HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Evictions and foreclosures in Horry County have increased recently, but they’re still below pre-pandemic levels.
The Horry County Sheriff’s Office carried out 25 evictions in July and 278 during August and September.
“There has been a little increase, which I kind of expected that,” Sheriff’s Lt. Steve Cox said. “I anticipate that since the [eviction] moratorium has been lifted that the number of evictions will increase in the next couple months.”
The moratorium was lifted at the end of August, meaning South Carolinians behind on their rent could be removed from their homes for that reason. While in effect the previous 18 months, the moratorium shielded renters from eviction for non-payment.
The moratorium did not prevent evictions for lease violations and end-of-tenancy. That’s why the sheriff’s office said there were evictions carried out before the moratorium expired.
The sheriff’s office said the eviction process is a slow one and that numbers are expected to continue to creep closer to normal levels. Cox said the office carried out about 250 evictions a month before the pandemic but is currently averaging well below that number.
While renters risk eviction for falling behind, homeowners could face foreclosure.
Foreclosures in Horry County were up 36% during the third quarter of 2021 compared with the second quarter., according to a recent report from ATTOM Data Solutions, which owns RealtyTrac. The number of properties with foreclosure filings in Horry County went up from 39 in the second quarter to 53 in the third quarter.
Nationwide, quarter-over-quarter foreclosures went up 34%, meaning the increase in Horry County is in line with most of the country.
“It’s picking up significantly, which is what we expected when the government’s foreclosure moratorium ended,” said Rick Sharga, a RealtyTrac executive vice president. “But it’s still way, way below normal levels of foreclosure activity.”
The report also showed South Carolina ranks eighth among all 50 U.S. states in foreclosure rates. Sharga said South Carolinians need not be alarmed just yet.
“It’s going to take probably until the middle of 2022 to get back to relatively normal levels of foreclosure activity, and if South Carolina is still the eighth-highest at that point, I think we might be having a different conversation,” Sharga said.
Sharga added that the increase in foreclosures could also help balance thesupply and demand of homes.
“There’s so much more demand from homebuyers today than there is inventory available for sale that this actually might help offset that a little bit as we move forward,” Sharga said.
Sharga emphasized that while foreclosures are up, people should not be worried about an incoming housing crisis like that of the Great Recession. The current economy is healthier, homeowners have more equity in their properties and there are more resources available for homeowners than there were a decade ago, he said.
The South Carolina State Housing Finance & Development Authority has a list of available resources for struggling homeowners. The agency offers emergency rental assistance for residents of 39 counties in the state through SC Stay Plus.
Horry County residents can turn to the Eastern Carolina Housing Organization for similar assistance.