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Coronavirus Brings Record Month For Cape Cod Home Sales

Patch logo Patch 10/27/2020 Jimmy Bentley
a close up of a sign: Last month, pending sales increased by 64.2 percent for single-family homes and 78.4 percent for condominiums, according to the Cape Cod and Islands Association of Realtors. © Shutterstock Last month, pending sales increased by 64.2 percent for single-family homes and 78.4 percent for condominiums, according to the Cape Cod and Islands Association of Realtors.

FALMOUTH, MA — Home and condominium sales reached an all-time high on Cape Cod and the Islands during September, and real estate experts attributed much of this trend to new spending habits brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Last month, pending sales increased by 64.2 percent for single-family homes and 78.4 percent for condominiums, according to the Cape Cod and Islands Association of Realtors.

Association CEO Ryan Castle said the pandemic forced a lot of people to reevaluate their lifestyles, as working from home became a more popular and safer option for people. He said seasonal residents are deciding to stay on Cape Cod and the Islands full-time after originally residing there for just the summer months. Castle said many see the region as a more socially distance area than Boston and its surrounding suburbs.

"We saw the trend early on [in the pandemic] that people were looking for long-term rentals, but many have turned into buyers," Castle said. "A lot of people are realizing they can work from home, and the Cape is a place they want to stay year-round."

And with homes selling at a record pace, the profits for sellers are bigger than ever. According to the association, the median sales price for a single-family home in the region was $550,000, which also set a single-month record in Barnstable County.

According to preliminary data released last week by the Cape Cod & Islands Association of Realtors, 710 homes sold in September. That number included 559 single-family homes and 151 condominiums. The median sales price for a condominium was $350,000. Both those numbers are up since last year, with single-family homes seeing a $100,000 increase in median value.

In September 2019, 466 homes (346 single-family homes and 120 condos) sold at a median price of $450,000 for a single-family home and $348,500 for a condominium.

Castle said October looks to be another strong month for the Cape Cod market, but there is concern because inventory has dipped to its lowest level ever. According to association data, the total number of single-family homes for sale dipped to 921 units for the first time since the association began recording computerized data.

"Sellers are responding to market demand listing their house, but inventory keeps dropping as buyer demand is at an all-time high," Castle said. "Many that were planning to buy the house on the Cape in the next few years are moving up their plans consolidating demand during this time and leading to demand we have never seen before. We are still cautious as to whether this is temporary or a long-term trend; however, we are definitely seeing new home buying trends as a result of the pandemic."

Castle said the lack of inventory means buyers need to move quickly. He said properties are getting dozens of offers in a 48-hour period, and because of that many homes are selling well above market value.

Most of the those homes are being sold in Orleans, Chatham and Provincetown, areas where houses traditionally have higher price points. According to Castle, those towns are driving up the median sales price across all of Cape Cod.

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