Hilton Head Real Estate to Sizzle in Summer of 2012

Midway through 2012, snapshots of the U.S. housing market resemble 1970s-style Polaroid photos in development: slightly fuzzy and a little out of focus. Zoom in on Hilton Head Island, however, and the picture becomes as sharp as today’s digital images. Addressing a group of area Realtors, Bill Baldwin, broker-in-charge at Dunes Marketing Group said, “The market is changing and picking up. Recognize this and get excited.”

Backing up his remarks with solid data, Baldwin pointed out that Hilton Head Island was the number-one real estate market in South Carolina for 2011 with a 9.4 percent increase over 2010 and an 11.1 percent increase over the state. “From my experience here for over 30 years, Hilton Head Island is one of the last places to experience a slowdown and one of the first to recover,” he said. “We are clearly on the rebound, and our recovery will continue to outpace the rest of the state and most of the nation.”

Citing recent statistics from the Hilton Head Island Multiple Listing Service (HHIMLS), Baldwin said that closed sales YTD as of March 2012 are up 23.9 percent over the same period last year, with inventory down 15 percent. Listings in 2005, when business was booming, were at 2,348—a 4.8-month supply at that time. In 2007, that number jumped to 6,144 listings or a 24.9-month supply. As of April 2012, listings are hovering at 3,921 or a 9.7-month supply based on sales YTD. According to Baldwin, a 6-month supply is ideal, and we are trending in that direction as sales increase and inventory decreases—a strong motivator for giving up the waiting game if you are in the position to buy.

Perhaps more compelling is the expected decline of the most desirable properties, e.g. best price, best condition, best view, best location. In some neighborhoods on Hilton Head, prices have already bottomed and are now starting to move up, Baldwin said. “Now there is urgency again for the best properties. If it is truly a ‘best buy,’ someone else may purchase the property before the end of the week or maybe even later today.”

With a declining inventory and historically low mortgage rates, now is the time to realize a buying opportunity that may not come along again for a very long time. “Our product today is better and will continue to get better than it was at the top of the market in 2005,” Baldwin said, outlining town improvements such as beach re-nourishment, new bicycle paths, new traffic circles, park upgrades, landscaping, improved signage and more. At the same time, major renovations are taking place for accommodations and retail, and proposed redevelopment plans are on the table to improve the Coligny and Shelter Cove Mall areas.

What does this mean to you? When interest rates start to move upward and alternative financing becomes more available, buyers will start to jump off the fence. Inventory will be further reduced and prices will go up, Baldwin predicts. “We are on the road to recovery, and things are changing fast. I believe there will be a major upswing in sales over the next six months.”

Knee Deep in the Water on Hilton Heads Beach

Yep, it’s another country song by Zac Brown Band that goes something like this if you haven’t heard it…. “Knee deep in the water somewhere with not a care in the world except is the tide gonna get my chair!” My kind of paradise! Why I’m thinking about that is beyond me on this day that my oldest grandchild turned 15.   That’s right! And she has a boyfriend too!!! And just got her driving permit. And last week I was knee deep in driving them to school, picking them up from school, driving them to karate, driving them to a gun shoot, family reunions, and you get the picture. Like Art Linkletter used to say, “Kids say the darnest things.”

I’m known for my SIGHING….. as a stress release. It works. You should try it sometime. Anyway when the alarm went off yesterday at 6 am ….. I SIGHED  unintentionally and Addie said ” just get up and get out of here Grammy if you are gonna sigh…… I want to sleep til 6:30. Another of what I call “Addie-isms.” I told her I was so tired if I closed my eyes for a second, I could fall asleep and that was while I was driving. She says “don’t do that – you don’t drive that good when you are awake!” Anyway, I’m back in my neck of the woods called Hilton Head Island and it is truly my kind of paradise. There is just such a sense of serenity and calm that overcomes me as I drive over the bridge. The same as a sense of overwhelming when I drive over it going off the island. There is something about coming back to the sea. It’s a feeling that I hope you get to experience if you haven’t already. For those of us that are lucky enough to call Hilton Head Island home know and share the specialness. Now is the perfect time to buy your piece of paradise in Palmetto Dunes, Sea Pines or Hilton Head Plantation. I’m ready, willing and able to help you with real estate anywhere in the Hilton Head Island area. Call me……

Until then I’m going to be knee deep in the water somewhere with not a worry in the world ‘cept is the tide gonna get my chair.

It’s not every day your grandchild turns 15.

