Fall Weather Is Here – on Sunny Sanibel


Sanibelsusan Logo

 

 

Yippee, SanibelSusan is happy to report that fall weather really has arrived on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. The high yesterday was only in the low 70’s. Temperatures from now through Thanksgiving are forecast to be in the 60’s at night, topping out in the mid- to high-70’s during the days – perfect weather for the holiday and enjoying the islands.

SanibelSusan Realty Associates

We had another flurry of office activity this week – more listings opened for showing, more open houses, more inquiries. Most years, real estate sales are slow during the holidays – from Thanksgiving until the 1st week in January. Maybe this year will be the different. The island already is filling up with Thanksgiving week visitors and vacationers.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

San Cap LogoYesterday was the Association’s November general membership meeting, held following an 8 a.m. breakfast at The Sanctuary Clubhouse. Sponsor was Simmons Law Firm. Speaker was Rae Ann Wessel, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) Natural Resource Policy Director.

These breakfast meetings always have a big turn-out and yesterday was no exception. President Joel Goodman announced that the “Fall Into Christmas” fundraiser for Friends Who Care was a big success. By the end of the meeting, additional cash donations for that charity had jumped to almost $3,800.

With “season” here, many new listings were announced, not many sales, but 19 properties were open for the morning caravan that followed the meeting. I viewed a stunning one overlooking Clam Bayou with amazing water and sunset views. (If you are here “in season”, you can usually plan on seeing new listings open Thursday mornings from 9 a.m. until noon. Because of increased winter traffic, the schedule rotates from east-end to west end. With Thanksgiving being next week, the next event is Nov 30 – east end when our new listings on Anchor Drive and at Mariner Pointe will be open.

The activity posted in the Sanibel/Captiva Multiple Listing Service since last Friday follows a few news items below.

Sanctuary Scoop

sanctuary golf club logoSanctuary Club General Manager & COO, Ken Kouril gave attendees an update on membership. As he said, “if you build it, they will come”.

The Sanctuary is a member-owned club, offering a golf course, racquet sports, fitness, wellness, and an elegant clubhouse with dining and social activities. Club members need not be residents of The Sanctuary neighborhood. Ken advised that last “season” they expected to sell 20 memberships, but sold 32. This year, just two months into season another 17 are gone. It’s definitely a popular spot!

Their premiere offering, the Equity Membership privileges include access to all Club facilities (which were refreshed, remodeled, and renovated summer 2016), a par-72 Championship Arthur Hills-designed golf course, driving range, short game area, putting green, chipping area, golf lessons, priority tee times, and tournament play, a 50,000-sq.ft. clubhouse, world-class dining, four Har Tru tennis courts, four Pickleball courts, and a 5,000-sq.ft. Wellness Center with a sports pool. The Wellness Center includes an 1,800-sq.ft. equipment room housing state-of-the-art cardio and strength training equipment, a dedicated stretching room, a 900-sq.ft. group exercise room for Pilates, yoga, and similar activities, comfortable well-appointed rooms for massage therapy, and a locker room area. Equity members have voting and redemption rights and hold an Equity position in the Club.

SCCF & Water Quality Update

SCCF logoRae Ann’s slide presentation included a progress report of the status of the EAA (Everglades Agricultural Area) reservoir which works with the CEP (Central Everglades Project). The project was approved by voters in 2000, but now 17 years later, it still has not been built. She noted an earlier FloridaRealtors® study on how water quality affects real estate values, not just within the Caloosahatchee Estuary area, but also inland.

The huge amount of water Florida received this summer, mostly thanks to Hurricane Irma, surpassed all records since those first recorded in 1947. The dark excess freshwater observed near the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River, particularly in the bay, resulting from Irma, illustrates how badly alternative outlets and additional water storage areas are needed.

Here’s a little history about Lake Okeechobee and its surrounding dike (thanks to Wikipedia): In the 1910’s the Herbert Hoover Dike was constructed around Lake O. Originally, it was just a small earthen dike. The containment was breached by a storm surge from the Great Miami Hurricane in 1926 and the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane, killing thousands. After those disasters, Florida State Legislation created the Okeechobee Flood Control District which was authorized to cooperate with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in flood control.

After a personal inspection by President Herbert Hoover, the Corps drafted a new plan which provided for the construction of floodway channels, control gates, and major levees along Lake Okeechobee’s shores. A long-term system was designed for flood control, water conservation, prevention of saltwater intrusion, and preservation of fish and wildlife.

In the 1930’s a larger system of levees was built around the lake. Following heavy rain and flooding from two hurricanes in 1947 (the last time as much rain hit Florida as this year), the dike again was expanded. That expansion in the 1960’s created the current Herbert Hoover Dike. The dike almost completely encloses the lake. The dike now is about 30 feet high on average, but is falling into disrepair.

As SCCF reports, progress is being made on Everglades restoration projects critical to opening the southern end of the Everglades to move water south. Passage of the bill to establish the EAA reservoir will work in tandem with these projects to add water storage capacity south of Lake O to feed needed water to the Everglades and Florida Bay currently dumped to the estuaries.

While the EAA Reservoir does not solve all the problems, it is a major step forward and initial planning for the project has begun. Committee work for the next Florida legislative session also already has begun with the session opening on January 9 (two months earlier than normal because of the upcoming election year). SCCF has a legislation tracker at http://www.sccf.org/our-work/natural-resource-policy/sccfs-2018-legislative-session-tracker. Please follow the legislation and whenever a “call to action” is requested, please act. We all need to stay involved in Florida’s water.

Upcoming Events

Thanksgiving 2017Annual Sanibel Thanksgiving Celebration – You-know-who is singing with the BIG ARTS Community Chorus. Hope to see you there. Sunday, Nov 19, at 6:45 p.m. at The Community House with music and song. Sanibel School’s Seahorse Chorale also is singing. Free admission, but please bring a donation for FISH of San-Cap.

Fit-4-Life 10-Year Celebration – Monday, Dec 4 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Sanibel Rec Center, with music, dancing, photo booth, bounce house, drawings, facility tours, cupcakes, and video.

Holiday Tips from LCEC

Lcec logoFour important tips to keep your spirits bright!

  1. Before you plug in lights, check for frayed wires, damaged sockets, & insulation gaps. Toss & replace any that are damaged.
  2. Consider LED lights which are cooler & more energy efficient.
  3. Don’t overload outlets or extension cords.
  4. Turn off all lighting before leaving the property or going to bed.

Top 10 Airlines Serving Southwest Florida

logo-rswHere’s a little info about the top ten airlines serving Southwest Florida (from the Oct/Nov 2017 “Gulfshore Business” magazine). All of the airlines mentioned below fly out of Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW), except Allegiant (Punta Gorda Airport). Their number of passengers to Southwest Florida and their headquarters, follow their name.

  1. Delta, 1.9 million, Atlanta
  2. Southwest, 1.8 million, Dallas
  3. American, 1.23 million, Ft Worth, TX
  4. Allegiant, 992,990, Las Vegas
  5. JetBlue, 981,000, New York
  6. United, 725,000, Chicago
  7. Spirit, 600,000, Ft Lauderdale
  8. Frontier. 383,000, Denver
  9. Air Canada, 164,000, Montreal
  10. Sun Country, 132,000, Minneapolis

2018 Sanibel Beach Parking Permits Available Now

parking-on-sanibel

On Wed, the 2018 Sanibel Beach Parking Permits became available at the Sanibel Recreation Center. To qualify for one, bring a valid vehicle registration for each vehicle AND a valid government-issued identification. A driver’s license showing a Sanibel address or proof of Sanibel property ownership is required to buy a resident/property owner “A” sticker.

2018 Parking Permit Decals & Fees (permits valid through 11/30/2018) include:

“A” resident/property owner permit $12 (resident &/or Sanibel ad valorem taxpayer property owner

“B” non-resident permit $124 (non-Sanibel ad valorem taxpayer property owner)

“C” restricted permit $90 (resident & non-resident)

“A/C” resident/property owner permit $102

“B/C” non-resident permit $248

Decal transfer or reissue fee $3 (residential & restricted)

General parking meter rate $5 per hour or any fraction

General parking at $5 per hour or “C” permit required for parking at Gulfside City Park (Algier’s) & the Sanibel Boat Ramp

“A” permit parking only at Beach Access Lots 1 through 7 on West Gulf Dr.

More details on www.mySanibel.com. (The Rec Center is open Mon through Thur 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m; Friday 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Sat 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sun 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Rec Center memberships are available too – daily, weekly, semi-annual, and annual.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity November 10-17, 2017

sancap GO MLS logoSanibel

CONDOS

7 new listings: Mariner Pointe #122 1/1 $410K, Mariner Pointe #533 2/2 $499K, Mariner Pointe #1061 2/2 $599.9K (our listing), Lighthouse Point #321 2/2 $699K, Pointe Santo #D6 2/2 $699.9K, Sand Pointe #111 2/2 $715K, High Tide #C201 2/2 $1.045M.

Lanai a

Mariner Pointe #1061 lanai

 

3 price changes: Breakers West #A5 2/2 now $498K, Compass Point #192 2/2 now $1.195M, Bandy Beach #A101 3/2 now $1.299M.

1 new sales: Sanibel Arms West #G8 2/2 listed at $499K.

1 closed sale: Tarpon Beach #A102 2/2 $730K.

HOMES

12 new listings: 1394 Middle Gulf Dr 3/2 half-duplex $524.9K, 1342 Junonia Sr 3/3 $699K, 3358 Saint Kilda Rd 3/3 $979K, 1195 Par View Dr 3/2.5 $1.095M, 205 Hurricane Ln 3/2 $1.195M, 478 Sea Oats Dr 3/3 $1.295M, 1277 Par View Dr 4/3.5 $1.299M, 534 N. Yachtsman Dr 3/2 $1.395M, 805 Sand Dollar Dr 4/3 $1.449M, 2984 Wulfert Rd 3/3 $1.9M, 6021 Sanibel-Captiva Rd 4/3/2 $2.75M, 5615 Baltusrol Ct 4/6/3 $3.695M.

9 price changes: 1040 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $578K, 5306 Umbrella Pool Rd 4/3 now $799K, 1114 Captains Walk St 3/3 now $949K, 2313 Wulfert Rd 3/3 now $995K, 932 Whelk Dr 3/3 now $1.249M, 2190 Starfish Ln 3/3 now $1.395M, 1525 San Carlos Bay Dr 3/2 now $1.695M, 6192 Henderson Rd 4/4 now $1.949M, 4649 Rue Belle Mer 3/2.5 now $2.595M.

3 new sales: 545 Piedmont Rd 3/2 listed at $595.9K; 673 East Rocks Dr 3/2 listed at $688,888; 1312 Par View Dr 3/2 listed at $695K.

