Early fall on Hilton Head is a series of festivals, oyster roasts, art exhibits, polo matches, chili cook-offs, Latin music festivals, fiery sunrises and sunsets, Salty Dog Fish Fries, a Craft Beer and BBQ Festival and the week-long annual Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival with music, entertainment and a boat parade complete with a blessing of the fleet…an event that draws islanders and visitors from near and far to the quaint town of Bluffton, located across the bridge from Hilton Head, nestled by the May River. This historic hamlet is a favorite of many who favor the laid-back lifestyle and the smell of wood smoke as cooling breezes stroke the land.

Many buyers of real estate prefer to focus their efforts on property searches in the fall after the summer crowds have left. As inventory decreases and prices begin to edge upward, smart buyers are looking for their dream home or villa before selection is further diminished, while mortgage rates are still low. They are finding success. There have been more oceanfront homes and lot sales in Sea Pines this year than in 2009, 2010 and 2011 combined. Villa sales are ahead of 2011 sales by more than 40%. Rising building optimism along with rising buyer demand is creating a surge in building activity.

One NFL champ, Chris Canty, has chosen Hilton Head for his new 13,000 square foot, six bedroom, six bathroom home that is now under construction on a beautiful waterfront lot where a 3,254 square foot home has been demolished. The new structure will have a limestone facade and a lighting, heating, security and home-theater system that can be controlled by the owner from anywhere on the planet via his iPhone. Nearby is a waterfront home of 18,000 square feet once appraised at $17 million.

For the buyer who revels in stunning water views and spectacular sunsets, an executive-owner with a leading internationally known financial firm is offering his almost 5,000 square foot penthouse in Harbour Town, overlooking the 18th fairway of the Harbour Town Golf Links, for $2 million, furnished. Like some other prime-property owners who have found a safe harbor here for their money during high earning years, he is retiring and downsizing. From the penthouse, it is an easy stroll to the Harbour Town Yacht Basin where an owner can board his yacht and enjoy a sunset cruise all the way to Costa Rica.

Another interesting offering are two adjacent estate-size lots, 2.5 acres each, in a former plantation area in Sea Pines bordered by a large, sparkling lagoon, with enough space on the far side of the lagoon for a small guest house or two. The plantation once grew fields of rice that surrounded a large plantation house. The fields were flooded with water carried through Lawton Canal from Calibogue Sound. The rich rice harvest was called “Carolina Gold” by planters.

This area is only a short walk to Lawton Stables, a state-of-the-art facility across from Heritage Farms where residents park their Land Rovers, Jaguars and BMW SUV’s and work their plots in old Gucci loafers and stained jeans. Instead of growing vegetables, some grow roses. At Lawton Stables, the revered American Saddlebred horse, known as the “Peacock of the house show world” is bred. Long a favorite of riders, General Robert E. Lee rode a Saddlebred named “Traveller” (General Ulysses S. Grant and Stonewall Jackson also rode Saddlebreds). After the American Civil War ended, breeders began promoting the breed as a show horse. The two adjacent estate lots near Lawton Stables present an unusual opportunity for a buyer with a sense of history and vision, especially if his or her family appreciates horses. It is a dream location for grandchildren. They can also ride their bikes to the beach or to Harbour Town.

Last week there was a final party at the Plantation Club in Sea Pines – a once-elegant private club where members kept their liquor in lockers and chefs were imported from Europe to serve fine foods and wines “at table”. It was a final farewell before the structure is torn down to make way for a new $12 million dollar golf club. On a personal note, our family joined the Plantation Club in the 1960′s when we were stationed in Seoul, Korea. We were charter members of the club. My then husband, a Marine officer, accompanied the first ROC battalion to Vietnam where they were valiant fighters. It was the first time the Koreans had fought outside of their country. Later, I arranged for our home to be built in Sea Pines near the beach while said-husband was under siege at Khe Sanh, Vietnam, commanding the 1st Battalion, 26th Marines.

For the last party at the Plantation Club, former chef Franz Meier and his former captain Klaus Jackel joined a number of early members, all gave nostalgic, short speeches while some admired one of the most beautiful tropical views on the island, long vistas from the rear of the club’s large dining room windows of green golf fairways fringed by tall palmettos and lagoons. One speaker mentioned Sea Pines founder Charles Fraser, the genius behind our internationally known resort, being photographed for the Saturday Evening Post in the early days walking a 13-foot alligator on a leash. A short time later, while in Italy, he came across a foundry where various animals had been cast. Having a photograph with him of the alligator on a leash, he commissioned an alligator to be cast. It has served as a water fountain near the front of the Plantation Club ever since.

