2020 Retrospective on Cape Cod Real Estate

Posted on Wednesday, February 10th, 2021   |   Filed under Home Buyer Information, Home Seller Information, Market Condition Reports

2020 was a year that will go down in history.  We experienced a worldwide pandemic that took thousands of lives and affected Life As We Know It. It hasn’t ended yet but now there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.  2020 also saw the busiest real estate market in the history of real estate, at least on Cape Cod. After a very busy start to our normal spring market, that came crashing to a halt with the Coronavirus.  For many weeks nothing happened in real estate. Then, out of nowhere people started seeing a different big picture than they had before Covid 19. They realized they were going to be working from home for a long time and things possibly would never be the same again. Students of all ages suddenly were home attending class online.  Families were living together again and needed separate spaces, ‘Zoom Rooms’ as one client calls it.

Real estate started to pick up in May of 2020 with buyers streaming out of cities and over the Cape Cod Canal.  If this could become the New Normal, why should they wait until retirement age to live where they love and love where they live? If a home office can be anywhere, why not one in a charming village with sandy beaches to walk the dog on your lunchbreak? Where kids play outside and ride bikes and do the things they can’t in a city? Where the air is fresh and you can actually see the stars at night? So, for the rest of 2020 the real estate community worked relentlessly finding homes for all of the buyers trying to relocate here. Each month the reports from our local Association of Realtors smashed previous records. The level of activity was astounding and did not slow down straight through December. An unbelievable end result.

In Barnstable County which covers all the towns on the Cape (excluding Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket), Pending sales were up 21.7 percent, Closed sales up 19.3, and the Median sale price up 17.9 percent in 2020 versus 2019. The inventory of homes decreased 56.5 percent.  Now for the four towns I primarily focus on:

In Chatham, Closings of single family homes (SFH) rose 53.5 percent from 185 homes sold in 2019 to 284 sold in 2020. Year over year however, the Median sale price increased just 4.6 percent to $862,750.

Harwich saw 328 SFH Closed in 2020, or a 10.4 percent increase over the 297 SFH sold in 2019. The Median sale price was up 11.5 percent year over year, landing at $514,000.

Orleans had 198 Closed SFH in 2020 versus 106 in 2019; a huge increase of 86.8 percent. The Median sale price rose 13.4 percent to $827,500.

Brewster SFH Closed sales clocked in at a 42.4 percent increase; with 225 Sold versus 158 the prior year. The Median sale price was up 12 percent to $540,000.

Keep in mind that these sales took place over roughly 8 months instead of 12 and you will understand how frenzied the market really was. And still is. Thank goodness for our sandy beaches and lunchbreaks walking my dog!

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