The Friday Before Christmas on Sanibel & Captiva Islands

All is well on Sanibel and Captiva Islands with picture-perfect weather all week. However, thanks to a cool front today, temperatures have dropped into the 60’s and it is only expected to be in the 30’s tonight. It is breezy but with bright blue skies. Just that little bit of change excites islanders looking forward to digging out their sweaters for a couple of days each winter. We can put them away quickly though, as it is expected to be back into the high 70’s by Christmas eve and the low 80’s by Christmas day. 

Here are photos of a few island-style Christmas trees. Sanibel and Captiva Islands may be snow-less, but they are festive!

At Timbers Fish Market

At Timbers Fish & Seafood Market on Sanibel

The Sanibel Grill

Entry to The Sanibel Grill on Sanibel, note the water dish

Normandie Seaside Pub, Sanibel

Normandie Seaside Pub, Sanibel

In The Sanctuary Golf Clubhouse, Sanibel

In The Sanctuary Golf Clubhouse, Sanibel

‘Tween Waters Resort on Captiva

At the Mucky Duck Beach on Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva

At the Mucky Duck Beach on Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva

South Seas Resort, Captiva

South Seas Resort, Captiva

Near South Seas Resort entrance on Captiva

Near South Seas Resort entrance on Captiva

Bismark palm on Captiva Drive

Bismark palm on Captiva Drive

Charlie Brown tree on Captiva Drive

Charlie Brown tree on Captiva Drive

At SanibelSusan Realty Associates

At SanibelSusan Realty Associates

SanibelSusan's Charlie Brown tree at home

SanibelSusan’s Charlie Brown tree at home

Sanibel & Captiva Real Estate Action This Week

SANSLogoWe had a few listings shown this week and a fair turn-out at yesterday’s Realtor® caravan. I had a double-dip closing on Tuesday (both listed and sold), then was out showing property too. Dave held an open house at our Sundial listing on Tuesday and Loggerhead Cay today. I have been negotiating on an offer this week that got finalized today, so all-in-all, a productive week for SanibelSusan Realty Associates, even with the holiday distractions.

Polar Bear Plunge Coming Up

Old Polar Bear PlungeAs reported in the “Island Sun”: 

“For those who are on-island for New Year’s, the 13th annual meeting of the Sanibel-Captiva Chapter of the National Polar Bear Club will take place at noon on January 1 at Tarpon Bay Beach. When the club started in 2000, just 29 people showed up to brave taking a dip in the Gulf of Mexico. Last year, more than 350 bears took the plunge. The meeting begins with the singing of the traditional Polar Bear anthem by the Cubbies (1st-timers), Juveniles (1-time previous dippers) and seasoned Adult bears (those who took the plunge in previous years). The bears then enter the Gulf waters backwards, facing the huge crowd of supporters, on-lookers, tourists, and Mice (those who wished they had the courage to join in). Following the traditional Polar Bear group huddle/hug (a body-warming activity), participants will have an opportunity to sip from the giant Polar Bear champagne glass, have their picture taken in the infamous shell pith helmet, and engage in story-telling about their heroic experience with fellow Polar Bears from around the world. Everyone is welcome to attend the Polar Bear plunge, now considered an island tradition (which costs nothing to participate).”

A Few Energy-Saving Tips

Green-Energy-TipsThere were some timely reminders in the Lee County Electric Coop newsletter this month. You can conduct your own energy survey through their website at http://www.lcec.net. These tips and tricks may be helpful too:

  • “Keep the oven door closed. When you have to “sneak a peek” at the turkey or cookies, turn the oven light on and look through the window.
  • Cook with glass or ceramic pans. They heat faster, and you can set the temperature 25 degrees lower.
  • Use crock pots, microwave, and toaster ovens, when possible. They all use less energy than the oven.
  • Gently remind guests to turn off lights and fans when they leave a room. Remember, fans do not actually cool your home they only circulate the air, making you feel cooler.
  • Switch holiday lights to LED and set on a timer to reduce the amount of time you use them.”
  • “Washers – only run full loads; wash in cold water whenever possible; unplug or use circuit breaker to shut off power to washer when not in use; if possible, move washer close to your water heater to help retain heated water in pipes; always rinse in cold water, it has not effect on the cleaning of clothes; adjust waters levels to laundry load size on your washer, if possible; invest in an energy-saving washer.”

