5 Takeaways from the
Cape Cod Real Estate Market
After months of quarantine, many homeowners have reevaluated where and how they live, and the Cape and islands have become more enticing than ever.
521 Shootflying Hill Road, Centerville
Spread out and take up space in this renovated home’s stunning open-floor plan that comes with a private dock.
What it was listed for: $1,295,000
What it sold for: $1,250,000
List date: May 16, 2020
Sold date: August 4, 2020
Facts: 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, 4,009 square feet on 0.72 acres
Sarah Lapsley works alongside her husband Gregory “Marty” Martin as an agent for Kinlin Grover Real Estate in Yarmouth Port. In the first quarter of 2020, she was on target with her annual goals. Then the pandemic arrived, and some of her spring listings decided to hold off on selling. “Sellers didn’t want to leave their homes, and they didn’t want people in their homes.”
Even her listings that made it on the market had to be sold unconventionally. Lapsley and her husband adapted by producing virtual tours. Before COVID-19, Lapsley says, she would rarely do a FaceTime showing. “Now it’s common practice,” she says. “I had a couple in Colorado who wanted to be closer to family on the Cape, and we did virtual showings and a virtual home inspection.” When she did the final walk through with her clients, they were moving in, she says, but they had never seen the house. “It’s a little nerve-racking as a buyer’s agent,” she says. “So, when doing a virtual tour, I try to point out everything.”
39 Kaycees Way, West Yarmouth
This move-in-ready three bedroom is in a quiet neighborhood
and borders a local conservation area.
What it was listed for: $429,000
What it sold for: $429,000
List date: June 24, 2020
Sold date: August 27, 2020
Facts: 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, 1,444 square feet on 0.61 acres
35 Captains Village Lane, Brewster
Situated on the fourth fairway of Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club , this home is a golf lover’s dream.
What it was listed for: $1,350,000
What it sold for: $1,300,000
List date: June 23, 2020
Sold date: August 12, 2020
Facts: 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, 3,544 square feet on 1.85 acres
The Remote Effect
At least in 2020, the days of sitting in an office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. are gone. Many businesses had to move their operations remotely, and in the process discovered that their workforce can be productive from afar. Workers have realized the perks of working from a space outside of their offices.
This industry change has made properties with more space outside of the city limits more attractive to buyers. Katie Clancy, a real estate agent with William Raveis in Yarmouth Port, has seen more off-Cape buyers than ever before. “I have one client who works in New York for a Fortune-500 company, and he was hunkering down at his parents’ on the Cape,” she says. “Then after a few months had passed, he thought ‘why don’t I just buy a Cape house?’ He doesn’t have to be back in his office until July of 2021.” Even then, Clancy says, her client doesn’t think he’ll need to be in the office every day, so he terminated his lease in New York and has embraced the Cape as his new home.
56 Uncle Stephens Road, Unit D, West Dennis
A sandy dune is the only thing separating this home from a quiet, private beach.
What it was listed for: $775,000
What it sold for: $762,500
List date: February 6, 2020
Sold date: April 23, 2020
Facts: 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, 948 square feet
Listing agent: The Cape House Team, William Raveis RE
Selling agent: Kristine R Sawyer, Coldwell Banker
10 Collingwood Drive, Yarmouth Port
This turnkey home in Yarmouth Port’s Northside neighborhood has a new kitchen and two renovated bathrooms.
What it was listed for: $400,000
What it sold for: $420,000
List date: June 30, 2020
Sold date: September 8, 2020
Facts: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1,064 square feet on 0.37 acres
Dawn Stevens, the relocation and corporate services director at Kinlin Grover Real Estate, says that her clients are more likely to commit to a vacation home. “We see some who have now decided a second home in a place like Cape Cod is a safer, better option than ever before,” she says. “They are pulling the trigger to buy now instead of vacationing in a hotel room where others have recently stayed due to the virus.”
Stevens says the vacation season is much longer, too. “At the beginning of the spring market, we saw those who currently had a home on Cape Cod come here to quarantine because it provided them a place to get away that was safe,” she says. “People found they could work remotely, so extended visits to Cape Cod have increased.”
A Shift in Priorities
It comes as no surprise that as homeowners spend more time at home, many have started to rethink their spaces. “Before I would have clients who would say, we want a summer cottage—something to jump into on the weekends,” she says. “Now clients are looking for second home that is actually a home. They aren’t just weekend warriors anymore—they are coming down for weeks at a time.”
The result has been an increased demand for pools and outdoor spaces. Stevens says that her clients are more interested in multifunctional spaces, such as bedrooms that can be used as offices or classrooms for kids who are learning virtually. “People are now looking for ways to spread out,” says Stevens. “Open-air spaces, such as a large yard or a walk to the park or beaches—places where they can be socially distant but enjoy the time with their families is really important.”
Low Inventory Exposed
Still, even as the market soars, housing inventory on the Cape has reached an all-time low, especially for more affordable homes. According to Clancy, the underproduction of housing has been a local issue for years. “For some time now, it’s been cumbersome to get through town halls. Also, it’s expensive to build entry-level or mid-level homes, so those are definitely lacking,” says Clancy. “I’m referring to the home for the client who owns a restaurant and her husband is a cop—what house do they buy? They aren’t in that $800,000 range necessarily, so we need more housing, especially more variety of housing.”
Looking ahead, Clancy is optimistic about the coming months, and she believes the market will stay busy and prices will remain high through next year. “As long as demand is as high as it is and supply is as low as it is, prices are going to stay high,” says Clancy. “We still have not quenched the thirst for properties here on the Cape even just in a normal market. Now we have interest rates and Covid influences, so I predict that we are going to see high prices for at least the next year.”
Nonetheless, even with rising incentives, listings are slow to come on the market. Stevens says that if homeowners are wondering whether to sell, now is the time. “I really encourage sellers if they are thinking about selling their home, there is no better time than the present, as there are plenty of buyers out there waiting to purchase now and take advantage of low mortgage rates. It all comes down to supply and demand,” says Stevens.