Wakelin Realty Team October 2017 Newsletter

Hello from Naples!

Of course the big news in Naples last month was Hurricane Irma. As the days before the storm rolled by, it looked like the East Coast of Florida was going to be hit. Then the models began to shift and Naples became more and more a likely target. The weather forecasters did a terrific job tracking the storm and keeping us updated. The coverage was non-stop and really frightening, with predictions of a huge storm surge. It was easy to imagine your house being inundated with a 15-foot wall of water…even if you lived miles from the coast! It seemed like waiting for your date with the executioner!

Rae and Fred had always known they would stay and ride it out. They had been through Hurricanes Charlie and Wilma and with two cats and a bird; they knew that leaving would be extremely difficult. Nicola and Jeff decided to leave with their two daughters. They got a flight to Boston thru Atlanta on Friday before the storm on Sunday. They ended up having a nice impromptu vacation in Boston with the girls.

The hurricane was ferocious! From noon Sunday until the early morning hours Naples got hammered. Most places in Naples lost electricity in the early afternoon. Around 3:45 PM (just before the eye went over Naples) a window in Rae & Fred’s den downstairs blew out. After the window went, which was at the peak of the hurricane, there were a few minutes they thought the house was in danger. There was a reported wind gust not far away at the Naples airport of 142 mph around that time. It was very scary for them.

However, there was more good news than bad. The dreaded storm surge never materialized. Structurally (except for the window which was not impact glass) Rae & Fred’s home is in great shape. They have a few pool screens that need replacement as well as a few roof tiles. They have decided to replace the blown out window with hurricane “impact glass”. In the majority of area neighborhoods, the most significant damage was to landscaping…trees, palms, shrubs etc.…as well as pool cages and signage. The major inconvenience was a lack of electricity. Also the sewer system was overwhelmed for a while because the pumping system lacked electricity.

Nicola, Jeff and the girls got back on Wednesday. Kensington got power back on Thursday so Nicola, Jeff, Natalie and Riley moved in with Rae and Fred until their neighborhood’s power was restored Sunday night.

It is remarkable how quickly debris is being cleaned up. Driving through Naples now, there are very few signs that a major hurricane passed overhead two weeks ago. Many of the residents here would never have dreamed that Naples would emerge in such good shape after a direct hit from a major hurricane.


Here’s a recent article from the Naples Daily News:

Hurricane Irma: Structural damage in Old Naples appears far and few in between.

Snapped palm fronds, broken branches and the occasionally uprooted tree littered the sidewalk along Naples’ Fifth Avenue South Monday morning after Hurricane Irma swept through the downtown street.

Only a few pedestrians and bicyclists ambled along the boarded-up storefronts and restaurants, less than 24 hours after Irma wreaked havoc on the Gulf coast.

Structural damage in Old Naples appeared far and few in between. There were a few bent street signs and some twisted metal pieces.

The dreaded post-hurricane storm surge also didn’t arrive though parts of Gulfshore Boulevard and Gordon Drive were flooded.

At the Naples beach angry waves crashed onto the pressed sand, but the Naples Pier appeared intact. It was closed Monday morning but a few curious passers-by still walked down the wooden planks.

Cathy Marinaro and her son Joe rode their bicycles to the beach to observe the raucous waves.

They, too, didn’t observe as much damage as expected. “It’s funny all the trees fell away from the houses,” said Cathy Marinaro, 53. “Everything is behind them, beside them, but none fell on the houses.”

The duo stayed inland with friends to ride out the storm. “They hype up these storms all the time,” said Joe Marinaro, 23. “It’s never what they say it’s going to be.” But near their neighborhood off Sandpiper Street and Royal Harbor, signs of the storm were more ubiquitous, said Cathy Marinaro. “There trees are all over the roads,” she said. “It’s much worse there. We have a lot of big trees in the road.”

Shelley “Sea Shelley” McKernan and her dog Sgt. Walt toured the neighborhoods near the Naples Pier to assess the damage Monday. “I’ve just been going around checking on everything,” said McKernan, 35. “Everybody’s home seems to be fine. Trees are down but for the most part it’s all good.”


