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Demand For Vacation Homes On Rise – NAR


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More consumers are seeking the relaxation of getting away, as vacation-home sales rose 10.1% to 553,000 in 2012 from 502,000 in 2011, according to data from the National Association of Realtors.

When surveyed, buyers listed a number of reasons for purchasing a vacation home: 80% plan to utilize the property for vacations or family retreats, 27% intend to use it as a primary residence in the future, 23% hope to rent it to others and 23% saw the home as a good investment opportunity.

Conversely, investment-home sales dropped 2.1% to 1.21 million last year from 1.23 million in 2011. However, investment-home sales lingered well under a million during the market downturn, according to NAR.

Vacation-home sales equaled 11% of total transactions in 2012, which remained unchanged from 2011. The portion of investment sales, on the other hand, totaled only 24% in 2012, down from 27% in 2011.

“We had a strong stock market recovery, which helps more people in the prime ages for buying vacation homes. Attractively priced recreational property is also a big draw,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

With the buzz of an investor-driven housing recovery going around, Yun agrees that investor presence continues to thrive.

“Investors have been very active in the market over the past two years, attracted mostly by discounted foreclosures that could be quickly turned into profitable rentals,” Yun said. “With rising prices and limited inventory, notably in the low price ranges, investors are likely to step back in coming years.”

In 2012, the median investment-home price was $115,000, a 15% jump from $100,000 in 2011. Median vacation-home prices saw an even greater increase, hitting $150,000 compared with $121,300 in 2011. This represents a greater number of more expensive recreational property sales in 2012, NAR notes.

In 2012 the median price for a condo sold in Provincetown was $399K, up 11% from 2011.  The median price for a single family home sold was $800K, up 40% from 2011. 

Investment-home buyers had a median age of 45, earned $85,700 and purchased a home that was considerably close to their primary residence. Of the investment buyers, 35% purchased more than one property.

“Property flipping modestly increased in in 2012,” Yun said. “However, this isn’t flipping in the sense of what took place during the housing boom. Rather, investors generally are renovating and improving properties before placing them back on the market to resell at a profit.”

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Buying Cheaper Than Renting

Another great post from Tara Steele at Agent Genius. Buying is still cheaper then renting in most markets. An interesting national story.

by  in Housing News –   


trulia Buying now cheaper than renting in most housing markets

Rents up, home prices up, one still reigns

According to the Trulia Winter 2013 Rent vs. Buy Report, buying a home in the top 100 major metros is cheaper than renting, even in light of home prices rising. The company analyzes homes for sale and rent on the site from December 1, 2012 to February 28, 2013 factoring in transaction costs, opportunity costs, and taxes to uncover that although rents and home prices are both rising, home ownership is still more affordable. Trulia says buying a home is 44 percent cheaper than renting nationwide, down just slightly from 46 percent in 2012.

“Although buying a home is still cheaper than renting, the gap is closing,” said Dr. Jed Kolko, Trulia’s Chief Economist. “In 2013, home prices should rise faster than rents, and mortgage rates are likely to rise in the next year as the economy improves. By next year, buying could be more expensive than renting in some housing markets, even for people with the best credit.”

Housing affordability and mortgage rates

Asking home prices rose 7.0 percent year over year in February, which outpaced rents which rose 3.2 percent in the same period. Trulia reports that low mortgage rates (averaging 3.5 percent at the end of February) have kept homeownership costs from rising, and kept affordability high.

“Even in each of the 100 largest metros, buying is more affordable than renting with the range differing significantly from being 70 percent cheaper to buy than rent in Detroit, but only 19 percent cheaper in San Francisco,” Trulia reports.

The challenge that remains for housing

While a positive portrait of homeownership emerging, the stark reality is that many potential home buyers still won’t qualify for a mortgage under current lending conditions, and those that do qualify may not enjoy the lowest of rates unless their credit is near perfect.

That said, Trulia notes that “getting a higher rate does not mean homeownership is completely out of reach. Even with a 5.5 percent mortgage rate, buying a home is still cheaper than renting in almost every market. Only in San Francisco does homeownership become slightly more expensive than renting at the higher rate.”

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bungalow 58

Gorgeous newly renovated home with pool in the near West End

bungalow 58 has been totally renovated with exceptional attention to detail. This is a 2 bedroom 2.5 bath, 1,844 square foot  home with  a large family room and full bath on the lower level.















