Myrtle Beach area has a different kind of real estate investor

sjones@thesunnews.comNovember 22, 2013 

South Carolina and Myrtle Beach don’t appear in the top or bottom five lists of institutional investor activity in real estate, according to statistics from RealtyTrac, a nationwide real estate information company.

But that may be because the Grand Strand has a different kind of investor than those found in many other urban areas.

Todd Woodard, president of SiteTech Systems that tracks Grand Strand real estate data, said the investors here are individuals who are buying homes either to rent or flip them.

National investors like American Homes For Rent, he said, “haven’t come to this area. They could be looking.”

Woodard said that the big guys tend to stay with the region’s big markets such as Raleigh, Charlotte and the Upstate.

Nationally, according to RealtyTrac, the metro areas of 200,000 or more residents with higher-than-average institutional investor activity are Richmond, Va.; San Diego; Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.; Omaha, Neb.; and Memphis, Tenn.

Investors used to be a major part of the area’s real estate activity, but not so much anymore, Woodard said.

Their participation has dropped from 20 percent of the market to 15 percent to 17 percent, half what it is in Memphis.

Woodard said the smaller number of investors has gone down as the number of distressed properties on the market also has gone down.

No. 9

South Carolina ranks ninth nationally for the percentage gain in construction jobs, commercial as well as residential.

The state added 4,900 construction jobs from October 2012 to October 2013, according to The Associated General Contractors of America. That number translated to a growth rate of 6.2 percent in a picture AGCA said was mixed throughout the country.

For instance, Mississippi ranked first with a gain of 19.1 percent in construction jobs while Indiana dropped 9.5 percent, a loss of 11,800 jobs to hang onto the bottom rung of the state-by-state ranking.

South Carolina’s rate was fourth highest in the region – Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida were ahead of it.

But it was far above some other Southern states.

Four were among the 11 states that recorded a downturn in construction employment.

Virginia was No. 43 nationwide with a 1 percent drop; Tennessee was 44 after losing 1.4 percent of its construction jobs; North Carolina got in at No. 45 with 2.1 percent fewer construction jobs than in October 2012.

The low mark for the South was in Alabama, No. 48, with a drop of 2.8 percent, or 2,200 jobs.

More mortgage activity

At least three area banks have beefed up their mortgage departments recently in anticipation of the Grand Strand real estate market remaining robust.

But it’s not just the local boys who want in on the action.

Guild Mortgage Co., a California-based company that operates in 20 states, chose South Carolina last year as its first outpost in the South.

Company officials say they decided to open new offices as they can find good people, and Guild expanded to seven offices in South Carolina, one of which is in Myrtle Beach, since then.

Those offices issued 1,153 loans totaling almost $200 million since opening, according to the company.

Its South Carolina growth has created 60 jobs.

The company said it is eyeing Georgia and North Carolina for new territories.

Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.

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