No closed sales:

LOTS

1 new listing: 4565 Bowen Bayou Rd $229,555.

No price changes, new sales, or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

3 new listings: Captiva Shores #4B 3/2.5 $1.495M, Beach Homes #6 3/3 $2.499M, Sunset Captiva #302 4/3 $3.275M.

No price changes.

1 new sale: Beach Homes #7 2/2 listed at $1.795M.

No closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 11506 Wightman Ln 3/3 $1.45M.

1 price change: 1121 Schefflera Ct 4/4.5 now $5.6M.

2 new sales: 11461 Old Lodge Ln 2/2 listed at $1.025M, 11500 Gore Ln 3/2 listed at $1.295M.

No closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

Thanksgiving wordsHappy Thanksgiving!

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

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

Sun Peeking Out After a Rare Rainy Week on Sanibel Island


To say, it has been a rainy week on Sanibel could be an understatement. The last partially sunny skies were on Monday morning when our teammate and Listing Coordinator, Elise attended the local Association of Realtors® annual 14-hour continuing education classes which included an environmental segment where attendees traveled by boat through Pine Island Sound and the estuary.

sccfTaught by Kristie Anders, SCCF’s (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) Director of Education, here are a few of Elise’s photos.

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Heavy rain continued off-and-on since Tuesday with minor flooding – ankle-deep at Sanibel Square today. We look forward to clearing for the weekend, the sun is peeking out now. Bet it will be great shelling in the days ahead.

I attended our monthly Realtor® Membership Meeting yesterday. Details on that and a few news items are provided below, including the activity posted in the Sanibel/Captiva Multiple Listing Service since last Friday.

Good News for Sanibel Residents

Sanibelcityseal logoDuring last Saturday’s first budget hearing, Sanibel City Council approved the operating millage rate for fiscal year 2016 at last year’s rolled-back rate of 1.9139 mills. In the FY2016 tentative budget report, taxable property values – influenced by property sales during calendar year 2014 – rose nearly 5%. It is important to note that the operating millage rate is the lowest it’s been over the past 10 years.

Other highlights in the proposed budget include an increase in sewer and reclaimed water rates (discussed below). The City’s final budget hearing will be this coming Tuesday, Sep 22 at 5:01 p.m.

Sanibel Sewer Rates to Raise 3 Percent

According to the “Santiva-Chronicle”, “A 3% increase in water rates and water reclamation fees was approved unanimously by the Sanibel City Council Saturday, Sep 12, in the council’s monthly meeting at City Hall.

“The increases will take effect Oct 1. The monthly rate for residential customers will raise from $56.50 to $58.20 and the quarterly rates goes to $174.60 from $169.50. For commercial customers the rate raises from $8.49 to $8.74 per 1,000 gallons. The sewer connection fees raise from $4,134.43 to $4,258.46.

“The raises were recommended by the city’s Finance Department based on the Sewer Expansion Feasibility Study update of 2014 by GAI Consultants Inc. It calls for a minimum of a 3% raise annually. That’s consistent with the Sanibel Municipal Code that provides for an annual automatic rate increase of 3%….”

sundial-logoWhat’s Happening at Sundial Beach Resort & Spa

The Sanibel/Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® monthly membership meeting yesterday was held at Sundial where the management staff was introduced. Recent resort improvements were announced and Realtors® were updated on their new rental agreement. Here is some of the info that was included in their handouts:

New rental agreement that increases owners’ shares – It’s an exciting time for Sundial Beach Resort & Spa condo owners after an extensive, multi-million dollar renovation. In addition to experiencing new amenities, owners are seeing measurable benefits in the form of increased rent revenue. We’ve come a long way and we plan to continue making improvements to the resort to provide owners & guests the ultimate Sanibel Island experience.

Latest enhancements

  • Interest free improvements for the first 25 properties that join
  • Airfare for 2 on your next trip to Sundial (up to $1000) or $1000 Matter Brothers credit
  • $1000 Resort food & beverage credit
  • Complimentary exclusive Resort Membership
  • 15% off of food & beverage during the term of the rental agreement with Sundial Beach Resort & Spa
  • New rental agreement to increase owner revenue share

2016 55% to owner

2017 56% to owner

2018 60% to owner

  • Renovation of Turtle’s Pool & Beach Bar
  • Addition of Japanese Steakhouse
  • Full renovated meeting space
  • Onsite reservation agents
  • New upscale lobby & enhanced public space”

For more info on these benefits contact Cara Pennetti at cara.pennetti@sundialresort.com or call 239-395-6026.

Owner Membership Options – Sundial owners also have a variety of membership options, the membership hand-out describes the following types of membership:

“Social Membership is complimentary to All Sundial Owners. It includes:

  • Charging privileges at Sea Breeze, Turtles Pool Bar & other resort on-property dining outlets
  • Priority seating & invitations to special events, holidays & promotions
  • 10% spa discounts at on-site location
  • Retail discount at on-site location
  • Exclusive food & beverage promotions & offers
  • 20% room discounts from best available rate for guests

Activities Membership

Annual fee for Sundial owner family $5,000

Annual fee for Royal Shell Vacations owner family $3,000

Weekly access fee for Royal Shell Vacations guest: adults & children 13 & up: $150; children 6-12: $75; children 5 & under: free

Activities membership includes all of the social membership benefits shown above plus:

  • 10% food & beverage discount in all outlets
  • At Port Sanibel Marina – 10% off charter trips; 15-20% off canoe, kayak, & power boat rentals; $12/ft wet slips
  • Up to 20% off best available rates at Big Bear Frontier (California), Holiday Inn & Roberts Convention Center (Ohio), The Park on Main (North Carolina), & Misty Mountain Cottages (North Carolina)
  • 20% off greens fees at Golden Ocala (Florida) & 10% off rental rates
  • Complimentary fitness classes
  • Discounted Sanibel Buddies Kids’ Camp & activities
  • Access to beach chairs & umbrellas
  • Access to pool, pool chaises & towels
  • Access to bicycles, kayaks, & paddleboards
  • Complimentary Ding Darling membership
  • Access to resort Fitness Center

Tennis Membership

Annual fee for Sundial owner single $1,500

Annual fee for Sundial owner family $2,000

Annual fee for Royal Shell Vacations owner single $1,200

Annual fee for Royal Shell Vacations owner family $1,500

Court access $10 per 90-minute intervals

Tennis membership includes all of the social & activities membership benefits shown above plus:

  • 7-day advanced tennis court reservations
  • Access to tennis courts
  • Discounted events
  • Discounted tennis clinics
  • Discounted tennis lessons
  • Discounted guest tennis court fees
  • Complimentary racquet & ball use
  • Discounted round robins
  • Court match play

Exclusive Resort Membership is complimentary to Sundial Resort Rental Program owners. It includes all of the above plus:

  • Sundial membership at Sanibel Island Gulf Club
  • Complimentary greens fees
  • Local reciprocity (May 1 to Oct 31)
  • 10% discount on golf lessons
  • 10% discount on golf shop apparel
  • 5-day advanced tee times
  • Access to leagues with upgrade”

For more info, contact the membership department at 239-395-6020 or email membership@sundialresort.com.

This Isn’t a Housing Bubble: Here’s Why

CNBC_Logo_FlatInteresting article posted on-line yesterday on “Realtor®Mag”, also sourced to “Frothy, Yes, But Don’t Call It a Housing Bubble,” CNBC (Sep 15).

“Home prices are rising rapidly, but economists are deflating concerns that another “housing bubble” is brewing.

core logic logo“A recent report from CoreLogic shows that twice as many metro markets are considered “overvalued” – prices are inflated relative to incomes — in the second quarter of this year compared to the first three months of the year. But economists say it’s not a housing bubble because bubbles eventually burst and home prices this time around aren’t likely to fall.

“”Just because you’re overvalued doesn’t mean that you’re in a bubble or there is an impending crash,” says Sam Khater, CoreLogic’s deputy chief economist. “Some markets are overvalued because of strong fundamentals.”

realtor logo“The National Association of REALTORS® reported that the national median sales price is now above its 2006 peak. The median existing-home price for all housing types reached $236,400 in June – 6.5% above year ago levels and surpassing the peak median sales price set in July 2016 at $230,400, according to NAR.

“CoreLogic’s recent report shows that home prices in 14 of the largest 100 markets have now risen above its long-term fundamental values – with six of these markets in Texas alone. Housing demand is strong and supply has been near record lows, which has paved the way for price increases among the state’s strong economy.

“About 10 years ago, a housing bubble was being fueled by free and easy mortgage credit – not the case today, CNBC reports. Today, strong demand and weak supply is driving the rise in prices.

“”Agents continue to highlight buyers’ growing frustration with rising prices, but see current levels largely supported by tight inventory conditions,” according to a monthly survey of real estate professionals by Credit Suisse.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity September 11-18

Sanibel

CONDOS

1 new listing: Sanibel Moorings #822 2/2 $499K (our listing).

3 price changes: Sandpebble #1F 2/2 now $384.9K, Sanibel Inn #3522 2/2 now $719K, Sundial #F201 2/2 now $729K.

3 new sales: Mariner Pointe #1092 2/2 listed at $499K, Cottage Colony West #110 1/1 listed at $639K, Wedgewood #104 3/3.5 listed at $2.395M.

5 closed sales: Sundial #H211 1/1 $250K, Captains Walk #F7 2/1.5 $301K, Mariner Pointe #951 1/1 $410K, Sundial #O201 2/2 $660K (our listing), Sanctuary Golf Villages I #1-5 2/2.5 $755K.

HOMES

5 new listings: 2065 Wild LIme Dr 3/2.5 $579K, 426 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 $669K, 1405 Jamaica Dr 3/2.5 $839K, 5436 Shearwater Dr 3/3 $989K, 3790 West Gulf Dr 3/2.5 $1.079M.

2 price changes: 9032 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 now $549,499; 1245 Isabel Dr 3/3.5 now $1.595M.

2 new sales: 3790 West Gulf Dr 3/2.5 listed at $1.079M, 6019 Clam Bayou Ln 4/3 listed at $1.185M.

3 closed sales: 5406 Osprey Ct 3/2 $700K, 2999 Twin Ponds Dr 4/3.5 $810K, 1041 Blue Heron Dr 3/2.5 $815K.

LOTS

1 new listing: 1204 Par View Dr $329K.

1 price change: 4988 Joewood Dr now $475K.

2 new sales: 971 Main St listed at $199K, 1243 Par View Dr listed at $349K.

No closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: Tennis Villas #3115 1/1 listed at $284.5K.

No closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 15735 Captiva Dr 4/5 $8.5M.

