Along with all of last week’s New Year’s Day festivities came what you could call the New Year’s Frame of Mind: the familiar, this-time-of-year special consciousness of the passage of time. For most Lewes residents, all the other seasons come and go with everyone too busy tending to everyday affairs to pay much attention to the big picture: the progress (or lack of it) toward the major goals most everybody hopes to achieve.

It’s that New Year’s Frame of Mind that’s behind the impulse to make New Year’s resolutions. After all, there’s no such thing as ‘Fourth of July resolutions,’ or ‘Labor Day resolutions,’ even though a quick check of the calendar confirms they come once every year, too. Nope; it is the moment when the crystal globe slides down to the Times Square throng and old Father Time greets Baby 2016 that’s most likely to trigger thoughts of how preposterous it is that another whole yearhas gone by.

Whether or not that feels terrific is partly due to how well we’ve advanced in our individual Grand Scheme of Things…be it a self-improvement incentive (that’s why they run all those ‘learn a foreign language’ commercials in December) or long-term career growth.

For most Lewes residents, progress toward financial security is one of the larger issues that the New Year’s Frame of Mind can trigger. Right on cue, many of last week’s end-of-year broadcasts included a sobering study about the average American’s savings picture…actually, ‘sobering’ is too mild a word. As one credit guru put it, the statistics were ‘dizzying.’

The survey was credited to an outfit called GOBankingRates. They had released it months ago, but it drew considerably more attention as the calendar neared January 1 (getting the New Year’s Frame of Mind treatment). Their pronouncement wasn’t so much ‘dizzying’ as it was frightening: the lead finding was that 62% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings!

Reassuring information was readily available, though, for anyone who did more than a quick scan of the survey. It turns out that they had asked about savings accounts only—so the headline-grabbing number left out retirement accounts and the like. As it relates to Lewes real estate investors (if you own a Lewes home, you are certainly an Lewes real estate investor), they also hadn’t included real estate equity in the ‘savings’ total. That certainly makes their scare headline less than dizzying. As the first commenter on their own website noted, ‘why keep money in a 1% savings account?

But GOBankingRates wasn’t exclusively a source for misleadingly bad news. As compensation, they also supplied surveys of the 10 Best Tax Havens in the World (Luxembourg is #1) and 2016’s Top Resolution (it is “enjoying life to the fullest”).   

Here’s hoping that our town’s 2016 proves to be a remarkably healthy, happy, and prosperous one for you and your family. And if ‘enjoying life to the fullest’ this year involves buying or selling a Lewes home, I hope you’ll give me a call!  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

Given that the experts have often been as wrong as they were right about predicting at least one real estate trend for 2015 (mortgage interest rates), it’s fair to ask why it’s worthwhile to consult them regarding the coming year. Fair enough. The answer is twofold.

First off, for anyone who will be buying or selling a Lewes home in the coming year, much could ride on the wider market factors that influence buyer and seller attitudes.

The other part of the answer is because it’s fun. Trying to take a peek into the future gathers a crowd every time: just tune into any cable TV news or feature show and start counting the experts prognosticating. Besides, it’s even more fun, later, to ridicule the experts who were way off.

But putting together a roundup of real estate predictions for 2016 involves some hard virtual pick-and-shovel work. To begin with, you have to eliminate all the real estate predictions for 2016 that emerged more than a month ago. A month may not seem like such a long time, but in the real estate prediction business, it can turn into too long (especially if what you predicted for 2016 is already heading in the wrong direction). At this juncture, that hasn’t befallen any of these prominent national real estate prediction sources Lewes readers can note:

  • Realtor Magazine – ‘Normal’ is coming. Healthy growth in home sales and prices at a more normal pace
  • CoreLogic — Interest rates will gradually move higher but dollar volume of single-family mortgage originations will fall approximately 10% [reason given: refis will fall]
  • Housingwire — Moderate growth in housing prices and sales (3.5%-4.5%); easier credit; more first-time home buyers
  • BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research—Further expansion in U.S. housing. The “good news for anyone planning to sell a home in 2016” is that existing home sales could increase by as much as 5%; good news for buyers: a slowdown in home-price appreciation
  • Trulia — “general consensus at the national level…another good year” with hot markets in the West and Northeast cooling down; markets in the South and Midwest “could experience an uptick” in home sales

The researchers and prognosticators behind these projections seem to be in lock-step, at least as we launch into the new year. Whether or not you will be entering the town real estate any time soon, it’s certainly good news that the serious folks who forecast future trends agree that conditions look to be settled, stable and hospitable in the coming year.

