ARTS Schein Performance Hall.  Free non-denominational celebration of Thanksgiving. (SanibelSusan and fellow BIG ARTS chorus members will be singing, as will a new children’s chorus from The Sanibel School.)

flyer2016

Nov 24 – Thanksgiving Day – Turkey Bowl from 9 to 11 a.m. – 2-hand touch football at Sanibel Community Park, open to all ages.

Nov 25 & 26 – Friday & Saturday after Thanksgiving – 25th Sanibel Masters Art Festival from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Sanibel Community Part (across the street from SanibelSusan Realty). BIG ARTS Community Chorus is singing two holiday sets Saturday morning.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity November 11-18, 2016

Sanibel

CONDOS

6 new listings: Sanibel Arms #B1 1/1 $369K, Sundial West #G307 1/1 $424.9K, Sundial West #H209 1/1 $439K, Loggerhead Cay #434 2/2 $639K, Snug Harbor #312 3/2 $739K, High Tide #C101 2/2 $1.195M (our listing).

c-bldg-closest

High Tide #C101 is 2600 sq. ft. – the entire first floor, one up over covered parking & storage at ground level. Elevator opens to only this unit & the one above. Light & bright with windows all-’round. Never rented, this residential condo offers easy living in small 14-unit complex with beachside pool, plus tennis on West Gulf Drive. Gulf view too!

2 price changes: Tennisplace #C21 2/1.5 now $369,555; Sandy Bend #6 2/2 now $949K.

3 new sales: Kimball Lodge #263 1/1.5 listed at $415K, Mariner Pointe #622 2/2.5 listed at $639K, Kings Crown #315 2/2 listed at $899K.

1 closed sale: Sundial West #A208 2/2 $790K.

HOMES

12 new listings: 2030 Sunrise Cir 3/3 $699K; 525 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2 $749K; 1559 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $799K; 1683 Bunting Ln 3/3 $799,555; 8991 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 $829K; 1232 Par View Dr 3/2.5 $929K; 5838 Pine Tree Dr 3/3 $1.295M; 2474 Wulfert Rd 3/3/2 $1.495M, 3790 West Gulf Dr 3/2.5 $1.6M; 1717 Jewel Box Dr 3/3.5 $2.1M; 267 Ferry Landing Dr 3/2 $2.195M, 2405 Blue Crab Ct 4/4.5 $2.695M.

9 price changes: 4619 Brainard Bayou Rd 3/2 now $549.9K; 752/754 Cardium St 4/2 duplex now $639.9K, 3152 Twin Lakes Ln 3/3 now $789K; 3354 Barra Cir 3/2 now $899K; 1270 Bay Dr 3/2 now $1.299M; 2479 Blind Pass Ct 3/2 now $1.3M; 513 Lighthouse Way 3/3 now $1.795M; 2451 Blind Pass Ct 4/4.5 now $1,999,999; 4190 Dingman Dr 4/3.5 now $2.299M.

2 new sales: 5279 Umbrella Pool Rd 3/2 listed at $648K, 677 Durion Ct 3/2 listed at $728K.

2 closed sales: 1333 Par View Dr 3/2 $825K, 4014 West Gulf Dr 3/2/2 $1.35M.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 6419+6428 Pine Ave now $1.499M.

No new sales.

2 closed sales: 2153 Periwinkle Way $265K, 3965 Coquina Dr $350K.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Bayside Villas #5320 3/3 $650K.

No price changes, new sales, or closed sales.

HOMES & LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

pilgrims-and-indians_whimsyclipsThanksgiving good wishes to all,

Susan Andrews aka SanibelSusan

Sanibel/Captiva Real Estate & September on Island


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

2016-09-23 CLouds.jpg

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

2016-09-21-sunset

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® New Member Orientation

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

Continuing Education

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016-09-23-cayo-costa

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

2016-09-22-useppa-cabbage-key

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

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

The History of Sanibel’s CHR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go to www.SanibelCHR.org for more info.

Sanibel Budget Approved

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sanibel

CONDOS

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

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

No new or closed sales.

HOMES

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

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

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

No closed sales.

LOTS

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

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

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

No closed sales:

HOMES & LOTS

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

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

2016-09-22-john-bailey

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

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

Happy 100 Years Florida Realtors!


SanibelSusan here with some scoop from the Florida Realtors 100th Anniversary Celebration & Annual Meetings in Orlando.

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After some news, Elise, our SanibelSusan Team Listing Coordinator has added the action posted since last Friday in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.
Teammate Dave is out in the field this afternoon, opening a listing for a viewing and then continuing to work with some prospects who started their home search with one of our listings yesterday. As our Closing Coodinator, he says all is on track this week with the progress on our sales in process. It sure works having a flexible well-versed team.

