The pAce oF recovery in The FirST STATe iSn’T ex Ac Tly FirST-rATe, Bu T delAWAre’S reBound
could Become more pronounced in The yeArS To come.
The finance and insurance industries make up a significant portion of Delaware’s economy — they comprised 15. 3 percent of the state’s total wages in 2011, according to the Delaware Department of Labor.
Any national financial problems in the future could present a challenge to the state’s recovery. That
said, Delaware has several reasons to feel optimistic about the coming years. The state’s real gross
domestic product (GDp) grew by 1.6 percent in 2011, ranking Delaware first among the 50 states for
highest per capita real GDp at $63,159. In addition, a recent report from JpMorgan Chase & Co. projects
the state’s employment and economy as a whole to improve this year, and the Delaware State Housing
Authority projects that the state’s number of households will increase by more than 50,000 by 2015.
Delaware’s housing prices appear to be improving, as well, especially in Kent County, which posted
year-over-over median sales price increases in all but one quarter last year. The state also has increased
its single-family housing production in each of the past three years, with 2,957 new single-family homes
built in 2012, according to the Delaware State Housing Authority.
Wilmington home sales
Wilming Ton home SAleS And SAleS price
The seat of New Castle County
and the largest city in the state,
Wilmington benefits from its proximity to several other cities. philadelphia
is about 32 miles northeast, and
Newark — Delaware’s third-largest
city — is about 13 miles southwest.
The Delaware State Housing Authority
projects New Castle County’s population to grow by almost 19,000 people
Although Wilmington’s average home
sales price experienced monthly year-over-year declines for most of 2012,
prices have begun to climb recently. According to the New Castle County Board of realtors, Wilmington’s
average home sales price increased year over year each month between this past September and this past
January. At that time, the city’s average home sales price was $144,992.
Source: Ne w Castle County Board of realtors
delAWAre ForecloSure FilingS
Between 2009 and 2012, Delaware
watched its number of foreclosures
climb — and climb quickly. According
to realty Trac, the state had a total of
828 foreclosures in first-quarter ’09,
but by first-quarter ’ 12, that number
had jumped to 1,907. That quarter
proved to be the height of Delaware’s
foreclosure troubles, however. Since
then, the number has declined and
was at 962 total foreclosures this
past fourth quarter.
Source: realty Trac
Compared to the other states in
the South Atlantic region, Delaware’s percentage of loans in foreclosure — 3. 44 percent this past
third quarter — falls somewhere in the middle, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
3 Cities to Watch
The capital of Delaware, Dover is also the seat of
Kent County, which makes up the middle portion of
the state. The area’s largest employer is the state
government, but the city and surrounding county
also benefit from the presence of Dover Air Force
Base. Kent County — whose population is projected
to grow by about 9,000 people by 2015 — had a
median home price of $176,000 this past year.
Thanks to the presence of the University of
Delaware and nearby Wilmington, Newark boasts a
number of favorable qualities. The city has a lower
unemployment rate than Delaware as a whole, and
its population has a median age that’s younger than
the national norm. The city has a highly educated
population, as well, with more than half of its residents holding four-year degrees.
Located in Sussex County — the southern-most
of Delaware’s three counties — rehoboth Beach
is a popular vacation destination, boasting miles
of beaches and a pair of state parks to the city’s
north and south. Sussex County’s housing market
appears to be on the rebound. This past year’s total sales volume marked a 14 percent increase from
2011. Sussex County’s average home price was
$366,298 this past fourth quarter.
wHAT THE LOCALS SAy
In late 2007, Delaware’s unemployment rate began to increase and climbed from 3. 6 percent in October
’07 to 8. 5 percent in January ’ 10. From there, however, the rate has declined steadily, incrementally
dropping or remaining the same each month until June 2011, when it briefly stalled at 7. 4 percent.
Unemployment has declined more since then, dipping to 6. 9 percent this past December. That said,
employment gains seem to be stalling again, as December’s unemployment rate was only fractionally
stronger than January 2012’s rate of 7 percent.
“What I think is going to happen here [in Sussex
County] is that we’re going to have another five
to seven years of growth with retirees and baby
boomers moving here, and I think we’ll see the area
grow with some economic development to sustain
the retirees who are going to be living here.”
— STEVE MORgAN, MORTgAgE PROfESSIONAL, fAIRfAX
MOR TgAgE INVESTMEN TS INC.
raymond Fleischmann is an associate editor at Scotsman Guide. reach him at (800) 297-6061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sources: Bureau of Economic Analysis, Cityof NewarkDE.us, Cityofrehoboth.com,
Delaware Department of Labor, Delaware State Housing Authority, JpMorgan Chase
& Co., Kent Economic partnership Inc., Mortgage Bankers Association, Ne w Castle
Board of realtors, realty Trac, Sussex County Association of realtors, U. S. Census
Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor