Friday, January 18, 2008

Hilton Head Island Real Estate News

-- Market Activity

Island real estate activity followed the national trend downward in November and December after some positive signs of improvement in October. New re-sales on the Island were off 10% from the previous year for those two months, so we ended the year down 8% from 2006. It appears that it may take longer than most anticipated to work through this correction to supply and demand. We remain optimistic about the market here for several reasons:

· First, the migration of baby-boomers southward will continue and we’re nicely situated.

· Second, there is little panic among sellers, so prices haven’t dropped precipitously.

· Finally, there is no new land to develop, so what is built now is not competing with new products coming out of the ground.

It’s simply a question of when potential buyers decide the time is right for them to make a decision to make Hilton Head Island their 1st or 2nd home.

Two things are certain:

· There’s a great selection from which to choose, with sellers looking for offers.

· Money is available at attractive interest rates for creditworthy buyers.

-- New Residential Developments

Three new residential developments are in the works, both on and off the Island, which might have some appeal for you. I will give you as much info as is currently available.

The first will be familiar to those of you who are long-time visitors who might recall one of our all-time favorite restaurants, the Chart House, located in Palmetto Bay Marina on the water. The Chart House closed down about 7 years ago, only to be followed by a number of mediocre food operations, but the building was situated on an unbelievable piece of land, surrounded by Live Oaks and with a western view down Broad Creek that enjoys some of the best sunsets you’ll ever see.

Parking for the restaurant was always a problem and it was surrounded by mid-rise condos. Now an investor has taken an option on the property and intends to build up to twelve 3BR luxury condos providing owners with unbelievable location and views. While the timing of construction and pricing has yet to be determined, best early estimates are for a 2009 completion with prices around $1million apiece.

Let me know if you’d like to be kept informed on this new project.

The second new community is also located on the Island along Gum Tree Road and close to the Island public school campus, the Island Boys & Girls Club, and other newer developments such as Hanahan Place, Allenwood, and Fuller Point.

This new community, called Carolina Isles, will offer 80 homesites with 8 home models from which to choose. All homes will be constructed with hard coat stucco, wood floors, granite counters, and 2-car garages. Homesite/model package prices will range from mid $300k’s to high $500k’s. Square footage of models will range from 1500’ to 3000’.

Let me know if you’d like to be kept informed on this new project.

The third new community is a small Bluffton development offering lots set amidst small horse farms, ranging in size from .75 to 2.0 acre lots and priced from $150k to $275k. This unnamed community, part of Midway Farms, will have pond views and access to horse trails and boarding facilities, and have a minimum of restrictions to owner usage. The development is situated half way between Hilton Head Island and Savannah and will provide a very inviting “country” feel to its owners.

Let me know if you’d like to be kept informed on this new project.

-- Best Real Estate Opportunities

We remain convinced that oceanfront and near-ocean condos that generate rental income for their owners are the best possible solution for the buyer not ready to make a permanent move to the Island.

Rental income can make your ownership costs surprisingly affordable, while allowing you usage of the property during much of the year when not in demand by vacationers. If you can afford $2000 per month, you can own an oceanfront property on Hilton Head Island’s beaches. If your price range is in the $400k range, there are several off-beach villas that might fit the bill for you, and I know where they are located.

If a second home or permanent home is your preference, we have an excellent selection in all price ranges from one end of the Island to the other, and I’d be happy to do some leg work for you. Just let me know your needs.

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