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Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Sweet Spot Price for Golf Homes

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        In just the last week, I have received inquiries from four customers, each of whom is looking for a resale golf home or a condo in a golf community. And all specified a price range of $250,000 to $300,000. Either this is a major coincidence, or someone is goofing on me. I'm going to assume the former, but the coincidence got me thinking about what real estate in that price range is currently available in golf communities I have visited and can recommend.
        It turns out quite a lot. Mindful that some people prefer the low-maintenance lifestyle condo ownership provides, and others prefer the more spacious single-family-home approach, here are summaries of two golf homes for sale in some of our favorite golf communities -– one single-family home and one condominium in each.  Plenty of others are available at both lower and higher prices in each golf community.

BayCreekNicklausoversandBay Creek's Jack Nicklaus has a links like feel to it.

Bay Creek Resort, Cape Charles, VA

        This was the first community to be able to boast separate Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer designed 18 hole layouts. They are both impressive and bump up against the Chesapeake Bay, although we prefer the more links-like Nicklaus layout. Bear Creek is located about 10 miles north of one of the engineering marvels of the world, the 20-mile span of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge & Tunnel. The community is also about a six-hour drive from Manhattan and a lot closer from Philly and Washington, D.C. Condos and single-family homes are squarely in the price range we are exploring here.  For example, a 3 BR, 2 BA, 1,800 square foot condo in The Fairways section -– so named because of its view of the Palmer course –- is being offered furnished and can slip right into the Bay Creek rental program to generate some income when you are not using it. The offering price is $274,900.  Nearby, in The Hollies section, a 1,750 square foot single-family home, with 3 BRs and 2 BAs, is listed for $259,900.  It is on a small lot, but does have a front yard and sunroom and back patio for views of the woods and Nicklaus course.  Bay Creek recently opened a beach club and fitness center to go with the great golf.

WGreenShamokin6The three nines on the Rees Jones Stoney Creek course have Native American tribe names. This is #6 on the Shamokin course.

Wintergreen Resort, Nellysford, VA

        If we were skiers, as well as golfers, we'd think seriously about having two homes – one on the coast and one in the mountains. And the choice of golf communities in the mountains would certainly include consideration of Wintergreen, where you can play golf at the top of the mountain –- the Ellis Maples Devil's Knob course -- and at the bottom -– the 27-hole Rees Jones Stoney Creek layout. Both are outstanding. We understand the skiing is pretty nice as well. But maybe the most outstanding feature at Wintergreen are the prices for the wide variety of real estate, with condos that start as low as the $60s. For our purposes, we'll take the 2 BR, 2 BA, 1,170 square foot unit on Blue Ridge Drive with long and beautiful mountain views and a short walk to the first tee of Devil's Knob, tennis and the spa. For those seeking a bit more space and an indigenous style of home, a nine-year old Lindal Cedar single-family house features 3 BR and 3 BA, exposed wood beams, pine ceilings, hardwood floors, fireplace, A-frame windows, cathedral ceilings and an open floor plan. Oh, yes, and it comes fully furnished, all for $289,500.

St. James Plantation, Southport, NC

        St. James is big and sprawling, with four golf courses and the widest range of real estate options (wide range of prices too, starting in the high $100s). The condos clustered around the St. James Marina are especially attractive and modern, circa 2008. One currently for sale at $259,900 includes 3 BRs, 3 BAs and 1,800 square feet of living space on one ground floor. Each of the bedrooms includes its own bath, and unlike most other villas in the neighborhood, this one has an expanded "owner's closet" for extra storage space. For those who don't mind doing a little yard work, or paying for it, a single-family "cottage" style home at exactly the same price as the condo and with exactly the same square footage is also available. The extra touches are too numerous to list but include newly sanded and stained hardwood floors, an upstairs bonus room, a large kitchen with center island, and a golf membership that is included.

KeoweeKeyhomeKeowee Key features an 18-hole George Cobb golf course, a lake and some of the best deals in golf community real estate.

Keowee Key, Salem, SC

        There are few options for waterfront homes in golf communities in the price range we are exploring. You won't find any bigger bargains in waterfront and water view properties than at this well-established Lake Keowee community with a mature George Cobb designed golf course and some of the lowest dollar-per-square-foot prices anywhere. Consider one lakeside condo, currently listed for $259,000 and with 2 BRs and 2 BAs and located on a walking trail that runs for a couple of miles along the lake. From the great room, you can enjoy not only the views of the lake but a fireplace for those relatively few cool evenings in winter. If you would prefer your lake views from a single-family home, and access to the lake from your backyard, a 3 BR, 2 ½ BA, 2,600 square foot stone and wood home on a cul de sac should fill the bill. The home is listed at $289,500 which, by our calculations, comes to about $111 per square foot. Quite a deal.

Pawleys16frontwtreeFrom in front of #16 at Pawleys Plantation, you can see out across the marsh to the island homes within two blocks of the ocean. The drive around the marsh to the beach from Pawleys Plantation is about seven minutes.

Pawleys Plantation, Pawleys Island, SC

        Many of the holes on the Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course run along the marsh that separates the community from the island and Atlantic Ocean, just ¾ mile away. The course also threads its way past an array of real estate, including big estate homes and multi-unit condo buildings, generally set well back from the field of play. A 3 BR, 2 BA "patio" home on a cul de sac is currently listed at just $259,000. An end unit condo in the community is currently listed at $265,000 and includes 3 BRs, 3 BAs and more than 2,000 square feet of living space. The live oaks on the property give the condo more of a single-home feel. The owners purchased the home, according to Zillow.com, for $300,000 in 2008. Other condos in Pawleys Plantation are listed from the low $100s. For couples looking for a bargain vacation home, this is a good community from which to start the search. (Note: The semi-private club is currently promoting a membership push, dropping initiation fees to $5,000; I have a certificate good for $500 off of the initiation fee and would be pleased to make it available to anyone who signs up for membership.)

River Strand at Heritage Harbour, Bradenton, FL

        The national builder Lennar has been quite active in the golf community construction arena. Their business model is to build modern neighborhoods of attractively designed and sharply priced homes, include "bundled" membership with the price of the new home, and hire competent course designers to lay out attractive, fairly challenging courses. They certainly did that at River Strand, where the respected Arthur Hills has his name on the golf course. Lennar's single-family home models include one called The Capri, whose prices start at $253,990 (1,677 square feet and 3 BRs and 2 BAs) and include a large kitchen and double walk-in closet in the master bedroom. Among its attached unit offerings is a "coach" home, the Hibiscus model, that features 3 BRs, 2 BAs, a two-car garage and 1,883 square feet of living space, all in one first-level floor plan (your neighbor is next door, not above or below).

        If you would like more information on any of these golf communities or listings, or would like to arrange an exploratory visit, I would be pleased to help you with arrangements.  My services are free of charge and without obligation.  Please contact me.

Read 3661 times Last modified on Thursday, 24 July 2014 13:54
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Larry Gavrich

This blog was conceived and is published by me, Larry Gavrich, a former corporate communications executive who founded HomeOnTheCourse, LLC, in 2005.  Our firm advises baby boomers and others seeking a lifestyle in which golf is a major component.  My wife Connie and I own a home in Connecticut (not on a golf course) and a condo at Pawleys Plantation in Pawleys Island, SC, on a Jack Nicklaus layout.  We began our search for our home on the course more than 15 years ago, and the challenges of the search inspired me to research golf communities and write objective reviews of them.

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