Hilton Head Island Delegation Celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee

While watching the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton last April 29, no one ever imagined anything could top that. But this weekend we were all proven wrong. Everyone loves The Queen! It took over a year of planning, but it has all been worth it. What a celebration for a deserving queen who has served her people and all the world admirably for 60 years. As I become older, I appreciate what has gotten me to where I am. It was a delight to watch videos of The Queen when she was a young lady riding horses, being a mechanic during World War II. It made me appreciate her more and to appreciate age. She demonstrates “aging gracefully.” And myself for one don’t mind aging quite as much after watching the celebration. She is 86 years old and proves that life is worth living. The Diamond Jubilee Celebration started with a horse race, The Derby, on Saturday. Our Kentucky Derby with all the hats did not hold a candle to what was on show in London to mark the beginning of the Diamond Jubilee Celebration.

Bill Miles of Hilton Head Island Chamber with Al Roker in London England

On Sunday a live coverage of the 1,000 Flotilla Boats parade down the River Thames was a sight you would have to see to believe. Millions of people, small boats, dinghies, big boats. Yes, 1,000 boats going 4 miles per hour in a cold pouring rain to honor The Queen. The cold rain did not dampen the spirit of the British at all. There was a throne built on the boat that The Queen and her family and invited guests were on, but she did not sit. She stood proudly smiling and waving beside her husband, Prince Phillip, and family, Prince Charles and Camilla, Prince William and Kate, and Prince Harry. Now that is what class and honor is all about and it showed on all the people’s faces while soaking wet and cold and waving the Union Jack like nobody’s business for all the world to witness.

Speaking of witnessing it all and looking like they were enjoying every minute and me being in the right place at the right time, I saw our very own representatives from Hilton Head Island. While watching the Today show this morning, I saw Bill Miles who is President of Hilton Head Island Chamber of Commerce, along with Charlie Clark, the Vice President of Communications for the Hilton Head Chamber of Commerce, Orchid Paulmeier of One Hot Mama’s on Hilton Head, Lloyd Evans from Charleston, SC and Duane Parris who is head of the South Carolina Department of Recreation and Tourism from Columbia, SC standing next to Al Roker as he did the weather report from London. These folks were representing the South Carolina Tourism Committee. South Carolina was mentioned at the Diamond Jubilee Celebration in London on National TV. They have been representing SC for the 4-day celebration hosting media conferences as well as Orchid doing cooking demonstrations. So, for my British clients out there who call Hilton Head Island home now or have second homes on Hilton Head Island…my hat is off to you and I raise a cup in honor of The Queen. What a celebration of a life well lived and living!

Dining on Hilton Head Island and much more!

Living and working on Hilton Head Island, a world class resort, sometimes we are too busy, too preoccupied, we don’t even know what we have access to that people travel all over the world to experience. It was brought to my attention by my daughter this week. She and her husband and my grandsons age 9 and 7 are spending a week of their summer vacation on the Island doing other things besides visiting “Grammy” and going to the beach to make sandcastles. They went parasailing out of Harbour Town to celebrate their 12th wedding anniversary. Just around the corner from where I live, but I’ve never parasailed in my backyard.

parasailing on hilton head

I’ve traveled all over the world doing the tourist things. Like most recently riding camels in Australia at sunrise, walking the bridge in Sydney, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. I’ve seen the Greek Isles, Sicily and Turkey. I’ve been to Paris and Rome not once, but twice and the thought of it made me think of another country music song. I’ve been to Paris and Rome and now I want to go home. Home to Hilton Head Island where there are so many things to do, or not to do, and be in paradise. If you’ve never experienced a full moon rise in your lifetime, it is a shame. Watching it rising out of the ocean is magical. My daughter experienced that last night. It was great to share that excitement with her and it didn’t cost a thing.

That’s what I tell buyers all the time that think our Island is too expensive. They can spend as much as they want or as little as they want and still have a wonderful time. The sun, the moon, the stars, the Spanish Moss, the salt air, and all the tranquility that comes with it is priceless. Not to mention the memories, the precious memories that you carry with you whether you decide to stay on Hilton Head or have to return to your homes anywhere in the world. Traveling has made me aware of how special Hilton Head Island is. I like sharing all of that with my potential buyers. That’s why I love my job. The Island sells itself. I merely help people buy what they want.

To get back to things to do whether you are here for a day, week, month or decide to make Hilton Head Island your home. Did you know that only second to the beaches, dining is the #2 reason people visit our Island?

My daughter recently reminded me that Hilton Head is a small town. But, we have uptown class. They have been doing progressive dinners all over the Island. They have been experiencing some really fantastic food and the down to earth, personable chefs that come to the table to greet you and make sure everything is perfect. What a fun way to learn your way around.

If you decide you want to make Hilton Head Island your home, second home, or beach vacation villa, please call or contact me. Please keep the referrals coming by sending me your family and friends. I appreciate you, your friendship, your business and your referrals. Now go have some fun!