15-Year Mortgages Gain Popularity With Buyers

wall street journalAs follow-up to a “Wall Street Journal” article earlier in the week, “Daily Real Estate News” posted the following yesterday:

“Record-low rates are driving more borrowers to seek shorter term mortgages. Freddie Mac reports that nearly 16% of the fixed-rate mortgages that lenders sold to the agency during the 3rd quarter were comprised of 15-year mortgages. That’s up from nearly 10% a year ago. The data excludes mortgages for refinancing. For refinancing, 15-year mortgages accounted for nearly a third of loans during the first seven months of this year, according to CoreLogic. “The 30-year mortgage became the standard in lending because its lower monthly payments made real estate affordable to more Americans,” The Wall Street Journal reports. “While the 30-year remains king, the gap between the two loans’ popularity is shrinking.”

“Fifteen-year fixed-rate mortgages have recently averaged 2.81% — compared to 5.85% in mid-December 2007, according to HSH.com, a mortgage information Web site. Some refinancers are finding that by switching from a 30-year to a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage they are able to not only get big savings on the life of their mortgage but also even slightly lower monthly payments. Traditionally, refinancing into a shorter-term mortgage meant paying a heftier monthly payment. But with mortgage rates so low, some home owners are finding the monthly payment isn’t increasing and may actually be less by shortening the terms of their mortgage.”

Captiva 2013-2014 Re-nourishment Project

CaptivaThe Captiva Erosion Prevention District announced recently that it is accepting bids for its 2013-2014 re-nourishment project. This project consists of placing approximately 877,000 cubic yards of beach fill along six miles of shoreline and rehabilitation of existing dunes from Redfish Pass to Blind Pass and also a portion of northern Sanibel. The work will start between June 1 and September 1 and be completed by December 31, 2013. For more info, go to www.mycepd.com.

Agents Prepare Homebuyers to Compete

FLRealtors_newlogoThe islands have not yet seen the swing from buyers’ market to sellers’ market, but the following article posted this week on FloridaRealtors® was a good read nonetheless. My Realtor® friends in Miami already are seeing multiple offers. Here’s hoping our area is next:

“House buyers in a growing number of areas are finding something they haven’t seen in years when house-hunting: Competition. With housing affordability high and mortgage rates low, homebuyers are ready to cash in – but they’re finding a lot of others are as well. Bidding wars are becoming more common, particularly as the inventory of for-sale homes remains constrained across the country.

““Buyers have to change their attitude about the way the market is,” says Carol Hooks, a real estate professional with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Alexandria, Va. “Many still think it’s OK to make a low offer and ask for closing-cost assistance, but they really need to come up with a good, realistic offer….

“Real estate professionals are helping to prepare their buyers for the increased competition. For example, they’re encouraging buyers to go through the mortgage-approval process and secure financing before they look for a home, armed with more than just a lender’s prequalification letter. Eldad Moraru with Long & Foster Real Estate in Bethesda, Md., says it’s important for buyers to find a lender who will be able to provide them with an approval letter within an hour of finding the home they want to purchase. The new letter should include the address of the property and the exact amount they plan to offer so they can attach it to the offer.

“Homebuyers also need to have their earnest money deposit and down-payment ready to go, Moraru says. “A lot of buyers will have some money in stocks to sell and some money in a checking account and will tell me they need a few days to get it together,” he said. “You need to have that money consolidated and accessible in one account before you find a house.” As competition heats up, buyers need to prepare to think fast.

“If (the buyer) moves fast enough, (they) can have a home inspection before (they) make an offer, and then waive the home-inspection contingency,” Moraru says about being competitive in some multiple bid situations if you know when the seller is going to be reviewing all offers.

“Some agents compare today’s competitive housing market to the process of dating. “You need to win on both looks and personality,” says Phil Bolin, a broker with RE/MAX Allegiance in Alexandria, Va. “The personality part is the fundamental issue of financing and down-payment, but the looks part doesn’t cost you anything. It can be as simple as making sure there are no mistakes in your contract. If there are mistakes or missing items in your offer, you don’t look like a serious buyer.””

Sanibel & Captiva Island Multiple Listing Service Activity December 14-21

Sanibel
CONDO
1 new listing: Sundial #K108 3/2 $1.1M.
No price changes.
2 new sales: Blind Pass #A105 listed for $395K, Compass Point #141 3/2 listed for $899K (our listing).
1 closed sale: Sanibel Arms West #M7 2/2 $398K (our listing & sale).

