Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

Through the first two months of 2010, there are good signs in the area real estate market. Surely, there’s not a lot to be jumping for joy about, but there seems to be no disputing optimism can be found in the numbers. The overall picture seems to be improving, as inventory appears to be heading down, while contracts and settlements have increased so far this year. Here’s a recap of a few reports generated by the Coastal Association of Realtors:

— For all of Worcester, settlements increased 42 percent in February and are up 31 percent for the year, increasing from 35 after two months last year to 46 in January and February this year. At the same time, active listings fell 18 percent, from 848 to 695 during the first two months of 2010. The average sale price for February was 89 percent of the listing price.

— In Ocean City, condominium sales are up for the year so far by 19 percent, with 77 settlements reported in January and February compared to 65 in the same time period last year. Contracts so far are about 11 percent, from 114 last year to 126 this year. Consequently, active listings have declined by 11 percent so far this year. It was interesting see the average sale price compared to listing price mirrored the county market with an 89 percent average.

— The news is not so positive for the single-family home market in the resort. Through February, settlements are down 50 percent, from 10 to five, and contracts decreased from 15 to nine in the first two months of the year.

A partisan salvo has been officially fired in Worcester County, and it’s clear the Republican County Commissioners are being targeted. Currently, five of the seven commissioners are Republican (Judy Boggs, Linda Busick, Bud Church, Robert Cowger and Louise Gulyas), while two are Democrats (Jim Purnell and Virgil Shockley). As far as the county goes, party identifications rarely matter, as there’s no particular inclination or trend that supports these folks voting on partisan lines or even using party fundamentals to make their decisions while in office. However, it does matter during election season.

A press release issued this week by the Democratic Central Committee of Worcester County indicates the commission majority is going to be investigated. The press release reads in part, “Many voters believe that commissioners are concerned only with re-election, delivering money to their district and keeping the voters in the dark. … The DCCWC believes this year’s election represents a watershed year for the Worcester County Democratic Party. The Party plans to challenge all candidates seeking office to outline their stance on public policy issues.”

According to the committee, a few issues incumbents will be asked to discuss and detail their stances on include funding the Maintenance of Effort to protect public schools, the county’s high unemployment rate and addressing the existing housing crisis. The committee seems to indicate the candidates from the left best suited to address these issues will be considered. “The Committee will run a county-wide campaign to elect Democrats and particularly those candidates who are in agreement with the same needs for Worcester County that the DCCWC sees as essential for the future,” the release reads.

It didn’t take long for the first taxicab medallion to go on sale. As a matter of fact, it was just a couple days after they were first awarded. Throughout the debate over this new system, city officials often reminded the disgruntled lot the medallions’ value would soar almost immediately after they were given out. While no sale has reportedly taken place yet, a seller placed a medallion online for $500 more than it was worth last week. It’s worth pointing out the city would snag 25 percent of the profit on the medallion. At this point, it’s unknown how much interest the seller has had. One prospective bidder told us this week an email inquiring about its availability was never returned.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.