Life In Bonita Springs Florida - Local Info & Real Estate
Tropical Storm Erika – Hurricane Erika 2015
The terror and “state of emergency” over tropical storms and hurricanes in Southwest Florida. If you found this Bonita Springs website by Googling to see what the storms are doing in Bonita Springs because you have a seasonal home here, you’ve come to the right place. First and foremost, if you are on Facebook, join my Bonita Springs Estero Community Forum or paste this link in your browser: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BonitaEsteroForum/.
Myself and a few group administrators are updating the page with real time news, tropical storm weather updates and information. I can tell you from 30 years of experience living in Bonita Springs that the “news” inflates the details. Now, with over 2,000 members active in this group you can probably ask pointed questions about your neighborhood or even your street and someone next door will be able to either post pictures or give you direct feedback.
The counties of Lee and Collier will likely both declare a state of emergency with regard to Tropical Storm Erika. BONITA SPRINGS – ESTERO – NAPLES ARE A WATER BASED COMMUNITY getting the back side of the storm so it will be windy and pushing water onshore so if that gets combined with high tide it is dangerous. Those in low lying areas need to be warned more so than newer neighborhoods so they start the warnings early. Don’t panic!
There are always a lot of reports and tasty network news clips that scare Bonita Springs residents terribly while they are out of town. Tune into the group and put your mind at ease. If you can’t access Facebook you can always pick up the phone and call or text me 239-273-7430 or Angela, my daughter in law who is my buyer’s agent, 239-728-7599 for a real time report about the 239 area.
It’s been years since the $200,000 and under price range has had fewer sales than the $400-600,000 price range. We’ve been selling Bonita Springs real estate from the bottom up. As the bottom sells off, the prices rise. It’s been quite a few years of recovery and the home buyer keep coming to Bonita Springs. Why? We seeing fallout from the statistic of nearly 11,000 people per day retiring in the United States. That number is huge and those retirees are headed for warm weather in Arizona, Texas and of course Florida. The Southwest Florida area has seen a lot of newcomers in the last few years, a little earlier than expected as aided by three brutal winters in a row.
This also means that the rental pool has dried up, too. If you’re looking for a rental … best of luck to you. It’s dog eat dog out there. Folks are already booking 2017 and 2018 just trying to get something.
If you’d like to see the rest of the Bonita Springs home sales statistics and real estate market reports, click the photo album. There you will see historical sales for the last decade, foreclosure rates, short sales info and other stats like how all of these snow birds are financing their real estate.
As usual you can call or text any time to learn more about buying or selling a home in Bonita Springs. Chris can be reached at 239-273-7430, call or text, after hours and weekends, too.
Freedom Park & The Freedom Memorial
Hidden in plain sight, on the northeast corner of Goodlette-Frank Road and Golden Gate Parkway, is one of Collier County's newest parks, Fred W. Coyle Freedom Park. Thousands of people drive by it daily without realizing that there are roughly 50 acres to explore, right in the heart of the city. This park actually comprises one of the best passive parks and filter marshes in the Naples area. It’s particularly easy to get to given the urban location and, of course, both the park and parking are free.
Freedom Park features about a mile and a half of trails and elevated boardwalks which wind through preserves providing a beautiful recreation site for residents in addition to its distinct ecological purpose which is protecting wildlife and southwest Florida waterways. As sheet flow and storm water travel through the four marshes within Freedom Park, a natural water quality filtration system is quietly at work. Native wetland plants uptake the organic pollutants while heavy metals settle out of the water. The result is cleaner, filtered water entering the Gordon River, Naples Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
During an early morning walk at Freedom Park you can easily spot the usual suspects; butterflies, rabbits, frogs, freshly blossoming wild flowers, a wide variety of wading birds and many native Florida plants. There are plaques posted along the boardwalk railing to identify many of the plants and trees. Not surprisingly, you’ll also get to see some of Naples’ finest residents getting in their morning walk or run. The trail and boardwalk is entirely ADA accessible so it’s perfect for bikes, strollers and those with mobility issues. The trail itself is made up of several short trails loops so there are shorter options for those who may not have the time to walk the entire trail system. Best of all, there are plenty of benches along the way for rest, as well as, six look-out pavilions and two picnic areas. A few of the pavilions are on beautiful, lily pad filled lakes where catch and release fishing is permitted.
