Foreclosure rate: One in every 62 homes
Percent increase: 280%
National rank: 89th
Unemployment rate: 13.3%
The real estate market in this resort town has always been mostly second homes. A few years ago, 85% of sales were for investment or vacation homes, according to Coldwell Banker Chicora real estate agent Rod Smith.
"We saw a lot of flipping," he said. "And a lot of flippers got caught when prices went down."
Many of those speculators were buying ocean-front condos with nothing down and when the market cooled they could not pay the mortgages. The result: a 2,127% rise in foreclosure filings over the past two years, and home prices have fallen between 15% and 20%.
In addition, Myrtle Beach's tourist economy has been hit hard by the recession, with unemployment climbing to 13.3% in November from 9.8% 12 months earlier.
The snow birds still arrive, according to Smith, but these northern retirees escaping the cold are not big spenders.
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