Paul Chatelain

Cape Cod Market Update January 2020

December Review:

The numbers are in for December 2019.  When considering the fall market we see that closed sales have remained relatively consistent but new listings have not kept pace so inventory has been declining since September.  Compared to December in 2018, inventory is down approximately 21% and new listings about 17%; this coupled with the 2019 fall data signals a likely dearth of available listings in the near-term.  We do expect this time of year to be slow and with exceptionally low mortgage rates as well as ongoing wage growth in the market at large experts are expecting buyer activity to remain healthy into 2020.  While national new construction was on the rise in 2019, lack of inventory continues to be a problem in the local Cape Cod market as is partially signaled by a decline of 5.5% in the affordability index from December 2018.  We also went back and checked the single-family-home median sales price since 2016: $365k,   2017: $380k,   2018: $400k.  The numbers are not yet complete on 2019, but we expect them to follow this trend for the near future unless changes are made to local housing policies and/or larger economic impacts hit the Cape.  Contact us today, we are always glad to discuss the market in further detail if you have questions. For more market data check out our blog category Real Estate Trends.

Recent Market Summary

    Oct     Nov     Dec  
    Closed Sales    379     334     350  
   Inventory     1,975     1,700     1,346  
   Median Sales Price   $440K     $439K     $436K  
   Avg Days on Market    103     109     109  
   Avg % of Original Price    94%     93%     93%  

Winter Home Preparation 2020

It's that time of year again, winter.  After a fairly temperate holiday season, it is easy to get a little lackadaisical about preparing your home for the fury of winter.  For this edition we checked in with Ned, who heads up our home watch services, about some winter hazards and how to get your home ready.  The point he stresses more than any other is the benefit of having a neighbor or qualified and insured business keeping an eye on your home.

Freezing

Winter on Cape Cod is not kidding around.  At the time of writing it is the beginning of 2020 and approximately 40 degrees outside.  But ol' Jack Frost knows better than anyone how to lull homeowners into a false sense of security.  Ned's tip? Turn off your water and drain your pipes.  Ned is fanatical about this and will even shut off his water in the summer if he leaves for a few days.  Here is his explanation.

"With your water off at the main line, a freezing incident (or broken pipe) is never as catastrophic.  All that can happen is the amount of water sitting in the pipes leaks out of the break, but no more!  If you leave your water on and a pipe breaks on Friday, by Sunday this could be gallons of water pouring onto your wood floors and destroying your drywall.  With a well winterized home including drained pipes, a shut-off main, antifreeze in strategic locations, and human eyes walking through habitable spaces, you greatly reduce the possibility of damage as well as the amount of damage that does happen.  The horror story is a former sales client had, over several months, tens of thousands of gallons leak out of a broken pipe before anyone noticed.  Please have your house checked."

Pests

Cold outside is cold for everything, including animals that like to be warm and fed.  If you winterize your home we recommend removing all food items, even those in plastic packages and bags.  Mice will eat through bags of rice or popcorn and make a mess in your pantry.  Also chimneys are a consideration if you don't need them for venting a furnace since raccoons, opossums and plenty of other animals can make homes in them over the winter leading to messy cleanup come spring.  

Storm Damage

As always Nor'Easters are a very real threat to property here on Cape Cod.  With hurricane force winds battering trees and roofs, these storms can drop branches or entire trees on your home.  We recommend some simple things to get ready for any storm here, and particularly where landscaping is concerned.  The main idea, remove large trees and limbs from the area immediately surrounding your house.  Old pitch pines are particularly susceptible to breaking off near the top and dropping heavy and damaging tops on houses, so pay close attention to these when assessing your landscaping.

 

Be prepared this winter and add the peace of mind of having a person walk through and around your home by contacting Chatelain Real Estate today.  With our house watch service you don't need to wait until April to discover a problem that has been ongoing since January.

Cape Cod Market Update December 2019

November Review:

 The seasonal slowdown was in full swing in November.  When considering the past three months (Sept-Nov) we see a normal decline in Median Sales Price as well as Inventory.  We also see the related increase in Average Days on Market since buyers and sellers are now caught up in the holiday season and some homes take a bit longer to find a buyer.

  When comparing year-over-year single family homes we are seeing closed sales, inventory and new listings all down by more that 10% compared to this time last year.  National economic trends are generally strong and mortgage rates at local banks are hovering around 3.75%.

  If you are considering getting your home ready for the Spring market, now is the time to spruce things up a bit.  Check out our advise for 5 Things to do Before Listing as well as our insights into investing in home improvements before you sellContact us today with any questions, we are always glad to help.

For more market data check out our blog category Real Estate Trends.

