March 2018 Market Report: Inventory Shortages Create More Distinct Housing Market

A traditionally diverse housing market is becoming even more distinct as inventory shortages and rising prices for homes below half a million dollars continues to dominate the overall view of the Cape Cod housing market.

When dividing the Barnstable County real estate market into segments, there is only 2.4 months of available homes for sale priced below $500,000 in Barnstable County in the Cape Cod & Islands Multiple Listing Service (CCIMLS). Months supply of inventory increases as price points rise: There is six months of supply for homes priced between $500,000 and $1 million; and 12 months of supply for homes priced more $1 million. Generally, a balanced real estate market will have six to nine months supply of inventory.

“From a market perspective, the homes priced under half a million dollars are selling quickly and there is a lot of pent up buyer demand both from those who live here year-round and those who wish to own a home recreationally. Buyers need to be prepared to act quickly in that price range,” said Martha Knapp, president of the Cape Cod & Islands Association of REALTORS (CCIAOR).

“The differing market demands highlight why it is important to seek out professional help in the form of a Realtor to help navigate the uniqueness of the Cape Cod market as a buyer or seller.”

Buyer interest is confirmed with data from CCIMLS, the most comprehensive database of properties for sale on Cape Cod. Fifty-five percent of all online listing views for Cape Cod properties are between $300,000 and $500,000, yet that price range represents only 26% of the active listings.

"Available housing below $500,000 is at a crisis level," cautioned Ryan Castle, chief executive officer of the CCIAOR.

“Some say we need to attract better paying jobs, others say we need more housing — quite simply, we need a concerted effort on both. We have housing demand that is not being met for those living here and working here year-round. We need housing production across the price spectrum to break the cycle, and the only way to do that is for Cape Codders and policy makers to make market-rate housing production a priority and a necessity in every town,” Castle added.

Housing Report By the Numbers

In the latest housing market report for Barnstable County, 235 homes sold in February, 186 single-family homes and 49 condominiums. Median sales price was $383,500 for single-family homes and $340,000 for condominiums. Compare that to February 2017 where 241 homes (197 single-family homes and 44 condos) sold at a median price of $374,000 for single-family homes and $239,500 for condominiums.

Year-to-date, 443 single-family homes have sold for a median price of $400,000 and 114 condominiums have sold for a median price of $277,000 – compared to last year through February, 476 single-family homes had sold for a median price of $371,000 and 105 condominiums had sold for a median price of $251,500.

Sales pending at the end of February were 244 for single-family homes and 67 for condominiums – a 11.3 percent decrease for single-family and a 13.6 percent increase for condominiums, which will show up in closed home sales in the coming months. Last February, there were 275 pending single-family homes and 59 pending condominiums.

Data released reflects all residential and condominiums in the Cape Cod & Islands Multiple Listing Service for Barnstable County.