Categories
Buying & Owning a Home Life in Savannah Savannah Market

What We Love About Savannah (for Buyers)

WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT SAVANNAH

for buyers
living in savannah georgia

We get an average of two calls a week from people who are interested in Savannah real estate, sometimes from other countries. Our team loves living and investing in Savannah. Why are so many people so bullish on this city? Where will Savannah real estate be in ten years? Savannah has TONS to offer, but the answer to this question boils down to one thing: growth. 

What we love about Savannah is it’s a growth market that most people haven’t caught on to (at least not yet). You can still get property at some astounding value here, and there is a lot of growth yet to come that should drive appreciation in excess of national trends.

DRIVERS OF GROWTH

1. TOURISM

living in savannah georgia

Tourism is the most obvious industry that folks tend to think about when they think of Savannah.  Many buyers get their first introduction to Savannah as tourists, fall in love with the city, and subsequently decide to move here.  

As of 2019, Savannah attracted an estimated 14.8 million visitors, generating $3.1 billion in spending, which amounts to about 15% of Savannah’s total GDP. This is a stunning statistic when you consider that the current population is 398,000. That’s over 37 tourists to every resident.

A large part of what makes Savannah such a big tourist town is how easy it is to get here. Savannah currently has direct flights to 27 airports, including ones in DC, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Houston, Louisville, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. Savannah International also has regular flights to major hubs like Atlanta and Charlotte, meaning most cities in the United States are only a one-stop flight away. The average non-stop ticket fare is $279.

2. PORT OF SAVANNAH

living in savannah georgia

Let’s dive into some cool stats about the port!

– 4.6 million TEUs went through Savannah’s port in 2020, and as of September 2021 4.1 million TEUs have been through.  This represents a 60% growth since 2010’s 2.8 million TEUs.

– In FY 2021, the port added an additional 210k TEUs of capacity

– The US Army Corps of Engineers $2 Billion harbor expansion will wrap up in December of 2021. This expansion will push the depth at high tide to 54 feet, which will allow vessels in the 16k TEU range to call on the port. This means that Savannah can accept the Neo-Panamax class of ships – any ship that can currently fit through the Panama Canal can call on the port of Savannah

– A $220 million Mega Rail project is almost complete, which will increase rail lift capacity to 2 million TEUs per year

– The port of Savannah handled 9.3% of US containerized imports and 10.5% of exports in FY 2020

The best part?  Plans are already in motion that will double the throughput of the port to 9 million TEUs by 2030.

3. POPULATION GROWTH

living in savannnah georgia

According to the Us Census Bureau in 2020, the expected 10-year growth rate in the Savannah HMA is 14%, which is double the annual rate for the US. This means an addition of roughly 1,850 households annually. Much of this growth is expected along the main travel arteries – including Pooler and Richmond Hill – which makes sense, because these are the main areas with the most new construction activity. It is difficult to build new inventory in the city of Savannah itself because the city is bounded by the river on one side and salt marshes on other sides. There’s not much buildable land to build on.

4. HIGHER EDUCATION

Savannah is home to three universities: Savannah State, Georgia Southern – Armstrong Campus, and the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). SCAD is the biggest player and has a major impact on the economy and Savannah real estate in general.

SCAD’s campus is spread out throughout the roughly 2-square-mile area encompassing the downtown historic district, Victorian district, and Streetcar district, and owns roughly 130 buildings. Since its founding in the 1970s, SCAD has grown to a current enrollment of roughly 14,000 students.

The impact SCAD has on the local economy and culture is undeniable. These kids (or, their parents more accurately) have money, and they spend it. They will spend good money for a good apartment, and they spend money on food and drink.  

SCAD is also a major player in the redevelopment of run down buildings and neighborhoods. If you happen to own a property near a place that SCAD buys to redevelop, you just hit the jackpot. Most recently, they purchased the rundown Chatham apartments for nearly $39 million dollars and are undertaking a total renovation of the building to turn it into student housing.

SCAD brings a lot of culture to the town, being an internationally-renowned art school. A lot of these students end up sticking around and some of them start successful small businesses. SCAD also ties in nicely with the blossoming local movie/TV industry.

5. MAJOR EMPLOYERS

Savannah has a diverse economy. In addition to a robust tourism industry that generates 27,000 jobs, Savannah is home to other major employers such as Gulfstream Aerospace (8000 employees), Memorial and St. Joseph’s health systems (8100 employees), the universities (3800 employees) and Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield which are home to tens of thousands of soldiers.

6. DESIRABILITY AS A WFH DESTINATION

Working from home is not exactly a new concept, but its adoption has been rapidly sped up due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Savannah is a desirable work-from-home destination for a multitude of reasons, including the low cost of living compared to larger cities like NYC or even Atlanta, beautiful and quaint city streets, and easy access to Tybee beach and many major cities as discussed earlier when we discussed the airport.

There’s also just a lot of great food and fun things to do in Savannah! Check out this interactive map showing some of our own favorite places and things to do: 

And check out this blog post to see more reasons why young professionals are moving to Savannah, as well as a list of our favorite up-and-coming neighborhoods in Savannah.

7. DESIRABILITY AS A RETIREMENT DESTINATION

Some of the same things that make this a great work-from-home destination also make this a great retirement destination. Also, the region’s best hospitals are both minutes from downtown Savannah, and, in addition to this, there has been robust development of senior living units.