Recent Market Summary

    Sept     Oct     Nov  
    Closed Sales    339     379     334  
   Inventory     2,090     1,975     1,700  
   Median Sales Price   $452K     $440K     $439K  
   Avg Days on Market    98     103     109  
   Avg % of Original Price    94%     94%     93%  

 

Cape Cod Vacation Rentals Update Fall 2019

Vacation rentals on Cape Cod have been undergoing significant changes in the past 9 months.  Here is a quick update on the recent developments.  For more information we encourage you to visit the Massachusetts website of FAQs here 

What is a short-term rental?

According to the Commonwealth, "A short-term rental is an occupied property that is not a hotel, motel, lodging house or bed and breakfast establishment, where at least 1 room or unit is rented out by an operator through the use of advance reservations. A short-term rental includes an apartment, house, cottage, and condominium. It does not include property that is rented out through tenancies at will or month-to-month leases. It also does not include time-share property. A short-term rental is a rental that is not for more than 31 consecutive calendar days. The new law imposes state and local excises on short-term rentals of property for more than 14 days in a calendar year, starting July 1, 2019 for which a rental contract was entered into on or after January 1, 2019.  "

Taxes can be as much as 17.45%

All municipalities in the Commonwealth are subject to the 5.7% room occupancy tax.

Towns can choose to impose two additional taxes.  First is the local excise tax which can be anywhere from 0 to 6%.  Second is a Community Impact fee which can be anywhere from 0 to 3%.  Check the database here for your town or see below for all 15 Cape Towns.  Additionally the Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Fund excise is 2.75% (currently no town on Nantucket or the Vineyard are subject to this).

Owner Requirements

Owners are now obligated to carry $1 million in liability insurance on each property.  Each property must be registered BY THE OWNER through MASS tax connect and tax must be remitted by the 20th of each month for the previous month's stays.  A full list of owner requirements is listed here.

What's being considered for the future?

As of right now (11/7/2019) Community Impact Fees have not been implemented in any Cape Cod Towns. However it behooves owners to read the First and Second Local Options of this FAQ from the State.  In these instances towns can add up to 3% Community Impact Fees if units are professionally managed.  If a tax of 17.45% sounds unreasonable, please consider speaking with your local representative to share your opinion.

Municipality Current Rooms Tax Rate Current Rooms Tax Effective Date Pending Rooms Tax Rate Pending Rooms Tax Effective Date Short-term Rental Community Impact Fee Rate Short-term Rental Community Impact Fee Effective Date Short-term Rental Professionaly Managed Option Short-term Rental included within 2-3 Family Home Cape & Islands Water Protection Fund Tax Rate Cape & Islands Water Protection Fund Effective Date
Barnstable 0.06 10/1/2010             0.0275 7/1/2019
Bourne 0.06 7/1/2019             0.0275 7/1/2019
Brewster 0.06 7/1/2010             0.0275 7/1/2019
Chatham 0.04 7/1/1988             0.0275 7/1/2019
Dennis 0.06 1/1/2020             0.0275 7/1/2019
Eastham 0.04 1/1/1987             0.0275 7/1/2019
Falmouth 0.05 1/1/2020             0.0275 7/1/2019
Harwich 0.04 1/1/1987             0.0275 7/1/2019
Mashpee 0.06 10/1/2019             0.0275 7/1/2019
Orleans 0.06 7/1/2019             0.0275 7/1/2019
Provincetown 0.06 7/1/2010             0.0275 7/1/2019
Sandwich 0.04 7/1/1986             0.0275 7/1/2019
Truro 0.04 12/1/1985             0.0275 7/1/2019
Wellfleet 0.04 7/1/1986             0.0275 7/1/2019
Yarmouth 0.06 7/1/2010             0.0275 7/1/2019

 

Curious about finding a rental management partner in Chatelain Real Estate, contact us today. 

Take a look at what is for sale throughout Cape Cod here

Looking for a vacation rental on Cape Cod, click here?

 

Cape Cod Market Update November 2019

https://campaign-image.com/zohocampaigns/369239000002508004_zc_v18_market_update_oct_2019.jpgIn October Barnstable County saw more of the fall slowdown with a significant reduction in new listings compared to this time last year.  Additionally new listings are down 5% year-to-date continuing the trend of historically low numbers of homes for sale.  Despite this the October market largely kept pace finishing with 5.7 months supply of inventory available.  Remember that 6 months is the magic number for a sustainable market between buyers and sellers.    Single family homes have not seen significant gains in median price since June and the affordability index has gained 20% since the start of the year signaling good news for buyers.  In addition continued low mortgage rates (~3.625% at time of writing) helps buyers looking to get into the market.  

  We will continue to keep our eyes on the amount of inventory as well as the months of supply available Cape-wide.  However we can't stress enough how the entire County is not representative of market niches.

