Small Florida Beach Town Logs Nation’s Worst Occupancy Loss

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Myrtle Beach suffered the nation’s most significant apartment occupancy loss in the past year. While this apartment market saw notable occupancy growth in 2021 and 2022, when remote workers were flocking to small beach towns along the Florida coastline, the influx of new supply has more recently taken its toll. Most of the largest 150 apartment markets in the U.S. were hit with occupancy decline in the year-ending September, but none suffered quite as much as Myrtle Beach, where the loss was significant at 350 basis points (bps). This decline left the September rate at 92.4%, one of the worst showings nationwide, according to data from RealPage Market Analytics. Putting downward pressure on occupancy in recent months, Myrtle Beach saw one of the nation’s biggest inventory growth rates in the past year. With a small existing stock of just over 47,000 units, this market saw the completion of nearly 2,700 new apartments in the past 12 months, which increased the existing base by a significant 6%. That’s a lot of new product for an apartment base that logged the delivery of only about 7,300 or so units in total in the decade before that. Next year’s completion total is similar, with another 5.6% increase scheduled.