Influx of retirees keeps Sussex real estate market stronger than most

For generations, men and women across the country, and the world, who have entered the real estate profession have been taught the industry’s three most important rules: location, location and location. It is, in fact, the golden rule of real estate – the most important factor when buying or selling a home or business is, without a doubt, its location on Mother Earth.

It’s for this very reason, representatives of the Sussex County Association of Realtors said, that southern Delaware’s real estate market has remained stronger than most during the economic turmoil that has plagued the United States over the last few years. Sussex County boasts more than two dozen miles of Atlantic coastline, which continues to draw new residents from throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.

The area’s proximity to several metropolitan cities and its relatively mild climate are also factors when deciding on a place to put down roots.

But, according to the SCAOR, the largest demographic surge in southern Delaware over the last 10 years or so has been the influx of retirees, men and women who have learned that their retirement dollars can go much further in southern Delaware than in any of the surrounding states.

“We have definitely seen a huge surge of new retirees in recent years who have discovered the increased quality of life they can enjoy here in Sussex County simply by lowering their cost of living,” said Sandy Greene, 2011 president of the Sussex County Association of Realtors. “We have new communities that are exclusively for the over-55 age group, as well as many services and activities for men and women in their retirement years.”

The First State has long been known for its business friendly tax environment and its lack of a state sales tax, Greene noted, but, she said, there are many other financial benefits to living out one’s golden years in Sussex County.

New residents purchasing retirement real estate in Sussex County enjoy many tax advantages, beyond simply not having to pay a state sales tax, including: no inheritance tax for most residents, no personal property taxes, no local taxes, no sales tax and low real estate property taxes. As a result, Delaware has become one of the East Coast’s most popular retirement destinations and will likely continue to be for some time to come, said Greene.

“It’s not to say that our real estate market here in Sussex County hasn’t been hit, and hit hard, by the economic conditions that have existed in the United States over the last several years. But if not for our tax benefits and our coastal location, it definitely could have been much worse,” said Greene. “We are beginning to see many encouraging signs that real estate is beginning to once again grow here in Delaware. I am optimistic that things are beginning to turn around in our local real estate markets.”

To read more about issues related to Sussex County’s real estate industry, visit SCAOR’s Web site at