Delaware Housing Market

Learn more about the housing market in Delaware

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Delaware Housing Market Trends & Forecast

July 1, 2024

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Every state is unique when it comes to the real estate market. That’s why it’s critical to understand the market you live or operate in. Whether you’re renting, buying, or selling, it will impact many aspects of your life.  

Delaware Housing Market Overview 

Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution and remains an important historical area for our nation. It also has a booming array of companies and businesses taking advantage of its low taxation and business-friendly legislation.  

What should buyers and sellers know about the health of the Delaware housing market?  

Buyers should beware of Delaware’s low inventory. With interest rates as high as they are, homeowners feel stuck in their current rates and are reluctant to move, as is typical for the rest of the nation right now. To remedy the low inventory of existing homes, new construction has ticked up, allowing homeowners to create homes they do not see in the market.  

Delaware’s location makes it a popular choice for those wanting to be close to major cities without the major city feel. Many former residents of New York City flee to Delaware—this area keeps them within the same region but has a much lower cost of living. Cost of living is still almost 1% more than the national average, but compared to the areas incoming Delaware homeowners are coming from, it is much lower. Delaware also offers a much more affordable property tax rate than its Northeast neighbors.  

What else is helpful to know when thinking of entering the Delaware housing market? In this article, we’ll cover key metrics and statistics for the 2024 Delaware housing market that all prospective home buyers and investors in the state should know. 

Delaware Housing Market Trends 

To understand the Delaware real estate market, it’s important to keep up with trends. Let’s look at some key ones in Delaware: 

Note: These statistics are based on Redfin’s monthly housing data from April 2024. 

Median Home Price 

The median sale price for a home in Delaware in May 2024 was $360,800. This marks a 10.5% year-over-year increase and puts Delaware on the lower end of home prices, according to Redfin’s monthly housing data 

Number of Homes Sold in April 2024 

There were 635 homes sold in Delaware this April, up 5.1% from April of 2023. About 41.6% of homes sell above list price, signifying a seller’s market. Last year, the number of homes sold above list price was 1.3% lower. However, keep in mind that this number might be inflated compared to other months since nationally speaking, sales usually peak during the spring and summer months and slow in the winter. In fact, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) predicts that in February and March alone, sales activity increases by as much as 34% and prices by 3%. 

Median Days on Market (DOM) 

Days on market (DOM) is a measure of the average length of time a home remains listed on the market before being put under contract. A lower DOM signals a highly competitive seller’s market with more pressure on buyers to make higher offers and remove contingencies. A higher DOM signals a buyer’s market as sales are slower and sellers have less leverage. 

The current median days-on-market (DOM) in Delaware is 22 days. The nation’s average is around 32 days according to Redfin, so Delaware is significantly quicker. This indicates that it’s a seller’s market, since homes tend not to stay on the market for very long. It most likely is due to the low supply in the state, with only a 2 months’ supply 

An area’s housing market supply measures how long it would theoretically take for all the homes in a particular housing market to sell. If the supply is at 6 months, the market is considered balanced. Since the housing market supply in Delaware is currently hovering around only two months, the state is heavily favoring sellers.  

New Supply Statistics 

In May 2024, there were 2,015 homes for sale, which is up 13.5% from last year. Newly listed homes numbered 915, which is also up from last year with an increase of almost 11%. While 2021 and 2022 saw much more new supply than Delaware sees now, the homes being listed seem to be increasing steadily for now.  

Additionally, new construction in Delaware has been heating up, offering buyers an option to potentially customize their home and receive modern finishes and layouts. From the final quarter of 2022 to the same time in 2023, the rate of authorized new construction permits jumped 16%. Some experts say this jump in Delaware housing supply is due to the pent-up demand and shortage of inventory of existing homes. Gated communities are attractive to those seeking new construction— also, gated communities give some buyers a sense of security and offer attractive amenities, some providing a gym or pool in their neighborhood.  

Property Tax Rate 

The average property tax rate in Delaware is currently at 0.61%, according to Rocket Mortgage. The median home price in April 2024 was around $337,200 – if a homebuyer bought at this home price, they would spend, on average, $2,067.97 a year in property tax.  

Delaware has the sixth lowest property tax rate in the country, tying with Louisiana, West Virginia, and Utah. That trait makes Delaware a popular investor tax haven, alongside its attractive lack of sales tax, the only state in the Mid-Atlantic region to not have it. Incorporations in Delaware also benefit from the state’s business-friendly usury laws and light taxation.  

