The Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, as we know it today, began as an extraordinary vision of one man, Charles Fraser. His dream was to create a unique vacation resort destination where environmental concerns were intertwined with its development. As a result of the eco-friendly development, Hilton Head Island which is only 42 square miles, has the largest number of parks, recreation and bike trails for a community of its size. Along with 12 miles of beachfront, Hilton Head Island is one of the premier destinations for nature enthusiasts.
With a year-round population of 37,099 according to the 2010 census, during the peak of the summer vacation season, the population can swell to 275,000! Vacationers come to enjoy more than 30 public golf courses, 300 tennis courts, horseback riding along the beach, eco-tours of the Island’s nature preserves, sailing, deep sea fishing, windsurfing, crabbing, canoeing, exploring, and birding. The outdoor activities have transformed Hilton Head Island’s vacation home and rental real estate market, where one can make a small fortune, often up to $4,000 a week renting out during the busy season.
Purchasers looking for a bargain, particularly near the beach, need to be aware of an anomaly in market dynamics. The average days-on-market for the homes that sold on the Island was 136 during the past year, but foreclosures were on the market for just 66 days. Foreclosures in the beach-oriented communities of Port Royal, Folly Field, Singleton/Burkes/Bradley Beaches, Palmetto Dunes, Forest Beach and Sea Pines were on the market for a scant 41 days.
For the 12-month period spanning March 2012 through March 2013, pending sales in the Hilton Head region were up 20.7 percent overall. All property sales from that same time period are broken down below:
|March 2013||March 2012||Year over Year|
|Median Sales Price||$225,000||$191,000||+ 17.3%|
|Average Sales Price||$304,275||$331,155||-8.1%|
|Days on Market||121||136||-10.5%|
Market-wide, inventory levels are down 16.2 percent and new listings are down 10.4 percent. However, there are still many opportunities to find vacation homes and vacation rentals that can turn a profit. The property type with the largest price gain was the Condo segment, where prices increased 26.7 percent to $167,250. No matter what type of property you may be looking for, keep in mind that during the spring and summer months prices rise significantly and homes sell much quicker due to the influx of vacationers.
Hilton Head Island offers a large number of cultural opportunities, which is another reason the population skyrockets part of the year. These include: Broadway-quality plays at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, the 120-member full chorus of the Hilton Head Choral Society, the highly-rated Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, the largest annual outdoor wine tasting event on the East Coast, and several other annual community festivals. It also hosts the Heritage Golf Classic, a major stop on the PGA Tour.
Over the past decade, the Island’s population growth rate has been around 32 percent, with no signs of slowing down. Hilton Head, has long been a favorite destination for those looking for the balance between quiet country life, as over 70% of communities are gated, and a lively cultural scene true to South Carolina’s reputation and charm. Even with the growth and development happening, the Island has stayed true to Charles Fraser’s vision- a truly a unique resort destination.