Delaware's 30 Priciest Homes
Beachfront estates are bringing in the biggest bucks around the state.
17 Summit Lane, Wilmington
At the high end of Delaware’s real estate market, this much is clear: Beach lovers are kicking sand in the faces of residents of suburban Wilmington’s Chateau Country. Delaware Today, with the help of several real estate agents, identified the 10 top-selling, single-family properties in each county for the five years that ended Dec. 31. In that period, the highest-priced home in New Castle County went for an even $4 million. Nine homes in coastal Sussex were sold for $4 million or more —and that doesn’t include two properties that we didn’t include because the new owners promptly razed the houses they had bought and built something new in their place. In Kent County, top-of-the-line housing remains a relative bargain, with the top 10 prices ranging from $615,000 to $800,000. Because of the high concentration of expensive homes sold in certain ZIP codes, we also checked out homes west of U.S. 113 in Sussex County and below the C&D Canal in New Castle County, and included the highest-priced home in each of those areas. The high end of the market is small in volume and doesn’t necessarily track trends in the broader market, real-estate professionals say. In fact, only two of the period’s top 10 sales in New Castle and Sussex counties, and none in Kent, were closed in 2014.
Although 2014 was the liveliest year since the housing-market bust in 2008, “the upper-end market continues to be a challenge,” says Stephen Mottola of the Mottola Group of Long & Foster Real Estate in Greenville, who was involved in six of the top 10 sales in New Castle County in the last five years. “There are buyers who have the cash to spend but are clearly waiting to secure the lowest price per square foot that they can get.” Today’s buyers are thinking in terms of “I want” rather than “I have to have,” Mottola says. “There is no sense of urgency in pulling the trigger in making an offer as there was in 2006-2008.” During the downturn, “people were scared,” says Leslie Kopp of the Leslie Kopp Group of Long & Foster in Bethany, who was involved in four of the top 10 sales in Sussex. Now, buyers at the beach “feel more confident,” she says. Some of that confidence, she acknowledges, probably comes from residents of the Washington, D.C., area, who are used to higher housing prices, and much higher property taxes, and are willing to travel to the beach for their second home. Even so, the market isn’t quite back to the boom times that preceded the housing bust. “In 2008, we might have seen seven or eight sales of oceanfront homes in North Bethany alone. [In 2014], we had three or four; the year before, probably two,” Kopp says. Ashle Wilson Bailey of the Levy Wilson Group of Long & Foster says the high-end market is becoming more lively. In December, she said, there were a dozen homes listed for $2 million or more.
New Castle County
1. 17 SUMMIT LANE, MONTCHANIN, $4,000,000 (SOLD IN 2010) This custom-built, English manor, five -bedroom home, sitting on a beautifully landscaped 3-acre lot at the back of a cul-de-sac, was the most expensive sold in New Castle County in the five-year period. Listing agent Stephen Mottola cites its extensive woodwork, high ceilings, grand staircase, enormous custom gourmet kitchen, a dining room “large enough to hold a banquet dinner,” a lower level with “every imaginable recreation amenity” and a first-floor master suite that “makes you feel as if you were in a five-star resort.”
313 Pentland Drive, Centreville
2. 313 PENTLAND DRIVE, CENTREVILLE, $3,300,000 (2014) Want to make a seven-bedroom home in the rolling hills of Centreville extra special? Add a full indoor basketball court, three catering kitchens and a separate annex movie theater and greenhouse. Then buy the adjoining lots to accommodate a tennis court, swimming pool and pool house. For good measure, include a six-car drive that’s just perfect for parking several luxury vehicles. The 8-acre compound is ideal for family living, fun and entertaining, Mottola says.
3. 4828 KENNETT PIKE, GREENVILLE, $2,965,000 (2012) Built in the 1930s for a member of the du Pont family, this magnificent Georgian brick colonial, set on a 7-acre estate, has had the benefit of several additions and renovations over the years, with each one maintaining the home’s original character, while adapting to contemporary lifestyles, Mottola says. The traditional front-to-back foyer and a grand staircase provide the feel of classic symmetry in construction. The additions preserve a sense of elegance in spaces appropriate for 21st-century living.
4. 135 ST. MORITZ DRIVE, GREENVILLE, $2,950,000 (2010) A long driveway from the gated entrance leads past the lighted tennis court and pool with a fountain and waterfall to a six-bedroom home with nearly 15,000 square feet of living space. The two-story entrance has a pair of circular butterfly staircases leading to the upper gallery. The first-floor master suite features a fireplace, his and her bathrooms and massive closets.
