Monthly Archives: June 2021

Demand for Vacation Homes Remains Strong

Lost in all the chatter about urban dwellers permanently relocating to places like Cape Cod in response to the virus crisis is the fact that vacation or second homes remain very popular.

The 2021 Vacation Home Counties Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows an increase in vacation home sales continuing in 2021. The report examines sales in counties where “vacant seasonal, occasional, or recreational use housing account for at least 20% of the housing stock” and compares that data to the overall residential market.

Here are some stats:

Vacation home sales rose by 16.4% to 310,600 in 2020, outpacing the 5.6% growth in total existing-home sales.

Vacation home sales are up 57.2% year-over-year during January-April 2021 compared to the 20% year-over-year change in total existing-home sales.

Home prices rose more in vacation home counties – the median existing price rose by 14.2% in vacation home counties, compared to 10.1% in non-vacation home counties.

In the New England, properties in vacation home counties typically sold 24 days faster compared to non-vacation home counties.

The NAR report coincides with data released by Zelman & Associates on the increase in sales of second homes throughout the country last year.

As the data above shows, there is still high demand for second getaway homes in 2021 even as the pandemic winds down. While we may see a rise in second-home sellers as life returns to normal, ongoing low supply and high demand will continue to provide those sellers with a good return on their investment.

Vacation home owners decide to sell for a variety of reasons from the kids getting older and being more interested in spending time with friends and not vacationing with parents to the prohibitive cost of maintaining two residences.

If you’re one of the many people who purchased a vacation home during the pandemic, you’re likely wondering what this means for you. If you’re considering selling that home as life returns to normal, you have options as there are still plenty of buyers in the market.

Curious about the possibilities? Let’s connect at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We’d be happy to help you review your options.


We’re excited to share with you a new TV commercial that Today Real Estate (TRE) will be running on some of your favorite cable channels.

This is just another example of TRE providing its professionals — and by extension our clients — with the most up-to-date tools available to effective in today’s competitive marketplace.

You can preview the commercial here. Thanks for watching it.

Stay cool…

Mari and Hank

Demand for Vacation Homes Is Still Strong

Lost in all the chatter about urban dwellers permanently relocating to places like Cape Cod in response to the virus crisis is the fact that vacation or second homes remain very popular.

The 2021 Vacation Home Counties Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows an increase in vacation home sales continuing in 2021. The report examines sales in counties where “vacant seasonal, occasional, or recreational use housing account for at least 20% of the housing stock” and compares that data to the overall residential market.

Here are some stats:

Vacation home sales rose by 16.4% to 310,600 in 2020, outpacing the 5.6% growth in total existing-home sales.

Vacation home sales are up 57.2% year-over-year during January-April 2021 compared to the 20% year-over-year change in total existing-home sales.

Home prices rose more in vacation home counties – the median existing price rose by 14.2% in vacation home counties, compared to 10.1% in non-vacation home counties.

In the New England, properties in vacation home counties typically sold 24 days faster compared to non-vacation home counties.

The NAR report coincides with data released by Zelman & Associates on the increase in sales of second homes throughout the country last year.

As the data above shows, there is still high demand for second getaway homes in 2021 even as the pandemic winds down. While we may see a rise in second-home sellers as life returns to normal, ongoing low supply and high demand will continue to provide those sellers with a good return on their investment.

Vacation home owners decide to sell for a variety of reasons from the kids getting older and being more interested in spending time with friends and not vacationing with parents to the prohibitive cost of maintaining two residences.

If you’re one of the many people who purchased a vacation home during the virus crisis, you’re likely wondering what this means for you. If you’re now considering selling that home as life returns to normal, you have options as there are still plenty of buyers in the market.

Curious about the possibilities? Let’s connect at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. We’d be happy to answer your questions.

Stay cool…

Mari and Hank

Cape Cod by the Numbers

The Cape Cod real estate market is currently ahead of last year’s record-breaking pace. But, it is important to remember that a year ago was the calm before the storm.

According to preliminary data released by the Cape Cod & Islands Association of REALTORS® (CCIAOR), 438 homes sold in May, 347 single-family homes and 91 condominiums. Median sales price was $630,000 for single-family homes and $350,000 for condominiums.

A year ago, 301 homes (241 single-family homes and 60 condos) sold at a median price of $454,500 for single-family homes and $266,392 for condominiums. An astonishing 63% of properties closed above list price in May – fueling the 104.5% of list price received for closings, reflecting the market’s unpredictability.

Sales pending at the end of May were 436 for single-family homes and 117 for condominiums – a 10.7 percent increase for single-family and a 37.6 percent increase for condominiums, which will show up in closed home sales in the coming months.

