Delaware seeing Sun Belt-like growth in building permits


Delaware remains one of the nation’s hotspots for building permit activity that often translates into new homes.

A site known as BigRentz looked at the total permits per capita by state between  2015 to 2020. On the East Coast, permit activity was high in Delaware, the Carolinas, and Florida.

According to the findings:


Delaware has issued 38,868 permits since 2015. That added up to nearly six permits per 1,000 residents. That adds up to  5.81 permits per 1,000 residents.

Residential building permit growth in Delaware has largely taken place in an area extending from Middletown to Coastal Sussex County.

Middletown has attracted a younger population, while much of the growth to the south has centered on older residents.

Other factors favoring new homes in Delaware are lower land prices, the state’s low property taxes, the favorable tax treatment of retirement income, and no sales tax. 

New Jersey property taxes are so high in some areas that their yearly total can be equivalent to 12-months of mortgage payments.

The growth rate has not been without critics claiming that lax policies lead to road-clogging sprawl, with the state’s highway infrastructure unable to keep pace. As a result, Delaware has stepped up transportation funding and finally added a Route 301 toll road to ease congestion in Middletown in southern New Castle County. 

Delaware also has a high real estate transfer tax that has not slowed down construction but makes it less profitable to “flip” older homes that can be sold after remodeling. The transfer tax also makes housing less affordable for those with lower incomes.

The growth has also benefitted the Sussex County government, which has operated with a surplus for years.

Big Rentz does not deal with rental housing but instead focuses on rental equipment used in construction.

Click here for the full study. 

See an earlier story below on Delaware ranking No. 1 in per capita building permits in the pandemic year of 2020.

Growth in Delaware building permits for home construction tops in nation