Buyers, sellers, and homeowners alike have been asking us repeatedly how the Cape Cod real estate market is faring in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s an in-depth look at what has been happening and what we expect to see in the near future.
First, let’s explore where we’ve been. 2019 ended with inventory down 20% from the prior year and pending sales down 24%. In January 2020, we began to see a bit of a rebound with new listings up 14% and inventory down only 17% — a 3 point improvement from the previous month. Pending sales, however, were down 18% when compared to January 2019. February brought better news all around, with new listings up 11% and pending sales up 15% compared to the prior year. Sadly, though, the last day of February also brought news of the first US death attributed to COVID-19.
In March, the market began to fully reflect the negative impact of the coronavirus. Closed sales were up 10% due to February’s strong pending sales numbers. But pending sales were down 11% and new listings down 15%. Governor Baker issued a stay-at-home order beginning March 24th which shut down businesses and discouraged visitors from traveling to Massachusetts. In April, the numbers were unsurprisingly worse, with pending sales down 43% and new listings down almost 60%.
While the May numbers are not yet known, what IS known is that despite the shortage of inventory and perhaps fueled by the ridiculously low interest rates, buyers have been coming out and scooping up properties quickly. They are being more selective about which homes they visit in person and are making decisions faster. We anticipate that the May numbers will show a decrease in the average days-on-market, as well as a possibly slight improvement in pending sales. New listings will also likely begin to improve.
With the state launching its Re-opening Plan on May 25th, businesses and recreational venues are beginning to open up. Restaurants are offering curbside pickup services and the beaches and parks are open with limitations. Short-term lodging is prohibited until June 8th (according to the current plan). Once that ban is lifted, we expect most visitors to resume their plans to visit the Cape this summer – many of whom will be looking to purchase real estate. Live open houses are once again beginning to take place, with proper precautions being taken by hosting Realtors, homeowners, and home buyers. We expect a strong market heading toward the Fall as buyers and sellers also resume their original plans. The Cape market may also benefit from COVID-inspired purchases by buyers who are seeking refuge from more densely populated areas.
If you have been considering buying or selling this year, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss the market further and assist you with your plans. Please contact us for professional assistance by one of our local experts. Most of all, be safe, and we hope you will have the opportunity to enjoy beautiful Cape Cod this summer.