This is a wonderful park for all ages but it would be a great beginner trail due to the shorter length trails, ease of use and the facilities on site. The restrooms, water fountains and the park butterfly garden are accessible all year round. Fall through spring there is also a 2500 square-foot education facility that is open to the public.
Fred W. Coyle Freedom Park is named in honor of Fred W. Coyle and the Freedom Memorial which is currently under construction and expected to be completed in early 2016. The memorial is a tribute to the lives lost on 9/11/01 in the terrorist attacks and to the heroes of past and present wars. On my last walk through Freedom Park I walked by the Freedom Memorial on a day when commemorative bricks were being dedicated and installed. I found out that you can order personalized commemorative bricks to be installed at the memorial by visiting www.freedommemorialfoundationofnaples.org.
When you go don’t forget to bring water and remember that there are no trash cans so what you carry in you also carry out. The western side of the trail is pet friendly, the boardwalk portion is not.
Freedom Park and the Collier County Freedom Memorial are located at 1515 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples, just east of the Coastland Center Mall.
Happy Trails and Boardwalks!
Read also: Gordon River Greenway
Special to Southwest Spotlight Magazines
Bonita Springs Real Estate June 2015
Bonita Springs real estate sales continue at a brisk clip through summer with little inventory build up for our fall return visitors. The "unit sales" would likely be higher if there was more inventory. $200,000 and under priced properties are few and far between and they move as fast as lightening. The $200-400,000 price point accounts for most property sales in the Bonita Springs and Estero Florida area.
Short sales and foreclosures remain low in both closed sales and active listings. Ninety-five percent of all active homes for sale in Bonita Springs are NOT distressed. We have a stable and healthy real estate market.
Sixty percent of all sales are paid for with cash, followed by conventional mortgages. There are very few FHA and VA mortgages and little to no owner financing.
If you would like to learn more about purchasing a home in the Bonita Springs - Estero Florida area contact Chris Griffith at 239-273-7430 via text or email. You can also use the contact button on this website to send an email.
Download the full market report in .pdf form here: Bonita Springs Real Estate June 2015
The Southwest Florida Military Museum
This summer you can escape the stifling summer heat and the merciless mosquitos by taking a tour of one of the area’s largest and most interesting museums. Just a short trip over the Cape Coral Bridge is the Southwest Florida Military Museum and Library.
Not knowing what to expect when I arrived, I entered the museum and was greeted by a handful of volunteer docents who were eager to direct me through the venue. The museum itself is a little over 30,000 square feet of displays and memorabilia so budget enough time. All of the artifacts that you’ll see have been donated or loaned by the military, government and private collectors.
Every war, from the Revolutionary War through the Afghanistan conflict, plus every branch of the military is represented on premise so there is plenty to discover. I actually went through the venue twice, reversing direction on the second tour so that I didn’t miss anything. Along the way, I asked the docent to point out a few of his favorite displays and artifacts. I was able to discover a few special finds of my own, including articles and photos telling a poignant story of Virginia Moore and her husband Marcus (Sonny) Comer who was killed in battle during World War II. A bracelet engraved with his name and Army serial number, which she had given to him as a token of love, was lost in battle. It in was discovered in a fox hole after nearly 60 years by Lorenzo Maierna, a Belgian police officer, who was searching for war artifacts with a metal detector. Maierna eventually met Moore in Southwest Florida to return the bracelet to her. If you stop by the museum on Tuesdays you may have a chance to meet Virginia Moore as she makes appearances to share the story with visitors.