No price changes, new or closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

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

Until next Friday, here’s hoping the sun is shining everywhere! sun & rain

Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Sanibel Island Real Estate Is Moving, Traffic Not So Much


It is hard to believe that more people are expected to be on the islands next week for the President’s Day holiday. Suffice it to say, that Sanibel is busier now than The SanibelSusan Team ever remembers it and we are trying to “nicely” share with the many vacationers, snowbirds, and owners here enjoying it too.

No one seems to mind that the daily temperatures this week have, for the most part, only been in the mid-60’s. Bikers in their shorts and tee-shirts continue to fly by our office on the bike path, while we locals have rare chances to wear sweaters and jackets. Here are a few photos taken by our client/friend Ellie Hayward and others during some of the recent breezy days when the shelling has been amazing.

SanibelSusan had lunch this week with VIP’s Vacation Rentals Manager, and he said they do not have a single accommodation left that is available between now and Easter. Other companies and accommodations likewise report 100% occupancy. That is great news for the local economy, but tough traveling for us trying to keep showing appointments on schedule.

We also heard this week that the “Sports Illustrated” annual swim suit edition has hit the streets with some of the photos taken on the islands. Do suppose that could bring even more traffic to Southwest Florida?

SCCF 2015 Life Member/Benefactor Luncheon

SCCF logoTuesday, we attended SCCF’s 2015 Life Member/Benefactor Luncheon which concluded with a terrific presentation by Director Eric Lindblad on current and future conservation plans. This organization does so much for the islands, we should all be strong supporters.

Eric advised that thanks to cooperation with Tarpon Bay Explorers, SCCF in early April will begin construction of a new marine lab on the grounds of Tarpon Bay, facing the water, in the location of the former concession stand.

SCCF work at rehabbing and reconfiguring The Bailey Homestead continues with preliminary plans in-the-works for eventually moving the Native Plant Nursery there. It has already increased usage of the connected paths that now go from the Chamber of Commerce through the Shipley Trail to Pond Apple Park and City Park via the Starr D. Thomas Boardwalk. A colleague recently saw an eagle there. Here’s a link to the trails: http://www.sccf.org/content/86/SCCF-Walking-Trails.aspx

Other Island Happenings

rotary logoThe Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club’s 32nd Arts & Crafts Fair is tomorrow and Sunday at the Community House across the street from SanibelSusan Realty. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, they expect to have 7,000 attendees.

I’ll be at the office then, hoping they want to buy real estate to go with their other purchases. Here’s a link to the fair website: http://www.sanibelartfair.com/visiting-the-fair/

Happenings at SanibelSusan Realty

SANSLogoNext week again will be busy. We have some Open Houses planned and have a big (over 6,000-piece) bulk mailing going out. It’s our annual inventory lists for owners of all of the property for sale on the islands, plus for comparison, recent sales.

If you would like a copy too, just give us a call (888-603-0603 or 239-472-HOME (4663)) or send us an email (Susan@SanibelSusan.com).

Below after a few more news items is the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service since last Friday.

Vacation Home Tax Deductions

taxesTax time is here and though it is best to consult your tax advisor, here is a handy summary that was posted on-line by HouseLogic and reprinted in NAR’s “Real Estate News” on Monday.

“The rules on tax deductions for vacation homes are complicated. Do yourself a favor and keep good records about how and when you use your vacation home.

  • If you’re the only one using your vacation home (you don’t rent it out for more than 14 days a year), you deduct mortgage interest and real estate taxes on Schedule A.
  • Rent your vacation home out for more than 14 days and use it yourself fewer than 15 days (or 10% of total rental days, whichever is greater), and it’s treated like a rental property. Your expenses are deducted on Schedule E.
  • Rent your home for part of the year and use it yourself for more than the greater of 14 days or 10% of the days you rent it and you have to keep track of income, expenses, and allocate them based on how often you used and how often you rented the house.”

Read more about home tax deductions at http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/tax-deductions/home-tax-deductions/#ixzz3RRnJm200

‘Domino Effect’ to Set Off 2015 Housing Wave

clear capital logoInteresting concept recently described in the “Daily Real Estate News”, sourced to a Clear Capital report of February 2, 2015 titled “Traditional Home Buyers, Make Your Move”:

“Home prices between the top and bottom segments of the housing market are rising, which could unleash a “domino effect” that builds first-time and move-up buyer momentum this year, notes a new real estate report by Clear Capital. But the build-up in traditional home buyers is coming at the cost of declines in the luxury home market.

“”The rate of appreciation for top tier homes is stalling, which is a more direct reflection of waning fair market demand,” says Alex Villacorta, vice president of research and analytics at Clear Capital. “While this is a concerning development, there is a silver lining. The moderating upper tier may give traditional buyers a moment to catch their breath, and entice move-up buyers to enter this segment of the market. The ripple effect of opening up inventory all the way down the price spectrum could provide opportunity and motivation across all segments, including first-time buyers, to enter the marketplace.”

“The lower and middle-range ends of the housing market is stabilizing, allowing traditional home buyers to re-emerge. “The next phase of the housing recovery is dependent on healthy demand from this segment,” Villacorta says.

“The lower-end of the housing market was once driven mostly by investor activity, but now doors are opening for first-time home buyers to break in.  Also, as the number of underwater mortgages steadily decreases, home owners in the mid-tier of the home pricing segment can finally trade up to a larger, more expensive home.

Lower-end properties have been outpacing price growth in the luxury market, Clear Capital reports. The low-tier has posted double-digit gains year-over-year of 10.2%, compared to the top tier, which saw the lowest price growth rate among the three tiers, at 3.6% year-over-year.

““This divide between a healthy low tier and stalling top tier could kick-off a domino effect,” Clear Capital notes in its report. “Stalling prices in the top tier of the market could create the perception of a good deal. This instills confidence in mid-tier home owners, motivating them to move-up to the top tier. In turn, this opens up more opportunity for low tier home owners to move-up to the mid-tier. … This domino effect could be the catalyst for balanced demand across all sectors of the market.

“The Midwest is leading the pack, according to Clear Capital. The Midwest posted double-digit gains in the low-tier segment at 13.6 percent, while seeing its top-tier of the market fall 3.3% with prices. The Midwest is the only region currently seeing price appreciation in the low and mid tiers, growing above 1%. As such, Clear Capital economists are predicting the Midwest to be the first region in U.S. to realize full buyer momentum among first-time and move-up buyers, due to its moderating top tier.”

“Bleu Rendezvous” Coming to Sanibel

Bue windowsMany islanders call it a “road trip” when we venture off island for dinner. A favorite spot for that since discovering it a few years ago is Blue Windows French Bistro in South Fort Myers which is a small classic French restaurant. Though tiny and only visited occasionally, I always see other islanders there enjoying it too, so it is great news that Christian and Mari Vivet are planning to open a second restaurant, Bleu Rendezvous, on Sanibel in May. It will be in the space of the former Sangria Grill at 2430 Periwinkle Way just up the street from our office.

According to a posting in the “News-Press” this week, “The Vivets, who usually close Blue Windows during the summer, plan to keep both restaurants open throughout this year. Christian hinted they might have other plans for the south Fort Myers store, but said it was too early to disclose anything. As for Blue Rendezvous’ menu, fans of Blue Windows won’t be disappointed. “We’re taking exactly what we’re doing here and doing the exact same thing there, even the same wine list at this point,” Christian said. “It’s worked for us so well, we didn’t see any reason to change it.”

“Blue Windows serves dinner Monday to Saturday at 15250 S. Tamiami Trail, south Fort Myers. Call 849-0622 or visit mybluewindows.com for more info.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity Feb 6-13 

Sanibel

CONDOS

6 new listings: Sundial #C306 1/1 $329K, Sundial #D312 1/1 $349K, Donax Village #8 2/2 $449K, Lighthouse Point #231 2/2 $670K, Sundial #F201 2/2 $829K, Tigua Cay #489 3/3.5 $2.595M.

6 price changes: Captains Walk #A2 1/1 now $239.9K, Sanibel Siesta #105 2/2 now $424.5K, Loggerhead Cay #411 2/2 now $490K, Sanibel Arms #E8 2/2 now $499.9K, Sanibel Surfside #211 2/2 now $798K, Sundial #Q205 3/2 now $825K.

3 new sales: Seashells #15 2/2 listed for $324.9K, Sanibel Arms West #G5 2/2 listed for $525K, Kings Crown #317 2/2 listed for $940K.

4 closed sales: Loggerhead Cay #453 2/2 $439K, Sand Pointe #235 2/2 $665K, Island Beach Club #330E 2/2 $783K, Wedgewood #204 3/3.5 $2.0625M.

HOMES

7 new listings: 2220 Camino Del Mar 3/3 $699K, 1710 Sand Pebble Way 3/2 $769K, 3840 West Gulf Dr 3/2.5 $849K, 401 Lagoon Dr 4/4 $ 875K, 4620 Rue Bayou 3/2 $979K, 1314 Par View Dr 4/3 $1.1M, 757 Windlass Way 3/2.5 $1.149M.

7 price changes: 1938 Roseate Ln 3/2 now $329K, 1211 Periwinkle Way 3/2 now $530K, 420 East Gulf Dr 3/3 now $725K, 4037 Coquina Dr 3/3 now $799K, 1351 Middle Gulf Dr #1A 3/3 now $939K, 6015 Clam Bayou Ln 4/3.5 now $2.249M, 696 Kinzie Island Ct 4/5 now $2.359M.

13 new sales: 240 Southwinds Dr 3/2 listed for $549K, 1075 Blue Heron Dr 3/2 listed for $629K, 497 Lake Murex Cir 4/3 listed for $715K, 732 Durion Ct 3/2 listed for $719.9K, 8999 Mockingbird Dr 3/2 listed for $775K, 3840 West Gulf Dr 3/2.5 listed for $849K, 1287 Par View Dr 3/2 listed for $89.5K, 566 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2 listed for $939K, 857 Birdie View Dr 3/2.5 listed for $995K, 630 Periwinkle Way 4/3 listed for $999.9K, 297 Ferry Landing Dr 3/3 listed for $1.295M, 1309 Seaspray Ln 5/5 listed for $1.898M.

2 closed sales: 490 Christine Rd 2/2 $534K, 1748 Jewel Box Dr 4/4 $1.058M.

LOTS

No new listings.

7 price changes: 0 Bowmans Beach Rd now $125K, 9239 Dimmick Dr now $139K, 9277 Belding Dr now $179.9K, 2324 Starfish Ln now $449K, 1242 Anhinga Ln now $525K, 1770 Dixie Beach Blvd now $699K, 4334 West Gulf Dr now $899K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

2 new listings: Bayside Villas #5222 1/2 $322K, Sunset Beach Villas #2418 2/2 $650K.

1 price change: Sunset Beach Villas #2337 2/2 now $674.9K.

