Homebuyers and Dover Officials push back on report that finds Kent County as 4th most vulnerable housing market in US

DOVER, Del.- Dover Officials and Real Estate companies are pushing back on a Bloomberg report that ranked Kent County as the 4th most vulnerable in the nation for a housing market downturn. Kent County was beaten out by 3 New Jersey counties that border New York City and was placed above three similar counties in the Chicago area.

The report, compiled by Attom research, looked at mortgage delinquencies, default rates, median home prices, and area incomes when determining the assessment. David Schmidt of Delmarva Dave Homebuying company says the problems that the report tackles do exist in the county. Still, he does believe those issues make the county as vulnerable to a price dip as the report finds.

“Although the demand is down from the peak, and interest rates are slowing the market I don’t see it that housing values just fall off a cliff,” he said adding “it is getting harder for average people to afford their housing payments, just because of rising costs of living and even those on long term fixed rates and people are struggling on insurance and taxes and energy is all going up.”

He tells us since the pandemic began, Kent county’s housing market, in Dover and Smyrna has been hot, with wealthy out-of-state retirees looking to move in and capitalize on lower taxes, and larger homes for the same listed price.

“We are seeing a lot of wealthy folks coming in from New York, from New Jersey because the county is close to those cities, close to the beach, to Baltimore or DC, and yet when you look at the acres the homes here offer that value,” said Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen.

They say with many of these purchases being so recent, the homes are debt, not assets and with higher interest rates that debt is now more expensive to pay off.

“We are seeing from the homes I’m looking at and buying, there are people who got in while interest was dead low and I do think debt payments as interest nearly doubles from when they got it, is not manageable,” Schmidt said.

He says the key to staying in your home in that situation, is to contact the Delaware Housing Authority or agencies that are able to help with payment assistance.

Mayor Christiansen is calling on loan-serving companies to help reach payment plans with the DEHAP payments, and individuals as he says defaults would hurt them too.

“It works for both the homeowners to get in touch with their mortgage¬†services and the services to be flexible with people to get a payment plan up for people and be flexible,” he said.

Its a sentiment echoed by Schmidt who says people at risk need to take action.

“Do not wait until you are 30, 60, 90 days delinquent because once you are behind it is very difficult to catch up,” Schmidt said.

But they say a massive crash would only happen if suddenly a large number of new homes appeared on the market, but with the area having a housing shortage, they see an outright crash as unlikely.

“We see that new affordable housing plans are in development for some of these areas, but we still have a lot of out-of-state money on this finite number of homes that drove the price up, ” Schmidt said adding “That price is coming down now but the demand while lower is still out there.”








Categories: Delaware, Local News, Local Politics