Happening in Naples in October 2017:

October 2017
Free Boardwalk Tours
Walking tour of Naples Historic District
Tour Palm Cottage
Tai Chi in the Garden
Pirate Festival
Third Street South Farmer’s Market
Sip and Shop Sundays
Giants of the Everglades Art Exhibit
Collier County’s Historic Places
Walking tour of Naples Historic District
Turtle Tales
Haunted Gross House
Free Boardwalk Tours
Zombie Fun Run
Tour Palm Cottage
Chess Instruction K-12
St John Farmer’s Market
Tai Chi in the Garden
Boo at the Zoo
Farmer’s Market
Giants of the Everglades Art Exhibit
Music Together
Mercado Trick or Treat Halloween Extravaganza
Art After Dark-Artis
Halloween Fun
Stone Crab Festival
Boo Bash Waterside
Tour Palm Cottage
So You Think You Can Dance Live
Fifth Avenue Halloween Spooktacular


Official September Climate Data at Naples Airport:

September 16
YTD 16
September 17
YTD 17
Normal YTD
Rainfall in inches
Record High September Rainfall
20.84 (2001)
Record Low September Rainfall
2.95 (2004)
High September Temperature
Low September Temperature
Record High September Temperature
98 (1983)
Record Low September Temperature
65 (1983)

Temperatures in September were about average for the month. The average max temperature is 89.9…we recorded 89.4. Hurricane Irma boosted our rain total for the month. That makes two months in a row with heavy rainfalls. In fact, our YTD rainfall thru September now totals more than our typical amount for the year. Our normal rainfall for the year in Naples is just over 50 inches. We already have over 55 inches reported at the airport. There is no longer a drought in SW Florida!


Book Review: “A Column of Fire” by Ken Follett

Readers have waited three years for a new Ken Follett novel and almost ten for the next, third, book of his Kingsbridge story. So his new novel has arrived and it is a real Ken Follett. If you know novels by Ken Follett, you know what to expect: tension, entertainment, strong characters and a lot of well-researched knowledge.

Ken Follett gets back to Kingsbridge, his fictional town in England, for the third time, ten years after “World Without End” and 28 (!) years after “The Pillars of the Earth”. But it is not really a sequel. Yes, he makes a lot of references. However the plot is individual and you can absolutely read this book without even seeing the other two.

This is not a medieval novel, as some say. Set in Modern History, right after the reformation by the German monk Martin Luther (500 years ago). It plays a little later in the 16th century when in England the Catholics burnt the Protestants and then the Protestants burnt the Catholics on the stake. When France was devastated by terrible wars of religion and during the time Spain reached the heyday of its power – and gave it away to an awakening England, powered by religious tolerance and the beginning of democracy.

Like all Ken Follett novels this one is a real page-turner. Because Follett is such a good writer, you never lose track. There are so many persons and plots. This guy can write and he never stops thinking about his readers. Many are drawn to his books because you can learn so much about history. The most important events of the 16th century are described in detail.

Ken Follett is one of my favorite authors. He takes history and makes it human. The topic of social and religious conflict still resonates with our world today. This book allows you to live history!


Restaurant Recommendation: Vegan Kitchen 794 Neapolitan Way Naples

We are always on the lookout now for restaurants that serve vegan dishes. Here is one we love that is completely vegan. The food is delicious…even for confirmed carnivores!

Loving Hut in Naples closed a couple of weeks ago, but the local franchisees jettisoned the vegan chain and reorganized to become Vegan Kitchen in a new location less than a mile south at Neapolitan Way.

After serving its vegan cuisine on Pine Ridge Road for seven years, some of Loving Hut’s local partners recently transitioned from an affiliation with the international chain to launching the local Vegan Kitchen on Aug. 23, said Brenna Tu, one of the restaurant’s partners helping with the transition. “Some of our partners have gone separate ways there and then they formed a new partnership here,” Tu said. “Not necessarily everything’s the same, because it’s a completely different newly formed group.”

Considering that many similarities exist between the plant-based menus of Loving Hut and the new Vegan Kitchen, some of the restaurant’s clients and customers are confused, thinking the restaurant merely relocated and changed names, Tu said. “It’s not a name change. There’s no affiliation with Loving Hut,” she said. “I want to make that clear because it’s a franchise over there and they’re very sensitive about that.”

