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Friday, January 4, 2013

Beating the Spread: Gaps between north and south real estate values widens

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        It may seem a sweeping generalization, but the numbers bear it out: Homes in golf rich markets of the southeast are appreciating in value faster than most metro markets in the north. In Avon, CT, for example, where I live most of the year, the median sales price of homes from September to

The spread between real estate values in the south and north is widening significantly.

November 2012 decreased 4.5% compared with the same period last year, according to the real estate web site Trulia.com. With few exceptions, the story is the same in many of the populated areas of the northern half of the country. Okay, those are only snapshots of part of the year and the numbers might be skewed a bit, but combined with other snapshots -– listing prices in my surrounding Hartford County are also down from last year –- I assume prices certainly are not increasing significantly even as an improving economy and employment forecast promise they will.

        But the story is decidedly different in most of the markets of the southeast, where median sales prices over the same period are up anywhere from 3.8% in Chapel Hill, NC, to a whopping 39.5% in Greensboro, GA, home to Reynolds Plantation. After a cursory scan of popular golf areas in the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia and Florida, only the Myrtle Beach area (-17.1%) and Hilton Head Island (-10%) suffered decreases in the two-month period. (There might be others since our scan was not exhaustive.) Yet prices in Bluffton, just off Hilton Head and home to such upscale golf communities as Colleton River, Belfair and Berkeley Hall, increased a robust 37.7%, according to Trulia.

        Healthier economic forecasts and the consumer confidence that follows are restarting the engines of migration from north to south, increasing demand in golf communities from Virginia south. In addition, the healthy Canadian economy, which did not suffer as much as the U.S. economy during the recession, is driving our northern neighbors to

Only the real estate markets in Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head continued to suffer in 2012. They could turn around this year.

invest in both residential and commercial properties in the southern U.S. With many people skittish about the stock market, and other investments yielding scant returns, real estate does not look like a bad place to park some investable dollars. Mostly, though, the huge baby boomer cohort is deciding enough is enough; it is time to follow their pre-recession plans and move to warmer climates.

        The impediment to their relocation, of course, has been the decreased value of their primary homes. But for those who have owned their primary homes since well before the market collapse in 2008 and are not overleveraged with home equity loans and second mortgages, they could very well have enough equity to facilitate a relocation south –- as long as they don’t wait too long to move to the most rapidly appreciating markets, like Bluffton, Wilmington, NC (+15.6%) and Williamsburg, VA (+16%).

        The following numbers represent selected metro markets north and south and indicate how median sales prices increased or decreased between 2011 and 2012 (in the September-to-November time period). Our conclusion is that the spreads between prices north and south are, in

Contact us and we will be pleased to run the numbers for you and customize your search for a golf home.

general, widening and will continue to do so this year and into the foreseeable future (barring any disastrous global or national event). This could result in a loss of buying power over time for those folks planning to move south. Even if the value of your primary home is increasing, the home you might buy next is likely to increase in value at a faster rate.

        If you are considering a move, please contact us and we will be happy to consider the numbers specific to your situation and help you customize a search for your golf home in the southern U.S.  Our service is strictly private, free and without any obligation to you whatsoever.

Median sales prices (annual % increase/decrease)

Schaumburg, IL

- 6.4

Westerville, OH - 7.7
Minnetonka, MN
+ 2.3
West Bloomfield, MI + 2.4
Ft. Wayne, IN - 4.6

New Rochelle, NY

+ 3.5
Great Neck, NY -15.7
Monroe, NY + 1.1
Piscataway, NJ - 8.5
Wayne, NJ + 1.0
West Orange, NJ -12.7
Stamford, CT +15.8
Ridgefield, CT - 8.4
Fairfield, CT + 4.5
West Hartford, CT + 7.3
Pittsfield, MA - 2.9
Wilmington, NC +15.6
Asheville, NC + 9.5
Chapel Hill, NC + 3.8
Charleston, SC + 9.1
Bluffton, SC +37.7
Williamsburg, VA +11.6
Naples, FL + 9.7
Sarasota, FL +11.5
Jupiter, FL +12.4
Bucking the Trend
Pawleys Island, SC -20.6
Hilton Head Island, SC -10.0
Myrtle Beach, SC -17.1
Eatonton, GA -15.2
Read 3394 times Last modified on Friday, 27 September 2013 11:29
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Larry Gavrich

This blog was conceived and is published by me, Larry Gavrich, a former corporate communications executive who founded HomeOnTheCourse, LLC, in 2005.  Our firm advises baby boomers and others seeking a lifestyle in which golf is a major component.  My wife Connie and I own a home in Connecticut (not on a golf course) and a condo at Pawleys Plantation in Pawleys Island, SC, on a Jack Nicklaus layout.  We began our search for our home on the course more than 15 years ago, and the challenges of the search inspired me to research golf communities and write objective reviews of them.