Real Estate: The Next Wave

In this buyers’ market, there’s plenty of real estate on the horizon–and much of it’s new.




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John Sertich shows off Heritage Creek, which is known for its locally inspired architecture.

photograph by John Lewis 



You may hear horror stories about a real estate slow down, but you won’t see that reflected in new residential construction at the beach. Developers are scurrying to get new construction on the market just as prices are coming down. Here’s a smattering of what’s coming soon.

At Old Mill and White’s Creek roads near Bethany Beach, Bay Forest offers a blend of single-family, cottage and villa plans, all nestled in 400 acres of woods on Collins Creek. The community will feature a central clubhouse with a light-fare restaurant, a community pool, tennis courts, private pier access, plenty of walking paths and a beach shuttle. There’s a private pier for kayaking and canoeing on the Indian River Bay. And it’s just down the road from Holts Landing State Park, one of the great clamming and fishing hot spots. Homes are already under construction. Prices start in the low $300,000s.

It’s all about amenities at Millville By The Sea. With a mix of single-family homes, townhomes and condominiums built by NV and Ryan Homes, the neighborhood will feature walking paths through natural woodlands and wetlands, as well as a commercial center for convenient services. There’s talk of building a small marina on a nearby pond for kayaking and canoeing, but the kicker for Millville By The Sea is the community center, an expansive multipurpose facility with full-sized indoor pools, sports courts, a bowling alley, craft rooms, theater space, food services and more. The community covers more than 700 acres and could eventually offer more than 2,500 units, making this development by Gulfstream Homes one of the largest communities in the region. Builders will start work on models this year.

Milton is the newest beach town, despite being 10 miles from the Atlantic Ocean—a fact the builders at Schell Brothers are hoping to capitalize on. Their Heritage Creek, which borders Mariner Middle School, is minutes from Milton’s quaint shops and restaurants. The neighborhood will include a commercial center, library, business center and pool. The architectural allure is that the home designs are inspired by classic farm and estate homes. Unlike so much new development, the neighborhood could look at home in its surroundings, not like the odd one out. Homes range from $299,900 to the low $400,000s.

Right down the road from Heritage Creek on Route 5, Ocean Atlantic is building Independence, a premier active adult community where the motto is that seniors can “live as you choose.” Single-floor, single-family homes provide easy living with no-step entry and first-floor master suites. Staying active isn’t a problem for residents. There’s a full-time activities director to keep seniors moving, in addition to lap and aerobic pools, a fitness center, a yoga studio and massage rooms, a conference and computer center, game rooms, and a bar and restaurant.

Most notable is that more than 47 percent of the community is preserved open space, which should make it a beautiful environment for decades to come. And it’s only a couple of miles from beaches and the outlet stores. “The amenities are tremendous for the over-55 crowd,” says real estate agent Christine Strauss. “It seems half of [New] Jersey is moving to Delaware, and they’ve discovered Independence.”

For those looking to live in comfort and security, the continuing-care community of Cadbury at Lewes is one option. On Gills Neck Road near Lewes, the 35-acre neighborhood features a choice of cottages or apartments. Residents can take advantage of amenities and services that include housekeeping, laundry, concierge and dining, as well as a salon and barber shop, a woodworking shop, business center and convenience store. Most important, Cadbury offers on-site health care and nursing staff. Managed by Quaker-based Cadbury Senior Services, the neighborhood is one of two centers on the East Coast. Entrance fees for apartments are $336,000 to $362,000. For cottages, the range is in the low- to mid- $400,000s. To cover the medical care component, there’s a monthly fee of $2,200 to $2,625.

A few miles inland from Bethany Beach is Windmill Woods, a town home community tucked in a woodland setting. “There’s lots and lots of privacy,” says Kim Absher of builder Bunting Construction. “You feel like you’re secluded in the woods.” Though it’s a private refuge from the bustle of the resort towns, there’s no trouble getting to the surf. A short drive down Del. 26 takes residents to the water.

