North Myrtle Beach home market alone along Grand Strand with price decline

sjones@thesunnews.comFebruary 21, 2014 

A report for the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors on January sales in individual Grand Strand markets shows a year-to-year median sales price growth for single-family homes everywhere but North Myrtle Beach.

Single-family homes there suffered a 16.1 percent drop in prices from January 2013 to last month, according to statistics compiled by 10k Research for the association.

On the growth end, Andrews recorded the largest median home price gain with the one sale in January closing at 652.2 percent over the single median price sale in January 2012. Among markets with more sales, Georgetown’s January median sales price was up 82 percent over 2012, and Myrtle Beach rose 58.3 percent in median price for single-family home sales from one year to the next.

Aynor recorded a 66.7 percent gain in the number of sales in January versus a year earlier and North Myrtle Beach placed second with a 41.7 percent increase in the number of sales. Myrtle Beach had a 46.9 percent drop in the number of sales from one year to the next, the 10k stats said.

Conway’s 58 January sales of single-family homes topped all other areas, followed by Little River with 37 sales and 26 in Myrtle Beach.

Ed Thomas, broker in charge at Weichert Realty in North Myrtle Beach, said he was surprised by the price drop in his market and couldn’t say why it has happened.

“Maybe it’s an adjustment,” he said.

He added that his company for the past year has been getting an unusually high number of referrals from Zillow and Trulia for buyers wanting to spend less than $100,000, which would help explain the drop in median sales prices from $213,500 in January 2012 to $179,160 a month ago..

“We just got a lead in here the other day that was under $30,000,” Thomas said. “But on the other hand, we closed a sale last week for $720,000.”

For the past two years, North Myrtle Beach has been ranked by as having the second-highest average listing price, more than $372,000, in the state.

But it must be noted that aimed its survey at four-bedroom, two-bath homes. And, there is no real link between average and median prices.

Median lies halfway between the high price and the low price. The average price likely is heavily influenced by the sales at either end. A single high-price sale, for instance, can raise the overall average significantly.

Buy vs. rent

Horry County is among the large majority of U.S. counties with more than 100,000 population where it is cheaper to buy a three-bedroom home than it is to rent one, according to a report this week from RealtyTrac, which watches real estate nationwide.

While the report showed a 20 percent increase in mortgage payments in Horry County from 2012 to 2013 and a drop in rental price from the end of 2012 to the end of 2013, it concluded that the mortgage is nearly $300 a month cheaper than the rent.

RealtyTrac calculated mortgage payments that included costs for taxes and insurance as well as a deduction for mortgage tax benefits.

At that, it reported that an average 3-bedroom home mortgage would have cost $715 a month in 2013 while a fair market rent for the same home would have been $1,003 monthly.

Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.

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