The view from the landing at River Landing.
Eighteen years ago, when I first started assisting clients in finding their dream golf home, the sweet spot for prices was about $125 per square foot. Ten years ago, it had risen to $150 per square foot. Thanks to the pandemic, the current low inventory of homes for sale in many high-quality golf communities, and the continuing high costs of lumber and labor, you can count on $200 or more in most cases. But not in all cases.  I went bargain hunting the other day and found a few choice homes for sale at under $175 per square foot. Here they are.
River Landing, Wallace, NC
Golf communities within minutes of a Walmart store provide some security to those looking for a home in an otherwise remote area. At least you know that when many of the necessities of life are on your list, relief will not be far away. At Wallace, NC’s River Landing, less than two miles from the local Walmart -- a "Supercenter" no less -- you won’t be far away from one medium-sized historic city, Wilmington, and less than 75 miles from one of the largest airport hubs in the nation, in Raleigh. Interstate 40, about a drive and seven iron away from the community’s front gate, will get you to both cities quickly. River Landing features two Clyde Johnston golf courses that always rank highly in the golf rich state of North Carolina. Real estate is almost exclusively of the single-family variety and, given the perception of Wallace’s remote location, more reasonably priced than other two-golf-course communities.  This home for sale in River Landing is priced at $139 per square foot.  Click here.

Pebble CreekPebble Creek par 4

Pebble Creek, Taylor, SC
Pebble Creek's 27 holes of golf can be played as a member or as a walk-in.  Given the bargain prices for membership, the break-even point is about two rounds per week. The club’s owner, a veteran who learned how to manage golf clubs in the golf crazy Myrtle Beach, tends to his golf course and members with enthusiasm and care. Homes adjacent to the course are mature, some in need of a bit of updating, which is why prices tend to be more modest than other golf communities just 10 minutes from a popular city, in this case Greenville.  This listing is priced at just $146 per square foot.  Click here.

Carolina Colours clubhouseCarolina Colours clubhouse

Carolina Colours, New Bern, NC
If there was an award for “Friendliest Golf Community,” Carolina Colours would make the list. Residents act as if they have known each other forever. They volunteer together for local charities and get together for regular Friday buffet night dinners in the clubhouse. Club costs are “friendly” as well, reasonably priced both for those who wish to become members and those who want to pay as they go (green fees). New Bern is an historic town, the original capital city of North Carolina, and the former governor’s mansion, Tryon Palace, is a favorite tourist attraction. Homes and tall pine trees ring the Bill Love designed golf course.  Here is an expensive home but a bargain on a square foot basis.  Click here.

The current gulf between most expensive home and least expensive home site in many communities is forcing some couples to consider the formerly unthinkable: “Should we buy a lot and build our dream home?” During this current period of high prices and low inventories of homes for sale in some of the nation’s best golf communities, the answer might be “Yes,” despite the high costs of lumber and labor.Real estate wisdom says you should never own the most expensive house in your neighborhood; owning the least expensive house runs a close second but if your home is down-market in price but brand new, your upside potential is high.

That is why for many retired couples, this is a good time to build that home you have always dreamed of.I looked at a few of my favorite golf communities in the Southeast and found some wide deltas between the most expensive homes and lots currently listed for sale. Here they are, with links to the listings.

Indian Creek, Kilmarnock, VA
Known as the Northern Neck of Virginia, the intriguing area surrounding Kilmarnock is among the least known and, therefore, most underappreciated in the Southeast Region. The neck juts out into the expanse of water formed by the Potomac and Rappahanock Rivers, across from the DelMarVa Peninsula. Indian Creek is the preeminent private club on the Northern Neck. The nearest city is Richmond, about two hours away, which keeps local real estate at a significant value for peace-and-quiet seekers. That is not to say the area lacks “mansion style” homes, like this one priced at $1.65 million. 

Land is generally cheapest in remote areas, even those areas that have a lot to offer. This more than ½ acre lot is listed at just $20,000. For half the difference between it and the beautiful $1.65 million home, you could let your imagination run wild when building your dream home. 

DebbyDoo beach clubThe beach club on the ocean at DeBordieu Colony.
DeBordieu Colony, Georgetown, SC
Known by locals as Debby Doo – French is not a second language in the Low Country of South Carolina – DeBordieu translates as “near to God.” Whether a brilliant sunrise over the ocean or an exciting Pete Dye designed golf course are the stuff of natural highs for you, DeBordieu is a special place for those who like to both relax and be active in equal measures. One of the rare east coast golf communities north of Florida with a golf course AND an ocean beach club inside the gates, DeBordieu commands the top end of the market in the Myrtle Beach/Pawleys Island area. Whenever a beachfront home at DeBordieu comes on the market, it immediately leaps to the top of the price list. However, the most expensive home currently for sale in the community is not on the ocean, just a short walk away. But at $4.6 million, it is spectacular. 

As lots go in the Southeast, $279,950 is pricey, but for a home site in a community that is always a short golf cart ride to the ocean beach club and with a fine Pete Dye golf course, it is all relative. Click here.

Haig Point par 3 over marshThe Rees Jones layout at Haig Point is full of surprises...and challenges.
Haig Point, Daufuskie Island, SC
When you decide to live at Haig Point, you can pack up all your cares and woes and leave the world – and your car – behind. No private vehicles are permitted on Daufuskie Island. The major mode of conveyance on the noise- and air-pollution free island is the golf cart. You might think that real estate on an island only reached by ferry or helicopter would be expensive. After all, shipping in all those materials and labor should drive costs up. And they do. But homes and especially lots are surprisingly affordable in a paradise that is not for everyone. But if it is for you, you can look forward to a relaxing vacation or retirement place and 27 holes of Rees Jones golf that is so good the pros who play an annual event across the Calibogue Sound at Sea Pines Plantation practice at Haig Point. From well over $1.35 million for a home on the golf course to just $14,500 for a 2/3-acre buildable plot of land, paradise offers plenty of options.