Savannah in national rankings

Still aren’t sure? You don’t have to take our word for it. Here are some cool examples of the recognition Savannah’s gotten as a place to travel to and live in:

TIME Magazine’s 2021 Greatest Places in the World list (Alphabetically organized)

Travel and Leisure’s #3 best cities in the US

Forbes Best Places to Retire (Alphabetically organized)

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Categories
Investing Life in Savannah Savannah Market

What We Love About Savannah (for Investors)

WHY WE LOVE SAVANNAH

for investors
Savannah real estate group

I get an average of two calls a week from investors, sometimes from other countries, who are interested in plowing some of their cash into Savannah real estate. I invest most of my own money here. Why are so many people so bullish on this city? Where will Savannah real estate be in ten years? In this blog, I’ll try to answer some of those questions, but it boils down to one thing – growth.

Why do investors pay much higher earnings multiples to own tech stocks than they do, say, an automaker? Because of the expectation of a ton of future growth. You see a similar thing in hot real estate markets and desirable locations, as cap rates will typically be much lower in Manhattan than Des Moins, Iowa.  

What I love about Savannah is it’s a growth market that most people haven’t caught on to, at least not yet. You can still get into plenty of cash-flowing properties here, and there is a lot of growth yet to come that should drive appreciation in excess of national trends. 

DRIVERS OF GROWTH

Savannah has a great mix of industries ranging from logistics, manufacturing, healthcare, education, and of course, tourism. Let’s dive into some of these industries and discuss where they’ve been and where they’re going.

1. Tourism

Tourism is the most obvious industry that folks tend to think about when they think of Savannah. Many investors get their first introduction to Savannah as tourists and subsequently decide to invest here.  

As of 2019, Savannah attracted an estimated 14.8 million visitors, generating $3.1 billion in spending, which amounts to about 15% of Savannah’s total GDP. This is a stunning statistic when you consider that the current population is 398,000. That’s over 37 tourists to every resident.

A large part of what makes Savannah such a big tourist town is how easy it is to get here. Savannah currently has direct flights to 27 airports, including DC, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Houston, Louisville, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. There are regular flights to major hubs like Atlanta and Charlotte, meaning most cities in the United States are only a one-stop flight away. The average non-stop ticket fare is $279.

2. Port of Savannah

Take a guess – where does the Port of Savannah rank against other container ports in the US? Maybe the 10th or 15th busiest? Try 3rd busiest. Only Long Beach and LA push through more Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs, the unit of measure used for shipping containers).  (https://gaports.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Monthly-TEU-Throughput-September-2021.pdf?1637097075)

Let’s dive into some cool stats about the port!

  • 4.6 million TEUs went through Savannah’s port in 2020, and as of September 2021 4.1 million TEUs have been through. This represents a 60% growth since 2010’s 2.8 million TEUs.
  • In FY 2021, the port added an additional 210k TEUs of capacity.
  • The US Army Corps of Engineers $2 billion harbor expansion will wrap up in December of 2021. This expansion will push the depth at high tide to 54 feet, which will allow vessels in the 16k TEU range to call on the port. This means that Savannah can accept the Neo-Panamax class of ships – any ship that can currently fit through the Panama Canal can call on the port of Savannah.
  • A $220 million Mega Rail project is almost complete, which will increase rail lift capacity to 2 million TEUs per year.
  • The port of Savannah handled 9.3% of US containerized imports and 10.5% of exports in FY 2020.

The best part? Plans are already in motion that will double the throughput of the port to 9 million TEUs by 2030.

3. Population Growth

According to the Us Census Bureau in 2020, the expected 10-year growth rate in the Savannah HMA is 14%, which is double the annual rate for the US. This means an addition of roughly 1,850 households annually. Much of this growth is expected along the main travel arteries – including Pooler and Richmond Hill – which makes sense, because these are the main areas with the most new construction activity. It is difficult to build new inventory in the city of Savannah itself because the city is bounded by the river on one side and salt marshes on other sides. There’s not much buildable land to build on.

4. Rental Trends

Savannah’s average monthly apartment rent is $985/mo, up from $725/mo in 2010 (Q3 2020, HUD), and the overall average rent is $1350/mo (Aug 2021, rentcafe). Rents remained steady during the 2008 GFC, though vacancy then did jump to 10% during 2009-2010.  

Looking outside the official data, there have been a lot of luxury apartment buildings constructed since 2018.  Properties like Park + BroadEastern Wharf, and The Mata Dora are offering upscale units with the best amenities, and their average one bedroom rent ranges from $1750/mo at Park+Broad to as high as $3,200/mo in the highest-end one-bedroom units at the Mata Dora. Two-bed units range from an average of $2,500/mo at Park+Broad to $2,900/mo at the Mata Dora. Typically, an investor renting out a unit in a 1-4 unit building will not achieve quite those numbers, given that those luxury units come with amenities. But it is possible to get damn close if you present a well-renovated and designed unit with off-street parking in a desirable location like the downtown Historic district or Starland/Thomas Square.

We anticipate that these rental rates will continue to increase in the desirable locations near downtown where neighborhoods are very walkable due to one main fact: the only new inventory coming on the market is in redevelopment of existing structures or renovations. There is no new land to build on.  

5. Higher Education

Savannah is home to three universities: Savannah State, Georgia Southern – Armstrong Campus, and the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). SCAD is the biggest player and has a major impact on the economy and Savannah real estate in general.