2 new sales: Captiva Shores #5C 2/2 listed for $898K, Captiva Bay Villas #C 3/3.5 listed for $2.395M.

1 closed sale: Marina Villas #603 2/2 $585K.

HOMES

1 new listing: 11520 Murmond Ln 5/5.5 $2.075M.

No price changes, new or closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. 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.

valentineUntil next Friday, best wishes for a great Valentines Day.

P.S. There’s no gift like a property in paradise for the one you love. SanibelSusan is working all day tomorrow for your last minute gift shopping!

The Sky is Blue & Real Estate is Selling on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


It is another sunny Friday on Sanibel – what we call, “another picture-perfect day”. It reminds me of yesterday when I complimented an island pal on her Sanibel photos and she said “use them anytime”. So, before the rest of Friday’s blog, here are a few feathered friend pictures – thanks to Ellie Hayward. She took the alligator pix too!

 

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors®

SanCapAssnLogoMore winter sales were announced at our local Association of Realtors® Caravan Meeting yesterday and calls for showings are picking up too.

Below are a couple of news items followed by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service action over the last seven days. “Season” is shaping up to be a good one. The statistics below indicate the few sales already in process. During the next three months, the number of sales should jump.

CONDOS                      HOMES                         LOTS

                      #  / Avg $ / Avg DOM    # / Avg $ / Avg DOM     # / Avg $ / Avg DOM

SANIBEL

Available        117 / 751,571 / 403       155 / 1,258,601 / 243    79 / 499,905 / 722

Pending         27 / 755,406 / 373          43 / 1,086,499 / 320     6 / 496,250 / 663

Sold/closed in:

2015 to 1/30  8 / 491,094 / 398           10 / 784,468 / 365         1 / 352,000 / 192

2014              164 / 650,418 / 286        206 / 838,672 / 265       27 / 424,198 / 495

CAPTIVA

Available       43 / 885,909 / 372          50 / 3,503,921 / 318      6 / 2,280,000 / 330

Pending        4 / 1,113,500 / 118         4 / 7,337,250 / 442        1 / 1,390,000 / 116

Sold/closed in:

2015 to 1/30  0 / N/A / N/A                  0 / N/A / N/A                  0 / N/A / N/A

2014              22 / 624,068 / 421         23 / $2,826,717 / 364     0 / N/A / N/A

Island Happenings

SANSLogoSanibelSusan.com continues to bring us listing inquiries and this week one came from a follower of the “Upcoming Events” also posted on our web site. Tracking island happenings keeps us current. Here are a couple of new items recently noticed.

  • SCCF logoWater Quality Exhibit at SCCF Nature Center – Water quality is a subject key to our real estate business and an item often discussed at our state Association of Realtors® Land Use Committee meetings. A new 5-panel exhibit at SSCF’s Nature Center is the first on the island about water quality. Educational and fun for all ages, the centerpiece of this SCCF exhibit includes a touchscreen with an in-depth RECON overview. RECON is the River Estuary Coastal Observing Network which was launched in 2007. RECON sensors along the Caloosahatchee River, Pine Island Sound, Tarpon Bay, and San Carlos Bay gather data which aids in research and management of the water in these areas. The Nature Center at SCCF is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sanibelcityseal logoMayor’s Report to CASI – Last Friday, Sanibel Mayor Ruane updated CASI (Condominium Associations of Sanibel, Inc.) on the progress City Council has made this year in its goals of improving water quality, stabilizing city finances, and encouraging sensitive redevelopment. A few statistics he mentioned include that 27% of Lee County’s tax revenues come from Sanibel. Of each Sanibel property owner’s tax bill, 15 cents is retained by Sanibel, while 85 cents goes to the county. With some carefully selected projects like the Sanibel Civic Core which is being planned for the city hall/library area and expected to include BIG ARTS, the Senior Center, and the Sanibel Community Association, City-owned property may be eligible for bringing some of those tax dollars back to the island.
  • CROW logoCROW’s New Speaker Series – Beginning in February and running through March, CROW is offering more interactive and educational programs. As they are announced, dates will be posted on SanibelSusan.com “Upcoming Events”. More info at www.crowclinic.org.

Existing-Home Sales Rebound: 5 Stats to Know

for sale signBelow is a summary article from “Daily Real Estate News” last Friday. It’s a good synopsis of the real estate market nation-wide.

“Home sales picked up at the end of 2014, closing off a year that had a sluggish start but then showed encouraging signs in the second half, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ latest housing report, released Friday.

“Existing-home sales rose 2.4% in December month-over-month, bouncing back after a dismal November. Total home sales –reflecting completed transactions of single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops – reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million in December. “Home sales improved over the summer once inventory increased, prices moderated, and economic growth accelerated,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Sales were measurably better in the second half – up 8% compared to the first six months of the year.”

“Overall for 2014, the median national existing-home price was $208,500, reaching the highest level since 2007, and a 5.8% increase from 2013 when it was $197,100. However, total existing-home sales were 3.1% lower in 2014 compared to 2013, NAR reports. Here’s a closer look at five housing stats from NAR’s latest report — reflecting December 2014 data — to gauge the market:

“1. Home sales: Single-family home sales rose 3.5% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.47 million compared to 4.32 million in November. Single-family home sales are 4% above the pace a year ago. Existing condo and co-op sales, on the other hand, dropped 5% in December.

“2. Home prices: The median existing-home price for all housing types in December was $209,500 – 6% higher than year ago levels. This marks the 34th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains.

3. Days on the market: Properties typically stayed on the market in December for 66 days, a slightly shorter time frame than a year ago when the average was 72 days. Short sales were on the market the longest amount of time at a median of 98 days in December, while foreclosures sold in 61 days. Non-distressed homes averaged 66 days on the market. About 31% of homes that were sold in December were on the market for less than a month, according to NAR.

“4. Distressed sales: Foreclosures and short sales edged up slightly in December, reaching 11% of sales compared to 9% in November. However, distressed sales are down from 14% a year ago. Of December existing-home sales, 8% were foreclosures and 3% were short sales. On average, foreclosures sold for a discount of 15% below market value while short sales were discounted 12%.

“5. Inventory: Total housing inventory at the end of December fell 11.1% to 1.85 million existing homes available for sale. That represents a 4.4-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from 5.1 months in November. Unsold inventory is now 0.5% lower than a year ago.

““A drop in housing supply in December raises some affordability concerns in the months ahead as minimal selection and the potential for faster price appreciation could offset the demand from buyers encouraged by a stronger economy and sub-4 percent interest rates,” says Yun. “Housing costs – both rents and home prices – continue to outpace wages and are burdensome for potential buyers trying to save for a down-payment while looking for available homes in their price range.”

“By Region: The following is a look at how existing-home sales performed across the country in December:

  • Northeast: existing-home sales fell 2.9% to an annual rate of 660,000. Sales are 3.1% above year ago levels. Median price: $246,600, up 3.2% above a year ago.
  • Midwest: existing-home sales dropped 3.5% to an annual level of 1.09 million in December. Sales are 2.7% below December 2013. Median price: $159,100, up 5.3% from a year ago.
  • South: existing-home sales in the South climbed 3.8% to an annual rate of 2.17 million in December. Sales are 7.4% above December 2013. Median price: $184,100, up 6.6% from a year ago.
  • West: existing-home sales surged 9.8% to an annual rate of 1.12 million in December. Sales are 2.8% above a year ago. Median price: $299,600, up 5.6% year-over-year.”

Housing Demand Rises, Supply Is Bigger Issue

realtor logoAs the market rebounds another concern was highlighted by Realtor.com in another recent article. We are already seeing signs of not enough inventory on Sanibel and Captiva too. We all know that shrinking inventory often results in rising prices.

“Several signs in the housing market point to higher demand for real estate, but the big question remains whether the supply will be able to meet the rise in demand, writes Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at realtor.com®, in new commentary at realtor.com®. “Supply is quickly becoming the biggest concern for healthy growth in home sales in 2015,” Smoke notes.

“Smoke points to the following three positive signs showing higher demand in the housing market:

Builders are more confident: Builders are remaining upbeat about the new-home market. The National Association of Home Builder’s Housing Market Index recently showed builder sentiment on the rise, with builders optimistic about the six-month outlook in the new-home market. New construction is starting to follow suit. Housing starts rose 4.4% in December, with that rise driven by an uptick in single-family construction. Single-family starts are at the highest number in six years, reaching a pace of 728,000 units in December. “That is a good early sign that homebuilders are gearing production for greater demand in the spring,” Smoke notes.

Low mortgage rates: Mortgage rates continue to hit new yearly lows, bringing borrowing costs down for home buyers and refinancers. As such, mortgage application activity rose to its highest level since June 2013 recently. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.63% last week, its lowest weekly average since May 2013, according to Freddie Mac. But economists are warning that the low rates won’t likely stick around much longer and could move up to 5% by the end of the year.

Existing-home sales rebounding: Demand has been growing in the existing-home sales market too. The annual pace of existing-home sales was 5.04 million in December, 3.5% higher than last year, according to the National Association of REALTORS® latest report.

“Housing supply remains the biggest issue, Smoke says. The inventory of existing-homes is at a 4.4-month supply at the current sales pace – well-below the 6-month supply that most economists consider healthy, according to NAR’s December report. “We need more markets to see listing growth over the next several weeks to keep appreciation at healthy, normal levels,” Smoke says.  “With three years of positive price appreciation behind them, existing-home owners in most areas should see conditions as very favorable for trading up. That is what the market needs to set the stage for significant growth this spring.””

Why I Bought Realtor.com®

Realtor_comlogoAs a Realtor® who has had successful results from Realtor.com, but many frustrations from inquiries from viewers looking at other third party real estate search sites, I have patiently been waiting for more news about Rupert Murdoch’s recent purchase. Here is the article posted on “Daily Real Estate News” yesterday. Love the last sentence!

“News Corp founder and executive chairman Rupert Murdoch took the stage at Real Estate Connect in New York on Thursday to explain why Move Inc., the operator of realtor.com®, was a better acquisition than its chief rivals in the online real estate space. Murdoch said Move and realtor.com® have a trifecta of powerful marketing points over Zillow and Trulia. “Move has the most up-to-date and accurate listings in the market,” Murdoch said, noting that realtor.com®’s listings are updated every 15 minutes.

““Move has a close relationship with the National Association of REALTORS®, and I believe real estate agents are crucial to every home sale in America,” he said. “Realtor.com® attracts transaction-ready consumers — they’re not just window shoppers — and that’s attractive to advertisers,” Murdoch said.