 

Recent Market Summary

    Aug     Sept     Oct  
  Closed Sales     382     339     379  
  Inventory     2,082     2,090     1,975  
  Median Sales Price     $431K     $452K     $440K  
  Avg Days on Market     90     98     103  
   Avg % of Original Price     94%     94%     94%  

Cape Cod Market Update October 2019

September Review:

  The fall market is looking lackluster now that the September numbers are in.  With new listings, closings, and inventory down we did not see as significant an amount of activity in the market as this time last year.  With inventory countywide at a 6 month month level,  neither buyers nor sellers see a great advantage currently.  Not all markets are seeing this balance though so don't hesitate to check in if you are curious about a certain subset of the market (i.e. towns or price ranges).  Additionally, the lack of new listings may lead to a further drop in supply of inventory but fewer buyers in the market may not result in much change going into the usually slower holiday season.  Nationally a strong economy and low mortgage rates are helping to keep the real estate market active.

For more market data check out our blog category Real Estate Trends.

Recent Market Summary

    July     Aug     Sept  
    Closed Sales    341     382     339  
   Inventory     2,044     2,082     2,090  
   Median Sales Price   $435K     $431K     $452K  
   Avg Days on Market    101     90     98  
   Avg % of Original Price    94%     94%     94%  

 

Check out these two blogs for more valuable insight into real estate on Cape Cod

 

  5 Things to do before listing your home  

    Shellfish Season is Here!  

      
   

Best Shellfishing Spots on Cape Cod | Update Fall 2019

Courtesy of C Dannhauser

Fall is a great time for shellfishing on Cape Cod.  The water is still relatively warm and the weather, if you aren't in the middle of a Nor'Easter, is generally crisp and beautiful.  A lot reopens in October and November so time to get the rake out of the shed and start digging.

Each town has unique regulations and areas that are open and closed depending on the season.  Check out the listings below for more details on your town.  We also provide one or two suggestions of our favorite places but we suggest you find your own!

  Town information     Our Favorite Spot (but check for seasonal closures)  
Bourne Buttermilk Bay
Sandwich Mill Creek
Falmouth Waquoit Bay
Mashpee Great River south of the landing
Barnstable Scudder Lane or West Bay
Yarmouth Gray's Beach
Dennis Cove Rd (West Dennis Side)
Brewster Ellis Landing
Harwich Wychmere Harbor
Chatham Mill Creek or Oyster Pond
Orleans Little Pleasant Bay
Eastham Boat Meadow Creek
Wellfleet Indian Neck or Chipman's Cove
Truro Pamet River
Provincetown West of the Breakwater

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of C. Dannhauser

5 things to do before you list your home

The Cape Cod real estate market has heated back up this fall as many second home owners list their homes after the beach season.  Here is our list of 5 things to do before you list your home.

Fix Those Long Overdue Punch-list Items

 We always come back to this because it can't be emphasized enough.  Little repairs go a long way.  Replace sprung window sashes, plane doors that are sticking, fix locks that don't quite work correctly (here is a lock mid-adjustment in a settling home).  There is a reason why you haven't done these things yourself (that reminds me, I need to fix that sticking door!) so imagine how nice it would be as a buyer to walk into a potential home with minimal punch-list items!  These small repairs can often payback in dividends and ease of negotiation further down the road.

Have your Septic Inspected and Serviced

It has to happen to convey a property so getting it done up front is a big help.  Also buyers are keen on hearing the words "Title V in hand" when walking in to see your home. Besides, it is best to be prepared and address an issue with the septic prior to being a hitch during negotiations.

Have Your Chimney Cleaned and Gas Fireplaces Serviced

We could tell you horror stories about sellers waiting until the final walk-through to light a pilot or test a gas insert.  Needless to say it all end with more anxiety and cost for the seller than needed.  Even if you never use a wood-fire chimney you should get it inspected (and cleaned if needed) to reassure potential buyers of the status of this potentially costly feature.

Get a Pest Inspection

Just because you have never seen anything yourself doesn't mean that a home inspector won't find evidence of termites, mice or other pests.  By having an inspection done before listing property the savvy seller will be able to address any problems before they become a negotiating hangup further down the road.

Service the Heating and Air Conditioning Systems

Too often we overlook little problems in these systems in our own homes, but buyers are enticed when major components like heating and cooling just work, full stop.  An older system with a recent inspection can reassure a buyer enough to make an offer and demonstrates that other parts of the home are likely in good order too.

So what are you waiting for?  Go and get your home ready to sell, or, do these things anyway and rest easy in the knowledge that your home is in excellent working order and you'll be able to enjoy it for many years to come.  If you are thinking of selling contact us today for a conversation about how your home may perform in today's market and for help finding excellent local vendors who can help you with these five items.