Another great tale is that of Cher Ami, one of many homing pigeons used to communicate during World War I. Cher Ami was actually shot down but survived to successfully deliver a message that saved the surviving 190 soldiers of the lost battalion in the Battle of the Argonne. The bird was awarded the Croix de Guerre Medal with a palm Oak Leaf Cluster for her heroic actions.
In addition to military memorabilia there are also lifestyle artifacts and keepsakes including a complete vignette of an American kitchen and typical household items circa WWII. Baseball memorabilia, including a signed Joe DiMaggio bat plus other WWII era collectibles can be found sprinkled throughout the museum. It makes for a wonderful trip down memory lane.
There are dozens of great stories to be discovered in the displays at the Southwest Florida Military Museum and Library. Great camaraderie can be had, too. Every Tuesday morning there is a Korean & WWII Veteran's Luncheon where veterans of any war or conflict are welcome to join at 11:30am.
When you visit, keep in mind that admission to the museum is free but you’ll need a couple of dollars to cross the bridge to Cape Coral. The museum is funded by donations which are gladly accepted on site or you can visit their website to learn more or to donate online. www.swfmm.org
The museum is located at 4820 Leonard St, Cape Coral, Florida slightly less than one mile from the Cape Coral Bridge. Happy Trails and Museums!
Special to Southwest Spotlight
Bonita Bay Home Sales Bonita Springs Fl
Here are the latest and greatest market statistics for Bonita Bay home and condo sale in Bonita Springs, Florida. There were no short sales or foreclosures during the month of May in Bonita Bay. Distressed homes in Bonita Bay are a rarity and distressed homes in Bonita Springs, in general, aren't very common, either. Units sold during the month of May 2015 are down simply because of the low level of inventory of listed properties for sale in Bonita Bay. When entry level property is listed for sale in Bonita Bay it often sells within days and with multiple offers.
About 85% of homes that sold in Bonita Bay during May 2015 were paid for with cash. The balances of Bonita Bay home sales were financed with conventional loans.
Homes sales in Bonita Bay under $200,000 is non-existent. Entry level real estate prices in Bonita Bay begin in the $200-400,000 price. The $1,000,000 and over price range represented the largest share of home sales in Bonita Bay. If you are interested in learning more about May 2015 Bonita Springs home sales read also: Bonita Springs Home Sales.
Contact Chris Griffith by phone or text at 239-273-7430 to learn more about buying a home or condo in Bonita Bay.
Bonita Springs Home Sales Statistics May 2015
May 2015 marks the first time that I have prepared the real estate market stats for Bonita Springs and Estero … with an audience. I’ve brought a family member on board so I have a little birdie on my shoulder learning the ropes, now. When I was collecting the numbers for the statistics Angela asked my why I prepared market reports. The short answer was that consumers, both buyers and sellers, need to know the statistics especially in a market where inventory is tight. Further I explained that if she was trying to help someone buy a home priced under $200,000 it would be important to know that it was only about 20%of our market right now and getting smaller and smaller because the bottom of the real estate market is selling off. It was about 60% of our market a few years back.
What Price Bonita Springs Homes Sold in May 2015
It's really been interesting to watch the market over the sixteen years that I've been a real estate agent. I know that whether you're a buyer or a seller you need to know the real estate market, inside and out. The amount of distressed sales; short sales and foreclosures and even the historical data sales data. How else would a consumer understand whether we are in a buyer or seller market. The truth is in the numbers.
Historical Bonita Springs Sales May 2015
If you're curious about the rate of sales or the actual units sold; is real estate selling? You'll notice a consistent few years of home and condo sales in Bonita Springs and Estero. Three consistent years of nearly identical sales rates. We've been going back 11 years so we can include the "boom year" of 2005 for comparison purposes.
How Bonita Springs Homes Are Financed
Cash remains king in Bonita Springs home and condo sales. It's slightly lower than it has been in the past few months but part of that could be because of low interest rates combined with an ascending real estate market. Prices are climbing, the bottom is selling off and those would-be cash buyers are sometimes forced to finance a purchase slightly above their original intended real estate buying budget.