Last May, there were 394 pending single-family homes and 85 pending condominiums.

New listings in May for single-family homes were 511 and 116 for condominiums. This is a 9.9 percent increase, and a 11.5 percent increase respectively from last May, which had 465 new listings for single-family homes and 104 new listings for condominiums.

Inventory Shortage Easing?

While new listings are still well off the pace needed for a balanced real estate market, the gap between new listings from May 2019 (the last pre-pandemic May for which data is available) and May 2021 is beginning to show signs of closing, offering some hope that the inventory shortage may be beginning to ease.

At the end of May, there were 448 single-family homes for sale and 144 condominiums for sale in the Cape Cod & Islands Multiple Listing Service. A year ago, there were 1,537 single-family homes and 457 condos listed for sale, a 70.9 percent decrease, and a 68.5 percent decrease, respectively.

Cumulative days on market for May decreased 62 percent for single-family homes compared to last May, dropping from 100 days to 38 days. Condominiums had a 57.3 percent decrease in cumulative days on market compared to last May, dropping from 110 days to 47 days.

For buyers, the very modest increase in inventory could be signaling the beginning of a calmer market as the frenzied pace of the spring is not sustainable.

For sellers — especially those who have been sitting on the sidelines — this might be the start of opportunities lost as more competition is coming onto the field. While inventory is no where near what it needs to be, the number of homes for sale seems to be heading in the right direction as virus restrictions are lifted and life returns to “normal.”

As always, we’re available to answer your questions and concerns. Let’s connect at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com.

Happy first day of summer!

Mari and Hank

Listing Prices Are Like an Auction’s Reserve Price

For generations, the process of buying and selling a home has never really changed.

A homeowner and their real estate professional would estimate the market value of the house, then tack on a little extra for some negotiating room. That figure would become the listing price. 

Buyers would then try to determine how much less than the full price they could offer and still get the home.

As a result, the listing price was generally the ceiling of the negotiation. The actual sales price would almost always be somewhat lower than what was listed. It was unthinkable to pay more than what the seller was asking.

Today is different.

The record-low supply of homes for sale coupled with very strong buyer demand is leading to a rise in bidding wars on many homes. Because of this, homes today are selling for more than the list price. In some cases, they sell for a lot more.

According to Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR): “For every listing there are 5.1 offers. Half of the homes (nationally) are being sold for above list price.”

You may need to change the way you look at the asking price of a home.

In this market, you likely can’t shop for a home with the former approach of negotiating to a lower price.

Due to the low supply, many homes are now being offered in an auction-like atmosphere in which the highest bidder wins the home. In an actual auction, the seller of an item agrees to take the highest bid, and many sellers set a reserve price on the item they’re selling. A reserve price is the minimum amount a seller will accept as the winning bid.

When navigating a competitive housing market, think of the list price of the house as the reserve price at an auction. It’s the minimum the seller will accept in many cases.

So, if you really love a home, know that it may ultimately sell for more than the sellers are asking.

We have found that in working with buyers that there is an education process to this new way of thinking. Just last week, a new buyer was honestly shocked that their offer of $5,000 over asking price was the lowest of five bids. Their offer for the next home that they bid on was much more in line with the new pricing reality. We’re still waiting to hear if they were successful, but these buyers learned quickly. Sometimes others lose out on a few homes before they adjust.

Remember: someone like good old Uncle Harry who “knows a little something about real estate” may be telling you that it’s foolish to offer more for a home than the listing price. But, he’s more familiar with the housing market of the past than that of today

Frequent and competitive bidding wars are creating an auction-like atmosphere in many real estate transactions right now. Let’s connect today at 508-568-8191or msennott@todayrealestate.com so we can provide you with the best advice on how to make a competitive offer on a home.

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank

Home Buying Is Like an Auction

For generations, the process of buying and selling a home has never really changed.

A homeowner and their real estate professional would estimate the market value of the house, then tack on a little extra for negotiating room. That figure would become the listing price. 

Buyers would then try to determine how much less than the full price they could offer and still get the home.

As a result, the listing price was generally the ceiling of the negotiation. The actual sales price would almost always be somewhat lower than what was listed. It was unthinkable to pay more than what the seller was asking.

Today is different.

The record-low supply of homes for sale coupled with very strong buyer demand is leading to a rise in bidding wars on many homes. Because of this, houses today are selling for more than the list price. In some cases, they can sell for a lot more.

In Sandwich, single family houses sold last month for 105% of asking price. The median sales price was $590,000.00; up from $434,500.00 in 2020.

Last month there were also only 28 new listings for single family homes in Sandwich, down from a mere 39 a year ago.

