Commercial Real Estate Myrtle Beach
Commercial real estate Myrtle Beach beginning in 1975, western Horry County was primarily agrarian in nature with some manufacturing, while eastern Horry County (east of the Intracoastal Waterway), was a summer resort. The resort season was primarily beach-oriented in nature and was short lived, beginning on Memorial Day and terminating on Labor Day. The area was frequented basically by North and South Carolinians who desired to escape the hot, humid inland summers to enjoy the cool breezes offered by the Atlantic Ocean. With a permanent county population of 85,000 and gross retail sales of $500 million, Horry County was making small incremental improvements and during the next five years attracted relatively little attention from outside the region.
Throughout the 1980's, rampant golf course construction and real estate development introduced many people from the Northeast and Midwest areas to our spring and fall markets. As a result of the natural beauty, the favorable climate and easy accessibility via car, Horry County became more heavily colonized and became a vibrant, year-round area. Many of the visitors from the 80's have permanently relocated and are now calling Horry County home. The measurable, permanent Horry County population is now 206,000 and gross retail sales exceed $6 billion.
In 1992, the Commercial Real Estate Myrtle Beach area, known as the Grand Strand, became a statistical market area (SMA) and the region became more measurable for the national tenants that had previously resisted the area. With over 120 championship golf courses, many new shopping venues, live entertainment theaters and consistent residential growth, Horry County is now an established, fast paced market place which possesses many ingredients for continued, sustainable growth.
Since 1995, Horry County has enjoyed new commercial construction in excess of $1 billion. This growth has been the direct result of satisfying the permanent and second home residential growth as well as from the revenues generated by the 13 million annual visitors. Myrtle Beach is now a year round area. Names like Home Depot, Lowe's, Hard Rock Cafe, Outback Steak House, Hampton Inn, and Ripley's Aquarium dot the starlit business shoreline. Horry County now supports three regional shopping malls, two value retail (outlet parks) centers, and two festival/entertainment centers that have been recognized nationally. Attesting to this vibrant growth, Home Depot, Lowe's, TGI Fridays, Super Wal-Mart's and others are building at least three facilities to accommodate the region's needs. The Mall of South Carolina, containing 1.3 million square feet, has been announced with construction to commence in 2002.
The Commercial Real Estate Myrtle Beach Area is more user driven than investor driven. The major property owners control regional office and retail markets. Tenant demand has outpaced supply, thanks to strong national and local economy. Low single digit vacancy rates demonstrate just how vibrant our market is. New construction coming on-line during the last six months and future development planned for the near future are not expected to offset tenant demand. Heightened activity has pushed rental rates higher across the board. Rental rates for neighborhood shopping centers range from $14 to $16 per square foot. Regional centers and festival centers are yielding $30 - $35 per square foot rents. Office rental rates for 5000 - 10,000 square foot free standing properties are in the $15 - $17 per square foot range, and first class office properties are enjoying effective rents of $25 - $35 per square foot.
Flex space and limited industrial space exist in specialty areas of Horry County. Units in the western portion of the county have blended rents in the $4 - $6 per square foot range and units east of the Intracoastal Waterway enjoy 30% higher rents based on acute land prices and scarcity of supply. From 1995 to 2000, vacant flex and light industrial spaces generally were nonexistent. This market has stabilized over the past year, with a generous supply being created for commercial real estate Myrtle Beach.