Shelter Cove Harbourfest 2012

Experience HarbourFest at Shelter Cove every Tuesday night during the summer months.  Hilton Head Island’s most unique harbour community offers restaurants, specialty shops, boating activities, and of course the finest real estate opportunities with harbourfront condos and nearby townhomes.

Once in a Blue Moon

Everyone has heard the phrase “Once in a Blue Moon” in their lifetime. The definition of Blue Moon is when a second FULL MOON occurs in one month.

That is happening this Friday, August 31, 2012. The sun is beginning to set earlier. Fall seems to be arriving earlier than usual. At this writing, Tropical Storm Isaac is expected to become Hurricane Isaac approaching the coast of New Orleans seven years to the day exactly as Hurricane Katrina of 2005. 

Granted Isaac is not as large as Hurricane Katrina, and residents are more prepared … it still makes one stop and take notice and ponder the notion of how fortunate we on Hilton Head Island are.

I’ve always thought Hilton Head is a blessed place…. Truly a piece of paradise on earth …. Located in a “nook” so to speak between Daytona, Florida and Charleston, South Carolina that both jut out into the sea much further than Hilton Head Island.  Plus, Hilton Head is located about seventy-five miles away from the Gulf Stream that fuels hurricanes. 

Hilton Head does not have the high surf as most coastal places, but this week…. It has been a different story…. The surf is higher than normal which is always the case when a storm is brewing in the Atlantic Ocean. We get to experience the sight and sound of the higher surf without the risk. And usually, a beach that is mostly sea shell free is covered with gifts of shells from the sea and always many other surprises that we normally don’t see on our “perfect, wide walking and bike riding  beach (of course except at high tide) but that’s another story…

Anyway, if you are blessed and lucky enough to be on Hilton Head Island or actually anywhere in the world alive and breathing, please take a moment to check your local paper, network connection or whatever and find out what time the BLUE MOON WILL BE RISING this Friday, August 31, 2012 in your neck of the woods and don’t MISS IT…. 

If you’ve never experienced a full moon rise out of the Atlantic Ocean … it is well worth your time and effort at least once in your lifetime and what better time than on a BLUE MOON ?

Remember it won’t happen again until July 2015…

Sea Pines Resort Continues Making Charles Frazier Proud

Sea Pines Resort does it again. Sea Pines is considering a million dollar new Plantation Club House which overlooks the Ocean Course and Pete Dye designed Heron Point golf courses.  

The project will include a golf pro shop, locker rooms, meeting spaces, dining rooms, an improved fitness center and parking. The plans call for a two-story clubhouse with a wood shingled roof and Savannah gray brick. It will be 16,000 square feet which includes a new golf learning center with two indoor hitting bays equipped with digital cameras and software to help players analyze their swing. All this plus a modern bar and grill with room for private dining, snack bar, with all the makings of a 5-star resort. It’s going to be something really special.

The two courses will remain open during the construction. The current pro shop and cart storage space will be left as is until the new building is completed. The fitness club will be moved to Sea Pines Center during construction.

Demolition of the current clubhouse, which was built in the early 1960’s, is scheduled to begin by the end of October and new construction to begin in December. Sea Pines hopes to open the new clubhouse by the end of 2013. 

In addition to the clubhouse… major improvements and remodeling of the facilities at Tower Beach are in the works. New plans include better handicapped parking, new boardwalks with arbor swings, security stations, shelter and additional bike racks. 

All of this is exciting news not only for Sea Pines Resort, but for all of Hilton Head Island and the Lowcountry. It’s just nice to see improvements to an already great place. It simply reinforces the fact that through July new home sales were up 25.3% YTD and existing home sales were up 10.4% according to the Commerce Dept. and NAR (National Association of Realtors).    

Buyers it’s time to take notice of what’s happening on Hilton Head, get off the fence and choose your place at the beach before all the best  properties are gone.

September 11, 2012 – You Say It Best When You Say Nothing At All

In thinking about what to write on this special day for this week’s blog I had many choices. I had planned on writing about another country music song that goes something like ….. “You say it best when you say nothing at all.” I was going to tie that in with how some Realtors try to “sell” buyers properties on Hilton Head and the Lowcountry in Beaufort County when in most cases Hilton Head sells itself. We just help buyers buy what they want and found on the internet. Many times the buyers find what they want by “just looking at the pictures” on the web. So, therefore we don’t have to say all that much.

They have seen and come to buy the “one” they have chosen from the pictures. Sometimes they even buy without ever seeing the property in person. They are the smart ones that know the time to buy is now, not only because the prices are right but because….. Life is precious and no one is guaranteed another second, much less another day, to enjoy our time on earth. And there is not a better place to spend your time than “heaven on earth,” Hilton Head Island.