SCAD’s campus is spread out throughout the roughly 2-square-mile area encompassing the downtown historic district, Victorian district, and Streetcar district, and owns roughly 130 buildings. Since its founding in the 1970s, SCAD has grown to a current enrollment of roughly 14,000 students paying a tuition of $52,000/yr.  

The impact SCAD has on the local economy is basically threefold. First, the tuition is so damn high that you know these kids (or, their parents more accurately) are paid. They have money, and they spend it. They will spend good money for a good apartment, and they spend money on food and drink. Typically they make good tenants.  

Second, SCAD is a major player in the redevelopment of run-down buildings and neighborhoods. If you happen to own a property near a place that SCAD buys to redevelop, you just hit the jackpot. Most recently, they purchased the rundown Chatham apartments for nearly $39 million dollars and are undertaking a total renovation of the building to turn it into student housing. And student housing is stupid expensive, like, $9k per student per year in their triple occupancy dorm rooms up to $15,434 per year for single-occupancy rooms.

Third, SCAD brings a lot of culture to the town, being an internationally-renowned art school. A lot of these students end up sticking around and some of them start successful small businesses. SCAD also ties in nicely with the blossoming local movie/TV industry.

6. Major Employers

Savannah has a diverse economy. In addition to a robust tourism industry that generates 27,000 jobs, Savannah is home to major employers: Gulfstream Aerospace (8000 employees), Memorial and St. Joseph’s health systems (8100 employees), the universities (3800 employees), and Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield (home to tens of thousands of soldiers).  

7. Desirability as a WFH destination

Working from home is not exactly a new concept, but its adoption has obviously rapidly increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Savannah is a desirable work-from-home destination for a multitude of reasons, including the low cost of living compared to larger cities like NYC or even Atlanta, beautiful and quaint city streets, and easy access to many major cities (as discussed earlier when we discussed the airport).

There’s also just a lot of great food and fun things to do in Savannah! Check out this interactive map showing some of my own favorite places and things to do:  

 
 

8. Desirability as a retirement destination

Some of the same things that make this a great work-from-home destination also make this a great retirement destination. Also, the region’s best hospitals are both minutes from downtown Savannah, and, in addition to this, there has been robust development of senior living units, including an opportunity zone fund that is currently leasing units near Waters and Wheaton

Savannah in national rankings

Still aren’t sure? You don’t have to take our word for it. Here are some cool examples of the recognition Savannah’s gotten as a place to travel to and live in:

TIME Magazine’s 2021 Greatest Places in the World list (Alphabetically organized)

Travel and Leisure’s #3 best cities in the US

Forbes Best Places to Retire (Alphabetically organized)

Written by: Pat Wilver

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Categories
Buying & Owning a Home Life in Savannah Military

PCS’ing to Savannah

PCS'ING TO SAVANNAH

our best answers to your most important questions
fort stewart homes

You just came down on orders to Fort Stewart or Hunter Army Airfield – congratulations! I first  PCS’d here in 2014. I loved it so much that I decided to make Savannah my home when I ETS’d in 2019, and I believe this to be one of the best places you can be stationed. Why?

1. Savannah is a very fun town! There’s a ton to eat, see, and do. To check out some of my favorites, you can peruse this map I made. 

2. Coastal Georgia (or “the Low Country” as we call it) is a sportsman’s paradise. The hunting on Fort Stewart is great, you can rent boats from the MWR for dirt cheap and spend weekends fishing and boating in our beautiful salt water marshes that are a very unique habitat. We are also an easy 4-hour drive from the beautiful mountains of North Georgia.

3. The international airport has direct flights to any major city east of Dallas and the fares are reasonable.

4. The local housing market, while hot, is nowhere near as competitive as other duty stations like Fort Carson or JBLM.

5. There’s great diversity in places to live. If a short commute is your thing, you can live in Hinesville and still be only 45 minutes away from downtown Savannah. There are rural options in places like Midway. There’s the halfway point of Richmond Hill, where you can be about 25 minutes from both post and downtown Savannah. Or you can get a place right in downtown Savannah if you prioritize easy access to culture and nightlife over having a short commute.  

Inprocessing

More about places to live soon – let’s talk about what inprocessing will look like.  If you’re coming to any of the units at Fort Stewart or HAAF, you will start out at the Marne Reception Center for inprocessing. E9/O4’s and above can get expedited inprocessing, everyone else will more or less be spending your first 4 duty days doing 9-5 inprocessing tasks.  I thought it was a bit unnecessary to be honest and would have much preferred to be able to do inprocessing at my own pace, but hey – welcome to 3ID. You’ll also do PT in the morning. Yikes.

https://home.army.mil/stewart/index.php/about/Garrison/DHR/MPD/marne-reception-center 

The problem with doing inprocessing this way is that you have to squeeze in time during the day to do things like finding a place to live. So either find a place to live before you start MRC or know that you’ll be in the hotel. PTDY is typically taken after completing MRC and reporting to your gaining unit, unless you got PTDY from your old unit. I do recommend trying to get PTDY from the unit you are leaving and finding your long-term housing situation BEFORE reporting to the MRC if possible. Once you finish MRC and report to your unit, you are not guaranteed getting that PTDY – it is up to your BN commander’s discretion. If you happen to be walking into a big field problem, you might find yourself going straight to the field and unable to sort out the housing situation right away.

Where do you want to live?

