Buying On Cape Cod

Cape Cod Market Update March 2021

February Review: Feb Market update

  The Cape Cod real estate market continues into unprecedented territory driven largely by dwindling inventory. At the end of February there were 343 homes for sale in Barnstable County, which is down 77% from the same period in 2020 and continues the trend of decreasing inventory we have seen largely unbroken since the start of the pandemic in the Spring of last year. This is a shockingly low number of homes for sale and has driven the "months of inventory" to less than 1 month - considering a "healthy market" has 5 or 6 months of inventory this number is concerning. Furthermore with historically low mortgage rates (though not record low any more) the frenzy for buyers to get into the market ASAP does not seem to be going away any time soon. As vaccination rates increase and life slowly begins to return to some semblance of normalcy we are hopeful that inventory will slowly start to increase leading to a more sustainable real estate market. Whichever seat you are in, whether buying or selling, the professionals at Chatelain Real Estate are here to give you the expert advice you will need to make your transaction a success. For more market data check out our blog category Real Estate Trends.  You can also give us a call any time - we look forward to hearing from you.

Recent Market Summary

    Dec     Jan     Feb  
    Closed Sales    491     297     264  
   Inventory     542     453     343  
   Median Sales Price   $570K     $570k     $560k  
   Avg Days on Market    57     67     76  
   Avg % of Original Price    98%     98%     98%  

2020 Cape Cod Real Estate Market Recap Part 2


The big question is “what about 2021?” Will the strong market hold?  Will prices continue to climb?  Or are we in a bubble whose collapse is imminent?  The short answer is, as always: “we have no idea.”  But for a long answer, here are some factors we see swimming around in the crystal ball on Agnes’ desk:

1) COVID generated an incredible demand for properties on Cape Cod, driven largely by out-of-area buyers.  Many of these were shopping for second homes to escape the pandemic shutdowns in urban areas and retained their off-Cape home as their primary residence.  But many made the move to Cape Cod permanently, attracted to the high quality public schools, phenomenal outdoor recreation, arts and culture scene, and of course, fried fish.  The extent to which either group will remain in the marketplace is the single greatest X-factor in predicting 2021 market performance.

2) Regardless of what happens with COVID demand, we are not generating enough new units on Cape, so we expect continued inventory problems.  This has been the story for 25 years across MA, and lack of new production has been driving median home prices to exceed median income by incrementally greater and greater margins every year.

3) The Fed's buying has contributed to massive amounts of cash in the marketplace, which even apart from COVID has been putting significant upward pressure on assets like real estate, bonds, gold, art, wine, etc... Everything we are reading suggests that this stimulus will continue.

4) Likewise, the Fed is signaling that they will keep the benchmark rate near 0% for the short-medium term, which favorably impacts mortgage rates and again puts upward pressure on real estate prices.

So what’s the roundup?  Items #2, 3 and 4 combine to suggest a continued strong market in the short term.  #1 is a wild card.  If things return to 'normal' and folks suddenly decide they no longer need or want that second home, or that they can no longer rationalize the expense, we may be in for a buyer’s market in the near future.  Only time will tell how things will play out.

2020 was a crazy year.  2021 is starting off on the same foot.  We have no idea what the future will bring.  But we do know this with 100% certainty: whatever the market brings, your Realtor will be a vital resource and ally ushering you through the buying, selling, or renting process, and there are no better agents out there than those at Chatelain Real Estate.  So pick up the phone, drop us an email, or stop by the office any time to discuss your needs -we’re here to help!

2020 Cape Cod Real Estate Market Recap Part 1

There are no two ways about it.  2020 was a remarkable year for the Cape Real Estate market.  We started off the year in familiar territory with January and February showing roughly the same level of market activity as in recent years.  But when the COVID pandemic took hold in March we saw a sudden slump in both pending sales and new listings – by the end of April new listings for single family homes were less than half of what they were in April 2019.  Things started to turn around in May, and by the end of July first quarter losses had already been erased and year-to-date median sale price and closed sales were up.  This trend continued until the end of the year, with record-setting monthly numbers in Q3 and Q4 eventually leading to a full 17.9% increase in median home sale price, and 19.8% increase in closed sales.


