Myrtle Beach Region Named Second-Fastest Growing Metro Area in the U.S.

The U.S. Census Bureau recently named the Myrtle Beach region the second-fastest growing metro area in the United States. Horry County, which houses the city, is seeing a tremendous turnaround in its housing market.

In 2009, the market in Horry County, like many other parts of the country, tanked.

Increased demand is now pushing the market forward. The crash made it impossible for many people to buy homes. A low interest rate environment and an improved economy has now put many residents in a position to buy a home.

According to the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors, the median price of a single-family home has increased by 1.7% in Conway and 3.9% in Myrtle Beach between 2016 and 2017. The prices of condominiums have increased even more, with a 19.3% increase in Conway and 10.3% in Myrtle Beach.

A favorable climate is part of the reason why so many people are drawn to the region.

People are not just buying existing homes in the Myrtle Beach region. They are also constructing new homes and condominium complexes. Between March 2016 and March 2017, new construction rose by 6.9%. Lot sales are up by 7.8%, and single-family home purchases have risen by 8.8%. Condo sales, however, have taken the lead, with a 38% increase in sales during this period.

In particular, the Market Common area of Myrtle Beach is experiencing significant growth, with 524 homes planned for a 55+ community.

Lower mortgage rates and an improving economy have helped fuel the local real estate market. A lower of cost of living is drawing more people to the region.

Lower property tax is also attracting people, particularly from Florida. In Florida, where people pay set property taxes, some people pay up to $20,000 per year on property taxes alone. In Horry County, they may pay $500 to $800 a year.

While the county is seeing an uptick in retirees, younger families are also moving to the region. South Carolina is experiencing a serious boost in job growth, and Myrtle Beach is leading the way. Over the last year, the state has added over 27,000 new jobs. In November, South Carolina added 7,900 non-farm jobs, with most in manufacturing and services.

The Myrtle Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area saw the biggest gains, adding 5,300 jobs. That equates to 3.29% growth. The statewide average was 2.17% growth. Job growth in Myrtle Beach has been centered around tourism, health care, higher education and real estate.

Spartanburg and Charleston were tied for second place, with both having 2.09% job growth.

Unemployment in Horry County is down to 4.7% from 4.9% last year. But it’s still higher than the statewide average of 4%. Because Myrtle Beach is a popular tourist destination, the metro area has its lowest unemployment rate in the summer and its highest rate in the winter.

Previously, Myrtle Beach had seen growth in either its tourism or real estate sector. Now, it’s seeing growth in both sectors at the same time. The metro area boasts a fast-growing, year-round economy.

Melissa Thompson
Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.