The community features 106 three- and four-bedroom town houses built by Coleman Bunting, whose work includes Bayville Shores, The Refuge, Sandy Branch and other near-beach communities. Windmill Woods offers 2,000-square-foot, two-story models with accessory storage (prices start at $350,000) and 2,500-square-foot, three-story town homes with garages (starting at $405,000).

Just off of Del. 1 is the 112-acre gated neighborhood called Nassau Grove. The community is situated perfectly for those who love the beach, shopping and activities. Within the community is a substantial clubhouse, fitness center, pool, sports courts and walking trails. One of the neighborhood’s selling points is the open design, which includes plenty of ponds and landscaping. However, being just off Coastal Highway, Nassau Grove is near dining and entertainment. Homes in the community are priced at from $316,000 to $428,000.

On Beaver Dam Road west of Del. 1, The Ridings holds 225 single-family homes in a park-like setting of ponds and green spaces. Near the 180-hole Baywood Greens golf facility, The Ridings includes a clubhouse and swimming pool.

 “It’s a tranquil setting on half-acre lots,” says Mark Carpenter of Beazer Homes. “You’re in close proximity to the beach, but you have the seclusion of not being subject to the traffic.” There are several home designs with open floor plans offered by Beazer and Centex Homes. Prices range from the mid-$300,000s to the upper-$400,000s, with options for many tastes.

Located near the heart of Dagsboro, Pepper’s Creek is another offering from Ocean Atlantic. Site work is just starting, so there’s plenty of opportunity to buy into one of the three distinct neighborhoods. The Marina features waterside living, with 88 marina slips and 124 single-family homes. Residents will be able to reserve community-owned boats if they don’t have their own. The Marina clubhouse and boardwalk will provide rest and refuge, as well as a place to enjoy the surroundings. The Highlands, comprised of townhomes and condominiums, is great for families, offering sports fields and a swimming pool. The third neighborhood, the Woodlands, will offer a secluded setting for twin homes with garages. Houses in Pepper’s Creek start as low as $189,000.

The Vineyards at Nassau Valley will likely draw residents who appreciate luxury and a taste of vineyard life. The neighborhood’s designs incorporate a working vineyard into a versatile urban lifestyle community. Plans include 927 residential condos and apartments, retail and office space, fitness and community centers, an entertainment complex, a major grocery store, a furniture store, book store, coffee shop and four restaurants. There’s even talk of a 159-room hotel, which, in combination with the vineyard’s reception facilities, could create an attractive wedding destination. The developers, Ocean Atlantic, hope to provide an atmosphere where convenient services and entertainment outlets are within walking distance of residents’ homes.

Another gated community, Sawgrass at White Oak Creek, features three-story townhomes starting in the $300,000s. Buyers can order from an array of spacious one- and two- story single-family homes from M/I Homes, Chase Communities and Equity Homes, with prices ranging from the mid-$500,000s to $700,000. The community offers two clubhouses and pools, as well as biking and walking paths, tennis courts, a health and fitness center, and a shuttle to the beaches.

“We’re a gated community offering luxury, single-family homes,” says Chase Communities’ sales manager Maryann Langdon. “The new home designs are really extraordinary.” Every home comes with a membership to the nearby Kings Creek Country Club. Model homes are now available for showing.

Buyers seeking a high-end lifestyle at an affordable price can look west to Millsboro’s Plantation Lakes. At the intersection of routes 113 and 20, Plantation Lakes is an expansive golf community. It includes an 18-hole Arthur Hills Championship course with pro shop, a 25,000-square-foot clubhouse with locker rooms, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts, a library, and a town center with restaurants and shopping. Single-family homes in Plantation Lakes start in the mid-$200,000s. The community offers a mixture of ranches and two-story plans with basements. And for your surf fix, Plantation Lakes provides free beach shuttle service. That’s a pretty sweet deal. 






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