So, speaking of housing – where do you want to live? Let’s discuss a few of the different local communities. I put them in order from the closest to Fort Stewart to the furthest away. If you are PCSing to HAAF, just know that HAAF is in midtown Savannah, roughly 7 minutes from the downtown area and about 45 minutes from Hinesville/Fort Stewart.

 

Hinesville

Hinesville is the place to live if a short commute is your primary concern. Some areas of Hinesville are better to live in than others, depending on where you will work. If you will be in the 92nd Engineer BN, for example, you’ll want to live outside of gate 15 for the fastest commute. If you’ll be at 2nd Brigade, you’ll probably want to be able to get to Old Sunbury Road quickly, as that is the most direct way onto that compound. For 1st Brigade, the main gate or Veterans Pkwy gates will likely be the fastest. See this map for more information on gates. Hinesville has a lot of food and grocery store options from Walmart, Kroger, Home Depot and Lowes, Tractor Supply, Applebees, Chick-Fil-A, Zaxbys, Starbucks, and a few independently-owned restaurants like Zum Rosenhof. In Hinesville and the surrounding areas, there’s typically a fair amount of inventory for decent 3-bed homes in the mid-$100k price point, and there are newer builds in the 3- to 4-bed range for sale in the low-$200k range.

 

Flemington

Flemington is just east of Hinesville and most folks basically think of it as Hinesville. Flemington is near the Old Sunbury Road that I mentioned earlier.

 

Allenhurst/Walthourville

Properties here will still have Hinesville addresses typically, and these areas are 10-20 minutes from the main gate. These are probably not ideal places to live if you’ll be in 2nd brigade and you really care about the commute.

 

Ludowici

Ludowici is about as far west as it is practical to live. You’ll drive about 25 minutes to get to work and about 1:15 to get to Savannah.  There are lots of newer builds out here and the prices are typically cheaper than the same kind of house in Hinesville proper. Not a ton of dining or shopping out here – you’ll probably be driving to Hinesville a lot.

 

Midway

Midway has a broad diversity of housing stock from newer builds to trailers. I actually rented a doublewide out there for $600/mo when I first got to Stewart. There’s a cool lake community out there called Lake George that is great if you are into boating, or just want a more quiet place to live.  Your drive to work can vary greatly – mine was about 10 minutes, but it’s possible to live in parts of Midway that will take 30 minutes to get to work. Midway gives fast access to I-95 and you’ll be about 40 minutes from Savannah. There’s not a whole lot of shopping or food options in Midway, so you’ll probably end up driving to Hinesville for most of that.

 

Riceboro

I don’t really know of anyone who lives in Riceboro and commutes to Fort Stewart. It’s a bit of a haul and there’s nothing too nice there. 

 

Richmond Hill

Richmond Hill is the convenient halfway-point between FSGA and Savannah. If you live in the parts of Richmond Hill that are closer to I-95, your commute to work will be 25-35 minutes. But if you live closer to Keller, you’ll need to tack on ten minutes or so. Richmond Hill has some great schools as well, but, with that, prices are going to be higher than Hinesville. It’s hard to find anything under $200k in Richmond Hill, and the average sale is upwards of $300k.  Inventory in the mid-$200s is competitive, but there are deals to be made. Richmond Hill has three grocery stores including a Publix, a decent amount of chain restaurants, and a few good local places, including one of my favorites, a restaurant on the Ogeechee river called Fishtales. Richmond Hill is also home to Fort McAllister state park, which is where I typically launched the boats I would rent from the MWR for weekends on the water. New construction in Richmond Hill typically starts at $250k for a 3-bed.

 

Georgetown

Georgetown is next closest. These homes are very similar to what you’ll find in Richmond Hill, and the price point is typically a touch lower. Georgetown will add about ten minutes to your commute to Stewart vs living in Richmond Hill, and you’ll be about 20 minutes from downtown Savannah. Georgetown is only a few minutes away from the Rio Road gate at HAAF.  

 

Henderson/Berwick/Quacco/Little Neck

There are a variety of subdivisions north of Georgetown roughly between US-17 and I-95.  These are similar to what you’ll find in Georgetown.

 

Southside Savannah/Windsor Forest/Largo Woods

You probably won’t live here if you’re working at FSGA, but this will be a good option for folks at HAAF. Most of these homes were built in the 70s and you can still pick up some of them in the high $100k’s.  Windsor Forest will typically be a touch more expensive than Largo Woods. Here in the southside is where most of your national retail and dining brands will be located and you’ll be about 15 minutes from downtown Savannah.

 

Midtown Savannah/Ardsley Park/Kensington Park

There’s a lot of different neighborhoods in Midtown, but to keep it short, Midtown will be the fastest commute to the main gate or Stevenson Ave gates of Hunter. Ardsley Park is probably the nicest residential neighborhood you can live in Savannah, most of the homes were early 1900s builds, and you’d be hard pressed to find anything cheaper than $300k here except for small bungalows. I’m a big fan of Ardsley Park! It’s quiet, no tourists, tons of mature trees and parks, and the homes are very unique and pretty.

 

Downtown Savannah north of Victory Drive

This is another large area that has a lot of variability in neighborhoods, but for the most part, if you live here, you can either walk or ride a bike to anything worth doing in downtown Savannah. I personally live in the Eastside neighborhood, and I chose to live here because the cost of living is much cheaper than downtown, but I’m still close enough to take a $7 uber or ride my bike downtown on a Friday night. Starland/Thomas square is probably my favorite place to be in this area – it includes some of the best restaurants, and it’s not yet overrun by tourists.

