Kaid Benfield Archive


Golf-oriented suburban developments are suffering a decline

Kaid Benfield

Posted August 22, 2008 at 1:37PM

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a new golf course community, north of Atlanta (by: Curtis Palmer, creative commons license)

The 1990s are starting to feel like a long time ago.  Remember when golf courses surrounded by McMansions were sprouting up on the outskirts of many American suburbs?

Today, with large-lot suburbia largely overbuilt, gas prices dragging down home values in developments far from their residents’ jobs, mortgage availability tightening, and more buyers looking for close-in convenience, this development model is struggling for financial survival in some locations.  The Washington, DC region is among them:  According to a story by Anita Huslin in The Washington Post:

“It wasn't long ago that real estate developers could build a golf course community and collect a $30,000 premium from customers who might not have even played golf, but aspired to the country club lifestyle.  

“Not anymore. Projects have been put on hold or canceled because potential buyers are no longer willing to pay extra, can't qualify for a mortgage or can't sell their homes to trade up. Courses that were too far along to stop are struggling to find customers . . .

“Sixty to 80 percent of people who live in golf communities don't play the sport, said Edward T. McMahon, a senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute in the District. Now that mortgage lending has tightened up and potential buyers are more price-conscious, ‘all of a sudden, the whole math changes,’ he said . . .”

For the full article, go here.