Around 400 residents of Barefoot Camping Resort, situated in the scenic Grand Strand area along South Carolina’s coastline, are facing eviction as owners of the park announced plans to sell the land to developers.
According to a report in the Myrtle Beach Sun-News, the sale could be a sign of the times as developers widen their search for prime coastal real estate, including other campgrounds in the area where residents, including full-time RVers, lease the land on a year-to-year basis.
The demands of a hot coastal real estate market eventually could entice other campground owners to sell as the value of their oceanfront property makes development more profitable than running a campground, said Tom Maeser, president of Fortune Academy of Real Estate, a local real estate school.
“In real estate, we talk about what is the highest and best use of the land,” Maeser said. “When the campground started, the highest and best use of the land might have been a campground. As the town evolves, the highest and best use may become something different, like condominiums.”
Property is redeveloped when its new use has more value than its current use, said Lawrence Langdale, past president of the Horry Georgetown Home Builders Association.
The growing trend of people wanting to own oceanfront property, massive amounts of retiring Baby Boomers, a national housing boom and shrinking inventory is causing price appreciation along the coast, with the value of land increasing every month.
Still, many area campground managers say the families who own the properties want the campgrounds to stay. They say everyone, regardless of income, should be able to have a little place by the beach.
But as the Grand Strand market moves in the direction of high-priced coastal areas such as Florida, Maeser said people with less money will be forced farther and farther from the coast.
And because many campgrounds are family-owned, newer generations might not have the same commitment to running a campground as those who started the business, Maeser said.
“The heirs may not want to continue operating it, which changes the needs of the owners,” Maeser said. “Then it becomes much more beneficial for them to sell it for the highest and best use than to maintain it. Someday someone will offer them enough money to make it worth it to them.”