 

Cape Cod Market Update September 2019

August Review:

   The trends in the Cape Cod market this year seem to be delayed approximately a month compared to last year.  In other words, August this year compares more closely with July last year.  We felt this in the Spring and now again in the late Summer as the August data seemingly reflects what is typically the July slowdown (whereas July was as busy as June the year before).  We see this normal seasonal slowdown reflected in the chart at right in that closed sales were up while new listings and inventory were all down.  We don't think it is worth ringing any alarm bells but the lack of new listings in August could lead to a more competitive market for buyers in the fall.  The most relevant factors influencing the real estate market right now are: historically low interest rates, overall economic trends looking favorable (at least in the near term), Barnstable County inventory at a healthy level of 6 months.  On another note we were pleased to see the affordability index move towards improving affordability in the single family home market in August, an increase in affordability of 7.5% compared to this time last year.  For more market data check out our blog category Real Estate Trends.

Recent Market Summary

  June   July     Aug  
    Closed Sales  361   341     382  
   Inventory   2,067   2,044     2,082  
   Median Sales Price   $450K     $435K     $431K  
   Avg Days on Market  106   101     90  
   Avg % of Original Price  95%   94%     94%  

 

Check out these two blogs for more valuable insight into real estate on Cape Cod

 

Storm Preparation on Cape Cod

   Our Take: Are sharks really taking a bite out of the Cod Cod Summer Rental Market?

      

Storm Preparation on Cape Cod

With the 2019 hurricane season in full swing and the memory of the bizarre July Tornadoes still fresh in our minds, preparing for a storm should be a concern before winter hits.  Late summer and fall hurricanes do pose serious concerns for the Cape, winter Nor'easters are often just as damaging with the additional possibility of freezing temperatures.  To make sure you and your house are prepared to weather any storm here are some specific recommendations to consider.  

Landscaping

  Trees are a major threat to structures, cars, and people in storms.  In particular Cape Cod has a lot of pitch pines that tend to snap off large limbs or drop entire tops in large wind events.  If you have them, make sure they are far away from your house so that, if they do fall, they won't land on anything important (see right.  This was the 'Freaky Friday' storm in December 2005.  Luckily no one was hurt but the driver had only returned home ten minutes before).  Obviously it is important to take a good look at any tree that is close to a structure, not just pines.  Additionally limbs that overhang the roof cause more lichen to grow, shortening its life, and leaves and needles clog up gutters adding to drainage issues in heavy rains and ice issues in the winter.

Make a prep bag

  We are big fans of self reliance.  To that end preparing for the worst is a good way to make the best of a bad situation.  Have a grab bag ready in case you lose power for several days.  Here is the FEMA website with good instructions too. Crank flashlights and radios are great since they don't need batteries, also make sure you have some way to eat.  Your gas may work in a storm but your electric sparker won't so don't forget matches.  Also have enough canned food in the pantry for a few days in case cooking isn't an option.  Also if you don't want to live rugged at home without power, your bag should include what you need at a shelter, bedding, toiletries, medications and some personal items (games and books!) will make smart additions to a prep bag.  During major storms emergency services are already stretched to the max so make sure to get to a shelter before travel gets dangerous or you become an emergency yourself.  In winter this becomes a serious decision since power loss often means loss of heat as well.  If you have a working fireplace or wood stove stock up on plenty of good dry wood.  And get out all those ugly old wool sweaters and down comforters!  

Prepare your house

If you are planning on being out of town or leaving your home for a shelter, turn off the water.  This is true even in the summer but especially in the winter.  We can't stress this enough.  With no heat in your house there is nothing keeping your pipes from freezing and turning your house into a skating rink.  Even if your pipes do burst, with the water off, there is a limited amount of damage that can be done.  Boarding up windows is a good idea for people who leave for long periods of time.  We see it less and less these days since windows are more durable, but it won't hurt.  If you aren't boarding up and high winds are expected, consider taping your windows or drape sheets against the inside to reduce broken glass damage.  Mind you, those sheets will blow away if a window breaks but they'll also help keep the glass contained.  Here is a fun anecdote.  Off the coast of Maine, where many small private islands exist with seasonal cottages, many people intentionally leave their door unlocked.  Why you may ask?  This not-so-secret secret is well known among the fishing and maritime community as a means of survival.  Homeowners leave food and blankets on the kitchen table in case a stranded fisherman (or a wrecked one) needs some help.  Our favorite part of this story, no one betrays this trust and loots - ever.  The lesson here is don't forget to help your neighbors.

We hope you found these tips helpful.  If you need recommendations for good local landscapers or tree professionals please contact us