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If real estate was baseball, the home run for 2016 would be 16660 Captiva Drive.  

The $16.3 million sale by listing broker Michael Lawler of Premier Sotheby’s International Realty and Sanibel/Captiva agent Phaidra McDermott scored one for the record books – not only as Captiva’s highest sale ever, but as the year’s number one residential sale in Collier and Lee counties.

Pundits have called 2016 the year real estate returned to earth, but residential expert Michael Polly sees important trends beneath the surface.

“Cape Coral as a whole had more $1 million-plus sales in 2016 that in 2015 and 2014, and Fort Myers increased its median sale price of $1 million-plus homes,”  the Royal Shell Real Estate vice president said.

Overall, while other residential markets were off compared with a 2015 on steroids, most equaled their 2014 levels, he notes. In Lee County markets, sales volume and median price outperformed their 2014 stats.

Naples, the region’s luxury leader, was an exception.

“Naples dipped below 2014 and 2015 in sales, sales volume and median sales price,” Polly said. “If you dissect the market by ZIP code,  you can see that the Port Royal and Olde Naples areas were affected most.”

Part of the reason is the number of Port Royal properties listed for sale on the MLS – roughly two years of inventory, he explained.

What’s on the horizon for 2017? In residential markets overall, Polly predicts:

  • Recent pressure and downward pricing trends will decrease and likely reverse in 2017 in most market segments.
  • New home buyers will experience increased prices as construction costs increase. Both materials and labor costs are going up.
  • Higher new replacement and remodel costs will pull up resale values for properties that have been updated and reflect a recent effective age.
  • Affordable housing will continue to mean a commute into most of our metro areas from the suburbs.
  • Millennials that have been transient renters may start to be owners as interest rates rise.

Lee County Top 10

1. 16660 Captiva Drive, Captiva Island 

List:  $16,500,000        
Sold: $16,300,000
Built: 2003
Bedrooms: 5
Baths: 5/1

With Caribbean style on over 2 acres and 200-plus feet of beachfront on the Gulf of Mexico, this home earns its number one spot. It starts with great architectural bones, includes the amenities expected of a multimillion dollar residence, and adds the non-standard -- gazebo, koi pond, and a saltwater pool and spa surrounded by a coquina-stone lanai.

2. 3421 West Gulf Drive, Sanibel 

List: $6,975,000        
Sold: $6,837,500 
Built: 2007
Bedrooms: 6+
Baths: 5/1

The Gulf is reflected in the infinity-edge pool of this Sanibel home. Walls of pocketing glass maximize the views, while tropical plantings keep it private. With room for company in their own separate digs, connected by a breezeway.

3. 27586 Hickory Boulevard, Bonita Springs


List: $6,495,000        
Sold: $6,450,000
Built: 2016
Bedrooms: 4+
Baths: 5/2

The romance of this home is a soaring Gulf view from the third-floor fireplaced master suite and study. Pocket sliders open to a Gulf panorama and elevated pool, spa, bar, outdoor kitchen, the works.

4. 953 South Seas Plantation Road, Captiva 

List: $6,299,000        
Sold:  $5,803,500
Built: 1990
Bedrooms: 5
Baths: 5/1

It's not just a home, it's a permanent vacation. The new owner gets a front row seat on the Gulf and shares the rest of the 330 acres, the yacht club and two miles of beach with his or her South Seas Island neighbors. Everyone else can book a room starting at about $300 a night.

5. 26644 Hickory Boulevard, Bonita Springs 

List: $5,800,000        
Sold: $5,800,000
Built: 2016
Bedrooms: 5
Baths: 5/1

New construction and Bonita Beach. The style is light, bright and casual, but with traditional overtones that keep it rich. A grandfathered chickee hut right on the beach.

6 27330 Hickory Boulevard, Bonita Springs 

List: $5,925,000        
Sold: $5,750,000
Built: 2016
Bedrooms: 5
Baths: 5/2

From Boston's North Shore to Bonita Beach, Windover Development Brand perfected a winning formula for luxury coastal living that put Bonita Springs' Hickory Boulevard squarely on the top 10 map. This is the developer's largest Gulf-front 'cottage' to date.

7. 11781 Via Sorrento Court, Miromar Lakes


List: $5,638,575        
Sold: $5,638,575
Built: 2016
Bedrooms: 4
Baths: 5

Now this is interesting -- a top 10 sale that's neither Gulf- nor bay- or riverfront, but lakefront -- and it's east of I-75. The home and its Sorrento grand estate neighborhood front 700-acre Lake Como, whose name evokes the French and Italian rivieras that inspired this still-growing community.

8. 16790 Captiva Drive, Captiva

List: $5,250,000        
Sold: $5,000,000
Built: 1958
Bedrooms: 5  
Baths: 4

It may look like an average 1950s home in need of a little updating, but this property is gold -- as in Gold Coast -- at an entry level price for direct Captiva beachfront in a neighborhood of much grander homes. With a guest house, no less.