This 19.8% increase in closed sales happened in spite of inventory continuing to lag behind demand (see graphic above).  For example, buyers came back to the market in force in May. However, new listings of single family homes continued to drop until June, and by the end of the year never reached up to 2019 levels.  The most obvious effect of this low inventory is higher prices (a whopping 17.9% higher).  But it also leads to a faster and more aggressive market.  Total days on market was down this year, and homes are fetching closer and closer to asking price as time goes by.  A seller in today’s market can expect to receive 98.2% of asking price for their home, which is a significant increase over past years. 

What does this mean for buyers in today’s market?  Low inventory and high list/sale price ratios mean buyers should expect multiple offer situations with many homes selling for over asking price.  And the ever shortening days on market means buyers have to be ready to strike when the right home comes on the market.  Buyers should be pre-approved by a reputable local bank, and have a crack Realtor (like those from Chatelain Real Estate) on their side to help them move quickly and decisively.

For sellers, the takeaway is: sell!  Please!  We need more inventory in the marketplace in order to balance out surging demand.  Continued low inventory will only keep pushing prices higher, further exacerbating our already crisis-level affordability issues.  And with so many buyers out there, you are sure to get top dollar for your home.

The big question is “what about 2021?”  Will the strong market hold?  Will prices continue to climb?  Or are we in a bubble whose collapse is imminent?  The short answer is, as always: “we have no idea.”  But for a long answer see part 2 --HERE-- with the most significant factors we see swimming around in the crystal ball on Agnes’ desk:

Cape Cod Market Update December 2020

November Review: Nov Market update

  While 2020 is remarkable with exceptionally high median sales prices and low inventory, it is beginning to see the usual winter slow down - although this slow down still outpaces anything we have seen in the past.  Median sales price in Barnstable county continues to climb and is up 33% from this time last year.  Additionally, the months supply of single family homes is 1.7, which is a substantially lower than the 5-6 months in a healthy, slightly seller favored, market. As we drill down even more, there are only 0.6 months supply of single family homes priced from $297k - $419k (that is only 57 total homes for sale in this price range in all of Barnstable County).  These factors continue to depress the affordability of homes on Cape Cod which is something that will have broader implications in the future local economy. If you are considering selling your home, now is a great time to do so.  Even with the seasonal slowdown commencing, buyer appetite for homes on Cape Cod remains unsated and we expect the low inventory and exceptionally low mortgage rates to continue driving higher sale prices

 Stay healthy and safe everyone!  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

    Sept     Oct     Nov  
    Closed Sales    559     564     457  
   Inventory     921     808     724  
   Median Sales Price   $550k     $550k     $585k  
   Avg Days on Market    97     84     63  
   Avg % of Original Price    97%     98%     98%  

Cape Cod Market Update November 2020

October Review: Oct Market update

  The Cape Cod real estate market continues its unprecedented year.  Most remarkably is that median sales price remains at $550,000, up 25% from this time last year.  What is driving this increase?  Demand.  Both closed sales and pending sales are up more than 40% from this time last year and inventory is incredibly low, at just under 2 months of inventory.  Stay healthy and safe everyone!  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

    Aug     Sept     Oct  
    Closed Sales    509     559     564  
   Inventory     1,019     921     808  
   Median Sales Price   $545k     $550k     $550k  
   Avg Days on Market    99     97     84  
   Avg % of Original Price    96%     97%     98%  

Realtor Case file #57 – why local relationships matter

Whether you are buying, selling, or renting your home, one of the most important decisions you will make is who will represent your interests during the transaction. Those representatives should always be experienced local professionals with strong relationships in the community. I recently closed a transaction that perfectly illustrated just how important those relationships may end up being. Take a look:

Three days before closing on a seller client’s home the buyer’s attorney discovered two title issues which were going to prevent us from closing: an undischarged mortgage and an outstanding right of first refusal from the original developer. Title issues are always trouble but this was particularly troubling because my sellers were using the funds from their sale to purchase another home on the same day – a delay on the sale would cause serious complications for everyone involved. But my clients had done the right thing – they had carefully selected a team of experience professionals with strong connections in their respective professional communities. Here’s what happened:

We were in a rush so the attorney asked me (as the seller’s agent) to work on the right of first refusal while she and the sellers dug in on the mortgage. Because of my local knowledge, I happened to know who the developer was, and that he had retired and sold his business about 15 years ago. I also happened to know who he sold the business to, and have a working relationship with that person. So I called him up and got the contact info for his predecessor. I then spoke with the developer who sent me to his attorney here in Yarmouth. I called the attorney, with whom I have closed dozens of deals and asked for a favor. That afternoon the document was prepared and signed. First problem solved.

But what about the second problem? The mortgage on the home had been paid off for 10 years, but the bank never recorded the discharge. [Editor’s note: this happens ALL THE TIME. Always call your bank to make sure they recorded the discharge after your last payment to avoid this issue yourself]. The mortgage was, sadly, with a large national bank, so my sellers’ tearful trip to the branch was useless. So they regrouped and, on a lark, called their financial advisor. At dinner time on a weeknight. He picked right up. They explained the situation and he said, “You know what, I know someone who works in the mortgage department at that bank’s headquarters. Let me reach out to him.” By noon the next day they had satisfactory documentation of the discharged mortgage in hand, thanks to their finance guy’s local relationship within the bank.

We sent the completed file to the buyer’s attorney, the transaction closed as scheduled on Friday, my clients bought their new house that afternoon, and everyone walked away happy. Disaster averted.

So what was the trick? Local relationships. My clients had carefully selected a team of local experts and it paid off big time. Think about it like this – what if their Realtor hadn’t been local? Would the seller’s attorney have known and trusted him to solve part of the problem, or would she have had to extend the closing date to give her time to do it herself? Would the agent have known immediately who to call to track down the long-since retired out of state developer? Would the developer’s attorney have been willing to do the agent a favor by rushing the file? What if their financial advisor had been a nameless associate at a large firm who they couldn’t reach after hours? Or who didn’t have personal local relationships within the industry? Would they have still closed on time? Maybe. Maybe they would have gotten lucky. But why leave it to chance? Real Estate is a team sport – when you assemble your team, make sure to pick local professionals who have the experience and relationships in their industries to give you the best representation possible.

Four ways to pay off your mortgage early

Every few years it is worth evaluating the costs and benefits of paying off your mortgage early.  We'll discuss four scenarios with a home purchased for $450,000, 20% down and 2.75% interest on a 30 year fixed rate mortgage. For the purposes of this exercise we will be calculating principal and interest payments and not including mortgage insurance or escrow payments for taxes and insurance. To see our math you can refer to the embedded Mortgage Payment Calculator at the end of the blog.  Each scenario has a tab at the bottom so you can switch back and forth for comparisons. Let's proceed.

Standard Payment:

In this scenario you pay your mortgage just as it appears on your bill.  Over the course of 360 months (30 years) your entire mortgage is paid off.

Maximum Principal and Interest (P&I) payment: $1,469.67

Payoff time: 30 years

Total Interest Paid: $169,080.57

Scenario 1: Double your monthly principal payment

In this situation you simply mail your mortgage payment with twice the amount of the principal payment.  In our hypothetical, the first payment would therefore include $644.67 more than the standard $1,469.67, or $2,114.34.  This amount would slowly increase each month as your principal payment increases.

Max P&I Payment:  $2,931.26

Payoff time: 15.1 years

Total Interest Paid: $84,843.26

Scenario 2: Add an extra $500 to each principal payment

Here you simply pay $500 more to pay down your principal each month.  