It was a week of activity during what is usually a quiet time on the islands.

Florida Realtors 2016 Convention & Trade Expo

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With some pals from the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Assoc at last night’s concert featuring Party on the Moon

I participated in the Realtor-Attorney Joint Committee meeting this morning. There are changes coming for the 2017 FloridaRealtors/FloridaBar contract, mostly related to financing contingencies and when deposits go “hard”. Changes in Federal banking regulations have made this process more cumbersome, but Florida has made great strides in improving their contracts. I have seen a lot of good changes during my 18 years attending these meetings. Another takeaway is that so far this year, the “as is” contract, which allows a buyer to walk away, has been used more than 80% of the time. We see that contract used more in our area too.

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Event co-chairs Nancy & Deborah with Jay Leno!

The General Session Keynote speaker today was Jay Leno. If possible, I think he is funnier in person. Entertained us for a solid hour plus just talking off the cuff. He ended by giving special recognition to the many charities in Florida that provide housing assistance. Offered a tour any time of his 250+vehicle auto collection in LA to the highest bidder, with the proceeds to these charities. When the bidding got up to $5K, he offered the same to anyone else at the same price. They had already raised $30K when I left the ballroom. Thank you, Jay Leno!
Tomorrow are Professional Standards Forum, Resort & 2nd Home Specialists Forum, and our District meetings in preparation for the Board of Directors meeting on Sunday morning.
Thanks to technology, we convention attendees also have an eye on the weather. Looks like the tropical disturbance between Cuba and the Bahamas has broken up some and is only going to bring rain to Southwest Florida, but conditions are right for redevelopment, so I will continue to follow it. Many of us will be driving home on Sunday so hope for good conditions.

Paul McCarthy – Captiva Cruises

imageWe were sadden this week to hear of the sudden passing of Captiva Cruises’s founder and island icon, Paul McCarthy. He instilled a desire to do more for the community in many, so his spirit lives on. His support toward furthering the education of island Realtors was quiet, but always appreciated. RIP, Paul.

Island Happening & Upcoming Events

Dunes Golf & Tennis Club – Recently reopened after a major summer renovation of the greens and bunkers. They are offering a $40 introductory rate for tee times until September 5.

BIG Arts Community Chorus – The music for fall/winter performances is in our singers hands – though it’s a little odd singing Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs in August. Dates for upcoming events are posted under the above “Upcoming Island Events” tab.

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

Sanibel
CONDOS
No new listings or price changes.
3 new sales: Sandpebble #3D 2/2 listed at $449.9K, Gulfside Place #115 2/2 listed at $1.595M, Somerset #A302 3/2.5 listed at $1.951M.
4 closed sales: Colonnades #C8 1/1 $218.5K, Lighthouse Point #122 2/2 $470K, Sanibel Arms West #H1 2/2 $510K, Oceans Reach #1A1 2/2 $915K.

HOMES
3 new listings: 976 Sand Castle Rd 3/3 half-duplex $495K, 2142 Egret Cir 3/2 $499K, 5657 SanibelCaptiva Rd 3/2 $1.295M.
4 price changes: 5749 Pine Tree Dr 3/3 now $649K, 1429 Jamiaca Dr 3/3 now $749K, 931 S Yachtsman Dr 4/3.5 now $870K, 918 Lindgren Blvd 3/3.5 now $1.295M.
No new sales.
2 closed sales: 2115 Sunset Cir 3/2 $433K, 1520 Angel Dr 4/3/2 $1.15M.

LOTS
No new listings.
1 price change: 1311 Par View Dr now $299K.
No new or closed sales.

Captiva
CONDOS
1 new listing: Bayside Villas #5240 1/2 $327K.
1 price change: Gulf Beach Villas #2004 2/2 now $619K.
No new or closed sales.

HOMES
1 new listing: 16525 Captiva Dr 8/8 $4.2M.
No price changes.
1 new sale: 16167 Captiva Dr 4/3 listed at $1.795M.
1 closed sale: 11530 Paige Ct 4/5.5 $3.299M.

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…wishing good weather & clearing sailing to all…Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Good Action at SanibelSusan Realty During Dog Days of Summer


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

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

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

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

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

Best States for Business

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

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

Renovation Tips to Attract Buyers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tourism Numbers Decline from Last Year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sanibel Community House on Track to ReOpen Early December

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

North room community house

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update on Renovations at The Sanctuary Golf Club

Sanctuary 08-12-16 Dining

Their photo of the Bridge Room

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

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

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

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

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

Sanibel

CONDOS

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

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

LP Beach

Beach overlooking San Carlos Bay in front of Lighthouse Point

LP pool

Lighthouse Point pool

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

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

HOMES

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

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

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

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

LOTS

No new listings.

