Posted By Gene Carter @ Apr 17th 2020 10:32am In: Monthly Real Estate News

Grand Strand Real Estate News

March 2020

Volume 2020 Issue 3

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Dear Gene Carter Team,


Coronavirus Update: No “Shelter in Place” order but the governor has told everyone to “Stay home or go to work” (if you are in an essential business). Confirmed cases and deaths continue to climb but totals are relatively low compared to hard-hit areas (details below). Real estate is an essential business and I’m still working full-time as are most agents.

Real Estate: Graphs are included showing weekly totals for new pending contracts and listings for oceanfront condos as well as contracts for new houses and house resales. The graphs also include data from before the big pandemic’s impact as well as from the same weeks in 2019 for comparison. AIl of these transactions have declined somewhat in recent weeks.There was a sharp initial drop-off in new oceanfront condo contracts but these have leveled off and they are still selling with 43 new contracts in the past 4 weeks. We’re still seeing lots of inquiries and showing requests as well.The buyers who are shopping and preparing now and the sellers who are marketing their properties now will be in the best positions to benefit when this turns around. 

Greetings from The Grand Strand,

Well, this was the quietest Easter weekend I’ve ever experienced since I’ve lived here (see picture below). It’s normally a madhouse with the area packed with tourists. It’s also normally the peak of resort condo sales activity during any given year. Of course this is not a normal year. I’ve been tracking the recent real estate stats versus the time before the coronavirus pandemic dramatically altered our lifestyles and also compared them to the same time period in 2019 and the data is presented later in this newsletter.

Ocean Boulevard, Myrtle Beach. April 14, 5:30pm

First, here’s a quick update on our area’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Since my last email on 4-3-2020, nothing has changed too much. Although SC Gov. McMaster has not issued a firm “shelter in place” order, he has told everyone to either “stay home or go to work” (if you are in an essential business). Retail stores have now been shut down in addition to amusements, barbershops, sports venues, etc. Grocery stores, hardware stores, drugstores, etc. remain open. Some golf courses also remain open, albeit with special social distancing rules. All short-term rentals are still shut down through the end of April. It appears likely that schools will remain closed for the remainder of this school year. 

As of Tuesday, April 14, at 10:15 AM, 

Horry County has 147 reported cases with seven reported deaths, DHEC reports.
Georgetown County has 31 reported cases with one death, DHEC reports.
South Carolina has 3439 reported cases with 87 deaths, DHEC reports.

So how has this affected our local real estate market? First of all, real estate is considered to be an essential business so most offices remain open, including ours. I’m still working a full schedule, as many agents are. As might be expected, the number of closed transactions has dropped off (way off for some segments of the market as illustrated below) but we’ve got plenty to keep us busy. 

The following graphs will give you an idea of what we are experiencing locally according to MLS records. All of these show the weekly totals for particular types of transactions starting the week of March 2 for 2020 and the same weeks in 2019 (for comparison). By the way, weekly variations during 2019 probably don’t mean much – could have been the result of holidays, weather, reporting deadlines, etc. Weeks are counted Monday through Sunday. 

The pandemic started to change everyone’s lives starting about March 11 or 12th. This is when March madness (college basketball) the remainder of the NBA season and pretty much all sizable public events nationwide were cancelled within a couple of days. Until then, the virus was worrisome to some people but not expected by most to have a big impact. This means that the week of March 9 -15 was the last somewhat normal week. Each graph has a vertical line drawn in to indicate this transition.

This first chart shows oceanfront pending contracts. I think these would also be representative of resort condos regardless of their locations (waterway, golf course, etc.) This time of year, we typically see about 40 new contracts per week, as evidenced by the totals from 2019. Sure enough, in the weeks ending on March 8 and March 15, there were 35 and 44 new pending contracts respectively. There was an immediate sharp drop in new contracts the following week and it’s held steady at about 10 to 12 new contracts per week since then. Keep in mind that this is for the entire Grand Strand including Horry and Georgetown counties. To put this in perspective, we averaged 22 new contracts per week in December 2019, typically the slowest month of the year. 

The takeaway from this I believe, however, is that people are still buying oceanfront condos (and other resort condos) despite the immense difficulties. There have been 43 new contracts in the past 4 weeks. Buyers can’t look at most of these properties physically because the buildings are closed and they would have nowhere to stay even if they came to the area to look. Also, these are discretionary purchases, not properties they have to buy. And yet people are still buying. 

There are lots more people looking online and working with agents in preparation for the moment the market conditions clear up. I’m still receiving inquiries and showing requests every day. Buyers are still searching and planning and a few are moving forward with purchases now rather than waiting. In other words, there’s plenty of demand and I expect a strong rebound in sales once we are past this. The buyers who are shopping and preparing now and the sellers who are marketing their properties now will be in the best positions to benefit.

