Sussex County real estate numbers show upward trend

Sales data released recently by the Sussex County Association of Realtors (SCAOR) reveals a clear and continuing improvement in southern Delaware’s real estate markets, further proof that the rebound from the recession, which gripped the region, and the country, is gaining momentum.

Single family home sales for the first three months of 2011 were up 11 percent over the same time a year ago, with the average home in the county selling for a median price of $304,406.

Nearly 500 homes were sold in Sussex County through the end of March, up from less than 435 during the first quarter of 2010. While that’s still a far cry from the near record levels the area experienced during the market’s peak a few years ago, the most recent data supports real estate’s continued recovery.

“We are obviously encouraged by this most recent data, which supports what we’re hearing from our members, who are all reporting renewed interest and busier schedules,” says Sandy Greene, 2011 president of SCAOR. “The data clearly shows that real estate here in Sussex County has been on the uptick for several quarters now, and we expect to see more of the same in the coming months.”

Traditionally, real estate sales in Sussex County have been the strongest in the spring and summer months, as the area’s coastal resorts come alive and residents and visitors again start flocking to the sandy shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

With the onset of the warm weather months comes a renewed interest in real estate, whether along the coast or further inland in one of the county’s central or western municipalities.

“We have a very unique market here in Sussex County, with the resorts to the east and an area much more based on agriculture to the west,” says Greene. “But we’re seeing improvement, albeit at different levels, throughout the county. We see this as an extremely positive forward indicator.”

While there are still many vacant storefronts and several challenges facing Sussex County’s commercial markets, that segment of the marketplace is also showing significant improvement in the new year.

Nearly three times as many commercial sales have take place in the first three months of 2011, compared to the same time a year ago, for a total dollar figure more than seven times that of 2010.

“While many companies are still choosing to build new structures rather than purchase and occupy existing ones, we’re extremely encouraged by these numbers in the commercial market,” says Greene. “I’m also hopeful that this trend will continue, as business owners discover all that Sussex County has to offer. Low taxes, a robust second homeowner market and a continuously growing population – why wouldn’t you want to do business here?”

Whether the commercial or the residential market, Sussex County is showing significant signs of recovery and stabilization, which are two very important factors for buyers moving forward.

There are still scores of good opportunities out there, however, as the county remains in a buyer’s market, and probably will for some time.

“Prices and interest rates are still low, and we still have an unusually large amount of inventory on the market,” says Greene. “With all of these factors, plus the return of warm weather, it’s a perfect time to get out there and shop around. The more time that passes, and the more the economy recovers, many of these opportunities will go away. If you’re interested in buying a home, now is the time.”

SCAOR is a resource for the public, as well as a recognized advocate for property rights and property owners in Sussex County. The association also monitors legislative issues on the local, state and national levels that may impact home ownership in the area.

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