The Wakelin Realty Team April 2018 Newsletter

Hello from Naples!

Rae and Fred went on another Jazz Cruise in March. The trip originated in Ft. Lauderdale, which makes the experience very simple because it’s a short drive to the cruise terminal and there is parking right next to it; then all that’s left to do is simply board the ship and cruise! The line-up of smooth jazz artists was fantastic…all well-known and best sellers in the genre. This was their fourth or fifth jazz cruise and it was one of the best. The destinations were all in the Caribbean, but they are secondary to the music. If you are into smooth jazz, you should definitely try one of these cruises. They have several each year and they sell out fast. This particular cruise sold out so fast that they added a second one…which also sold out. Rae and Fred are going on another one in August…a riverboat jazz cruise from Prague to Budapest. Stay tuned for details!

Spring Break for local Collier County School District kids also happened in March. So Nicola and Jeff decided to take their daughters’, Natalie and Riley, on a little get-a-way road trip. They drove from Naples through the middle of the state to Central Florida University so Natalie, who is a Sophomore, could take a tour of the campus. They were all impressed with this beautiful school right outside Orlando. After the tour they drove to their hotel in Daytona Beach. Much to their surprise, it was “Bike Week” in Daytona so thousands of biker’s from all over the country were in town. The next day they drove about an hour to St. Augustine, which is a fun, charming, historic town and they were surprised to learn it is actually the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the United States. After a day of exploring it was back to Daytona and then out again the next day to visit the Kennedy Space Center. The space center was the highlight of their trip and they all were amazed to experience a tour of the launch pads, viewing the Shuttle Atlantis, having lunch with an astronaut and many more amazing things to see and do. They highly recommend a visit to the Kennedy Space Center!

 

Here’s an interesting article from the Naples Daily News:

Brent Batten: New Naples Council members heard voters; their colleagues, not so much. The three successful candidates in last month’s Naples City Council election got the message.But on Wednesday, it didn’t make a difference.

On the campaign trail, the candidates heard one demand — expressed in a variety of ways — more than any other: Keep density low; prevent overdevelopment; maintain Naples’ small city feel.

At Wednesday’s meeting the challenge was presented to the newly constituted council for the first time in a request to rezone a city block along the south side of U.S. 41 between 10th Street South and 11th Street South, east of the Four Corners.

The petitioners, represented by veteran land-use attorney John Passidomo, made a compelling case.

The property encompassing retail shops that burned in a tragic fire that claimed a life in 2015, and other buildings, are zoned under a commercial designation. The owners were seeking a change to a downtown zoning that would allow for greater lot coverage and potentially more than doubling the number of residential units allowed.

Doing so would effectively extend the “Fifth Avenue South” feel of the area, making it more pedestrian friendly and bringing the character of development in line with that of the properties across the street on the north side of U.S. 41.

The current zoning, calling for large, paved parking areas in front of the buildings, is a departure from the look the city strives for in its downtown development plans, Passidomo said. A planned, cohesive redevelopment of the parcel, coupled with the neighboring site of the old St. George and the Dragon restaurant owned by the same group, would link Fifth Avenue South to Naples Bay, he argued.

The move was approved by city’s staff and Planning Advisory Board. And by the City Council — unanimously — acting as the Community Redevelopment Agency board in April of 2017, before the 2018 campaign. Council woman Linda Penniman was in office in 2017 and joined in that approval. Then she campaigned for re-election. On Wednesday, she voted against the rezoning citing the redevelopment concerns she heard from voters. “We are hearing that consistently,” she said. Penniman worries greater lot coverage — up to 100 percent under the downtown zoning — will exacerbate already expensive drainage problems. The present zoning allows only 40 percent lot coverage on the three acres. “The density, intensity we’ve all agreed to, now it’s payback time,” Penniman said.

Gary Price and Terry Hutchison are the other two City Council members who won seats last month. They too voted against rezoning, citing the message from voters.

But it passed 4 to 3, with Mayor Bill Barnett and council members Reg Buxton, Michelle McLeod and Ellen Seigel voting in favor.

The split shows a disparity between long-held city plans and the concerns of residents.

On the one hand, a revitalization plan for the downtown area led to the rebirth of once-moribund Fifth Avenue South. An extension of that plan calls for similar redevelopment east to Naples Bay. Thus, Wednesday’s request for a rezoning. At the March 7 first reading of the rezoning request, Passidomo reminded council members of the importance of allowing developers the option to do things like put buildings close to sidewalks and provide parking in the rear, off site or even underground. It’s too early to say what might go on the property, he explained. The owners don’t have specific plans but wanted to get the zoning in place so they could put together a unified project. Just trying to minimize the size of buildings isn’t always best, he said. “If the measurement is least impactful, we’d never have Fifth Avenue South,” Passidomo said.

