Monthly Archives: May 2021

Cape Cod by the Numbers

Despite near historic low levels of inventory, the Cape Cod real estate market is showing no signs of slowing its blistering pace logging a 74.3% increase in pending sales for single family homes this April, as compared to a year ago.

According to a report released by the Cape Cod & Islands Association of REALTORS® (CCIAOR), Cape-wide pending sales at the end of April were 380 for single-family homes and 100 for condominiums. Last April, there were 218 pending single-family homes and 39 pending condominiums.

The report said that 394 homes sold in April, 307 single-family homes and 87 condominiums. Median sales price was $625,000 for single-family homes and $345,000 for condominiums. Last April, 329 homes (265 single-family homes and 64 condos) sold at a median price of $439,900 for single-family homes and $303,250 for condominiums.

The CCIAOR also noted that April showed the first increase in inventory on a month to month basis since the start of the virus crisis and subsequent real estate boom.

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What this all means for a Cape Cod homeowner is that if you’ve been waiting to market your property, competition is slowly increasing as more houses are listed. Even though there has been a lot of talk about the number of homes being sold for above list price, CCIAOR says that nearly 1 in 2 listings are actually going for BELOW asking price. A situation that will only increase as more homes become available.

In addition, more than 60% of the transactions are being financed, which belies the somewhat common impression that most buyers are paying cash.

If you are wondering if now is the time to make your move, it probably is. Let’s connect at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com to discuss your options and develop a plan to best market your home.

With inventory increasing, it will also be easier to help you find your new home, whether you’re looking to upsize, downsize, or move to your someday neighborhood.

We hope you are enjoying this Memorial Day and remembering all those who gave their lives so we can call Cape Cod home.

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank

Sandwich by the Numbers

Despite near historic low levels of inventory, the Cape Cod real estate market is showing no signs of slowing its blistering pace logging a 74.3% increase in pending sales for single family homes this April, as compared to a year ago.

Cape-wide pending sales at the end of April were 380 for single-family homes and 100 for condominiums. Last April, there were 218 pending single-family homes and 39 pending condominiums.

In Sandwich, closed sales for single family homes in April increased from 19 a year ago to 31 – a 63% increase! Median sale price was up 28% comparing this April to last — $551,000.00 versus $430,000.00.

No condominiums sold in Town in April. According to a report from the Cape Cod & Islands Association of Realtors (CCIAOR), there was one pending condo sale at the close of the month. Year to date, the median sale price for a condominium in Sandwich is $280,000.00.

The CCIAOR also noted that April showed the first climb in Cape inventory on a month to month basis since the start of the virus crisis and subsequent real estate boom.

What this means for a Sandwich homeowner is that if you’ve been waiting to market your property, competition is slowly increasing as more houses are listed. Even though there has been a lot of talk about the number of homes being sold for above list price, CCIAOR says that nearly 1 in 2 listings are actually going for BELOW asking price.

In addition, more than 60% of the transactions are being financed, which belies the somewhat common impression that most buyers are paying cash.

As always, we’re happy to help and answer any of your questions. Please reach out at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com.

We hope you are enjoying this Memorial Day and remembering all those who gave their lives so we could call Cape Cod home.

Mari and Hank

Sellers Should Be Ready to Enter the Housing Market

One of the biggest questions in real estate today is, “When will sellers return to the housing market?”

An ongoing shortage of home supply has created a hyper-competitive environment for hopeful buyers, leading to the ultimate sellers’ market. However, as the economy continues to improve and more people get vaccinated, more sellers may finally be in sight.

The Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI) by Fannie Mae recently noted the percentage of consumer respondents, who say it’s a good time to sell a home, has increased from 61% to 67%. According to Doug Duncan, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae, “Consumer positivity regarding home-selling conditions has nearly matched its all-time high.”

Sellers Are Ready To Enter the Housing Market | MyKCM

Fannie Mae isn’t the only expert group noticing a rise in the percentage of people thinking about selling. George Ratiu, Senior Economist at realtor.comsays:

“The results of a realtor.com survey…showed that one in 10 homeowners plans to sell this year, with 63% of those looking to list in the next six months.”

Anecdotally, there seems to have been an increase in available property on Cape Cod over the past few weeks, but still nowhere near enough to reach traditional levels.

What this does mean is that if you’re considering selling your home, you shouldn’t delay much longer as competition will be popping up in your neighborhood — maybe even next door!

Selling your house can be a daunting task, even more so today. However, the fact that we’re in a strong sellers’ market can eliminate common concerns.

