Zillow, the online real estate resource, has published a list of the best cities and towns to buy a vacation home with golf as a major activity. In order to qualify for the list, 15% of the area within five miles of a town must include golf oriented homes. (Zillow ranks the towns also by other activities, including large bodies of water, like oceans and lakes; amusement parks; historical sites; and national parks.)
Zillow ranks vacation towns on a range of attributes, including price to rent ratio, median home value, median rent and a home value 12-month forecast, and rolls them all into one "Second Home Index" on a scale of 1 to 100. The coastal town of Calabash, NC, rates a perfect 100 on that scale.
Calabash, NC, tops the list
I know Calabash for two things, its indigenous approach to frying sea creatures and the number of golf courses in the immediate area. The frying substitutes cornmeal for flour in coating the seafood. As for the golf, we count 135 holes of golf with a Calabash address, most of them located adjacent to real estate. All available for public play, they include 27 holes at Brunswick Plantation and 36 holes at The Pearl. The others include Meadowland and Farmstead, close to each other and part of the same group; Carolina Shores; and Crow Creek. The real estate in most of these communities is bargain-priced, with a mix of multi-unit buildings and single-family homes. Overall, Zillow indicates that the median home price in Calabash is just under $96,000.
Brunswick Plantation, for example, is a sprawling 1,200 acres and includes 1,200 single-family homes and 800 multi-unit dwellings. Of the 60 homes currently listed for sale in Brunswick Plantation, condos begin under $60,000 and single-family homes from $181,000. Crow Creek condos begin at just $114,000; the least expensive single-family home currently for sale is 4 bedrooms, 3 baths priced at $340,000. A relative few number of lots are still available in these communities for those who would like to design their own homes.
Big Cats anchor Sunset Beach golf offerings
Sunset Beach, NC, just north of Calabash, also rates highly on Zillow's index of vacation towns with a golf orientation, no doubt owing to the presence of a few golf communities with multiple courses. Ocean Ridge's collection of golf courses, known as the "Big Cats" because they are named Tiger's Eye, Leopard's Chase, Panther's Run and Lion's Paw, provide 72 holes of golf inside the gates of a popular golf community. Sea Trail, another local golf community, adds 54 holes, Sandpiper and Thistle Golf Club add another 27 each, and the unique Oyster Bay, which features oyster shell faces on some of its greens, kicks in another 18. If another complex, Angel Trace, had not closed for business recently, Sunset Beach would equal Calabash for golfing excess.
Ocean Ridge features only single-family homes, with prices starting at $340,000. There are also more than 100 lots still available at prices starting around $16,000. Prices in Sandpiper and Sea Trail are generally lower, Thistle, which is a much smaller community than the others, generally higher.
Other towns in Brunswick County, NC, show up on the Zillow list, as do plenty of towns in Florida. You will find the Zillow list of golf vacation home towns if you click here.