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Thursday, December 9, 2010

In rural Georgia, sale of golf course could hold key to adjacent community's future

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     I learned recently that one of the first golf communities I visited in 2006, shortly after I started Home On The Course, had suffered a setback.  Cooper's Point in Shellman Bluff, GA, is adjacent to Sapelo Hammock Golf Club, which closed last summer and is currently up for sale.  Cooper’s Point is offering golf home sites through the end of the month for 50% off previous pricing, including beautiful marsh-view lots for $200,000 (equivalent lots in more established coastal communities run more than twice that).  The lowest priced lot is just $29,000.  I recall during my visit just four years ago that lots with views of the marsh and the Sapelo River were listed in the high $300s, which I thought reasonably priced at the time.  But anyone who borrowed 80% of the cost of one of those lots back in 2006 may now be both adjacent to and under water, figuratively speaking.

        Values for residential golf community property are governed by the same three principles as our primary homes are -– location, location, location.  Therefore, residential communities in the more remote locations are suffering the most in the current economy.  Cooper’s Point is between Savannah and Jacksonville, FL, but over an hour from the former and well over two hours from Jacksonville.  Moreover, it is 10 miles from Interstate 95 and, despite plans for an eventual retail center at the perimeter of the community, it is a good haul to shopping (the nearest Walmart is in Brunswick, more than an hour away).  Cooper’s Point does have a restaurant on site, although dining options outside the gate are limited (and you better like seafood).


Marshview lots at Cooper's Point are priced at $200,000 and lower through the end of the month.


       I understand that a group of local businessmen are expected to close on a contract to purchase the golf course by the end of the month and plan to invest in an upgrade to the layout, which I liked when I played it (nice links style in good condition and cheap to play, about $40 as I recall).  It is reasonable to assume that in a remote, though beautiful, location like Shellman Bluff, GA, the fortunes of the real estate development are tied to the fortunes of the golf club.  Unless you like to fish, boat and watch marsh birds, there is not an overwhelming number of activities in and around Shellman Bluff.  A firm commitment to the golf course by its future owners could make a $29,000 or larger investment in a Cooper’s Point lot look pretty smart by next year.

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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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