HOMES
6 new listings: 1401 Sandpiper Cir 3/2.5 half-duplex $419K, 2079 Wild Lime Dr 3/2 $525K, 395 Old Trail Rd 4/3 $599K, 617 East Rocks Dr 3/2 $625.9K, 1339 Par View Dr 3/2 $680K, 512 Periwinkle Way 3/3 $1.075M.
8 price changes: 4629 Brainard Bayou Rd 3/2 now $539K, 5296 Umbrella Pool Rd 4/4 now $549.9K, 1441 Causey Ct 3/2 now $725K, 3840 West Gulf Dr 3/2.5 now $739K, 2540 Coconut Dr 4/3.5 now $740K, 2729 Wulfert Rd 4/4.5 now $1.298M, 4717 Rue Belle Mer 3/3 now $1.895M (short sale), 505 Kinzie Island Ct 5/4.5 now $2.195M.
4 new sales: 1807 Serenity Ln 3/2 listed for $574K, 549 East Rocks Dr 3/2.5 listed for $795K, 1314 Isabel Dr 4/3.5 listed for $2.094M, 4689 Rue Belle Mer 3/2 listed for $2.295M.
5 closed sales: 1000 Greenwood Ct 3/2.5 half-duplex $322K, 760 Birdie View Pt 4/3.5 $769K (short sale), 1824 Woodring Rd 4/4 $1.025M, 6211 Starling Way 4/4.5 $1.95M, 1145 Bird Ln 5/5 $4.275M.

LOTS
1 new listing: 644 Sea Oats Dr $315K.
3 price changes: 5121 SanCap Rd now $249K, 6006 White Heron Ln now $749K, 837 Limpet Dr now $885K (our listing).
1 new sale: 659 Anchor Dr $448.5K.
No new sales.

Captiva
CONDO
No new listings.
1 price change: Gulf Beach Villas #2004 2/2 now $659K.
2 new sales: Marina Villas #801 2/2 listed for $552K, Sunset Beach Villas #2228 2/2 listed for $600K.
No closed sales.

HOMES
1 new listing: 11532 Wightman Ln 2/2 $1.475M.
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 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.

Merry Christmas!

TopofLighthouse

Little Affect on Sanibel & Captiva Islands from Hurricane Sandy

Sanibel sunset courtesy of Jim Anderson at JMA Photography.

Sanibel and Captiva Islands have seen another week of increased traffic, but little real estate action. Perhaps, there has been too much news about the economy and the election. We have been watching the weather channel too, especially over the last few days. With Hurricane Sandy now far to our east out in the Atlantic, the only effect on Sanibel and Captiva has been a little more breeze. It is bright and sunny here now (Friday afternoon on October 26) with 82 degree temperatures.

Last Biweekly Realtor Caravan

There was a good turn-out at the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Realtor® Caravan Meeting yesterday with 15 new listings open for member viewing. Whenever we see that many new listings, it is always an indication that it again is time for caravan to revert back to its every-week “season” schedule. Sure enough, that begins next Thursday with an East-End Caravan. Weeks then will rotate until spring, with properties in east and west locations alternating. Since visitors and vacationers alike soon learn that Thursday mornings are when these events occur, it is not unusual for us also to add an occasional open house to the mix. It pays to take advantage of those Thursday morning lookers and Lisa likes to sit those open houses – hopefully to either sell the listing or make contact with new prospective buyers.

Perfect Weather Expected for Halloween Festivities

“Real” fall weather is expected on the islands early next week. Thanks to Hurricane Sandy passing us to the east, on Monday and Tuesday, Sanibel is expected to be sunny with temperatures of only 73-75 degrees tops with lows of 55 degrees. Upcoming Halloween events including:

  • Tomorrow night, 10/27 – Hallo-Tween Costume Contest & Halloween Party – This adult event at ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort is Captiva Island’s most notorious Halloween event. Themed this year as a “Twisted Circus,” tickets are available at the door for $18 to anyone over the age of 21, the Twisted Circus Party will start out the night rocking the beach with live music with Deb and the Dynamics. This high-energy live band covers a range of Rock, R&B and Jump Blues, and is known as the ultimate dance-party band. ‘Tween Waters Inn also offers a $1,000 grand prize costume contest, with judging at midnight, along with another $1,000 in prizes for additional costume categories. The outdoor event from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. is infamous for the scope, size, scariness, outrageousness, raciness, zaniness, variety and creativity of costuming.
  • Wednesday, 10/31 (Halloween) – Trunk Or Treat At The Church – At the Sanibel Community Church (1740 Periwinkle Way, next to Jerry’s Market) from 4 to 6 p.m. Families are invited to stop with their children for holiday fun, games, finger foods and lots of treats.
  • Also Wednesday, 10/31 (Halloween) – Fall Family Carnival – Hosted by the Sanibel Community Association, at The Community House from 5 to 7 p.m. with candy, games, prizes and crafts, a dining area serving meals at family-friendly prices and a hay ride (courtesy of Billy’s Bike Shop). Everyone – kids, adults and volunteers – are encouraged to wear costumes. Multiple costume prizes will be awarded. Admission price is a bag of Halloween candy per family. More info at http://www.sanibelcommunityhouse.net/.

