Tybee Island realtors seeing impact of STVR moratorium on real estate market

Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 3:15 PM EDT
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TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - The temporary pause of new rental properties on Tybee Island is already taking a negative toll on the community’s housing market.

This from local realtors speaking to WTOC Monday - just two weeks into the city’s 90-day moratorium prohibiting new rental property registrations.

During the pandemic the housing market on Tybee is what some would call “hot.” Often times the housing pool was running dry. Now, however, some real estate agents WTOC spoke with say people are hesitant to buy without knowing if their house can be a rental after this moratorium.

“They want a place to come with their families when they want to come on vacation, but then they also want to be able to have a home that they can rent and work toward their retirement,’ said Tanya Huff, real estate agent with Century 21 Solomon Properties.

“There were those of us in the real estate, brokerage and sales business who lost contracts. We had them on the table and they were ready to move forward. They didn’t know what might happen next,” said Keith Gay Sr., realtor and owner of Tybee Vacation Rentals.

Tanya Huff and Keith Gay Sr. are both realtors on the island. They say not only has this moratorium lost them buyers, but it’s made residents scared to sell their unregistered home.

“People are afraid to sell because they don’t know if they’re going to get the same value if they don’t have that certificate,” said Huff.

Huff says prior to the moratorium’s start date people, including herself, ran to register their house even with no intent to rent it out right now.

“I was scared that if I didn’t have it registered and I wanted to sell it eventually I wouldn’t get as much for mine as somebody else would right next to me.”

Gay says he estimates he’s lost between 30 and 40 buyers because they don’t trust that a moratorium, like this, wouldn’t happen again in the future.

“We had people who walked away because they saw it as being not supportive. People are being very, very careful about what they’re buying,” said Gay.

And what about the houses under construction? Gay says those are more than likely being built by owners who will make it an STVR. What this moratorium will result in long-term is what Huff and Gay say isn’t clear. Huff says compared to Savannah, Tybee’s market is struggling.

“Yesterday I wrote a contract on a house that had 19 offers and you’re not seeing that in Tybee right now,” said Huff.

The moratorium will end on November 26, but it’s unclear if it’ll get extended even longer.

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