Home buyers are showing more interest in golf community homes again and it’s all thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In its 2021 Luxury Outlook report, Sotheby’s International Realty said that after five years of closures all around the U.S., golf courses are once again growing in popularity. Sotheby’s said that it saw a 26% increase in searches for golf properties from January 2020 to February 2021, compared with 2019.
“2020 was the year that golf homes became hot commodities,” Philip A. White Jr., president of Sotheby’s International Realty, said in an interview with The New York Times.
Mike Kelly, managing partner of the 59 Club USA, which analyzes customer service and trends in the golf industry, told Mansion Global that many of his clients are having “record years” in rounds of golf played and in golf club memberships sold.
“Those that are selling real estate into these environments, especially in more vacation-like settings away from bigger cities, are also seeing great results,” Kelly said.
It’s a remarkable turnaround. Before the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, golf communities were in serious decline due to an oversaturation of the market with such properties. That lead to a string of golf course closures across the U.S. It was bad for homeowners too, as it meant that those who had paid a premium to live close to a golf course were unsure of its fate, and many saw the value of their homes fall. In many developments, builders began transforming empty golf courses into new housing developments or repurposed the land for other uses, such as “agrihoods”, which are communities that integrate agriculture into a residential neighborhood.
But thanks to the pandemic and the need for social distancing, golf is on the up. It’s one of the few sports people can play while staying socially distant from others, and that had led to renewed interest.
“Golf properties offer privacy and security, which is what home buyers want right now,” Doug Treadwell, owner of Golf Life Properties, a company that sells golf homes in the U.S. to international buyers, told the Times. Treadwell said his company had a sales volume of around $85 million last year, up from $40 million in 2019.
Mansion Global said Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas are the most popular states for golf course communities.