May 2011

Importance of Resort and Second-Home Ownership

Author: Charles Sampson

Hilton Head Island and the Lowcountry are affected by resort and second-home ownership in many ways. When most people think about this type of ownership, they imagine owning a villa or ocean-oriented home in one of the oceanfront communities such as Sea Pines, Forest Beach, Shipyard, Palmetto Dunes or Folly Field. These properties are used by the owner and as short-term rental property, too.

Short-term rental properties have created an entire industry of rental companies, cleaning services, and many more service industries. Have you ever stopped by one of the grocery stores on the south end or mid-island on a Saturday afternoon in the summer? This is the time when the weekly visitors are checking in and buying enough food for the week. It is hard to find a parking place or shopping cart. Thanks to resort rental properties, Hilton Head, as a family destination, is very busy.

Most people who now live on Hilton Head Island first visited on a family vacation or maybe at a business meeting. Many memories were made while on vacation on Hilton Head, and a good number of visitors dreamed of the day they could live on the island.

On a personal note, my family began visiting Hilton Head in the late 1950s. At first, we would come to the island for the day. My father would drive the car on the beach, and at the end of the day, we would return to Aiken. In the mid-’60s my family began renting homes in the Forest Beach area for a full week. The memories created then are still vivid. The seed of one day calling Hilton Head Island home was planted. That seed matured, and my wife and I moved to the island almost 40 years ago, in 1972, with one child in tow and two more born here.

Resort rental property is not the only reason people are buying second homes. A good number of second-home buyers today are buying for their future. We have recently worked with people who are on a schedule to retire in three to five years. They understand that today’s values are more affordable, bank rates are near all-time lows, and selections of property are good. Hilton Head Island real estate is “on sale!”

Most prices are back to where they were between 2000 and 2002. On top of that, Hilton Head Island still has the same 12 miles of white sandy beach, great golf and tennis, miles of walking and biking trails, gourmet restaurants, shopping, fantastic weather and more. A buyer can have all this at a more affordable price today than just a few years ago!

The second-home buyer in communities such as Hilton Head Plantation, Port Royal, Indigo Run and other areas that are not considered “resort,” are mostly buying today for personal use and for the future. These buyers have the option of putting their second home into a long-term rental program until they retire or are ready to move here permanently. In this scenario, buyers have a tenant to help pay for their property. When the market improves from today’s low prices, these buyers will realize that they have kept up with the market.

Resort and second-home properties are very important to the Hilton Head Island and Lowcountry market today and for the future. Now is a great time to pick up the property of your dreams. What you and your family have once enjoyed, you can never lose, and that is memories!

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