Saturday, February 23, 2008

Hilton Head Island News

Spring has sprung on Hilton Head Island!

It’s easy to tell that’s the case because yellow pine pollen now coats our cars, driveways and shrubs until the next brief rain shower washes it away. A small price to pay for glorious sunshine and balmy temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s; perfect for walking the beach, biking, golf, tennis or sailing. Evenings are perfect for enjoying a walk on the beach or around one of our harbors and taking in the incredible night sky, and more stars than you’ve seen since being a child untold numbers of years ago!

If you’ve not ever had the pleasure of March, April or early May on Hilton Head Island then you’ve missed one of the two best times of the year (fall being the other). The azaleas are starting to burst forth and all is, almost, right with the world.

Spanish moss and moonbeams…and of course there are the unbelievable golf and tennis facilities to consider as an option.

Easter Holidays & Spring Break

Visitors are starting their trek southward in the annual search for sun, sand and relief from winter’s hold. The Chamber expects a big year in 2008 as folks choose to drive versus fly this year in hopes of keeping down their vacation costs. Amazing how accessible Hilton Head Island is to the eastern and central U.S. because of the feeder interstate highway system that brings folks down through Tennessee & North Carolina in less than 12 hours, versus the 18-20 hour drive to Florida. It’s no wonder we’ve become so popular for Spring Breaking families. If you are part of those excited groups, welcome home!

Highway Construction in the Area

For those that haven’t been here since last summer, you’ll be pleased to hear that the six lane expansion of Hwy 278 through Bluffton is complete! Incoming traffic on Saturday should be aided immensely with this improvement, and we hope you enjoy your bed tax dollars at work!

On the Island, there are a number of projects underway that you should be aware of, especially if The Old Oyster Factory is one of your favorite dining stops! The Town is widening Mathews Drive and constructing a traffic circle at Mathews and Marshland Road that probably will not be completed until fall.

Bikers Are Off Pope Avenue – Hooray!

Compass Rose Park, to honor Charles Fraser & the founders of Sea Pines Resort, at the corner of Pope Avenue and New Orleans Road, is well underway and could be a nice diversion for bikers. Speaking of biking, the new Pope Avenue bike routes are a work of art – traversing lagoons via wooden bridges with copper clad posts, on both sides of Pope Avenue, adding to traffic safety and dramatically improving the look & feel of the Pope Avenue corridor. It’s worth the ride!

New Dining Experience

While seeing the new sights on Pope Avenue, you may want to try one of Hilton Head Island’s favorite restaurants. Truffles has just recently opened a new location off Pope Avenue. A popular Sea Pines restaurant, Truffles is now open and they are doing exceptionally well. Great salads and French Onion soup! Try the BLT Bibb lettuce salad.

Hilton Head Foreclosures & Pre-Foreclosures

Many of you have asked about the availability of foreclosure opportunities on Hilton Head Island. While there are surprisingly few, I’ve made an effort to compile some links to properties that are either in foreclosure, in pre-foreclosure, or on the verge, based on the anxious seller’s ‘motivation’ statements. I’ve already emailed the links to folks that we had a current email address for. If you’ve not yet received it, simply request a copy of the link by contacting and I’ll get it right off to you.

Foreclosure rates in South Carolina are some of the lowest in the nation. Less than 2% according to USA Today, but there are some and they range from a low of $185k up to nearly $3 million.

Order your links if interested.

North Carolina Mountain Golf Communities

The winter has provided a chance to tour some of the new communities exploding in the western part of North Carolina in and around the Asheville/Hendersonville area. There are some great facilities that you might wish to explore. Private golf, of course, plays a major role in the amenity list, but access to nature trails and rivers is as essential. One of the newest of these communities is an Arnold Palmer signature golf facility named Seven Falls, featuring a complete golf learning center plus access to the French Broad River for boating, kayaking and fly fishing. The core golf course is built in a valley, with mountain-view homesites surrounding the course and including, surprisingly enough, seven waterfalls on the property from mountain streams leading into the course and to the river. Nine hundred residents, a full Town Center, and a River Club make for an exceptional development.

If golf isn’t a priority but river access is, maybe Cold Mountain, a magnificent community near Waynesville, which is all about the river and the mountains, is right for you. Let me know if you wish more information or a link to their websites.

New Villas – Sunset Bay at Palmetto Bay Marina

I mentioned the Sunset Bay Villa project to you in previous announcements and am excited to report that plans are in the works for this new complex at Palmetto Bay Marina on Broad Creek on the south end of the Island. The site will be familiar to those of you who are long-time visitors who might recall a favorite restaurant, the Chart House located at the marina.

The Chart House closed down about seven years ago, only to be followed by a series of mediocre-to-bad food operations, while positioned on an unbelievable piece of land, surrounded by Live Oaks and with a western view down Broad Creek with some of the best sunsets you’ll ever see.

Now an investor has taken an option on the property and intends to build 12 three-bedroom luxury condos with 2,500 square feet of interior space and huge decks looking over the Broad Creek that will provide owners with an unbelievable location and views to die for. Prices range from $899,900 to $1,299,900 with a summer of 2009 completion date. If you have an interest call right away and I’ll send you information to help you make a decision. A 3% deposit is required to secure your unit until contracts are signed in 90-120 days.

Speaking of Real Estate-Good News

Finally, and for a change!

‘Pended’ sales (placed under contract) of homes on Hilton Head Island are UP for February!

After a gruesome December & January, activity has spiked up by 50% during February 2008 from January, and came close to reaching the historical ‘average’ activity on the Island over the past 12 years! It’s the best month of sales activity since April 2006. It appears that the combination of a less than robust stock market and continued cuts in the prime rate has finally brought in some second home buyers who believe that if we’re not at the bottom, then we’re pretty damn close. Villas continue to lag, but are still way up as well for February.

In a month or so you may read in the national media about an up-tick in real estate activity. But all real estate is local! Remember, you heard it here first that we’ve turned the corner.

Best Real Estate Opportunities

I 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 it is not in demand.

If you haven’t visited my website lately you may not know that you can check the local MLS listings for yourself! Go to and click on ‘Hilton Head Island & SC Lowcountry Listings’ and take a tour of Hilton Head Island and Bluffton anytime you choose!

I’ve added a new addition to my online presence. If you’ll visit my real estate blog at, you’ll see informative, interesting, and valuable opinions and pertinent information relating to the Hilton Head Island area and real estate in general.

What is a BLOG? A blog is a “web log” or a journal. You’ll find daily updates, virtual tours, photos, and an occasional Redskins update.

Feel free to peruse the multitude of postings and make comments by clicking the “comment” link below each post. You may also forward the information to your friends or associates. In fact, I have added a special button which will allow my blog posts to be automatically delivered to your reader. I’ll explain more about this in a separate email.


…finally, I’d be eternally grateful if you would consider recommending me to friends and associates considering purchasing property in the Low Country. Call me if you intend to visit this spring; I’d love to discuss your plans for the future and how I might be of assistance to you in your search for just the right community.

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