Sussex County real estate boasts double-digit gain in 2012

The Sussex County Association of Realtors (SCAOR) released numbers recently that back up what they said has been the public perception for several months now – real estate is on the rise, in southern Delaware and across the country.

Year-end totals for 2012 showed a 14 percent increase in sales over the previous year, with more than 4,000 real estate transactions taking place in Sussex County during the calendar year. That equates to nearly 11 sales every single day of 2012.

Additionally, the average single-family home in Sussex County sold for $327,122 last year, up 9 percent over 2011.

“We’ve known for some time that our real estate markets in southern Delaware were on the rebound, but it’s nice to see that confirmed in actual data,” said Bob McVey, the newly sworn-in 2013 president of SCAOR. “The numbers have been trending upward for several quarters now, and we’re excited to see the markets responding after several years of challenging circumstances. We fully expect 2013 to be even better.”

Single-family home sales in 2012 rose more than 18 percent over the previous year, with 3,612 homes accounting for more than $1 billion in real estate transactions.

Nearly 600 homes were sold in Sussex County in the fourth quarter of 2012 alone, for an average price of a little more than $366,000. Townhome and condominium sales continued to be brisk, as well, in the final quarter of the year, with 227 units accounting for close to $75 million in sales.

The data, said SCAOR representatives, is cause for enthusiasm and excitement as the nation begins to put the crippling recession of a few years ago in its collective rear-view mirror.

“As I work through my first weeks as president of this wonderful organization, it’s just a welcome shot in the arm to be greeted with such encouraging data that shows our chosen profession continuing to build strength in Sussex County,” said McVey, the broker for Mann & Sons Real Estate in Rehoboth Beach. “Double-digit gains in 2012 is incredible news, but now it’s up to all of us to ensure that the momentum continues through the end of 2013 and beyond.”

In recent months, SCAOR noted, southern Delaware’s real estate market, and those of many areas in the Mid-Atlantic region, have benefited from a larger-than-normal supply of homes, as well as historically low interest rates that have helped spur the nation’s economy. That continues to be the case, though supplies are beginning to come down to a more manageable level in Sussex County, they said.

The area continues to be a popular destination for retirees, as new homeowners have been taking advantage of buying opportunities not seen for years in America’s First State. That is expected to continue, as the combination of affordable real estate, low taxes and the proximity to the Atlantic coastline continue to be major draws.

“It’s still a great place to live and work, and people from surrounding states continue to find that to be true,” said McVey. “As long as we keep putting out the proverbial ‘welcome mat’ to visitors and new residents, the area will continue to grow, as will the local real estate market.”

More than $1.04 billion in local real estate was sold in Sussex County in 2012, in the single-family market segment alone. Additionally, more than $250 million was generated in condominium and/or townhome sales, more than $16 million in mobile home sales and more than $95 million in sales of land. All three segments have also shown growth from the 2011 calendar year.

The one segment that continues to underperform the market is commercial real estate, which has fallen by 13 percent from 2011 figures, they noted.

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