MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) — Transplants to the greater Myrtle Beach area are most likely to be moving from North Carolina, New York, or Pennsylvania, according to a News13 analysis.

More than 44,740 people moved to the county from other states over the last three years, according to information gathered by News13 from the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles regarding license transfers. 

North Carolina had the highest number of people moving to the area, with 7,347 over an almost three-year period, and an average of 2,449 new people a year. 

The states with the highest averages of relocations to Horry County per year are as follows:

  1. North Carolina – 2,449
  2. New York – 1,716
  3. Pennsylvania – 1,339
  4. New Jersey – 1,201
  5. Virginia – 1,079
  6. Florida – 788.33
  7. Maryland – 787.33
  8. Connecticut – 624.67
  9. Ohio – 608
  10. Massachusetts – 476

The top 10 states account for 74.25% of those transferring to the area from out-of-state, while the top five states make up about 52.21% of the transfers. 

While North Carolina had the highest total number of transfers, West Virginians moved to Horry County at the highest rate in the nation, with 70.15 people moving per 100,000 of West Virginia’s population.

The states with the highest rate of people relocating over the last three years are as follows, per 100,000 people in their home state’s population:

  1. West Virginia – 70.15
  2. North Carolina – 70.04
  3. New York – 61.29
  4. Connecticut – 52.57
  5. New Jersey – 40.57
  6. Maryland – 39.07
  7. New Hampshire – 36.99
  8. Alabama – 36.51
  9. Vermont – 33.81
  10. Pennsylvania – 31.38

Anthony Schibilia, a Myrtle Beach-based realtor with BRG, has seen an even split between clients who are relocating and those who are investing or buying a second home. His recent clients include those from New York, New Jersey and Virginia. 

Those include people who didn’t have intentions to move before the COVID-19 pandemic, and then made the decision to relocate after gaining the ability to work from home. 

“I feel that has probably caused a little more of a migration than in typical years,” he said. 

Out-of-state clients tell him they chose the area because of lower taxes, warmer weather and because of the easy access to the beach.

They’re mostly retirees, with all of his recent out-of-state clients over the age of 40. About 60% of them are looking to relocate, and 40% are buying a second home with the intention to eventually move into the property. 

The increase in demand has left him with less than three months of housing inventory.

“If we continue at this pace, it is going to be very scarce,” Schibilia said. 

As the pandemic continues, he doesn’t expect the housing market to slow down anytime soon.

“I think we are going to see a lot more of that migration going on,” he said. 

For newlywed Kai-Ling Law, the decision to move was about being near her in-laws.

“It just made sense to move closer to family,” she said. 

Law, who is from Seattle and moved in June, formed the Facebook group the Myrtle Beach Area Social Club after joining pages and seeing other people who moved from outside the state post that they didn’t know anyone. The page has about 100 members.

The people she’s met have been from Virginia, West Virginia, New York and Rhode Island. She said they all moved for similar reasons, which include a lower cost of living and short distances to the sea.

“The weather is so nice and the beach is so readily accessible,” Law said. 

Although her Facebook group is still new, its members have already made connections in their new community, hosting events and volunteering to help each other move. Law said the group has been proactive, but careful during COVID-19.