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.)

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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).

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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.

image

 

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).

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0016.JPG

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

image

Sanibel Summer & Ospreys, oh my…


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

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

Sea Turtle Nests Break Record on East Sanibel

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

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

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

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

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

sea-turtle-eggsLoggerhead Sea Turtle Facts

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

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

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

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

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

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

Corps to Cut Back Lake O Releases

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

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

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

You can find the reports on our website.”

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

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

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

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

United States Geological Survey (USGS)

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

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

Sanibel

CONDOS

No new listings.

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

No new or closed sales.

HOMES

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

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

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

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

LOTS

No new listings or price changes.

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

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

Captiva

CONDOS

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

No price changes, new or closed sales.

HOMES & LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

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

Sunset 07-09-16

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

TGIF! Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Another Week of Fabulous Island Weather


All is well again this week at SanibelSusan Realty. Another seven days of beautiful sunny warm weather have kept most visitors busy with outdoor activities. The following photos, I snapped with my cell phone this morning at Beach Access #6 on Sanibel’s West Gulf Drive.

Access 6 #1Access 6 #2

Below are a few news items, followed by the action posted since last Friday in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service.

Realtors June Membership Meeting

San Cap LogoYesterday was the June monthly breakfast membership meeting at the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®, a good opportunity for me to announce our new listing at Casa Ybel Resort. The condo was photographed professionally this week so it now is officially on the market.

The following slide show includes the unit and several resort amenities. Click the “Cottage Colony West #136” tab above for more details and a streaming video. This beach-front condo grossed over $92K last year in the easy on-site rental program.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The educational part of yesterday’s Realtor® meeting was a presentation by Sanibel City Manager, Judie Zimomra, and Lt. Bill Dalton of the Sanibel Police Department. Covering “hurricane season preparedness”, they offered some good and timely advice. Here are some of my take-aways:

Lt. Dalton described a study which determined the five areas of the nation that are the hardest to leave during a mandatory evacuation. Here are the worst five – a good example of when it’s not good to be in 1st position – but our area is, so this is a good reminder to leave early when a storm is heading this way.

  1. Southwest Florida – because of few east/west roadways & limited north/south evacuation routes.
  2. Tampa Bay area – high population & also few ways of egress
  3. Maryland/Northern Virginia/DC area – population
  4. New York/New Jersey – population
  5. Southeast Florida – population.

Another interesting tidbit is that there is a Lee County ordinance that says all county bridges must be closed when wind speed reaches 40 mph. That info brought a question from the floor which was “How do we get over the Caloosahatchee River bridges after leaving the islands.” Answer: “Leave early – before they are closed.” Yikes! That may be a good reason to leave when evacuation is recommended, but before it is mandatory.

Hurricane Charley in 2004 brought high wind to Southwest Florida. (Lt. Dalton reported that the City wind gauge broke when it recorded 143 mph, so the exact top wind speed is unknown.) Charley was a relatively small fast- moving storm. When compared to other larger and slower-moving past storms, if Charley had stayed longer, the storm surge here could have been as much as 17-23 feet, and damage could have covered a much broader area. Good reason to check your insurance coverage now! Hurricane season has begun!

Sanibelcityseal logoIf you are interested in receiving emergency Sanibel notifications, go to the City’s website at www.MySanibel.com and click on the link in the right hand column called “Code Red”. Code Red, Rapid Emergency Notification System, is an emergency telephone network which will text, call, or email you with information whenever the City turns the system on to report an emergency situation. Examples could include: evacuation notices, bio-terrorism alerts, boil water notices, and missing child reports.

If you are here in the summer or fall, now also is a good time to get your island reentry passes. These have not been needed since after Hurricane Charley, but you will need an up-to-date pass to get back on the island following an evacuation. There are separate passes for residential and commercial and these hang from your rear view mirror (or remain safely in your glove box until needed – hopefully never). Info about these passes also on www.MySanibel.com and at the Sanibel Police Department.

1st Annual National Shell Day a Success

The 1st Annual National Shell Day, a marketing effort in partnership with the Lee County Visitors and Convention Bureau and promoters of tourism at the Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel, was the talk of the islands on Monday.

