Golf ownership is heating up, even where you least expect it

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After several years of disgrace, golf houses are again in great demand.

According to Sotheby’s International Realty 2021 Luxury Outlook report, the pandemic has renewed interest in golf house ownership: sothebysrealty.com recorded a 26% increase in searches for golf properties worldwide from January 2020 to February 2021, compared to the same period in 2019. Sales have also increased, says Philip A. White Jr., president of Sotheby’s International Realty and avid golfer. “2020 was the year that golf houses became flagship products,” he says.

Golf houses became less popular before the pandemic because interest in the game had slowed down and the market was oversaturated with golf properties, according to Doug Treadwell, the owner of Golf Life Properties, which sells golf houses to golfers. United States to international buyers. The pattern has reversed, he said, over the past year.

Mr. Treadwell said Golf Life Properties sold approximately $ 85 million worth of properties last year; in 2019, that figure was $ 40 million. “After more than five years of stable or declining sales, we made a 180,” he said. “Golf properties offer privacy and security, which is what buyers want right now.”

But rather than looking for established golf markets such as Naples, Florida and the Portuguese Algarve region, buyers today are looking to emerging regions around the world with better values ​​and fewer crowds.

Here are five upcoming spots:

About three hours southeast of Portland by car in central Oregon, the town of Bend has over 30 golf courses within a 60-minute drive, including the prestigious Jack Nicklaus Signature Course at the Pronghorn Resort.

Several data points indicate that the area has become a highly desirable place to own a golf house following the pandemic: on sothebysrealty.com, searches for golf houses in Bend increased by 71% from January 2020 to February 2021, while sales were up. 53 percent. Cascade Lifestyle Group, part of Coldwell Banker Bain, had $ 39 million in revenue at Bend in 2020, up from around $ 30 million the year before. “Our group has been inundated with buyers from Seattle, California and even the UK since Covid,” said Catherine Scanland, broker at Cascade Lifestyle Group.

Many of the area’s golf courses are in luxurious, amenity-rich communities, she said, where the average home price is around $ 1.5 million. Examples are Tetherow Resort and Golf Course and Crosswater Club.

Surrounded by the Cascade Range and dotted with lakes, Bend and the countryside that surrounds it attract shoppers due to the sunny days and good weather for golfing most of the year. Outdoor enthusiasts can also enjoy other activities, such as skiing in the winter and paddle boarding, fly fishing, and hiking when the weather is warmer.

France is not known for golf, but the Loire Valley is rapidly changing that, said Mr White, of Sotheby’s International Realty. A two-and-a-half-hour drive from Paris, the region was where French royalty spent the summer in their castles and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its beauty and cultural landscape.

There are 15 courses in the Loire, said Grégory Thouzé, agent for Bretagne Sud Sotheby’s International Realty, in France, and many are near golf courses or within communities.

The Golf International Barrière La Baule, with three 540-hectare courses, a driving range and a putting green, is the largest. Another option is Les Bordes Golf Club, which has two courses and is slated to open a third in July designed by American golf architect Gil Hanse; all are surrounded by forests.

The club introduced real estate in 2020 with 48 homes ranging from two to seven bedrooms and with prices starting at around $ 1 million; 48 other residences will debut this fall. A spokesperson for the property, Kerry McClinton-King, said most of the buyers came from Britain, the Netherlands and the United States.

The Loire is an attractive area to own a golf house, Mr White said, due to its proximity to Paris and the availability of diversions beyond golf. “You have a lot of history and a great wine country,” he said.

Located in Central Europe, Slovakia is among the world’s most popular emerging golf destinations, according to Michael Valdes, president of eXp Realty. “With its solid infrastructure and beautiful mountainous landscape, the country is designed for great golf and with that comes the growing popularity of golf houses,” he said.

Slovakia has 28 courses, said Ivan Micko, publisher and editor-in-chief of Slovakian magazine Golf Lifestyle Golf Revue, and several have a real estate component. Penati Golf Resort, for example, which is surrounded by pine forests and lakes, is in a village with contemporary golf houses. Then, about a 30-minute drive from the capital, Bratislava, is the Green Resort Hrubá Borša with over 250 new homes.

One of the courses that garners the most international attention is the 27-hole Black Stork, located at the foot of the Tatra Mountains in Vel’ká Lomnica, a village of over 50 plots of land where golf houses are built.

Mr Micko said most buyers of golf property in Slovakia were either locals or from Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic.

Popular with tourists for its vineyards and thriving culinary scene, South Africa’s Cape Winelands region, about 45 minutes east of Cape Town, is also emerging as a premier golf destination.

Maria De Villiers, owner of Chas Everitt Winelands, a brokerage that sells real estate in the area, said there were five high-end golf estates here, including Devonvale Golf Estate, outside of Stellenbosch, and Boschenmeer Golf Estate, in Paarl.

In addition to world-class golf, all offer a range of facilities such as swimming pools, restaurants, gymnasiums, a range of fitness classes and meeting rooms. “You have amenities equivalent to a luxury resort, but these areas are widely dispersed, so you get a rural feel,” Ms. De Villiers said.

De Zalze Winelands Golf Resort in Stellenbosch has a course designed by renowned Zimbabwean golf architect Peter Matkovich and offers mountain biking, racing tracks and three restaurants. The development is located on a working farm with olive groves, nearly 300 acres of vineyards and a wetland with wildlife including birds and fish.

The vineyards are seeing a growing number of international golf house buyers, according to Ms. De Villiers. “They come from Europe and spend their winter, which is our summer, working remotely,” she says.

Real estate in South Africa is inexpensive for these owners, compared to prices in Europe. For $ 500,000, De Villiers said potential buyers can find a 3,000-square-foot, four-bedroom property – possibly with a pool – in a luxury estate.

The Nashville area has seen a steadily growing market for golf property, according to Mr. White, and has two well-established luxury golf communities: the Governors Club, with an Arnold Palmer signature course, and the Grove, a development of 1100 acres with a Greg Norman signing course.

Both communities have a long list of amenities, including fitness centers, spas, swimming pools, and restaurants, and are increasingly attracting out-of-state buyers who wish to own a golf ownership in Tennessee because there is no state income tax. Most of the latest buyers are from California.

“Nashville is particularly attractive because you have a great restaurant and a music scene,” Mr. White said. “And besides golf, there is excellent horse riding.” With its expansive countryside to accommodate scenic, spread out courses and a temperate climate most of the year, Nashville is also an ideal location for golf.

The price-performance ratio adds to the appeal. Mr White said buyers could find a luxury home at a much lower price than a comparable property in a more popular golf location like Palm Beach, Florida.

The latest addition to the area’s golf lineup is Discovery Land Company’s Troubadour Golf & Field Club, an 860-acre estate about half an hour from downtown Nashville with a Tom Fazio-designed course and sites for 369 houses. Facilities include fishing and kayaking, horseback riding, a children’s playroom and craft studio and recording studio.



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