To Price’s point that 40 percent lot coverage makes for less intense development, Passidomo pointed to a picture of one of the existing properties with its paved parking lot separating the sidewalk from the building. “There it is. You’ve got 40 percent lot coverage. You have front-yard, asphalt parking lots at the entrance to the city. It’s not what your comp plan says you want, but it’s what you’ve got. That’s where we think there’s this enormous disconnect.”

On the other hand, a growing chorus of voters let the 2018 candidates know they believe new development has been too intense. “It’s very clear to me the community is tired of density and traffic. At some point we’ve got to recognize we’re creating our own problems,” Price said. With zoning in place, the developer’s plans for the site can be approved by city staff without further input, so long as they don’t seek anything outside the base downtown densities. That also makes Price uncomfortable. “If we don’t have a plan what we want the area to look like, the developers will get ahead of us,” he said.

With the battle lines already drawn on March 7, when the council approved the rezoning on the same 4-3 vote, Wednesday’s discussion was little more than a formality. Although voters protested the intensity of redevelopment during the campaign, no one from the public showed up to speak at either of the two council hearings on the question. “This hearing was embarrassing,” Price said Wednesday. “I don’t think we’ve spent enough time on the impact of this zoning

 

Official March 2018 Climate Data at Naples Airport:

March 17
YTD 17
March 18
YTD 18
Normal YTD
Rainfall in inches
.13
1.92
1.33
1.96
6.33
Record High March Rainfall
13.56 (1970)
Record Low March Rainfall
0.0 (1974)
High March Temperature
87
88
Low March Temperature
47
48
Record High March Temperature
91 (1975)
Record Low March Temperature
33 (1980)

Temperatures in March were normal for the month, meaning great weather for all!  The average max temperature in March is 79.9…we recorded 78.5. Reported rainfall at Naples was only 1.33 inches. This means we now have a shortfall of over four inches.

 

Book Review: “The Patriarch” by David Nasaw

In this recent biography, historian David Nasaw examines the life of Joseph P. Kennedy, the founder of the twentieth century’s most notorious political dynasty. Drawing on never-before-published materials from extensive archives and interviews with Kennedy family members and friends, Nasaw tells the story of a man who participated in the major events of his times: the booms and busts, the Depression and the New Deal, two world wars and the Cold War, and the birth of the New Frontier. In studying Kennedy’s life, we relive the history of the American century.

“Riveting . . . The Patriarch is a book hard to put down . . . As his son indelibly put it some months before his father was struck down: ‘Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your county.’ One wonders what was going through the mind of the patriarch, sitting a few feet away listening to that soaring sentiment as a fourth-generation Kennedy became president of the United States. After coming to know him over the course of this brilliant, compelling book, the reader might suspect that he was thinking he had done more than enough for his country. But the gods would demand even more.” – New York Times Book Review

I must say, I had no idea Joseph P. Kennedy (JPK) had such an amazing career. I knew he had amassed quite a fortune and that he had attained some serious political clout and connections in his lifetime. Before his sons ever hit the political scene, he was making his mark in a variety of industries… banking, finance, film distribution, politics, liquor importation, the real estate, and more. It was pretty amazing to find out all he had done – even if it took me 800 pages to find out about it. The “remarkable life” part of the title really captures it.

I was interested to learn how this family began, and wanted to read Joseph Kennedy’s life history. I found this book to be a great read. It debunks many of the lies and myths of the Kennedy family stories that I have heard for 50 years. (No, Joseph Kennedy did not get his money as a bootlegger. He didn’t have his daughter lobotomized because she was a shame to the family. He didn’t always dream of Joe Jr. and JFK becoming president.) The real stories are much more interesting. When reading this, I began to understand the depth of love that Joe had for his family. I wouldn’t say that his marriage to Rose was ideal; in fact, it was, to my eyes, very strange. However, they did share love and respect. It’s a fascinating look at American politics from 1900 to 1970. I highly recommend it.

 

Restaurant Recommendation: M Waterfront Grille, Village on Venetian Bay

We dined at this restaurant with friends last week after a long absence. We remember that it was named Maxwell’s on the Bay when we moved to Naples 20 years ago! This iteration is a great improvement. Our server and the chef came up with a great vegan meal, which always makes me think that a restaurant is a “cut above”. Fred had the meal and it sounded so appetizing that one of our friends also ordered it. Both found it delicious and suggested they put it on the menu!

Here are a few recent reviews on Trip Advisor:

“This restaurant is on the water (bay). We made reservations and when we arrived a few minutes early we were seated immediately. As we were celebrating our daughter and son-in-law’s first wedding anniversary our table was at the long windows overlooking the bay without even a request. The wait staff was very good — making good suggestions and on top of everything to make this an enjoyable evening. Food was excellent though pricey but between the service and food it was well worth it. Will definitely return and recommend to friends.”