 

Thunderbolt and the Islands

Thunderbolt, Whitemarsh (pronounced Whit-Marsh), Wilmington, and Tybee. Chances are, you won’t want to live here if you work at Stewart, but the commute to HAAF from any of these places will be 10-25 minutes depending on how close to Tybee you live. Tybee Island probably won’t be a very viable option for most because of the prices out there, but tons of soldiers stationed at HAAF live on Wilmington and Whitemarsh. Typically, you’ll spend between $250-350k for a decent 3-bed in these areas. Schools on Wilmington are pretty good as well. There is also an abundance of dining and grocery stores.

 

Pooler

Pooler is also a popular place to be for many people. I personally don’t love it, but if you like being close to the outlet mall and big national retail brands, then Pooler is where you want to be and plenty of folks enjoy living there. You’ll be about 45 minutes from Stewart, 15-20 minutes from downtown, and 5-10 minutes from the airport.  A 3-bed home in the old part of Pooler will typically run you $200k, and most of the new construction going up will run between $250-300k, but goes much higher depending on what you’re looking for.

 

Pembroke

This is a town just north of the FSGA training area and some folks live out there. There’s not much to do in Pembroke. You’ll drive a minimum of 25 minutes to get to work, and be about an hour from Savannah. I don’t recommend Pembroke, but if you’re into more of a quiet, rural setting then it is an option.  

 Commute to FSGACommute to HAAF/SavannahArea Summary
Hinesville10 mins45 minsShortest commute to FSGA, good diversity of chain restaurants and big brand retail
Flemington10 mins40 minsNortheast adjacent of Hinesville

Allenhurst/

Walthourville

15 mins1 hourQuiet suburban Southwest Hinesville
Ludowici25 mins1 hour 15 minsRural West Hinesville with acre+ properties
Midway35 mins35 minsSmall town/rural community equidistant of FSGA and HAAF and the rest of Savannah
Riceboro40 mins45 minsSouth of Midway, rural lots with land
Richmond Hill35 mins20 minsChain and local shopping and food, convenient access to Savannah and FSGA
Georgetown40 mins10 minsSuburbs West of downtown and HAAF
West Savannah35 mins15 minsNewer construction subdivisions, minutes from shopping and food in Pooler
South Savannah55 mins5 minsEasy access to major retailers and restaurants, closest to HAAF

Midtown

Savannah

1 hour10 minsSouthern architecture and large open parks, minutes from downtown
Downtown Savannah

1 hour

10 mins

15 minsNightlife and gourmet restaurant access within walking distance
Thunderbolt/Islands

1 hour

20 mins

15 mins –

25 mins

Abundant grocery and restaurant options, as well as water access and good schools
Pooler45 mins25 minsNew construction with access to the airport, large retailers, and chain restaurants
Pembroke25 mins45 minsQuaint old Georgia town outside the city

Rent or Buy?

This is the classic question, isn’t it? The answer really is – it depends. If all you care about is the numbers, then we’ll need to take a look at where you want to buy, what you can expect to pay for a house there, and how much you can rent it out for when you move, or what you might expect to sell it for in a few years.  

Typically, I find that the break-even point in the rent vs own calculation tips towards owning around 18-24 months of ownership. If you think you’ll be here for a short time, it might not make sense to buy, financially-speaking.  We have an easy-to-use rent vs buy calculator that we would be happy to share with you to use when making this decision – shoot us a note if you’d like to see it!

What about renting for a short period of time while you get a feel for the area? This isn’t a bad choice, but of course the downside is that you’ll have to move twice. This might be a good decision if you are single or don’t have a ton of possessions. It typically isn’t easy to get a landlord to sign any less than a 12 month lease, but it’s not too difficult to find someone willing to do 6 months if you are willing to pay a little bit more. It is difficult to find furnished short-term rentals.

This probably feels like a lot of information, and it may bring up even more questions left unanswered. Along with our experience in the market, and having been in your boots, we are ready to provide you with all the options available to you, as well as the services you need to get where you want to be. So, it’s easy! Just contact us & we’ll be happy to chat through your questions & options.

Written by: Pat Wilver

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Categories
Life in Savannah Savannah Market

5 Reasons Young People are Moving to Savannah, GA

5 REASONS YOUNG PEOPLE ARE MOVING TO SAVANNAH, GA

(With a BONUS list of our favorite neighborhoods!)

Trophy Point Realty Group

Savannah, Georgia.

The big city with small-town charm. Considered the “Hostess City of the South”, our revered town is flourishing with successful small businesses, elevated dining scenes, antebellum low-country living – the list goes on & on! We’ve racked up some impressive accolades from TIMES “World’s 100 Greatest Places of 2021” to Travel + Leisure’s Top 25 Best Distilleries In the U.S. to back our beloved city & we just keep outdoing ourselves! Whether it be getting away from the hustle & bustle of a fast-paced metropolis, or to seize the opportunity of affordable urban living, or even to find a glass of proper sweet tea – here’s why out-of-staters are arriving in herds to Savannah.

1. it's great for young professionals!

