Summer is the ideal time to enjoy life in the water in coastal Georgia. With barrier islands dotting the coastline and easy access to rivers and the Atlantic Ocean, Chatham County boasts a wide range of deepwater real estate opportunities.
The Savannah Multi-list (MLS) system, which lists and tracks local real estate inventory, features a number of different waterfront property classifications, including lagoon, lake, creek, marsh front, pond, river, stream, tidal creek, oceanfront and deep-water. For homeowners who don’t need deepwater access or a dock, there are certainly many beautiful options offering spectacular water and marsh views.
What makes deepwater property unique is the fact that it offers the opportunity to enjoy boating, kayaking, paddleboarding and water sports year-round, since water levels remain high, regardless of tidal fluctuations. In Chatham County, deepwater homes with docks are ideal for coastal living.
Best of all, deepwater property tends to retain its value, as it is always in high demand among buyers. I recently ran an MLS report of single-family homes in Chatham County that are listed as deepwater. Of 42 sales in the last 12 months, the average sale price for residential deepwater property was $927,687, and the average price per square foot was $257.
When I ran the same report for waterfront single-family homes in Chatham County that are not located on deepwater, the results were quite different. Of 412 sales over the past 12 months, the average sale price for residential non-deepwater waterfront property was $410,646, and average price per square foot was $144.
In June of 2007, The Wall Street Journal reported, “Deepwater docks — commonly defined as those with at least six feet of water at low tide and suitable for a large sailboat — are often worth two or three times as much as those in more shallow water.”
As the Savannah MLS report illustrates, The Wall Street Journal’s observation has withstood the test of time and still rings true today. In Chatham County, deepwater homes can sell for more than twice the price of other waterfront homes and at a significantly higher price per square foot.
With that in mind, here’s an A-Z guide to some of the most popular areas in Chatham with deepwater real estate opportunities:
Located in unincorporated Chatham County, the historic Beaulieu community was once known as a summer resort for Savannah residents in the 19th century. Historic homes surrounded by live oaks draped with Spanish moss make for a picturesque setting overlooking the Vernon River. Beaulieu Avenue serves as the primary access road for this quiet waterfront neighborhood, which also offers incredible deepwater opportunities along Whitefield Avenue.
Burnside Island is a secluded barrier island community overlooking the Intercoastal Waterway and the Vernon River, with impressive waterfront homes with deepwater docks. Located just north of Green Island Sound, Burnside Island is home to neighborhoods like Rivers Edge At Camp Strachan and is ideal for anyone with a love of the water, boating and fishing. The family of iconic songwriter Johnny Mercer once had a home on Burnside Island, called Vernon View, which inspired some of Mercer’s most legendary songs. Moon River, located near the Diamond Causeway, served as the inspiration for Mercer’s iconic song.
Nestled on 500 acres, Dutch Island is an established gated community with deepwater opportunities. One of the most historic communities in southeast Georgia, Dutch Island has records dating back to 1759, when King George II granted 30 acres of land to early Georgia planter Peter Radick. Surrounded by the Herb River, Wilmington River and Skid-away River, Dutch Island has spectacular waterfront views, a boat ramp and community dock.
ISLE OF HOPE
Nestled on the banks of the Wilmington River, Isle of Hope is a breezy waterfront haven with deepwater home sites and docks along historic Bluff Drive. With easy access to the mainland, great schools and a bike-friendly layout, the Isle of Hope is particularly popular with families and retirees. The Isle of Hope Marina is a popular destination for boaters as well as area residents.
Located just 20 minutes southeast of downtown Savannah, Skidaway Island is home to luxury communities like The Landings, South Harbor and Modena as well as an acclaimed oceanographic institute and a popular state park. This 6,300-acre barrier island – which is bounded by the Wilmington River to the north, Skidaway Narrows to the west, the Vernon River to the south and Romerly Marsh to the east – offers stunning deepwater opportunities and numerous marinas.
Tybee Island combines the laid-back attitude of Key West with the sunny charm of a classic Southern beach town. With six miles of public beaches, sun-kissed shores and a wide range of housing options, Tybee Island remains a popular choice for year-round and part-time residents who enjoy casual island style. Located 18 miles due east of downtown Savannah along Hwy. 80, Tybee is often referred to as “Savannah’s Beach.” Tybee’s housing market is robust, offering a number of deepwater options.
Located adjacent to Wilmington Island, Whitemarsh Island is a traditional suburban neighborhood featuring walkable streets and convenient shopping and dining. The Savannah Yacht Club serves as a cultural anchor on Whitemarsh Island, attracting recreational boaters of all ages. Private communities like Marsh Harbor, Turner’s Rock and Long Point offer deepwater living as well as recreational amenities.
Wilmington Island offers a suburban atmosphere features a number of private communities, several golf courses and tennis facilities as well as marinas, restaurants and shopping. Turners Creek, Turner’s Cove and other neighborhoods offer upscale family-friendly options as well as deepwater docks. Spectacular deepwater homes are also located along Wilmington Island Road.
Overlooking the Vernon River on Savannah’s south-side, the historic Vernonberg neighborhood has a number of homes that have belonged to local families for generations and impressive deepwater homes with docks. Low-key and quiet, this residential neighborhood offers stunning water views and a tight-knit atmosphere.Additional areas in Chatham County with impressive deep-water property include Talahi Island, Oatland Island and Coffee Bluff. And, of course, Bryan, Liberty, McIntosh, Glynn and Camden County offer deepwater residential living further south along Georgia’s coast.
Whether you’re looking for a quaint cottage on the river or a deepwater haven nestled in a historic neighborhood, a wide range of options are available for today’s buyers. Take the time to explore deepwater living and to enjoy the best of Savannah’s coastal lifestyle throughout the year.
Staci Donegan is an associate broker at Seabolt Real Estate who provides highly professional, strategic solutions for buyers and sellers throughout the Savannah area. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 912-247-2052.