“Most people who begin their real estate search online eventually need human interaction and guidance, Murdoch said, and realtor.com® facilitates those connections. “There is no digital replacement for the human touch,” he said. “No technology can meet all of someone’s needs. It takes a real person. Realtor.com® helps bring home buyers, sellers, and agents together. We want the shortest distance between the American Dream and a family’s reality to be realtor.com®.”

“Murdoch reassured critics that News Corp’s goal is not to turn Move into a media company and take realtor.com® away from its mission of connecting agents with consumers. Instead, he said, he wants to enhance the realtor.com® user experience to help it better fulfill its mission. “We’re going to add to the user interface, make it more obviously friendly for agents and consumers,” Murdoch said. “We’ve got to make a better product, and then when we’re satisfied, we need to get out and market it hard. We understand that there’s a different business model in America,” continued the Australian-born media magnate, who owns media properties all over the world. “We don’t want to replace agents — we think they’re absolutely central.”

“Murdoch also predicted that the U.S. housing market would continue to expand and recover — another reason he was interested in buying a real estate company. He said the data he’s been seeing from Move thus far is encouraging, and the U.S. market offers the best bet for long-term growth in the world.

“Murdoch ended on a note that easily became the most talk-about moment of his appearance at Real Estate Connect. He said he believed in the ability of the realtor.com® name to attract consumers away from the site’s rivals because “we all know what ‘REALTOR®’ means.” And then he quipped: “What the hell does ‘Zillow’ mean?””

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity January 23-30 

Sanibel

CONDOS

2 new listings: Sanibel Arms West #L5 2/2 $524.9K, Sanibel Sunset #202 3/2 $1.795M.

3 price changes: Captains Walk #C7 1/1 now $244K, Sanibel Arms West #J4 2/2 now $459K, Sanddollar #A104 2/2 now $819K.

4 new sales: Sundial #F406 1/1 listed for $359.9K, Sanibel Arms West #L5 2/2 listed for $524.9K, Loggerhead Cay #191 2/2 listed for $660K, West Shore #6 3/3 listed for $1.795M.

1 closed sale: Pointe Santo #A2 2/2 $782.25K.

HOMES

8 new listings: 4109 SanCap Rd 2/1 $324K, 4619 Brainard Bayou Rd 3/2 $599.9K, 1085 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $669K, 1182 Kittiwake Cir 3/3 $739K, 923 S Yachtsman Dr 3/2 $889K, 1331 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 $985K, 5418 Osprey Ct 4/3.5 $1.195M, 4525 Waters Edge Ln 3/3.5 $4.495M.

8 price changes: 2621 SanCap Rd 3/2 now $279K; 1602 Serenity Ln 3/2 now $499K; 9032 Mockingbird Ln 3/2 now $619,995; 741 Nerita St 3/2 now $679K; 3131 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $704,999; 1224 Par View Dr 3/3 now $1.099M; 518 N Yachtsman Dr 3/3 now $1.179M; 2255 Troon Ct 4/5.5 now $1.55M.

6 new sales: 320 Palm Lake Dr 2/2 listed for $424K, 590 Lake Murex Cir 2/1.5 listed for $635K, 5753 Pine Tree Dr 3/4 listed for $749K, 1337 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 listed for $1.149M, 6440 Pine Ave 3/3 listed for $1.295M (our sale), 536 Lighthouse Way 4/4.5 listed for $3.395M.

1 closed sale: 960 S Yachtsman Dr 3/3 $1.299M.

LOTS

No new listings.

1 price change: 1311 Par View Dr now $269.9K.

No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS

2 new listings: Tennis Villas #3115 1/1 $294.9K, Beach Villas #2614 2/2 $620K.

2 price changes: Bayside Villas #4114 1/2 now $269.9K, Bayside Villas #5316 3/3 now $619K.

No new or closed sales.

HOMES

1 new listing: 928 S Seas Plantation Rd 5/5.5 $4.175M.

1 price change: 17130 Captiva Dr 4/4 now $4.499M.

2 new sales: 43 Oster Ct 2/2.5 listed for $784.9K; 16585 Captiva Dr 5/4/2 listed for $2,799,585.

No closed sales.

LOTS

No new listings or price changes.

1 new sale: 16915 Captiva Dr listed for $1.39M.

No closed sales.

This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.

Until next Friday – best weekend wishes to all – from Susan Andrews, aka SanibelSusan

Mid-Summer Scoop from Sanibel Island


It has been another quiet, summer shower kind of week on the islands, with no real estate meeting yesterday and very few showings or even phone calls. All-in-all, that is pretty typical for late July. At SanibelSusan Realty we spent much of the week beating the bushes for new listings and working on selling long-distance and sight-unseen. It always pays to have good marketing material when you do that. Here are a few photos taken this week at our new listing at Spanish Cay. It’s great value at $349K and already getting interest. Smart buyers know that summer is a great time to buy – when it is easy to preview property and sellers may be more motivated.

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

Sea Turtles Nesting in Record Numbers

loggerhead_sea_turtle_baby_blogFrom the “Island Sun” today: “Local businesses and residents of Sanibel and Captiva universally agree that the 2013-14 “in season” for tourism was the highest in recent memory. However, another group of visitors to the islands this summer has shattered the record books.

“On July 7 when the 70th nest was recorded, it established a new mark for nesting activity on Sanibel’s east end…Last Friday morning, SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) updated its sea turtle nesting statistics. Reported were 73 loggerhead nests and one green sea turtle nest on Sanibel’s east end, 237 nests on Sanibel’s west end, and 101 nests on Captiva. By way of comparison, by the same date last year, SCCF had reported 44 nests on Sanibel’s east end, 208 loggerhead and seven green turtle nests on Sanibel’s west end, and 99 loggerhead and one green turtle nest on Captiva.”

An interesting fact is that once a tiny hatchling reaches the water, “they’ll swim for 48 hours straight to get away from the shoreline and birds and other predators…that’s their instinct.”

“Each day during nesting season, which runs from May to October, more than 100 volunteers, permittees and SCCF employees monitor approximately 18 miles of island beachfront which stretches from the Sanibel Lighthouse to the tip of Captiva….”

BIG ARTS Then/Now & Their Fall Schedule

BIG Arts logoKnown as Sanibel and Captiva’s home for all the arts, BIG ARTS has been providing cultural enrichment and fulfillment to island residents and visitors since 1979. BIG ARTS began when a group of artists dreamed of a cultural center on the island. Today, BIG ARTS members and participants enjoy a wide spectrum of performing and visual arts events, and the community participates in more than 200 educational classes and workshops each year.

The creative spirit, driving force, and hard work of volunteers have shaped BIG ARTS into the vibrant organization it is today. More than 250 talented volunteers assist the staff each season to ensure the professional management of BIG ARTS. Now a prominent cultural institution in Southwest Florida’s region, BIG ARTS has fulfilled its original mission to provide cultural, social, and volunteer opportunities to island residents. As new residents move to the area, they see how BIG ARTS enriches island life, and many are eager to participate and support the arts as they did in their former communities.

BIG ARTS banner-homepage-35-anniversaryBIG ARTS activities were held in private homes around the island until 1987, when a small cottage was donated and moved to its present location on Dunlop Road. Founders Gallery opened in this cottage and concerts were held in the garden under a tent. Due to the popularity of the programs, the organization quickly outgrew these facilities. Through the generosity of BIG ARTS supporters, Phillips Gallery opened in 1990 as an art gallery, concert hall, and classroom.

BIG artsThe West Wing, Schein Performance Hall and sculpture garden were added in 1997. Designed by BIG ARTS member Irwin Stein, Schein Hall is a 400-seat concert hall with surround sound in high definition and a recently added high definition projection system. Classrooms provide space for pottery, clay, metal works, and many other offerings. The beautiful sculpture garden, renamed Boler Garden, was restored in 2006, including an ongoing project with installation of an etched stone walkway.

BIG ARTS Administrative Offices and Classrooms are at 2244 Periwinkle Way, right behind SanibelSusan Realty Associates. Additional classrooms and meeting space there allows BIG ARTS to further its mission to support the arts.

Theater-in-SanibelIn 2010 the Boards of the Herb Strauss Theater and BIG ARTS joined together to combine the support functions and volunteers of the two organizations, making both stronger and more efficient. The Herb Strauss Theater is now part of the BIG ARTS family of programs and productions. The goal is to further the tradition of quality cultural and educational experiences to the residents and visitors of Sanibel, Captiva, and neighboring communities.

BIG ARTS Herb Strauss Theater presents professional live theater, and offers Broadway-caliber talent in an intimate atmosphere. The 160-seat Theater is at 2200 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.

BIG-ARTS-Community-chorus-holiday-concert-2009Going into the fall 2014, as in past years, as soon as the BIG ARTS Summer Arts Camp ends, the new schedule begins. Workshops will continue classes in painting and drawing; open studio sessions; fine crafts, such as stained glass, glass fusing, and weaving; pottery; dance/fitness; discussion groups; music appreciation and instructional; technology lessons; language and writing classes. Also part of the family of workshops is BIG ARTS Community Chorus and BIG ARTS community Concert band.

As one of the original members of the BIG ARTS Chorus, SanibelSusan was working behind the scenes this week with Director Steve Cramer in organizing the music that chorus will sing for the fall Bailey Fest, Thanksgiving Celebration, and December Holiday Concert. It’s going to be another great season!

Sanibel Rec Center – Brief Closing for Maintenance

Sanibel Rec CenterThe Sanibel Recreation Center will close July 26 through August 3 for maintenance projects. Improvements will include resurfacing of the gym floor and front entrance, deep cleaning and painting of the facility, restriping of the parking lot, and resealing of rest room tile. Day-camp programs will operate as scheduled.

The Sanibel Recreation Center is at 3880 Sanibel-Captiva Rd. Daily, weekly, semi-annual, and annual memberships are available. More info on www.MySanibel.com.

Survey: Buyers, Sellers ‘Not on the Same Page’

REDFIN logoThis article in “Daily Real Estate News” on July 10, 2014 describes a small survey, but to me the points are “spot on”.

“Home buyers and sellers are “not on the same page” when it comes to the state of the housing market, according to a new Redfin survey of 707 of its agents and partner agents across 35 U.S. markets. Buyers and sellers are taking a more aggressive stance in the market, with some sellers overpricing their homes and more buyers refusing to get in bidding wars, the survey found.

““In May, 40% of sellers surveyed by Redfin said that they planned to list their homes above market value, even though home sales had dropped by 9% since the year before,” says Nela Richardson, Redfin’s chief economist. “Typically, it takes sellers six to nine months to adjust to a price change, but this latest shift is longer. Prices have moved down and then up so much over the past five years that it’s even more difficult for sellers to have a realistic baseline for what their homes are worth in the current market.”

“Fifty-eight percent of Redfin agents say that sellers are holding unrealistic expectations about the value of their homes, up from 49% in the previous quarter. Meanwhile, buyers are showing less willingness to chase after a home, as they face affordability and financing hurdles, the survey found.

