When we visited Daufuskie Island a few years ago, a local real estate agent explained that the costs to build a home in the Haig Point golf community were around $450 per square foot. The community is served by ferry service; no vehicles are permitted on the island. The high cost of construction, our real estate contact explained, was due to the costs of shipping materials over on barges and bringing workers in by the ferry.
Although the costs of materials and labor have dropped everywhere in recent years, we assumed the costs of shipping had not decreased materially (if anything, fuel costs have risen since our initial visit to Daufuskie). But a resident of Daufuskie has written to tell us that the shipping costs add only 20% to 30% to total construction costs.
“We built @$200 a square foot with hardwood floors, soapstone counter tops, picture frame molding, marble bathroom sinks, etc,” he wrote. Such from-the-horse’s mouth testimony, confirmed by a local realtor we know, is good enough for us.
Real estate agents and developers on the mainland have been quoting us figures of $130 to $150 per square foot for upscale materials. With nicely situated properties at Haig Point selling for less than $100,000, you could build a brand new 3,000 square foot home for about $650,000, including land and club initiation fees for play on the private 27-hole Rees Jones golf course. That seems like a good deal for those intrepid souls who love the hassle-free, pollution-free island life.