The beaches, amusements and climate of the Myrtle Beach area make it a major draw for vacation-home buyers. The population grew by more than a third in the past decade, making it the country's 11th fastest-growing city.
The economy here, though, was badly affected by the recession. With discretionary income reduced, the area's tourism industry suffered; unemployment soared. There has been a slight rebound in hiring, but the unemployment rate was still 11.8% in November, down from a whopping 12.1% in November 2009.
Under those conditions, the spike in foreclosures, up another 44% in 2010 after a huge run-up of 446% in 2009, was no surprise. The increase may have been even worse because such a large percentage of residences here are second homes.
According to Brad Dean, president of the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce, investment properties in which the owners got in over their heads account for a good portion of foreclosures.
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