OCEAN CITY – August real estate sales in Ocean City were down this year, according to a recent report, leading industry representatives to say that now is the time to buy.
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s Gregg Holland, the new president of the Coastal Association of Realtors, reported to Ocean City’s Economic Development Committee (EDC) this week that real estate sales in Ocean City decreased 17 percent in August.
According to Holland, that 17 percent refers to the number of sales that made it to settlement in August. Contracts are down 20 percent, he said.. September numbers were not yet available, Holland said.
Units are selling for roughly 90 percent of the listing price. The average real estate listing in Ocean City is offered at $446,000, but sale prices average $403,000.
Prices on Ocean City properties have been reduced on average 9.8 percent. Some properties have been reduced by just 6 or 7 percent recently, Holland said, because they had already seen their prices reduced once.
“We’re still seeing buyers holding back,” said Holland.
Many buyers are still on the fence because they are waiting for the bottom to drop out of the Ocean City real estate market, he said, which is good news.
“This shows you the bottom isn’t dropping out,” said Holland.
Opportunities to find good deals on properties are out there, according to Holland.
“It is a great time to be buying real estate in Ocean City, Md.,” he said.
EDC Chair Dr. Lenny Berger, owner of the Clarion Fontainebleau Hotel and other resort properties, agreed the time is right to buy.
“It is a buyers market. There’s lots of houses, condos available. Now is the time to buy,” said Berger. “I’m a big believer in real estate. It’s not going to collapse.”
For home buying to rebound, the federal government needs to take some steps, Berger said, to help people hang onto their homes and to promote home purchasing, through some kind of housing stimulus bill., which could provide abatement on foreclosures or lower property taxes, he suggested.
“The whole economy is based on the housing market. The government has to realize it,” Berger said.
Ocean City property owners who make their home in the resort should be certain to fill out the homeowner tax credit application that will come with the notice of their new property assessment level in December, said Bob Smith, Worcester County tax assessor, at the meeting. If the form is not filled out and sent in, homeowners will not get the credit.