“Good Morning American” weather gal, Ginger Zee, reported live over a 2-hour span from the beach at Sundial Resort where she not only reported the country’s weather, but also introduced their national audience to the “Sanibel stoop”, to Lola (a disabled American kestrel who lives at CROW (Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, and to mollusks from the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum.

Garnering the most attention was the Shell Love Bug, which is a used Volkswagen Beetle convertible which was transformed into a sailor’s valentine on wheels thanks to Pam Rambo of ILoveShelling.com and a group of volunteers. (The photos below are from Pam’s web site.)

The Shell Love Bug is traveling around the county this week to promotional events. Here are some fun facts about its creation:

  • $7,000 cost of the 2005 Beetle
  • 20,000+ shells glued onto car
  • 65+ varieties of local shells
  • 60+ volunteers who transformed the car
  • 60+ tubes of “Marine Goop” adhesive for attaching the shells!

Americans Are Feeling Wealthier, More Upbeat

realtor logo“Realtor®Mag” on line on Monday has the following article sourced to “Daily Real Estate News” and “Fannie Mae”:

“Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index zoomed to an all-time high in May as consumers get more upbeat about their paychecks and home selling. In May, the index reached a reading of 85.3, which follows an 18-month low reached in March.

“Three of six components the index measures registered increases last month, led by a 7 percentage point increase in the number of consumers reporting significantly higher income than a year ago. Also, the number of consumers who expect home prices to increase over the next 12 months rose 5 percentage points. Consumers were also upbeat that mortgage rates would decrease over the next year as well.

fannie-mae-logo“That said, the index indicator on whether it’s a “good time to buy” dropped 1 percentage point to an all-time survey low in May.

““Continued home price appreciation has been squeezing housing affordability, driving a two-year downward trend in the share of consumers who think it’s a good time to buy a home,” says Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “The current low mortgage rate environment has helped ease this pressure, and fewer than half of consumers expect rates to go up in the next year. While the May increase in income growth perceptions could provide further support to prospective home buyers as the spring/summer home-buying season gains momentum, the effect may be muted by May’s discouraging jobs report.”

“Here’s a closer look at additional findings from Fannie Mae’s latest index reading:

  • 29% of Americans say now is a good time to buy a home, a drop of 1 percentage point from March and an all-time survey low for the second consecutive month.
  • 52% of consumers believe now is a good time to sell a home – an all-time survey high.
  • 42% of Americans believe that home prices will go up.
  • 72% of Americans say they are not concerned with losing their job, a drop of 2 percentage points from March.
  • 18% of Americans say their household income is significantly higher than it was a year ago, up 7 percentage points from March and at an all-time survey high.”

Buyers Gaining Upper Hand in Luxury Market

wall street journalPosted last week in “Daily Real Estate News, sourced to “The Wall Street Journal”, June 15, 2016:

“The number of luxury homes for sale is growing, and that is unlocking some deals for potential buyers, The Wall Street Journal reports. Indeed, inventory of homes priced between $500,000 to $750,000 increased nearly 16% in March compared to a year ago, according to data from NAR. What’s more, inventory for real estate priced more than $1 million increased 12.6% year-over-year.

“As more expensive homes linger on the market, buyers are finding more bargaining power.

“For sellers, this may be a tough realization that the power is shifting. Shannon Baird, a broker with Living Room Realty in Portland, Ore., says that a major challenge is changing the mindset of home sellers who are hearing news of quick sales and bidding wars. But that’s not the case in the upper price bracket in many markets.

“Stock market volatility has made some wealthy buyers more cautious to jump into a big home purchase at the moment. Also, fewer foreign buyers are on the market as the dollar strengthens, says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “The stock market has come back up, but we don’t know yet if that means the upper-end home buying market will begin to return,” Yun says.”

Do You Vote in Lee County?

