Dear Gene Carter Team,
Greetings from The Grand Strand!
There have been quite a few changes in our area since my update from last Friday. One thing that should be noted is that, at least through yesterday, real estate activity has not stopped altogether, although it has certainly slowed down drastically. There were still new contracts for oceanfront condos being entered in MLS as late as yesterday and several agents are showing my listings today. Owners are certainly still deciding to put properties on the market. I personally entered 7 new listings yesterday.
We are hopeful that things will ease up by the time our peak summer season gets here, if not sooner. The fact that I think we all need to remember is that this is temporary. At some point in the not-too-distant future, our lives will get back to normal, although maybe with a few changes.
Here are notable current statistics as of 4:30 PM on March 28, 2020. Please note that this is a “snapshot” as new figures come in hourly.
Horry County has had 28 confirmed cases of coronavirus and two coronavirus-related deaths. Both of these numbers increased while I was typing this.
Georgetown County’s first case was confirmed this past weekend and there were three cases as of Friday.
In South Carolina, there have been 660 positive cases. There have also been 15 deaths.
Here’s what remains open.
Our beaches have not been closed as they have been in many other areas. In fact, they remain fairly busy although police are monitoring these closely and asking groups of people to disperse.
A few days ago, it was announced that all golf courses would close but that has been reversed and they remain open for local play. However, a number have temporarily closed because of lack of business.
There has not been a local or statewide “shelter in place” order imposed as has been done in large swaths of the country. Nevertheless, people have been asked to maintain social distancing as much as possible and not gather in groups of more than 3.
Restaurants are allowed to remain open for carryout and drive-through service. Although some have closed completely, many remain open.
There has not, at this time, been an order to close all nonessential businesses. However, many stores, including local malls and shopping outlet centers, have closed voluntarily.
Here’s what has temporarily closed.
All hotels in Horry County have been shut down through the end of April. Short term rentals of any type are prohibited. This includes VRBO and Airbnb type accommodations. Guests in North Myrtle Beach had to leave Friday and guests in Myrtle Beach have to leave by tomorrow (Sunday). Surfside is also prohibiting short-term rentals during the same time. All public and private campgrounds are also closed.
Spokesmen for several local rental management companies voiced their support for these measures, stating that, in addition to possibly saving lives, these measures could save the summer season by squelching the spread of coronavirus now.
Note that this probably means it will be difficult if not impossible to show most resort property listings while these resorts are closed. We’re checking on the buildings in which I have listings and most of them are telling us that they will be reducing their staffs to minimal levels and not operating check-in desks. Also, since they cannot guarantee that a virus-infected person has not stayed in these condos, they are advising us that they cannot allow showings at this time for the safety of potential buyers. This presumably would apply to properties rented through VRBO, Airbnb or offsite rental management companies.
This does not necessarily mean that there will be no sales. Many buyers of resort properties buy them “sight unseen”, based on their familiarity with the buildings, the pictures in MLS and possibly contingent upon first-hand inspections prior to closing.
Also, lots of potential buyers are going to have time on their hands to search online and choose the listings they will want to see in a month or two. Buyers, please contact us if you have questions about properties of interest.
By the way, short term rentals for government, hospital, health agency, law enforcement, military and other critical personnel actively responding to COVID-19 are exempt from the short-term rental ordinance.
All amusements have also been temporarily shut down. This includes miniature golf courses, theaters, amusement parks, arcades, golf cart rentals, etc.
On the beach, jet ski rentals, beach umbrella and chair rentals, and banana boat rentals are also temporarily prohibited.
South Carolina state parks are closed through the end of April. This includes Myrtle Beach State Park and Huntington Beach State Park on the Grand Strand.
Yesterday, May 27, Gov. McMaster issued a mandatory order, which comes with penalties, which requires all out-of-state visitors to South Carolina planning a stay of two or more nights to self quarantine for two weeks immediately upon arrival. This applies to anyone coming into South Carolina – whether visitors or South Carolina residents - from New York State, New Jersey, Connecticut, or New Orleans, which have been identified as major centers of infections. More areas could be added later.
Schools remain closed through the end of April, which means proms have been canceled.
FYI, the cities of Charleston and Columbia passed stay-at-home orders on March 24th and 26th respectively for 14 days.
That’s it for now. If you’re thinking of buying or selling and you’re wondering how current events might affect your decision, please contact me to discuss your individual situation in relation to our market and the current crisis.
I’ll keep sending updates on our local fight against COVID-19 as well as reports on the Grand Strand’s real estate market. Please let me know if you have any questions or if I can be of service in any way.