Cape Cod News

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%  

Vacation Rentals on Cape Cod - 2020 Year in Review

2020 was an unusual year to say the least and the vacation rental market on Cape Cod was no exception. Local hotels and motels suffered as many vacationers were either unable to travel or reluctant to be in shared spaces. However, when comparing our experience as short-term vacation rental brokers to the hotel industry, we found the comfort of a clean private vacation rental home to be an incredible draw during the pandemic. Let's unpack a couple points of interest from last season and determine if that may influence 2021 and beyond.

1. Renters were not discouraged from weekly home rentals

Let's review here briefly since March 2020 seems like it was a lifetime ago.  Once significant lock-downs were put in place by the Commonwealth in late March of 2020, short-term vacation rentals were put on hold. This shutdown prevented new leases from being written and left a looming question mark over the entire season. However, in early June when the restrictions on vacation rentals were lifted, the floodgates opened and boy did they ever. Most of June was spent furiously making up for the past 6 months of lost booking time and, as a result, our 2020 summer season was unmatched in recent memory for occupancy. Vacationers, after spending months cooped up in apartments and cities, wanted to get away and felt safer doing it in a professionally cleaned private home, like the ones we manage, than in a hotel, resort or other accommodation where more people congregate and comingle.

Vacationers were suddenly reminded that Cape Cod is a delightful getaway merely a day's drive from anywhere in New England, New York, and even down as far as Washington DC and farther west. The appeal of a sunny beach or private yard where you can spread out and remain socially distant from strangers - while also enjoying a cooling dip every now and again - is something that makes Cape Cod both unique and delightful in the vacation market. 

2. Peak Season and Off-season each got a little longer

In our experience the most popular "peak" weeks for vacation rentals on Cape Cod are the last two weeks in July and the first two weeks in August. Bookings usually are less competitive for the end of August (kids back in school) and earlier in July but last year saw our waiting lists extend to double digits, even for some of these off-peak weeks. 

In addition to the unprecedented summer season, off-season interest was also exceptional in 2020.  In a typical year, before mid June as well as after Labor Day are challenging to fill due to school schedules; yet both of these times saw far higher occupancy rates than usual. With students and parents working virtually,  many were able to either extend vacation time or come to the Cape to escape even during the school year or normal work weeks.  Additionally, we had a number of retirees and remote workers just looking for a change in scenery that filled many of these vacancies.

3. What can we expect in 2021?

Based on how much booking interest we are already seeing so far we expect that Cape Cod will remain top of list for summer vacations for this year at least, and hopefully for quite some time. After 2020's jarring nature of shutdowns, ever changing regulations, and palpable uncertainty, we also expect local businesses to be able to better cope with the nature of operating during a pandemic. Many local shops, restaurants, retailers etc... have spent the past 11 months honing their operations during a pandemic and will be able to manage the summer crowds without the uncertainty of last year. We see Cape Cod continue to be a delightful summer vacation destination and hope you can come and experience it for yourself this year or in the near future.

For more information on a summer vacation rental, see our available homes --HERE--

Donation Opportunities on Cape Cod

What a year it’s been since I sat down to write for our last annual newsletter! Then, I was just settling into my new position here at Chatelain Real Estate and was looking forward to a wonderful year. What’s that they say about ‘the best laid plans’?  While the Cape has been experiencing a record-breaking real estate market, many people and businesses are living with the uncertainty of whether they’ll be able to support themselves through the coming year. One thing I love about living on Cape Cod is the spirit of community, so if you’d like to donate to support our local individuals, businesses, or non-profits -- or if you’re in need of resources yourself! -- check out the following funds:

Housing Assistance Corporation created a workforce housing relief fund to provide some financial relief for individuals and families struggling to stay afloat. Keeping people stably housed is always important, and doubly so during a pandemic! HAC has a long history of helping local residents find and maintain housing, and connecting them with appropriate financial and social services. 