Foreclosure Rate in Q1 of 2024 

Delaware has the highest foreclosure rate in the nation with one in every 894 housing units experiencing foreclosure, according to ATTOM. Since the last quarter of 2023, foreclosures in Delaware have ticked up about 2.43%. The county with the highest rate of foreclosure per housing unit in January of 2024 was Sussex. 

The Mideast was the region with the most representation among the top 10 foreclosure states. Delaware, New Jersey, and Maryland all found themselves in this group. A contributing factor to this rise in foreclosures could be rising property tax assessments, since home values in this area have swiftly increased, making even low mortgage rates unaffordable.  

Hottest Local Markets in Delaware 

  1. Middletown

Middletown home prices skyrocketed 32.2% compared to last year, selling for an average price of around $445,000. The number of homes sold in this area also increased quite a bit, up 22 from this time last year.  

Redfin characterizes this market as very competitive, with houses going pending in around 30 days and hot homes selling for as much as 2% above list price. Some houses can go pending in around 7 days, and some get multiple offers with waived contingencies. 

  1. Dover

The capital of Delaware is the second-most populated city in the state and is seeing a fair amount of growth in its housing market. Home prices are up 6.2% from last year and sell on average at $274,000 

Dover is very competitive, with homes going pending on average after 11 days, with some going pending in only five days. Dover is a more desired area in Kent County, seeing as its neighbors Camden and Wyoming do not tend to sell homes above list price and either sell at list price or below.  

  1. Wilmington

Wilmington home prices have shot up 11.4% from last year, coming to a median home price of $245,000. The median sale price per foot is $171, making it slightly more expensive than the U.S. average of $123 

However, there seems to be a slowing of the housing market, as is characteristic of many cities in the United States, with 115 less homes being sold in Wilmington in May of 2024 than in May of last year. The market is still somewhat competitive, with an average of a couple offers being made on each home and listings going pending in 35 days.  

Despite these metrics, Wilmington generally is a great place to invest due to its low taxation rate and proximity to major cities.  

Economic Factors Impacting the Delaware Housing Market 

A holistic view of Delaware’s housing market requires a basic understanding of the main economic drivers affecting the market. Let’s look at a few critical ones below: 

Mortgage Rates 

As of the writing of this article, average mortgage interest rates in Delaware were 6.79% for a 30-year fixed mortgage and 6.17% for a 15-year fixed mortgage according to Bankrate. Today, the United States average mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage is around 7.42% according to Forbes, though this number changes widely and often.  

From these numbers, Delaware’s mortgage rates are high but not as high as the national average. High mortgage and interest rates discourage many homeowners from listing their properties for fear that their new rates will be higher than their current, contributing to the low supply we see in many states and cities across the nation. Prospective buyers in the Delaware market should continue to monitor the mortgage rates for a better understanding of how they impact the housing market and their ability to afford a home. 

Inflation and Cost of Living 

The Delaware cost of living index is 100.9%, which indicates that living in Delaware is almost 1% more expensive than the nation generally. Delaware’s cost-of-living index has fluctuated substantially in the past few years, though there has been an upward trend from 2017- the first quarter of 2024. 

Using May 2024’s Consumer Price Index, the United States Joint Economic Committee found that households in Delaware are paying $1,166 more per month to access the same goods and services as they were in January 2021. In fact, Delaware households paid $27,937 more due to inflation since the first month of 2021. Delaware ranks 13th in the nation for the most paid in monthly inflation costs. Just compared to 2023, Delaware citizens need to spend $200 more a month to maintain the same living standard. 

However, the average American family paid $1,085 more per month due to inflation, so it’s important to keep in mind that Delaware is not unique in its rising costs. This means fewer people can truly afford to limit housing costs to less than 30% of their monthly income. 

Population Changes and Demographics 

Population growth, employment trends, and migration can all affect the housing market. A growing population and job market indicates more housing market activity and higher demand for properties. 

Compared to many other states, Delaware has seen considerable growth in their population. Since the 2010 Census, Delaware counties have grown anywhere from 9.57% to almost 16%, with Sussex County growing the most at 15.87%. As a whole, Delaware has grown 14.6% over 14 years. Based on these growth rates, Delaware is the 14th fastest growing state in the nation even though it’s the second smallest, larger only than Rhode Island. At its widest point, Delaware is only 35 miles wide. This makes Delaware’s population density the 6th highest, with 460.8 people per square mile, heightening the demand for homes in the state. 

Additionally, from 2021 to 2022, the workforce in Delaware grew about 2.71%, with most workers ranging from 25 to 34. However, in 2023, Delaware had the oldest homebuyers, with 38% of buyers above the age of 55. Comparatively, the nation’s average is 20.7% of above 55 homebuyers.  