Early November Happenings on Sanibel

  • Bird Show – Libby is back, so the Periwinkle Park bird show begins again starting November 1. Walk or bike to the aviary at the park to see a show, daily (except Wednesdays & Sundays) at 10 a.m. http://www.sanibelcamping.com/
  • Sanibel Farmers Market – Reopens for “season” on Sunday, November 4, and will be open every Sunday, except Christmas, until the end of April. Over 30 vendors participate, selling local fruits and vegetables, flowers, honey, seafood, breads, cheeses, soups, pastas, organics, jams, nuts, salsa, & more. It is on the grounds of City Hall, 800 Dunlop Rd, next to the Sanibel Library and BIG Arts. Hours are 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Follow the market on Facebook.

More Luxury Homebuyers Opt for ARMs

An article posted on Florida Realtors® this week, sources a recent “Wall Street Journal” posting about the new surge of adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs).

            “Once blamed as one of the culprits behind the flood of foreclosures in recent years, adjustable-rate mortgages are back and rising in popularity, particularly among luxury homebuyers, The Wall Street Journal reports. ARMs offer super-low interest rates – at least for a certain period – compared to fixed-rate mortgages and are tempting homebuyers once again. ARMs can have a fixed-rate mortgage rate for a certain number of years, such as five or seven years, before they start fluctuating with the market and the monthly mortgage payments start rising.
            “For homebuyers who need a jumbo loan, ARMs are particularly tempting. ARMs make up 30% to 40% of the private jumbo market at Bank of America. They make up about half of all private jumbo loans by NASB Financial. “Lenders say high-net-worth buyers face relatively little risk because they can tap liquid assets to pay off a loan should a sudden spike in rates occur,” according to The Wall Street Journal. As such, high-end buyers are considering ARMs to finance their home purchases and unlocking some savings. For example, the rates could be as low as 2.82% on a jumbo 5/1 ARM, compared to 4.06% on a 30-year fixed-rate jumbo loan, according to HSH.com, a mortgage information website. “Over the first five years, borrowers with the 5/1 ARM would save nearly $90,900 in interest on a $1.5 million mortgage compared with a fixed-rate jumbo,” The Wall Street Journal notes.”

Strong New Home Sales Brighten Housing Picture

It always puts a smile on my face when a faithful blog reader, e-mails me a real estate article that I may have missed. Here’s good housing summary from an article that was posted on-line this week by “Reuters”. (Thank you, Scott!)

            “New U.S. single-family home sales surged in September to the highest level in nearly 2-1/2 years, further evidence the housing market recovery is gaining steam. The Commerce Department said on Wednesday that new home sales increased 5.7% to a seasonally adjusted 389,000-unit annual rate — the fastest pace since April 2010, when sales were boosted by a tax credit for first-time home buyers. Although sales in August were revised down to a 368,000-unit rate from the previously reported 373,000 units, the tenor of the report was relatively strong, with the median price of a new home rising 11.7% from a year ago.

            “The quickened pace in the housing sector is good news for the economy, but it remains one of the few bright spots. “Housing is now a positive for the economy after years of being a drag, but it’s not enough to counteract the slowdown in manufacturing, which was the star,” said David Berson, chief economist at Nationwide Insurance in Columbus, Ohio.

            “A second report showed only a modest pick-up in factory activity this month amid a darkening cloud of economic uncertainty at home and slower growth abroad. The home sales data was the latest to show the housing market on the mend from its brutal collapse in 2006, which dragged the economy through its worst recession since the Great Depression.

            “Rising sales are pushing down the stock of unsold properties on the market, lifting prices and giving builders more confidence to take on new projects. Demand for housing is being driven by a steady rise in the number of U.S. households, which had declined during the recession as financially strapped Americans moved in with family and friends. Modest job gains, increased job security and record low mortgage rates are encouraging many to seek home ownership.

            “The U.S. Federal Reserve has targeted housing as a channel to boost growth, announcing last month that it would buy $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities per month until the outlook for employment improved substantially. The action helped push already low mortgage rates even lower. However, mortgage rates rose last week, dampening demand for loans to purchase homes during that period.

