Golf course property still a draw |

Golf course property still a draw

Robb Hicken

Golf courses are still a draw for home buyers.

“You have that open space behind your home there and you have all that lawn and never have to take care of it,” said Mark Turner, director of sales at Silver Oak development, located in north Carson City.

There does, however, exist a difference in the types of golf communities and how sales are going.

Due to the number of competing golf course developments in Northern Nevada and around Lake Tahoe which have come on the market there’s a glut on the market, Lightning W Ranch developer Bob Weise said.

The development approval for Lightning W Ranch was driven by changes in the new Washoe County Master Plan, he said. The plan reduced the number of houses that could be developed in West Washoe Valley to retain the meadows and open expanses in the area.

Weise said he needed to go forward with development of the ranch to preserve the investment he had made or lose it to the down-zoning process. When Lightning W’s initial application was processed, only one other private golf community was established, Hidden Valley Golf Club. Golf communities have grown 10-fold in the Truckee Meadows with such developments as Montreaux, Lakeridge, Arrowcreek and Red Hawk, to name a few, Weise said.

Now, with the increased competition, he’s cutting the price at Lightning W Ranch.

Lightning W Ranch is a single phase community of 107 homesites, each an acre or larger. It is located along Franktown Road in West Washoe Valley. Property values ranged from $159,000 to $495,000 before the price reduction. Liquidation prices now start at $99,500 after the discount.

In Carson City and Carson Valley, the sites, while located on a golf course vary in size: from 5,000 to 15,000 square feet at Silver Oak; 8,100 to 20,859 square feet at Empire Ranch; average size is 15,000 square feet at Genoa Lakes.

“At this point, sales are going great,” said Turner. “We’ll be doing this for the next six years.”

Jay Lather, general manager of Genoa Lakes Venture in Carson Valley, said, “Our sales are doing very well. We’re moving ahead on our last parcel of development.”

He said sales in Washoe Valley and Carson City may have a greater supply, but added that he didn’t see any change in the fashion that people want to live on a golf course.

“This is a national trend,” Lather said. “The majority of the buyers in our development are not golfers. Developments like ours offer to buyers the green space and the wildlife that’s available.”

Sue Baggett, broker/sales representative for Millard Realty, said the course, located on the east side of Carson City, said the inquiry about golf course community always is the same – nice, plush greens.

Empire Ranch is a developing community and has all the parks and amenities in place.

“People also want to buy in these areas mainly because there’s an architectural review committee,” she said. “They’re all custom homes, versus track homes.”

Weise, of Lightning W, said, “Buyers see this as a last and final opportunity to buy a uniquely beautiful home site within a very low density gated community where little or no development will occur in the surrounding area.”

In addition to the price incentive, many buyers at Lightning W find other reasons to support their lot selection, he said.

“All lots offered in the liquidation front the championship golf course. There are no bonds or assessments that buyers assume. Owners can start construction whenever it is convenient for them,” he said.

He said the covenants sustain the quality of the community but give the owner a great deal of flexibility in selecting their own house design and theme.

All utilities are underground and leach fields from the septic systems are already approved. Natural gas and a county water system are in place. Water hook-up fees are less than $100.

Turner said that the condition of the Silver Oak course, which went into play this year, remains a major draw.

“Our course superintendent, Bob Miller, has gone way out of his way to make sure that it stays perfect.”