Stating the obvious first. The volume of the world-renowned art institute, SCAD, has echoed throughout the quaint streets of Savannah for the past few decades. The school’s rise in enrollment has offered us a youthful spin to counteract some of our traditional customs in the most harmonious way. With hopeful students & young professionals filling the downtown scene, there is always a vibrant environment that keeps our city exciting!

living in savannah georgia
living in savannah georgia

2. urban revival

There has been an influx of new, exciting redevelopment, including our revitalized Plant Riverside District. There are ever-growing incentives from the city & multiple nonprofit organizations to preserve & repurpose our historic buildings, so there’s only more immersive activities to come!

3. southern hospitality is alive & well

Savannah has been given the honorable distinction of being the “Hostess City of the South” & for good reason. We have stayed true to our manners & it has become the foundation of our culture. Smiling at strangers is common & it’s a great way to start connecting with people. You’ll find that you have more people in your corner than you think once you get out in the community!

relocating to savannah georgia
realtors savannah

4. historical roots

Savannah is the oldest city in Georgia, so it is packed full of easter eggs around town that delight our fascination & keep us in touch with our roots. In Savannah, each country square, cobblestone street, & towering oak tree hold their own character with an enriching story to learn. Keen on preserving as much history as we can, you will feel as if you stepped into a time capsule once you arrive.

5. convenience

To pair with the enchanting strolls, Savannah has a comprehensive grid system to make the area more navigable. Our town is reasonable in size & the entire midtown to downtown area is extremely walkable & pedestrian-friendly. With bike paths lining down almost every active street, you’ll likely find that it might be easier to walk or bike to your next destination than drive.

living in savannah ga

BONUS: tons of great, up-and-coming neighborhoods!

With development & hospitality always on the rise, there’s been more incentive to keep our neighborhoods safe & inviting.

One of those is the Starland District!

Starland/Thomas Square neighborhood was, years ago, fairly devoid of any charm or activity, but now is full of art murals, SCAD students, thriving businesses, & many of Savannah’s hottest restaurants & bars. It sits between Bull St., E Victory Dr., Price St., and E Anderson St. You can find our favorite tacos at Bull Street Taco, our favorite after-work hangout at Starland Yard (pictured), and loads of artsy stores & craft beer around that area.

living in savannah georgia
Living in savannah georgia

It’s full of artistic charm & gorgeous Victorian homes, all just a few short blocks from the downtown scene. Housing prices are great compared to downtown, & considering how much more value houses in this area provide (better parking, more house for money, quality of homes, etc.), we are one of many big fans of this neighborhood!

There’s another neighborhood we especially love, & that’s Eastside. Eastside is the next Starland District (with its own unique twists, of course), sitting between E Broad St., Wheaton St., Waters Ave., & E Anderson St. In the last five years, SCAD tenants have started moving to Eastside chasing cheaper rents. Rent & sale prices are about 35% lower than they are in the Starland district, yet all of Eastside is a 5-minute bike ride from pretty much any point in downtown Savannah, & just a few short blocks to the famous, beautiful Forsythe park. There are gorgeous, old late-Victorian homes, adorable cottages, & tree lined streets that all give this area innate residential character.

homes for sale eastside savannah
living in savannah georgia

Eastside also lies in a federal opportunity zone, & the city of Savannah has its own further incentives along Waters, which means the area is now bursting at the seams with development – both residential & commercial. There is a new, 60-unit senior-living apartment complex on Waters & Anderson called Romana Riley Lofts, & another senior-living community coming in the next few months near Cedar & Wheaton St, just on the north end of the Eastside district. Not only that, but Trophy Point Realty Group will soon be moving into an office space we purchased & are re-developing along the Waters corridor. This redevelopment will include space for a coffee shop/café tenant, & we’ve gained tons of interest in the space & support from the community even without any marketing.

living in savannah ga

ready to move?

Savannah has proven to be the hostess with the mostess – but come see for yourself! Writing pen to paper does not nearly do our town enough justice, & its inexplicable charm is meant to be experienced in person. If Savannah sounds like the right fit for you, give one of our trusted agents a call!

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Categories
Life in Savannah

Secrets to Savannah: Summer Edition

SECRETS TO SAVANNAH

summer edition
living in savannah

Savannah is a charming city – full of natural & architectural beauty, rich history, outdoorsy escapes, & enjoyable adventures for everyone. But sometimes it can be hard to know where to find your ideal experience in Savannah. There’s so much to do that sifting through it all can be overwhelming, & yet another thing to juggle if you’re one of the many military families who just PCS’d to Savannah. Not only that, but there are some hidden gems that can only be accessed if you have local, under-the-radar info. That’s what this post is for! Whether you’re a new military family at Hunter Army Airfield or Fort Stewart, or just wanting to explore Savannah this summer, keep reading & let’s see if we’ve got something for you to enjoy.