1725 Walnut Green Road, Wilmington
5. 1725 WALNUT GREEN ROAD, WILMINGTON, $2,925,000 (2014) Built in 1993 with many of the characteristics of a Chester County farmhouse, this five-bedroom home combines an 18th-century feel with top-of-the-line contemporary amenities. Features include hand-pinned windows, mortised locks and rattail hinges on the custom cabinetry, as well as reclaimed hardwood floors and historic mantels. The 19.7-acre site offers maximum privacy, not to mention plenty of room for a carriage-house apartment above the three-car garage and a horse barn and fenced paddock.
6. 1480 OLD KENNETT ROAD, GREENVILLE, $2,850,000 (2010) Perched atop a hill overlooking Chateau Country, this landmark Wilmington home has been treated with care by a series of owners since its construction in the 1930s, Mottola says. Large wings have been added to the side and rear while preserving the home’s original stone appearance. The original casework and millwork remain, and the craftsmanship devoted to the additions makes it a challenge to find where the old ends and the new starts. Majestic views throughout the grounds make the 12.6-acre site ideal for leisurely walks or just sitting outdoors.
7. 8 SUMMIT LANE, MONTCHANIN, $2,793,000 (2013) This two-story French Country manor house has “every amenity you could possibly think of,” listing agent Ashle Wilson Bailey says, including a two-story pool house with a full kitchen that “most people would be happy to live in.” Stone terraces, exceptional landscaping and stunning garden views make the five-acre property almost as luxurious as the elegant and spacious four-bedroom home. And we can’t forget to mention that there’s garage space for up to 15 cars.
8. 5826 KENNETT PIKE, CENTREVILLE, $2,700,000 (2011) The Joseph Chandler House, the oldest house in Centreville, was built around 1800 and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1983. Originally a home and doctor’s office, this country estate, with six bedrooms, six fireplaces and restored plaster walls and hardwood floors, is situated on a 3-acre plot filled with mature landscaping. A stone wall and electric gates ensure privacy and security. Previous owners included members of the Gregg, Carpenter and du Pont families, as well as William S. Potter, a prominent Delaware attorney in the mid-20th century.
1530 Barley Mill Road, Greenville
9. 1530 BARLEY MILL ROAD, GREENVILLE, $2,650,000 (2010) This stone-and-stucco estate looks as if it has been on the corner of Barley Mill and Centerville roads for years, but it was built in 2001. The nontraditional layout features a large living room/dining room combination; a kitchen, whose large antiqued brick open-hearth fireplace complements the reproduction architecture of the home; and a first-floor master suite with access to a rear terrace with a hot tub and a large pool with several fountains. The finished lower level includes a steam room, sauna and a fully equipped gym. A media room, video arcade and billiards and table-tennis areas round out the package.
10. (TIE) 1007 BARLEY MILL ROAD, GREENVILLE, $2,500,000 (2012) “Tall Oaks,” built in 1939 in Westover Hills, features random-width pegged floors, delicate leaded-glass windows and seven working fireplaces framed by 18th- and 19th-century mantels, not to mention a 16-foot coffered ceiling and a curved bay window in the great room that was added in 1997. Outdoor features on the 3.8-acre site include an in-ground pool, a fountain and custom stone decking and walls.
2207 OLD KENNETT ROAD, GREENVILLE, $2,500,000 (2012) This Okie-style colonial, built in 1938, was renovated with architectural assistance from John Milner Associates, historic preservation specialists, shortly before its recent sale. “It was completely gutted,” listing agent Laird Bunch says. Three magnificent, imported mantels, part of the original construction, highlight the living and dining rooms, while the renovations incorporate modern amenities that remain true to the original design. The seven-acre site, featuring a playhouse and a stone terrace, straddles the Delaware-Pennsylvania border.
Below the Canal
1321 SHALLCROSS LAKE ROAD, MIDDLETOWN, $950,000 (2012) Okolona Plantation, a Civil War-era mansion listed on the National Register, was the highest-priced, single-family home sold below the C&D Canal in New Castle County in the last five years. The six-bedroom, three-story colonial on 15 acres offers far more than spacious living quarters. There’s also a three-bedroom, two-bath guesthouse on the premises. Okolona is a certified thoroughbred farm with five pastures, five run-in sheds and a dressage arena. An added amenity: an FAA-approved airstrip.
1. 118 GLENDA ROAD, DOVER, $800,000 (SOLD IN 2013) Sometimes a seller’s circumstances create a bonanza for the buyer, and that’s a key reason this five-bedroom contemporary in the popular Wolf Creek community sold for 20 percent below its original asking price. Only five years old, the home boasts a kitchen with commercial-grade double ovens. The lower level is a recreational oasis, with a 9-foot projector screen, music room, game tables and a gym. The handicap-accessible in-law suite has its own garage.
