Are golf course 'McMansions' a thing of the past?

The latest Golf Advisor Podcast talks downsizing and more real estate trends with Golf Life Navigators' Jason Becker and Jeff Mangan.
Oversized, opulent houses are not nearly as desirable as they used to be. That trend, and several others, have shaken up the golf real estate market in recent years.

Historically, there have been all kinds of ways for people to signify they've "made it" in their careers and lives at large.

For many years, a big, commanding house has been one of those: a physical manifestation of one's success.

But since the Great Recession, things have changed. Shifts in the ways people spend their time inside and out of the house, along with greater consciousness of utility costs for large spaces (including rooms that never seem to get any traffic) has led to a steady decrease in the size of new houses in recent years, despite the fact that the U.S. housing market is generally doing well.

Big, stately "McMansions" both in golf course communities and out, are not as popular as they used to be, and as a result, when they come up on the market, they're taking longer to sell, by more than 70%, in some cases, according to this recent CNBC article by Kayleigh Kulp.

These trends were corroborated in our latest Golf Advisor Podcast with the company Golf Life Navigators, who have matched over 70,000 golfers with their next prospective golf course community.

"People are not building 3,500- to 5,000 square foot homes under air anymore; it just isn't happening," says Jeff Mangan, a broker with Golf Life Properties, a subsidiary of Golf Life Navigators, a service that matches golf and country clubs with prospective members across the American Sun Belt, from Florida across the country to Arizona and California. "That market has shrunk substantially."

Golf Advisor Podcast: Trends in golf course real estate

This downsizing trend could pose a big issue for clubs whose communities are made up of mostly XL homes. As Baby Boomers gradually age into retirement and look to downsize, will the next generation be willing to step in and buy, or will they sit on the market? If they're stuck in their home, will it force them to give up their membership?

Right now, it appears they are a very tough sell as millennials are preferring smaller footprints.

“We’ve got several [clients] right now who have been trying to sell them and move south, and they’ve cut the asking price by over 30 percent each and they’re still not going anywhere fast."
Michael E. Chadwick, OWNER, CHADWICK FINANCIAL ADVISORS (Via CNBC)

You can subscribe to the podcast on:

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... and many other podcast services. Or listen in the embedded player above.

The group also discusses the usefulness of Golf Life Navigators' ProGuide3, a brief questionnaire that pairs prospective home buyers with golf communities suited to them based on their preferences. It's a free survey (best taken with your spouse or significant other) that takes about 12 minutes; you can fill it out here.

Other topics that come up in the episode:

- Why even a modest home purchase can ultimately turn out to be a "million-dollar decision."

- The main factors that make a club an ideal fit for a prospective member

- The effect of the late-2000s recession on the golf real estate industry today.

- The methods being employed to entice members to spend more time hanging around the club, including a surprising new amenity several communities are implementing.

- Becker and Mangan's most valuable pieces of advice for anyone considering joining a club or moving to a golf community.

6 Comments
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Commented on

The death of the McMansion hasn't hit here yet (suburban DC). I live in a house on my country club and there are 0 houses for sale along the course and as soon as one goes up for sale its gone quickly.

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Commented on

I agree with the article - huge homes are no longer the status symbol they once were. In reality only a select few thought in those terms anyway - and that is what the golf industry in general needs to get their head around. Younger people do not have the same career path as our generation did and the idea of them having the income and pension plan is only a dream. The idea of paying $75 or more for a round of golf - well those days are now numbered. If a major change isn't made soon, we will see many courses go under the developers plough and golf become a game only for the Wednesday playing doctors - the game will die. A bleak future if we don't start now to make the game more affordable - huge houses are the least of the games problems.

Commented on

click your heels together 3 times" theres no place like America"

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Commented on

So true! What to do?

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Commented on

Looking to buy in north DFW area. Load me up w options in McMansions.

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Commented on

Where are these cheap mansions??? I can't find one..

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Are golf course 'McMansions' a thing of the past?