The Cape Cod Resilience Fund is the brainchild of Love Live Local, an amazing nonprofit that spotlights and supports local businesses and vendors. The fund provides grant money to small business owners who have been impacted by Covid, whether from lockdown or a reduced ability to do business. Love Live Local has a store on Main Street in Hyannis and hosts a number of markets throughout the year for local makers to showcase their wares!

The Cape & Islands United Way’s Covid-19 Community Response Fund is channeling money to their existing and new non-profit partners. As lockdown went into effect just after the 2020 grant review process, the United Way decided to prioritize initiatives supporting housing and financial stability. The Community Response Fund continues this work by giving money to organizations that help with food, shelter, and emergency assistance. 

Hopefully, by the end of this year, things will be a bit more ‘normal’ -- but until then, give if you can, be kind to each other, and wear your mask!

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 May 2020

April Review:

  April certainly was a little unusual. When the Spring market should have been in full swing much came to a grinding halt instead. Closed sales were down 22% from April 2019 and saw a decrease from March 2020, which is unusual as well. We expect the trend of low sales to continue into May since the lagging indicator of number of pending homes (those that are under contract) was down 43% from April 2019.  Inventory was also low in April and was down nearly 60% from 2019, and was nearly flat from March, again an unusual thing to see when the Spring market should be taking off.

  Are we concerned? Well, not exactly.  While we do expect the overall trend of low home sales and inventory to continue for another month or two, depending on the timing of Governor Baker's 4 phase reopening plan, there are good things too.  First, we are open for business and doing business (see the blog from our agent, Amanda Bebrin, regarding what buying looks like with social distancing in place). If you need to buy or sell, we can, and are, getting it done. In the short-term there is pent up demand for homes and many sellers are waiting to list or have removed their homes from the market, so we expect a boom as more restrictions are eased. Second, mortgage rates are at near historic lows and if you are buying, now is a good time for financing. Third, short-term seasonal vacation rentals are open to essential workers and we look forward to having them open fully in phase 2, which may be as soon as June 8th. Finally, after working from home since March, we are eager to reopen the office to regular visitors and hours, following the outlined guidance from the Commonwealth. All of these things indicate that life will, soon, be getting back to normal. 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

    Feb     Mar     Apr  
    Closed Sales    324     326     264  
   Inventory     1,426     1,471     1,455  
   Median Sales Price   $435K     $441K     $440K  
   Avg Days on Market    120     124     116  
   Avg % of Original Price    93%     94%     95%  

Guidance to Seasonal Community | Vacation Rentals | Cape Cod

We don't know what this summer will bring exactly, but we are hopeful that it will look somewhat normal.  Here we'll keep you up to date with the latest news and information about vacationing on Cape Cod. We would also like to take a brief moment to express our thanks to those essential workers who are putting themselves at risk to keep us all safe and healthy. If you can give, here are some guidelines on giving wisely.

Update 6/8: Short-term rentals are now open as a part of phase 2 of the governor's reopening plan. See here for more information on the lodgings regulations --HERE--

Update 5/18: The governor has included short-term vacation rentals in phase 2 of his reopening plan. This may start as soon as June 8th. View our available vacation rentals here

Update 5/14: We are awaiting firm guidance on whether short-term vacation rentals can proceed. We expect this information to be released on May 18th

Local Information

Please see our page with links to each town on Cape Cod as well as the local chambers of commerce and Barnstable County.  These websites are updated frequently with town specific information and guidelines. In addition the local Cape Cod and Islands Association of Realtors has a very helpful page on short-term vacation rentals --HERE--.

Massachusetts Information

In addition to the general state level guidelines the local State Representatives and Governor's Office, in conjunction with a number of Cape Cod healthcare and business partners, put out helpful guidance to our seasonal visitors on the Cape.  The original can be found --HERE--.

National Information

The CDC has a lot of useful information, updated frequently

Surviving and thriving during COVID lock-down: Part 3

Continuing our series on how to make the best of an unusual situation we bring back Amanda Bebrin for her thoughts.

Whether you’re still going to work, managing kiddos, working or taking classes from home, or just plain going stir crazy (or all of the above), everything can feel really overwhelming at the moment. So, if you could use some ideas to help fill these many, many hours in isolation, I’ve got your back.

