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Look back at 2010 real estate in Coastal Delaware

It's a chilly day in January, a good time to take a look back at 2010 and see what it tells us about the real estate market in Coastal Delaware. Bill and I moved here in 2003 and have specialized and focused on Baby Boomers who either live here or want to live here at some point. What kind of home are Boomers buying in what kind of community? How many bought homes in 55+ communities? Is the average sales price going up or down? The real estate market was hot in the early 2000s. By the time I got established, the sellers market had hit the skids, but 2007 was my very best year.

How did 2010 compare to 2007?

For transactions in which we have represented the buyer or the seller, the average sales price has risen every year from 2007 through 2010. In 2007, the average sales price was $255,000; in 2010, the average price was up to $295,000! During that same time period, the average sales price of all homes in Sussex County went down from $366,000 in 2007 to $306,000 in 2010. Im not sure how to interpret this but Ill guess that overall there were fewer high end vacation home buyers and more retirement home buyers. When we talk averages, we run the gamut from manufactured homes to oceanfront properties.

Did all of our buyer clients buy homes in 55+ communities?

You might think so since that is how many Boomers begin their search. In fact only 12% of our buyer clients bought homes in an age restricted community in 2010. In 2009, the number was 15% and looking ahead to contracts already executed for 2011, our forecast is 10% buying in a 55+ community vs. 90% buying in all-ages communities, in town or in the county.

What about new construction vs. resale homes?

Another good question. Through 2009 our ratio seemed to hold pretty steady around 50/50 with about half of all clients buying new construction and the rest buying a resale home. In 2010, over 60% of our buyer clients purchased a new home and looking ahead to 2011, 87% of the contracts already executed are for new construction. Im curious to see how the rest of the year will affect that percentage.

Energy efficiency mattered in 2010

In 2010 we noticed a major trend toward more energy efficient homes. In past years I would encourage buyers to spend first on more insulation or upgraded HVAC before buying granite counters and bonus rooms. This past year, they actually did! I think the builders are also paying attention. Todays buyers are better educated and they are paying attention to quality of windows and HVAC systems. They are asking for more insulation and whether the builder is using 2 x 6 construction and conditioned crawl spaces. You can always replace a counter top later but the best time to add energy efficiency is when a home is being built.

I hope you enjoyed this snapshot of how we see the market in Coastal Delaware from the perspective of a Baby Boomer. What trends are you noticing and what do you think is most important for the next decade? Share your thoughts!

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  1. Gail Alm on

    Very interesting information Kathy! I was especially impressed with the Energy Efficiency data. Thanks for sharing!