Ding Darling Society logoIt “yes”, “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society’s June 23, 2016 newsletter asks that you “Keep Conserving Lee” and posted the following notice:

“Vote YES for Conservation 20/20.  Support the continued use of tax dollars to conserve important wildlife habitat and outdoor recreational opportunities in Lee County by voting YES for Conservation 20/20 in the November 8, 2016, election. Thanks to 20/20, we were able to fulfill our goal to purchase and protect property at Woodring Point in 2013. We hope to work with the county again in the future on such preservation partnerships.”

Here for July 4th?

4th-of-july-clip-artA few more July 4th events have been announced. Click on the “Upcoming Island Events” tab above for more details.

Here are some photos of where the fireworks could be viewed, including the end of Bailey Road (1st group of photos) and the end of Dixie Beach Boulevard (2nd group)– or anywhere on the bay side of the island.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity June 17-24, 2016

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Loggerhead Cay #462 2/2 $539K, Cottage Colony West #136 1/1 $649K (our listing).

3 price changes: Seashells #38 2/2 now $372K, Mariner Pointe #943 2/2.5 now $619K, Sanctuary Golf Villages I #3-3 2/2.5 now $650K.

1 new sale: Compass Point #151 3/3 listed at $1.195M.

2 closed sales: Bayview Village #2A 3/3 $675K, Island Beach Club #330C 2/2 $760K.

HOMES

2 new listings: 3792 Coquina Dr 3/3 $1.049M, 6111 SanibelCaptiva Rd 5/4/3 $27M.

2 price changes: 1429 Jamaica Dr 3/3 now $769K, 243 Southwinds Dr 4/2.5 now $1.075M.

3 new sales: 676 Emeril Ct 3/2 listed at $729.9K, 2311 Starfish Ln 4/3 listed at $1.249M, 1520 Angel Dr 4/3/2 listed at $1.279M. 

1 closed sale: 1658 Sabal Palm Dr $852.5K.

LOTS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 2988+2993 Wulfert Rd listed at $899K.

1 closed sale: 1310 Par View Dr $331.25K.

Captiva

CONDOS

1 new listing: Tennis Villas #3238 2/2 $435K.

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.)

July 3 2015 5Until next Friday, when SanibelSusan Realty Associates will be all decked out for the holiday weekend!
(more pix next week)
Susan Andrews
aka SanibelSusan

Another Happy June on Sanibel/Captiva


sun & rainIt’s SanibelSusan reporting that in typical fashion, the islands’ 23rd Annual Sam Bailey Islander Night at Hammond Stadium Wednesday night again was rained out. After several weeks of beautiful weather, it should have been no surprise when the first big downpour of the rainy season began just as the parade was scheduled to start. It has happened many times before and June 1 is the beginning of hurricane season.

Continuing the summer trend, more showers are expected later today and through the weekend with all of us watching the tropical storm expected to develop in the gulf early next week. That certainly will not make next week’s vacationers happy, but may result in good shelling and more folks wanting to view property.

At SanibelSusan Realty

Activity-wise in the office, it has been quiet. Even the holiday weekend was very quiet, probably weather-related, as all days were fabulous for the beach. A few listings shown and some phone/email inquiries, but not many – certainly nothing like when it’s snowing somewhere!

Yesterday, The SanibelSusan Team was happy to receive a new listing at Beachcomber (gulf-front ~2600 sq. ft.) which will be posted in the islands’ Multiple Listing Service as soon as we receive a couple of clarifications from the sellers.

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View from our new listing at Beachcomber #A102

 

May is always an in-between month here, post “high” season, but pre “summer” season. A quick snapshot of the islands’ May real estate sales show that it was not a month with much real estate action.

May Sanibel Sales

In May, were just five new Sanibel home sales with no contingencies (three inland priced under $530K, one on a deep-water canal (asking price $1.545M) and one bay-front in Ferry Landing (asking price $1.995M)).

Another 13 Sanibel homes went under contract with contingencies (four inland priced under $535K, five near the beach (priced from $569K to $600K), one in Beachview (asking $1.195M), one in Gulf Pines (asking $1.479M), one deep-water canal (asking $1.548M), and a unique one across the street from the beach (asking $1.595M)).