“We had a very good meal at this lovely restaurant. Reservations are a must during their busy time. I had the veal and shrimp, which was excellent; hubby had the bouillabaisse, which was just okay (fish was overcooked and dry); friend had scallops, which she said was delicious. The best part of the meal was the appetizer we had which was warm brie and stone fruit served with toast points — delicious! Our waitress was Tiffany and she did a great job.”

“Having dined at all of the restaurants on both sides of this complex, some with better views, my favorite is definitely M Waterfront Grille. Food was exceptionally good; the wait staff was polite and accommodating and the manager came over to inquire about our comfort which made for a very delightful experience.”

 

Naples Real Estate:

Here are the March 2018 Naples/Bonita market statistics:

For the month of March, there were 3,175 closed sales of existing homes in all of Naples and Bonita. This compares with 3,172 closed sales for last year. This is an identical year-to-year pattern for existing home sales.

Here’s an interesting chart comparing January thru March of 2018 to last year:

Closed Sales
Total
Under $300,000
$300,000 to $700,000
$700,001 to $1,000,000
$1,000,001 to $3,000,000
Over $3,000,000
January-March 2017
3,172
1,421
1,243
211
241
56
January-March 2018
3,175
1,325
1,199
205
376
70
Difference
+3
-96
-44
-6
+135
+14
% Change
0%
-7%
-4%
-3%
+56%
+25%

It’s a little early in the year for meaningful comparisons year-to-year. It’s interesting to see what happened in each category though. Clearly, though, the high-end market is doing better than the lower end on a year-to-year basis.

 

The inventory of available property remains down from last year, but is increasing. As the following table shows, the level of inventory varies dramatically by price point:

Naples Home Inventory As of April 6, 2018
Total
Under $300,000
$300,000 to $700,000
$700,001 to $1,000,000
$1,000,001 to $3,000,000
Over $3,000,000
Number Sold Last 12 months
12,328
5,499
4,764
763
1,069
233
Average Number Sold per Month
1,027
458
397
64
89
19
Total Available for Sale
8,069
2,599
3,377
678
1,037
378
Months of Supply as of April 6, 2018
8
6
9
11
12
20

The inventory levels increased about 1% from last month to 8,069 properties. Typically this is a busy time for listings. Also, keep in mind that the figure is still a low number for existing homes. For comparison, the high point of available existing home inventory was June of 2007 when there were 11,601 listed in the MLS system for Naples and Bonita! Also keep in mind, however, that a significant number of new homes are not included in this number.

It is still a buyer’s market for existing homes priced above $300,000. In the over $3 million market, for example, there are 378 properties available. During the last 12 months, 233 properties in this price range have sold…which means an average of about 19 per month. At that rate, the 378 homes available represent about 20 months of supply.

Sellers in the upper price categories are in a highly competitive environment. The median sales price has increased slightly in Naples however, there are still many good buys available in all price categories.

Another market factor is the supply of brand new homes which are now either being built or permitted. There are many new home developments either being built or in the planning stages right now. If you are looking to buy, we can help guide you through the maze of new home availability. If you are planning to sell, you need to know details of the new competition you are facing.

 

Kensington Real Estate:  

Kensington is the community where Rae and Fred live. As of April 6th, 2018 there were 41 active listings in Kensington. This is three more than last month.

Type of Property
Number
Lowest Price
Highest Price
Average Price per sq. ft.
Avg. Days on Mkt.
Estate Homes
5
$1,150,000
$1,299,000
$405
177
Villas
4
$510,000
$1,075,000
$281
45
Coach Homes
29
$319,000
$669,000
$203
164
Total
41

There have been 31 closed sales in the past 12-month period. At this average selling rate of 2.58 properties per month, the 41 homes listed represent about 16 months of inventory on average. The number of homes available is three more than last month, and it is definitely a buyers’ market for those available.

 

Riverstone Real Estate:

Riverstone is the community where Jeff and Nicola live. These statistics are taken from the MLS system we use in Naples. Riverstone has now been fully built out and turned over to the residents by the developer, GL Homes. Here’s a look at the MLS market in Riverstone as of April 6, 2018:

Property
Number for Sale
Lowest Price
Highest Price
Avg. Asking Price Per Sq. Ft.
Avg. Days on Market
Riverstone
35
$427,500
$1,190,000
$227
118

 

Here’s a breakdown of what’s currently on the market thru MLS:

$400,000 to $499,999
$500,000 to $599,999
$600,000 to $699,999
$700,000 to $799,999
$800,000 and Over
Number for Sale
5
4
11
11
4
Average Price per Sq. Ft.
$213
$210
$232
$228
$244
Average Number of Days on Market
215
200
77
118
54

Available inventory is 11 less than last month. As of April 6th there were 35 active listings,2 pending sales and 14 pending sales with contingencies. The MLS system lists 38 spec and resale homes sold in the last 12 months.

Give us a call if we can help with any real estate questions you have at 239-398-0028 (Rae) or 239-451-9351 (Nicola).

Rae & Nicola