2. 345 ESTATES DRIVE, WYOMING, $762,500 (2013) With 10-foot ceilings on the first floor and 9-foot ceilings on the second, this almost-new, three-story contemporary blends luxury with an open design that offers plenty of space for the entire family. Each of the four upstairs bedrooms has a private bath, and there’s a children’s playroom between two of the bedrooms. The third floor includes a theater room that opens to a covered balcony that provides a panoramic view of the adjoining Wild Quail Country Club. “Custom built with an exceptional floor plan,” says listing agent Terry Burns of Burns & Ellis Realtors.
3. 5045 MUD MILL ROAD, WYOMING, $750,000 (2012) Set on a 28-acre lot, this custom-built, five-bedroom contemporary features 2,800 square feet of covered porches, two fireplaces, a library, game room and lounge. There are more than just porches outside, including a carriage house with a one-bedroom apartment and workshop, two barns, a hunting lodge and other outbuildings.
4. 17 N. CHADWICK DRIVE, DOVER, $745,000 (2012) A soaring marble foyer, 18 sophisticated rooms, a magnificent high-tech kitchen and a four-tiered patio—all signs that this two-story contemporary was “a builder’s home,” says listing agent Sandy Hogan of Burns & Ellis. “It has all the bells and whistles,” she says, including an efficiency apartment over the four-car garage and a 3,000-square-foot finished basement with a media room, exercise room, playroom, rec room and a partial kitchen.
5. 1052 WESTVILLE ROAD, MARYDEL, $700,000 (2010) This five-bedroom brick home is the centerpiece of a 105-acre farm located about 10 minutes west of Wyoming. A fenced paddock area, pond, hay field and detached six-bay garage take up part of the cleared 20 acres. The surrounding woods are ideal for hunting. The interior features custom-built oak cabinets and hardwood/laminate flooring.
6. 2900 SUDLERSVILLE ROAD, CLAYTON, $699,000 (2013) A four-bedroom ranch house with a seven-car garage, west of Cheswold, offers plenty of living space in the middle of a 147-acre farm that has three barns, a shed and 100 cleared acres. Built in the late 1960s, the home is in great condition, but the land accounts for a significant portion of the property’s value.
7. 392 RAVEN CIRCLE, WYOMING, $660,000 (2011) This two-story colonial in Wild Quail also offers a golf-course view, and the 1.6-acre lot is so open that “you can see forever and not see anything,” listing agent Terry Burns says. Inside, Burns likes the open flow of the floor plan and the granite gourmet kitchen with a computer area and an informal dining area. The elaborate finished basement, taking up more than 2,000 square feet, is ideal for entertaining.
8. 105 STUART DRIVE, DOVER, $650,000 (2013) Dover’s Pennwood community has been an attractive address for more than 20 years, so newer homes, like this one built in 2006, won’t stay on the market for long, says listing agent David Ulp of Burns & Ellis Realtors. A first-floor master suite, four upstairs bedrooms, and a family room with a stone fireplace and wet bar are among the interior amenities. Outdoors, there’s a deck, an in-ground pool and relaxing views of the St. Jones River flowing behind the house.
9. 600 S. STATE ST., DOVER, $622,000 (2013) Just outside Dover’s historic district and two blocks from The Green, this all-brick, four-bedroom colonial sits on a 1-acre corner lot filled with mature trees. With plaster walls and six-panel, solid-wood doors, this home shows the durability of top-of-the-line 1920s construction. A large north-facing screened porch is ideal for relaxing, and the attached office building makes the property ideal for the work-at-home professional.
10. 802 QUAIL RUN, WYOMING, $615,000 (2013) The circular driveway and manicured lawns give this five-bedroom home in Wild Quail instant curb appeal. The wide foyer and curved staircase make a strong first impression inside, Terry Burns says. The kitchen opens to a brick patio that overlooks the golf course. The elaborate master bedroom has huge walk-in closets and opens to a private sun deck.
1. 68 OCEAN DRIVE, REHOBOTH, $6,700,000 (SOLD IN 2011) North Shores ranks at or near the top of any listing of desirable communities in Rehoboth, and this six-bedroom home became available because its owner wanted to move closer to the ocean, according to selling agent Shaun Tull of Jack Lingo Realtor in Rehoboth. Built in 1986 and renovated in 2002, the home offers beach and ocean views from its porches and decks. The rooftop deck has a wet bar and a hot tub. Underneath the living quarters is a six-car garage.
