Lifestyle-Interest is Driving Home Sales Despite Skyrocketing Prices
By: Charles Sells
It has always been true that home buyers want to live somewhere they love, but in recent years the bigger issue has been whether or not a buyer could acquire a home at all – much less one that ticked all the boxes. However, despite rising home prices and an increasingly tight housing market nationally as well as in certain prime locations, buyers are still choosing to hold out for dream homes.
As more and more millennials start home shopping, you might expect that dream home to come with smaller square footage, a healthy dose of “green living,” and probably an urban location despite the ongoing threat of COVID-19. However, you would be wrong. In increasing numbers, millennial buyers are selecting private golf communities and properties in proximity to golf communities as their home base for the foreseeable future.
According to Sotheby’s International Realty, consumers are making homebuying decisions based more than ever on “homes that enhance their lifestyle interests.” And despite a nearly lifelong determination to pooh-pooh just about everything “boomer,” millennials are gravitating toward golf clubs as well.
“Golf is not just your grandfather’s spot anymore,” reported MarketWatch contributor Nancy Trejos. “Younger people are picking up golf clubs, too.” The attractions of golf clubs and the private clubs associated with many of them include the ability to be outside without being secluded, access to plenty of green space, and, in the case of private clubs, management discretion regarding requirements such as proof of vaccination, proof of negative COVID-19 test, and masking.
“In the past, people were saying, ‘I don’t want to live in Del Boca Vista like Jerry Seinfeld’s parents,” said Jason Becker, CEO, and co-founder of South Florida-based Golf Life Navigators (GLN). His company helps golfers find their “best match” golf club and describes itself as “like eHarmony meets Zillow for golf.” Now, Becker observed, buyers’ priorities have changed, and they are interested in these properties even if their neighbors are the senior Seinfelds. “That has given the clubs such a great opportunity,” he added. “These club communities are going to be in a good position going forward.”
According to GLN, the top golf community markets at present are Scottsdale, Arizona; Palm Beach, Florida; Naples, Florida; and Hilton Head, South Carolina. Hilton Head boasts an advantage over the other top golf markets due to its relative affordability and long history with the sport. The area boasts more than 23 championship courses (some public, some private), courses designed by renowned “golf architects,” and a temperate climate in which golfers happily play year-round. Not surprisingly, the overall market in the area, which is also proximal to the beach, has skyrocketed in recent months. However, with demand from buyers coming in from all over the country, it seems likely that the Hilton Head market still has legs for the rest of 2021 and likely through 2022.