Short-term rentals boost Grand Strand economy

Published: Apr. 22, 2014 at 11:33 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 23, 2014 at 12:31 AM EDT
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SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Beach houses line the streets of the Grand Strand and are a huge economic benefit.

A recent study by the Short Term Rental Advocacy Center (STRAC), confirms the importance of rental homes for the Grand Strand area.  The study shows last year rentals pumped $200.7 million into our economy and supported 2,587 jobs.

The study looks at listings on popular vacation rental websites such as Airbnb, HomeAway, Trip Advisor and FlipKey; it calls us one of the leading beach and golf vacation destinations.

This year already, rental companies are seeing a spike in numbers.

Surfside Realty says an average week in the summer means 95 percent of its 500 rentals are filled. The average cost for a rental for a week during July, Surfside Realty's peak month, is about $1,200 for a condo and $2,000 for a beach house.  That price can vary based on factors such as location and size.

The study, says that for every $100 a visitor spends on a rental, they spend double on food, entertainment, transportation and shopping. The end result is thousands of dollars from visitors in each rental home.

In 2013, the average group of visitors included an average of five people staying for about six nights. Rental properties also say since homes attract families and groups, which means more people are checking out local businesses, shops and restaurants. This requires more hands on deck at these businesses.

One out of every five jobs in Myrtle Beach, especially in recreation, restaurants and retail, is thanks to our visitors.

"They want to see a dinner attraction, they want to know where the best seafood restaurants are, a lot of that's in Myrtle Beach, a lot of that's in Murrells Inlet," says Justin Spencer with Surfside Realty Company.  He says when visitors stay on one part of the Grand Strand, like Surfside, they're still visiting attractions in other locations.

Vacation planners say they see first hand, there's an even greater benefit to rentals.

"Without the beach rentals, honestly, this area, probably wouldn't survive, we wouldn't see the nice roads that we have. We wouldn't have the financial help that tourists bring into this area," says Spencer.

Surfside Realty says we can expect to see more rentals and visitors in the future.

"We're adding properties every week so we're definitely growing in number." says Spencer.

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