$150,000 golf-course lots selling for $1

Luxury homes in golf communities are losing their luster as fewer people play the game. The marriage between real estate and golf may not have been a good one.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Jul 25, 2012 1:02PM

© Fotosearch Premium/Getty ImagesWhere can you find a deal on property these days? Try a luxury golf community.


According to The Wall Street Journal, the decline in the popularity of golf, coupled with the real-estate downtown, has significantly cut demand for homes in golf-course communities. That has meant price cuts for homes, lots and even country-club fees.


"There's a train wreck in the industry now," John Reed, developer of the Colleton River Plantation, Belfair Plantation and Berkeley Hall communities in South Carolina, told the Journal.


"We overbuilt and the market stopped."


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In the 1990s, 60% of the golf courses built were part of a real-estate development, according to David Hueber, former president of the National Golf Foundation.

He wrote a paper titled "'Code Blue' for U.S. Golf Course Real Estate Development" in 2010, based on his doctoral research. He concluded that the marriage between real estate and golf has not been good and that the traditional golf-course community was not sustainable. He wrote:

The influential role that real-estate developers played in this regard is of particular note, because too many golf courses were built, too much was spent on developing them and, as a result, many of these golf courses are not financially viable enterprises. Also, these golf courses were often too difficult, too expensive and took too long to play, which eventually translated into having a large number of golf courses that did not meet the needs of the golf industry’s ultimate consumers -- average golfers.

If, however, you like golf courses and golf-course communities, you may be able to get a deal.

Here are some of the deals cited by the Journal:

  • A free lot at the Colleton River Plantation, plus the seller paid the $15,000 club initiation fee and the first year of membership fees, an additional $17,000. Lots at South Carolina communities that once sold for $150,000 are now available for  $1 from sellers who want to get out from under $12,000 to $17,000 annual club dues.
  • A lakefront home in Delray Beach, Fla., at the Mizner Country Club, which sold for $1.6 million in 2007, is available for $795,000.
  • At Horseshoe Bay Resort near Austin, Texas, you can get a lot for $39,000 that previously sold for $300,000.
  • In the Pronghorn community in Bend, Ore., lots that once sold for $500,000 have gone for as little as $10,000.
"The model of a country club in its current form is gone forever," Florida developer Syd Kitson told the Journal. He recently bought a bankrupt golf community in Naples, Fla., and is revamping it to include a village center. Homes will sell for $700,000 to $2 million, not up to $6 million as the original developer projected.


Tags: buying
Jul 18, 2014 10:39AM
The number one rule of buying anything.  If someone is stupid enough to ask an idiotic price, there is another idiot out there who is stupid enough to buy it at the outrageous price.
Aug 12, 2012 8:24PM

Golf is an ahletic event.Like swimming,it stimulates some muscles.

And like swimming you detrmine the pace,and do not have to watch a clock.

Aug 11, 2012 7:56PM
y does a golfer wear two pair of pants? in case he gets a hole in one.
Aug 11, 2012 7:40PM
Aug 11, 2012 7:09PM
The problem is not that it's the Golf Course but understand that if you buy a $300K home you likely must afford to pay cash as the cumulative fee's will equal the cost of the home or more as it almost always equals a mortgage payment - a very large one indeed. Just check Fiddler's Creek in Naples, FL as example where you can get a kick but condo at half price but the dang fee's and taxes remain escalated at 2006 prices even after bankruptcy and bank owned luxury condo's they've been trying to save for years and the fee's remain higher than the mortgage payment.

Taxes - Inflated because of the course
HOA Fee's
Master HOA Fee's
Food/Beverage Fee's for the Club
Club Fee's - Often Mandatory
Membership Fee's for Initiation $20K and up
I call it the Developer Mafia in Florida - As you destroy the middle class your customers vanish and there aren't enough 1% to fill that gap now or the future!

Aug 11, 2012 2:53PM
Think about this article, think about the amount of golf courses in florida, think about the tanking real estate market and you have the perfect storm.   The number of lots available is incomprehensible.   We are still looking up to see bottom here in sunny florida.  Do not listen to brokers.  They are yesterdays used car salesmen.  
Aug 11, 2012 11:56AM
Used to live on Bayshore Golf Course, a public course on Miami Beach, South.  Best part of it was sitting out on the edge, with my sweetie, drinkin wine n crackers as the sun came up and the duffers came ouit!!
Aug 11, 2012 8:04AM
KevinV: If you owned at The Villages, Florida you can play more than 30 different courses for FREE! No boredom, there!!! Of course, you have to purchase a home there. But some start below $150,000!
Aug 11, 2012 7:37AM
Yeah....so idiots were over paying and now reality has set in. Thank goodness.
Aug 11, 2012 5:42AM
They are only giving away the lot. You still have to pay taxes build a house and after one year pay golf dues. Who wants to live on one anyway. Stuck playing the same course and playing politics with the membership. No thanks.
Aug 11, 2012 5:33AM
The US economy is in the tank!  Now!  How many people can really afford to own property on a golf course and pay those hefty dues every year! You really have to love golf! 
Aug 11, 2012 4:58AM
I always knew that golf was "Cow Pasture Pool" and now the lots are returning to a cow pasture.  :)
Aug 11, 2012 2:43AM
I am one of the people who cannot afford this crap with one thought. I don't care.
Aug 7, 2012 7:25PM

When golf declines in popularity it is  serious blow to the fitness of the American elderly.Unlike any other sport except dog walking,golf provides a wonderful and relaxing walk for men and women.It is also great for social activities.around the globe. It was invented by isolated shepherds who needed an excuse to see someoneCompetitive around the globe it attracts a special group of athletes.

Might I suggest it also stimulates an interest in botany,zoology and other sciences including physics.Ask a golfer about a new club,and you will find someone who has seen videos of serious physicists employed by golf manufacturers.

Golf also helps the memory like playing bridge. Golfers can remember shots from ten years ago. Jack Nicklaus recalls shots he made in 1970,and he is not boasting. Now he may no know the birthdays of his grandchildren or where he put his keys,but shots he has locked up.

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