In May, Sanibel condos did not have as much action as homes. Just two Sanibel condos went under contract with no contingencies: a 1-bedroom at Sundial (asking $299K) and a recently-remodeled Lighthouse Point bay-front unit (asking $830K).

Another four condos went under contract with contingencies: a Seashells unit (asking $379K), a 1st floor Sanibel Moorings 2 bedrm with peek of gulf (asking $449K), a 3-bedrm Heron-model at The Sanctuary (asking $665K), and a beach-front 2-bedroom at Sanddollar (asking $870K).

During the same time, in May, just two Sanibel lots went under contract: one near beach (asking $244.9K) and one on the bayou (asking $1.295M). Both contracts have contingencies.

May Captiva Sales

In May on Captiva, four homes went under contract with contingencies (two at Sunset Captiva asking $885K and $995K, one gulf-front asking $3.998M, and one on Roosevelt Channel asking $4.8M).

Also in May, three Captiva condos in South Seas Plantation went under contract, all with contingencies. Asking prices ranging from a 1-bedroom Bayside Villas for $289K to a 2-bedroom Tennis Villas for $405K, to a Bayside Villas 3 bedroom for $629.9K

A Captiva gulf-front lot went under contract (with contingencies) in May too, asking price $4.999M.

Below are a few other news items followed by the action posted in the Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing Service since last Friday.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Specialist Designation

ASSOC LogoWednesday, for the fifth year, SanibelSusan taught the Resort & Second-Home module to those Realtors® training to receive their Sanibel & Captiva Islands Specialist designation. This designation is a 12-part educational series, offered each summer by the local Association of Realtors. The coursework needs to be completed over a 2-year period and provides instruction to those looking to specialize in working the Sanibel/Captiva market.

2016 Resort ClassI authored the module that I teach, update it each year, and always enjoy the teaching experience – getting as much in return as I give. It was especially fun this year since my students ranged from some new Realtors® to those with many years of real estate experience, but in other parts of the country.

Here are my students adorned in the funny resort-wear they earned for answering questions correctly in my pop quiz.

1st National Seashell Day

As reported in Monday’s “Santiva-Chronicle”:

2016 National Seashell Day“As the Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau said, it’s official. June 20 has been proclaimed National Seashell Day. The news is also out that the first National Seashell Day will be on Good Morning America.

“The VCB (Visitors Convention Bureau) already has a National Seashell Day page on its website. Visitors to the page can enter the “Shell Yeah! Sweepstakes,” for which the grand prize is three nights for four at Sanibel Inn, a Captiva Cruises shelling cruise to Cayo Costa and the chance to go shelling with Pam Rambo. The grand prize is enough to make any Sanibel sheller nod with approval.

“Rambo had the news about Good Morning America on her amazing blog iloveshelling.com. The blog says Ginger Zee, Good Morning America and ABC’s chief meteorologist, will be here on June 20. We don’t know the exact details yet other than it will be in the morning….

“The VCB’s idea for National Seashell Day will get the word out to people of all places about the wonders of shells on our beaches, which is good for anything having to do with shells. The VCB also hopes it will be a driver for tourism….”

Fishing Pier Rehab Project

sanibel fishing pier.jpgOn Tuesday next week (June 6), the Sanibel Fishing Pier at Lighthouse Beach Park will be closed temporarily due to a necessary rehabilitation project. Construction is expected to continue through August 2016.

Top 10 Outdoor Features, Where Most Are, & What They’ll Pay

realtor.comPosted in Tuesday’s “DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS”, you will see Naples, FL on the list below. Buyers all over Southwest Florida like outdoor kitchens!

“As temperatures heat up, more home owners and buyers are taking a closer look at their home’s outdoor features. Realtor.com®’s research team took a look at 10 popular outdoor home features to find the premium that owners will pay. They also identified the regions of the country that are most likely to feature these popular outdoor amenities.

Amenity                        Premium           Where You’ll Most Likely Find Them

Tree houses                     5.2%                Asheville, N.C.

Gazebo                              7.6%                McAllen, Texas

Putting green                 11.4%               Phoenix

Hot tub                             11.8%               Bend, Ore.

