Rehoboth by the Sea
Rehoboth by the Sea is an area in the north end of Dewey Beach and much of it is leased land. However not all of the land in this area is leased. The trade mark phrase of Rehoboth-By-The-Sea Realty Company “where pine and brine is ever wooing” gives the feel of a knotty-pine and the smell of the salty sea. Not quite Lewes, or Rehoboth, the wooded north end of Dewey Beach is uniquely Rehoboth by the Sea.
The family owned Rehoboth-By-The-Sea Realty Company started developing this land in 1925. Sales were slow in the early years, and so in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s the company offered non-renewable land leases. Land was leased for, on average, 60 years. Many of the current leases will expire prior to 2025. In fact these land leases require the home owner to remove the improvements and leave the land in its original level and unimproved condition at the end of the lease. The lease payments are low, and with a typical beach block cottage in Rehoboth by the Sea the costs can be less than $1,000 per year.
Rehoboth-By-The-Sea Realty Company has selectively offered new leases, and sells land to help maintain property values. Do not get too excited because sales are only considered at full market value, and only on a very few lots each year. Today, the home owners know that their time is running out. The closer to the end of the term the more likely Rehoboth-By-The-Sea Realty Company will have plans for the land at the end of the lease.
All of the land east of the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal, is leased land. The land leased there is owned by the Town of Lewes, have a 99 year term, and are renewable. When buying a property on Lewes Beach you pay for the rights to lease land or to have the rights assigned to you. The cost to buy in this area can be well over a million dollars, and the value of the home and improvements is added to the lease assignment value. Even though it is leased land on Lewes Beach the renewable lease makes the investment more like owning the land. This land has always been leased land since the American Colonial period as prescribed by England.
The town of Lewes, other than the beach, has more of a Williamsburg ambiance in architecture, and character. Lewes Beach has more of fisherman feel in its less traditional architectural character. The town of Lewes is a walking, shopping town with shops, boutiques, and little stores along the historic Market Street, Second Street and Pilottown Road. The beach has very little commercial activity and is far more a beachy fishing community where the focus is the beach, the canal and the bay.