What Is The Quickest Growing County In Delaware

What Is The Quickest Growing County In Delaware

If you guessed Sussex County you be correct.  Grow rate at the Delaware beaches is at 7%.  Here is an informative article about the real estate market being fueled by out of states moving into it for all the benefits we have to offer.

Peter

302-218-2790


Miniscule taxes, close to the beach, less traffic, a better economic climate, a chance to start living where they plan to retire.

Bob and Mary Stone can tick off several reasons for moving last September from their suburb north of Baltimore to the subtropical-by-comparison atmosphere of Rehoboth Beach. It was the right move personally and professionally, they say.

"It was just really the opportunity career-wise," said Bob Stone, a sales manager for one of the area's biggest home builders. "The market is booming compared to Baltimore."

Their new location also suits Mary Stone's career path. She shares the same job title and often the same office with her husband.

In that regard, the couple has a front row seat to one of the most pivotal dramas in Sussex County's history: its transformation from a sleepy farming and retirement community to a sprawling resort.

With a growth rate of nearly 7 percent since 2010, Sussex was the fastest-growing county in Delaware, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released Thursday.

As of last year, Sussex's population stood at an estimated 210,849, up from 197,145 in 2010, the Census reported.

That growth was fueled by people just like the Stones.

"Sussex County rose almost exclusively by net migration," said Ed Ratledge, a University of Delaware demographer.

Of all the newcomers, an average of 19 out of 20 moved to the county from elsewhere in the United States or beyond. In a reflection of the county's aging population, the birth rate just barely outpaced the death rate, generating a net increase of 346 people over the span.

The overall 6.95 percent growth rate, however, represented a slowdown compared with the previous five years. From 2006-2010, Sussex grew at a 9.35 percent clip.

Ratledge's explanation: When the housing bubble burst nationally, homeowners found it difficult to sell and move anywhere, let alone the First State. The number of people streaming into Sussex slipped from about 4,500 annually to 3,200.

But that reprieve, if that's what it can be called, might not last long.

"Sussex looks like it's kind of repairing itself," Ratledge said. "The housing market still has a long way to go. The number of second-home buyers is still down."

But, he added, coastal Sussex, in particular, is "still very, very attractive for retirees."

That's the Stones' message to potential buyers.

Their "office" is actually a den-like room inside a roomy model home in a half-finished subdivision called Windstone. Developed by Wilmington-based Capano Management, the community is one of several of its kind under construction along Cave Neck Road between Lewes and Milton.

Home prices start at just shy of $260,000. There's public water and sewer. The homeowners association fees are a manageable $130 a month.

"We're dealing with an educated buyer," Bob Stone said. "By the time they get here, they've already talked to their financial adviser or accountant. They're buying power is greater than in Maryland, New York, New Jersey."

The couple estimates that 50-70 percent of their buyers are looking for primary homes, depending on the time of year.

The Census release offered the first look at 2014 population statistics for counties and metropolitan areas nationwide.

On the Lower Shore of Maryland, compared with 2010, Wicomico's populace expanded by 2.8 percent; Worcester was up nearly a half-percent; and Somerset shrank by 2.3 percent.

With its net decrease of 611 people, Somerset had the biggest numerical decrease in population in Maryland outside of Alleghany. Its births outpaced deaths by six individuals over that span, but a net of 615 moved away and never came back, according to the figures.

On the Eastern Shore of Virginia, both Accomack and Northampton have seen their ranks grow thinner since 2010. Accomack was down a half-percent; Northampton, 2.2 percent.

One of the biggest drivers of Sussex's population is its large and growing stock of new homes on the market, said William McCain, a real estate consultant based in Salisbury. Other parts of Delmarva are struggling to compete for buyers because they can't offer as much of a variety of home choices.

"We've always noticed a difference in the markets, but it's gotten more profound in recent years," he said.

While house prices fell in 2014 in the Lower Shore counties by 5-7 percent, they rose in Sussex by 4 percent, according to McCain's research.

The challenge for Delaware's southernmost county lies in the years ahead, Ratledge said. County officials will need to find other ways to finance infrastructure improvements and provide additional services since tax revenues from the new residents probably won't cover their tab.

Growth by percentage

Percentage of population growth from 2010 to 2014

Sussex

6.95 percent


Peter Meyer Headshot
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Phone: 302-218-2790
Dated: April 3rd 2015
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About Peter: Licensed Broker / Owner specializing in residential and commercial properties. I started my career ...

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