Scenic golf course

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Golf Communities See New Life

July 30, 2021

Golf communities had seen a decline in demand over recent years, with several neighborhoods removing or repurposing them. But amid the pandemic, the popularity of golf communities has rebounded, with wait lists and rapidly rising home prices.

“It went from famine to feast,” Jason Becker, CEO and co-founder of Golf Live Navigators in South Florida, told The Escape Home, a newsletter published by Sotheby’s International. “This time last year, the club industry was very unsettled because we didn’t know how members would react to COVID, the economy, and political landscape. Then golf took off. It went from one extreme to the next.”

Many Americans have discovered that golf can be a socially distanced activity. And home buyers are drawn to the views golf courses provide of abundant green space.

“We are certainly seeing increased interest in buyers looking to purchase a home in golf communities,” Philip White, president and CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty, told The Escape Home. “The pandemic accelerated plans for people who were planning to retire or semi-retire in areas where they can also play golf, such as Scottsdale, Ariz., Florida, and more.”

Millennials are being drawn to golf communities too. They’re showing a demand for listings and locations that allow them to stay active and pursue entertainment-focused hobbies, White says.

“COVID might have saved the gated golf community,” Becker said.

Since the pandemic began, 62% of more than 7,000 buyers in 15 Sun Belt states have said they now want or intend to live in a golf community. Searches from Jan. 1 to June 30 of this year for golf properties surged by about 128% compared to the same time in 2020, according to sothebysrealty.com.

The most popular golf community markets, according to Golf Life Navigators’ data, are Scottsdale, Ariz.; Naples, Fla.; Palm Beach, Fla.; and Hilton Head, S.C. Additional markets seeing an uptick in demand are in Houston, Sarasota, Fla., and western North Carolina.