In Australia, Golf Homes With an Ocean View Are in Demand

The view from the wide balcony of 48 Jamieson Court in Cape Schanck, Australia, looks out over the vivid greens of the National Golf Club, as well as the deep blue expanse of Bass Strait, which separates mainland Australia from Tasmania.

The four-bedroom house near Melbourne, which is expected to sell for between 1.65 million and 1.85 million Australian dollars, or $1.1 million to $1.24 million, has plenty of amenities, including a double golf-cart garage. But it’s the combination of golf course frontage and ocean views that gives the home its appeal.

Australia’s 37,000-mile coastline is its greatest real estate asset. Many golf estate developers have recognized that potential and positioned estates so that residents have access not only to world-class golf facilities, but also to waterfront living. These coastal golf estates now have some of Australia’s most expensive homes.

In the early 1980s, the boat builders Mike and Jenny Gore saw that potential in land on the Gold Coast of Queensland State that was, at the time, a dairy farm. They bought the property and developed a plan for a resort-style community built around two golf courses and a number of artificial harbors, with houses lining the greens and the water.

Today, their vision is one of Queensland’s most coveted addresses, a gated community called Sanctuary Cove that has almost 2,000 homes, with values between 500,000 dollars for small apartments and 14 million dollars.

Sanctuary Cove was so unusual, with its creation of harbors and structures built out over existing waterways, that its development required a special act of the Queensland Parliament: the Sanctuary Cove Act of 1985.

“Mike Gore was really a visionary,” said Marie Manning, the Sanctuary Cove specialist at Sotheby’s International Realty. “Australia hadn’t seen anything like it before, and it is still quite unique.”

One of the things that make the estate distinctive, Ms. Manning said, is that 19 homes are in the middle of the main golf course, which was designed by Arnold Palmer. Last year, a house in Sanctuary Cove set the record for Australia’s highest-priced golf course home, selling for 6.5 million dollars. (The estate’s most expensive homes are on the water, rather than fronting the golf courses.)

Image<p>Sales at the Sands golf estate in Torquay, Victoria, have risen 10 percent over the past decade, according to Lynn Hayden, a real estate agent. Many buyers aren’t regular golfers but have young families and want to be near the ocean, she said.</p>

Sales at the Sands golf estate in Torquay, Victoria, have risen 10 percent over the past decade, according to Lynn Hayden, a real estate agent. Many buyers aren’t regular golfers but have young families and want to be near the ocean, she said.

CreditLinks Property/The Sands

“We have a lot of South African owners, people from New Zealand, Japan, China,” Ms. Manning said. “And a lot of families from Melbourne and Sydney who have holidayed up here for years and then decided to make the move full-time.”

She said that while some owners spend only months at a time in their homes, most are full-time residents.

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal detailed the problems faced by owners of golf course homes in the United States, blaming golf’s decline in popularity for the drop in values of golf homes.

According to The Australian Business Review, Australia is experiencing something similar. An article in February cited the closing of many struggling golf courses and falling property values for adjacent homes. But that decline does not seem to be affecting the estates that offer ocean breezes as well as clubhouses and fairways.

Lynne Hayden, a real estate agent who was one of the first residents of the Sands golf estate in Torquay, Australia, said the Sands had experienced about 10 percent growth in sales over the past decade.

Her explanation has very little to do with golf. “Only about 17 percent of our residents are regular golf players,” Ms. Hayden said. Many are young families who want to be near the ocean and appreciate the wide-open views associated with living by a golf course.

“It’s the best of both worlds,” Ms. Hayden said. “You get all the visual benefits of living on a large-acreage property, with none of the maintenance associated.”

Ms. Hayden’s experience mirrors that of the other residents.

“When we first came to look at the project, my husband said, ‘I think we should buy here,’” Ms. Hayden said. “And I said, ‘Why on earth would we do that? We don’t even play golf!’ But there are so many benefits. I love it.”

The Sands has 400 house lots, with prices ranging from 450,000 dollars for smaller townhouses to multiple millions of dollars for the 10 homes along the Esplanade, which back onto the golf course and front the ocean. Those homes don’t tend to come on the market regularly, Ms. Hayden said.

At the height of the Australian housing market boom, in 2017, golf course homes with ocean views regularly sold for more than 3 million dollars. As the home at Cape Schanck suggests, houses with that combination of golf and water continue to fetch high prices, even as the Australian market cools.

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