The economy is certainly going through strange times and the Hilton Head real estate market is no exception. Here are a few of the trends we are seeing:
While our market mostly plateaued from late May 2022 to early January 2023, it has seen a steep increase in activity since late January. This is mostly driven by investor buyers looking to defer paying capital gains taxes on a recent sale by purchasing a move-in ready property that they can quickly rent after closing. As a result of this, prices for move-in ready homes/condos with strong rental potential have been going up again and many sellers are seeing multiple offers.
Prices are going down for unrenovated and dated properties. Also, contractor availability is starting to free up. As a result, patient investors will likely see good fix and flip opportunities.
March typically begins our busiest listing season of the year, but the return of increased buying activity has dwindled the number of available homes/condos for sale. We're expecting this to change as we approach the RBC Heritage Classic.
The Beaufort County tax assessor will reassess property values for 2023 taxes. This is an event that usually happens every 5 years. For property owners, it could result in their taxes increasing to reflect the jump in property values over the last 3 years. Insurance rates are also going up mostly in response to increased building costs.
Are you thinking about purchasing a property you can put on the short-term rental market? Here are some answers to the questions that we are often asked:
Where are the short-term rental areas on Hilton Head?
You may assume that all the properties you see on our site can go on the short-term rental market. However, over half of the communities on Hilton Head do not allow short-term rentals. Here are the areas where most of the short-term rentals are on the island:
While most of the listings you see in these areas do allow short-term rentals, there are some complexes and subareas (ex. Leamington residential area) that do not. It's best to check with your agent to make sure that the property you have your eye on is a safe bet.
Out of those communities, where should I focus my search?
If you want to be in a resort community with trails, a beach club, a security gate, golf access and a generally quieter area, consider the following:
For the most part, the closer you are to the beach, the better your rental income will be. However, there are a few exceptions: Homes/condos in Harbour Town with a pool do very well on the rental market. Renters like getting coffee or a bite to eat in Harbour Town and then taking the Sea Pines Trolley to the beach. Also, in Palmetto Dunes/Shelter Cove there are complexes that are almost a mile from the beach that do well on the rental market because the Dunes Buggy offers an easy shuttle to the beach.
Are you ok with your renters bringing their pets?
Charging renters a fee for their pets is sometimes a good way to increase your rental income but the damage pets can do to a property can more than offset that benefit. If you are buying a condo, many complexes do not let owners have pets and even fewer allow renters to have them. If this is an important point for you, make sure you are provided with rules for the complex to verify this.
How are short-term rentals typically managed?
You can either hire a short-term rental manager or rent it yourself using VRBO/Airbnb. While you will pay less to rent it yourself, it can be very time-consuming and your success will often depend on how fast you respond to inquiries. If you are not able to devote your time and attention to it, or prefer not to, it's best to work with a rental manager. Competition between rental management companies on Hilton Head has only increased over the years. Your agent can recommend a few companies to evaluate. It's best to start with companies that have a strong presence in the area/complex you are considering.
How many weeks out of the year are properties typically rented?
The short answer is usually around 26 weeks/year (between March-September). However, many properties have winter renters (called snowbirds) that can rent the property for weeks at a time. Some owners that have been renting for a long time have repeat renters that continue to enjoy their property every year and they will have bookings that exceed 35 weeks/year.
What is the Town of Hilton Head's Short-Term Rental Initiative?
Over the past few years, short-term rentals have been popping up in areas of Hilton Head where they were not commonly found. There were also a number of property owners renting through VRBO/Airbnb that were unresponsive if an emergency happened or their renters threw a noisy party. To address concerns like these, the town is launching an initiative to regulate short-term rentals. If the proposed initiative passes, the following changes would go into effect in 2023:
1) Short-term rental owners would need to apply to the town for a permit ($250).
2) Short-term rental managers (owners or agents) would need to be physically present to respond within an hour of notification to a complaint or some other responsive action needed.
Click here for more information on this initiative.
Did you know that a new condo complex is being built on Hilton Head? It's a 22-unit, luxury condo complex overlooking Skull Creek and the Intracoastal Waterway in the area where the Old Fort Pub used to stand in Hilton Head Plantation. This site is known for its breathtaking sunset views over the water. Each of the 22 units will have 3 beds/3 baths (2,108 sq ft) and a spacious balcony (180 sq ft) that views the water. The master bedroom and dining area will also have water views. The five-story, steel/concrete building will have covered parking, a waterfront pool, community grilling, sundecks and a firepit.
