Traditional homes in Southern America streetscape

Real estate continues to be a hot commodity in the Golden Isles, with the majority of buyers coming from outside the region.

Realtor Ken Sausedo, with Signature Properties Group, said many clients are from the Atlanta area, while others are from metropolitan areas in states as far away as California.

“They’re coming from all over,” he said. “They want to get out of the big city.”

National marketing of the Golden Isles is driving some of the demand, while other customers have visited as tourists and like the lifestyle here.

“The No. 1 reason is it’s away from the maddening crowd,” he said. “They come down here and get that sense of community.”

The high demand and limited inventory means there isn’t the wide selection of homes real estate brokers and their customers would prefer.

“They buy whatever’s available,” Sausedo said. “It’s a mixed bag. Most people want to be close to the beach.”

He estimates about 60 percent of his business is on St. Simons Island, with the remaining 40 percent on the mainland. That ratio will continue to shift because there is not much land on St. Simons for development, where there is land available and plans to develop on the mainland.

There is some speculation that the market will moderate during the year, he said.

“We’re still seeing a lot of interest,” he said. “The demand is higher than the supply can handle.”

On Jekyll Island, the demand comes from people who have visited and fallen in love with it, said Realtor Skip Adamson, with Seaside Realty.

“Most of my customers have been here before,” he said.

Many of his customers come from the Carolinas, while others are island residents who are looking to upgrade or to purchase a home for an investment as a vacation rental.

With the limited inventory, Adamson said homes don’t stay on the market very long.

“Nowadays, you better move fast,” he said.

About half the people who buy homes on Jekyll Island are part-time residents who rent their homes when they are not staying there.

“Most have an idea of what they want,” he said. “Others want a complete home for their family.”

Realtor Amanda Duffey, with DeLoach Sotheby’s International Realty, said she recently had a transaction with a customer from Morocco who is returning to work at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, but most of her customers are from the United States.

“We’re getting lots of customers from California and there’s a ton of people from Colorado,” she said. “There’s a lot of people who just want to get out of cities.”

Many customers from out of state are drawn here because of restrictions imposed in their area during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’ve heard so many people say COVID was handled so much different where they lived,” she said. “You could still live your life here. Shelter in place is depressing.”

Many of the customers from outside of Georgia have some connection to the Golden Isles, Duffey said. Another driver of sales is social media.

Most of her customers are buying homes as primary residences, she said. Customers aren’t being picky because the inventory is not available.

“They’re settling for whatever they can get,” Duffey said. “People are just happy to find a place here.”