Ocean Reef Real Estate on Rebound

Ocean Reef Club

Courtesy Ocean Reef
Ocean Reef Club, a private member-owned resort-style community on the northernmost tip of Key Largo, Fla., officially describes itself as having a “unique way of life.” Indeed, any place with its own 4,456-foot lighted airstrip, 175-slip marina, 144-room oceanfront inn, 36 holes of championship golf, medical center and many more world-class amenities, is a place all too itself.

To be sure, Ocean Reef is a far cry from 1945, when the exclusive community started out as a modest fishing camp and 26-room lodge. What make Ocean Reef Club as compelling as ever, however, is the club’s ongoing success in growing its membership base and real estate sales volume.

At a time when many private club communities are struggling to find firm footing in a fragile real estate market, Ocean Reef is not only surviving, but thriving. At least that’s one way to describe a club which added 225 new social members through the end of May – nearly matching the total number of new memberships sold in the two previous fiscal years combined (108 in 2009; 158 in 2010) – and recorded nearly $60 million in real estate sales through May.

According to longtime Ocean Reef resident and real estate broker Susan Bryan of Card Sound Properties Inc., that sales volume is on a pace to far exceed last year’s total closings. Bryan says the Ocean Reef market has “stabilized” and a growing number of buyers are starting to acquire undervalued condominiums and single-family homes.

Nestled on 2,500 secluded acres, Ocean Reef is comprised of approximately 1,700 waterfront estates, private homes, condominiums and boat slips with Bryan’s listings starting at $750,000 for a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom condominium home to $15 million for a 1.25-acre oceanfront tear-down lot.

“The market’s better than what it was, but not as good as it was (in 2006-07),” Bryan adds. “We’re certainly better than 2009 when we dropped to the bottom and most people were trying to hold onto their primary homes rather than these second or third homes.

“Now we’re seeing people buying homes and fixing them up or just holding onto them waiting for the market to return. Right now we have every indication it will return.”

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Courtesy Ocean Reef

Ocean Reef Club

Scott Kauffman

Scott Kauffman is an award-winning career journalist recognized as the leading expert on golf course real estate, private clubs and resort-style communities worldwide. Scott features 30 years of newspaper, magazine, broadcast and public relations experience, including full-time editorial positions with the Honolulu Advertiser/Star-Bulletin newspapers, USA Today, the Orlando Sentinel and Golfwee...(Read More)

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