By The Town of Surfside Beach
There are some famous migrations in nature. The swallows return every year to Capistrano. The monarch butterflies fly over 2500 miles to spend the winter in a warmer climate. Surfside Beach also has its own migration. Between Thanksgiving and the middle of January every year, the town has an influx of cars with license plates from northern states, and Canadian provinces. Each car is accompanied by a species known as “retiree domesticus,” or by the more colloquial term “Snowbirds.”
Snowbirds are a part of the nature of a beach community, and a welcome addition to our area. They support our businesses, eat at our restaurants, purchase food and items in local stores, and help keep businesses that might have closed for the season to stay open. They are a vibrant group, willing to go long distances to enjoy the beauty of the beach at Surfside. Today’s Snowbird frequently becomes tomorrow’s resident. After visiting the area several times, experiencing the lifestyle and seeing the affordability of housing, the decision to become a resident is an easy one to make.
Surfside Beach has less than 5,000 full time residents, but has a rental housing market capable of supporting numbers many times that. Snowbirds utilize this capacity, and can make or break a rental property owner’s business year. Many local restaurants and bars have programs that treat a Snowbird as a “local” and offer discounts and incentives. The lower cost of living in the Surfside Beach area, as compared to New England states or the Canadian Provinces, means the visitor’s budget can go much farther here than it can at home.
Real estate statistics show February is the busiest month for real estate closings in the area. It’s a combination of more units listed for sale in the off season, and more involved potential purchasers in our area. Snowbirds use their time to become familiar with the area, and are attracted by the diverse style of neighborhoods. Second-home sales are very common, as the visitors want to experience all that Surfside Beach has to offer, but still want to stay connected for friends and family wherever home is. It’s also not unheard of that one family will make the move to Family Beach and within a few years, relatives and friends from home will move into the area.
So, when you see a couple looking a little confused because of the two Highway 17’s or is it 3rd Avenue North, or South, and what town, offer to help. They could be your new neighbors in a couple of years.