So much for that…  What brought all this to my attention and the realization of just how fragile life really is was when I learned that my cousin, Allen Mitchell …  yes, the same famous starting quarterback of the South Carolina Gamecocks in the 1984 Black Magic Season… committed suicide Sunday morning at his home on Lake Murray, South Carolina. He was 48 years old, in the prime of his life with a loving wife, son, daughter, parents, and a brother. He led the Gamecocks to their most winning season when the Gamecocks needed it most. Why?

And today is the anniversary of 9/11. Nothing else has to be said about that.  Other than God Bless America.

The Hilton Head Island Rowing and Sailing Center

More than multiple world renowned golf courses, tennis courts and training centers, fine dining with internationally known chefs (some TV recognized), shopping, zipline, sunsets, moonbeams, Spanish Moss, trees, flowers, salt air, walks on the beach, biking trails over the Island, plus biking on the beach, and yes…of course just the Atlantic Ocean at your fingertips…what else can one expect?

Well now, a Hilton Head Rowing and Sailing Center is on the way. Living on the Island surrounded by water is the perfect place for people to learn how to safely enjoy the water. Plus, it provides another positive outlet for our youth living and growing up on a 12-mile Island besides golf and tennis, and school sponsored sports like football, basketball, volleyball, and baseball. The center will be a special place for water lovers.

Construction was scheduled for 2014 but was moved up after plans were pared to something more cost effective. The Town plans to open no later than a year from now. We are waiting to get through the lengthy design, bidding, and permitting processes that Hilton Head is known for. But, that’s what makes Hilton Head so special.

The Town’s Planning Commission endorsed the project last week. The Parks and Recreation Commission signed off on a conceptual layout for the center in March. Wood & Partners, Inc. was hired to design the center in July. It was once proposed as a public/private partnership. Now the center will be completely funded by the town through tax increment financing revenue. The town will pay ,000 to build the center. Sailing and rowing groups are providing the boats and equipment.

This new facility is going to be built off Squire Pope Road on the north end of Hilton Head, featuring a pier with a floating dock, fenced in boat storage for existing sailing and rowing programs, restrooms, and a community pavilion.

Perhaps the best thing about the center will be that it adds another different kind of recreation experience for Hilton Head residents and guests. In addition to the rowing and sailing, there will be fishing and crabbing opportunities and a pavilion to host parties, family outings, and community events.

Zipline and now a Sailing and Rowing Center…what is next?

Bikes, Boards, Kayaks, Boats and Canoes on Hilton Head

Have you ever thought about the many ways we have to get around our beautiful island instead of behind the wheel of a vehicle? We are blessed with clean air and we can enjoy the sights and sounds of all Hilton Head has to offer. 

Life at sea level is a slow-down life, like the flow of the tides. The great Atlantic Ocean and the salt air are our natural and familiar environs, but day after day, they are never the same. This is a secret known to watermen from Calibogue Sound to Long Island Sound. This is the Lowcountry way. The Mariners say, “Life is easy under the sail.”

You can boat or paddle a kayak or canoe way up the May River in western Bluffton as well as Calibogue Sound on the Atlantic, and Broad Creek.

Let’s not forget the 11 mile lagoon system in Palmetto Dunes that allows small electric powered motor boats to get around and enjoy the natural environment for those that don’t want to paddle. Property owners cruise from their docks to the clubhouse for lunch or cocktails and dinner to socialize with neighbors and friends.   And, did I mention …. You don’t have to get behind a wheel?

The Palmetto Dunes lagoon system is one of kind in the United States. The water is brackish (part salt) that flows from Broad Creek and the Intracoastal Waterway through a lock system that works automatically letting water in and out keeping the levels from overflowing.

And then the newest craze is “Paddle Boarding.” Great exercise for the mind and body. 

Another great way to get around is to hop on your bike and enjoy the many bike paths available all over the island. Hilton Head is enjoying a new identity as a cycling destination. Cycling advocacy has caught speed in the Lowcountry.   Coming up September 29 is the 6th annual community ride “Pedal For Kids.” This is a fundraiser for The Boys and Girls Club. It’s a chance for the whole community to celebrate cycling and see the island’s natural beauty in one day on one ride for a good cause.   

Thanks to “Pedal 4 Kids” Hilton Head Island has a whole new marketing dimension that attracts more visitors and new residents to our 43 square mile island that boasts 110 miles of bicycle-friendly multi-use pathways. Truly Hilton Head Island is a cycling paradise.

So as soon as you can, consider the notion and move to Hilton Head Island. We invite you to come, explore, and enjoy all that Hilton Head offers using bikes, boards, kayaks, boats and canoes. The one thing that matters is….it’s not too late.