1. SAVANNAH BANANAS BASEBALL GAMES

living in savannah geogia

If you enjoy ANY of the following: sports, family-friendly entertainment, delicious drinks, dancing, laughing, fun mascots & merch – you will love a Savannah Bananas game. The Savannah Bananas are arguably the most fun sports team out there. Most don’t even think of them as a sports team – yes, they play quality baseball. But from the ticket-scanning “Scanner Nanners” to the players’ choreographed dances between innings to the elderly dance team “Banana Nanas,” everything the Bananas do make the games feel closer to a circus. Here are our tips for you if this sounds like your thing:

a. Their season is about 30 home games from the end of May through the end of August & usually sells out by mid-June. As I write this, there are no tickets left for any June games, & only a handful left for July & August that will go on sale June 8th. If you want first dibs on these, sign up for their priority list & keep your eye on your email (including the spam folder). You can buy tickets right on their website – no fees or taxes, just $18. If you find a website selling them for much more, it’s likely a scam. By the way – kids (“little Bananas”) 3 years old & younger do not need a ticket & will get in for free, & everyone in the stadium gets access to an all-you-can-eat menu of cheeseburgers, hamburgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers, water, soda, chips, & cookies.

b. If you’re there to drink, get tickets to a Thursday game if any are available – they have $5 25oz beers on Thursday games only. The best place for a great scenic view & good drinks is going to be Top Deck. Ask any friendly face in a yellow staff shirt & they can point you in the right direction.

living in savannah georgia

c. If you’re reading this just a smidge too late & there are no tickets available on their website, don’t fret yet! Check facebook – marketplace, Bananas fan groups, local nonprofits, etc. People often try to sell their tickets through various places on facebook if they can’t make it last minute or they bought a season ticket & can’t make it to every game.

d. If all else fails, sign up for the Bananas’ Waitlist & keep an eye out for your chance to buy tickets next season (likely in early April) – being on this list will also get you first access to any off-season game tickets, like their Thanksgiving game & spring series games. They also have a way to watch & engage with every single game online through a $5/month facebook subscription called Bananas Insiders – a great option for those who would prefer to watch from the comfort of their couch (& A/C).

e. If you’re a military family & you are lucky enough to snag tickets to a game, go to the fan services booth right inside the main entrance & let them know you’re military – you will likely get some kind of unique, military-only Bananas gift!

2. LOCAL PARKS

living in savannah ga

Savannah is a rather spread-out city, which leaves lots of room for greenery & pockets of nature that leave you feeling like you’re hours from any town or city. Downtown, you’ll find 22 squares that act as places to rest & to immerse yourself in a moment of history or priceless art. Originally, the idea of having these park “squares” was to help create a classless agrarian society. They also helped make the city more walkable & helped with traffic, so they’re a win in our book!

Looking for the bench spot from Forrest Gump? Head to the north end of Chippawa Square & you’ll find where it was in the movie (the actual bench is now in the Savannah Historical Museum). Our personal opinion – the area looks like most of the other squares. But considering it’s an open area & there’s not much to look at, it’s usually not overly crowded & you could absolutely get a picture & pretend to be Forrest for a moment.

 
living in savannah ga

For a shorter walk, you can head to the famous Forsyth Park. Built by the engineer of Central Park in NYC, it’s pretty & not unlike most city parks you’ve probably seen – lots of activity, photo shoots, pickup sports, & dog meetups. On Saturday mornings, there is a farmer’s market that is full of local, homegrown/homemade goods that will be sure to put a smile on your face & in your belly. Be prepared for a crowd if you go, but we promise it’s worth it. The park is almost a mile around, with a few coffee shops & places to eat within a block around the park. While you could walk to Forsythe from the squares & more central downtown area, plug it into your phone’s map & make sure you’re up for the walk before committing. (Especially in the heat!)

 
living in savannah georgia

If you really want to get away, explore nature trails, & go bird watching, drive out to Skidaway Island State Park! This park is fairly popular with locals, so expect to say hi to plenty of people (& dogs) if it’s a nice weekend day. If you’re a military family looking for activities to fill up summer days, this place is great for kids of all ages – little ones love the playgrounds throughout the park, & older ones would love to hike to the marshland vantage points. It’s only $5 to get in for the day, & they have miles of trails to pick from. One of the marshland vantage spots is the observation tower off the Big Ferry trail. The other is off of the Sandpiper Trail heading into the Avian Loop Trail. All the trails are loops, so you can let yourself get “lost”, follow the trail, & focus on the beauty.

Pro tip: bring bug spray (any time of day) & be mindful that the trails may be muddy & you may be forced to walk through some puddles if it’s rained there the past few days. If you take your pups, they usually have some doggie bags & trash cans at the trail entrances, & you’ll need to keep them leashed to respect others enjoying the trails. As always, remember to hydrate! Yourself & your kids, & your pup – bring an expandable bowl so they can have a drink before hopping back in the car.

3. THE BEACH!

living in savannah ga

Tybee is of course the first beach to come to mind when thinking about Savannah & a beach day trip. From downtown Savannah, a drive to Tybee during slower parts of the day could be as little as 45 minutes. Tybee island has few roads for lots of summer vacationers, so the island itself always has pretty bad traffic in the summer & will take you longer to get to the south end. If you head to the beach around 8-11am, expect the trip to be anywhere from 60-90 minutes with more time to find parking.

In our opinion, Tybee is best enjoyed when you leave super early in the morning or in the afternoon – consider catching a sunrise or sunset, or both! (Just be sure to google the sunrise/sunset times & be early – Tybee sunsets can start 30 minutes earlier than what google tells us.) If you’re on Tybee, we highly recommend AJ’s Dockside restaurant for a sunset view. Remember to bring bug spray & cover up as much skin as you can – depending on the wind, bugs can be really bad by the beach at night. Getting to Tybee is much easier if you have friends staying on Tybee with a parking spot for you.

 
 
living in savannah georgia

Otherwise, you might be better off heading to Hilton Head. Hilton Head Island is about a 60-minute drive, although more miles from Savannah than Tybee. It also allows dogs before 10am & after 5pm from memorial day through labor day. If you want another pet-friendly beach option, think about driving 2 hours to Jekyll beach. Jekyll allows dogs at any time on most of their beaches so long as they’re on a leash & you clean up after them.