Sweat it out:

The on-going difficulty of our lives generates a lot of stress, which is not good to carry around all day long. A handy way to stop thinking about how 2020 is a garbage fire is to do an activity so strenuous that you can’t think about anything else. Maybe you’ve heard about yoga? A cursory YouTube search will give you several year’s worth of content -- or, you can support a local studio like Power Yoga of Cape Cod, which is offering classes via Zoom throughout the week. The classes are rigorous and the wonderful instructors offer adaptations for a variety of skill levels. Plus, since you’re participating online, no one will notice when you lose your balance in downward-facing dog. 

Focusing on anything but memes and headlines:

Mental exertion is just as important as physical exercise, especially if it occupies your hands allowing you to put down your phone. Classics like chess, jigsaw puzzles, card games, and board games are being dug out of closets and basements all over the country (and immediately reminding you and your loved ones why you hid them away in the first place….sometimes it’s okay to let the children win at Connect 4, DAD!). Or, if you’re feeling particularly ambitious, this is the perfect moment to attempt whatever trendy craft you keep seeing on Pinterest! Hand-lettering, knitting, and embroidery are all the rage -- and also have a ton of resources to help get you going. The act of creation is always a nice endorphin boost when everything else is a hot mess. (Try Puzzles from Sativa -- in Harwich).

There are a ton of articles and lists going around the internet about how to be making the most of this time (this one included), that you should be coming out of quarantine with a new skill, or side hustle, or your house in perfect condition. For many people, that’s just not at all possible. And for all of us: this is a global pandemic. Everything is in flux, and there will be no going back to the way things were before, for better and for worse. Right now, there is no agenda other than surviving. So if at the end of all of this, if the “only” thing you’ve managed to do is keep yourself alive and relatively sane, that’s enough.

….But if you do happen to see a cool bird or make a craft that you’re super proud of and post in on Instagram (as you should), please tag me. I’ve done everything on this list and still have 22 hours of my day left to fill!

Cape Cod Market Update April 2020

March Review:

Well, life looked a lot different in March than we are used to and we can only assume that any changes the Cape Cod real estate market felt in March are merely the beginning of a trend line that we do not yet have a full view of. Some good news is that Gov. Baker has deemed real estate an essential service so we are still able to perform all of our normal functions, but with some adaptation based on the social distancing recommendations. This is crucial as it allows for home purchases, often not remotely discretionary, to continue in an otherwise crazy time. Looking at last month here is what we know.  Inventory is down significantly from this time last year, by approximately 20%.  Additionally we did not see a significant rise in the number of new listings and some homeowners chose to temporarily withdraw their properties from the market in light of COVID-19.  These factors have resulted in a mere 3% gain in inventory instead of the 8% gain we saw for the same period in 2019.  Another important point here is that the magnitude of the shutdown was not felt until the middle of March so these numbers do not reflect a market completely under the current lock-down guidelines. However closings were up compared to 2019.  This is likely because the time that it takes for transactions to finalize, typically 45 days, means many of these closings were initiated back in January.  We expect that this lack of inventory may push prices up further in the short-term though the longer-term consequences of a nation's economy stuck in first gear are much more difficult to predict. However, mortgage rates are at record lows and the increased number of closings in March indicated what would have been a strong Spring market if not for the lock-down. We are hoping that enough of the emergency economic measures for renters and homeowners will keep people in their homes safe and healthy. Stay healthy and safe yourself!

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

    Jan     Feb     Mar  
    Closed Sales    270     324     326  
   Inventory     1,397     1,426     1,471  
   Median Sales Price   $431K     $435K     $441K  
   Avg Days on Market    108     120     124  
   Avg % of Original Price    93%     93%     94%  

Surviving and thriving during COVID lock-down: Part 1

We hope this finds you all hale and hearty in these trying times!  We are thankful to still be open for business and meeting the real estate needs of our clients, for a little more detail on how we are managing this please see our previous blog here.  Today we wanted to share the first of a few ideas for how to improve your home to add value (since you may have spare time these days), whether you are thinking of selling this year or in the future.