The condo fee is scheduled to be $973/month, which will include insurance, cable, internet, propane, pool maintenance, landscaping, trash collection, pest control, capital reserve and common area maintenance. The complex is expected to be finished in October 2022 but the units are for sale now. Here are the ones available.Let us know if you have any questions.
We're realtors, not contractors—and, truth be told, not even very handy. However, we've seen a lot of home inspections over the years and there are a few issues that are fairly easy to visually inspect before you get ready to make an offer.
Here they are:
There is an adage that contractors like to say: "All problems start with the roof." And, like most cliches, it's true. While there are now 30-year shingles available, 20 years is the usual lifespan for an asphalt shingle roof. Cedar shake lasts about 30 years and metal roofs can last 40-70 years. Expect the seller to know and disclose the age of the roof. Look carefully at the roof in the daylight and see if you notice any sagging, buckling or damaged shingles. If there are darkened pockmarks on the shingles, the roof may have hail damage, which could be remedied by the seller's insurance. Go into the attic and see if you see any water stains or signs of leaks on the underside of the roof. Keep in mind that some roof issues are easily fixable like leaks around a vent stack, an isolated instance of a few damaged shingles or a puncture from a fallen branch.
You won't find gas furnaces or boilers in the Lowcountry. Since temperatures rarely get below freezing, almost all of the HVAC systems are heat pumps. They are highly efficient for both heating and cooling and can usually last 10-14 years if regularly maintained (serviced every 6 months). Heat pumps consist of two components: an indoor air handler and an outdoor condenser. Some larger homes will have multiple heat pumps (referred to as zones). As a result, you'll want to check the dates of the heat pumps to plan for their eventual replacement and factor that into the purchase price for the house. Some labels will clearly state the manufacture date, but many will require getting the date from the serial number. Your agent will likely know how to do this. When you walk through a home, notice if there are rooms that have no venting or have large sections of the home serviced by separate mini-split units. It may be a sign that the home has not been properly climate controlled and there could be elevated levels of mold, which could require reconfiguring the entire HVAC setup. Along these lines, check the thermostats when you are at the house. If the temperatures are set to extreme levels for cost savings (i.e. over 78 in the summer) that may also contribute to a mold issue.
It's important to check the year a home was built since it may reveal potential issues that were common at the time of construction. If a home was built between 1983 and 1997, there is a chance it has "the bad pipes." I'm referring to polybutylene (PB) plumbing pipes. The PB fittings of these pipes have a dramatically high failure rate and led to a class-action lawsuit. Starting in the late '80s, these pipes were used with copper fittings, which reduced the failure rate but are still a liability because chlorine is known to break down polybutylene over time. Most owners replace these pipes with PEX. Because we have mild winters, most plumbing pipes are not insulated and are easy to spot in attics or crawl spaces. If you see pipes that are dark grey and the date of construction matches the above dates, they are likely polybutylene. Another sign is if they have "PB" or "Poly-B" printed on them. Be sure to factor that into your offer and keep in mind that most homeowner insurance carriers, will not cover these pipes.
If a home you are considering has a stucco exterior and was built from the mid-1980s to the late-1990s, the exterior is likely fake stucco, which is also referred to as EIFS or synthetic stucco. If not properly installed and maintained, EIFS can be prone to water penetration, decay of the underlying plywood and even insect infestations. As a best practice, get a stucco inspection if you suspect a home exterior is EIFS. Stucco inspectors will not only confirm the type of exterior materials present, they will also use a thermal camera to identify any possible areas where there is a moisture intrusion issue that needs to be addressed. Most of the problem areas occur at the windows, doors and areas of kick-out flashing. As a quick test when you are at the house, try knocking on the stucco. If it feels hard as a brick, it's probably real hard-coat stucco. If it feels hollow like drywall, it's probably EIFS.
Hilton Head is a low-lying area and has many sections that are susceptible to flooding. As a result, it is important to confirm the flood zone and the elevation of the first-floor living space of any home that you are considering. Click here to identify a property's flood zone by address or on a map. For details on elevation, a surveyor needs to be hired to produce an elevation certificate. This is especially important in the southern areas of Hilton Head where the grade is usually 7-8 feet above sea level. The great majority of Bluffton and many areas on the north end of Hilton Head are designated as being in an "X Flood Zone," which means they have a much lower flood risk.
