A Week In Business – November 17, 2017

October Market Recap

BERLIN – The local real estate market is seeing increased pending contracts and home prices compared to last year, according to the latest numbers from the Coastal Association of REALTORS® (CAR).


A summary of the October housing market is pictured courtesy of the Coastal Association of Realtors. Submitted Image

October saw a 29.7 percent jump in single family home and condominium contracts compared to the same time last year in Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties. Individually, single family home contracts increased by 34.7 percent in Worcester County, by 20.2 percent in Wicomico, and by 26.7 percent in Somerset. Condominium contracts increased by 29.3 percent in Worcester, by 200 percent in Wicomico, and remained the same in Somerset.

Settlements were down slightly – by 3.5 percent – in the tri-county area. Individually, single family home settlements were up by 15.6 percent in Worcester County and by 45.5 percent in Somerset, but were down by 42.7 percent in Wicomico. Condominium settlements were up by 16.3 percent in Worcester, but were down by 27.3 percent in Wicomico and by 100 percent in Somerset.

Inventory dipped back down in October, with the entire area seeing an overall 18.4 percent decrease in listings. Individually, single family listings were down by 25.7 percent in Worcester, but were up by 9.6 percent in Wicomico and by 14.3 percent in Somerset. Condominium listings were down by 33.2 percent in Worcester and by 50 percent in Somerset, but were up by 42.9 percent in Wicomico.

Days on market were down overall by 6.4 percent. Listing prices were up by 0.8 percent and sale prices were up by 1.7 percent.

“The dip in both inventory and days on market indicates increased market activity, which is encouraging and probably attributable in part to the mild fall we’re experiencing, which is favorable weather for house shopping,” said CAR President Joel Maher. “Settlements were only down very slightly, and pending contracts are up, so it’s shaping up to be a very active fall on the Lower Shore.”


Hospital Expanding Health Literacy Effort

BERLIN Atlantic General Hospital and Health System, along with its partners, the Herschel S. Horowitz Center for Health Literacy at the University of Maryland College Park School of Public Health and Worcester County Public Schools, continue to make measurable improvements in the health literacy levels of elementary and middle school students in Worcester County.

Health literacy is measured by an individual’s ability to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. A high level of health literacy is crucial to achieving a healthy lifestyle and properly utilizing healthcare services.

Integrated Health Literacy Program (IHLP) standards help guide teachers in developing lesson plans for core area classrooms (math, reading language arts, science, and social studies) that include basic health literacy concepts and skills. The integrated lessons vary depending on grade level that the program is implemented.

Lesson topics include the role of heroin use in the criminal justice system in social studies class or how opioids affect the brain chemically during science class. During the 2016-2017 school year, seventh and eighth grade teachers at Stephen Decatur Middle School piloted the IHLP within their core area classrooms. The sixth grade curriculum was also expanded countywide, while teachers in grades one through five continued to implement the IHLP curriculum.

The IHLP completed its fourth year with pre-testing all sixth grade students in the county and seventh and eighth grade students at Stephen Decatur Middle School prior to implementation of the curriculum in the fall and then again post-curriculum implementation in the spring. The results for the 2016-2017 school year show demonstrate significant positive impact of the program.

There was a statistically significant increase in the percentage of students who moved into the highest health literacy score range. Sixth grade realized an increase of more than 15 percentage points. Seventh grade high health literacy scores increased by nearly 16 percentage points, and eighth grade by nearly eight points.

At post-test, 69.5 percent of eighth graders reported being extremely confident they could say “no” when a friend is pressuring them to try illicit drugs such as heroin, a statistically significant improvement over pre-test results.

“Individuals have to understand basic health principles before they can become active and effective partners in their own care. We’re pleased with the results.” said Michael Franklin, CEO of Atlantic General Hospital.