In Mashpee, a two-bed, one-bath house that was once a Quonset hut at a nearby military base was among the few properties sold in an elusive price range on Cape Cod last year.
Close to Mashpee Commons and a 13-minute drive away from South Cape Beach, the 629-square-foot two-bedroom ranch at 32 Quashnet Road became a family’s second property for $290,000 on Jan. 21, 2022, according to a deed recorded with the Barnstable County Registry of Deeds.
Glenn Knapik, a real estate agent at Today Real Estate who sold the property, said its singularity kept the cost affordable. The house is made of steel “top to bottom,” he said, down to the steel rafters and girders holding it up.
Even real estate with ‘limited desirability’ sees a lot of buyer interest.
“It was a very unique house — it didn’t appeal to everybody,” said Knapik. “There was some limited desirability, that’s kind of why the price was where it was at.”
Knapik said he fielded “a fair amount” of interest in the house during the two months while it was available. At least seven groups attended each of his four open houses, he estimates, plus about 10 other showings.
For-sale houses within the $230,000 to $290,000 price range are a rarity on the Cape. In 2022, the slim inventory included a two-bed, one-and-half bath condominium at 14 Harold St., Harwich that sold for $290,000 and a three-bed, two-and-a-half bath house at 14 Beach Plum Path , Falmouth that went for $235,000. Both properties sold in January.
Cape Cod homes are getting more expensive. Single-family home sales drop.
According to data compiled by the Massachusetts Association of Realtors, the median sale price was $650,000 in November 2022, a 3.2% increase from $630,000 over November 2021.
The increase in median sale prices was accompanied by a decrease in single-family home sales in the Cape and Islands, dropping 29.6% from November 2021. There were 526 closed sales in November 2022 compared to 714 in November 2021.
Assuming today’s interest rate of 7.06% and not including other costs such as taxes and insurance, a $250,000 30-year mortgage with a 20% down payment would cost $1,338.67 per month.
Many of the cheap houses sold in 2022 are heavy fixer-uppers.
“The only properties are houses that need to be rehabilitated and even those that you don’t see are too much under $300,000 at all,” said Knapik. “Wareham, that’s more common. Off-Cape definitely, but not on Cape Cod — very rare.”
Close to Sandy Neck Beach and with a view of the cranberry bog, a 122-year-old house with three bedrooms and three bathrooms at 262 Old County Road in East Sandwich sold for $273,000.
“THIS PROPERTY IS A TEAR DOWN,” reads the listing. “The perfect opportunity to build your dream home.”
That includes a two-bed, one-bath 1945 ranch at 21 General Patton Drive, Hyannis with a 8,712-square-foot lot sold in December 2022 for $290,000. The house needs a facelift “but is worth it,” according to its Zillow listing, which is called for a “handyman/investor.”
“Freshly painted inside and easy to care for laminate floors, this home is waiting for your touches,” says the listing.
Catherine Jones, a real estate specialist at Bridges Realty LLC who sold the house, told the Times the “owner is going to gut the house and redo and rent it.”
“There was a lot of interest until people saw the extent of the work,” he said in a message to the Times.
Condos are in high-demand.
“My impression of condos is it’s the new single-family home prices,” said Katie Martin, a real estate agent at Cape Coastal Sotheby’s International Realty. “A $300,000 budget used to buy a starter home, but now people who are looking for a starter home are doing a condo-starter.”
While condos help first-time buyers onto the first rung of the property ownership ladder, it can be a double-edged sword, he said. Homeownership association fees that are too high can block owners from being able to save enough for a house.
In March 2022, she sold a one-bedroom condo at 340 Main St. in the heart of historic Centerville Village for $287,000. Originally the home of Captain Prince Bearse, the 1770-built dwelling was a single-family house before it and another former sea captain’s house were converted into a 7-unit housing complex.
A mile from Craigville Beach, the 847-square-foot condo also offers a full bathroom with walk-in shower, living room, kitchen/dining room and newly refinished pine floors throughout. But Martin also noted the unit was on the second floor and smaller.
“That can be limited to most people who would want to live there and put up with it being a little funky,” said Martin. “Not everyone loves an antique property.”
Interest in the unit was not over-the-top, he said, with about 15 people present at open houses. But if she had that listing today?
“Different story,” said Martin. “Now there are people who would kill to pay for that price.”
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