Are Golf Estates Changing the Way We Look at Real Estate?


For the longest time, beachside houses and condos have been the default ‘dream home’ option for Aussie home buyers. But that’s all changing.

In recent years, the Australian real estate market has witnessed a new and growing trend: residential golf estates. Increasingly popular among first home buyers and retirees alike, these lifestyle estates offer comfortable high-end living, while satisfying your passion for golf.

When the first of these golfing estates appeared in New South Wales in the 1970s, the idea of living alongside a golf course was a real novelty. But the concept was booming by the 90s, when a wave of golfing estates washed across Queensland’s Gold Coast. There are now more than 100 residential golf communities nationwide.

Is it just a fad? Or are we entering a new age in real estate, where the perks and facilities attached to a property are just as important as its location?

A Hit With the Boomers

In today’s competitive housing market, residential golf estates have become an attractive option for young homebuyers and families. And as you might expect, the golf estate market has seen dramatic growth as the Baby Boomer generation enters retirement.

Demographer Bernard Salt has kept a keen eye on the Boomers over the last two decades. He coined the term ‘seachange shift’ to describe the movement of retirement age Australians to coastal areas and beach communities. But when coastal property prices started to max out at the turn of the Century, he observed the Boomers opting instead for what he calls ‘the treechange’. Residential golf estates are the perfect destination for anyone who’s ready to make the treechange.

Salt explains, “A treechange town must be located within a 2-3 hour drive of a capital city and preferably within easy drive; this requires a motorway for at least part of the way. The treechange town should be located on or near to a body of water: a majestic river or a stately lake is required for fishing, boating, skiing, or just for wandering along the banks. Did I mention golf? There should be a course of some note nearby regardless of whether the treechanger plays.” 

Like the sea change before it, this residential shift towards leafy, accessible districts reflects a growing desire among the Boomer generation to enjoy a simpler, healthier, stress-free lifestyle – and life at a residential golf estate offers exactly that.

High & Dry: Climate Change Drives Homebuyers Inland

For many, the idyllic dream home locale would be perched on the beachfront of a pristine stretch of the Australian coastline, not too far from the convenience of a major town or city. But in the last decade, surging beach real estate prices have made that dream untenable for the average Aussie homebuyer.

And even for those who can afford the multi-million-dollar price tag, the threat of rising sea levels casts an ominous shadow over the prospect of beachside living. Earlier this year, we saw a row of exclusive waterfront homes swallowed by the sea when wild storms lashed Sydney’s northern beaches.

Other Australian beach communities have been similarly affected in the last decade and a recent report on climate change and coastal flooding by the Climate Council suggests that there’s more trouble ahead. According to the report, more than $226 billion in commercial, industrial, road and rail, and residential assets around Australian coasts are potentially at risk by 2100.

Faced with the double disincentive of rising sea levels and rising beach real estate prices, today’s homebuyers are forced to reimagine their Aussie dream home. Around the country, residential golf estates have emerged as a safe, affordable alternative. With their relaxed, healthy lifestyle and amenities, these golfing estates have laid the foundations for the new Australian dream home.

Proximity to the golf course is only one part of the growing appeal of these golfing estates. More significantly, today’s homebuyers are drawn to the comfort, safety and convenience that come along with life on a residential golf estate. The location is still, of course, a major determinant of property value and demand. But discerning buyers are looking for more than geographic indicators; they want homes that promise a better long-term quality of life.

Author Bio:

Pacific Dunes residential golf estate and an 18-hole championship and golf course in Port Stephens, New South Wales. Ranked #54 in the Golf Digest Top 100.

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