Silverleaf’s realtors discuss the rising demand golf has brought to the Scottsdale real estate market and how it blossomed into the popular sport it is today.
When publisher of ICONIC Life, Renee Dee sat down with three of Silverleaf’s real estate superstars, Andrew Beardsley, Jen Boynton and Connor Sabanosh there were many intriguing topics up for discussion around the Scottsdale real estate market and its climate. It’s no secret that Arizona has seen massive growth through the years, this brings with it not only an increasing population, but also a competitive real estate market. One unexpected factor that affects the speed and price of the sale of Arizona real estate is the popular sport, golf.
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COVID-19 sparked a boom in golf. With strict social distancing regulations, many sports halted. Golf was one of the only sports that could still be played during the lockdown. Naturally, this led to people taking on the game to get out of the house and pass time. The love for the sport didn’t calm down post COVID, according to Forbes, in 2022, there were more rounds of golf played in the U.S. than there have ever been in history.
“[Golf] was one of those activities that you could still do,” Beardsley says. “ You could be outside, you could go play, get exercise, it was available to do so…We’ve seen the resurgence of the game, and so along with the demand of people moving here and wanting to be here, there are only so many private country clubs that can and that are available to service that need.”
Along with the hot Arizona real estate market, the demand for golf memberships and properties within golf communities has become more and more valuable as the once niche sport has grown into something everyone loves and wants to be a part of. Golf is also gaining popularity with the family demographic, which is another reason we are seeing golf have an effect on Arizona real estate.
“The kids are now out there, it’s not just dads out there,” Boynton says. “Women are out there, there are more women playing than there ever was. It’s really become a family affair.”
With more women and children partaking in the game, waitlists for golf communities have increased at such a rapid rate, some spanning for years, which is causing issues for real estate agents and the Arizona real estate market.
“Everybody looking to buy a house is also looking to join a club,” Beardsley explains. “There is zero inventory of houses and there’s very little availability of memberships, so that waitlist for a membership has subsequently drawn out years and years and that’s created its own issues and problems because if somebody wants to buy a very expensive home in a beautiful luxury community, but can’t join the club for half a decade to a decade, that makes the selling process pretty difficult.”
Boynton highlights that high demand and low inventory on properties associated with golf communities have shown the importance of relationships between not only clients and agents but also agent to agent relationships within the Arizona real estate market.
“You have to really be with somebody who understands membership, the club dynamic and inventory, and have great relationships with other agents so you can get in there and be in the know of what’s coming or what’s off market so you can get your client in there so they’re happy and set up.”
Golf hasn’t only affected Arizona real estate with buyers of homes, but sellers are also facing the dilemma of whether they should include their membership with their property. The hesitation behind this stems back to the demand of golf memberships across all communities. Incentives of a higher premium on the list price have persuaded some sellers to include their memberships, which has proved to be quite effective not only helping the seller, but also helping the Arizona real estate market.
“The sellers that are including memberships with their property tend to get a premium,” Sabanosh says. “That’s been a big incentive and those have been properties that have been scooped up overnight. It’s a phone call to a buyer that we have in the [buyer] pool that’s been waiting for a golf membership, and they will pay that premium in order to skip that 5,6,7,8 year wait wherever it may be.”
Beardsley supports this point further by telling the story of clients that had their houses on the market for years, when they decided to include their membership with the property the homes sold within a month of being on the market.
Conservation of water is a big concern in the valley. When Dee asked about the effect of golf courses and water as it relates to the premium around memberships, Beardsley was quick to clear up the preconceived ideas about the amount of water courses actually utilize.
“Golf courses, while most people think they see sprinklers going all day, that it’s a waste of water. It is such a fractional amount of water that is being used compared to farming and agricultural things. It pales in comparison.”
Boynton also speaks on this topic by pointing out that the rain and snowfall levels the valley saw in the past year have put water levels in a secure place where the golf community’s usage of water is not a concern.
Golf has not only affected the Arizona real estate marketplace positively with buyer demands rising for properties with memberships, it has also created a new element of community lifestyle, allowing residents and families to come together and enjoy a space that is welcoming to all.