Most sellers in higher-risk flood zones will include an elevation certificate with their listing. Many properties on Hilton Head have elevation certificates on file with the town and are available here. There are three reasons why the elevation and flood zone matter:
Renovation Potential: If the first-floor living space has an elevation that is lower than the elevation requirement for new construction (3 feet above the base flood elevation or 13 feet above mean sea level, whichever is higher), owners are only able to get a permit in the town of Hilton Head for 49% of the assessed or appraised value of the structure. For example, if the property is worth $500,000 with $250,000 land value and $250,000 structure value, an owner is only able to get a permit for a maximum renovation value of $122,500. Thankfully, that limit is not cumulative. As a result, you can close out the first permit for the maximum renovation value when the work is done and get another as long as the living area of the home is habitable (e.g. not stipped to the studs).
Mortgage Requirement: If you are planning to get a federally insured mortgage to purchase a house in an A or V flood zone, you are required to get flood insurance.
While there are dozens of other important items to pay attention to (e.g. flooring, windows, dry rot, pool, electrical, etc), these five are easy to visually inspect and can be costly if overlooked. Thankfully, hiring a good inspector will take the pressure off of you to properly evaluate the condition and safety of a home. Ask your agent for a trusted home inspector as well as what inspections and surveys are appropriate for the home you are considering. Let us know if you have any questions.
If you are browsing properties for sale on Hilton Head and looking for something that you can't find, you'll want to know about a new listing status that has recently been added by our MLS. It's a "Coming Soon" status called "Listing Delay." Listings are in this status when the listing agreement is signed but the marketing and photography are not ready yet. These listings are only visible to realtors and the general public will not see them online.
Since we've recently had a dramatic increase in sales and most listings now spend far fewer days on the market, we have successfully helped many buyers get a head start on the competition by monitoring Listing Delays for them. Please let us know if you have a specific home, condo or lot that you are searching for. If we find a match in Listing Delay, we are happy to share the main details and go to the property to give you a virtual tour.
Here's the how, when and what you'll need to know about walking your dogs on the beach in Hilton Head Island.
Rules for dogs on the beach:
Are NOT permitted - Between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day
Must be on a leash: Between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. April 1 through Thursday before Memorial Day Between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tuesday after Labor Day through September 30
Must be on a leash or under positive voice control at all other times.
Persons in control of animals on the beach are required to remove and properly dispose of the animal's excrement.
2. Dog-Friendly Rentals
Some homeowners and property management companies on Hilton Head Island have vacation rental homes and condos that are pet-friendly, but not all of them. You'll want to be clear up front that you are intending to bring your pet. And be aware that some rental managers may charge you an extra fee for your pet. Plus, if your pet is working while you're on vacation please know that registered emotional-support animals are allowed.
PRO TIP: Lower-priced rentals are usually more restrictive of pets.
3. Dog Parks
Beyond the beaches, there are several places on Hilton Head Island where your dog can run free and make some new puppy friends.
Chaplin Community Park, has its own dog park located just off William Hilton Parkway between Singleton Beach Road and Burke's Beach Road. The park is completely fenced and "double gated" so you will be able to let your dog off-leash as long as it's friendly with people or other dogs.
There are several doggie day-care choices including Evergreen Pet Lodge where they invite you and your pets to, "Let your loved one(s) enjoy the pleasures of a carefree vacation at the year-round lodge, where red carpet treatment and comfortable surroundings await them."
PRO TIP: There are some parks where dogs are NOT allowed such as Pinckney Island
5. Keep your pup safe-especially during the dog days of summer.
It gets hot on Hilton Head in the summer! Please be mindful of your pet's paw pads in hot sand and surfaces such as black pavement.
Plus, remember to bring water for your dog when taking them to the beach or on hikes.
And be cautious of our island's wildlife. There are harmful snakes that can be in heavy brush, and alligators call our many waterways home. The safest approach is to always keep your dog on a leash, and for you to walk between your dog and a body of water.
From lounging at the beach to launching your boat from the marina, it's a challenge to keep track of all of the fun activities that are available within the 2,000 acres of Palmetto Dunes. Here's are our five favorites:
1. Dining Near The Ocean
Fine dining, beachside cafes, grills, and even a charming general store mean you won’t have to go far to get your fill of whatever you crave.
HH Prime is located in the Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort. Ditch the casual beach threads for this one as you treat yourself to the finest aged prime steaks, freshest seafood and one of the island's largest wine selections in a sophisticated, island-chic setting.
Alexander's Restaurant & Wine Bar is an upscale, seafood restaurant and wine bar, featuring seasonally-inspired cuisine, locally-caught fresh seafood, and many locally-sourced ingredients.
