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The state of the housing market on the Cape

8 Nov 2012 4:15 PM
The state of the housing market on the Cape

Whether for a seaside summer home or a modern year-round residence, Cape Cod remains a popular place to buy a home. The tight-knit community and stunning views make this region a perennial favorite for individuals, couples and families at any stage of life. However, the question remains: is it a good time to buy one of the Cape Cod homes for sale?

During the housing crisis of the late 2000s, the Cape was hit hard, just like many communities across the country. However, in the intervening years, the Cape's housing market has shown admirable resilience and, according to recent data, appears to presently be in a strong position.

According to real estate analytics firm Zillow, the median price of a home on the Cape in September is 0.3 percent higher than it was in September 2011. When you look at specific communities on the Cape, the figures can be even more convincing - median prices are up 2.4 percent in East Falmouth and 4.5 percent in Harwich, respectively, the source reports.

What accounts for these rising prices? For starters, the nationwide housing market recovery is certainly responsible to a certain extent. Consumer confidence has been substantially restored and buyers are much more willing to invest in luxury property than they were a few years ago.

However, according to the Cape Cod Times, there is more to the story. Unemployment on the Cape, for example, has been steadily declining for several years. The jobless rate of 4.9 percent in August of this year is significantly down from its peak of 6.1 percent in August 2011.

"Clearly, things are better," David Augustinho, director of the Cape and Islands Workforce Investment Board, told the news source. "It's starting to affect the psychology of it all."

Another important factor is the pent-up demand for homes. In the last half year or so, motivated buyers have been scooping up properties with increasing quickness. During the depths of the recession, the average listing period for a home hovered between 200 and 220 days, the source reports. In August 2012, that figure dropped to 158 days.

The return of high-end home buyers could be one reason why the median price for Cape homes has been rising. These luxury home sales have helped raise selling prices and deplete inventories.

"The big money properties have been selling," Deborah Schilling, a local real estate professional, told the source.