Stan Smith, our resident celebrity (an American Wimbledon champion whom I’ve written about before in this blog) was one of the speakers. He remembered the club as being the original home of the Renaissance Weekends that brought some of the most famous names in the country to the island, including Bill and Hillary Clinton. Stan and his family have lived on Hilton Head for 41 years. He is tall, handsome and dignified – a true all-American that all who know him are proud of.

When the club was built, the interior was designed by Elizabeth Gordon, the influential editor of House Beautiful magazine. Klaus Jacket told the crowd the club was known up and down the East Coast as the finest of dining establishments. One of the best and most popular speakers was “Happy” Mitchell, a slender, energetic African American who worked at the club and arranged parties for members for over 45 years. Happy retired a couple of years ago from the Harbour Town clubhouse where he continued arranging parties for residents and where he ended his career with Sea Pines. During his speech, he said that when he decided to retire, he wanted to go home, to go back to the river and to spend time with his “grands”. He said they go all over the island and almost every day the grands ask him, “Where we goin today, Pappy? Do we have any money?” Happy likes going home, to the river.

The sun was setting over Calibogue Sound as the party ended. Numerous widows and widowers departed the club for the last time, leaving with their memories of happier times, wrapped like gifts and placed forever in their minds. Some were guided in their wheelchairs to waiting cars. Only the alligator from Italy remained.

Provided by Diann Wilkinson

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33 Villlage of Skull Creek – Hilton Head Plantation, Hilton Head Island. Overlooking the intracoastal water way on Skull Creek this villa has direct water views. Totally renovated and updated in every room from granite counter tops, hardwood floors throughout. Newly painted, built-ins, wine cooler and trully amazing details & craftsmanship. Excellent View. Priced at $579,000. Call Rob at 843.383.6789 to view this great property.

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When we compare 2011 with sales activity in 2010 we see tremendous gains in Sea Pines. Unit sales of homes were up 20% with 161 houses sold compared with 134 one year ago. The average price of a home is off just 2% to $853,245 and current inventory has decreased 16% to 179 residences now listed.

Our villa sales are up a whopping 44% in 2011 with 82 sales for the year. The average price of a villa is off 10% to $402,746 as more non ocean oriented villas were sold. There are 124 villas currently listed, a drop of 20% from the end of 2010.

What Can You Expect in 2012?

I am excited to see both home sales and prices recover so well in 2011 for most of the
following communities.

Home Sales 2011 Price Sales 2010 Price
Island Wide 670 $652,368 611 $669,866
Port Royal 44 $767,261 32 $671,011
Palmetto Dunes 62 $1,033,895 63 $1,007,043
Hilton Head Plantation 174 $412,697 154 $429,612
Indigo Run 38 $677,526 38 $624,803
Long Cove 16 $677,526 38 $624,803

We have seen certain villa communities bump up in sales while others have not but clearly there are fewer villas available everywhere on the island.

Villa Sales 2011 Price Sales 2010 Price
Forest Beach 149 $167,961 156 $175,777
Palmetto Dunes 125 $445,979 140 $438,335
Shipyard 47 $252,737 52 $285,387
Island Wide 745 $445,979 728 $229,357

We are definitely seeing very positive trends that point to a continued recovery of our market. With sales up 7% island-wide and inventory down 11% prices will continue to gain strength in the new year. Clearly statistics show our market has bottomed out with increased sales, reduced inventory and closed prices improving. 2011 marks the 2nd year in a row that sales volume has increased and buyers are taking advantage of this historic opportunity to purchase now!

Hilton Head Island is as popular as it has ever been – I hope to hear from you soon!

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21 Oyster Landing in Sea Pines has long marsh sunset views. 3 Bedrooms 2.5 Bathrooms in this 2 story townhome in Oyster Landing Club. Large greatroom, eat in kitchen, storage underneath with a 2 car garage. Pool and tennis on site. $599,000. Call Rob today to view this fabulous townhome – 843.384.6789.

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Sales Trends Now!

When we compare the first 6 months of 2011 with 2010 sales activity we see tremendous gains in Sea Pines. Unit sales of homes are up 50% with 90 houses sold thru June compared with 60 one year ago. The average price of a home is off 6% to $893,168 but current inventory has decreased 24% to 194 residences now listed.

Our villa sales are up 42% from 2010 with 34 sales so far this year. The average price of a villa has jumped 24% to $439,166 as more ocean oriented villas are beginning to sell. There are 168 villas listed mid year which is the same as 2010.

What Can You Expect in 2011?

I am excited to see both home sales and prices improve for the 1st six months of 2011 in most of the following communities.

