A Week In Business – March 26, 2021

A Week In Business – March 26, 2021
A graphic details real estate market data points. Image courtesy of Coastal Association of REALTORS®

Real Estate Market Update

BERLIN – What is housing inventory and why does it matter? In short, “months of inventory” is a snapshot of time taken at the end of the month. It is the number of houses that are for sale (active listings) divided by the average number of homes sold in either the last 12 months or last month.

A healthy real estate market is said to have 8-12 months of inventory available. When inventory goes above 12 months there are more houses than buyers and it becomes a buyers’ market. When inventory drops below eight months, it becomes a seller’s market and prices start to go up because homes are harder to buy. There are currently 1.56 months of inventory available in the lower three counties and it continues to drop.

Because inventory is low, home prices continue to rise. The median home price in February was $256,500, which is up from $255,000 in January and up $31,500 from February of 2020. There are only 418 active listings in the lower three counties compared to 1,353 in February 2020.

In all three counties throughout February, new settlements were up 43.6% compared to the same time last year. Individually, new settlements throughout January were up by 29.7% in Wicomico, 45% in Worcester, and 110% in Somerset.

New listings in January were down 9.7% compared to the same time last year in all three counties. Individually, new listings were down by 11.6% in Worcester, 1.4% in Wicomico, and 28.1% in Somerset from February of 2020.

Active listings in all three counties were down by 62.7%. Individually, there were 276 active listings in Worcester, 162 in Wicomico, and 66 in Somerset.

The average Cumulative Days on Market (CDOM) for January was 37, or 53.8% less than the same time last year. Over the last five years, the average DOM was 90 for February.

“Homes are not sitting on the market,” said CAR President Joni Martin Williamson. “Buyers are competing for homes on the first day they land on the MLS, and sometimes even before they hit the market. In many cases, we are seeing offers above list price and buyers are trying to remove as many contingencies as possible to make their offer the most attractive.”

Williamson added, “We need new homes and unfortunately that is not something that happens overnight. The lower shore needs to do everything it can to make itself attractive to home builders and businesses and government needs to work with developers to incentivize smart growth. Lack of inventory affects everyone but it hits new home buyers the hardest. Accessing to affordable housing and all levels continues to be a cornerstone of the Coastal Association of REALTORS®.”


Plaza Building Sold

SALISBURY — Tonney Insley, advisor with SVN | Miller Commercial Real Estate, recently settled on the building known as The Plaza Building, a three-story, approximately 4,000-square-foot office building located downtown.

This is the third deal Insley has completed downtown with local investor, Bret Davis. According to Insley, 132 E Main Street (part of the proposed Ross Apartments) and The City Center (located just next door to the Plaza Building) both are older properties that will be redeveloped into anchor locations in downtown Salisbury. In each of these deals, Insley represented the sellers of the properties and Bret Davis represented the buyer side.

“Our goal for the Plaza Building is to refresh the office space and cut out a section of flooring to allow both the second and third floor to view all the natural light from the massive 20-foot main windows,” Davis said.

Insley had represented the owners of the Plaza Building for several years handling the property leasing.

“It has been a great pleasure to be part of the revitalization of downtown and to work with Bret and other developers on the rebirth of Main Street in Salisbury. I was glad to assist in guiding the sellers through this process,” said Insley.

The downtown Salisbury market has been active in 2021 as it has been for the past year or so with Insley having been part of over 10 transactions in downtown totaling over 100,000 square feet and over $4.5 million in value. As Insley settled this deal, he also has two others on Main Street under contract.


Comcast Now Serving Pines

BERLIN – Comcast announced it has completed construction in Ocean Pines, expanding the company’s advanced fiber-optic network to 8,352 homes.

In addition to Gigabit internet service, residential customers in Ocean Pines will have access to all Xfinity services, including the Xfinity X1 video platform, Xfinity Home, Xfinity Voice and Xfinity Mobile. Businesses in the area will be able to select from the full suite of Comcast Business products and services, including Ethernet network speeds up to 100 Gigabits-per-second.

Comcast also will offer Internet Essentials, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program, providing low-cost broadband service, digital literacy training and discounted computers.

“We’re excited to bring Comcast’s products and services to some of our residents,” said Ocean Pines Association Treasurer and former President Doug Parks. “We appreciate Comcast’s commitment and investment in our area.”

“Comcast has built a powerful network with a simple purpose – to keep our customers connected,” said Chris Comer, Director, Government & Regulatory Affairs in Comcast’s Beltway Region. “We recognize that technology drives innovation, entrepreneurship and economic growth, and we are excited for our investment in Ocean Pines.”


Amazon Eyes Del. Site

SALISBURY – In partnership with the City of Seaford and Gillis Gilkerson, Principal Brad Gillis of NAI Coastal recently brokered a lease bringing Amazon to the Delmarva Peninsula.

Beginning in May, the corporation will occupy 104,000 square feet and 12 acres of commercial land at 1700 Dulaney Street in Seaford, Del.

“Sussex County is in the midst of experiencing rapid, widespread residential and commercial growth,” said Gillis. “Amazon’s establishment of a physical presence on the Delmarva Peninsula signals the community’s continued development alongside its population.”

Delivery stations like the one planned for Dulaney Street allow Amazon to provide fast and efficient delivery for customers, as well as countless jobs to communities nationwide.

“We are very happy Amazon chose Seaford,” said Mayor David Genshaw. “The creation of new jobs is a huge win for our City and beyond. We look forward to working with them in their efforts to better serve their customers here on Delmarva.”

Upon completion of renovations, the new Amazon facility is expected to bring hundreds of full and part-time jobs starting at $15 per hour to Seaford. With parking for 550-plus vehicles and convenient access to interstates leading to Washington D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia and Wilmington, the Dulaney Street property is positioned to become one of the Eastern Shore’s leading distribution centers.


New Restaurant For Fenwick

FENWICK ISLAND — SoDel Concepts’ President Scott Kammerer announced the plan to open the company’s newest restaurant, Matt’s Fish Camp Fenwick, in the former location of Ropewalk Fenwick Island. This will be the third Matt’s Fish Camp location. The concept has become a favorite of locals and visitors to the Delaware Beaches over the past nine years with a simple menu that focuses on fresh local seafood and coastal comfort classics.

Located at 700 Coastal Highway in Fenwick Island, the menu at Matt’s Fish Camp Fenwick will emulate that of the other Matt’s Fish Camp locations with favorites like colossal crab cakes and lobster rolls but will also feature some chef inspired dishes available only at the Fenwick location.

“We are really excited about this opportunity as a company,” said Kammerer. “With this new restaurant we can continue to pay tribute to our founder Matt Haley, the restaurant’s namesake, and serve great food in a beautiful space along Delaware’s Coast. We will be open year-round and will offer indoor and outdoor dining.”