Myrtle Beach home prices are trending way above the national average. Here’s why.

JASON LEE/jlee@thesunnews.com
·3 min read

America’s appetite for new home sales is weakening thanks to what analysts say is a combination that includes rising mortgage rates and inflation.

But not in Myrtle Beach.

South Carolina’s largest tourism spot is also near the top when it comes to rising home buying prices, according to real estate brokerage Redfin.

Here’s a look at how Grand Strand city compares to other metropolitan areas.

A surprise No. 1?

In July, U.S. home prices jumped by an average of 11 percent compared to last summer, selling for an average price of $427,055, Redfin reported.

Myrtle Beach-area homes are selling at a whopping 34 percent above the national average, putting it just behind Detroit, where houses are going for 37 percent more than normal, although the average price of a new home there is just $96,500.

And although the median cost of a new home in Myrtle Beach —$288,000 as of June — remains far below national rates, that’s still a 28 percent year-over-year uptick.

Florida is home to the country’s eight other most rapidly soaring markets.

A May study released by Inspection Support Network — a leading manufacturer of property inspection software — found mortgage applications for homes within the city jumped by 18 percent between 2019 and 2020, putting it behind other hot spots like Bradenton, Fla., and Charleston.

A Great Migration could be influencing the market

Myrtle Beach handed out more than 9,000 building permits last fiscal year, including 762 for single-family homes, bringing a total construction value of $595 million — all setting new records, city officials said Aug. 3.

Jerry Pinkas, a Myrtle Beach-based real estate agent and YouTube personality, says the housing market here is benefiting not only from retirees and families relocating from colder climates, but a “bounce back” phenomenon as people are fleeing Florida and other states because of higher taxes and quality of life concerns.

Some growth models predict Horry County adding 100,000 more people by 2027. Even if that doesn’t happen, Pinkas said an influx will continue.

“The lure of the beach and the ocean is not going away, and that’s our big draw,” Pinkas said.

According to the U.S. Census, South Carolina had more than 5.11 million residents in 2020 — a 10.7 percent jump from 10 years prior.

South Carolina was also the second most popular moving destination in 2020, with a 64 percent inbound migration rate — trailing only Idaho’s 70 percent.

Across the Grand Strand, there are currently 2,948 homes on the market, compared to 1,947 at the same time in 2021.

Regionally, single-family homes spent 108 days on the market last month, compared to 93 days in July 2021. But inside Myrtle Beach, the shelf life is a bit longer — 121 days between owners, versus 109 last summer.

An ‘affordability crisis’ is impacting Myrtle Beach home sales

With a running average of $288,000 for a home purchase in Myrtle Beach, Pinkas said the city will remain an attractive option for people who are feeling priced out of home ownership in a sun-soaked city.

By comparison, Redfin puts the median cost of a house in Lehigh Acres, an area of 135,000 in Florida’s Lee County, at $315,000.

“When you take everything into consideration, we’re still a really good value. I don’t know where you’re going to find property, especially on the beach, anywhere in the United States at these prices,” Pinkas said.

As shown by Myrtle Beach’s booming construction, Pinkas said Horry County overall remains in its infancy.

“We still have land. If you wanted to buy an oceanfront lot, you can do it. And so we’re still in growth mode. We still have a lot of geography,” he said. “Other beach towns, they’re completed built out and there’s nowhere to go.”