Home Sales 2011 Price Sales 2010 Price
Sea Pines 90 $893,168 60 $949,425
Palmetto Dunes 31 $1,075,871 29 $997,296
Moss Creek 29 $399,031 26 $428,226
Port Royal 22 $658,659 8 $601,968
Island Wide 347 $663,388 310 $700,622

We have seen certain villa communities bump up in sales while others have lagged behind.

Villa Sales 2011 Price Sales 2010 Price
Forest Beach 74 $151,870 83 $189,782
Palmetto Dunes 60 $456,013 77 $425,934
Shipyard 25 $258,513 22 $288,772
Sea Pines 34 $439,166 24 $353,104

We are definitely seeing some positive trends that point to a continued recovery of our market. With sales up 8% island-wide and inventory down 11%, prices will continue to gain strength in the months ahead. Clearly statistics show our market has bottomed out and is recovering every month. With still good selection and amazing values plus low interest rates, BUYERS should take advantage of this historic opportunity to purchase NOW!

Let me keep you up to date on the real estate activity on the island. Email me today at rob@robreichel.com or sign up to have updates on the types of property that interest you – click on the Register Now just above the map.

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OCEANFRONT – Best View on Hilton Head Island – 4001 Turtle Lane Club. Magnificent Views of Hilton Head Island’s Best Beach and Atlantic Ocean. The living areas are in pristine condition and the decor is stunning in this 4 bedroom 4 bathroom oceanfront villa. While you are here for April and the Heritage Golf Tournament call my office for an appointment to view this very impressive oceanfront property or take a moment for a visual tour right now.

Give me a call for an appointment to view this spectacular property – 843.384.6789

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OCEANFRONT SEA PINES, Hilton Head Island – 4001 Turtle Lane Club Hilton Head Island’s BEST BEACH along the Gold Coast. This beautiful Oceanfront villa has over 2,000 sq. ft. of living space and some of the best wrap around deck views along the Atlantic Ocean coastline. Enjoy 4 bedrooms and 4 full bathrooms from this completely updated and renovated villa. Direct oceanfront living and no need to drive to the golf course since it is directly across the street from the Sea Pines Ocean and Heron Point Golf Club. Great opportunity at $1,895,000.

Call me today to see this property or register on my web site and I will keep you posted on this property and other similar properties.

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According to Fortune Magazine now is an excellent time to buy with inventories declining and no new supply. For instance in Sea Pines the last NEW construction for a single family home built for sale was completed the later part of 2007/early quarter of 2008. Only one NEW oceanfront home for sale has been built in this time period. New HOME construction for the “built for sale” for non-oceanfront property has been completely depleted. For the article on the national overview from Fortune Magazine. http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2011/03/28/real-estate-its-time-to-buy-again/)

Give me a call or sign up and let me know what you are looking for and I will keep you posted on new homes for sale in the Hilton Head area.

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Sales Trends Now!

When we compare 2010 with 2009 our sales activity has picked up in Sea Pines. Unit
sales of homes are up 10% with 133 houses sold through December. The average
price of a home dipped 5% to $877,163 but current inventory has decreased 8% to 213
residences currently listed.

Our villa sales are off 7% from 2009 with 57 sales this year. The average price of a
villa has bumped up 6% to $449,317 as fewer distressed properties are available.
There are 155 villas currently listed compared with 159 one year ago and villas are
selling for 92% of their list price.

What Can You Expect in 2011?

I am excited to see home sales jump up in 2010 throughout most of the island as well
as the mainland. Sales are up in these communities while selling prices remain down.

Home Sales 2010 Price Sales 2009 Price
Sea Pines 133 $877,163 121 $924,225
Palmetto Dunes 48 $1,025.660 31 $1,282,223
Moss Creek 43 $439,474 29 $435,867
Indigo Run 37 $629,625 37 $655,139
Windmill Harbour 19 $704,474 12 $853,321
Colleton River 25 $869,432 18 $699,028

We have really seen a firming up of prices in our villa market especially in Sea Pines,
Palmetto Dunes and Shipyard as villa sales have exploded in 2010!

Villa Sales 2010 Price Sales 2009 Price
Forest Beach 152 $176,208 122 $221,550
Palmetto Dunes 140 $438,335 98 $405,679
Shipyard 50 $285,902 42 $288,743
Sea Pines 57 $449,317 61 $425,722

With prices improving and inventory levels reducing with increased sales, 2011 should
continue the stronger sales trend. Clearly statistics show our market has bottomed out
and in fact is recovering every month. With good selection, amazing values that compare
to 2002 levels plus low interest rates, BUYERS should take advantage of this historic
opportunity to purchase now!

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