Tiki bar                             13.8%               Key West, Fla.

Tennis court                   14.6%               Los Angeles

Outdoor fireplace           21.5%               Dallas, Texas

Outdoor kitchen             26.2%               Naples, Fla.

Private dock                     44.7%               Traverse City, Mich.

Infinity pool                      56%                 Kahului, Hawaii”

Red-Hot South Florida Home Prices Are Cooling Off

miami herald logoMuch like island Realtors® often look to activity in larger complexes and communities here as bellwethers of the local market, we also look to bigger East Coast communities to foretell what may be in the future. The below article is from the May 31 “Miami Herald”.

“So far in 2016, South Florida home prices are growing at the slowest pace since the real-estate market began to recover four years ago.

“Home prices in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties rose 6.2% between March 2015 and March 2016, according to the closely watched S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Indices. They grew 8.7% between March 2014 and March 2015, and at a double-digit clip for much of 2013 and 2014, fueled mainly by red-hot demand from foreign investors. But a strong dollar and troubled economies abroad have stymied the flow of cash into local real estate.

“Residential home sales fell in Miami-Dade in April, according to Realtors’ data. Weak demand could help make homes more affordable for locals — if wage growth keeps picking up and developers start building more units for the lower tiers of the market.

“The nation’s hottest housing markets are in Portland (12.3%), Seattle (10.8%), Denver (10%), San Francisco (8.5%) and Dallas (8.5%). Home prices in the Tampa area (7.6%) also grew faster than they did in Miami in March.”

Sanibel Prescribed Burns Begin Today

Sanibelcityseal logoAs described in an earlier update, Sanibel will have prescribed burns in six different areas this summer, so if you are on the island today do not be surprised if you smell smoke.

SCCF logoSCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation and the City of Sanibel are scheduled to perform a prescribed burn of about 19 acres of the Sanibel Gardens Preserve today. (That’s just west of Tarpon Bay Rd. on Island Inn Rd.)

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity May 27-June 3, 2016

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Colonnades #8 1/1 $229K, Sandalfoot #5A1 2/2 $799K.

1 price change: Tanglewood #1A 3/2 now $1,163,999.

1 new sale: Blind Pass #A102 2/2 listed at $399K.

3 closed sales: Sanibel Arms #E2 1/1 $347.5K, Loggerhead Cay #474 2/2 $489.9K, Donax Village #14 2/2 $505K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 732 Windlass Way 4/3.5 $1.395M.

5 price changes: 1478 Albatross Rd 3/2 now $679K, 242 Christofer Ct 3/2 now $729K, 232 Robinwood Cir 4/3 now $1.195M, 932 Whelk Dr 3/3 now $1.449M, 1743 Venus Dr 4/3.5 now $1.75M.

3 new sales: 376 Lake Murex Blvd 3/2 listed at $598K, 1245 Isabel Rd 3/3.5 listed at $1.548M, 4257 West Gulf Dr 4/4.5 listed at $4.495M

9 closed sales: 575 Piedmont Rd 3/2 $410K, 2114 Egret Cir 3/2 $475K, 1322 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $500K, 1380 Jamaica Dr 2/2 $570K, 5303 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/2 $622K, 5267 Ladyfinger Lake Rd 3/2 $750K, 595 Birdsong Pl 4/2 $835K, 2388 Wulfert Rd 3/4 $1M, 283 Ferry Landing Dr 3/2 $1.675M.

LOTS

3 new listings: 9426 Sage Ct $287K, 223 Robinwood Cir $299K, 2288 Starfish Ln $499K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: 3013 Poinciana Cir listed at $244.9K.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

2 new sales: Tennis Villas #3231 2/2 listed at $405K, Bayside Villas #5302 3/3 listed at $629.9K.

No closed sales.

HOMES

No new listings, price changes, or new sales.

3 closed sales: 19 Urchin Ct 2/2.5 $855K, 15 Seascape Ct 3/2.5 $985K, 16500 Captiva Dr 5/5 $4.225M.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

rain‘til next Friday, here’s hoping the raindrops stay away & the sunsets continue like the one below!

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

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