Rough winter takes toll on local real estate sales

May 2, 2014

Data released recently by the Sussex County Association of Realtors shows the effects of an unusually frigid winter on the area’s housing markets. For the first quarter in nearly three years, home sales were down from the same quarter a year ago, but there are also a few positives to take from this most recent round of data.

As of March 31, 454 homes were sold thus far in Sussex County for a total of just under $150 million. That compares to 651 homes and $180 million during the same period in 2013.

The main reason for the drop, say local real estate experts, is the exceptionally harsh winter experienced by all of southern Delaware in 2014, which proved to be one of the snowiest and coldest on record.

“This winter was definitely tough on home sales, but we are beginning to see things pick up as the weather improves and more people go outside and look at homes,” says Brad Reidle, 2014 president of SCAOR. “We have had several quarters of sustained growth in the last few years so we were bound to see a drop at some point. But I don’t think it would have been as exaggerated as it was if not for the bitter winter we all just endured.”

Single-family home sales for the months of January, February and March fell more than 30 percent over the same quarter last year. The average sale price of a residential home in Sussex County, however, has risen 16 percent over the first quarter of 2013, with the average three-bedroom home selling for $246,198 thus far in the current calendar year.

As of March 31, there were also 632 homes in Sussex County that were under contract and expected to go to settlement within the next few weeks.

More than $149 million in local real estate has been sold through the first quarter of 2014 in Sussex County, in the single-family market segment alone. Also, nearly $44 million has been generated in condominium and/or townhome sales, nearly $4 million in mobile home sales and more than $19 million in sales of land.

Sussex County’s commercial market also continues a slow rebound. More than $8 million has been generated in the commercial sector thus far in 2014, which indicates a 50 percent increase in sales volume from the first quarter of 2013. There are also 12 commercial sales pending as of March 31, with projected sales of more than $7.3 million.

The Sussex County Association of Realtors was chartered in 1949 and has steadily grown in size, scope and mission during its more than six decades in Sussex County. It is a professional trade association with goals of carrying out a program of education and advocacy for real estate 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, go to


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