Around the communities



Membership in Cedar Creek's open-to-the-public Arthur Hills course and club is a bargain, at membership fees below $2,000.

Foreclosures not an issue yet in golf communities 

    Although some doomsday pundits believe as many as seven million Americans face foreclosure on their homes, no such threat is imminent in two quite different but established golf course communities we surveyed in recent days.
    "We have a few foreclosures," said Mike Burch, sales executive for The Landings at Skidaway Island, near Savannah, GA.  "But with about 3,900 homes [in The Landings], that is no more than usual."
    Mike adds that all the foreclosures are at the low end of The Landings' market, or homes with values of less than $400,000.  These are typically purchased by younger couples "who have been caught up in the variable rate mess," says Mike.    

    Dick Salsitz, a selling agent at Cedar Creek in Aiken, SC, says his community hasn't seen a single foreclosure action since the lending crisis began.
    "I don't expect any [foreclosures]," Dick says.  "We've had one in 15 years...and that was many years ago."
    Most of the residents of The Landings and Cedar Creek are either retirees or empty nesters, and the majority of them have paid cash for their homes.  Mike says that The Landings owners of the more expensive homes, in the high six-figures, tend to pay all cash.
    "A few do finance just to get some tax write-offs," he adds.  At Cedar Creek, Dick estimates, 60 percent pay cash and the rest finance at least part of the home's cost.
    At the large Landings property, which encompasses six private golf courses for one membership fee, home prices haven't eroded in the recent market pullback, says Mike, "but they have not risen either."  He has noted that people are more cautious lately about owning two homes, so interest in a Landings property isn't turning into a sale as quickly as when the real estate markets elsewhere were stronger.  At Cedar Creek, which is about one third the size of The Landings, prices have held steady as well.
    Mike says he has seen some recent price concessions by those trying to sell their homes in The Landings.  Sellers who maintain the full-family $50,000 golf memberships are lowering their asking prices for purchasers who pay the initiation fees and assume the membership.  In that case, the seller doesn't have to go on a waiting list for the return of his equity stake in the club.  He can be a little more flexible, therefore, with the price of the house.
    We were curious if some residents were canceling their club memberships to conserve cash.  Neither Mike nor Dick have seen much of that.
    "A few of our 70-year-old members do resign each year," Mike says.  "Some of this is due to cash flow, but some of it is due to not being able to play as much as they used to."
    Dick says no one has resigned at his community's public accessible club, whose membership fees are less than $2,000 for a nice Arthur Hills layout, "and I don't think that will happen at Cedar Creek."



Purchasers of the larger homes at The Landings, near Savannah, typically pay all cash.  Just a few of the community's lower-priced homes  are in foreclosure.

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