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Any great vacation location is also a good risk for investment real estate. Whether you want to own or rent, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina is a beach resort island full of possibilities worth consideration.

If you have any doubts that Hilton Head Island is a golfer's paradise, consider that the 12-mile long, 3-mile-wide island is home to 23 golf courses, 205 tennis courts, as well as Atlantic Ocean beaches. The tiny island also has 37,000 residents and an influx of 2.3 million visitors annually.

The sub-tropical weather makes the island attractive for relocation and retirement, as well as vacation and investment. A high number of property owners are residents.

Says Realtor Andy Twisdale ( House Exterior Inspection Expert Advice Video ). "Here are some absorption rates for different planned communities both on island and the mainland:

  • Colleton River - approximately 200 homes completed with 20 homes under construction. 75 percent of owners are full time residents.
  • Belfair - 210 homes have been built and 70 percent of the owners live here full time. Twenty-seven homes are being constructed with 25 in the planning stages.
  • Indigo Run: Golden Bear, 354 Homes built with 90 percent full-time owners. Twenty homes are under construction.
  • The Golf Club at Indigo Run - 270 owners with 80 homes completed and 16 under construction.

"Inventories are still high," says Twisdale. "Demand for vacation villas has increased because of the resort visitors."

"Sales tend to slack off during the month prior to summer," say Realtors Chip Collins and Mark Mayer . "While momentum was building up after 2001 in the first quarter of the year, we are feeling a deceleration in the build-up of momentum due to May. The outlook is optimistic for the summer market, and inventory remains high overall."

Explain Collin and Mayer, "It seems to be unanimous - everyone is glad to have 2001 behind them. This sentiment is joined with a positive outlook for 2002, and we are expecting to see the benefits of consumer confidence by mid-year. That means that we are anticipating a pick-up in real estate activity over the next 90 days that will begin to reduce the significant inventory of real estate currently for sale. Interest rates seem to have bottomed-out, and buyers are now looking to take advantage of attractive rates before they begin to escalate again.

"This could be the beginning of the end of what has been a strong buyer's market for over 9 months. If you have been waiting for the right time to buy....this is clearly it!"

"Due to a large inventory, it is still a buyer's market with many choices available," cautions Realtor Chris Spirer . "But don't expect to "steal" properties. It just isn't happening. Our sellers are patient."

Realtors are optimistic that the market will take an upswing, so get in while you can.

"What started out as a vacation / resort community has grown into an island filled with diversity," explains Realtors Gary and Linda Mullinix . "Not only will you find fabulous resort accommodations, golf, tennis, swimming, biking, horse back riding, hiking, shopping, and many of the finest restaurants in the country, you will find a plethora of home styles to choose from.

"From modestly priced villas, single-family homes of all sizes and price ranges, to elaborately furnished ocean front properties, it is all available on the island. From small to large, views of all types, and a home to meet everyone's budget, the island's variety of home options is almost unlimited."

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