Last week, in contrast with the nearly unanimous optimistic forecasts coming from the financial and economic think tanks, Lewes, DE news consumers were exposed to a single worrisome detail. The cloud on the horizon was called “coronavirus.” Like the 21st century’s first pandemic—SARS—early reports from its point of origin were covered up by Chinese authorities. The World Health Organization is sending a team to China early this week.  

So far, Lewes, DE has escaped direct manifestations of the new strain—and it’s been reassuring that American health services have been quick to take stringent precautionary measures to slow down its spread from Asia. But there’s little doubt that we won’t be able to contain it completely. It’s widely thought that its spread in the U.S. will most likely follow the earlier SARS pattern. That virus was effectively stifled here through similar containment efforts.

At least where Lewes, DE real estate commerce is concerned, it seems unlikely that this is a cloud on the horizon that will wind up affecting this spring’s home buyers and sellers greatly, if at all. Locally, expect more disinfectant wipes to be offered in Lewes, DE stores and offices (and possibly at this spring’s open houses, too). To date, medical investigators have yet to determine if the coronavirus strain is any more virulent than the influenza strains that annually hit the U.S.

Nonetheless, it’s odd but true that thus far, the only apparent effect on local Lewes, DE real estate may have been to boost activity. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, mortgage applications and refinances jumped on fears that the coronavirus was spreading overseas. “That may seem far-fetched,” according to Money magazine, “but it highlights the amazing interconnectedness of the global economy.” That’s certainly true—as is the reality of home loan interest rates even lower than last year’s.   Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., visit more listings at www.beachrealestatemarket.com

The selling price that any Lewes, DE home brings depends on any number of factors, the most critical of which is most often how it stacks up alongside its neighborhood comparables. If its comps are in line, the property is virtually certain to attract interest. If overpriced, it’s likely to attract little interest; if bargain-priced, it’s sure to draw a crowd.

Studying the significance of the many other factors that contribute to how a home sale fares is a tricky business. Predicting what an “expected sale price” for any Lewes, DE home would be is a necessary starting point—yet that figure would have to depend on any number of factors, all of which combine to create how the house shows.

That being said, it’s still interesting to see what the researchers come up with when they cull through the hundreds of thousands of national home listings, looking for listing features that coincide with better-than-expected final sales prices. Zillow Research does this from time to time—most recently coming up with a “top 10” list that offers few surprises, except for one: that’s a “steam” thing.

The top ten listing features include “professional appliance” (meaning at least one quality  brand name appliance), “outdoor kitchen,” “prep sink,” “waterfall countertop,” “wine cellar,” and “heated floor.” It’s not surprising that the majority are features found in gourmet kitchens and well-designed bathrooms. One feature you might not predict is “Pot filler”: that’s the faucet located on the backsplash behind a range or cooktop. Pot fillers are relative newcomers in popularity. Non-kitchen features listed were “shed/garage studio” and “heated floor.”

But especially interesting was the presence of two “steam” features—“steam shower,” and the leading feature, topping the list with a 34% premium over “expected price”: “steam oven.” This surprising finding might be explained by its unexpectedness. Like “pot filler,” it could well trigger curiosity—and therefore, showing traffic. But more showings don’t automatically result in premium sales prices—to achieve those, real value is required. You have to suspect that any Lewes, DE home with a built-in steam oven has a number of other distinctive features, too. When your own Lewes, DE home is soon to go on the market, I hope you will give me a call. We’ll create a listing that brings premium results! Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., visit more listings at www.beachrealestatemarket.com

 The National Association of Realtors® is a sunny organization whose pronouncements can be relied upon to promote (you guessed it) real estate. Like any gigantic organization (we have more than a million dues-paying members), the NAR tends to be cautious in its public pronouncements. But in last Wednesday’s article about the course of residential real estate in 2020, Lewes, DE readers would have found the kind of sweeping statement that makes people think twice. “Is that really so?” “If that’s true, what then?

The statement was this: the decade just past “has been the most consequential stretch in American real estate history…one that fundamentally altered the landscape.”

Quite a pronouncement.

There followed a quick summary of the decade just past, making a convincing case that so much has changed that it might as well be part of “a different landscape.” Ten years ago, “many homeowners were desperately hoping to hang onto their homes” and, “buyers were struggling with newly skittish lenders.” The turnaround in those crucial elements is undeniable, yes, but reversals in conditions happen regularly. What makes this decade’s about-face “the most consequential” ever?

Their answer boils down to the scope of the recovery combined with a dearth of entry-level housing starts. The recovery has meant a sustained, robust rebound in existing house values, but unaccompanied by the resurgence of entry-level builders who were stricken from the scene. Even as price rises are finally leveling out, the starter house inventory remains strikingly sparse.

This is happening as major demographic changes take place. Baby boomers and GenXers aren’t deciding to exit their homes in numbers that match previous generations—at precisely the moment that millennials are stepping up to become the most active group in the housing market…and there are 71 million of them!

According to the author, what it all adds up to is, among other things, a lot of competition for housing by young families deciding to have kids. This raft of buyers is resulting in a new reality. Among possible outcomes: high prices in coastal metros could see an increase in buyers’ willingness to settle down in less pricey environs.  

Whether or not such shifts really will be among the most consequential in American history is far from certain. But today’s buyers are paying close attention to bottom lines—and sellers looking for speedy results are aware of it. Call me for up-to-the-hour details on what this fall has produced in our Lewes, DE market. Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., visit more listings at www.beachrealestatemarket.com

For those pondering the timetable for selling their Lewes, DE house, last week’s developments may add a couple of plusses into the “sooner” column. There are always pros and cons about listing in the fall versus waiting for the spring and summer market—but last week’s information could tilt toward acting now.

First (and most well-publicized) was the outlook for home loan interest rates…again! The news wasn’t unexpected, but the accompanying commentary added a compelling note. The Fed again lowered their benchmark rate by .25%, which is very likely to keep mortgage rates in the historically low range for homebuyers—but the Fed Governors also made it clear that this is very probably their last action for a good while. As Bankrate.com observed, “policymakers signaled they’re ready to hit the ‘pause’ button on additional cuts.”

In other words, for buyers who’ve been patiently waiting for the best possible home loan rates, they will likely decide they’ve waited long enough—the coming mortgage rates are unlikely to dip much lower. For those thinking of selling their Lewes, DE house, low rates mean that buyers find higher asking prices acceptable since lower rates equate to more affordable monthly payments. Today’s buyers have demonstrated pronounced sensitivity to that bottom line.

The second news arrived as a less-publicized cluster of informed opinions. Most persuasive was the official voice of quasi-government bigshot Freddie Mac’s flat assertion that “…the housing market remains on solid ground.” They reported that housing starts, building permits, existing home sales, and new home sales are “all significantly outperforming” expectations.

If you are among local homeowners thinking of selling your Lewes, DE house in this fall’s market, the upshot was certainly positive. Call me for a detailed discussion of the prospects for your own property and what you can expect should you decide to list! Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., visit more listings at www.beachrealestatemarket.com