““Buyers who have been searching for a long time may still try to win deals with aggressive offers,” Richardson says. “However, new buyers in the market are much less willing to chase an escalating sale price to compete with multiple bids. The demand side of real estate is moving from ‘please take my offer’ to ‘take it or leave it as you please.’ Home buyers’ willingness to walk away from a deal that’s a bad fit is good for them and is ultimately healthier for the housing market.”

“So is it a seller’s market or a buyer’s market? It depends on who you ask. Twenty-four percent of Redfin agents surveyed say that “sellers have all the power,” a drop from 35% three months ago.

“Rising inventories have been beneficial for buyers who are less willing to participate in a bidding war, but they are facing other challenges, such as access to credit and affordability, the survey finds. The top challenges Redfin agents identified as growing problems for buyers are: lack of affordability; qualifying for a mortgage; saving enough for a down payment; and worries about the economy.”

Despite Predictions, Baby Boomers Aren’t Downsizing Yet

realtor logoBelow is another “spot on” report from “Daily Real Estate News”, July 15. Some points here can be further illustrated by the “housing” market on Sanibel and Captiva where today there are not enough homes for sale to meet the demand of the baby boomers, particularly those wanting enough space for entertaining, home offices, and visiting family members.

“Baby boomers aren’t showing any signs of leaving the single-family home market that has defined their generation’s real estate habits, despite many predictions that they would by now. As boomers hit age 65 and become empty nesters, many housing analysts forecasted that a huge wave of them would downsize and move into an apartment, condo, or townhouse.

But Fannie Mae researcher Patrick Simmons says that isn’t happening yet. “There’s a perception, particularly in many media reports, that this massive generation born between 1946 and 1964 is altering its housing consumption,” Simmons, the director of strategic planning for Fannie Mae’s economic group, told the Chicago Tribune. “It’s true that they’re becoming empty nesters in droves. But by one measure, the proportion of boomers who live in single-family homes actually increased between 2006 and 2012.”

“Baby boomers’ mobility has gone down. Nine out of 10 boomers surveyed by AARP reported that they wanted to stay in their current home as long as possible. Some may be motivated to stay put because of the housing crisis. For boomers, the value of single-family homes they owned fell by an average of 13%. Some boomers could still be underwater and are waiting to recoup more on their house before they sell. Others may be holding on to their home because they snagged a record low mortgage rate in recent years, and they know borrowing won’t be any cheaper if they do decide to sell.

“Some baby boomers are downsizing but choosing to stay in smaller single-family homes rather than move to a condo or townhome. But “eventually, boomers will slow down with age and have the same physical frailties that their predecessors had,” Simmons told the Tribune. “My sense is that it’s not going to be a major shift — something we see in the numbers in a year. It will likely unfold over a decade or more.””

More Chinese Buyers Coming to America

Florida Realtors logoHere’s another interesting article from “Daily Real Estate News”, July 11. We keep hearing that the islands will soon have more Asian buyers, but it hasn’t happen yet.

“The number of Chinese home buyers and investors flocking to the U.S. is on the rise, driven by China’s currency appreciation, rising affluence, and concerns over its own economic slowdown, according to the 2014 Profile of International Home Buying Activity, released this week by the National Association of REALTORS®.

““It’s just the beginning of a tidal wave,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. Chinese investors accounted for 16% of the $92.2 billion worth of international U.S. homes purchases in the year through March, up from 12% a year earlier, according to NAR.

“China was the leader in dollar volume of international purchases, purchasing an estimated $22 billion with an average sales cost of $590,826, according to the NAR report. China also was the fastest-growing source of U.S. foreign transactions, now accounting for 16% of all purchases, up 4% from last year.

“Canada maintained the largest share of purchases, but its share is falling – 23% in 2013 to 19% in 2014.

“The share of Chinese buyers in the U.S. market will likely only get bigger, says Paul Diggle, Property economist at Capital Economics. “This bigger picture hides a rapid rise in purchases by Chinese investors, who may overtake Canadians as the largest group of foreign buyers of U.S. housing within the next five years,” Diggle told HousingWire. “The strength of Chinese demand is another reason to watch closely developments in the Californian housing market, where housing is now no better than fairly valued at the statewide level and starting to look frothy in a number of metros.””

Source: “China Set to Dominate Foreign Homebuyers Market,” HousingWire (July 10, 2014) and “Bloomberg Briefings,” San Francisco Chronicle (July 9, 2014)

Energy-Saving Tips from LCEC

Lcec logoSome timely concise suggestions were included in our recent electric bill from Lee County Electric Co-op (LCEC):

“Warmer weather has arrived and you may be looking for ways to save energy and lower your bill. Our energy experts are here to help you save energy by following these simple tips:

  • When cooling your home, set the thermostat at 78 degrees F. Each degree below adds 8 to 12% to cooling costs.
  • Do not close A/C vents or interior doors when A/C is running.
  • While away from home for more than two hours, set the thermostat at 83 degrees F.
  • Install a programmable thermostat that will automatically raise and lower the temperature at certain times of the day.
  • Turn fans off when the room is not occupied. Each continuously running fan costs approximately $7 per month on your electric bill.

For more green energy tips visit www.lcec.net.”

Prescribed Burns are Done

SCCF photo

If you are concerned about the large burned areas noticeable on Tarpon Bay and San-Cap Roads, know that they are for the good.

Last Sunday morning, fire officials and J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge staff conducted a prescribed burn at the Bailey Tract and surrounding SCCF property. Planned burns scheduled for the following days along San-Cap Road and Legion Curve were delayed due to heavy wind and rain, but the fire team completed their planned burn along Legion Curve on Wednesday. (photo here by SCCF)

Summer is not only rainy season in Florida, but also peak lightening season, which can cause fires with devastating impacts. Managed burns can prevent the likelihood and severity of wildfires and help preserve the natural ecology of the area.

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity July 11-18

Sanibel
CONDOS

3 new listings: Tennisplace #C35 2/1.5 $310K, Ibis at The Sanctuary #A301 3/2 $449K, Sealoft Village #105 2/2 $529K.

No price changes.

1 new sale: Breakers West #B1 2/2 listed for $449K.

1 closed sale: Sundial #O307 2/2 $920K.

HOMES

2 new listings: 868 Rabbit Rd 3/2 $395K, 1901 Sanibel Bayou Rd 4/3 $829K.

2 price changes: 3001 Singing Wind Dr 3/2 now $495K, 580 Birdsong Pl 3/2.5 now $574.9K.

1 new sale: 1434 Sandcastle Rd 3/2 listed for $575K.
2 closed sales: 1744 Bunting Ln 4/2 $580K, 1529 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 $787.5K.

LOTS

No new listings.

2 price changes: 6519 Pine Ave now $1.095M, 6505 Pine Ave now $1.095M.

No new sales.

2 closed sales: 659 Anchor Dr $520K, 4308 West Gulf Dr $600K.

Captiva
CONDOS

Nothing to report

HOMES

1 new listing: 11529 Laika Ln 3/2 $1.65M.

1 price change: 16785 Captiva Dr 4/3.5 now $1.645M.

No new or closed sales.

LOTS

Nothing to report.

This representation is based, in whole, or in part, on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® or its Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy.

It’s a great time to enjoy the beach, the shelling, & fabulous sunsets on Sanibel & Captiva Islands. Best wishes to all…SanibelSusan

sanibel_sunset

It’s a Bright Sunny Independence Day on Sanibel & Captiva Islands


It’s Susan manning the fort at SanibelSusan Realty for the July 4th holiday. The island is busy with vacationers, mostly families, and many for just the long weekend. The parade this morning was a big success. Elise and her family were here to enjoy it with me from our great vantage point. I posted lots of photos on Facebook for those interested, just a few here.

The road rally at The Timbers is just finishing up now, and the evening celebration is gearing up at The Dunes, followed by the fireworks over the bay. I hope your Independence Day has been a fun-filled one too!

Below are a couple of news items before the action was posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service over the last seven days. It was pretty quiet, but, be sure and check out the new Captiva sale by SanibelSusan. I started working on this one several months ago so it is really not indicative of the action we typically see this time of the year. Just the same, I am very happy that it finally made it to contract. If you follow the named homes on Captiva, this is the one known as Banyan Beach and it’s a beauty!

Lee County Final Property Rates Up From Early Estimates

LeePALogoThe below article posted at news-press.com on June 16, 2014 includes information provided by Lee County’s Property Appraiser Ken Wilkinson.

“Lee County’s final property values are in — and they’re up. Across the county, values of the 600,000-plus properties went up 7.1% over last year’s numbers. That’s about 1.6% points higher than property appraiser Ken Wilkinson’s initial estimates sent to the state June 1.

 

“All of the county’s cities and all but one fire district saw had small boosts from June estimates as well.

“It’s been an appreciating market … it makes sense values would continue to go up when we finished our last month of work,” Wilkinson said. In addition, the “actual real estate market that’s happening between buyers and sellers appreciated over 10% overall,” he said — the first time since 2007 that’s been the case.”

“Collier County is slated to release its final numbers to its taxing authorities today.

“The increase is good news for Lee County’s budget, and possibly for its taxpayers, Board of Lee County Commissioners Chairman Larry Kiker said.  “It puts us in a better financial position as we go into this budget cycle. It will mean, obviously, we’ll have more money to work with,” he said. The county could use that money for capital improvement projects it has put off for years — or, “best case,” a reduction in taxes, Kiker said. “My prediction is it’s going to be a lower rate this year than last year,” he said.

“County staffers created two budget scenarios for commissioners at their last budget workshop: One with an increase of 5.48% based off Wilkinson’s earlier numbers, and one at 6.48 reflecting what final number they hoped to see. Since it’s even higher, the county will “adjust accordingly” before bringing its third draft of the budget to commissioners, Pete Winton, assistant county manager, said in an emailed statement provided by county spokeswoman Betsy Clayton.

“Cities up, too. Cities and taxing districts in the county also saw boosts.

“Fort Myers and Bonita Springs each had a nearly 2% increase over earlier estimates, increasing from 7.3 to 9.2% and 6.4 to 8.3%, respectively.

“Cape Coral had a boost of 1.5% between estimates and Thursday’s final numbers. Last year, it had the largest increase in the county.

“Sanibel’s property values went up 1.5% points from estimates, to 4.8%, and Fort Myers Beach had an increase to 6.6%, from 5.5% estimated in June.

“Sixteen of 17 fire districts saw had boosts too. The exception is Fort Myers Shores, which had a decrease of its estimate from 6.95 to 5.22%.

