Sussex County real estate numbers show improvement over last year

Sales data released recently by the Sussex County Association of Realtors (SCAOR) revealed a continued improvement in southern Delaware’s real estate markets, as the region struggles to recover from a years-long economic slump.

Sales of single-family homes through the first three quarters of 2011 totaled more than $500 million in Sussex County, with an average sales price of just more than $301,000. Additionally, sellers have received, on average, 93 percent of their listed sales price thus far this calendar year.

Nearly 2,000 homes were sold in Sussex County through the end of September, up from about 1,800 during the first three quarters of 2010. While experts agree there is still a long way to go to sustain any type of long-term recovery, the recent sales data is considered a step in the right direction.

“While it’s taken a combination of lower home prices, historically low interest rates and a lot of give and take on both sides of the home buying process, we are definitely encouraged that our numbers here in Sussex County are continuing an upward trend,” said Sandy Greene, 2011 president of SCAOR. “We are now in the middle of one of the greatest home-buying opportunities in our nation’s history, and I think people are starting to take advantage of that.”

Mobile-home sales in southern Delaware have taken a similar path in the first three quarters of the current year, with more units selling but at a lower asking price than a year ago. Condominium and townhouse sales, however, have continued to decline, as more buyers take advantage of historically affordable prices to instead purchase single-family homes.

On the commercial side, there are continued signs that that segment of the marketplace is on the rise. With the commercial market essentially flat from the same time last year, SCAOR representatives said there signs that that the commercial real estate business is Sussex County is remaining steady through a very unsteady national economy.

More than $220 million in commercial sales were reported to SCAOR for the first three quarters of 2011, compared to $233 million a year ago. While the number of sales increased over the last 12 months, the average sales price per listing decreased, providing a so-called “mixed bag” of results.

The sales data reported by SCAOR comes from the Multiple Listing Service, historically the primary vehicle for most real estate transactions in the United States. To read more about issues related to Sussex County’s real estate industry, visit SCAOR’s Web site at