As a Realtor, I can’t go to a single holiday gathering without being asked the age-old question, “How’s the market?” Once I finish munching down the first piece of shrimp, I am happy to get involved in the discussion of the current real estate market. After all, at least it’s a subject that I know a lot about, and it doesn’t get me into trouble like some other topics might. My response, “It depends, why do you ask?”
The reason I often have to couch my remarks with “It depends…” is that the market varies according to the price point of the home. On Cape Cod, waterfront homes are always valuable assets, and few find themselves on the market. These homes are usually priced far higher than the median sales price for the area when they do come on the market, however, which sometimes decreases the number of qualified buyers for them. While beautiful properties, they often stay on the market much longer.
On the other hand, when more affordable homes (those that can be purchased by first-time home buyers or even down-sizing seniors who want no mortgage at all) appear in the multiple listing service, the homes are truly “hot” properties that often get multiple offers within the first two weeks of being listed.
Also, the season of the year can be a major factor in the supply of available homes. Many sellers do not want to list their homes during the holidays or even in the first few months of the year because of the winter weather. That being said, it is not surprising that the current inventory of homes in all price ranges is dramatically limited. (For example, our team likes to have a healthy inventory of 20-25 listings available in different price ranges. Our current December inventory is down to 15). Everyone comprehends the old rules of supply and demand. We still have buyers looking to buy. Sellers who are willing to list now will find less competition and more demand.
As an example of the changes we have been seeing, below is a chart from the November statistics published by the Cape and Islands MLS for the town of Falmouth. It might give you a snapshot of the market and a year over year outline. We have similar statistics in all of the Upper Cape towns with which we are most familiar. It doesn’t, however, show the differences and trends in specific price ranges. For that, you might have to catch me at my next party, or better yet, give us a call!