“Wilkinson must send these numbers to the state by Tuesday July 1. The next step is for the board to set the tax rate for fiscal year 2014-2015, which will allow TRIM (Truth In Millage) notices to be sent to property owners by mid-August. The commissioners are scheduled to meet Aug. 4 to set the rate.”

More Details on Sanibel & Captiva Sales

SanCapAssnLogoWith half the year over, it is a good time to see again how the real estate market is progressing. The condo segment still is playing catch-up, particularly with the seasonal-rental type units. Good income should make those properties more attractive to prospective buyers in the months to come as the economy rebounds. In the meantime, the baby boomers and retirees continue to drive the market. They are looking for space and more inventory is needed to meet that demand. Here is a snapshot of the islands sales/inventory today (July 4, 2014):

CONDOS                    HOMES                                LOTS

SANIBEL               No.    Average Price   No.    Average Price   No.    Average Price

For sale                 132   $714,951           165   $1,305,212        83     $517,812

Closing pending      12     654,567             32        856,820          3       465,852

Sold & closed

2014 thru 7/4        103    685.677            127       840,984         17       441,356

2013                     161    573,557            197       910,321         26       416,502

CONDOS                    HOMES                                LOTS

CAPTIVA               No.    Average Price   No.    Average Price   No.    Average Price

For sale                 44   $858,589              32   $3,831,078          3     $2,579,667

Closing pending      1     525,000                6     3,524,833          0      N/A

Sold & closed

2014 thru 7/4        12    617,042              17     2,834,794          0       N/A

2013                     36    659,185              18     2,522,056          2           675,000

Florida, A Worthy Investment: Vote “Yes” on Amendment 1

SCCF logoThe following is an excerpt from the July-August 2014 “SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) Member Update”, by Rae Ann Wessel, National Resource Policy Director:

“Did you know Florida is the only state in the union to have been recognized and awarded the prestigious National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in the management of our state parks three times? In fact no other state has ever won twice, let alone thrice.

“I’m just back from a jaunt around Florida visiting Florida parks from White Springs near the north Florida border to our own backyard. It’s a trip that I highly recommend and one that never fails to inspire me with the unique diversity and beauty of this state’s natural wonders!

“The protection and public use of these wonders is made possible by a nationally recognized public land conservation effort many decades long that has invested in the protection, conservation and interpretation of some of the best and most unique features of wild Florida. Today the program goes by the name Florida Forever but has been known over the years as Preservation 2000 (P2000) and CARL – Conservation and Recreational Lands.

“Despite its amazing success, the program has been in jeopardy since 2009 when state legislators began redirecting funds historically used to fund purchases, restoration and preservation efforts. This November we have a chance to recover the program by supporting Amendment 1 on the November ballot.  The amendment does not create a new tax but would dedicate and protect funding of our public lands using 33% of existing document stamp taxes, the taxes paid in real estate transactions. This is the funding that has been used for 20 years.

“The program to educate the electorate for this Fall’s vote needs your support and sponsorship. Visit our website (www.sccf.org) for more information or the Florida Water and Land Legacy website (www.voteyeson1fl.org) to donate toward the effort to pass this important amendment this November.”

Planning Ahead to “Ding” Darling Days

Ding Darling Society logoFrom the “News from Friends of J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge”: “There must be 25 ways to celebrate “Ding” Darling Days, happening at the Refuge October 19-25 this year. 2014 celebrates 25 years for the annual eco-festival, which started in 1989 as a one-day Family Fun Day and has grown week-long with free and discounted tours, free nature presentations, and yes, still that so-popular Family Fun Day kick-off. We don’t have room to tell you all of the 25 ways to celebrate, so we will start with just 10. Look for more in the next newsletter, “Ding” on the Wing bulletins, and at www.dingdarlingdays.com/ddd-events:

  1. 25 “Ding” Things Passport: A week-long scavenger hunt with 25 fun prizes.
  2. The debut of the Discover “Ding” GPS-based game app – the first of its kind in the Refuge System with 25-minute clinics during “Ding” Days.
  3. Free Silver Anniversary reusable bags filled with books and other goodies for the first 250 arrivals to Sunday Family Fun Day, October 19.
  4. Free 25-minute archery demonstrations and clinics for Family Fun Day.
  5. Special 25th anniversary presentations by Heather Hensen’s Ibex Puppetry troupe.
  6. 25% off all Tarpon Bay Explorers tours – including tram, paddling, and nature cruise excursions.
  7. 25 stunning images of mating great blue herons at a special photographic presentation by Sallie Rich on Tuesday.
  8. Free 25-minute stand-up paddleboard clinics on Tuesday and Thursday.
  9. Fee wilderness paddles into the Refuge’s Lady Finger Lakes to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.
  10. 25-cent Sill Photo Booth pictures on Saturday’s Conservation Art Day.”

Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity June 27-July 4

Sanibel
CONDOS

1 new listing: Clam Shell #C 2/2 $1.265M.

1 price change: Sundial #I104 1/1 now $369K.

1 new sale:  Loggerhead Cay #373 2/2 listed for $539K.

2 closed sales: Breakers West #B4 2/2 $430K, Sanibel Inn #3535 2/2 $656.5K.

HOMES

4 new listings: 1825 Ardsley Way 3/2 $548K, 1674 Bunting Ln 3/2 $569K, 218 Daniel Dr 3/2.5 $849K, 547 N. Yachtsman Dr 4/2.5 $965K.

2 price changes: 475 Sea Oats Dr 3/3 now $750K, 1048 Kings Crown Dr 4/4 now $1,224,995.

7 new sales: 1644 Atlanta Plaza Dr 2/2 listed for $459.5K, 621 Lake Murex Cir 2/2 listed for $509K, 497 Lake Murex Cir 4/3 listed for $715K, 4444 Waters Edge Ln 3/2 listed for $949K, 1066 Bailey Rd 3/3 listed for $970K, 1817 Buckthorn Ln 4/3.5 listed for $1.095M, 283 Ferry Landing Dr 3/2 listed for $1.695M.

5 closed sales: 2011 Mitzi Ln 2/1 $415K, 1841 Ibis Ln 2/2 $435K, 2551 Sanibel Blvd 3/2 $465K, 2729 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 $1.092M, 5612 Baltusrol Ct 4/3/5 $1.675M.

LOTS

2 new listings: 1299 Par View Dr $235K, 2462 Wulfert Rd $259K.

1 price change: 1540 San Carlos Bay Dr now $1.195M.

No new sales.

1 closed sale: 4309 Gulf Pines Dr $270K.

Captiva
CONDOS

No new listing, price changes, news sales, or closed sales:

HOMES

1 new listing: 11535 Wightman Ln 3/3 $1.325M.

2 price changes: 16785 Captiva Dr 4/3.5 now $1.695M, 15009 Binder Dr 4/5.5 now $4.25M

1 new sale: 16682 Captiva Dr 10/12.5 listed for $11.9M (my buyer).

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.

2013 StarsHappy Birthday, America!

Here’s wishing everyone a safe & fun Independence Day!

Twas Two Nights Before Christmas at SanibelSusan


It has been pretty quiet today at SanibelSusan Realty. Elise, Lisa, and Dave are enjoying a long weekend (Monday is a holiday for them too), while I am here hoping for some showing inquiries. We have a couple of offers in the works. Those are always fun for me and hopefully productive.
 

My yard, taken December 22, 2011

The December island weather continues to be delightful. Bright blue sky and temps in the high 70’s low 80’s expected right into next week. The bike paths, beaches, restaurants, shops, and roadways are busy busy. I think it is safe to say that the holiday visitors are arriving.

 
Here are a couple of news items about island animals. They are from a January Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation newsletter article called “Living With New Island Wildlife” by Dee Serage, SCCF Living with Wildlife Educator. Following those is a good summary posted today by Florida Realtor of their top ten stories in 2011.
 

“Coyotes and a Florida Black Bear

“Residents of Sanibel and Captiva work harder than most at living with wildlife. Last winter two new species, coyote and Florida black bear, moved on the islands, roaming the preserved lands as well as island neighborhoods. These newcomers require us to become even more vigilant, making sure our neighbors and visitors don’t intentionally or unintentionally feed any wildlife. Both coyote and black bear can become dumpster divers if we don’t protect them from this horrible fate. Fed wildlife usually ends up dead wildlife. Please make sure garbage for pickup and pet food are not left out overnight.
“To date there is one Florida black bear documented on Sanibel. The City of Sanibel and the State of Florida have been trying unsuccessfully to capture and relocate the bear since last summer. So far the bear continues to shy away from direct human contact as most black bears to, but a recent call from The Sanctuary Golf Club told of the bear pushing a golf course garbage can 30 feet across the green into the mangroves! By e-mail photos, plastic bag, and Tupperware containers, scat samples have made their way to SCCF for identification. Scat samples from Gulf Ridge and outside the Bailey tract have been identified as black bear. One sample was full of bird feathers, others contained palm fruit. Bears are very opportunistic feeders. Last summer the bear raided bee hives on SCCF property that belong to the Curtis family, bears like to eat bees even more than honey. The Curtis Family from Labelle has been keeping bees on Sanibel since 1954. having domesticated bee hives on Sanibel is a way to stop the aggressive Africanized bees from moving in. New queen bees bred for docility are added to the hives often. If aggressive bees move into the hives, they will be bred into docility.
“In November, a coyote was found road-killed on San-Cap Road and soon after two coyotes were photographed together by the Refuge’s wildlife camera. Florida is the last state to have coyotes populate every county, Sanibel may be the last city to have them move in…but coyotes are here to stay and we have a family. Coyotes move and hunt in family units, not packs. They also are opportunistic feeders, and their diet includes fruits. This summer coyotes predated a few sea turtle nests. Raccoons predate nests every year. Plans are being made to protect more nests with screens for the upcoming sea turtle season.
“To learn more about these new island species, please attend the “Coyote and Bear Tales” Program on January 5 or 18, or call Dee at 472-2329.”
 

