Building in Rehoboth Beach is booming. Local builders attribute the increase to pent-up demand and rising confidence in the economy.
For realtor and builder William Gamuciello, who has been in Rehoboth since 1975, said the this year's new housing construction is in line with what it was before the real estate market crashed in 2008. Gamuciello has five ongoing projects with three more on tap for August.
He said home buyers are more confident in the economy, and they are taking advantage of interest rates that remain relatively low, at 5 percent on a 30-year mortgage.
“The banks have opened up, where money was hard to get before,” he said. “But it’s almost like it was before the crash.”
Realtor and builder Dave McCarthy agrees. After the recession of 2008, “a lot of people were on hold for a while. Now they’re feeling more comfortable,” he said.
McCarthy also said Rehoboth housing is in short supply. “There’s huge demand to live in town, to have the Rehoboth lifestyle, but not a lot of inventory," he said.
McCarthy usually does two new construction projects per year, but this year, he has four underway, with a fifth starting next month. “I haven’t seen this much building in town,” he said.
McCarthy said property owners want their homes built in time for summer for personal use or for rental income.
He said with land values in Rehoboth getting into the $1 million range, property owners want a home that reflects a $1 million piece of property.
Gamuciello, who sells and develops mainly beach-block lots, said the most recent beach block lot he sold went for $2.3 million. Even a second block lot, he said, sold for $1.9 million.
Building inspector Terri Sullivan said there were nearly 90 building permits in February and again in March, although the pace slowed in April. While the department is always busy this time of year, she said, this year has seen more building than usual.