Big Jim's BBQ, Burgers and Pizza restaurant offers a relaxed atmosphere for families, golfers, Hilton Head Island residents and visitors alike. Catch the big game on one of their big-screen TVs. Dine outside as you watch golfers teeing it up on the Jones course.
The Dunes House is a one-of-a-kind oceanfront dining experience. Chill out with burgers, sandwiches, and a cocktail or two at this laid-back island restaurant as you soak up the sand, sun and spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Enjoy supermarket convenience at the charming General Store right in the center of Palmetto Dunes. This one-stop shop on Queen's Folly Road will meet all your vacation needs, from groceries to beverages to beach items, souvenirs and more. They even have hot and cold deli treats available to go. Relax and enjoy your to-go food on there front porch as it’s a great spot to people watch.
2. A Unique Lagoon System
One of the most unique features in Palmetto Dunes is its 11-mile meandering lagoon system. This waterway system is full of outdoor adventure. Launch a boat [kayak or quiet electric skiffs] and take in beautiful scenes of moss-draped oaks, island wildlife, birdwatching, golf-course panoramas, and some stunning homes as well.
Fishing is also a popular activity. The still, calm waters of the lagoon hide a wide variety of red fish, blue fish, trout and flounder that make for quality angling. Hilton Head Outfitters provides guided charters on quiet electric skiffs, They offer a wide variety of outdoor island adventure activities and nature tours. They also do kayak, canoe, boat and bike rentals.
3. Tennis & Pickleball
The award-winning Palmetto Dunes Tennis & Pickleball Center has 23 clay courts, two Nova ProBounce courts, nighttime play, and Tuesday Demo and Exhibition Days. There's also Pickleball, a sport that's gaining popularity in the area. It's like tennis, badminton and ping-pong all rolled into a one. Played with oversized paddles and a softball-sized plastic ball that goes much slower than a tennis ball, it's easy to pick up at any age. Palmetto Dunes has 24 dedicated Pickleball courts, all lighted for night play, and one of the most comprehensive instructional programs on the east coast.
4. Championship Golf
Palmetto Dunes boasts 3 championship courses:
The Robert Trent Jones track doesn't disappoint. It's considered to be one of the best golf courses in the Southeast, and is famous for its open, inviting layout and spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, it has one of only two oceanfront holes on Hilton Head Island.
Hilton Head Island's only par-70 public golf course, the George Fazio track is one of the island's most distinctive and challenging layouts. But there's no need to feel intimidated. It's designed to be a true, but fair test for golfers of every handicap.
Whether you're serious about your par or just there to enjoy nature, you're going to love the Arthur Hills course. Long regarded as one of South Carolina's most unique golf layouts, it blends natural island beauty with the masterfully designed challenges of the game.
5. Beyond The Beach
The beach is spectacular but that's not all on offer. From Palmetto Dunes you can safely take the bike path under 278 directly to Shelter Cove. Hop on your bikes or walk. There's also plenty of parking if you choose to drive over.
Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina is the home to HarbourFest in the summer -- a family-friendly festival on the waterfront featuring live music, and lots of family fun with clowns, face painting, carnival games, and fireworks at the end of each night. Plus, it's free Tuesdays in June, July, and August-with a special show on July 4th.
Shelter Cove Community Park right next door is a popular spot for a picnic and a sunset serenade at the pavilion. Bring beach chairs and pick up some food from one of our local merchants for the Sunset Celebration, featuring live local music and laidback family entertainment-all brought to you every Friday in the summer by the merchants of Shelter Cove Towne Centre.
Bonus - The Dunes Buggy
For those that want to avoid traveling by car, there is the Dunes Buggy. The Dunes Buggy runs from April to Larbor Day and is a van service that picks up upon request. It will take you to the beach, the shops at Shelter Cove, golf courses and more. Here is the map and list of all the stops.
Palmetto Dunes Experts
One real estate company, The Ocean Broker, knows Palmetto Dunes. We are a Hilton Head Island original, helping clients buy and sell Palmetto Dunes real estate since 1974. If you have questions about Palmetto Dunes real estate, contact us.
Is there a home you've had your eye on but you can't easily make it down to Hilton Head or Bluffton? Have you seen the pictures and where it is on a map but you still have questions about the floor plan, the size of the pool, areas of the property not pictured, etc? We can help.
Ask us for a virtual showing. We can do it over Zoom, FaceTime or Skype. From the comfort of your home, you'll see every part of the property you're interested in and we can answer any questions you have. If you don't want to be online for the showing, we can easily shoot a video tour and text it to you.