We’re happy to answer your questions. Let’s connect at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com so you can learn more about current market statistics and the opportunities that are available for homeowners, who are ready to sell.

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank

It’s Not Too Late to Apply for Forbearance

With so much focus on lack of housing inventory — while a record number of buyers are seeking homes on Cape Cod — not enough time has been spent talking about those homeowners, who have found it it challenging to make their mortgage payments because of the virus crisis.

The government initiated a forbearance program to provide much-needed support for these homeowners. But, many who are eligible have not used it, because they’re simply not familiar with it or pessimistic or unsure that they qualify.

But, there’ still time. Unless extended again, some of these plans and corresponding mortgage payment deferral options will expire soon. If your loan is backed by HUD/FHA, USDA, or VA, you can apply for initial forbearance by June 30, 2021.

Here’s what you need to know.

Who can apply.

This is how the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) explains the program:

Forbearance is when your mortgage servicer or lender allows you to pause or reduce your mortgage payments for a limited time while you build back your finances.

Forbearance doesn’t mean your payments are forgiven or erased. You are still obligated to repay any missed payments, which, in most cases, may be repaid over time or when you refinance or sell your home. Before the end of the forbearance, your servicer will contact you about how to repay the missed payments.

According to the CFPB, you may have a right to a COVID hardship forbearance if:

  • You’re experiencing financial hardship directly or indirectly due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • You have a federally backed mortgage, which includes HUD/FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac loans.

For mortgages that are not federally backed, servicers may offer similar forbearance options. If you are struggling to make your mortgage payments, lenders are generally required to discuss payment relief options with you, whether or not your loan is federally backed.

Forbearance is not expensive.

According to CFPB: “For most loans, there will be no additional fees, penalties, or additional interest (beyond scheduled amounts) added to your account.” You also do not need to submit additional documentation to qualify. You can simply tell your servicer that you have a pandemic-related financial hardship.

But, it’s important to contact your mortgage provider (the company you send your mortgage payment to every month) to explain your current situation and determine the best plan available for your needs.

The process to apply is rather simple.

  1. Find the contact information for your servicer
  2. Call your servicer
  3. Ask if you’re eligible for protection under the CARES Act
  4. Ask what happens when your forbearance period ends
  5. Ask your servicer to provide the agreement in writing

Our homes are our biggest asset. If you are having difficulty making your mortgage payments, there’s still time to take advantage of critical relief options to help keep you in your home.

You need to contact your mortgage provider to determine if you qualify. If you have other concerns or questions about the housing market, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We’re happy to assist you in any way we can.

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank

Four Reasons to Sell Your Home Now

The housing market keeps sailing along at a breathtaking pace. The only headwind that could take it off course is the lack of inventory for sale.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that there were 410,000 fewer single-family homes for sale this March than in March 2020. As we shared with you last week, the number of homes here on Cape Cod is significantly less when compared to last year, as well.

The key to continued success in the residential housing market is for more listings to become available. However, many homeowners are worried that selling their homes could be challenging for several reasons.

Recently, Homes.com released the findings of a survey that identified those concerns, in addition to what it will take for homeowners to feel comfortable selling their houses. Here are the four major homeowner concerns and a quick explanation of what’s actually happening in the housing market today.

1. Homeowners don’t know if they’ll be able to secure their next home before selling.

In negotiations, leverage is the power that one side may have to influence the other, while moving closer to their negotiating position. A party’s leverage is based on the ability to award benefits or eliminate costs on the other side.

In today’s market, buyers have compelling reasons to purchase a home now:

  • To buy before prices appreciate out of their reach
  • To secure a mortgage at a historically low rate, while they last
  • To finally own a home of their own

These buyer needs to give the seller tremendous leverage. Most already realize this leverage enables the homeowner to sell at a good price. However, this leverage may also be used to negotiate time to find their next home.

The homeowner could sell his/her home to the buyer at today’s price, which will enable the purchaser to take advantage of current mortgage rates. In return, the buyer might lease the house back to the seller for a pre-determined length of time while the seller finds a new home or has one built.

This gives the buyer what they want while also giving the seller what they need. It’s a true win-win negotiation.

2. Homeowners don’t know if their current home will sell for the asking price or top market price.

This is the perfect time to maximize profits while selling a house. NAR just released a study showing that bidding wars are at an all-time high. The study reveals that when comparing the first quarter of last year to the first quarter of this year, the number of offers on homes for sale doubled from an average of 2.4 to 4.8 offers.