The stunning pool environment has a stone surround, natural rock walls, beautifully designed garden areas and a charming 160 square foot pool cabana.









The kitchen has double Dacor wall ovens, a five burner gas cooktop, a built in Silhouette wine cooler, and Bianca Carrera marble counters. There is a separate dining area and a large living room with a fireplace.








The master bedroom and the guest bedroom/den have sliders to the pool area. There is dyed oak hardwood throughout the main floor and and aged white oak hardwood in the family room.

bungalow 58 is located in the near West End , just a few minute walk from Commercial Street restaurants shopping and beaches. Give us a call and we will get you a full marketing package. bungalow 58 is being offered at $1.089M.





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Two Recent Truro Sales

These two recent Truro sales represent an interesting and diverse segment of the Truro single family home market. New houses, one brand  new and one built in 2002 illustrate the quality of homes available and the  great value available in Truro . 6 Cooper sold at $446 per square foot while 56 Castle Road sold at $257 per square foot. I know that most buyers, sellers and agents on the Cape don’t often use per square foot price as an important indication of value, but I just cant stop myself from using as it was embedded in my city training.

6 Cooper Terrace $915K

6 Cooper Terrace a 3 bedroom 2 bath 2,048 sf house sold for $915K on February 25 . (from MLS) Enjoy privacy and views of Cape Cod Bay and the Hopper house from this outstanding, architect designed contemporary built in 2002. The great room with soaring windows, including living and dining areas with an open kitchen, is on the first floor. The first bedroom and bath are also on the first floor while the second bedroom and bath, as well as a sleeping loft overlooking the great room, are on the second floor. There is a screen porch and patio off the first floor, and a deck looking out to the bay off the second floor. There is also a large outdoor shower. This home has a four-bedroom septic and sits on 1.42 acres, ample acreage for a guest cottage and/or additional bedrooms in the house.





56 Castle Road $722,500

56 Castle Road a 4/3, 2,808 sf house sold for $722,500 on March 1. (from MLS) Spacious brand new contemporary in a terrific Castle Rd., location. This brand new home is well sited to afford nice privacy with lovely natural views and vistas of the marsh. Open airy feel to the main living level with vaulted ceiling and over sized sky lights.In addition there is a master bedroom with bath and an added guest room. Full social bath.Lower level has 2 additional bedrooms,huge family room with sliders for extra light and 1-1/2 baths.All living areas and bedrooms are generously sized. There is a very large wrap around deck for outside living. Great home for large families, friends and parties. Super rental potential!

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West End Antique With Separate Cottage

One of our favorite properties that represents all that Provincetown has to offer. It is an authentic Cape Antique, with gardens, 3 bedrooms, privacy, charm, a separate cottage and the best location in the west end.







This single family home with an adorable separate cottage is one of those Provincetown properties that people just fall in love with. If you are seeking a sense of place just the approach to this house nestled on a private lane takes one back to another time. It is sited on the corner  of Tremont Street and Atwood Street, the most charming lane in the West End and is surrounded by wonderful perennial flower and vegetable gardens. This is a  3 bedroom, 2 bath home with a private detached cottage of 1 bed and 1 bath.









The The main floor of the house consists of a living room, two bedrooms, and a full bath, and is surrounded by a lovely fenced in yard with flower and vegetable gardens.








The second level has a kitchen, a family room, a separate dining room, a bedroom and a full bath. A full wall of sliders opens to a large deck with hot tub. A newly carpeted third bedroom completes this level. The kitchen has new appliances, and the entire house has new yellow pine hardwood floors.


There is a large roof deck with views to the harbor, Long Point, the monument and Truro beyond. The decking and garden areas are charming and comfortable.  The large deck off the kitchen and family room is big enough for a dining table and also holds the built in hot tub. There is a private brick patio around the cottage.











The adorable stand-alone cottage has a new kitchen, new carpeting and a sleeping loft, and is perfect for guests or as an artist’s studio. It is as comfortable as it is efficient.

This charming home is being offered at $1.295M.



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Cape Cod More Affordable


There was an interesting article in the Sunday Globe speaking to the fact that retirement housing, and housing in general on Cape Cod is more affordable after “seven down years in the real estate market have lowered prices to the point where owning a retirement home on Cape Cod is again an achievable dream for some baby boomers.”.


