Cape fear: Dramatic increase in homes for sale in iconic New England vacation area


The classic, Donald Ross designed Oyster Harbors is one of the best golf courses on Cape Cod.

    The latest data on home inventories hints at the thrashing the vacation home market is taking across the land, and especially on the traditionally bulletproof Cape Cod, in Massachusetts.  People worried about job loss or saddled with growing interest rates on variable rate mortgages on their primary homes are hedging their bets before they have to hit the panic button and unload their treasured vacation homes at deeper discounts.
    The real estate brokerage firm Zip Realty published its latest report on

Homes for sale in Barnstable County rose from 1,805 to 5,484 in just one month.

housing stock for sale in the nation's largest metropolitan areas, and although the overall news is positive -- inventories down nationwide to a nine-month's supply -- one New England county sticks out in a negative way.  Barnstable County, which includes most of Cape Cod, showed roughly a 200% increase in the number of homes on the market from January 08 to January 09 and a similar increase from December to January.  In all, 5,484 homes in Barnstable County were on the market at the end of January, up from just 1,805 the month before.  Barnstable's numbers made the Boston metro area one of the few in Zip Realty's study of 29 metros that increased its inventory of homes month over month.  Even Miami saw a reduction, of about 4%.
    Depending on what real estate reports you read, home prices on Cape Cod decreased by about 12% last year, with a median sales price of $330,000.  Golf club choices in the area are varied, ranging from one of the best public courses in the nation, Cranberry Valley in Harwich, to the higher end, quite private Donald Ross designed Oyster Harbors in Osterville.  Membership fees on the Cape have been traditionally high, but like real estate in the current economy, they too could be on their way back to Earth.

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