It's reported that there has been a 500% increase nationally in realtor-guided virtual showings since the beginning of March 2020. Contact Mark to schedule a virtual showing of any property on the market.
If you are considering Hilton Head Oceanfront condos, you have half a dozen communities to choose from. Some are right next to restaurants, bars and shops and some are more removed from the hustle and bustle. The condos within the Leamington short-term rental section of Palmetto Dunes are surprisingly quiet even during the busiest months of the year. Many buyers that begin their search for an oceanfront condo are often unaware of this area. Here's what you need to know:
All have 1, 2 and 3 bedroom floor plans and oceanfront pools that are seasonally heated. Hampton Place, Windsor Court and Windsor Place were developed around the same time and have similar floor plans.
While they don't offer oceanfront views, they have more square footage and are a 3-5 minute walk to the beach. Wendover Dunes is on the ocean side of the street. Huntington and Abbington are across the street from the beach and have expansive views of the 11-mile lagoon system.
When Charles Fraser's team was originally planning a Hilton Head Island airport, they were considering the area where the Sea Pines Forest Preserve is now, but Fraser was having none of that. Instead, Hilton Head Airport (HHH) opened on the Northern end of the island in 1967. A fun fact is that Arnold Palmer landed the first plane at Hilton Head Airport. Since then it has been mostly a hub for private jets, and a connection to Charlotte, but now a recent runway expansion has led to the addition of more direct flights to other major cities and hubs. Here are all the important things you need to know.
2. How does the Hilton Head Airport compare to the Savannah Airport? HHH airport is much smaller than SAV airport. It has a very limited food offering, and parking space is much less than SAV, but usually there is no shortage of spaces (see below for details).
3. What are the hours? The airport opens 90 minutes before the first flight and closes 1 hour after the last flight.
5. What airlines fly into it and what are the direct flights?
Current Flights: American Airlines: To/from Charlotte Douglas International Airport and seasonal Saturday/Sunday service to Washington Reagan Airport. Delta Airlines: To/from Atlanta
Starting In Spring 2020: Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American Airlines: To/from Charlotte, Washington, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Newark. American Airlines: Seasonal Saturday flights to/from their hubs of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Chicago O'Hare International Airport, and Philadelphia International Airport. United Airlines: Seasonal, twice-daily flights to/from Washington Dulles, Chicago O'Hare, and New York / Newark.
Starting In Summer 2020: Delta Airlines: Seasonal service to/from New York LaGuardia [LGA].
6. What ground transportation is offered? Hotels on Hilton Head Island do not provide shuttle service to patrons arriving at the Hilton Head Island Airport. Most arriving passengers have pre-arranged rental cars or take a taxi upon arrival. All rental cars, of the eight on-site companies, are within 200 feet of the terminal building. Taxi cabs line up at the taxi stand (upon exiting the building, the taxi stand is on the right) for each scheduled airline arrival.
7. Do they offer long term parking and what do you need to know? There's now only one parking lot and parking costs a flat rate of $10 per day. All airport parking is pre-paid using the automated parking machine kiosks located outside the middle entrance to the terminal. Your license plate number is required to purchase your ticket. The first 2 hours of parking are free. For more information, call Republic Parking at (843) 415-5499.
8. What rental car companies are there? Guests arriving via private aircraft can call a taxi upon arrival or make rental car reservations. However, general aviation customers are encouraged to make their rental car reservations through our FBO, Signature Flight Support. Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, National, Thrifty, and Enterprise are all on-site. All of them are open weekdays from either 8 or 9 am - 6 or 7 pm. And Dollar and Thrifty have limited weekend hours of 9 am to 2:30 pm/Saturday. 9 am to 12:00 pm/Sunday.
9. Is there anywhere to eat? The food offering at HHH is very limited and more of a "grab and go" situation. However, there are plenty of amazing restaurants nearby. Some of the closest are Mixx on Main Street, and just a little further down Main Street you'll find local favorites like Wise Guys, Frankie Bones, Ruan Thai Hut, and Mangiamo's Pizza-which you'll want to avoid if you're a Michigan Wolverine fan as let's just say they take their Ohio State Buckeye pride very seriously!
10. How many gates does it have? There are only four gates.
While you are in town…
It's easier than ever to get to this truly unique island. That means it's becoming an even more attractive destination to live and vacation. While you are in town, we would be happy to show you what's on the market. Search our website for all Hilton Head homes, condos, villas and lots for sale. We've focused on Hilton Head real estate for almost 50 years. If you're thinking of buying or selling a home on the island, contact us.