Cape Gazette
http://capegazette.villagesoup.com/p/1101512

Southern Delaware real estate shows continued robust recovery in 2013

Jan 19, 2014

For the third consecutive year, the number of home sales in Sussex County has increased by double-digit percentages, indicating the real estate recovery in Delaware’s southernmost county is continuing to gain momentum, now more than four years removed from the nation’s largest economic downtown since the Great Depression.

Year-end data compiled and released by the Sussex County Association of Realtors in January shows just how strong this recovery has been in the local area, with more than $1.3 billion worth of real estate changing hands in 2013. This resulted in an impressive 13 percent jump from the year before.

“I think what we’re seeing now is that people who were looking for and waiting on positive signs in regard to the economy have decided it’s now time to jump into the market and purchase a new home for themselves and for their families,” says Brad Riedle, 2014 president of SCAOR. “They want to do so now before prices and interest rates climb any higher. We expect continued growth and momentum in the local markets throughout the rest of the year and beyond.”

Single-family home sales for 2013 rose more than 12 percent over the year before, with the average three-bedroom home in the county selling for a median price of $346,284.

In total, 2,585 single-family homes were sold in Sussex County in 2013, with days on the market decreasing from 198 at the beginning of the year to only 168 by the end of December. Also, due to the strength of the residential market in southern Delaware, the supply of existing homes for sale fell to just 44 weeks of inventory at the end of 2013, a number calculated by dividing the total value of the present inventory on hand by the average weekly sales.

This inventory level is the lowest it’s been in Sussex County in more than two years, another positive sign for the long-term strength of the real estate market in southern Delaware.

“These data points are all extremely positive, which we continue to be excited about here at SCAOR,” says Riedle. “Homes are selling, more Realtors are joining the association and, overall, things are very much looking up for our area and for our industry. We are all very excited moving forward.”

The National Association of Realtors reports that homeowners across the country who purchased homes in 2006 and 2007, at the height of the boom, are now largely in positive equity after several years of being underwater on their mortgages.

This national data is according to NAR’s annual Profile of Homebuyers and Sellers.

Back in southern Delaware, year-end figures reveal that 4,542 real estate transactions were completed in Sussex County during 2013, up more than 10 percent from 2012. This includes single-family homes as well as nearly $300 million in townhome and condominium sales, more than $20 million in mobile home sales and nearly $86 million in sales of lots and land.

Commercial real estate, which for some time had been lagging behind the residential sector, continued to show improvement in 2013, with more than $23 million in commercial sales being conducted in the county.

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 www.scaor.com.

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