Whenever there’s a biding war, the price of the item for sales escalates. Bloomberg recently reported that “for the first time ever, the average U.S. home is selling for above list price.”

3. Homeowners don’t know if they will get an offer without their homes requiring work or updates.

Again, leverage is the greatest strength a seller has. Due to the lack of homes for sale, many buyers are more willing to take on home improvement projects themselves in order to get the home they’re after.

It may also be wise to let future homeowners remodel the bathroom or the kitchen and make design decisions that are best for their specific tastes and lifestyles. As a seller, your dollars and time might be better spent working on small cosmetic updates, like refreshing some paint and power washing the exterior. It makes sense to not over-invest in your home with upgrades that the buyers may change anyway.

We are always available to work with you to assist you in determining the key projects that will maximize your listing, without overdoing it. Historically low inventory likely makes some projects that were seen as crucial just a few years ago less critical to the sale of the house today.

4. Homeowners don’t know if they can have a quick closing process.

When speed is important, there are two points sellers should look at:

  • The time it takes to find a buyer for the home
  • The time it takes to close the transaction

In the latest Existing Home Sales Report, NAR explained that 83% of homes that sold this March were on the market for less than a month. The average days on market (DOM) right now is 18 – a new record! All cash sales can usually be closed in 30 days. If a mortgage is involved, the rule of thumb is usually 45 days to close.

So, if you’re looking for a quick closing process, there’s never been a market in which the two-step process (finding a buyer and closing the deal) has taken less time.

Selling your house is often daunting, even more so today. However, the fact that we’re in such a strong sellers’ market clearly eliminates many common concerns. Let’s connect at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com so you can learn more about the opportunities for homeowners who are ready to sell.

…and watch for our video series discussing ways to manage selling your home and buying a new one at the same time.

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank

Patience Is Key to Buying a Home This Year

There’s one question were consistently asked: “Why is it so hard to find a house?

The answer is that we’re in the midst of the ultimate sellers’ market, which means real estate is ultra-competitive for buyers right now. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) says homes are getting an average of 4.8 offers per sale, and that number — and prices — keep rising.

On Cape Cod, 43% of all transactions that closed in March 2021 were for above asking price, compared to 11% in March 2020 and 9.5% in March 2019.

In addition, the median sales price for a single family home in Barnstable County rose to $653,500 last month, setting a new record high for median sale price on Cape.

Why?

It’s because there are so few houses for sale.

New listings in March on Cape for single-family homes were 391 and 93 for condominiums. This is a 18 percent decrease, and a 19.1 percent decrease respectively from last March, which had 477 new listings for single-family homes and 115 new listings for condominiums.

At the end of this March, there were 346 single-family homes for sale and 131 condominiums for sale in the Cape Cod & Islands Multiple Listing Service. Last March, there were 1,567 single-family homes and 446 condos listed for sale, a 77.9 percent decrease, and a 70.6 percent decrease, respectively.

Low inventory in the housing market isn’t new, but it’s becoming more challenging. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com put it simply: “Buyers can’t buy what’s not for sale.”

While many homeowners paused their plans to sell during the height of the virus crisis, this isn’t the main cause of today’s gap between supply and demand. (But, the lack of current homeowners looking to upsize, downsize or move to that someday neighborhood certainly isn’t helping…)

Sam Khater, Vice President and Chief Economist at Freddie Mac’s Economic and Housing Research Division, says that the main driver of the housing shortfall is a long term decline in the construction of single family houses, which has resulted in a decrease in the supply of starter homes.

When you consider the number of houses built in the U.S. by decade, the serious lack of new construction is obvious. (See graph below)

Patience Is the Key to Buying a Home This Year | MyKCM

To catch up to current demand, Freddie Mac estimates we need to build almost four million homes. The good news is that nationally there were 1.74 million housing starts in March – the highest in 14 years. Experts say the industry will need to keep that pace for three years to make up for the shortfall.

If you’re planning to buy this year, the key to success is being patient and working with real estate professionals — like Mari Sennott Plus — who know the Cape Cod market and can guide you through this very competitive environment. Providing our clients with the best advice has been our full time job for more than 20 years. So, let’s connect at 508-568-8191 or msennott@today realestate.com to review your options.

Your new home is out there waiting for you. It’s just going to take a little longer to find it.

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank

PS: If you’ve been thinking about selling, what are you waiting for?? Let’s talk soon…