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Myrtle Beach, SC's largest tourist spot, named among top 10 commercial US office markets

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Myrtle Beach's office vacancy rate was 2.2 percent for the third quarter. Richard Caines/Staff

MYRTLE BEACH — The Myrtle Beach commercial office market is booming with the city being named recently a top 10 market in the country by the National Association of Realtors.

Myrtle Beach has the lowest office vacancy rate among the 10 cities on the list as of the third quarter of 2021 at 2.2 percent.

With a tight vacancy rate, it also has the second-highest average rent growth of 2.9 percent.

The other office markets named in the list include: Austin; Boise; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Daytona Beach, Fla.; Miami; Omaha; Palm Beach, Fla.; Provo, Utah; and San Antonio.

The Realtors group said in its report that Myrtle Beach's reputation as a travel destination has made Horry County one of the top 30 largest vacation home counties in country.

“Myrtle Beach is likely to see more migration into the area from workers who have greater opportunities to work from home and from retirees who envision beach destinations,” the report said.

Nationally, the office market in bigger areas continues to struggle as occupancy rates and rents have declined, and many occupied spaces remain largely void of workers who have not returned to work amid the pandemic.

Myrtle Beach is bucking the trend with increases in office occupancy rates that outperform most large cities and the national average, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Robert Salvino, the director of Grant Center for Real Estate and Economics at Coastal Carolina University, said that one key trend is the migration from the Northeast and along with other areas where the pandemic stifled growth.

“What we saw before the pandemic was that Myrtle Beach was growing, the Sunbelt was growing and that has been amplified with the pandemic," he said. “People are trying to get places where they have space, and less commuting misery. They are coming to Myrtle Beach in higher numbers.”

Salvino said that any market analyst for commercial office real estate would look at jobs and he noted that Myrtle Beach had 4,400 jobs growth in August year over year, which leads to investors looking for more space.

“When you have low inventory, strong job growth, population growth and hopefully income growth, this should be a positive place to invest,” he said.

Michael King, the CEO of KingOne Properties International in Myrtle Beach, said that COVID-19 has changed the way that many local companies and individuals do business and that the growing office market results in the need for other amenities, adding to the overall economy. 

“People nowadays can work from home which adds to the influx of people moving to our area,” King said. “With that being said, not just retirees are moving here but individuals who are still working, raising children and living the lifestyle that you would find in most metropolitan areas.

“With that being said, more commercial businesses are needed to meet the demand of all types of consumers.”

Get all the latest updates on the Myrtle Beach area real estate market, business openings and closings, exclusive development news and more in your inbox each week.

Follow Richard Caines on Twitter at @rickcaines

Richard Caines covers courts and other topics in Horry and Georgetown County for The Post and Courier. He graduated from the Cronkite School at Arizona State University and is a huge Philadelphia sports fan.

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