Healthy market growth and unrivaled outdoor activities have buyers seeking golf and resort communities as primary, year-round residences.
By Stacey Staum
Golf and resort properties across the country have experienced a robust reemergence in sales in the past several years. These communities offer exciting amenities, and buyers have taken notice. Current trends indicate that these properties are more than just relaxing getaways for second-home buyers. Instead, golf and resort communities are among the fastest growing luxury primary residences, as buyers seek year-round comfort and active lifestyles.
The warm climate, coupled with world-class golf and unmatched outdoor activities, have made Scottsdale a premier resort location. Frank Aazami, a Realtor with Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty, shares that luxury listings average $3 million to $4 million, but go up to $10 million and higher. According to Aazami, buyers invest in a second home in Scottsdale and end up living there full-time because they love the culture. Aazami elaborates, “Years ago, Scottsdale was a ghost town in the summertime, and now it has picked up. Businesses used to close up for the summer and that has stopped.” In addition to golf, buyers enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and biking because they have so many sunny days in Scottsdale.
One trend Aazami notes is that people are buying homes and tearing them down to build custom ones. He elaborates, “People are shying away from the Old World look and are going with more contemporary models. Designers are creating sustainable, concrete homes with lots of glass and other sustainable products that are easy to maintain. It seems like more and more people are sensitive to orientation, with the sun here. People are careful about where they place windows and the pool so they get the right amount of sun.”
Colorado is famous for having some of the finest ski areas in the world. Buyers find that Colorado offers an unmatched variety of activities and amenities in addition to world-class skiing.
The market in the Aspen Snowmass area is as strong as it has ever been. Ben Roos, a Real Estate Broker at Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty, shares that while luxury prices in the area are generally in the $3 million to $7 million range, prices run the gamut from $1 million to $100 million.
While the Aspen Snowmass area is primarily a ski community, with ski-in/ski-out access being the most valued commodity in the area, they also have golf courses and clubs up and down the valley. Interestingly, according to Roos, summer has become even busier than winters in the area because of all the community has to offer. Roos explains, “It’s a world-class town. We have so many wonderful cultural events here, with our theater companies, jazz and music culture, and obviously the athletic and outdoor activities such as hiking, biking and snowboarding. For people who don’t want to do any of that, we have a moderate climate. It’s a fun place to live; a small town with a world-renowned reputation.”
Vail is known for having some of the best skiing in the world and boasts unrivaled ski resort luxury. Broker Mark Weinreich of the Weinreich Group at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties says that buyers settle down in Vail for more than just skiing: “We have several golf courses in our community that are all outstanding. We’re seeing a lot of people coming to the mountains to cool off, as temperatures here are drier and cooler. Our recreational activities in the summer are endless. We’ve got infrastructure for recreation activities like hiking, biking and golfing for a healthy outdoor lifestyle.”
According to Weinreich, the luxury market starts at around $3 million, explaining, “Because we’re surrounded by national forest, we’ve got a limited amount of development opportunity in our area, so we have a defined density. Because of that, there’s an intrinsic value to the area.” Weinreich adds that the market in Vail offers a wide variety of price points, as buyers find good values in the area without having to invest at the top of the market.
As a resort community, Hilton Head doesn’t follow standard market trends, but has seen tremendous growth in recent years. Hillary Dollenberg of Weichert Realtors Coastal Properties explains that 2015 has been the strongest year they’ve had since the recession and the island has been much busier. The market itself has a diverse range of properties, with waterfront homes starting in the $1 million to $2 million range, interior homes from $500,000 and condos as low as $100,000. Dollenberg states that a second home is always a luxury purchase, and Hilton Head has a diverse market to satisfy that demand.
Hilton Head is known for its world-class golf, but offers buyers so much more than just a day on the course. Dollenberg explains, “Hilton Head itself has just been awarded as a bike community. People really like parking the car and not using it again until they leave. The whole island is bike accessible, so the whole family could ride the bike, be active and enjoy the weather. We have a ton of tennis here, as a lot of retired players live here and have built academies. The beach, boating, golf and biking are easily the most popular activities.”
The golf and resort market in Florida has seen substantial improvements since the recession in 2008.
Andy Odenbach, President of Lake Nona Golf & Country Club in Orlando, shares that, “As of July 2015, Lake Nona Realty has already matched the total sales for all of 2014, which puts us on track to almost double our sales by year’s end. With home prices ranging from just under $1 million and stretching to more than $7 million, and lot prices starting at $300,000 and reaching to more than $1 million, Lake Nona offers a variety of luxury price points.”
Odenbach shares, “Living in Lake Nona Golf & Country Club is an experience offered by no other community in the country. Aside from its astonishingly picturesque setting, complete with well-manicured greens, sparkling lakes and warm Florida sunshine, Lake Nona is uniquely positioned nearby one of the country’s most innovative and burgeoning hubs for biotechnology, Lake Nona Medical City.” Lake Nona offers buyers all of the finest amenities, including a premier championship golf course, a clubhouse with fitness and tennis facilities, a pool, year-round children’s programming, 24-hour gated security and water-based recreation on a trio of waterways.
The Florida Keys also have seen a strong reemergence in the luxury market. Lisa Ferringo, broker sales associate with Coldwell Banker Schmitt Real Estate Co., explains that market values are going up .5 percent a month, inventory is down a third and sales are up 25 percent, which are all indicators of a healthy market. While buyers are primarily from South Florida, Ferringo notes that frigid winters over the past two years have brought buyers from the Northern United States to the Keys looking for a warm, boating community.
While the Keys offer public golf courses, they are most valued for boating. Discerning buyers want properties on the waterfront. Ferringo explains, “The area that has the lowest water at the tide with open-water sunset views is premier. Most buyers want nice pools or 3 bedrooms, but it’s really all about the boating.”