MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Construction is well underway throughout Myrtle Beach as the Grand Strand continues to dominate in East Coast population growth.
The city of Myrtle Beach recently issued 585 building permits for new single-family homes within the city limits. That number marks an increase of 200 homes over the previous fiscal year.
During the fiscal year, which ended June 30, 2018, city leaders said they issued 7,072 building permits with a total construction value of $311,396,599. Of that total, $210,370,305 was for new residential construction, while the remaining $125,320,375 was for commercial construction.
With the U.S. census data revealing Myrtle Beach ranked as the second-fastest growing metropolitan area in the country, city leaders said they don't expect that number to drop anytime soon.
The housing market is at a high right now, as construction continues to boom along the Grand Strand. Carol Coleman, planning director for the city of Myrtle Beach, said most of the new construction within the city is happening in and around The Market Common area and also the Grand Dunes.
Local realtors said they've sold more in the past two weeks than in the past two months and lately, more of their clients are opting to wait and buy new. They noted that just within the city of Myrtle Beach, a little over 5,000 homes and condos have been sold so far this year.
Coleman said there are many reasons that people continue to be drawn to the area.
"It's a very pleasant place to live, No. 1. I think a lot of parts of the country have found out that the southern states, it's a slower, calmer way of life. It's less expensive by comparison. We have much lower taxes than they do in the northeast. So, property taxes are lower, that's very attractive, especially to people that are retiring," Coleman said. "You have higher land values up there, so they can sell their homes that they've been in for years that they've made investments in years ago, and they're going to realize a big profit when they sell at the current value and they get a lot more for their money here."
With growth, of course, there's also challenges such as traffic, what services are needed and public safety. Still, city leaders said they're prepared to welcome the growing population.
As for the businesses in Myrtle Beach, Coleman looks forward to attracting more familiar names to the area.
"I'd like to see what comes with the rooftops. That's what the economic development people say, and there are a lot of businesses that wouldn't look at this area because of our population numbers. But as we grow, they start coming in. I know a lot of people are excited about Topgolf. So, I think you know also, you've got a brand name association with Grand Dunes, with Dell Web. So, I think you're going to see more and more businesses that people have been hoping to have here coming to the area, coming to the region, so that's kind of exciting to me," Coleman said.
She added she'd love to see the front area of The Market Common, often referred to as the "Old Campground," transformed, but not into a residential area. Although nothing is set in stone, she hopes for a regional park for that space.