(Pictured: The Country Club at Mirasol)
Residential golf communities of all sizes and types continue to report record home-sale and membership numbers. “The real estate market has been unbelievably hot, probably as hot as it has ever been,” said Matt Lambert, General Manager/COO of The Country Club at Mirasol. “As difficult as COVID has been to deal with, the silver lining for residential country club communities is it’s been fantastic for business.” Even better, Lambert added, has been the noticeable shift from Florida once being “all about older people and retirees” to how it’s now attracting young families who “want to be in a place where their kids can be outside 12 months a year.”
South Florida’s residential golf club communities have many factors that make them successful, The Palm Beach Post reported, including Chamber of Commerce weather that enables residents to play the sport virtually every day, Hall of Fame architects who live in the community and are eager to work locally and an abundance of land and resources that can be shaped into its own city.
Now, one more unthought-of benefit—a bubble during the coronavirus pandemic—is also having an unquestionably positive effect on the market and helping clubs recover from their struggles after the Great Recession, The Post reported.
“We had our best month ever in May in private home and membership sales, and June is going to be even better,” John Jorritsma, Director of Sales and Marketing at The Club at Ibis, an 1,840-home community in West Palm Beach, Fla., told The Post. “We have averaged one sale every other day the last year.”
The same has been holding true for virtually every residential golf club community in South Florida—large or small, waterfront or inland, The Post reported.
“The South Florida real estate market has been unbelievably hot, probably as hot as it has ever been,” said Matt Lambert, CCM, CAM, General Manager/COO of The Country Club at Mirasol in Palm Beach Gardens. “As difficult as COVID has been to deal with, the silver lining for residential country club communities is it’s been fantastic for business.”
As South Floridians have noticed from the many different license plates that are now within the community gates, most of the new buyers aren’t local, The Post reported. They are typically from the Northeast, some so willing to relocate they have purchased homes without even visiting them.
Much of the impetus has been from how the pandemic forced many businesses to close their offices and give their employees a chance to work remotely, The Post reported.
“I keep hearing the same story, slightly different version: ‘I was stuck working at home last winter, cooped up inside and I’m not doing it again,’” said Ann Jara, real estate director at The Club at Quail Ridge in Boynton Beach, Fla. “Some are retired, some not, some from the Northeast. They have to be somewhere where they can be outside. Everyone wants to be here.”
Like most realtors of large communities, it’s been a struggle for Jara and Quail Ridge to maintain inventory, The Post reported.
Golf is clearly still a driving force behind the interest, with a National Golf Foundation report showing that Florida’s 37 percent increase in rounds played in 2020 vs. 2019 was exceeded by only one state (Texas, with 39 percent).
But the need for safety, space and being around others who share the same concerns is also fueling the surge, along with many other features now offered by the community, The Post reported.
“We have added many more outdoor amenities, such as having TopTracer on the range, an outdoor gym and more outdoor seating at our restaurants,” said The Club at Ibis’ Jorritsma. “We have a food truck that went into our communities delivering ice cream and margaritas, we added a new outdoor kitchen with a pizza oven by the driving range, and we averaged 300 takeout meals a day during COVID.”
Golf Life Navigators, the Naples, Fla.-based company that helps home buyers find golf clubs, recently released a survey that showed how the interest in residential golf communities is growing, The Post reported. There has been a 9 percent increase, to 58 percent, in buying a home inside the gates of a golf community, the survey showed, and the marketplace of buyers combining the search of club and home has reached 78 percent.
“COVID may have affected the consumer outlook on where they want to reside, most likely due to safety and security of the club and being in a controlled environment,” said Golf Life Navigators’ Jason Becker.
Not only have local residential golf club communities seen a spike in interest, the demographics have skewed into a better direction, towards younger buyers, The Post reported. And that speaks well to the future.
“When I moved here in 2003, Florida was all about older people and retirees,” said Lambert, who has been in his position at Mirasol since 2003. “Now you’re seeing a lot of young families moving here. They want to be in a place where their kids can be outside 12 months a year.”
While the effects of COVID-19 have been lessening due to vaccinations and more awareness, most don’t see the residential golf club community market cooling off any time soon, The Post reported. Demand remains strong, and there are only so many homes available.
“There are a lot of benefits to living in Florida,” The Club at Ibis’ Jorritsma said. “The weather, no state income tax and ease of travel with multiple airport options. That will never change.”