HGTC seeing more students from growing home construction

sjones@thesunnews.comJune 21, 2013 

The uptick in homebuilding is spreading to Horry-Georgetown Technical College, which has been seeing an increase in students registering for construction management and heating and air conditioning classes, said Mary Eaddy, HGTC spokeswoman.

State statistics show that construction hiring in May was up 2.45 percent over a year earlier, a trend that is being seen throughout much of the nation as well.

Forty-eight students graduated from the HVAC (heating and air conditioning) program in May, Eaddy said, the most in school history.

Enough have already pre-registered for the program’s session beginning in the fall that the school at least will continue to offer an extra day section of classes for it, and with the heavier registration that usually begins after the 4th of July, those numbers are likely to go up.

The construction management program is seeing a similar growth, she said.

Eaddy said that the program had a total enrollment of 26 students in 2011, but had nearly that number already pre-register for fall classes this year. Given the expected registration surge the second week in July, Eaddy said the number could double.

Eaddy said that it will take a year for students to earn certificates in the fields where they are offered.

Those going for a full diploma will study for two years before receiving it.

But Eaddy said that it’s normal for students in these courses to have part-time jobs in the areas they will be studying, and will be hired full-time once they reach their educational goals.

Another sign of normalcy

SiteTech Systems of Myrtle Beach reported Friday that the area’s Home Price Index is showing some stability after a multi-year decline as it was correcting itself from the housing bubble.

The index is the way the Federal Housing Finance Agency tracks existing home resales, and Todd Woodard, SiteTech’s owner, said it reflects the trend of house prices.

The index for Myrtle Beach shows it bunched up with other of the state’s significant housing markets in 2001 and then rising sharply above them beginning in 2004. The index peaked in 2007, experienced a slight drop in 2008 and dropped more steeply since then.

Woodard said the decline is showing a depreciation in home sales prices.

“Now we’re basically back at the U.S. and S.C. index,” Woodard said.

The same report, titled “Home Price and Credit Quality Trends,” showed that the Myrtle Beach market has more vacant housing units than any, including metropolitan Charlotte, in the Carolinas.

Woodard said that is because of the high number of second homes along the Grand Strand.

The report said there are 185,982 housing units in Horry County, of which 73,767 are officially listed as vacant. That is 35,000 more vacant housing units than any other area in South Carolina. The Charleston market comes in second, with 38,666 vacant units.

As comparison, the Charlotte-Gastonia market, the largest in the Carolinas with 737,775 total housing units, had 66,546 vacant units, according to the report.

Movement in Brunswick

REO Funding Solutions III of Gastonia has purchased the unsold inventory of four Brunswick County, N.C., subdivisions for more than $2.7 million, and will look for someone to rebuy them and continue development, Woodard said.

Included are:

•  Richmond Hills off N.C. 211 at U.S. 17, where 48 lots and 48.5 acres of excess land commanded a price of $636,500.

•  Olde Georgetown, on N.C. 211 between Supply and Southport, 32 lots and 101 acres of excess land, $607,000.

•  Mill Creek Cove on Sunset Harbor Road, 206 lots and 14 acres of excess land, $1,536,000.

•  Brookstone, also on Sunset Harbor Road, 27 lots and 17.3 acres of excess land, $255,000.

REOs are real estate owned properties, so designated after attempts to sell them fails and they end up in the lender’s portfolio. Development of the four stalled during the recession, but they are not the only of their kind in Brunswick County.

Four others, Seawatch, Ibis Bay, Ocean Isle Palms and Ocean Ridge Plantation, Phase V, were stalled developments that were formerly the property of Mark Saunders, at one time Brunswick’s largest developer. They were taken over by Bank of America and are now being marketed by Cushman and Wakefield, the world’s largest privately held real estate services firm.

Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.

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