            “The Fed’s monetary policy committee on Wednesday stuck to its ultra accommodative stance even as it acknowledged that some parts of the economy, including the housing market, were looking a bit better.

MANUFACTURING SLUGGISH

            “While the Fed’s stimulus is supporting the consumption side of the economy, concerns about domestic fiscal policy and slowing global demand are hobbling the production side.

            “In a separate report, financial information firm Markit said its U.S. “flash,” or preliminary, Purchasing Managers Index for the manufacturing sector edged up to 51.3 this month from 51.1 in September. A reading above 50 indicates expansion. A modest rise in output helped boost business conditions in the sector, which suffered its weakest quarter in three years during the July-to-September period. But fewer orders from domestic clients and a fifth straight monthly decline in overseas demand for U.S. goods indicated manufacturing was acting as a drag on growth and employment, said Markit Chief Economist Chris Williamson. “Purchasing managers report that the key to the ongoing weakness remains uncertainty among customers in export markets, notably Europe and Asia,” he said.

            “The slowdown in factory activity is largely the result of fears that the U.S. Congress might fail to avoid the automatic tax hikes and government spending cuts that will suck about $600 billion out of the economy next year. The housing data, however, showed no signs yet that the so-called fiscal cliff has crossed the radar of ordinary Americans.

            “The inventory of new homes on the market remained near record lows in September, although some economists worry a pick-up in building activity could undercut the market if sales do not rise significantly further.

            “At September’s sales pace it would take 4.5 months to clear the new homes on the market, the fewest since October 2005 and down from 4.7 months in August. Sales last month were up in three of the four regions. They tumbled 37.3% in the Midwest.”

Big Hurdles Pose Challenge to Housing Recovery

On Wednesday, “Daily Real Estate News” online, had a similar spin, sourced from a MSN Real Estate article entitled “Could the Housing Recovery Sputter to a Halt?

            “Home prices are inching up, record-low mortgage rates are creating more urgency with buyers, and foreclosures are falling. But despite the glowing reports, economists are still questioning whether the housing recovery will last.

            “The challenges that persist could make this “one of the longest, most excruciating recoveries in housing history,” MSN Real Estate reports.  “Some of those challenges to the housing recovery: Access to credit still remains very tight, job growth remains weak, and a large number of underwater home owners are still waiting for prices to jump more so they can have equity in their homes once again and then move on. “Real incomes are not growing,” says Sam Khater, deputy chief economist for real-estate analytics firm CoreLogic. “We are at the same level we were in the mid-1990s. [The recovery] is not sustainable until incomes recover.”

            “Also, economic uncertainty could prompt many potential home buyers to remain the sidelines, says Alex Villacorta, director of research and analytics at Clear Capital. “Debt-ceiling brinksmanship pushed down consumer sentiment 14.3% last year, the largest amount since the end of the recession, and uncertainty over taxes could throw a wrench into the recovery,” Villacorta told MSN Real Estate.

            “The number of underwater home owners also is constraining inventories of for-sale homes across the country. About 22.3% of homes — or 10.8 million home owners — who have mortgages were underwater or in negative equity at the end of the second quarter, according to CoreLogic. In the next two years, more home owners are projected to gain equity in their homes, which could likely cause inventories to grow. According to CoreLogic, just a 5% increase in annual home prices would likely lead to a “significant” number of underwater home owners obtaining equity in their homes. 

            “Still, some economists are watching the housing recovery closely and cautiously to determine whether it’s sustainable.  “It seems as if we have a long recovery in order, given the slow economic growth and pace of hiring,” says Ingo Winzer, president of Local Market Monitor.

            “Nevertheless, economists say the positive signs in the housing data in recent weeks can’t be ignored. For example, existing-home sales are up 11% in September compared to the same time last year. The median home price is $183,900, 11.3% higher than year-ago levels, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Median prices of new homes also rose 11.2% in August, posting the largest one-month increase ever recorded, the Commerce Department reported.”

START To Extend Beach Monitoring Effort On Islands

A recent article in “The Island Sun” offered the following update on island beaches.

            “An enhanced beach-monitoring initiative sponsored and implemented by the Sanibel-Captiva chapter of START, will begin to provide up-to-date info on red tide blooms and other conditions at beaches throughout the islands. The local chapter of START (Solutions To Avoid Red Tide), a statewide environmental organization, is collaborating with Mote Marine Lab to enhance its current Beach Conditions Report program for Sanibel and Captiva. This Internet-based reporting network apprises visitors and residents of daily beach conditions, in an effort to minimize potential health impacts and maximize enjoyment of area beaches. Currently, beach conditions at ‘Tween Waters Inn on Captiva and at Bowman’s Beach on Sanibel are monitored by MOTE-trained observers, and information is uploaded to a website twice daily. START will extend the monitored locations to include Lighthouse Beach, Causeway Islands Park, Bailey Beach, Gulfside City Park, Blind Pass and other frequented beaches across the islands….