Bonita Springs Foreclosures & Short Sales
Slightly less than 4% of our real estate market that closed sales was considered distressed. The distressed property, which consists of foreclosures and short sales, improves every day. Our current, active listings in the MLS indicate that we only have slightly over 4% of our active listings considered to be distressed. The graphic for the active listings market is below:
If you'd like to download or print the graphs from this real estate market report: Click Here for a .pdf version.
Things to Do in SWFL Near Bonita Springs
For some reason I always feel like when we go over a bridge we get away, even if it’s just for a little bit. I had a chance to get away with one of my smallest partners in crime, my grandson Aiden. We headed north on 41 and crossed the Caloosahatchee River bridge to tour Prairie Pines Preserve which is a Conservation 2020 land acquisition in North Fort Myers, Florida.
The shell path at Prairie Pines Preserve is wide and firm and features plaques listing details and information about what can generally be observed nearby. It was a great opportunity to learn about nature plus Aiden was able to flex his reading muscles. We learned about a variety of local plants, wild animals and insects. Since this was an early morning hike we were able to spot fairly fresh footprints left by raccoon, hog and deer. There were even patches of freshly over turned soil left by a sounder of wild hogs that had grubbed their way down the sides trail. One of the highlights of our hike was spotting a rare, red banded hairstreak butterfly, which was patient enough to allow me to get a photo or two before it was gone in a flash.
Prairie Pines is a really large preserve with a total of about 2,700 acres. Since there was a little person with me we only conquered a manageable, half-mile hike which constructed of a packed shell trail with a wooden boardwalk section. On the day that we visited there was an organized, guided walk that we semi-tagged along with. Keeping a seven year old on point proved challenging so we swiftly sent ourselves ahead as scouts for the rest of the group.
Near the marshy area and boardwalk there is a good sized bird blind so naturists can quietly observe and photograph wading birds and critters. The water level is low to non-existent in the winter so the wildlife is completely different in the marsh and which makes this trail worthy of seasonal visits.
If you’re looking for a great beginner hike, the ADA portion of Prairie Pines Preserve has been field tested and proven a great place for a beginners and young people. For those who are more adventurous there are over 18 miles of marked, primitive hiking plus equestrian friendly trails just waiting to be explored. Prairie Pines Preserve is a park offering a wide variety of activities. In addition to hiking it offers a full parking lot with spacing for horse trailers, hitching posts for the horses, restrooms, bike trails, bird watching, horseback riding, geocaching and a picnic area so it’s fun for the whole family.
Prairie Pines Preserve is located at 18400 N. Tamiami Trail, N. Fort Myers, Florida. Fair warning that Google maps weren’t exactly accurate with the address so keep your eyes peeled for the sign on the east side of 41.
Mark your calendars for this December to catch the Conservation 2020 Saturday morning guided walk series which runs through March. The tours are at various parks and preserves and there is no charge to attend. Learn more by visiting their website at www.Conservation2020.org.
Happy Trails and Boardwalks!
Special to Southwest Spotlight Magazines
April 2015 Bonita Springs Real Estate Statistics
Bonita Springs and Estero Florida real estate sale barely felt a bump when tourist season ended this year. Typically, our snowbirds return north and we have a quiet period but this year the market kept pace, real estate buyers lingered and sales have maintained a consistent pace.
Most sales in Bonita Springs are cash transactions. About sixty-three percent of sales are paid for with cash, followed by about thirty-three percent conventional mortgages.
The largest portion of home sale in the Bonita Springs area is the $200-400,000 price range, followed by 200K and under. The $200,000 and under price range is continually selling off reducing that price point as the bottom of the market sells off.
Closed sales in the month of April showed less than 4% of all sales were foreclosures and only two short sales closed sales. With rising real estate prices, short sales have diminished simply because many home owners are back “above water”.
