SC homeownership rate better than US average

sjones@thesunnews.comAugust 2, 2013 

The U.S. Census Bureau reported this week that the nation’s homeownership rate fell to its lowest level in 18 years, but South Carolina, this time, is on the good side of the benchmark.

The national rate was 65 percent in the second quarter this year, 0.5 point lower than the second quarter of 2012.

South Carolina, however, registered a 72.5 percent homeownership rate in the second quarter, 0.5 point higher than last year.

The homeownership rate is the percentage of all households that are occupied by owners.

Horry County’s rate in 2012, the most recent year for which Census statistics are available, was 69.8 percent. Its average rate for 2005-2011 was 70 percent.

The Census Bureau reported that the national homeownership rate hit a high of 69.2 percent in 2004.

Todd Woodard, president of SiteTech Systems, speculated that the drop in the rate could reflect the number of people who lost their homes in the economic downturn and the current low housing inventory, a statistic cited by the Census Bureau.

The second quarter 2013 rate was lower than any rate since 1995, when it stood at 64.7 percent, according to Census Bureau statistics.

But a case could be made that the surge in the rates between 1996 and 2004 was a historical anomaly.

The Census Bureau has been keeping records on homeownership rates since 1960, and the rate never rose to 65 percent until 1978, and then stayed there for only three years. It wasn’t until 1996 when it again inched above 65 percent. It stood at 66.3 percent in 1998 and rose to 67.4 percent in 2000 before jumping another 1.8 points in the next two years.

It fell below 69 percent in 2005 and has been declining since then.

While Horry County’s rate is below the state rate and it is not one of the 75 largest metropolitan areas individually listed by the Census Bureau, its 2012 rate was better than all but 10 of those metro areas.

Details to come

Developers of Pawleys Market on the South Causeway -- which will include the first Lowes Foods on the Waccamaw Neck -- say there’s significant interest in the remaining 20,000 square feet of available space, but aren’t giving any hints of who may be expressing it, according to Vanessa Gruenberg, spokeswoman for the developers.

She said that there may be more definite news by the end of the month.

Lowes Foods is to be the anchor for the center, taking 45,000 of the 65,000 square feet to be built on the 18-acre site.

The design of the development is to feature a variety of storefronts and roof lines to evoke the feeling of a cluster of neighborhood shops.

Spaces from 1,400 square feet and above plus outparcels are part of the planned shopping area.

The center is expected to open in May.

More commercial building

Pawleys Market isn’t the only commercial development planned along the Grand Strand.

The Jackson Cos. have submitted a development plan to Horry County for the area surrounding a Walgreens drug store at the intersection of U.S. 17 Business and Dick Pond Road.

Ten buildings and a grocery store are shown in the plan, with the area to extend down U.S. 17 toward Myrtle Beach. The name of the grocery store is not given in the plan, and the plan doesn’t say what type of stores will operate in the other buildings.

But its emergence will mean the end of Buccaneer Bay Miniature Golf, a 24-year-old south end institution that will close Aug. 16 and be dismantled for the coming attractions.

Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.

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