10 free things you can do in Sea Pines (after you pay the gate fee)
For years, Hilton Head Island residents have said they don’t want to turn into Myrtle Beach.
But in a recent community meeting, Hilton Head Plantation residents showed concern of turning into a tourist destination even closer to home — Sea Pines.
Hilton Head Plantation residents and general manager Peter Kristian discussed an amendment on Tuesday that would prohibit rental units for less than six months. Stopping short-term rentals would keep out tourists, which some residents say have taken over the island.
The meeting erupted in laughter when Kristian read an anonymous question, “don’t you think property values will increase with short-term rentals?”
“Consider the value in Sea Pines,” he said. “No offense, Sea Pines is not selling real estate the way we are.”
But Sea Pines Real Estate representatives disagree. David Warren, the director of marketing for the firm that represents Sea Pines Real Estate, said the average home price jumped 15 percent from $910,742 in 2017 to $1.4 million in 2018.
Kristian said Hilton Head Plantation has higher property values, and “they’re having all sorts of problems down there (in Sea Pines).”
He didn’t specify what “problems” he thought Sea Pines was having when referring to the effect of short-term rentals, nor did he provide any evidence to back up his claims about property values or sales.
Warren said the real estate market in Sea Pines is “really the opposite.” He said “not only are more homes being sold but at a higher price.”
Kristian, along with residents, brought up Sea Pines four times in the hour-long meeting, never in a good way.
Kristian, who lives outside of Hilton Head Plantation off Spanish Wells Road, is running for Beaufort County Board of Education. The district he hopes to represent does not include Sea Pines.
Sea Pines residents respond
Hilton Head’s southend counterparts did not take Kristian’s jab lightly.
Sea Pines property owner Rosemary Kimball said the tourists are part of the Sea Pines experience.
She said her community is “vibrant and full of activity” and that other places seem “dead” to her.
“You can’t buy a property here and not realize it’s a tourist community,” Kimball said of moving to Hilton Head. “I don’t know what they’re trying to prove, they should have bought on Kiawah or something more isolated.”
Don Gilbert, another Sea Pines resident, said he welcomes renters because the business is “exploding” in Sea Pines and he rents out his home when he’s not there. Gilbert said he’s more worried about the “day-trippers” who come into the community and jam up parking and other amenities.
David Rabe is a 15-year South Forest Beach resident, and although he doesn’t live in Sea Pines, he called Hilton Head Plantation’s comments “pathetic.”
“(Hilton Head Plantation) wishes it was half as nice as Sea Pines,” he told the Island Packet. “It’s kind of like downgrading Sea Pines or saying there’s something wrong with it because they allow rentals.”
Short-term rental problems?
On Tuesday, Kristian said that life for property owners may be more difficult if they are surrounded by Airbnbs.
“In a rental community where its’ primarily short-term rentals, it’s much tougher to get a mortgage,” he said.
However, that’s not necessarily true. Mike Kristoff, a senior loan officer at George Mason Mortgage and Hilton Head Plantation property owner since 1990, said surrounding properties are not taken into consideration by a mortgage loan officer.
“If you are purchasing a home in Hilton Head Plantation and your neighbors are doing short-term rental, that has no effect whatsoever on your particular ability to get a loan,” Kristoff said.
He said that’s evidenced by his firm’s lending outside Hilton Head Plantation.
“We have no problem lending on properties in Palmetto Dunes or Sea Pines,” he said about getting a mortgage in high-rental communities.