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Ocean City, MD: A Haven for Luxury Second-Home Buyers

Ocean City is in the throes of its annual population swell, during which the east coast seaside hamlet with the full-time population of about 7,000 residents hosts many millions of visitors. More than a few are charmed into staying—for a season or longer.

They come from “Maryland, DC, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey,” says Nancy Reither-Smith, International President’s Premier agent, top producer in the Ocean City, Maryland, and Delaware beach regions for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage—Mid-Atlantic, and listing agent for the most expensive home ever listed in Ocean Beach, which is currently for sale for $3,599,000. “Those who have their primary residence in Florida also purchase second homes here to escape the Florida summer heat.”

A growing off-season over the past few years, with businesses opening sooner—or never closing—plus festivals, 5k walks/runs, arts and culture, and holiday festivities galore filling up the calendar throughout the year, has made full-time living in Ocean City an increasingly attractive prospect. Especially when it comes to full-time ownership. The second-home market is, indeed, booming here, especially in the luxury sector. We looked to Reither-Smith for some insight.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury To what would you attribute Ocean City’s growth when it comes to second homes, especially in the luxury market?

Nancy Reither-Smith One reason is our location. We are within a two and one-half-hour drive from Washington DC, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. This allows for an easy weekend getaway and a super-three-day weekend if a Friday or Monday can be tacked on. And, it’s a place where buyers can come year-round because it doesn’t shut down after Labor Day like many other beach towns.

Walking the beach and listening to the waves break is the ultimate in peace and tranquility, but nightlife abounds at over 200 restaurants and bars for times when you need high-energy excitement. There’s kayaking and paddle boarding for some quiet time on the Bay, and jet skiing and motor boating when high-horsepower watersports are calling your name. The OC Convention Center brings first-class musical entertainment and performing arts that you can enjoy after a day at Ocean City’s many golf courses, tennis courts, amusement parks, and water slides. And, no visit to Ocean City is ever complete without a walk on the more than two-mile-long boardwalk. Ocean City also hosts the annual White Marlin Open, the most prestigious and highest-prize-money fishing competition in the world.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury National Association of Realtors® research shows that thirty percent of those who purchase vacation property intend to use the home as a short-term rental. What is drawing these luxury second-home buyers to Ocean Beach? Is it more about investment potential or are they purchasing for their own leisure pursuits (or both)?

Nancy Reither-Smith Many luxury buyers are looking mainly for their own leisure and want to have enough room for their families to come and make memories. Others are buying to get the income from renting, and then they use the home in the offseason.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Are you seeing an increase in buyers who want to stay in Ocean City all year?

Nancy Reither-Smith Many luxury home buyers are retired and plan to stay in their beach home for the entire summer season. Others use their beach homes as a summer getaway for a few full weeks each year and then they take three-day weekends the rest of the summer and in the offseason. In addition, over the past few years there has been a large increase in the number of purchasers from many different professions who are still working full time and can work remotely from their beach home.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury What types of properties are proving popular as second homes?

Nancy Reither-Smith The luxury homes are mainly single-family estates on the water overlooking the bay with boat docks in the backyards. These luxury homes are often in communities that have world-class amenities. Luxury buyers are drawn to homes that are well-maintained, not dated, and are in move-in-ready condition with no renovations needed.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Are you seeing buyers who are drawn more to the bay side, the Oceanside, or a combination of both?

Nancy Reither-Smith I’m seeing more luxury buyers being drawn to the bay side. Owners can keep their boat docked in their backyard and experience everything the bay has to offer, but they are still walking distance to the beach. I’m also seeing luxury buyers who want a little more land being drawn to homes closer to Assateague Island. Retirees are heading to Ocean Pines.

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury What advice would you give buyers looking for a luxury second home in Ocean City? Why is it so important to work with a local agent when buying a luxury second home?

Nancy Reither-Smith Buying a luxury home is a major decision and the agent needs to know much more than the number of bedrooms and bathrooms! Sophisticated buyers know and appreciate finishes and quality construction and they want details that they expect their agent to provide. As an agent helping luxury buyers, I also need to know the dynamics of the market. This includes knowing all comparable home sales and the differences among those homes that explain any price differential. I need to know the waterways and whether the channels are deep enough to accommodate their luxury vessel, and to be knowledgeable of our marketplace—the inventory, past sales, and what homes may be hitting the market soon that may meet their needs.

Agents need to listen and understand what lifestyle the luxury buyer is seeking and find the home that achieves it. What are their passions? Cooking, entertaining, boating, fishing? Is accommodating children and grandchildren an important consideration? Your goal as an agent is to find the home that best fits that luxury buyer and make the buying process smooth.

Current luxury homes for sale in Ocean City include:

12933 Old Bridge Rd
Ocean City, MD
Five bedrooms, five bathrooms, 6,050 square feet

Located on an acre of waterfront land with sunset views extending to the Ocean City skyline, this one-of-a-kind architectural home is as spectacular as its location, “with unmatched architecture and construction using the finest craftsmanship and materials available in the world,” says Reither-Smith. Features include a circular drive, extensive use of glass, steel, concrete, and marble, and a state-of-the-art Boffi kitchen. A glass skywalk leads to a fitness center, lounge, numerous decks, a second master suite, and guest suites. Outdoors, owners will revel in the saltwater pool, hot tub, fire pit, putting green, and custom waterfall with koi pond.

310 S. Heron Gull Court
Ocean City, MD
Six bedrooms, six bathrooms, 5,800 square feet

This seaside property is the only new construction home in the highly desirable Heron Harbour Isle community and offers an ideal floorplan, high-end finishes, and every amenity for waterfront living. The gourmet kitchen features a center island, breakfast bar, quartz and granite countertops, and Bosch and Thermador stainless steel appliances, and flows directly into great room. Drink in the water views from here, or head outside to the deck to watch the sunset. Boaters will also love the pier and boat slip with 10,000-pound lift. This home also presents a first-floor master suite and separate office, an oversized mud room, an elevator, and a bunk loft.

4 Clubhouse Dr
Ocean Pines, MD
Six bedrooms, seven bathrooms, 5,000 square feet

Popular with retirees, “Ocean Pines is a wonderful community with a yacht club, restaurants, golf course, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts, pickleball courts and much more,” says Reither-Smith, “and has been rated one of the top retirement communities in the country.” This custom residence is right on the open water, with skyline views, two boat lifts, and two jet ski lifts, for the ultimate outdoor lifestyle. A few of the home’s impressive interior features include: A professional chef’s kitchen, a downstairs master suite with fireplace and separate sitting room, mud room, guest quarters, and an oversized garage, plus breathtaking water views throughout.

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Ocean City, MD: A Haven for Luxury Second-Home Buyers

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