Home sales and prices
Delaware’s housing market is forecast to continue on a path of slow, but
sustained, growth in the near term, according to a report by PNC Financial Services Group. Still, existing-home prices as of second-quarter 2016
were off the pre-recession peak by 15 percent, compared to 7 percent
nationally. Residential-permit activity is expanding and on track with
national trends, PNC reports, although it is still only at about half of the
new-building pace recorded prior to the housing-bubble years.
Through the first nine months of 2016, some 9, 160 home sales were recorded statewide, according to data from Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.
That compares to 8,919 home sales in the same period a year earlier. The
median sales price for a home in Delaware hit a post-recession peak of
$242,000 in July 2010, but has since failed to reach that mark again, and
stood at $233,000 as of this past September, Long & Foster’s data shows.
Delaware Home Sales
Source: Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.
Median sales price Total home sales
By Bill Conroy
What the locals say
Delaware’s economy is struggling to regain traction.
Delaware earned its nickname, “The First State,” because it was the first of the
13 original colonies to ratify the U.S. Constitution on Dec. 7, 1787.
Delaware also has one of the fastest-growing job markets in the nation, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In addition, The First State is a national leader in business incorporations and describes itself as the corporate
capital of the world — a byproduct of Delaware’s business-friendly laws and
In fact, about 1 million business entities, including more than 50 percent
of all publicly traded companies and 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies,
are legally domiciled in the state, and the total number of business entities
incorporated in Delaware annually exceeds 170,000. The finance and insurance sector accounts for more than a quarter of the state’s GDP, dwarfing
other industry segments, such as health care, 7 percent; manufacturing, at
6.1 percent; and tourism, 5 percent.
The strength of Delaware’s financial sector, however, is tempered by the
state’s sputtering economic growth in recent years — with gross domestic product (GDP) expanding by only 2 percent in 2015, compared with
4. 3 percent the prior year, U.S. Department of Commerce figures show. A
June 2016 study prepared by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University ranked the state 38th for fiscal health for the year ended June 30, 2014,
down from 30th the prior fiscal year — the largest drop among the 50 states.
Part of Delaware’s economic slowdown is attributable to woes afflicting its
jobs market. The Economist reported that from 2009 to 2014, Delaware was
the only state that recorded a drop in hourly and weekly wages, despite a
low unemployment rate.
That wage decline and state’s faltering GDP growth is set against a decline
in large public and private companies incorporating in the state — down
11 percent in 2015, compared with 2000. Although the number of smaller
companies incorporating in the state has increased, those deals generate less
lucrative work and wages, the business publication reported. In addition, sal-aries have declined in Delaware’s finance industry overall since the recession.
Another economic setback for the state came with an announcement in late
2015 that chemical-maker DuPont Co. was cutting 1,700 jobs — or some
24 percent of the company’s employees in the state — as it prepares to
merge with Dow Chemical Co. in a $130 billion deal that is still under scrutiny
by European antitrust regulators. n
Broker/owner, Mann and Sons Inc. Realtors, and
2016 president, Delaware Association of Realtors
“Delaware has very low property taxes and attracts folks
from surrounding states that have higher property taxes,
and they want a second home or possibly go straight into
a retirement property. … I expect our housing market
to have steady growth [going forward], without a lot of
peaks and valleys. That wins the race, doesn’t it? And it’s
good for everybody.”