We are seeing variations of this in Provincetown as many  buyers are taking a solid look at their buying options after being on the fence for several years.  They feel better about the economic outlook. They feel that prices have moderated enough to warrant a second look, and they are seeing the benefits both financially and personally of buying a second home or transition to retirement home, and most of all buyers are honestly enjoying the personal adventure of looking for the home of their dreams in Provincetown and the Cape in general.

Below is the article by Globe correspondent Sarah Shemkus.

Massachusetts native Judy Watkins left the state more than 30 years ago, moving to Florida to escape the harsh New England winters.

Over the past few years, however, her thoughts have again turned northward. Approaching retirement, Watkins, now 67, started thinking about buying property on Cape Cod, where she could spend half the year enjoying the beaches, natural beauty, and people of her home state.

So she kept an eye on the market, watching as prices fell and options multiplied. Then, last month, she made her move, buying a two-bedroom, three-bath ranch home on a tree-ringed lot in East Falmouth for $185,000. The moment, she said, was right.

“This is absolutely, definitely the time to buy, for sure,” Watkins said

Cape Cod, with its relatively mild weather, low property taxes, and laid-back lifestyle, has long been a desirable destination for retirees.

During the real estate boom, however, even the coziest of cottages soared in price, effectively shutting many middle-income would-be buyers out of the market. Then, the economy crashed, leaving many people worried about their jobs and their investments, and disinclined to make a major real estate purchase.

Now however, seven down years in the real estate market have lowered prices to the point where owning a retirement home on Cape Cod is again an achievable dream for some baby boomers, according to financial planners and real estate agents.

“We see prices on the Cape are low and properties are starting to move again,” said Walter Herlihy, a financial planner with Beacon Financial Planning, which has offices and Centerville and Easton.

The median price for a single-family home in Barnstable county is now down to $320,000, from a high of $390,000 at the market peak, according to real estate data firm Warren Group. Prices in middle-market communities can be much lower, such as $239,000 in Bourne and $235,500 in Yarmouth, while the high-end communities remain more expensive. The median home price in Truro, for example, is $638,000, and in Chatham is $550,000.

A surge in homes for sale has helped bring prices down considerably. During the recession, many second-home owners concerned about their finances decided to sell their vacation properties. At the same time, rising foreclosure numbers meant more distressed and bank-owned homes were up for sale at depressed prices.

Furthermore, low interest rates have made it much easier for boomers to buy real estate. As recently as 2006, mortgage rates hovered near 6 percent; now a 30-year fixed rate is down to 3.55 percent. On a 30-year $300,000 mortgage, that’s a savings of about $450 a month.

“A lot of folks in that age bracket can remember the 12 to 18 percent rates of the late ’80s,” said Russ Pelletier, an agent with William Raveis Real Estate in Falmouth. “So a 3 percent mortgage now is almost looking like free.”

Potential buyers are, for the most part, also feeling more secure about their finances than they were a few years ago, during Wall Street’s more tumultuous period, financial planners report. Many experienced temporary losses during the worst of the Great Recession, but most have recovered and even made modest gains, Herlihy said.

“They’ve held on through the downturn and come out ahead of the game,” said Herlihy. “People are more confident than they were.”

However, while investors may be feeling more secure, they have not returned to the abandon that marked the peak of the real estate market, said David McPherson of Four Ponds Financial Planning in Falmouth and Hingham.

“Overall, many people are more cautious than they were five or six years ago,” he said.

Nonetheless, the combination of falling prices, low interest rates, and improving financial confidence has translated into a surge of sales activity, real estate agents report. Sales of single-family homes are up nearly 30 percent over last year, according to the Cape Cod and Islands Association of Realtors.

“People who have been on the fence, waiting to make that decision, they’ve become more active because they’ve realized prices have hit bottom,” Pelletier said

And most of those buyers, agents said, are people planning to turn a second home into a permanent residence once they retire.

“Three-quarters of the sales I’ve been involved in this year are people planning for their retirement,” said Marie Kelly, an agent with Realty Executives Cape Cod in Brewster. “They’re jumping in now on their retirement home.”

For Watkins, the buyer’s market helped convince her to commit to a property in her home state, rather than in Tennessee, the other destination she had considered. Though homes in Tennessee are less expensive than those on Cape Cod, falling prices and growing inventories made East Falmouth a viable choice, she said.

“There’s more for your money right now,” she said. “The Cape is just a great place to be.”