You may need to change the way you look at the asking price of a home.

In this market, you likely can’t shop for a home with the former approach of negotiating to a lower price.

Due to the low supply, many properties are now being offered in an auction-like atmosphere in which the highest bidder wins the home. In an actual auction, the seller of an item agrees to take the highest bid, and many sellers set a reserve price which is the minimum amount they will accept.

So, when navigating a competitive housing market, think of the list price of the home as the reserve price at an auction. It’s the minimum the seller will accept in many cases.

We have found in working with new buyers that there is an education process to this w way of thinking. Just last week, a new buyer was honestly shocked that their offer of $5,000 over asking price for a moderately — but today’s definition — priced home in Town was the lowest of five bids. Their offer for the next house they were interested in was much more in line with the new pricing reality. We’re still waiting to hear if they were successful, but these buyers learned quickly. Sometimes others lose out on a few homes before they adjust.

Remember: someone like good old Uncle Harry who “knows a little something about real estate” may be telling you that it’s foolish to offer more for a home than the listing price. But, he’s more familiar with the housing market of the past than of today

Frequent and competitive bidding wars have changed the housing market. We’re always happy to answer your questions or provide you with current information about the real estate market in Town or across the Cape. Please reach out at 508-568-8191 or msennott@todayrealestate.com. Thanks…

Mari and Hank

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Why Are People Moving?

Americans are moving this year for a variety of reasons. The virus crisis has certainly reshaped our lifestyles and our needs. Spending so much more time in our current homes has driven some of us to reconsider what homeownership means and what we find most valuable in our living spaces.

With a new perspective on homeownership, here are some of the reasons people are reconsidering where they live and doing something about it.

1. Working from Home

Remote work has become the new norm for many and for some, it’s persisting longer than initially expected. Many in the workforce are discovering they don’t need to live so close to the office anymore and they can get more for their money if they move a little further outside the city limits. 

For those who do need to travel to the office on occasion, Sandwich and the upper Cape offer easy access to both Boston and Providence.

2. Room for Fitness & Activities

Staying healthy and active is a top priority for many Americans, and dreams of having space for a home gym are growing stronger. A recent survey of 4,538 active adults from 122 countries noted the three fastest-growing fitness trends amongst active adults:

  • At-home fitness equipment (up 50%)
  • Personal trainers/nutritionists (up 48%)
  • Online fitness courses, classes, and subscriptions (up 17%)

Having room to maintain a healthy lifestyle at home – physically and mentally – may be prompting some buyers to consider a new place to live that includes space for at-home workouts, hobbies, and family activities.

3. Outdoor Space

Better Homes & Gardens recently released the outdoor living trends for this year, and three of them are:

  • Outdoor Kitchens: 60% of homeowners are looking to add outdoor kitchens.
  • Edible Garden: Millions of people began gardening during the pandemic . . . to supplement pantries with homegrown fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
  • Secluded Spaces: As outdoor activity increases, so does the need for privacy.

Sandwich and Cape Cod check many of these boxes. With interest rates still at historically low levels, both buyers and sellers — whether upsizing, downsizing or moving to their someday neighborhoods — can take advantage of a number of financing options.

If you have any questions about today’s real estate market, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re happy to help…

Mari and Hank

msennott@todayrealestate.com/508-568-8191

Frustrated?

There are a record number of buyers looking for homes on Cape Cod, yet sellers are leaving money on the table.

While there are certainly instances of homes being sold for sometimes head scratching amounts, the Cape Cod and Islands Association of Realtors reports that nearly 1 in 2 listings are actually going for BELOW asking price.

So what’s going on? Mari answers the question in her latest YouTube video.

We also have anecdotal evidence that even homeowners selling property on their own are not taking the time to get the best price possible.

Too often we’ve heard from a For Sale by Owner — who promised a showing or said to call back in a day or so — that they accepted an offer when we contacted them again as instructed. We suspect that because they don’t fully understanding how the real estate market is working now — for example, waiving home inspections is not unusual — these individual sellers accept what appears to be the first “good” offer they receive.

But, they’ll never know what our buyer — or potentially others — might have been willing to pay for the property.

There are many reasons why people are looking to move including new freedom made possible by work from home options; room for fitness and family activities, and a desire to spend more time outside.

Cape Cod checks all the boxes, so homeowners should not be selling themselves short by limiting the exposure their property receives.

Before marketing your home, let’s talk about how Mari Sennott Plus can provide you with a full marketing plan that will get you the best price for your property.

Don’t wish for it; go for it!

Mari and Hank

508-568-8919 or msennott@todayrealestate.com.