While real estate sales remain sluggish across the United States, statistics in Sussex County reveal a rebounding housing market that is bucking national trends, according to the Sussex County Association of Realtors (SCAOR). And, armed with the positive numbers that show marked improvement in Delaware's southernmost county throughout the last 12 months, SCAOR installed their 2011 leadership team during a recent ceremony at Cripple Creek Country Club near Bethany Beach.

Taking over the presidency of the organization for the current calendar year is Sandy Greene, a long-time Realtor with ResortQuest in Bethany Beach. She replaces Judy Dean, who relinquished the president's duties after what was described as “a busy, tumultuous, yet ultimately successful 2010.”

“Our nation's economy continued to affect real estate sales in 2010, but I'm very encouraged that sales last year were up over 2009 here in Sussex County,” said Dean, a Realtor with Re/Max Associates in Lewes. “I'm also certain that Sandy will continue to move our organization forward in 2011, and I happily place the president's duties in her capable hands.”

Greene has been in the real estate business for most of her adult life and used two words to describe her outlook for the next calendar year: “cautiously optimistic.”

“If we look back at 2010, the market showed a slight improvement and, if interest rates remain low, I think we'll continue to see a modest improvement in real estate sales in Sussex County,” said Greene, who began her new role on Jan. 1. “Inventory is not increasing, and the number of sales seem to be keeping pace. I am very much cautiously optimistic for this year.”

Joining Greene on SCAOR's 2011 leadership team are President-Elect Trina Joyner from Home Team Realty, First Vice President Sharon Palmer Stauffer from Coldwell Banker Resort Realty, Second Vice President Bob McVey from Mann and Sons, and Treasurer Harry Woods from Remax Associates.

Dean also remains on the leadership team as SCAOR's past president.

Members of the 2011 board of directors are Bruce Plummer, Sean Steward, Nora Martin, Andrew Ratner and Brade Riedle.

SCAOR's annual meeting also included the presentation of several awards, including the Alma Ashley Award for rental agent of the year, which went to Harold Marmon of Colwell Banker Resort Realty in Rehoboth Beach.

Cheryl Myers of AmeriSpec was recognized as SCAOR's affiliate of the year, and Frank Serio of Re/Max by the Sea in Bethany Beach received the 2010 President's Award in recognition of his continued service and dedication to SCAOR. Serio was also recently elected as the national president for the Council of Certified Residential Specialists.

SCAOR also recognized five members for obtaining Realtor Emeritus status for at least 40 consecutive years of membership in the association for real estate professionals. The five members of SCAOR to be recognized with the honor were Jack Giles, Joe Hill, James Huston, Lois Dolby and Charlie Howard.

The yearly get-together and awards ceremony signifies the end of 2010 for members of SCAOR as eyes now look toward a new year – one the real estate professionals said they are confident will feature more good news and a renewed interest in the home buying process.

“I believe potential buyers will continue to perceive value; buyers are beginning to buy in certain communities now where they see that value,” said Greene. “We just had to have price adjustments; what we saw at the peak of the market was not sustainable. We're now beginning to see value, and affordability is returning for first-time homebuyers.”

To learn more about SCAOR, call the association's Georgetown office at ) 855-2300, or visit them on the Internet at www.scaor.com.