A Week In Business – November 11, 2016

biz-aMayor Rick Meehan recently presented a Town of Ocean City proclamation to congratulate the Howard Johnson Boardwalk Plaza on being named the top Howard Johnson in North America. Pictured, from left, are Dave Robinson, vice president of the Boardwalk Hotel Group; Mary Susan Jones, general manager of the Howard Johnson Plaza; Meehan, who is reading the proclamation; and owner Charles “Buddy” Jenkins. Photo courtesy of OC Chamber of Commerce

October Market Update

BERLIN – For the first time in seven months, local inventory increased on the Lower Eastern Shore, according to the latest figures from the Coastal Association of REALTORS® (CAR).

A snapshot of the October real estate highlights is shown. Image courtesy of CAR

A snapshot of the October real estate highlights is shown. Image courtesy of CAR

October saw an overall four-percent bump in new local listings compared to the same time last year in Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties. This increase was driven primarily by a 34.7-percent increase in condominium listings in Wicomico County. Single family home listings were down by 13.6 percent in Wicomico, by 11.2 percent in Worcester and by 16 percent in Somerset. Condominium listings remained steady in Somerset and decreased by 33.3 percent in Worcester.

New contract, or pending sales, activity stayed up slightly in October, recording an overall 2.7 percent increase in the Tri-County area. However, the area saw a 17 percent dip in new settlements. Worcester and Wicomico counties reported decreases in single family and condominium settlements, while numbers remained steady in Somerset.

Days on market were largely up in October, with the Lower Shore in its entirety reflecting a 31.5-percent increase compared to the previous month. Worcester County condominiums saw the highest spike, with data reflecting a 45.7-percent increase. Wicomico County condominiums increased by 44 percent and Somerset County single family homes increased by 36 percent. Days on market were down by four percent among single family homes in Worcester County and by 9.5 percent among single family homes in Wicomico County.

Listing and sales prices were down overall by 17 percent and 17.3 percent, respectively, with the average listing price being $163,076 and the average sales price being $155,976.

“Although it wasn’t a huge jump, the inventory increase is encouraging, seeing as though we’ve been struggling with decreased listings for much of this year,” said CAR President Don Bailey. “Hopefully it’s a sign that sellers are becoming a bit more confident in the market and are taking those first steps to list their homes.”

CAR’s monthly local housing statistics are pulled from the association’s Multiple Listing Service, which represents the activity of over 1,000 local REALTORS® in Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties.

Hotel Renovation Begins

SALISBURY – Gillis Gilkerson announced renovations to the oceanfront Park Place Hotel on 2nd Street have begun. The 70,627-square-foot renovation project will add an entire floor and expanded pool deck to the existing hotel.

“Adding an entire floor to the top of a 17-year-old hotel is a unique renovation,” said Dwight Miller, president of Gillis Gilkerson. “The added amenities and extra space will further enhance visitor experience to an already highly rated hotel in Ocean City.”

Other additions include a new pool, pool deck with glass railings, gym, laundry room and trash tower. Renovations will convert two sets of rooms into suites equipped with full kitchens and separate bedrooms. The old pool will be transformed into a splash pool and balconies will be added to the sixth and seventh floor.

“Now is the time to take on a project of this scope and size,” said Bill Douglas, hotel representative. “We are on a tight timeline because of the nature of the business we are in. Superintendent Bill Schiavo is a great guy to work with and we are very comfortable with Gillis Gilkerson’s reputation in the community. We have no doubt that Palmer and Dwight will deliver on time and within budget.”

Park Place Hotel closed on Sept. 26 and work started immediately. Currently, the Gillis Gilkerson crew is finishing up demolition, tearing up blacktop, driving structural piling and making preparations for concrete and steel work.

Fair Housing Contest Open

BERLIN – The Coastal Association of REALTORS® (CAR) is encouraging local teachers to participate in the annual Fair Housing Calendar Contest, which sends the winning student to Annapolis for a meeting with the governor or other state official.

Sponsored by the Maryland Association of REALTORS® (MAR), the contest is a means for REALTORS® across the state to help increase awareness of this important issue. “Fair housing” pertains to the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in the sale and rental of housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or handicap. The contest aims to teach children that discrimination is not only wrong, but illegal.

Artwork submitted by students must illustrate this year’s calendar theme, “I ♥ Fair Housing.” CAR will choose a local winner from each of three counties: Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester. These winners will receive Visa gift cards, courtesy of CAR. Their entries will be forwarded to MAR, who will choose one for inclusion in the 2017 statewide calendar. The winner will travel to Annapolis, where they will be honored along with 12 other students from across the state.

Contest packets have been mailed to the principals of public and private schools in Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties. Home schools, aftercare programs, churches and other children’s centers are encouraged to participate. For a contest packet, contact Sarah Rayne, Government and Public Affairs Director for CAR, at 410-641-4409 or [email protected]. Deadline for submissions is Feb. 10, 2017.