This graph shows new oceanfront condo listings by week versus 2019. These held steady for a couple of weeks and have been declining over the past two weeks. We’ll have to see how this plays out. For the reasons described in the last paragraph, if anyone wants to sell, there’s simply no reason to hold off on listing now. It only takes a few minutes and then at least the property will be available online for potential buyers and buyers' agents to find. I can’t guarantee that it will sell quickly right now but it might. And it will definitely increase the likelihood of it selling quickly once things turn around. I can guarantee that if it is not on the market, it will not sell.

This graph shows contracts for new houses (never occupied, to be built, under construction). Note that, for the 2020 pending contracts, I’ve added “adjusted” weekly totals as well. The adjusted totals are 15% less than the current pending totals. This is to account for the relatively high percentage of contracts of this type which are entered in MLS as pending and subsequently don’t close. The contract dates from 2019 are derived from closed sales. Some of the 2020 pending contracts will not result in closed sales so the 15% adjustment is to approximate an “apples to apples” comparison of the two years. Of course not all pending contracts for oceanfront condos or regular resales of houses close either but, in our market, the percentage of those which do not close is very low. New construction is different for reasons too complex for me to go into right now.

Anyway, new homes were having a banner year (even with the adjustment) and we saw very little drop-off in sales for a couple of weeks after the pandemic hit. The last two weeks have seen declines although still with healthy numbers. I would expect this segment of the market to be less affected than resort condos because most people have definite reasons for purchasing new homes – changing locations, growing family, etc. These are far less discretionary decisions than the purchases of second homes and vacation rental properties.

This final graph shows new pending contracts for resales of detached houses. So far, the sales totals have dropped off some but not that much. Again, we’ll have to see what happens going forward but I don’t think there will be the same drastic short-term reduction in sales that we are seeing in resort condos.

I’ll be updating these graphs in the following weeks and months. I can’t wait to see the results from the other side of this crisis.

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.

Check out all our usual Grand Strand Market Reports, Sales and Listing Updates, my Best Buys, and new Beach Pro Team Reviews.
Stay Safe and Healthy and I’ll see you at the beach soon!

Beach Pro Team Reviews

Here are some vintage reviews published in Zillow. 

  • Gene without question is the best realtor we have worked with. He covers all the bases; knowledge of the local market and trends; works very hard and is always on top of your deal and always available; and his staff is very competent and thorough. We will always work with Gene and highly recommend him for your realtor. John and Mary. Bought/Sold Dunes Village condo, MB. Bought House in Barefoot, NMB. 2016.

  • Gene listed our condo in Myrtle Beach and successfully sold our condo in less time than anticipated. Gene kept us informed with listing activity regularly and also marketing our unit quite effectively. We would definitely recommend him to others! Brett. Caribbean Resort. MB. 2016.

We have chosen to utilize Zillow's review platform. This is not an endorsement of Zillow (Please ignore the ridiculous "Zestimates") but we think an online third-party review service provides more credibility than simply printing reviews ourselves. At this time, we have over 80 reviews with more coming in each month. To see all of the reviews at any time, you can visit Zillow Beach Pro Team reviews

Grand Strand Market Report

Below is a link to a detailed report on the current state of our local real estate market complete with statistics for just about anything imaginable. Please keep in mind that these statistics cover a broad range of properties and that particular areas or developments may behave quite differently.  

As always please contact me if I can be of service in any way.

See link below to interpret terms used in this report.

Grand Strand Market Report - February 2020

Best Buys

The following current listings are exceptionally well-priced and represent great values. The spreadsheets are sorted by price. These are live links to listing details and they will change according to changes in the MLS (Pending, Sold, etc.). The listing details are in the same order as the spreadsheets. Please call me directly if you find something of interest to you.

OF/OV Homes Brochures:    Link to Listings 
OF/OV Homes Spreadsheet:   Link to Spreadsheet 
OF/OV Condo Brochures:    Link to Listings
OF/OV Condo Spreadsheet:   Link to Spreadsheet

Non-OF Condo Brochures:     Link to Listings 
Non-OF Condo Spreadsheet:  Link to Spreadsheet
If you are considering buying or listing any property on the Grand Strand, or if I can be of assistance in any other way, please contact me. Also, please feel free to forward this newsletter to friends or acquaintances and of course I will be happy to add them to my email list.

Finally, please let me know if you are going to be in the area and would like to get together.

See you at the beach!

Gene Carter
Beach Pro Team
Cell Phone:  843-455-4785

The material provided is for informational and educational purposes only and sometimes contains current or forward-looking statements on real estate market conditions, and should not be construed as legal, investment and/or real estate advice. Although the material is deemed to be accurate and reliable, we do not make any representations as to its accuracy or completeness and as a result, there is no guarantee it is without errors, and is not necessarily the opinion of RE/MAX Southern Shores or its agents.

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