There is one thing I know you can count on: I’ll be standing by throughout 2016, ready to assist with all your Lewes real estate needs!   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

Last week, those of us who were out and about during the increasingly short daylight hours could take in what looked like the regular number of Leweshomes decked out with the familiar holiday paraphernalia. When the weather cooperates, it can’t help but bring a smile to your face to spot the reindeer, Santas, menorahs, giant candles, elves—all the elements that help bring home the familiar feelings the season seldom fails to muster.

I bet it’s just that—the sheer familiarity—that explains a large part of why the words “Holiday Magicare no exaggeration. Sooner or later we feel it. It grabs us. The holidays are back!

This usually starts (for me at least) with a valiant attempt to reject reality. Sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving, with the first department store ad or the first notes of a carol playing somewhere in the distance, we think “OH NO! – NOT ALREADY!!!” This is the part when the ‘magic’ part of the holidays is nowhere in prospect. The whole concept is at its most materialistic (the ‘material’ being that we haven’t started serious gift shopping, are too busy to even think about it, can’t recall whether the roasting pan was wrecked when last year’s gravy got burnt, etc. etc. etc.).

Immediately thereafter, in a truly magical disappearing-of-time act, it’s suddenly a couple of weeks before the big day, when all the preparations had better have been set into motion. It’s already holiday running-around time. This is when we are out and about, and can take in all the Sussex County homes belonging to Leweshomeowners who have the organizational skills that allowed them to erect the reindeer, Santas, giant candles, elves, menorahs, etc. It’s also the time of year when we may begin to experience some true holiday magic…especially if our running-around to get ready happens at night, when the holiday lights are ablaze…

For some of us, there is something about those area homes decked out in lights, and the ornaments, and the music, eggnog, cookies…or even the fruitcake or the stollen or the latkes. It’s the familiarity of the way all the trappings combine to bring back memories: images of our kids’ holidays, or our parents, or dearest friends…and finally, of our own childhood.

In spite of all the running around, sooner or later, this most special, set-aside top of the year puts us in mind of how very much we treasure the ones who are dearest to us. If we’re lucky enough to have them gathered close, it’s pretty wonderful. If this year, that can’t happen—the memories will have to provide the magic. Sooner or later they usually do.

Whether these holidays bring you Christmas or Hanukkah gatherings (or both!), here’s wishing you and yours the happiest, most joyful of celebrations—the kind that create future holiday magic! 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

It’s really as simple as this: when Lewes mortgage interest rates are low, good things happen in Lewes real estate. And last week, when The Washington Post commented on the news coming out of Washington, it indicated exactly that. “Mortgage rates fall for the third week in a row” was the headline summarizing the latest data from Freddie Mac. It was good news—but there were also new grounds to wonder how long it was going to last.

One of the key reasons for the strength of Lewes’s residential market has been shown in the ‘affordability’ index, which gives a numerical answer to the question every prospective local home buyer understands: can I afford it? The index uses a number of economic factors to come up with the answer to whether typical families can afford the monthly cost of a typical home. Of course, it all revolves around what that monthly cost actually is. For local buyers, that cost rises and falls along with Lewes interest rates.

So the latest figures once again signaled smooth sailing. Nationally, Freddie Mac reported that the 30-year fixed-rate average had ‘slipped’ to 3.93%. Anything less than 4% is, in historical terms, really low. As homeowners who were around at the start of the 1980s will tell you, when mortgage interest rates climb into double digits, the monthly payment amounts grow so steep the whole market is hamstrung (in 1981 and 1982, mortgage interest rates averaged north of 16%!)

That’s the reason why anyone who is even beginning to lay plans to buy or sell knows their budget will be affected by the direction Lewes interest rates head. Consulting expert opinion hasn’t helped much over past few years, either. Most seers have been predicting a rise in rates for quite a while. They’ve been consistent (in being wrong).

Nevertheless, at the end of last week it looked increasingly likely that their expectations might finally be met—and soon. Federal Reserve’s Chairman Yellin has been issuing statements that indicate a bias toward raising Fed rates, if the economy can sustain them. On Friday, the latest labor reports were widely hailed as indicating the kind of strength that she had been talking about. The year’s final Fed meeting will take place on December 15-16. If they do raise the benchmark federal funds rate, Lewes mortgage interest rates will certainly follow. The real question on both fronts was how much…

When you decide to buy or sell a home, Lewes mortgage factors are important, yes—but they are only some of many considerations. One factor that won’t change is that I will be standing by, ready to help on all fronts! 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