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

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

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

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

No new or closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings or price changes.

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

No closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

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

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

Susan Andrews aka SanibelSusan

TGIF from sea


Thanks to SanibelSusan teammates, Elise & Dave, this Friday Update is coming to you from Haiti where I am enjoying the final days of of a Caribbean cruise while they & Lisa have handled things in the office & at home.

Here is a picture of my view in Labadee where it is a breezy 84 degrees as I pen this at 4:30 p.m.

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Dave & Elise say it has been a quiet week on Sanibel as far as showing requests and inquiries about our listings, but they have been busy finishing up our 8000-piece newsletter mailing. If you’d like a copy, let us know.

They offer the following news items & then the Sanibel Captiva MLS activity since last Friday.

But first since I know Sanibel photos are your favorite, here are some taken by our friend Scott who had a busy day on Monday  with some Pelicans! (You saved me again, Scott.)

Clear Your Gear Stations

As reported in the Island Sun this week, last week a volunteer representing the Monofilament Busters conservation group oversaw the installation of five new monofilament fishing line recycling stations completed by the City of Sanibel’s Department of Public Works, expanding the scope of the three-year-old Clear Your Gear Campaign. Clear Your Gear is a collaborative effort among Sanibel & Captiva conservation organizations aiming to reduce the amount of monofilament line and fishing gear left in our environment, which is often detrimental to wildlife. New locations are: Bowman’s Beach main beach access, Bowman’s beach kayak launch, Clam Bayou box culvert, Blind Pass, City Boat Ramp.

Shells Needed For Museum Crafts

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum needs shells. The daily Shell Crafting is so popular that the museum is running low. Shells do not need to be perfect and can be from any Southwest Florida beach. They do need to be clean and they must not be what the museum calls “live collected”. In other words they only want shells that are empty when found. The types of shells the program prefers are: lightning whelks under three inches long, paper figs, tulips, rose petal telins, buttercup lucins, apple murexes, paired cockles, dosinias, coquinas, large scallops, kitten paws, turkey wings and button snails. Shell Crafting classes are offered every afternoon in the museum’s auditorium. Classes are free with paid museum admission. Donations accepted at 3075 SanibelCaptiva Rd.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity July 15-22, 2016

Sanibel
CONDOS
2 new listings: Blind Pass #B207 2/2.5 $515K, Sanibel Arms West #M3 2/2 $547.5K.
2 price changes: Mariner Pointe #712 2/2.5 now $525K, Moonshadows #2C 3/3 now $1.897M.
2 new sales: Lighthouse Point #122 2/2 listed at $499K, Sundial West #A205 2/2 listed at $829K.
No closed sales.

HOMES
2 new listings: 9209 Kincaid Ct 3/2 $499K, 533 Rabbit Rd 3/2 $548K (our listing).

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Our new listing at 533 Rabbit Road

2 price changes: 918 Lindgren Blvd 3/3.5 now $1.325M, 598 Kinzie Island Cct 3/3.5 now $1.785M.
3 new sales: 421 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 listed at $829K, 739 Pyrula Ave 3/3 listed at $1.245M, 6491 SanibelCaptiva Rd 2/2 listed at $1.795M.
2 closed sales: 2150 Egret Cir 3/2 $479K, 1702 Sand Pebble Way 3/2.5 $500K.

LOTS
1 new listing: 9232 Dimmick Dr $212,555.
No price change or new sales.
1 closed listing: 6217 Starling Way $1.159M.

Captiva
CONDOS
No new listings, price changes, or new sales.
1 closed listing: Tennis Villas #3231 2/2 $395K.

HOMES & LOTS
Nothing to report.

Until, next Friday, I borrowed another photo from Scott! Even at sea, we don’t see sunsets like on Sanibel. This was Wednesday night Tarpon Bay side!  Thank you, Scott!

TGIF, Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

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Sanibel Summer & Ospreys, oh my…


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

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

Sea Turtle Nests Break Record on East Sanibel

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

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

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

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

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

sea-turtle-eggsLoggerhead Sea Turtle Facts

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

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

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

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

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

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

Corps to Cut Back Lake O Releases

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

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

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

You can find the reports on our website.”

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

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

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

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

United States Geological Survey (USGS)

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

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

Sanibel

CONDOS

No new listings.

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

No new or closed sales.

HOMES

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

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

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

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

LOTS

No new listings or price changes.

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

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

Captiva

CONDOS

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

No price changes, new or closed sales.

HOMES & LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

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

Sunset 07-09-16

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

TGIF! Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan