Investing in a Golf Community Dream Home or Risk Deal?

With literally thousands of golf communities around the country – most of which have homes butted up to the courses – is investing in a golf community home a good deal or a potential risk?

For those interested in living on the greens, there are several points in favor of this investment choice. Many communities are set up for the 55-plus age range, but some developments are family friendly with activities and play areas for children. There are even courses next to marinas so boating enthusiasts can have a dual-sport day whenever they desire.

Being associated with a golf course can raise the price of bordering homes significantly, particularly if a world-class golfer’s name is behind the design – such as Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. With the baby boomers looking for retirement communities that will provide year-round activities and a built-in social life without a long commute, the market for homes in golf communities is still strong.

However, the golf industry has not been immune to the economic downturn, and a number of courses have had to close due to falling memberships or daily green fee sales. Even the famed Myrtle Beach strip of prestigious golf courses has taken a hit, leaving surrounding homeowners with devalued properties.

This slow growth, or stall, in golf’s player retention rates, has had a ripple effect across the industry. Operating a golf course has always been financially challenging, and can be even harder in these crunch times. Golf club owners who are trying to weather the economic storm are often being forced to lower their fees, while still enduring the increasing costs of maintaining the greens. That takes a huge bite out of their profit margin.

So when course owners see the potential of great profits in selling their open land to a real estate developer, the temptation may be hard to resist. If that sale occurs, the “living on a golf course” prestige aspect of a home’s value will no longer exist.

Like any aspect of real estate, however, the mantra ‘location, location, location’ still reigns, and golf communities are prime examples of that quote. While some regions are suffering, one California developer recently sold several luxury homes on a 700-acre development, many of which have been listed for $2 to $3 million. Lots alone in this community range from $276,000 to $900,000.

Other courses are still at a high-end level and are not affected as greatly by the woes of the financial world. Purchasing a home surrounding these courses may still be a viable investment as it will likely increase in value over the next few years.