9. 16298 Captiva Drive, Captiva 

List: $4,999,000        
Sold: $4,900,000

The home on this 1-plus acre lot hasn't even been built yet, but a Gulf-front lot on Captiva's Gold Coast is a top 10 all by itself. The oversized parcel is already planted up with specimen trees and shrubs, and estate zoned for a home, guest home and carriage house.

10. 16665 Captiva Drive, Captiva 


List: $4,800,000        
Sold:  $4,550,000
Built:1940
Bedrooms: 2+
Baths: 2

This is one for the ages -- a 9-acre family compound with two historic guest cottages set on Roosevelt Channel with deeded beach access to the Gulf. Winding trails and a fresh water pond keep it natural in the Captiva tradition.

Collier County Top 10

1. 3845 Fort Charles Drive

List: $16,450,000
Sold: $15,150,000
Built: 1981
Bedrooms: 6+
Baths: 13

This Port Royal home earned its number one spot with 303 feet of waterfront with east, south and west water views, on land that was originally platted for two houses. The floating dock is big enough for a 125-foot yacht, which is what the family who owned the home since the 70s berthed there. Its other unexpected asset– a two-bedroom guesthouse overlooking Doubloon Bay for the yacht crew or your extended stay guests.

2. 3110 Gin Lane












List: $14,995,000        
Sold: $14,200,000
Built 2016
Bedrooms: 5+
Baths: 6/2

This new Stofft Cooney home shows a style more Naples luxury buyers are turning to – away from Mediterranean ornateness toward the West Indies' tropical feel.  
Luxury makes its statement in the details -- a beveled glass and mahogany door opening to a grand staircase, the  white-on-white chef’s kitchen, white oak flooring, and a wine room for your 1,000-bottle stash.

3. 1085 Nelsons Walk 

List: $14,900,000        
Sold:  $13,540,000
Built: 2011
Bedrooms: 6+
Baths: 6/2

The chef of this Port Royal home cooks with a view of the bay and welcomes company with four guest rooms and a separate guest house. The prior owners planted up the property with lushness, and the car collector gets a garage for six.

4. 3510 Fort Charles Drive 


List: $13,900,000        
Sold: $13,000,000
Built: 2015
Bedrooms: 5+
Baths: 5/2

Stofft Cooney Architects designed the Port Royal home with clean West Indies lines on an acre and a half. An open floor plan takes advantage of sunset views, and the open lawn rolls to a 40-foot dock for your water toys.

5.  3125 Rum Row 

List: $12,995,000        
Sold: $12,465,000
Built:1999
Bedrooms: 6+
Baths: 7/2

Quite the bargain for a British West Indies style home on one and a half acres, with 172 feet on Benbow’s Bight. A home of this vintage will be redesigned many times over, most recently by one of Port Royal’s original hands, A. Vernon Allen Builders.

6. 3292 Green Dolphin Lane 


List: $12,750,000        
Sold: $11,500,000
Built: 2015
Bedrooms: 6+
Baths: 7/2

An almost new estate home with the old-money look of the Gulf. Custom-coffered ceilings designed to awe. Gates open to tropical lushness. A guest house with its own office and full kitchen. All overlooking Old Harbour Channel.

7. 990 Aqua Circle

List: $10,500,000        
Sold: $10,250,000
Built 2004  
Bedrooms: 5+ 
Baths: 5/1

The palatial quality of this home sits well with its position on the wide water of Naples Bay. Touches like Pecky Cypress wood ceilings, shellstone columns and a host of private terraces make it special. You can almost reach out and touch the bay from your chaise lounge on the lanai. Instead of the usual negative edge, the pool has stone and water features that give it interest.

8. 3800 Gordon Drive

List: $10,999,000        
Sold: $10,200,000
Built: 1982
Bedrooms: 3
Baths: 3/1  

This home’s creator decided overpowering luxury could take a back seat to the star amenity -- the Gulf of Mexico. Featured in "Naples Beach Homes: Cottages, Castles and The Families That Built Them," the property got a remodel from architect John Dyehouse, who opened up the floor plan so almost every room is oriented to the wraparound veranda. The floor-to-ceiling coral fireplace and tropical gardens were already perfect.

8. 8477 Bay Colony Drive

List: $10,755,000        
Sold: $10,200,000
Built: 1998
Bedrooms: 4
Baths: 4/1

This unit at Windsor at Bay Colony isn't your ordinary condo. French oak wood flooring and natural stones run through it, the kitchen countertops are engineered quartz, and the windows look on expansive Gulf views. The condo also comes with a not-your-average recurring fee -- $51,848 ... before the tax bill.

10.  1200 Galleon Drive, Naples

List:  $11,400,000        
Sold: $10,100,000
Built: 2015
Bedrooms: 6+
Baths:  6/2

This estate home looks to the southwest down Runaway Bay. It’s a home for the family with lots of friends to enjoy feasts from the commercial-grade kitchen and cocktails at the bars, inside and out. Multiple patios feel private, surrounded in tropical landscaping, and beyond the infinity pool and spa, your yacht is waiting on a 60-foot floating dock.

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