Post & Courier, June 16, 2018,  by Jim Parker

A hot Lowcountry real estate sale market right now is out in the country miles from downtown Charleston, the majority of homes built away from the water and schools.

Sound odd? Well the sales haven, Hollywood-based Stono Ferry, can claim among its attractions a golf course. To be sure, golf falls well down the list of trendy activities. And greens fees, the prices to pay 18-hole rounds, are escalating across the Lowcountry. But a certain circle of business people, retirees, working class and vacationers play occasionally to quite often. TheLinks at Stono Ferry has an added plus as the host for the College of Charleston’s men’s and women’s golf teams.

Rob Sturm, agent with Century 21 Properties Plus who markets homes at Stono Ferry, understands the advantages of promoting houses in a community boasting tennis courts, a swimming pool, steeplechase track and horse stables, as well as the golf course.

He’s also aware of the allure that golf courses bring to villages and neighborhoods. Prospective buyers, some big golf fans and others who couldn’t care less, shop for posh homes at Stono Ferry. Having a golf course “is definitely a factor,” he says. “Without the golf course, it’s hard to get people,” he says.

The trouble now, he says, is finding homes on the market, when there’s a wide-ranging inventory shortage across the region.

“I wish we had one to sell,” he says.

The Century 21 representative is not alone in his upbeat assessment of golf courses and their impact on real estate sales. Greater Charleston highlights close to 30 courses locally, ranging from Summerville to James Island, Awendaw to Hollywood. There are 13 local golf course communities, or neighborhoods built in and around layouts, according to The Keadle Group at Carolina One. Top localities in the Charleston area for golf communities are Charleston with four neighborhoods and an average home price of $447,610 and Mount Pleasant also with four and a $576,691 average, according to New Home Source online marketplace.

Zillow, national Internet real estate researcher, cites 266 homes on the market in metro Charleston that list “golf course” among its attractions.

Maraide Sullivan, agent with NV Realty, finds an accommodating pattern on Johns Island, notably due to the bevy of courses there and on neighboring Seabrook and Kiawah islands and the ability to join golf clubs on neighboring resorts.

“One of the best kept secrets among the Charleston County Sea Islands is Kiawah River Estates. There has to be a reason why people move there from Kiawah, Seabrook and other lovely places,” she says. Sullivan believes the neighborhood elicits a sizable draw because it’s “the only community ‘off-Kiawah’ that has the option to join Kiawah Island Resort’s Governor’s Club.’” Also, one of the Kiawah resort’s five golf courses, Oak Point, winds through the tranquil gated Johns Island community.

Sullivan says buyers have “an abundance of options to choose from,” including lot prices ranging from $75,000-$355,000; a “charming” Johnstowne model priced at $450,000, houses with golf course views priced up to $599,000 and proposed new construction starting at $668,000.

She points out other highlights at Kiawah River Estates, including:

  • A prime location along the Kiawah River and Haulover Creek.
  • Low homeowners association fees.
  • A host of amenities including pool, tennis and pickle ball courts, club house, dockside park with crabbing dock, clubhouse, fitness center, meeting rooms.
  • Option to join a Kiawah Island club.
  • The closest community to Freshfields Village boutique shopping plaza, which sits between the access routes to Kiawah and Seabrook islands.
  • A close location to the beach and deep-water Bohicket Marina, popular with boaters.
  • Situated closer to downtown Charleston than other near-resort properties.

Sullivan says she will have two of her listings close this month. Each residence is sized at more than 3,000 square feet and lists for $599,000-$699,000. Last summer, she sold a waterfront “proposed construction” property listed for close to $975,000.

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