HORRY COUNTY S.C. (WBTW) — Living anywhere near the beach has become a lot less affordable in recent years, and a study by the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors says impact fees in Horry County have made the problem worse.

The fees on new construction passed last year by Horry County Council have increased housing prices by nearly 5%, according to the study, which was done by a University of South Carolina professor and commissioned by the realtor group.

Money from the fees goes toward needs associated with growth like more police cars and firetrucks.

CCAR CEO Laura Crowther said the study was done to show the community a bigger picture.

“We felt like proper education proper information for the community to see how it is impacting the overall picture of not only residential housing but also on the commercial side,” she said.

Horry County leaders recently discussed increasing the fees at a budget treat, but Crowther said with inflation at a new 40-year high now is not the time to dramatically increase costs that would be passed along to families.

At least one council member agrees.

“With interest rates increasing, it might not be the best time to look at increasing an impact fee, District 3 Councilman Dennis DiSabato said. “I also understand that if we were to pass the maximum impact fee allowable, it would stifle some affordability.”

Horry County Council Chairman Johnny Gardner said he hasn’t read the study but that when the fees were passed last year it was at a lower rate. Now, it’s time to take another look, he said.

“So I’m sure that the realtors are happy with the low rate, but that rate is not getting it done,” he said. “So we need to look at it and be fair about it and do something that’s good for the people, all the people in Horry County.”

Gardner said the council is expected to have more discussion about impact fees at its second meeting in May.

You can access the Coastal Carolinas Association of Realtors impact fee report here: CCAR Impact Fee Report – Coastal Carolina Association of Realtors (ccarsc.org)