2. 56 OCEAN DRIVE, REHOBOTH, $5,500,000 (2013) Another oceanfront estate in North Shores, this 6,800-square-foot contemporary was built in 1999. It features five en-suite bedrooms, a gourmet kitchen, theater room and a huge stone fireplace. A private walkway to the beach, spacious decks for relaxing and entertaining, and stunning views of the ocean are among this property’s assets.
29809 Ocean Ridge Drive, North Bethany Beach
3. 29809 OCEAN RIDGE DRIVE, NORTH BETHANY, $5,250,000 (2014) How often does this happen? A husband-and-wife construction team builds a six-bedroom oceanfront house, lives in it for less than a year and decides to sell and move on to another project. Four stories, two master bedrooms, multiple decks, a glass elevator, a four-car garage, wide ocean vistas and the privacy of a gated community make it “a beautifully designed, stately house,” says listing agent Leslie Kopp of the Leslie Kopp Group of Long and Foster in Bethany Beach. Even better, she adds, “It’s almost brand new.”
39727 Sandpiper Lane, North Bethany Beach
4. 39727 SANDPIPER LANE, NORTH BETHANY, $5,150,000 (2011) This seven-bedroom oceanfront home in the gated Bayberry Dunes community is “almost like two houses attached together,” Leslie Kopp says. The sleeping areas on the second and third floors are in separate wings—one for the residents, the other for their guests. “You have to go downstairs and walk across the first floor to get to the bedrooms on the other side, so that adds more privacy.”
2 Ocean Drive, Rehoboth Beach
5. 2 OCEAN DRIVE, REHOBOTH, $4,425,000 (2010) Built in 1950, when there were fewer restrictions in building and zoning codes, this oceanfront North Shores property has a five-bedroom main house and a detached two-bedroom guesthouse. “It doesn’t have a ton of ocean frontage,” but an in-ground pool, fine landscaping and a private walkway to the beach “make it a pretty unique property,” says agent Derrick Lingo of Jack Lingo Realtor.
6. 39671 BAYBERRY DUNES LANE, NORTH BETHANY, $4,400,000 (2014) This oceanfront estate, set closer to the water than most homes in North Bethany, offers unobstructed views of the ocean from all seven bedrooms, strategically located on the home’s north, east and south sides. “It’s a really unique home, with a Southern plantation kind of feel,” says listing agent Henry Jaffe of Ocean Atlantic Sotheby’s International Realty. Built in 2000, the home features two master bedrooms, multiple decks and an elevator.
29379 Kelly Lane, North Bethany
7. 29379 KELLY LANE, NORTH BETHANY, $4,350,000 (2011) Built in 1990 on an oversized lot, this three-story contemporary in Breakwater Beach has seven bedrooms, five baths, an elevator and 93 feet of oceanfront views. Expansive decking and a private walkway to the beach are among the home’s many features. Upgrades include a new gourmet kitchen and glass sliding doors.
8. 29363 KELLY LANE, NORTH BETHANY, $4,337,500 (2011) Also on Kelly Lane, this oceanfront six-bedroom contemporary offers exceptional landscaping, multiple decks, a screened porch, elevator and two laundry areas. There’s a four-car garage under the home and plenty of parking space in the driveway, as well as a private walkway to the beach.
9. 35 PARK AVE., REHOBOTH, $4,030,000 (2014) “Mon Plaisir,” built in 1928, has a storied past. Designed for his parents by James Thompson, who would go on to become the “Silk King of Thailand” and mysteriously vanish in 1967, the eight-bedroom house with its pine-paneled walls brings back memories of an era when Rehoboth’s roads were unpaved and Wilmington’s upper crust dominated the town’s summer social scene. The kitchen and baths have been carefully updated to preserve the home’s original grandeur. Towering pines and extensive plantings offer a respite from the summer heat.
10. 39684 HAMPTONS LANE, NORTH BETHANY, $3,995,000 (2013) This oceanfront home on a double lot in the gated Preserve community has five bedrooms, five baths, multiple porches and decks, an elevator, two family rooms, a den, built-in bookcases, vaulted ceilings and an in-ground pool and spa. The private beach and a variety of community amenities, including tennis courts, are just a few steps away.
West of U.S. 113
24606 CHILTON DRIVE, SEAFORD, $1,450,000 (2014) Yes, there are waterfront properties in western Sussex, too. This four-bedroom contemporary rests on a wooded plot of nearly 40 acres that backs up to the Nanticoke River. With a gated entrance, a driveway of brick pavers circling a stone fountain in front of the house, a deck, a screened porch and a guest apartment over the four-car garage, the home offers luxury not often found in this part of the county. There’s also an in-ground pool, with a pool house and gazebo that’s “large enough that you could almost live in it,” says selling agent Kim Klippenstein of Jack Lingo Realtor in Millsboro.