Market Report - Southport and the South Brunswick Islands

Seascape At Holden Plantation Lawsuit

What makes relocating to Wilmington North Carolina so popular? Is it a beach walk and the time for reflection upon all we have achieved? Or is the fact that folks have so much to choose from such as urban living near historic downtown, life on a barrier island or to live in a new home community within minutes of one and have private beach access on the island? 

Southport is known as a sleepy fishing village and in 10 years or so, we expect the population to double or triple. The lucky master planned communities in the area who built beach clubhouses before building moratoriums set it in are the ones we suggest you see first. The barrier islands include Oak Island, Holden Beach, Ocean Isle Beach and Sunset Beach. Without a beach clubhouse, it’s hard for us to comprehend why folks would live so far out in the country.  Here’s our notes about Southport NC neighborhoods and communities we evaluated in the area:

SEASCAPE AT HOLDEN PLANTATION

We’ve had our eye on SeaScape at Holden Plantation for a number of years. Waterfront homes in the community face the Holden Beach barrier island and inlet. Over the years, there has been unrest because of the faulty workmanship at the marina by real estate developer Mark Saunders of Coastal Communities. Property owners took matters into their own hands back in 2012 filing a lawsuit against Saunders demanding restitution and began making the repairs. We’re happy to report, repairs are almost complete without a special assessment to property owners.

The community looked great and we met a number of property owners out enjoying the sunny day. We found homes for sale in the mid $300k’s and toured a waterfront home on the Intracoastal Waterway priced over $1 million. Lots can be found in the low $20k’s. Approximately 125 homes are built of the 500 planned. Amenities include a private beach club, community clubhouse with two swimming pools, a fitness center, tennis courts and a 75 slip deepwater marina off the Intracoastal Waterway. 

At the base of the Holden Beach bridge on the west side, the area still looks worn and distressed with empty retail buildings. Holden Beach is a popular vacation and second home area. We anticipate it will 10+ years until the area has enough of a population and tax base to justify the expense of redevelopment. SeaScape is an hour south of downtown Wilmington and an hour north of Myrtle Beach. Shallotte is the closest town with a solid retail infrastructure and is about 20 minutes to the southwest.

WINDING RIVER PLANTATION

Built back in the late 1990’s, this waterfront community spreads across 1,300 acres. It’s core amenities include a 27 hole golf course, golf clubhouse, attractive beach clubhouse with 10 boat slips on the Intracoastal Waterway, resident clubhouse with swimming pool and fitness center, adorable riverfront club with 10 slip day marina. Optional membership to Carolina National runs about $242 a month plus the $5,000 initiation fee. 

The community has one of those unusual designs where each individual neighborhood is gated. In order to be a gated community, real estate developers are forced to utilize this method when a public road runs through the neighborhood. We find it odd and a poor design. We also found the variety of home styles lacking any harmony obviously because of a relaxed architectural review board. We found resale homes in the low $100k’s and toured a new home on the Parade of Homes priced over $500k which won a special award for best exterior design. HOA fees are low at about $100 a month. The nearest towns are Southport and Shallotte.

ST. JAMES PLANTATION

Clearly the benchmark in Southport, St. James Plantation is the leading resort-style community in the area. Almost 50% built out, approximately 5,000 homes will be built in this neighborhood. It could easily take you 15 minutes to drive from the furthest point in the neighborhood to reach the gated entrance but who would want to leave? The community has it all. Four championship golf courses, four golf clubhouses, a beach club with swimming pool, sports complex with a fitness center, swimming pool, tennis, a 155 boat slip full service marina on the Intracoastal Waterway. beautiful walking trails and community parks. There were 224 homes under construction at this Southport NC neighborhood. That’s almost as many homes as were resales in 2013!

We toured the Southern Comfort Homes ‘Southern Style’ model and weren't impressed. To us, the home had a plain vanilla floor plan and features although the builder won a special award for a lighted tray ceiling in one of the bedrooms from the Parade of Homes. The Southport new home was priced at $445k including the lot. St. James Plantation offers all types of home styles. We found resale condos in the low $100k’s, cottages in the $200k’s and homes priced well over $1 million. Folks who desire to live away from the hustle and bustle of the city but want amenities will find St. James Plantation a great option. Property owners are not required to join the club however without a membership, you can’t access the beach club and amenities. St. James Plantation is a classic example of a country club lifestyle.

RIVER SEA PLANTATION

This tranquil 500 home gated community is set among a forest of pine trees and borders the Lockwood Folly River. Approximately 100 homes have been built to date. The architectural theme is primarily brick homes and Lowcountry cottages. Amenities include a community clubhouse with a swimming pool and hot tub, walking trails and a boat ramp on the Lockwood Folly River. Homes begin in the $300k’s and HOA fees are low at about $100 a month.

ARBOR CREEK

Surrounded by St. James Plantation, we were happy to see several new homes under construction by Bill Clark Homes priced in the mid $200k’s. Arbor Creek is a cozy neighborhood of affordable homes ranging from the $200k’s to $400k. Amenities include a community clubhouse, swimming pool, tennis courts and accent lakes. This Southport NC neighborhood has a garden theme with trees, white trellises and gazebos. HOA fees are ridiculously low at just over $200 a year.

RIVERMIST

We checked in on Rivermist because we read several property owner reviews on our website complaining about the lack of maintenance on the community’s amenities. We found everything to be in tip top shape. Rivermist is a new starter home neighborhood closest to downtown Southport with homes beginning in the mid $100k’s built by Pulte Homes. Amenities include a community swimming pool, tennis courts and children’s playground. Rivermist is a tight knit neighborhood with accent lakes but lacks canopy trees and forestry.

OCEAN RIDGE PLANTATION

Driving through Ocean Ridge Plantation always brushes a smile on our faces because of the incredible curb appeal. Golfers were busy enjoying the sunny day and the golf courses looked fantastic. Built and controlled by Mark Saunders of Coastal Communities, Ocean Ridge Plantation is alive and well. Approximately 600 homes of the 2,500 homes planned have been built. We toured the Parade of Homes Gold Winner, a drop dead gorgeous home built by Sacchetti Construction Corporation. The Debbie model is a 4,753 square foot masterpiece combining European architecture with contemporary finishes. The brochure showed a price of $895k which included the lot. We questioned builder Jules Sacchetti about the pricing and he revealed the home owner had bought many of the upgrades himself such as light fixtures, bathroom fixtures, etc. This home was clearly a $1 million plus home!

Ocean Ridge Plantation is the epitome of a country club lifestyle. Amenities include 4 championship golf courses, two golf clubhouses, sports clubhouse with swimming pool, fitness center and tennis, a beach clubhouse on Sunset Beach, walking trails and community parks. Golf fees are reasonably low at about $200 a month. Ocean Ridge is about 45 minutes north of Myrtle Beach and 45 minutes south of downtown Wilmington. The closest town is Shallotte.

FIGURE EIGHT ISLAND

We had the chance to tour the private gated island located on the north side of Wilmington. This oceanfront and Intracoastal Waterway community has approximately 475 homes. An architectural them resembling Martha’s Vineyard or The Hamptons. The north side of the island is where you’ll find impressive luxury beachfront mansions. The south side of Figure Eight Island is lined with smaller oceanfront homes and deepwater homes with boat slips on the Intracoastal Waterway. The 1,300 acre island has five miles of private beach and is incredibly peaceful with no commercial development. There were 40 homes for sale. The least expensive home was priced at $1.4 million and we found homes priced over $ 4 million.

If you are searching for where to retire in coastal North Carolina, ask us for our informative free Southport North Carolina relocation information to help you get to know the area better. 

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