October/November 2023

Where you live can affect your health.  That is probably no big surprise to most of us. But as many who have lived in areas with heavy traffic on the roadways, the consequent air pollution and the financial stress that comes of high income and property taxes, living out our retirements an hour or more away from a big city has its appeal.  But think twice, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions that make having a hospital and specialized healthcare services nearby more must-have than nice-to-have.  On the other hand, if you are young or young at heart, living in a major city a short walk from great entertainment and services, urban living can be exciting. A friend of Home On The Course has a beautiful condo for sale in Charlotte, NC.  We love it and list it. That, and more, in this month’s Home On The Course.

Living Remotely Comes Down to a Question of Health

 After a life in a suburb close to a city, or in a city itself, many couples who are fed up with traffic and the other consequences of living in a high-density area are ready for retirement to a golf community located hours from anywhere.  But they should be careful what they wish for, especially if they have health issues, or expect to.

Some of the highest quality communities I have visited are located a good hour’s drive from quality hospitals – quality as defined by those who rate such things, for example, USNews & World Report.  These communities are certainly traffic-free, pretty much pollution free, and largely free of high property taxes and overall high costs of living associated more with locations at some remove from cities.  Many of these remote communities are located adjacent to large, clean lakes and are amenity rich, with sleek golf courses – some with multiple layouts – that most of us would be happy to play a few times a week. 

Remote Typically Cheaper

At Savannah Lakes Village in McCormick, SC, one annual HOA dues payment covers most amenities except for the indoor bowling alley (pay per game), tennis and pickleball (one reasonable annual payment for those) and access to two excellent golf courses. Located on beautiful and clean Lake Thurmond in McCormick, those two Savannah Lakes’ golf courses are quite different – one hilly, one more classic – with an optional membership available that, if you intend to play three rounds a week, is much cheaper than the already low daily green fees. It is one of the great bargains in golf community club membership.

Remote Also Means Lots of Activities

Another such remotely located community is Rumbling Bald on Lake Lure, which is home to hundreds of retired couples, many who live in Florida half the year, as well as a summer sanctuary for couples and families looking to take advantage of lake activities and a quiet vacation.  Rumbling Bald has its own 36 holes of golf, one a classic Dan Maples layout called Bald Mountain that is inside the gates of the resort, the other Apple Valley, just a mile down the road from the resort community’s front gate (and with Rumbling Bald real estate surrounding it as well).  Maples also designed Apple Valley.  The resort offers a full roster of amenities, including a comfortable 300-yard-long beach on the lake, indoor and outdoor pools, a terrific playground for grandkid visits, tennis and, of course, lots of lake activities that include easy to drive pontoon boats to explore the coves created when the valley was flooded to create the lake in 1927. 

Both these communities are terrific choices for folks who are healthy and intend to stay that way for the foreseeable future.  But McCormick is a good hour from Aiken and its well-rated regional hospital, and Rumbling Bald is over an hour from Asheville and its own high-quality hospitals.  For those of us with health issues that require constant follow-up appointments, as well as the comfort of having a full-service hospital with round-the-clock emergency rooms, proximity to an urban area, pollution and traffic notwithstanding, is likely to provide the most stress-free retirement.

For listings of current homes for sale, click here.

Some Communities Keep Healthy Distance

I have visited some communities that feel like they are remote but are a relatively short drive to top-quality hospitals typically associated with a big city.  One obvious choice is The Landings on Skidaway Island, located just over the bridge from Savannah, GA, a 20-minute drive away.  Six hospitals are within that drive time, two of them recognized nationally for their quality of care.  The Landings offers six outstanding golf courses, lots of other recreational activities, hundreds of social clubs, and the feeling of being disconnected from any urban influences once you cross that bridge from Savannah city.  The Landings may be home to 8,000 residents, but the community is divided into discreet neighborhoods, and the only time the place feels densely populated is just prior to a weekend shotgun golf event, when an army of golf carts comes rolling down the community’s streets headed for battle on one of The Landings golf courses.

Cypress Landing in Chocowinity, NC, qualifies as “remotely located.”  It is just a 20-minute drive to the town of Greenville, population approximately 90,000, not exactly the kind of large urban area you would associate with a major medical center.  But Greenville is home to Eastern Carolina University and its notable medical center, which stretches over an unusually large campus.  The hospital has been recognized as one of the 100 best in the nation, and Cypress Landing, which is located on the Pamlico River, an extension of the Albemarle Sound, is one of the best bargains in golf community real estate I have encountered in 20 years.

For those of us lucky enough to be in good physical shape and without any nagging health issues, living remotely an hour or so from a high-quality hospital may be a fair trade for the noise, traffic jams and the other tacit stress inducers of life near a major city.  A lifestyle like that just might keep us healthier in the long run. But if your health is a current concern, you might consider passing the remote to someone else.

Larry Gavrich
Founder & Editor
Home On The Course, LLC

When in Doubt, Trust the Local Realtor

The calculation of year-to-year home price changes is not opinion; it is data.  And yet different real estate information sources do not agree on the change of home prices one year to the next.

First, recently, Realtor.com released a list of metro markets in which the Myrtle Beach/Conway, SC, market showed the biggest drop in the nation, 2.9% lower in August 2023 than the same month’s prices in 2022.  That didn’t seem right because all reports I hear personally from the area are that prices have held firm.  I looked at another real estate source, Redfin, an online real estate agency that collects a lot of data.  Their numbers said Myrtle Beach area prices had increased 20% year over year.  Say what?

To break the tie, I hoped, I checked another online company, Rocket Homes whose web site indicated that prices in Myrtle Beach were up 7.9% year over year.  Finally, I consulted Zillow, which should have more data than any real estate company.  Zillow’s web site indicated home prices in Myrtle Beach were up .3% year over year.  The consensus, it seems, are that prices in the Myrtle Beach area were up year over year, but who knows by how much?

With that kind of diversity of data calculation, I gave up.  My advice to anyone looking for a home in Myrtle Beach or anywhere else:  Call a local real estate agent.  They are compelled to produce accurate numbers.  Don’t trust online sources.  If you need help identifying a reputable, qualified and honest local agent, I am happy to help. Contact me here.

Charlotte Condo for Sale

Interested in Charlotte?

Keith, a friend of this newsletter and a frequent contributor – he provides me with lots of market data that I often pass along to readers – is selling his condo in Charlotte, NC. Located in the popular “Uptown” section of the city, the building includes day/evening concierge, a luxurious lobby, fitness center, club room, billiards, pool, key-fob-operated elevators and dedicated round-the-clock security.  At two bedrooms and one bath, and a total of 855 square feet, the unit would be perfect for a couple seeking an urban environment with mild winters and warm summers or for a single person looking for all the options a major American city offers. 

The unit features all the latest in modern conveniences, newly painted walls and a new state-of-the-art refrigerator.  A primary bedroom with a private balcony that extends across the living room area overlooks the pool; the unit’s dedicated gas line gives you the ability to fire up the grill on the balcony as you consider all the after-meal entertainment options just steps from the building’s entrance. There are plenty of private and public golf options in the Charlotte area; the unit comes with a deeded parking space (and access to a secured parking deck).

Keith has reasonably priced the unit at $399,500; compare at two to three times that for comparable places in other major American cities.  If you are interested, please contact me.

Condo for sale in Charlotte.Condo for sale in Charlotte.
The Bells of Mission San Juan Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, CA
The Bells of Mission San Juan Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, CA

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