Two men walk along the middle of Jones Road in Falmouth during the Jan. 27 blizzard. Despite the weather’s effects, property sales on the Cape were solid in January, the Barnstable County Registry of Deeds reported Friday. Ron Schloerb/Cape Cod Times
BARNSTABLE – The Cape’s real estate sales for January may have gotten partially buried in snow, but the market’s performance remained solid.
The Barnstable County Registry of Deeds reported Friday that sales volume last month was nearly identical to January 2014. The median price last month was down slightly less than a percentage point. Register of Deeds John F. Meade said those results came in a month when harsh winter weather limited activity to close sales.”The last two weeks are typically the busiest time of the month,” Meade said. “The snowpocalypse didn’t help much.”When a blizzard struck in the last week of the month, weather forced the registry to close on Jan. 27 and 28. “On Thursday (Jan. 29), we were open, but really no one was coming out to close transactions,” Meade said.
For the month, the registry recorded 396 deeds of property valued at more than $50,000, one fewer than in January 2013. The median price receded from January 2014’s $328,000 to $325,000 last month, the registry reported. The beginning of the year is typically the slowest time for property sales, Meade said. “January and February are the quietest months,” he said. “But we did have a strong December.”
Though weather may have prevented closings late in the month, both residential and commercial agents said the market has been robust. “It’s like an April market in the middle of a snowstorm,” said Tom Hester, principal of Tom Hester Real Estate in Dennis. “The phone’s been ringing a lot this winter.” Hester said low interest rates have provided a strong incentive for buyers to finance home sales. And he said both interest in both first and second homes has been strong this winter
Meade also said that interest rates were bringing more activity to the registry. Mortgage activity was up almost 2 percent, he said, as rates have reached multi-year lows.
On the commercial real estate front, John Ciluzzi, president of Premier Commercial in Hyannis, described conditions as “bullish.””The first quarter of 2015 has proved to be pretty good,” he said. “We’ve seen strong sales and leasing in January. There’s been a lot of interest, which we gauge as actual offers and money placed into escrow. When you get conditions like this, it’s why I say I’m bullish about the market.”
While the registry covers sales, Ciluzzi pointed out that another key part of the Cape’s commercial landscape also has been performing well: leasing. “That’s really the origination of new businesses,” he said. “Right now, we see a lot of leases in the office, retail and medical sectors.
And a look at a broader time span shows the real estate market continuing to improve, Meade said. “Six months to a year gives a better tell about where things are going,” he said. “And that looks like we’re on pace for continuing slight improvement.
The registry also reported that January was the 10th consecutive month with a median Cape sales price above $300,000.