4. EATING & DRINKING

You’ll find lots of places to eat & drink in Savannah. After all, we’re a city & we’re in the south, so we like good food! But here are some recommendations you may not find online – we find most people aren’t aware of these & they are worthy of the fame lots of others in Savannah get:

Corleone’s (Italian)

Everything here is phenomenal! Just make a reservation a day or two in advance. It’s one of those places you could dress up for a classy date night, or just go in your “I spent all day exploring Savannah in the middle of July” clothes. Their atmosphere feels like Italy, & they have lots of great wine selections. Cost is pretty middle-of-the-road – it could be anywhere from $10/head to $60/head depending on appetizers (get the bruschetta!), drinks, entrée choice, & dessert.

living in savannah
living in savannah georgia

Zunzi’s (sandwiches, South African cuisine)

If you’re not an adventurous eater, I beg you not to be afraid of this place!! They let you know in the menu what’s spicy, & they have the best sandwiches we’ve ever had. Be sure to try their tea! Tastes like peach sweet tea but better. I always get their award-winning Conquistador sandwich & put both the sauce & dressing on it before digging in. (Side note – I’m a complete wimp when it comes to spicy foods, so here is your double-assurance if you’re like me – it’s not spicy.) The place is very casual and recently added a full bar!

Starland Yard (Drinks, pizza, & food trucks)

This is a great open-air space made from shipping containers. It’s in a really fun part of Savannah called the Starland District, where you can find tons of Victorian style homes, lots of bright colors, & more eclectic, artsy shops. Starland yard has a full bar, pizza/Italian place, & areas to relax, play games, & enjoy live music or trivia. They also have 1-2 different food trucks at any given time – check their social media to find which ones will be in & when so you can catch the one that sounds best. The pizza is awesome, dogs are welcome, & it’s extremely family-friendly with all the open space to play. One note – they close earlier than you’d expect, especially on weekends (10pm). If you want to grab dinner at Starland Yard & keep the games (& drinks) going afterward, hop next door to Two Tides Brewing – they have great craft beer & tons of board games. Pro tip for Two Tides – if you want to hang outside, they have porches with tables & chairs – just climb through the open windows (don’t worry, they’re big windows) in the rooms behind the bar.

living in savannah georgia
living in savannah georgia

Hop Atomica (Pizza)

Similar vibe to Starland Yard, this place is in a parallel part of town that is just beginning its journey from drab to fab. It’s a brick & mortar but also has a large outdoor space with games & plenty of room to spread out. The inside has some cool artwork & a bar. We’re in love with the aesthetic – simple, pretty & modern. (And their pizza is hands-down the best our Philly-raised office manager has had in Savannah.) Highly recommend if you enjoy wood-fired pizza!

Leopold’s (Ice Cream)

But you’ve definitely already heard of this one, & we’re trying to give you tips you won’t find on all the usual posts. Yes, Leopold’s is worth the wait. But no, you don’t need to wait. If you’re willing to sacrifice seeing the inside of Leopold’s (which is kinda cool – feels like an oldies ice cream shop) & are cool with getting your ice cream in a tub instead of a cup or cone with toppings, go to Auspicious Baking Co. They’re open 8a-3p Friday, Saturday, & Sunday. You can grab Leopold’s ice cream in single-serve or pint-sized tubs just inside the entrance. (The ice cream is pricey, but not anymore so than if you waited in line at Leopold’s, so go with the pint-size.)

living in savannah georgia
living in savannah georgia

Bonus!

Auspicious is the best bakery in town, known for their unique, delicious sweet & savory treats baked from scratch. So you can pick up your ice cream & your breakfast or lunch all at once with much less of a wait than going to Leopold’s shop. Auspicious’s bakery menu does change each day, so look at their social media if you want a sneak peak of their yummy options before heading there.

Extra Bonus: Cutter’s Point Coffee is a way-underrated coffee shop right across from Auspicious. They’re not super well-known due to the location being technically just outside Savannah in “Sandfly.” But it’s an easy 10-minute drive from downtown Savannah & they have phenomenal coffee to go with your Auspicious baked goods & your pint of Leopold’s.

Final Notes

What’s important to keep in mind being in Savannah during the summer is the heat – if you’re doing anything outside, be sure to dress in breathable clothing, have your sweat-proof sunscreen on hand, & lots of water (or sweet tea) to keep you feeling your best throughout the day. However, if you came here from anywhere above the mason-dixon, note that you will ~freeze~ when you’re in any indoor facility. We use A/C like our only job is to cool off the devil, so keep a sweatshirt or jacket in the car if you plan to eat indoors, & layer up if you’re going to be spending the day inside.

At the end of the day, if you’re looking for history or if you’re a foodie, most anything you find online will be the real deal & will be an awesome adventure. After all, what’s not to love about Savannah?? But if you like the more off-the-beaten-path activities like nature trails, spots that your pets &/or kids will love, & places to eat that aren’t all over the internet (yet), we hope this provides some insight! Savannah’s local businesses are special, even if they haven’t been widely discovered. We’ve got lots more recommendations & tips that seemed too niche for this post, so please let us know what you’d like to know more about or if there are any specific recommendations we can help you out with!

Written by: Katy Dix, Office Manager

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