Myrtle Beach metro No. 2 in one-room housing units

sjones@thesunnews.comMay 31, 2013 

— To say that the Myrtle Beach metro area is the king of the one-room housing unit – also known as an efficiency or studio – wouldn’t be accurate, but it wouldn’t be far from it, either.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, only Manhattan, Kan., has a higher percentage of one-room housing units than the Myrtle Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area.

And it was just a 0.1 percentage point higher.

The survey said that 11.8 percent of Manhattan’s housing units were one room; 11.7 percent of those in the Myrtle Beach metro area were similarly designated.

Manhattan has a population of 53,678 and is home to Kansas State University and its more than 24,000 students, which may contribute to its plethora of efficiencies, said Laura Crowther, CEO of the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors.

The Grand Strand has Coastal Carolina University and its roughly 10,000 students, she noted, but more importantly it has about 14 million tourists, any number of whom bunk down in one-room units during their stay.

Crowther said that she assumes the efficiencies and condotel rooms that line area beaches are all counted as one-room housing units by the Census Bureau as each has a separate owner.

She said that if the American Community Survey includes rentals that are individually owned, that it’s not surprising the Grand Strand would be high on the list.

“We’ve got a lot of that type of housing, particularly on the oceanfront,” she said.

Todd Woodard, president of SiteTech Systems, which tracks the Grand Strand real estate market, said that his statistics show there are 14,369 one-bedroom housing units in Horry County, which he believes would include efficiencies.

But it wouldn’t go all the way to 11.7 percent of the more than 188,889 the Census Bureau said were in Horry County in 2012. There would need to be more than 20,000 one-room units to make the required percentage.

The American Community Survey covered the years 2009 to 2011, so that could account for some of the difference, at least, as there were fewer housing units.

The Grand Strand and Brunswick County, N.C., which was put into the Myrtle Beach metropolitan area after the survey, each had more that 10 percent of their homes classified as newer, meaning they were built since 2005, according to the survey. In Brunswick County, 15 percent to 19.9 percent of housing units were mobile homes; they were 10 percent to 14.9 percent in Horry County.

The survey said that the median number of rooms in housing units for all of the nation’s 366 metro areas ranged from 4.7 in places such as Yuma, Ariz., and Miami to 6.8 in Provo-Orem, Utah.

Manhattan and Myrtle Beach were the only two metro areas with more than 10 percent of their housing units having one room, the survey said. Next on the list came Farmington, N.M., with 6.5 percent one-room units, and Flagstaff, Ariz., with 6.1 percent.

Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.

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