Posted Jan. 7, 2015 @ 2:00 am
Updated Jan 7, 2015 at 9:56 AM
BARNSTABLE – Real estate activity in Barnstable County finished 2014 strong, with the highest monthly median sales price in recent years and a late surge in sales to surpass 2013, the Barnstable County Registry of Deeds reported Tuesday.
Both the volume and value of property sold on Cape Cod increased last month, Register of Deeds John Meade reported.
The volume of real estate sales on the Cape last month increased 12.8 percent and the value of real estate sales increased 26.7 percent compared with December 2013, according to Meade.
The median individual property sale value was up 15.8 percent from the previous year, with a median value of $347,450, according to the Registry. In August, the median sale price hit $343,000, a multi-year high at the time.
Meade, though, pointed out that the median sale price between August and December dipped by $15,000 to $20,000.
“That’s why I don’t put a lot of significance in the month-to-month numbers,” Meade said.
Annie Blatz, president-elect of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors, agreed.
“It’s a slow but steady recovery, which is healthy,” said Blatz, who manages three Kinlin Grover Real Estate offices on the Cape. “I am cautiously optimistic about 2015 and 2016.”
Nevertheless, Meade said the market is now more consistent than it was a few years ago.
“We’ve seen two years now of steady activity with positive trends,” Meade said. “The foreclosure numbers are shrinking to some degree from where they were, and individual values and overall values are creeping up.”
In 2013, there were 171 foreclosures in Barnstable County; in 2014, there were 135 – a 21 percent decrease.
Meanwhile, the median sale price for all of 2014 was $325,000, up from $315,000 for 2013. And the total sales value increased as well, from about $2.9 billion in 2013 to $3.1 billion in 2014. However, the total sales volume increased only slightly, from 6,660 in 2013 to 6,672 in 2014.
Blatz said she has found that sale values seem to be increasing “slowly but steadily.”
Though the year finished strong, Meade said the first three months of the year are typically the slowest, especially if the weather is bad. The latter portion of 2014 was significantly busier than the first three months, Meade said.
“We had a really crummy winter in terms of snow, and it's tough to go house hunting when there's two feet of snow in the yard so that may explain why we were slower from the get go,” Meade said. “Winter so far has been pretty mild. If it stays that way in January, February and March, that would be nice.”
However, Blatz said she is seeing good buyer activity right now.
“Sometimes we experience a pickup right after the first of the year, especially from people who are looking for second homes, but it’s definitely impacted by the weather,” Blatz said. “But it’s too soon to tell right now.”