Savannah attracting Boomers planning ahead for their retirement

City’s charm coupled with low prices and interest rates, are convincing future retirees and second home buyers to take the plunge

(SAVANNAH) – Everyone’s looking around at real estate prices these days wishing they had the means to take advantage of the opportunity. One group is seizing the opportunity – people who are planning to retire in Savannah or have a second home here. “They’re seeing it as an opportune time to buy property because it’s at such a good price now and such a good value,” said Celia Dunn of Celia Dunn Sotheby’s International Realty. For some time, people planning to move here or have a vacation home have been browsing, and now they’re buying.

One out-of-town couple just bought a home in downtown Savannah that they will rent out for a couple of years and then move into when they retire. The husband is a high-level executive who used to work in Savannah. Their grown children said they’d like to come visit in Savannah but not the other areas the couple considered for retirement, such as Ponte Vedra, Florida.

“People are seeing our city as a very attractive alternative to Florida – Savannah’s history and beauty really strike a chord with people,” Dunn said. “It’s a place where they’d like to live.”
“We are very welcoming and accepting of new people and they feel comfortable here,” she said, explaining that the friendliness of the people is a crucial part of the reason people find the area attractive. Because of the recreational opportunities with the rivers, coast, beach and mild climate, people can readily imagine how much fun it would be to live here, she said. The cultural opportunities and the iconic tree coverage help seal the deal.

Joseph Marinelli, president of Savannah Convention & Visitors Bureau, has seen how Savannah can attract buyers.

“Savannah continues to grow in popularity with folks that came here as tourists and then choose to relocate or retire here,” Marinelli said. “Savannah attracts nearly 7 million visitors each year, and many end up falling in love with the area and relocating here.

“Our tourism bureau gets many requests from people who have recently visited the area and now want relocation information to move their residence and/or business to Savannah,” he said. “Local real estate agents report that many visitors to Savannah quickly fall in love with the city and decide to buy a home or purchase property in the area.”

Sara Jospin, an associate broker with Celia Dunn Sotheby’s International Realty, just sold a townhouse downtown to a client who’s been looking here for two or three years. It is a second home, though he might retire here. He had bought a second home here several years ago but sold it because the home didn’t fit his needs. He ended up missing Savannah, though and wanted to buy another place here.

Another couple is buying a townhouse downtown and will retire there in four years. In the meantime, the California couple will get income from the townhouse through the executive rental business, where people will rent it for a minimum of three days. They can schedule times when they come to visit and stay in the townhouse, explained Susan Myers, an associate broker with Celia Dunn Sotheby’s International Realty.

One couple just bought a bank-owned condo downtown to keep as a second home long-term. In the short-term, their child, who just graduated from SCAD, will live in it, said their agent, Helen Williams Johnson with Celia Dunn Sotheby’s International Realty.

Myers has another client buying a townhouse downtown as a long-term investment. The client’s child attends Savannah College of Art and Design. Myers is also working with a SCAD graduate who is buying a downtown townhouse for his family.

“They all love Savannah and the sense of place it has,” Myers said. “They love the ambience, walking downtown and how friendly people are here.” One of the clients also looked at Charleston but thought it seemed more like a museum while Savannah had more of a living historic district. The clients think Savannah real estate prices are a bargain, Myers said, and the low interest rates make it an ideal time to buy for them.

“Some of these properties are such a good deal,” Myers said.

Known for its tradition of integrity, Celia Dunn Sotheby’s International Realty specializes in residential and commercial properties in Savannah and the Low Country of Georgia and South Carolina. Founded in 1981, Celia Dunn Sotheby’s International Realty is noted for outstanding service to its clients, thorough knowledge of Savannah and the South Carolina Low Country, and excellent staff, in addition to having one of the region’s top property management departments. Celia Dunn Sotheby’s International Realty is a member of Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate. The owners are natives of Savannah who have more than 60 years’ combined experience in real estate. The offices are located at 9, 13, and 17 West Charlton Street on Madison Square in Savannah and 6 Bruin Street in Bluffton, S.C.
For more information, call Celia Dunn Sotheby’s International Realty at (912) 234-3323 or visit To contact the Bluffton office, call (843) 836-3900.

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