March 9, 2019 at 7:25 am EDT | by Lee Ann Wilkinson
Tell me something … about beach living
Rehoboth Beach, gay news, Washington Blade
(Washington Blade photo by Daniel Truitt)

Have you been considering a move to the beach – either full-time or buying a second home/easy getaway from the city? What’s holding you back?

If you are a city person by nature, we get it. D.C. has a lot to love and the annual pilgrimage to the beach is a traditional “summer vacation.” But “if you need more … and there’s something else you’re searching for” (thank you Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper), you might find it here in Coastal Delaware.

While most of our D.C. clients are familiar with Rehoboth Beach as a summer destination, many are still surprised to find out how livable Delaware is as a year-round home. Plus, it’s still so close to D.C. when you need a dose of city life.

Here are a few points to consider as you find yourself “longing for change:” 

Cost of Living. “It’s too expensive” is not a true excuse since living at the beach is likely less expensive than living in D.C., especially when you factor in our low property taxes. (Annual taxes typically range from $1K – $3K annually.) Plus, “the beach,” which years ago was limited to in-town Rehoboth, has expanded to include Lewes and Milton. These towns are only a few miles away – like, less than five miles – but are significantly less expensive and now have great restaurants of their own.

For example, at the high end, beachfront property in Rehoboth Beach is typically in the $4M+ range; while currently available beachfront property in Lewes is in the $2M range and one block off the beach can go for $1.5M and less.

Neighborhood living in Rehoboth, still biking distance to downtown, is more affordable still: currently you can get a fantastic, like-new Rehoboth home just four blocks from the boardwalk for $625,000, a low-maintenance twin-home for $320’s-520’s, and a condo in nearby Spring Lake for $299,000.

Lewes is home to several new construction communities which will offer homes in the $500-600Ks. And Milton, just a few miles north, features communities from the high $200Ks to $400Ks. Several homes currently for sale in Milton offer water access/views and are in the $400s.

Cultural Withdraw. The days of everything shutting down for the winter at the beach are over.Just a few considerations:

• Clear Space Theater Company in Rehoboth Beach continues to expand its live productions and offers classes and terrific shows year-round. Current and upcoming shows include “The Music Man,” “The Addams Family,” “‘Night Mother,” “Hello Dolly,” and more.

• The Cinema Art Theatre in Lewes showcases Academy Award-winning films and hosts film festivals

• Coastal Concerts in Lewes hosts internationally renowned classical performers

• Restaurants are continually upping the beach dining game. Local chef Matthew Kern from Heirloom restaurant in Lewes was just named semi-finalist for the James Beard Foundation Award.

Health Care & Schools. Medical facilities and specialties continue to expand here to include a cardiovascular specialty at Beebe Medical Center, more walk-in health clinics, and a brand new hospital, Bayhealth, north of Milton in Milford. The health care divide between once-rural Delaware and the city is narrowing.

School districts are booming; high schools are expanding, we are replacing outdated elementary schools and have added an additional one, and are adding a new middle school. Charter school options are expanding, too.

Making Your Move. Of course, D.C. is a pretty great place to live and has something for everyone. Just know that Coastal Delaware continues to expand its housing options and includes more than in-town Rehoboth price tags.

Our local market is brisk – homes east of Route 1 in Lewes were on the market in 2018 for half of the time they were in 2017 and well-priced homes are selling quickly this spring. In terms of houses, condos, new construction, and building lots, there is something for everyone here, too. And one last tip: even if you are considering new construction, call a local Realtor to work for you and help you navigate the coastal market.

If you are ready to invest in a second/vacation home, or you are ready to retire, we welcome you – and we would love to help you find what you’re searching for at the beach.

Lee Ann Wilkinson is a Realtor and CEO of The Lee Ann Wilkinson Group of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Gallo Realty, the top-selling real estate team in Delaware and #4 nationally for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. Visit LeeAnnGroup.com, email LeeAnn@LeeAnnGroup.com, or call her at 302-645-6664 for information on living at the beach.

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