Myrtle Beach Area Beach Homes Flooding The Market Below-Appraisal as The 2024 Hurricane Season Picks Up

Myrtle Beach Area Beach Homes Flooding The Market Below-Appraisal as The 2024 Hurricane Season Picks Up

If you're in the market for a beach home in the Myrtle Beach area, you might have noticed an influx of listings at surprisingly low prices. Homeowners seem eager to sell, and they're willing to take a hit on their appraisals to make it happen. But why the sudden rush? The answer lies in the combination of recent hurricane activity and alarming predictions for the upcoming season.

NOAA's outlook for the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season, spanning from June 1 to November 30, paints a concerning picture. There's an 85% chance of an above-normal season, a 10% chance of a near-normal season, and only a 5% chance of a below-normal season. This forecast is enough to give anyone in hurricane-prone areas a reason to pause, but it's especially significant for those who experienced Hurricane Ian's wrath.

Hurricane Ian first devastated parts of Florida as a Category 4 hurricane before making a second landfall around Georgetown, SC, as a Category 1. It left a lasting impression on the Myrtle Beach area. Although it was only a Category 1 hurricane when it reached South Carolina, Ian caused fairly severe damage, particularly from storm surge. The area hadn't seen such a significant surge in many years, and the impact was a stark reminder of the region's vulnerability.

One of the most dramatic examples of Ian's impact was the collapse of the Pawleys Island pier. As Ian made landfall just south of Georgetown, the pier took a beating. The surge was so powerful that a portion of the pier collapsed and, according to the Pawleys Island Police Department, was seen floating away to the south. This incident highlighted the destructive power of even a Category 1 hurricane and raised concerns about the structural integrity of other coastal properties.

For homeowners in the Myrtle Beach area, Ian's damage and NOAA's 2024 outlook have created a perfect storm of anxiety. Many are opting to sell their properties before the next hurricane season kicks into full gear, hoping to avoid potential future damage and the associated repair costs. This sudden influx of homes on the market, many priced below their appraised values, has created a unique opportunity for buyers.

However, if you're considering purchasing one of these beach homes, it's crucial to proceed with caution. Not all homes are built alike, and a shiny exterior can often mask underlying issues. It's essential to ask probing questions to uncover any potential problems that could become your responsibility.

Start by asking how high the water got during Hurricane Ian. Understanding the extent of the flooding can give you insight into the property's flood risk. Next, inquire about any damage the home sustained during Ian. Even if repairs have been made, knowing the extent and nature of the damage can help you gauge the home's resilience.

It's also worth considering how the home might fare in a more severe hurricane. Ian was only a Category 1 storm in South Carolina, but larger hurricanes could pose a much greater threat. Homes that struggled with Ian might not withstand stronger storms without significant damage.

To illustrate the importance of proper construction, let's revisit a story we covered recently about 283 Berry Tree Drive. This waterfront home was designed with hurricanes in mind, built to withstand the worst elements nature could throw at it. When Ian came, 283 Berry Tree Drive faced the same storm surge as many other homes in the area. However, thanks to its robust construction, the surge caused no damage. The water came and went without barely leaving a mark, showcasing the benefits of building with resilience in mind.

283 Berry Tree Drive After Hurricane Ian

(283 Berry Tree Drive Sustained No Damage and Minimal Clean Up After Hurricane Ian.) 

283 Berry Tree Drive, the exterior design is intentionally minimalistic, with very little that a hurricane can mess up. "We decided against having a lot of plants because storm surge and salt can cause a maintenance nightmare and get pretty expensive having to replace plants that are easily killed by salt water," says Sean Hakes. This practical approach not only reduces potential damage from hurricanes but also ensures that the home remains low-maintenance, even in the face of extreme weather conditions. The focus is on durability and resilience, with every element designed to withstand the harsh coastal environment.

Contrast this with other homes, particularly those with pools, which many experienced significant damage and required extensive cleaning and repairs. Hurricane Ian served as a real-world test of construction standards, highlighting the difference between homes built to endure and those that weren't.

As a prospective buyer, it's essential to prioritize homes that are built to withstand hurricanes. Look for features like elevated foundations, hurricane rated windows and doors, hip roofs, hardie board siding, hurricane straps, and materials designed to resist water damage. Homes with these features are more likely to survive future storms with minimal damage, protecting your investment and providing peace of mind.

In addition to structural considerations, it's also wise to review the property's flood insurance policy. Ensure that the coverage is adequate for the home's value and potential repair costs. Flood insurance can be a crucial safeguard against financial loss in the event of a hurricane.

Consider the broader context of the home's location. Is it in a high-risk flood zone? Are there community-wide measures in place to mitigate hurricane damage, such as seawalls or drainage systems? Understanding the neighborhood's overall preparedness can help you make a more informed decision. It's not bad if it's in a high flood and wind zone if the home is built for that. 

The combination of NOAA's 2024 hurricane outlook and the lingering impact of Hurricane Ian has created a unique market dynamic in the Myrtle Beach area. While below-appraisal sales might seem like a bargain, it's essential to approach these opportunities with caution. By asking the right questions and prioritizing homes built to withstand hurricanes, you can find a property that offers both value and security. Remember, a home's ability to endure the elements is just as important as its curb appeal.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and interviewees and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency or organization. The information provided is based on personal experiences and observations and should be considered as general advice rather than professional consultation. "Below-Appraisal" is based on estimates from Redfin, Zillow, etc., and readers are encouraged to consult their appraiser for additional information. Readers are also encouraged to conduct their own research and consult with experts when making decisions about purchasing or maintaining a home in hurricane-prone areas.

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