Delaware Housing Market Forecast 2024 

What can you expect from the Delaware housing market forecast 2024? While some experts say mortgage interest rates will most likely stay above 6%, they’re expected to stabilize rather than fluctuate as they have been for the past couple years. When those mortgage rates stabilize, it could encourage more buyers to enter the market, especially if inflation starts to ease.  

Delaware property prices are expected to continue rising, as is typical for most of the country for the first half of 2024.  

Delaware is unique due to its appeal to housing investors. With its advantageous East Coast location and its low property tax, landlords are more inclined to look in this area for investment properties. Hopefully this interest will help the general return of the buyer and kickstart the housing market from its sluggish start in 2024. 

Likelihood of Delaware Housing Market Crash  

As market dynamics slow from their five-year surge, some experts predict a cautious market in the latter half of 2024. Home prices could potentially stop increasing as we’ve seen in the past few years, though they will most likely stay high going into 2025. These metrics point to a steady market not at risk of a crash anytime soon.  

Each state is affected by the health of the nation’s housing market. Some broader housing market Delaware developments are affected by the United States’s current employment rate—J.P. Morgan reported that in April 2024, the economy added 175,000 jobs, which came in below market expectations and is the slowest job gain in six months. This ticks unemployment up 0.1% to 3.9% nationally.  

However, while April’s job data may seem weak, J.P Morgan experts note that inflation may fall back to its 2% target with time due to this lessening of inflationary pressure. While job growth is moderating, it’s still strong. Weak employment rates can be a strong indicator of an incoming housing crash, so with employment steadying, a crash should not be on the horizon.  

Forecast for The U.S. Housing Market 

Now that we’ve looked at Delaware’s housing market, let’s zoom out a little bit. What about the U.S. housing market? What do you need to keep an eye on in the coming years? 

The United States’s current median existing-home sale price is around $384,500 per the National Association of Realtors. The inventory, though, remains low. A balanced market typically has a 5-to-6-month supply, but the current figure is 2.9. 

We’re currently in a seller’s market with buyers looking at continued rising house prices. The same trend can be seen with renters. Housing continues to appreciate, in general.  

Dr. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research, National Association of Realtors, believes the housing market will appreciate 15 to 25% over the next five years. He thinks that the seller’s market will continue because housing inventory will remain low. In five years, however, he predicts a more balanced market, in which neither party has a built-in advantage. Thus, the market will shift to a case-by-case basis to determine what kinds of deals people can get. 

Hybrid work also impacts the housing market. This shift in work culture means suburbia will continue to grow. States like Texas, the Carolinas, Tennessee, and Florida should see continual growth. 

The number of single-family homes built decreased over the past couple years while the number of multi-family homes increased due to lower prices and a demand for affordable housing. Higher mortgage rates and inflation (affecting price of materials) were the main causes.  

Lower income households continue to struggle in the current housing market. This trend appears likely to continue into the foreseeable future. Without enhanced supply or helpful subsidies, the outlook is that many Americans will still wrestle with housing affordability in the years to come.  

Delaware Rental Market 

The rental and buying market are obviously closely linked. When home prices fall, landlords are more likely to buy properties to rent out. Home prices and rental prices are correlated as well because a hot market means prices rise.  

Rents were more unaffordable than ever in 2021 and 2022. In 2022, 22.4 million households paying rent said it was unaffordable, which is the highest that figure has ever been, according to a January report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. The study found that half of all renters in the United States spent over 30% of their income on rent and utilities.  

The markets cooled in 2023, though, due to new units and decelerating demand. But a serious problem persists: Rent increases are still outpacing income gains.  

Moreover, high interest rates are keeping borrowing and transaction activity down. Over half the banks surveyed by the Federal Reserve reported that demand for multifamily loans decreased year-over-year. 

The pandemic caused a housing disparity that isn’t going away anytime soon. Unaffordable housing is a serious issue across America. Whether high rents or low income is the main cause doesn’t change the fact that this problem is widespread.  

This short summary leads directly into Delaware’s current rental market, with key trends from Zillow: 

Delaware Rental Market Key Trends 

  • Median Rent: $1,950 
  • Month-over-month Change: $0 
  • Year-over-year Change: +$20 
  • Available Rentals: 615 

Conclusion 

When you decide whether to list your home or start looking for one, it’s important to do thorough research on the housing market to see when the right time is. While the United States is undergoing a difficult housing market right now with astronomical rates and a heightening cost of living, good listings are still out there. Speak to a trusted professional who can sit down with you to review your wants and needs for a home, as well as what you can afford in this current economy.

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