Once again, Maryland’s Eastern Shore region experienced a median sale price increase in May, according to Long & Foster Real Estate’s Market Minute report. Caroline County saw the largest price increase at 13%, followed by a 10% increase in Talbot County. The number of homes sold increased in Dorchester County by 17% and by 6% in Caroline County. Most of the region saw a decrease in active inventory except for an 11% increase in Queen Anne’s County and a modest 1% increase in Caroline County.
Sales have been slowing down in many areas, which is due to a number of factors including low inventory. Gary Scott, president of Long & Foster Real Estate, says it’s also partially due to buyer wants.
“In general, today’s home buyer wants a home that is updated and like-new, even if it’s not new,” Scott said. “Many people can’t afford new homes, so the scarcity of affordable homes will continue until we can provide quality construction that is affordable.”
Home flipping seems to be on the rise due to people making money in the recent rise of the stock market and wanting to diversify their investments, said Scott. “Factors are favorable for home flippers – rates are low, appreciation is high, and a home can be rented if it can’t be flipped.”
Currently, there is a unique trend of people renting single family homes in nice neighborhoods with good school districts, Scott said. “Some people would rather pay rent, as renting provides them with flexibility and saves them from having to come up with the down payment to purchase the same kind of home,” he said.
Scott also discussed the rise in email wire fraud schemes and cautioned consumers to be aware of them. “If you get something by email that doesn’t look quite right, it probably isn’t right,” said Scott. “Scams can happen anytime, but we are especially vulnerable when we are involved in a transaction, like buying a home. We all have a tendency to want to get things done fast.”
If a consumer receives such an email, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau advises them to confirm directly with a trusted representative like their agent or title company, rather than calling the phone number provided in the email or responding to it.
While real estate information available to the consumer is vast, navigating it by oneself is not easy, commented Scott. “Having an expert on your team is important,” he said. “You’ve got your accountant and your financial advisor – you also need a real estate advisor as part of your team, to help you maneuver the complexities of this market.”