“It’s completely vegan. Everything here is 100 percent vegan, non-GMO for sure. The people who took over really do follow that line of thinking,” Tu said. “If you are going to go vegan and healthy, you have to make sure you’re non-GMO. You have to be conscious of what you’re bringing in. The stuff we buy is fresh. Even our soup stock, we make it ourselves. It’s fresh from vegetables and all that.”

The restaurant uses a virtual cornucopia of vegetables and non-meat proteins to create an Asian fusion type of cuisine, Tu said. “Look at our menu,” she said. “It’s Vietnamese. It’s Thai. It’s Chinese. It’s Malaysian, Indonesian, so all that fusion of flavor, because a lot of those countries and cultures have a monastic kind of following and over thousands of years they developed certain recipes and its traditional embedded in that culture and we kind of just pick and choose.”

Vegan Kitchen offers entrees, house specials, bowls, rice and noodle dishes, wraps, appetizers, salads and desserts. More than 20 menu items are marked as gluten free or gluten-free optional.

“We do now have a heavier push for gluten free because a lot of our clientele is gluten-sensitive and people are being more aware of that,” Tu said. “They’re not necessarily celiac gluten-free, but they are gluten sensitive.”

For a change of pace, you should give Vegan Kitchen a try.


Naples Real Estate:

Here are the YTD September 2017 Naples/Bonita market statistics.

For the first nine months of 2017, there were 9,608 closed sales of existing homes in all of Naples and Bonita. This compares with 9,256 closed sales for last year. This represents about a 4% year-to-year increase for existing home sales. It should be noted that hurricane Irma impacted the number of closed sales in September.

Here’s an interesting chart comparing 2017 to last year:

Closed Sales
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 –Sept. 2016
January – Sept. 2017
% Change
+ 4%

All categories are up or even with last year. The first nine months of 2017 have been positive for existing home sales. Growth slowed in September, but sales of existing homes stayed strong for the first nine months of 2017.

The following table shows the level of inventory varies dramatically by price point:

Naples Home Inventory As of October 1, 2017
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
Average Number Sold per Month
Total Available for Sale
Months of Supply as of October 1, 2017

The inventory levels decreased about 5% from last month to 5,966 properties. This was the seventh monthly decrease in a row. 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, that a significant number of new homes are not included in this number. That’s because they are brand new homes being sold by developer and are not included in the MLS totals.

It is still a buyer’s market for existing homes priced above $300,000. In the over $3 million market, for example, there are 301properties available. During the last 12 months, 246 properties in this price range have sold…which means an average of about 21 per month. At that rate, the 301 homes available represent about 14 months of supply.

Sellers in the upper price categories are in a highly competitive environment and the median sales price has leveled off in Naples. Which means there are many good buys available in the secondary market.

Another market factor is the supply of new homes that are now being built or permitted. There are many new home developments that are being built or are 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 October 1, 2017 there were 26 active listings in Kensington.

Type of Property
Lowest Price
Highest Price
Average Price per sq. ft.
Avg. Days on Mkt.
Estate Homes
Coach Homes

There have been 24 closed sales in the past 12-month period. At this average selling rate of 2 properties per month, the 26 homes listed represent about 13 months of inventory on average. The number of homes available is three less than last month but it still is 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 October 1, 2017:

Number for Sale
Lowest Price
Highest Price
Avg. Asking Price Per Sq. Ft.
Avg. Days on Market

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
Average Price per Sq. Ft.
Average Number of Days on Market

Available inventory is 6 less than last month. As of October 1st there were 31 active listings, 1 pending sales and 2 pending sales with contingencies. The MLS system lists 53 spec and resale homes sold in the last 12 months, which means there is currently a 7-month supply of inventory.


Listing Book:     

A great service for our clients…please check it out…Listingbook.com. Do you want to be able to search the Multiple Listing Service like a realtor? With “Listing Book” you will have access to the same database that we use in the real estate business. You can access it 24/7 from any computer. It will provide you with up-to-the-minute data on any properties you have interest in. Email us with Listing Book in the subject line and we will be happy to set you up.

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