            “Nancy McPhee, program manager of new product development for the Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau, thinks the addition of new reporting locations will prove valuable in further assisting island visitors….

            “Dr. Bruce Neill, president of the Sanibel-Captiva chapter of START (& from Sanibel Sea School), is pleased that his volunteer organization will spearhead the added monitoring efforts. “It is very exciting to be able to sponsor this service for our community,” Neill said. “We are an organization dedicated to coastal conservation through education and outreach. Helping to minimize the impacts that red tide has on our island communities is one of our main goals. We would like to help people avoid sections of our beaches that are most heavily impacted by red tide. “A second, but still very important aspect of this increased beach coverage is that it will help visitors realize that when we have impacts from red tide, it is usually not the entire island that is affected and that there are almost always places they can go to enjoy the ocean.”

            “Cracker Fest, the annual START fundraiser scheduled to take place the evening of Friday, November 2 at The Bait Box on Sanibel, will generate the funding for this expanded network of beach reporting. Local START board members will organize monitoring efforts for the islands, and interested area residents are also invited to volunteer. If you would like to become a beach monitor during red tide outbreaks, contact call 239-472-8585. If you would like to view the Beach Conditions Report, visit http://coolgate.mote.org/beachconditions and click on the Lee County area of the map. For more info on preserving our coastal waters, visit www.start1.org.”

            The Sanibel Sea School blog (http://sanibelseaschool.org/blog/) is an excellent way to also stay informed about the island environmental issues too. As an avid ready, SanibelSusan can tell you that, it is not just for kids!

Hurricane Sandy Could Improve Local Red Tide Conditions

For those unaware, the islands have experienced small outbreaks of red tide over the past couple of weeks (which is a normal occurrence, particularly at this time of the year). Sometimes it is here for just a couple of days, occasionally a little longer. Here is the essence of a report posted on NBC2 news just this morning:

            “While Hurricane Sandy threatens the east coast, some researchers say the storm could help reduce red tide on this coast. But that doesn’t mean all of the toxin’s affects will disappear. As Hurricane Sandy hits Southeast Florida, its winds are also kicking up water on the west coast.

            “Research scientist Rick Bartleson says that may be a good thing. He studies water samples from Sanibel Island and for the fifth consecutive day, his tests show low levels of toxic red tide. “While the water is coming down here, the waves are breaking up. And when waves break, that causes turbulence that affects the red tide and can break up cells,” he said. And what cells survive, Bartleson says, the storm will likely push south, slowing down blooms in Pine Island Sound and the Gulf of Mexico. But even as blooms break up, problems for wildlife could continue – especially for birds. Once they ingest the toxin, it accumulates. In the past two days, rescuers checked more than half a dozen sick birds into CROW Wildlife Hospital and at least one died. “They eat the fish that are feeding on the red tide bloom,” said Jeana Harms, with CROW. Well after researchers detect red tide, wildlife feels its effects. So Harms says she’s prepared for more patients. “We’re at the beginning, so it’s going to be a little while before we really start to see a varied amount of species coming in,” she said. Sandy won’t reverse the toll red tide has already taken on some wildlife, but scientists hope, could slow its growth.”

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity October 19-26 

Sanibel
CONDOS
8 new listings: Colonnades #12 1/1 $139.9K; Tennisplace #A26 2/1.5 $327,555; Loggerhead Cay #261 2/2 $549K; Pointe Santo #A22 2/2 $789K; Lighthouse Point #323 2/2 $898.5K; Lantana #102 3/3.5 $1.697.5M; Tamarind #B301 2/2 $1.875M; Seascape #104 3/3 $2.7M.
2 price changes: Sanibel Arms #A1 2/2 now $420K, Pointe Santo #E3 2/2 now $849K.
1 new sale: Sanibel Arms West #K3 2/2 listed for $375K (short sale).
1 closed sale: Colonnades #47 1/1 $106.7K (our Seller).

