South Carolina sees record-breaking number of homes sold in 2020

Updated: Jan. 27, 2021 at 10:19 PM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - A new record number of homes were sold in South Carolina last year.

A report from the South Carolina Realtors Association shows 101,500 homes were sold in the Palmetto State throughout 2020.

In 2020, homebuyers changed addresses at a record-setting pace across the state, which was surprising for one local real estate agent who prepared for the worst when the pandemic struck.

“I got married in 2009, and we were not yet at the bottom of the real estate market, but the market was in a free fall at that point,” said Adam Cates, president of Tradd Commercial. “There were flavors of that at the end of the first quarter last year.”

Cates spent the early part of last year working from home, hoping real estate agents would be deemed essential.

The governor gave them that designation, and Cates returned to the field in June.

Six months later, he’s looking back at one of the best years the market has seen in Myrtle Beach, and a record-setting winter that’s still going on.

“The numbers have exceeded every summer on record for real estate sales in this area,” said Cates.

Cates specializes in commercial real estate, where he says the market growth hasn’t been quite as drastic as residential. He thinks there is a correlation between the pandemic and the booming residential market.

“The three drivers for the growth down here: relocations because of COVID from the Northeast, quality of life and affordability,” explained Cates.

According to the Coastal Carolina Association of Realtors, Myrtle Beach saw a 52.5% growth in pending sales and 37% growth in completed sales from December 2019 to December 2020.

For the year, closed sales were up 17% in the city.

CCAR President Laura Crowther says they’ve noticed some trends in pandemic sales, like people wanting more home office space and people looking to bring the outdoors inside with things like wood and greenery.

She thinks those may continue even after the pandemic.

“I think we will see some shift in the market, and particularly the building industry as we move forward,” said Crowther. “I think we can all agree this remote work and new way of communicating and doing things, it’s here to stay.”

Crowther says strong sales have continued in this first month of 2021, perhaps setting this year up to break the record again.

She does warn that inventory is starting to tighten, which will likely drive up prices and slow the market down, but it won’t be because of lack of interest.

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