Current home and condo listings which are actively for sale show that only about 1% of active listings are considered a short sale, which means that the home owner owes more than the current value of the homes and will have to request debt forgiveness from their lender. Only 3.4% of active listings are currently forecloses, which means that the lender has already repossessed the real estate. That leaves 95.5% of the active real estate in Bonita Springs and Estero is equity meaning that there is no bank involvement in the sale. Great news for the Bonita Springs real estate market.
If you would like more information about the Bonita Springs and Estero Florida home market call or text Chris Griffith 239-273-7430.
Mission Five Collier County Honor Flight
Several months ago I applied to become a guardian for Collier County Honor Flight. If you are not familiar, honor flight is program which honors America’s veterans for their sacrifices by transporting them to Washington, D.C. to visit and reflect at their memorials. My phone rang on a random Thursday in April and I was asked if I had continued interest in going and if I had a particular set of dates available for orientation, training and for the actual flight. After a quick glimpse of the calendar, I was in and paired with my very own veteran, Theodore “Ted” Adams, who I had the good fortune of accompanying to Washington DC.
Ted served in the Marines (1950-1954) and was decorated with the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Korean Service Medal and Presidential Unit Citation. I learned that at eighty-six years he was the youngest veteran on the flight and one of only three veterans of the Korean War on the flight; the rest of the veterans had served during World War II. One of the WWII Veterans in attendance had celebrated his 101st birthday, just days before!
Everyone gathers at the airport pre-dawn on the day of Honor Flight because there is so much to squeeze into one single day. The mission begins at dark o’clock and returns back to southwest Florida fairly late in the evening. Squeezed into the middle, without a moment to spare, are police escorts from memorial to memorial. It’s quite remarkable to witness the whole operation in motion.
The points of interest we toured included the World War II Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery to witness the changing of the guard, the Korean War Memorial, The Vietnam War Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial and the Iwo Jima Memorial. It was an action packed day carefully orchestrated by a team of selfless volunteers who were quite skilled at keeping over one-hundred and fifty people moving in the correct direction at all times.
The memorials are stunning to see in person on any regular day but when you’re surrounded by the company of such great men, sharing harrowing tales of their service it becomes an emotional mixture of inspiration and heart ache. Some stories, so very personal and poignant, had never been told before and likely may not ever be told again. Of course, they’re not my stories to share so let’s just leave it at that.
What I can share is that there were more hands reached out and more pats on the back by passers-by than I had ever seen in my life. One pause at the stairs of the Lincoln Memorial began a steady stream of appreciative tourists who shook Ted’s hand and thanked him for his service. The line began with a Korean couple who spoke no English but motioned in the universal take-a-photo-with-me language, to which Ted obliged. Moments later Ted was circled by teen aged students from Ohio, then California and then Kentucky. Each group was on their respective school trip. Ted had actually retired from the school system having been a teacher, a principal and eventually a superintendent. It was as though they knew that he simply adored students. He was like the Pied Piper of children and held court in front of Lincoln for quite some time.
As the sun began to set on our whirlwind day we returned to the Baltimore airport for the flight home. The final surprise for the veterans was a thunderous crowd of a couple thousand people who had gathered at RSW to welcome them home. For many it was the first welcome home that they had received. Bless the hearts of the May 2nd crowd for toughing it out for an extra few hours, as there were unexpected flight delays. The crowd formed a tunnel that the veterans passed through, which ran the length of the entire terminal to the waiting, curbside motor coaches. It was a proper welcome home to punctuate the day honoring their service and sacrifice to our nation.
If you’d like to participate in the next welcome home, Collier County Honor Flight Mission Six is on June 20, 2015 at RSW in Fort Myers, Fl. You can learn more about Mission Six, becoming a guardian or a veteran on a future flight by visiting www.CollierHonorFlight.org. There is a video chronical of Mission Five available at www.tinyurl.com/CollierHonorFlight.
Happy Trails, Boardwalks and Honor Flights
This Article is Special To Southwest Spotlight Magazine.