Quality of Life and Aesthetic Improvements

BeforeWAftere always recommend that you undertake upgrades that will make you enjoy your home more!  If you can afford it, don't wait 20 years to replace a bathroom you hate, improve and enjoy it now while you are living in your home.  Some sellers stress about doing these improvements just before selling and often don't reap monetary benefits as a results (see our blog about recouping investment on upgrades here).  You can even undertake very inexpensive projects that improve the overall look and livability of your home that - while mostly intended for you - also make your home more appealing when selling.  See the after and before photos (before has the mess of wires on the right) of a quick organization of home electronics.  This makes your home more livable for you and, by being tidy and neat, can improve buyers' first impressions.  A visibly clean and orderly home with very few 'punch-list' items implies that the owners are taking care of larger, invisible maintenance items -- this can have significant positive impacts by attracting higher and earlier offers when selling

If you are considering listing your home, please give us a call to put two generations of tradition and three decades of experience in your pocket.  For some more tips for homeowners check out our blogs tagged here.

 

2019 Cape Cod Real Estate Market Recap

Are you interested in the health of the Cape Cod real estate market?  How it compares to Massachusetts' real estate trends? We have had some time to review the market data from 2019 and have some interesting findings to report.  We'll take a few key points and break them down 

Inventory: What is "month's supply" and who cares?

Month's supply of inventory is a way of describing how much property is currently salable in the market.  It tells us that, if no homes were added to the market, how long it would take for all 'for sale' properties to be sold.  It is based on how quickly homes have been selling over the past few months and how many homes are currently for sale.  When it comes to inventory, 2019 saw a decline and was down nearly 20% from 2018 (see the graphic at right from the Cape Cod and Islands Association of Realtors).  This has been the overall trend since 2015 when months supply of inventory was at 7.9, at 2019 year end it was 4.0.  Who cares?  With inventory so low the market favors sellers.  Generally between 5 and 6 month's of inventory is considered a healthy and sustainable amount.  4 is heavily in seller favored territory and means that buyers may compete against multiple offer scenarios or have difficulty seeing a home before an accepted offer takes it off the market.  The lesson for buyers is be prepared! Contact one of our local agents to see what this looks like.

 

 

Median Sales Price: Why does it keep going up?

2019 median sales price in Barnstable County rose 2.5% to $410,000.  Median price in 2015 was $350,000 and has been steadily increasing since then with the steepest gain in 2018.  Something to note however is that not all markets on the Cape are experiencing an increase in this metric while others are far outpacing the larger area. The question as to why median price continues to increase is multifaceted.  Since 2015, the larger economy has seen cumulative inflation about 8.5%.  The Cape Cod real estate market has seen cumulative median price increase of 17% in this same time leaving us with 9.5% to account for.  Supply and demand plays a significant role in the Cape economy and with inventory decreasing since 2015 and demand remaining high, this places upward pressure on the price of homes.  Additionally with construction costs also quite high new homes are not being built which contributes to the lack of inventory.  Also in order for builders to make a profit, new homes are being built at ever higher price points driving the market up even more.  

Statewide and Larger Trends: Cape in Context

Massachusetts as a whole is also suffering from historically low inventory and increasing median sales prices as well.  According to the Massachusetts Association of Realtors (MAR), even with the rising cost of homes, Massachusetts first-time home buyers comprise 45% of home buyers, way above the national average of 33% of home buyers. This is good news as it indicates the State is a desirable place to live. MAR states that the increasing complexity of buying homes, has 93% of buyers using a real estate agent to assist in the process of buying as opposed to purchasing directly from a builder or owner (for the entire press release, see here). This trend has increased through this decade. Additionally, the historically low interest rates throughout much of 2019 (3.375% at the time of writing), coupled with the 88% of buyers financing their homes, highlights the strength of this real estate market for sellers and buyers.  

As always, to discuss the larger market trends or find out about buying or selling in your market, contact one of our agents today.