Eagles at Gulf Pines

As many residents have noted, the Gulf Pines eagle nest is gone. The nest was on SCCF land in a snag (a dead tree) that snapped in half and fell over sometime in the early hours of October 18. Since that time, SCCF staffers and many others have been watching the eagle pair closely to see how they cope. Within a week, both eagles were seen flying with nesting materials in their talons and began working on at least two nests, which is not unusual. Field studies have shown that bald eagles often build multiple nests within their territory, with an average of 1.5 nests per territory, and ranging from one nest to five nests. Usually only one next will be used for nesting in any given nesting season. During the Thanksgiving holiday, the new nest at the original site also came down, but as of press time, the pair is on the remaining nest. Eggs were not found at either downed nest.
“To help this eagle pair remain at the Gulf Pines site, SCCF staff with the help of resident eagle expert, Bird Westall, are designing a nesting platform based on examples in the scientific literature. There are several reports of bald eagles successfully raising young in nests on manmade platforms.
“In order to permit his project, SCCF is communicating with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Both agencies have granted permission to move forward with planning for this platform. LCEC (Lee County Electric Coop) will be providing the 80-foot pole necessary to hold the platform and – unlike osprey platforms – there will be shade for the hottest part of the day. Timing of installation will depend on ground conditions in the area, which remain flooded at the moment.
“Along with the construction of the platform – and at the agencies request – SCCF will be formulating a research project to be associated with the effort. You might wonder if an artificial nest platform is a good idea given that the eagles are working on their own solution for the loss of their nest. Having multiple nests is not usual for bald eagles. In the case of the Gulf Pines eagles, the optimal way forward is to increase the odds of successful nesting by giving them a platform option in addition to the tree test.
“Biologists have shown that an eagle pair will continue to nest in the territory where they have successfully fledged young before. Even if a pair skips a year raising young, they may remain loyal to that site.
“To learn more about island eagles, please attend the eagle program by Bird Westall on Friday, February 10. Feel free to call Dee at 472-2329 with questions and for updates regarding this eagle pair.
 
Florida Realtors Top 10 Stories in 2011
 
1. Once-in-a-generation time to buy. Who’s in?
Most renters want to buy a home: 72% consider homeownership a good financial decision, and 64% believe the time is right, according to the National Association of Realtors® 2011 Housing Pulse survey. Mortgage rates hit a record low of 3.94% this year, homes sold for a fraction of their value five years ago, and excess inventory provided every buyer with a range of options. In some cities, homeownership became cheaper than renting. But job insecurities made buyers nervous to commit. Those who did found it difficult to get financing despite stellar credit scores. As a result, 2011 saw a real estate market with great deals, yet fewer buyers than needed. In 10 years, however, many Americans may look back on 2011 as the best time in a generation to invest in real estate.
2. The economy rebounded, sorta, kinda, a little
The Florida economy remained sluggish as unemployment rates stayed uncomfortably high and home sales stayed uncomfortably low; but, across the board, the state showed signs of recovery, with almost every economic indicator suggesting brighter days ahead. Home sales edged higher most months; selling prices held their own and, in a few cases, median selling prices rose. Floridians’ consumer confidence also rose toward the end of the year after bobbing around for most of the summer. Employment followed, and while the state has a long way to go to hit “normal,” it reached a 2011 level of “better than last year.”
3. Commercial market leaves “dire” for “not as bad”
Florida investors increasingly want to buy office, retail and industrial properties, says Cynthia Shelton, Florida Realtors’ 2009 president and a director at Colliers International in Orlando. Vacancy rates, while high, have stabilized, along with rental rates. Core assets (essential to businesses) are selling and lenders – including the life insurance companies – are lending again. Banks are more realistic about prices for distressed properties, and 2012 should see the entry of more commercial tenants. “With modest economic growth and job creation, the fundamentals for commercial real estate should gradually improve in the coming year,” adds Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.
4. Florida Legislature: We got Amendment 4 and scrapped the cap
Florida Realtors had a number of victories in the 2011 Florida Legislature, but none as important as a constitutional amendment voters will consider in November 2012, and none so hard-fought as a law to “scrap the cap” on Florida’s affordable housing trust funds. Amendment 4, if approved by Florida voters, will create a property tax increase cap of 5%each year on non-homestead real estate, down from the current 10% cap. It will also give some first-time homebuyers a property tax break that decreases over time. In 2012, Florida Realtors will roll out its “Yes on 4” campaign. In the “scrap the cap” victory, the Florida Legislature agreed to allow all doc stamps earmarked for the affordable housing Sadowski Trust Fund to actually go into the fund.
5. Fasten your seatbelts. Property insurance is a bumpy ride.
Lawmakers wrestled with a question that has been around for years: Should property insurance be affordable or available? If affordable, a major storm could bankrupt the state. If widely available, the cost could drive buyers away and hurt current homeowners. Citizens Property Insurance, the state-owned insurer, sits squarely in the middle of the debate since it covers most of the high-risk properties and, should a major storm hit, would force all Floridians to help pay for damages. To attract private insurers to the state and cut down on the number of owners under Citizens, Gov. Scott and lawmakers made changes. Sinkhole coverage became optional and much more expensive. Citizens dropped about 7,500 coastal homes in early December, and policy costs and rules are set to become even stricter in 2012. The uneasy balance between affordable or available insurance shifted a bit closer to the “available” side.
6. Facts at your fingertips: Florida Realtors adds research department
Florida Realtors Industry and Data Analysis Department (IDA) opened for business in June 2011. Designed to provide practical information for association members, Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo says the department will help Realtors in Florida deal more effectively with increasingly educated consumers. The services provided by IDA include current analyses of Florida’s real estate market and support for Florida Realtors’ public policy efforts in Tallahassee.
7. HAMP, HARP, TARP do little for at-risk homeowners

Falling home values and risky mortgages caused more Florida owners to face foreclosure. The government created, and modified, a number of programs slated to help owners keep their homes, but most applied only to about half of those in trouble – owners who had mortgages held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Even then, however the carrots held out by HAMP, HARP, TARP and others didn’t entice lenders that feared principal cuts and long-term changes. The issue led to some strategic defaults – foreclosures where investors could afford to pay but walked away as a financial decision – court backups, and a system that allowed some non-paying owners to live in a home for over two years before authorities finally foreclosed. Analysts expect the problem to improve but continue in 2012.
8. Should we slow the recovery to avoid another crisis?
U.S. regulators have conflicting goals: Speed the recovery but, at the same time, take steps to make sure it never happens again. Unfortunately, it hasn’t figured out how to do both. While the federal government has tried to spark home sales through a number of programs (see No. 7 above), it has also created obstacles to homeownership by boosting mortgage rules, tightening appraisal standards and restricting the amount homeowners can deduct from federal taxes. A key concern of Realtors heading into 2012 is the qualified residential mortgage (QRM) rule – a minimum standard that mortgage loans must meet before Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac will consider buying them. Some lawmakers have suggested a 20% down-payment, a high standard that will force many buyers to wait years before they can afford homeownership. The discussion will continue in 2012.
9. Social networking goes from ‘cutting edge’ to ‘must do’
New technology no longer surprises Realtors, who have been inundated with “cutting edge solutions” that now allow them to post videos, track complete transactions stored in a “cloud,” sign contracts without actually signing anything and politely ask their phone to look up information. Social networking was once the realm of early-adopters, and Realtors sold it to clients as “look what I can do for you.” Now, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Goggle+ (new in 2011) and other social networking sites are standard in the real estate business. 10. 2011 Realtors are different from 2005 Realtors
The skills needed to sell a house have changed. Realtors spend a lot more time talking to banks, trying to find out what’s happening with a client’s short sale; asking what paperwork they needed to file or re-file; and understanding new laws that oversee what they can do – and can’t do – when working with short-sale sellers. Realtors learned to accept disappointment – sales that fell apart at the last minute; appraisals that came in lower than hoped; and clients who wanted a bargain below any reasonable expectations.
 

This is the Sanibel & Captiva MLS Activity Posted from Dec 16-23:

Sanibel
CONDOS
10 new listings: Donax Village #18 2/2 $369K; Blind Pass #G102 2/2 $389K; Blind Pass #E207 2/2.5 $399K; Sanibel Moorings #321 2/2 $415K; Sanibel Arms West #I8 2/2 $449K; Mariner Pointe #142 2/2 $459K; Sanibel Inn #3534 2/2 $495K; Sandalfoot #4A3 2/2 $579K; Lighthouse Point #125 2/2 $599,995; Gulfside Place #117 2/2 $986K.
7 price changes: Sundial #G206 1/1 now $279.9K, Sundial #I301 1/1 now $490K, Tarpon Beach #201 2/2 now $649K, Island Beach Club #P1E 2/2 now $674.5K, Gulf Beach #207 2/2 now $719K, Oceans Reach #2D2 2/2 now $799K, Sundial #L305 2/2 now $899K. 
2 new sales: Mariner Pointe #1082 2/2 listed for $298.5K, Sedgemoor #203 3/3.5 listed for $2.29M.
4 closed sales: Sanibel Arms #E6 1/1 $213,143; Sundial #D203 1/1 $345K; Pelicans Roost #302 2/2 $740K; Sundial #E201 2/2 $790K.
 
HOMES
8 new listings: 1427 Sandpiper Cir 2/2 half-duplex $339K, 1331 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 $749K, 970 East Gulf Dr 3/4.5 $763K (short sale), 1735 Jewel Box Dr 3/2 $800K, 550 N Yachtsman Dr 3/2 $959K, 598 Kinzie Island Ct 3/3.5 $1.595M, 2981 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 $2.199M, 3911 West Gulf Dr 5/5.5 $4.8M.
4 price changes: 1208 Harbour Cottage Ct 3/3 half-duplex now $699K, 765 Conch Ct 7/4 now $859K, 4960 Joewood Dr 4/3 now $899.9K, 1360 Eagle Run Dr 5/3.5 now $940K (short sale).
3 new sales: 966 Fitzhugh 2/1 listed for $364K,1929 Sanibel Bayous Rd 4/3 listed for $449K, 3145 Twin Lakes Ln 3/3 listed for $479,974.
6 closed sales: 978 Greenwood Ct S 3/2.5 half-duplex $340K, 436 Glory Cir 3/3 $535K, 987 Black Skimmer Way 2/2 $540K, 4215 Gulf Pines Dr 5/3.5 $542.5K, 4714 Rue Belle Mer 3/2 $590K, 1287 Par View 3/2 $759K.
 
LOTS
3 new listings: 5750 San-Cap Rd $289K, 2475 Tropical Way Ct $499K, 1540 San Carlos Bay Dr $1.495M.
2 price changes: 4077 Coquina Dr now $225K, 2988 Wulfert Rd now $429K.
No new sales.
1 closed sale:  2355 Wulfert Rd $154K.
 
Captiva
CONDOS
2 new listings: Bayside Villas #118 1/2 $280K, Captiva Shores #5D 2/2 $768.5K.
No price changes.
1 new sale: Beach Villas #2628 2/2 listed for $699K.
No closed sales.
 
HOMES
1 new listing: 11515 Murmond Ln 2/3 $1.749M.
1 price change: 4 Sunset Captiva Ln 3/3 now $2.399M.
No new sales.
1 closed sale: 15 Seascape Ct 3/2 $740K.
 
LOTS
1 new listing: 11515 Gore Ln $595K.
No  price changes, new sales, or closings.
 
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 the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.  If your property currently is listed with another broker, this is not intended as a solicitation of that listing.My wreath

Best wishes from Susan & the entire SanibelSusan Team for a very Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!