Wednesday, December 28, 2011

End of Year Thoughts on Sanibel Real Estate

As we discover year after year, the Sanibel Island experience is so profound that many of our rental guests become Sanibel Island property owners. Some buy condos, some buy houses, some use their places exclusively and some rent them out. The compelling reason is simply the wonderful quality of life on Sanibel. There are few places in the world that offer the topicality, comfort, nature and beauty of Sanibel Island and these attributes make our guests ask why or why not when it comes to buying a second (or sometimes first) home on Sanibel.

And now there a few more compelling reasons to consider the leap to home ownership on this unique barrier island which apply to all of Florida, as well as Sanibel.

1. Mortgage rates hit a record low of 3.94% this year (2011), homes sold for a fraction of their value five years ago, and excess inventory provided every buyer with a range of options. 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 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. 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 home buyers a property tax break that decreases over time. In 2012, Florida Realtors will roll out its “Yes on 4” campaign.

But the time to buy is always now, and the following spells out the reason why:
“Our state is in a mini-recovery,” said Florida Realtors® Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo at the state association’s 2012 Real Estate and Economic Forecast Conference in Orlando. “Sales are trending up, listing inventories are falling, the supply of lender-related properties has stabilized, and we are seeing multiple offers on homes in some local markets.” “In fact, Florida homes today may be undervalued,” Tuccillo added. “That may seem like a drastic statement,” he said. “But a buyer who plans to own the home for five to seven years can get some great bargains today.”

So let the buyer not beware, but be aware, very aware that Sanibel at any price is a great deal and at current prices a fabulous bargain!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Living Sanibel Nature Guide: Your Best "Buy" Any time

Thoughts still on shopping, we have a clear cut suggestion for anyone seeking the perfect gift...for themselves or for anyone one else on their holiday list if you are still looking.

Until now, though there have been many publications that provided pieces of information on Sanibel Island. And there have been (some extraordinary) calendars that have pictures that show the island's beauty.

But the relatively new publication, Living Sanibel, provides both information and photographs that are superlative.

The history, geography, folk lore and anecdotal view of this gorgeous barrier Island provide a great introduction to the book. But as its subtitle, A Nature Guide to Sanibel & Captiva Island, indicates, the real value of the book is in the incredible detail of the flora and fauna of Sanibel.

Never will you find as many points of information and as many illustrative photographs about the Island's birds, reptiles, mammals and vegetation than are provided in this nearly 500 page treasure book.

Every living thing on Sanibel has a profile and a picture.

And these are not just run of the mill photographs. Great nature photographers such as the author, Charles Sobczak himself, are featured throughout the book with big, bold images of Peregrine Falcons, Red Belly Turtles and Grouper. Photographers from the Miami studio, Through the Lens Gallery, as well as Rob Pailes, Hung V. Do and a whole host of others strut their stuff throughout this marvelous publication.

Graphic illustrations are minimal with the emphasis on photography, but those that exist are very well done. Most of the fish are illustrations, rather than photos, and the renderings are created by the very talented Diane Rome Peebles.

Whether a gift for the holidays or a gift for yourself at any time, Living Sanibel makes for a good read, a good view and a very good buy at well under $30 all over the island!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sanibel Farmer's Market A Gift To All

Tis the season as they say, and looking at the traffic on the internet all searches appear headed toward an early celebration. So many people are looking for that perfect gift!

On Sanibel, we are given gifts daily...the sunshine, seemingly perpetual, the blue skies and emerald waters are all there to be enjoyed. Most joyfully, like all the best things in life, these gifts of the Island don't cost a penny.

But not all things in life are perfectly free, and the small specials that are relatively inexpensive are delightful and not to be missed.

To fully experience the best of Sanibel, you have to invest a little bit of time and---in some instances----a little bit of money.

The return on your investments, however, will be enormous.

Take for example the Farmer's Market. Held on Sundays at Sanibel City Hall between the hours of 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., more than 30 vendors are participating this year. Under the cloudless Sanibel skies, participants will be selling baked goods, live plants, honey, pasta, cheese, sausages, fresh fish, produce and organic veggies. All items are high quality specialized items that cater to the needs of the community.

And like most events on Sanibel, the hidden good is the fun of meeting and greeting people at the market. Both the vendors and the people attending are friendly and share information freely. It's a great way to spend a Sunday morning on the Isle of Sanibel!