I get this question a lot.
The Cape Cod market, like other vistor-driven areas of the country is cyclical. The holidays also affect most markets. Most people begin thinking about buying a home or are actively searching as we get closer to Spring.
So even though we haven't reached the end of February, I thought I'd run some quick numbers just comparing January, 2008 to February, 2008, to date. So far, it would appear that this year is no exception. While activity is down from the same time-frame last year, February looks to be quite an improvement over January. Hopefully, the trend will hold true for March and April.
According to the Cape & Islands MLS, January saw 436 homes either under contract or sold. There were 5,016 homes in the inventory. So far for February there are 635 homes sold or under contract. Given the skittishness of Wall Street, forecasts of a collapsing real estate market, and more stringent criteria for mortgage approval, and increase of 200 in sales and pendings isn't too shabby! There are also about 480 fewer homes in inventory.
So what does this mean? Is it a Buyer's Market or a Seller's Market?
Maybe. Gee thanks. Great answer, Cathy. That helps a lot!
Well, here's my take on it as I gaze into my crystal ball and all numbers are open to interpretation. It's more of a Buyer's market than a Seller's market but there are qualified Buyers out there who ARE buying. There are also Sellers who are motivated to sell.
So is it a good time to buy or sell? Depends on your own personal situation.
If you are a seller in an up-side down mortgage (owe more than it's current market value), probably not. However, if you have equity in your home and room to negotiate with a valid Buyer, you can probably either move up and get more for your money or taken the equity and downsize.
Buyers need to have a good credit score and debt to income ratio. Interest rates are still good, and mortgages are being approved. Speak with a lender to see what you could qualify for. Be realistic. If you qualify for $300,000, don't start looking at $450,000 homes thinking that you're going to find the deal of the century. Not likely. Stay within your range, know what you want to pay monthly, keeping mind taxes and insurance.
All real estate is cyclical and local. The numbers we hear on the news are National. Even local news outlets are using statewide statistics. Different counties are experiencing varying levels of foreclosure, inventories and sales.
Whether you want to buy or sell, the Spring market on Cape Cod is looking up for both!
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