A new report from real estate giant Redfin finds that the demand for vacation homes is down — way down.
According to Redfin, “Mortgage-rate locks for second homes were down 52% from pre-pandemic levels (January and February of 2020) on a seasonally adjusted basis in March, compared with a 13% decline for primary homes.” They hit their lowest point since 2016 in February and stayed roughly as low in March.
Redfin put the blame on a lack of new listings, elevated mortgage rates, high home prices, and inflation.
While that may be the case nationally, it certainly doesn’t jive with what real estate agents are seeing for Delaware beach properties, a favorite spot for Northern Virginians to relax.
“While I agree with their assessment with regard to Q4 2022 and Q1 2023, I don’t see a trend and I am not so sure that interest rates have much to do with a decline in Bethany Beach sales year-over-year and more to do with a severe lack of inventory,” says Allison Stine, who leads her team for Northrop Realty and is president of the Sussex County Association of Realtors.
Sussex County is where Fenwick Island, Bethany Beach, Dewey Beach, and Rehoboth Beach are located.
Stine says the median sales price in Bethany Beach is $854,500, up 6.5 percent over the same period last year.
“With less than three month’s supply of housing inventory in the county, sellers are still pushing price, which is increasing ‘days on market’ and causing some buyers to take a wait and see approach,” she says.
“If you compare just inside the city limits of Bethany Beach each year from 2020 to 2022, there were 263 new listings and 271 sales with about half of those occurring in 2020, no question, but the demand is there, the inventory is not,” Stine says.
Christine McCoy, team leader with The Real McCoy Group, is seeing the same thing with vacation homes.
She says while there are some listings that sit, others get several offers, and “you can’t move fast enough for good properties at the beach.”
She describes one property as having been listed “way” over price that was in a great development, “and they were under multiple offers before we could even get our offer in” for her clients.
“You move inland a little bit, of course, away from the beach market, and we’re experiencing a little bit of a slowdown, but when I say slowdown, it’s taking like 60 to 90 days to sell a house,” McCoy says. “When I started, it was 180 days to sell a house anywhere.”
McCoy says her team — which operates in Kent and Sussex counties in Delaware, as well as Worcester County where Ocean City and Berlin are located — is performing better than it did last year.
However, McCoy says, “We have a lot of buyers and nothing to sell them.”
While demand may be down elsewhere, it’s just as hot as it ever was for Delaware beach properties.
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