Inventories of homes for sale are at historic lows in many Southern golf communities. Where each community usually had dozens of homes listed for sale prior to 2020, today it’s not unusual to have a choice of only three or four. Many homes are selling above their list prices, with occasional bidding wars breaking out.
Baby Boomers who have retired or will retire soon have a binary choice: Wait until prices recede or forge ahead. But those who wait could be crowded out of the market as prices continue to rise steadily in the face of shrunken inventories of homes for sale.
Retirees alone do not account for all those in full flight to warm weather, low cost-of-living alternatives. The pandemic has changed how urban dwellers feel about their cities, and they will continue to head to places they perceive as safer. Millions of employees now working at home prefer it there, and their employers could save millions of dollars on office leasing and utility costs by keeping them at home.
How long will it take for employees who can work from anywhere decide they would prefer to work where the climate is better and expenses lower? Furthermore, currently historic low-interest rates on mortgages – in the 2% range — are making it incredibly easy for increasing numbers of people to relocate. No wonder Southern real estate is a tsunami on top of an already big wave.
For 15 years, I have helped my clients identify and purchase golf community homes in the Southeast U.S. Because my clients are looking for homes across all price ranges, I have a good historical view of where the highest-value properties are located.
For example, I have pitched, as good value, $400,000 homes in a community like Georgia’s Reynolds Lake Oconee in Georgia. The community’s casual lifestyle, rural location on a beautiful lake and lovingly tended six golf courses put it near the top of my list of preferred communities. Last year, I recall a couple dozen homes for sale at Reynolds under $500,000; today, there’s nothing below $650,000; in fact, only seven under $1 million are currently on offer.
At Pawleys Plantation in Pawleys Island, SC, a gated, semi-private golf community with a fine Jack Nicklaus golf course, the inventory of homes for sale has shrunk to near-historic lows, and prices in the seacoast town have risen nearly 6% in the last year. The Pawleys Island Realtor I work with says there are only five golf community condos listed for sale in the entire area, which is rich in golf communities. I have owned a vacation condo in Pawleys Plantation since 2000 and have never seen fewer than five for sale at a time in the community, let alone in the surrounding area.
The famous philosopher Lawrence “Yogi” Berra once said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” When it comes to home buying, those who take the fork labeled “Stop” could be stuck forever. Those who follow the fork that says “This Way South” will likely avoid a loss of buying power in the next year or two.
Larry Gavrich is the founder of Home On The Course, LLC, and the author of Glorious Back Nine: How to Find Your Dream Golf Home. He maintains two blog sites, GolfCommunityReviews.com and OffTheBeatenCartPath.com and publishes a monthly newsletter, Home On The Course, free to subscribers. Glorious Back Nine is available for purchase at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com in both paperback and ePub versions.