Median sale prices rose in most areas of the Eastern Shore region in June, according to Long & Foster Real Estate’s Market Minute report. The largest increase of 21% occurred in Talbot County, followed by a 15% increase in Wicomico County, and 12% in Caroline County. The number of homes sold decreased in most places except for Caroline County, which experienced an 8% increase in homes sold from the previous year. Active inventory varied throughout the region and ranged from an 8% increase in Queen Anne’s County to a 17% decrease in Wicomico County.
“Now that we’re a little more than halfway through the year, it’s a good time to evaluate how the real estate market has shaped up so far in 2019 and what trends have emerged both locally and nationwide,” said Gary Scott, president of Long & Foster Real Estate. These trends include inventory shortages, declining mortgage rates, homeownership growth and an influx of millennials in the market.
“We believe the inventory shortages are primarily caused by baby boomers aging-in-place instead of downsizing, and homeowners who currently have low interest rates and are sitting tight,” Scott said. “Interest rates have dipped again to 3.7% and last year at this time rates were at about 4.7%. Homeownership rates have been rising and are holding steady at around 64%, and 80 million millennials are getting older and starting families, causing demand for homes in that age range to increase.”
Those baby boomers who would like to downsize generally are looking for homes that are smaller and at a lower price point than they currently have, which puts them in competition with millennials for homes. “Buying a home in an over age 55 community is often a good plan for the baby boomers that want to get away from yard work and all that comes with owning a home, since maintenance-free is built-in to those communities,” said Scott. “A good real estate agent can help with locating the right community and help you choose from the broad range of homes that are offered within those communities.”
Additionally, working with a knowledgeable real estate professional can benefit boomers who aren’t sure if aging-in-place or moving to a new community is right for them, Scott said. Not only can a Realtor help them decide between the two, if they decide to stay in their home, a good agent can help them know which updates will be most beneficial for later resale.