On Sanibel Island, Florida, an Ohio couple's search for a dream home comes true

An Ohio couple set their sights on beautiful Sanibel Island, Florida — a hot real estate market for sure

This week's episode of "American Dream Home" on FOX Business Network took viewers to Sanibel Island, Florida. 

What I most enjoy about this show — in addition to meeting the families we profile — is the ability to explore a real estate market that has yet to gain national attention. This is Sanibel's moment.

Homes are selling, on average, about 12 days after listing.

Since we joined Lisa and Keith, an Ohio couple who left the frigid winters behind for the sandy shores of Florida, the market has gained strength. 

Sanibel home prices were up almost 50% year over year, with the median home price sitting at $1.1 million, Redfin reports.

American Dream Home

Lisa and Keith of Ohio had their sights set on Sanibel Island, Florida — their search for a new home is revealed on "American Dream Home."  (FOX Business Network / Fox News)

Homes are selling, on average, about 12 days after listing. Last year, the average time spent on market was 56 days. Inventory also decreased over the last year.  

This, as mortgage rates rose again this week. The Mortgage Bankers Association is reporting the average 30-year rate rose 17 basis points to 5.53% the week of May 6th.

That is the highest rate for the nation's most popular mortgage since 2009. The refinancing index fell 2 percent. Mortgages are rising at the fastest pace not seen in decades.

for sale sign

A for-sale sign is displayed in front of a house in March 2022. Sanibel home prices were up almost 50% year over year. (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Still — Sanibel is hot. Fifty percent of homes there sold above their listing price. 

For Lisa and Keith, it was important they find a home with a boat dock, privacy and multiple bedrooms. The couple visited three homes, all priced over $2 million. 

Hessam Nadji, president and CEO of Marcus & Millichap, says Sanibel Island has incredible curb appeal. 

"Supply levels are practically fixed, helping to insulate Sanibel from some of the impacts of economic challenges more so than other markets in Florida."

"Readily accessible from Fort Myers via a bridge, Sanibel Island features a combination of appealing waterfronts and limited space, both advantageous factors for home values," he said. 

Sanibel Island, Florida

On "American Dream Home," hosted by Cheryl Casone, one couple looked at three different homes on Sanibel Island to find the right one for them. (FOX Business Network / Fox News)

"As an island that also shares some of its footprint with a national wildlife refuge, there is a severe land constraint," he added. 

"As such, supply levels are practically fixed, helping to insulate Sanibel from some of the impacts of economic challenges more so than other markets in Florida."

The Gee Family real estate team in Sanibel is also seeing increased interest in Sanibel.

When asked if the Sanibel Island market is returning to normal with interest rates rising, they shared the following data on their website: "If the total number of homes listed in the area moves to 60, that is a market shift occurring. If it moves to 90, that indicates Sanibel is heading toward a normal market."

American Dream Home

On "American Dream Home," an Ohio couple looked at this living room and other rooms in three different homes as they tried to find the perfect house for them. (FOX Business Network / Fox News)

As for southwest Florida in general, supply is still tight.

Some buyers are settling for a "placeholder" purchase, just to get their feet on the ground in the area.

That is especially true for homebuyers in search of beachfront property. 

Nadji of Marcus & Millichap says the overall real estate market with likely moderate. 

"The era of accelerated price growth witnessed over the past year will likely give way to a period where values are largely driven by the pace of increases to mortgage rates," he said. 


"Additional rate increases of 50 to 100 basis points could result in a modest price correction. Rising rates will temper some buyers’ ability to compete on price, while high inflation raises the costs of everyday goods leaving less money for consumers to use for a down payment."

Cheryl Casone

Cheryl Casone is host of "American Dream Home" on FOX Business Network. It airs Wednesday evenings at 9 p.m.  (Fox News / Fox News)

Yet that doesn't mean Florida will fall drastically.  

"There are multiple tailwinds driving demand for Florida housing that should give the market plenty of support. A warm climate, low tax burdens and new job opportunities offered by a wave of recent corporate relocations continue to draw more residents to the state."

"American Dream Home" airs Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. on FOX Business Network. 

To learn more, watch the video at the top of this article, or click here to access it.