HOMES
8 new listings: 1693 Bunting Ln 3/2 $745K, 544 Sea Oats Dr 4/4 $899.9K, 786 Conch Ct 3/2 $1.05M, 479 Lagoon Dr 3/3 $1.195M, 1349 Eagle Run Dr 3/2.5 $1.295M, 5423 Osprey Ct 3/2.5 $1.695M, 1272 Isabel Dr 4/4.5 $3.9M, 4067 West Gulf Dr 4/4.5 $4.75M.
6 price changes: 220 Palm Lake Dr 3/3 now $529K, 3344 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 now $595K, 9203 Dimmick Dr 4/2 now $690K, 1516 Angel Dr 3/2 now $799K, 1314 Isabel Dr 4/3.5 now $2.094M, 3705 West Gulf Dr 5/5/2 now $3.995M.
7 new sales: 1663 Bunting Ln 3/2 listed for $344K (short sale), 3002 Poinciana Dr 3/2 listed for $359K, 6467 Pine Ave 3/3 listed for $495K, 1125 Captains Walk St 2/2 listed for $499.9K, 1755 Jewel Box Dr 3/2 listed for $599K, 1233 Middle Gulf Dr 3/2 listed for $699.9K, 1765 Venus Dr 3/3 listed for $1.15M.
1 closed sale:  1188 Harbour Cottage Ct 3/3 $548K.

LOTS
No new listings.
3 price changes:  3037 Poinciana Cir now $219,555; 1450 Tahiti Dr now $229,555; 5830 San-Cap Rd now $385,555.
No new or closed sales.

Captiva

CONDOS
2 new listings:  Venture Captiva #2B 3/3 $849K, Lands End Village #1611 2/2 $1.225M.
1 price change:  Lands End Village #1610 3/3 $1.895M.
1 new sale: Gulf Beach Villas #2116 1/1 listed for $439K.
No closed sales.

HOMES
No new listings, price changes, or new sales.
1 closed sale:  15158 Captiva Dr 5/4 #1.7M (short sale).

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 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.

Sanibel & Captiva Islands Mid-September Real Estate Update

At the Fulgur Street beach access looking east 09-14-12

It has been another fairly quiet week on the islands, but plenty of pre-season work is evident everywhere.

New elevator at Sanibel Siesta 09-14-12

I heard the first reports yesterday of business picking up with winter vacation rentals. That activity usually means temperatures are dropping up north and folks are starting to plan their winter getaways.

At the Fulgar St beach access looking west over a turtle nesting area 09-14-12

At the Fulgur St beach access looking west over a turtle nesting area 09-14-12

The first snow bird returned on my street this week too. Those who homestead most likely will be back early, to vote.

Just a handful of sales and new listings were announced at our Realtor Caravan Meeting yesterday, but attendance was up – another indicator that “season” is just around the corner. Elise’s report below the MLS activity this week. Lisa and Dave were out previewing new inventory yesterday and I am working on the class I will be teaching at the Association Office next week on the Resort and 2nd-Home Market as part of the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Specialist Designation. Quite a few Realtors®, including some well-experienced ones, are signed up so I am digging deep. Should be fun!

Another Sign That Home Prices Have Hit Bottom

This article from “Daily Real Estate News” this week was sourced to “The Wall Street Journal”: “Economists are increasingly confident that home prices have bottomed out. 

“For the last three years, home prices have usually risen in the spring and summer to only then lose all of those increases—plus more—in the fall and winter months. However, economists expect this year to be different and do not foresee such a big drop to occur to home prices in the colder months ahead, The Wall Street Journal reports. While the fall months likely will bring out some sort of decrease in recent home price increases, “we have a much better supply and demand dynamic” than in previous years, Mark Fleming, CoreLogic’s chief economist, told The Wall Street Journal. Home prices have posted some of their largest year-over-year jumps compared to the last six years. 

“According to CoreLogic, home prices have risen 9.6% from February, which was the month prices reached their lowest levels since the housing slowdown. Economists say it’s unlikely that, given recent indicators, home prices will reverse course steeply and fall 9.6% or even more in the coming months. Home prices haven’t dropped by that type of percentage since the economy was in a recession.”

Americans Keep Feeling Better About Housing

An article posted on Florida Realtors® on Tuesday says: “Consumer sentiment regarding the housing market continues its modestly positive trend, according to Fannie Mae’s August 2012 National Housing Survey.

“Americans maintained a cautious but improving outlook on the housing market and homeownership. In August, more people said it’s a good time to sell, and more expect housing prices to rise over the next year. However, Fannie Mae says stalling household financial expectations and declining economic optimism likely mean the housing market recovery rate will remain tempered. “Consumer attitudes toward the housing market remain modestly positive, despite signs of increased concern over the direction of the economy,” says Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist of Fannie Mae.

