Golf - Not Just A Load Of Balls

The sport de jour is football but I’ve just read an interesting report about how golf influences where new overseas holiday homes are built and where Britons buy them.

KPMG, the global business consultancy, has a division in Hungary that analyses the world’s golf resorts and sells this information to governments, tourist boards, developers and posh estate agents – it’s the sort of behind-the-scenes information we don’t see often so I thought I'd share it, despite the niche nature of the schemes.

KPMG’s latest research, completed in April, looks at the Mediterranean and shows:

• There are now 100 resorts in Spain with integrated golf courses and second homes - some with a high proportion on unsold new homes, many others with unsold owned homes. Unsurprisingly KPMG says “Spain is currently experiencing the negative effects of over-supply in the market” (in golf homes as in all sorts of other properties);

• There are just over 40 integrated golf/second home resorts in Portugal while in France (which actually has far more golf clubs than either Spain or Portugal) there are only 25 integrated golf/second home resorts;

• Turkey is the emerging market most tuned in to golf as a driver (no pun intended) for holiday homes. Its Antalya region already has 17 courses on a 15-kilometre strip of coastal land, making it the densest golf course ‘cluster’ in the Med;

• Other emerging locations include Cyprus, Greece and – shortly - Montenegro;

• The main buyers for Mediterranean golfing second homes are Britons (at least until the flailing Pound deterred purchases), the Irish, Germans, French and Scandinavians. A few Russians are appearing now, too;

• France, mainland Italy and Sardinia are holding out against more golf developments thanks to tougher planning regulations.

I spoke with the survey’s author, Andrea Sartori (head of golf at KPMG) and he gave a very upbeat summary of how golf will continue to influence second home schemes.

“There used to be a saying that ‘blue’ determined where holiday homes were built. That ‘blue’ used to be the sea. Now it’s ‘blue and green’ – where there’s a golf course, inevitably by the sea, there will be holiday homes” he says.

He predicts that, post-recession, golf will remain a key influence in determining second home schemes in the Mediterranean for the next 20 years. Quite when we enter this ‘post-recession’ era, of course, remains a difficult question to answer.


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