They run the gamut from 40 somethings to 60 somethings and currently live in rural Ohio, Connecticut, and New Jersey. Two are on the cusp of retirement, one has a couple more years of work and one has the resources to retire early. One couple owns their own business and the others are corporate executives. The clients in their 40s have small children but the rest are virtually done with child raising and can now focus a little more on themselves (something they are quite conscious of doing). Two of the couples are targeting private golf clubs but the other two are content to share their membership with some outside players if the
All the couples have focused on the Carolinas, but not near the ocean. One couple is set on Aiken, SC, and is fairly sure of the community they will buy in. The three others are looking at a range of options but are focusing first on the Chapel Hill area, where Governors Club represents the high end but Chapel Ridge and The Preserve at Lake Jordan offer slightly lower-priced (mid-six-figure) options (Governors Club is private, with 27 holes of Jack Nicklaus Signature golf; the others are open to the public). The lure of Chapel Hill is a stable economy pegged to large universities as well as the cultural and entertainment activities associated with a University of North Carolina, Duke University and the other institutions in the area. There is some interest in Charlotte and Wilmington as well.
The ocean, which had always been a lure for generations of northerners moving south, now inspires post-Katrina wariness. A few of my couples have mentioned the threat of hurricanes and the escalating cost of insurance associated with the storm potential. The 40 something couple started out looking for a home on the coast but have correctly assessed that the cost of an ocean view from their home would be prohibitive.
None of my couples are interested in Florida, at least at this point, and all seem content to wear sweaters in winter, if not ski jackets. I am impressed that none of them are bemoaning the fact that their primary homes up north have dropped in value; they are not holding off on their plans to move south. They know that if they wait, the prices on their primary homes may (accent on "may") improve in the next few years, but that the cost of the homes or lots they will purchase in the south are likely to increase at a faster rate.
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