Max P&I Payment:  $1,969.67

Payoff time: 19.8 years

Total Interest Paid: $107,023.83

Scenario 3: Annual bulk payment of $10,000 to your principal

Imagine that you save up all year and pay down a large chunk of the principal in December, we hypothesize $10k.

Max P&I Payment:  $11,469.67 ($1,469.67 max standard month)

Payoff time: 16.4

Total Interest Paid: $88,772.70

Scenario 4: Double principal and $20k annual payment

This situation may not be feasible for many people, but we included it to illustrate a point.  Here we combined strategy #2 and #3 but increased the annual payment to $20k. Using this strategy the payoff time can be brought down to just over 8 years with only about $46k in total interest

Max P&I Payment:  $22,865.24 ($2,930.77 max standard month)

Payoff time: 8.3

Total Interest Paid: $45,906.64

Synopsis: Which is best for me?

There is no one correct solution here. Each homeowner has a different financial situation, and these may change over time anyway.  Consider simply that paying down your principal results in fewer payments and less interest charged overall, but there is a reason that a standard mortgage is paid over 30 years.


As always contact us to discuss what buying or selling looks like in today's market.




Cape Cod Market Update October 2020

September Review: Aug Market update

 The Cape Cod real estate market continues its foray into uncharted waters.  September saw the highest single family median sales price ever recorded in Barnstable County at $550,000. Additionally inventory remains incredibly low with only 921 homes available cape-wide.  These two factors are putting incredible pressure on buyers by resulting in multiple offer scenarios and many homes being sold for over asking price, indicating the desperation for housing on Cape Cod.  While this market seems good for sellers in the short term, an unsustainable housing market on the Cape is not good for anyone, even sellers. Stay healthy and safe everyone!  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

    July     Aug     Sept  
    Closed Sales    582     509     559  
   Inventory     1,128     1,019     921  
   Median Sales Price   $499k     $545k     $550k  
   Avg Days on Market    106     99     97  
   Avg % of Original Price    95%     96%     97%  

Cape Cod Market Update September 2020

August Review: Aug Market update

  We are in an unprecedented market on Cape Cod folks.  Sellers are heavily favored in the current clime as we are seeing multiple offers over asking price on many properties, a norm previously only seen in super-hot markets like Boston, San Francisco and other booming urban areas.  Inventory is down 51% from August last year and the lack of inventory is driving up median sales price (up 27% from last year).  Despite the lack of inventory, both pending sales and closed sales are up significantly as well, 71% and 31% respectively, indicating an incredible demand for single family homes on Cape Cod.  What do we expect for the fall? Who knows? We are in uncharted waters here. What we do know is that, if you are thinking of selling, now is an excellent time.  If you are thinking of buying, while the market may seem outrageous there are still good values out there so don't get discouraged. Stay healthy and safe everyone!  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

    June     July     Aug  
    Closed Sales    419     582     509  
   Inventory     1,296     1,128     1,019  
   Median Sales Price   $475k     $499k     $545k  
   Avg Days on Market    108     106     99  
   Avg % of Original Price    95%     95%     96%  

Cape Cod Market Update August 2020

July Review: July Market update

July, like June, saw a significant uptick in real estate activity on Cape Cod. Presumably buyers are seeing the benefits of the Cape lifestyle and, through demand, creating an exceptionally hot market. Closed sales and pending sales are both up significantly from this time last year leading to the dearth of inventory that is still driving the market (as well as driving increasing prices). This is a heavily favored seller's market with only 3.1 months of inventory available across the county (less in certain markets) and properties seeing multiple offers and going under contract quickly. This trend follows the larger national trend of more interest in suburban, exurban and rural areas than cities. If you are looking for a getaway from the craziness in your area, we do still have a few weeks available in late August and September at our seasonal vacation rentals. Stay healthy and safe everyone!

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

    May     June     July  
    Closed Sales    239     419     582  
   Inventory     1,479     1,296     1,128  
   Median Sales Price   $455K     $475k     $499k  
   Avg Days on Market    102     108     106  
   Avg % of Original Price    95%     95%     95%