Grand Strand real estate investors fall into ‘onesies twosies’ class

sjones@thesunnews.comMarch 7, 2014 

There was a time not too long ago when the area’s real estate watchers said that institutional buyers were a big part of the home market, but if that were so, they weren’t the kind of investors looking for handfuls of properties.

According to a new study by RealtyTrac, which tracks that housing market nationwide, institutional buyers made up 1.55 percent of the Horry County home market between from 2011 through 2013. RealtyTrac defines an institutional investor as one who buys 10 or more properties, so if investors were influential in the local market, they likely were smaller players.

“A lot of onesies twosies,” said Blake Sloan, owner of Sloan Realty Group, referring to the number of properties an average real estate investor here might buy.

The local market also hasn’t attracted institutional investors that have been major parts of housing markets in large metropolitan areas such as Charlotte and Raleigh, said Todd Woodard, president of SiteTech Systems, which tracks the local housing market.

“(Investors) are a huge part of the market in a lot of the bigger markets,” Sloan said.

Unlike the big boys, those who invest in Grand Strand real estate are hoping to flip and profit or to have a nice second home, Sloan said. Second home buyers are classed as investors.

Sloan said investors in Strand property don’t follow the same buy-hold-rent strategy as institutional investors, meaning they don’t take stock off the market and in doing so push up prices of all homes.

According to RealtyTrac, investors buying 10 or more properties on average made 3.87 percent of all residential purchases nationwide from 2011 through last year.

Horry County’s 1.55 percent investor action was the lowest among South Carolina’s major metro and beach markets. In Charleston County, for instance, investors accounted for 6.21 percent of the real estate market over the last three years. Lancaster County – a part of the Charlotte metro market – recorded 14.27 percent of its residential purchases by investors.

Sloan, though, said there are indeed a lot of smaller investors in the Horry Market. He estimated that investors currently make up 20 percent to 30 percent of his overall business.

Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.

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