“Survey respondents expect home prices to increase 1.6% in the next year, on average, down slightly from the high of 2.0% in June. The number of respondents who expect home prices to decline totaled 11% – the lowest level since the survey began in June 2010. Eighteen percent say it’s a good time to sell, marking the highest level since the survey’s inception. Regarding mortgage rates, 40% expect a rise in the next 12 months, an increase of 4% points over July.

“Meanwhile, the survey showed increasing consumer pessimism about the direction of the overall economy. The number of respondents who believe the economy is headed in the wrong direction ticked up 2% points to 60%, the third consecutive rise and the highest reading since January. Those who expect their financial situation to worsen dipped to 13%, while those expecting their situation to remain the same increased modestly to 41%.”

Upcoming Island Events

Sept 15 – Tomorrow is the 27th Annual Coastal Cleanup “Keep Lee County Beautiful”. Be at the SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) Nature Center at 3333 Sanibel-Captiva Road at 9 a.m. to participate.

Oct 3 – Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum’s 3rd Annual Celebrity Island Dinner at Trader’s Cafe & Store.

Oct 6 – Annual Blue Ribbon Golf Classic fundraiser for The Sanibel School at The Sanctuary Golf Club. The Sanibel School has earned the Blue Ribbon Designation, as well as an “A” rating, for the past 11 years.

Oct 13 – FISH (Friends in Service of Sanibel) have announced open registration for the 4th annual 10K Race 4 FISH to take place on Saturday, October 13. The event is a major fundraiser for FISH with more than 400 runners are expected this year. www.fishofsanibel.com/fish-10k

Oct 15-Dec 1 – BIG ARTS World of Fashion Exhibit www.BIGARTS.org

Sanibel City Budget

Last Saturday, Sanibel City Council worked at a special session to further reduce a budget that is almost $10M less than last year’s and about $19M less than was actually spent. City taxes account for about 16% of a property owner’s total tax bill.

A few highlights of the tentative budget according to the “Island Sun” include:

  • ·       “Proposed millage of 2.1398 is 53% less than the rolled-back rate.
  • ·       “City salaries remain flat for the 5th consecutive year.
  • ·       “Full-time employees reduced from 142 in 2007 to 114 in FY13.”

2012 TRIM Notices

Today is the last day to appeal Lee County 2012 tax assessments. They are available on-line at www.leepa.org.

 
Sanibel and Captiva Multiple Listing Service Activity September 7-14

 
Sanibel
CONDOS
4 new listings:  Island Beach Club #P1E 2/2 $649K, Coquina Beach #2E 2/2 $675K, Sandpiper Beach #404 2/2 $695K, Pointe Santo #B25 2/2 $785K.

The Colony Resort aka Colonnades

1 price change:  Colonnades #47 1/1 now $130K (our listing).

 

Pointe Santo C43 view

4 new sales: Blind Pass #B102 2/2 listed for $359K, Sanibel Arms West #K3 2/2 listed for $399K, Loggerhead Cay #232 2/2 listed for $498.7K, Pointe Santo #C43 3/2 listed for $949K (our buyer).


1 closed sale:  Sundial #G107 1/1 $215K.

HOMES
1 new listing:  3344 Twin Lakes Ln 3/2 $629,977.
6 price changes:  1121 Skiff Pl 3/2 now $589K; 445 East Gulf Dr 3/2 now $609K; 2540 Coconut Dr 4/3.5 now $772K; 6001 Clam Bayou Ln 3/2 now $875K; 848 Limpet Dr 3/2.5 now $1,199,999; 2899 Wulfert Rd 4/4/2 now $2.898M. 
5 new sales: 1647 Sand Castle Rd 3/2.5 half-duplex listed for $325K, 1000 Greenwood Ct 3/2.5 half-duplex listed for $347.5K, 1211 Periwinkle Way 3/2 listed for $349.9K, 1753 Bunting Ln 3/2 listed for $479.8K, 3825 West Gulf Dr 3/2 listed for $2.35M.
3 closed sales:  731 Nerita St 3/2 $475K, 1232 Isabel Dr 3/3 $1.85M, 615 Lighthouse Way 3/4.5 $2.1M.

 
LOTS
1 new listing:  3761 Coquina Dr $350K.
No price changes, new or closed sales.
 
Captiva
CONDOS
Nothing to report.

HOMES
No new listings.
1 price change:  17201 Captiva Dr 4/5.5 now $4.1M.
1 new sale: 11516 Andy Rosse Ln 5/5 listed for $1.999M.
1 closed sale:  53 Sandpiper Ct 2/2.5 $590K.

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 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.