In this covid-19 year, time plays tricks with me. Spring was a bust, with everyone locked down and indoors, disinfecting the mail, and suspicious of all who passed who could possibly be spreading germs and not even know it. What was supposed to last two weeks stretches on to this day, seven months in.
Summer dawned with the start of warmer weather, leaves on the trees and people breaking free of their four walls to take walks on the beach, and in the villages and hiking trails.
One of the biggest developments for me, was the expansion of outdoor dining on Cape Cod. This region so famous for it's beauty and scenic vistas, has a dearth of restaurants with seating outdoors. Covid forced a change that was overdue anyway. It took some creative redesign of parking lots and lawns, but determined restaurateurs met the challenge, and according to an article in the Cape Cod Times, they reported that while business was down this summer, the financial hit was not as bad as was expected. We'll see if colder weather completely scuttles the progress.
You surely heard the media coverage of the white-hot real estate market this summer. Indeed, that was reality on the Cape. Long established agents never saw anything like it--- properties besieged by potential buyers with multiple offers, all above list price and a bidding war unlike anything before. The median sale price in Barnstable County is $490,000, an increase of 14 percent from one year ago, according to the Cape Cod and Islands Association of Realtors.
I was on the losing end of some of them. I came in second on a property with 27 offers turned in on the first weekend. My client offered far above list price and still we didn't get it. Happily, we did settle on another lovely home and as of this writing, my buyers are in love with their new place in East Dennis. My buyers and sellers also had several success stories this summer and autumn. It's a tough market for buyers but there, but there are strategies I can employ to increase the odds.
But for every success story, there are at least 20 motivated and eager buyers who are still looking. That's because potential sellers aren't budging. For all the reasons buyers want to be on the Cape now, including a new category of buyer who wants to relocate to the Cape sooner than they anticipated because they can now work from home, sellers are hanging onto their homes.
The official word from the Realtor's Association is it's too soon to know if this will create permanent changes in the nature of year-round life on the Cape. The zany months of July and August here are usually balanced by quiet solitude in January and February. If previously summer-only residents continue to work from home, we'll see more shoppers in the grocery stores, patients in the waiting rooms and more traffic on the roads. Even the beaches will have more visitors in winter.
We will see if a vaccine reverses the work-from home trend. Personally, I believe a significant percentage forced to work from home in this covid year will be allowed to do so permanently, or for at least part of the time. I do think we're at the cusp of a more enduring population on Cape Cod year round.
I hope you and your family are staying safe, that you're finding ways to stay connected in this strangely distant time, and that whatever your line of work, you have enough of what you need. This won't last forever.