Cape Cod Real Estate Update



Cape Cod Real Estate Update


Hoping this finds you and yours well and comfortable.

If you need a break from the news and are curious about what is happening in Cape Cod real estate, it has been a surprising week:

  • Had 1 showing at my unoccupied listing. (The buyers’ agent used the lock box.)
  • Received a showing request that we did not do out of caution for the sellers of an occupied listing.
  • Received 1 offer on a listing from a buyer who had seen my listing last week. The offer was extremely low so the deal did not come together.
  • Received 1 offer on another listing from an agent (for himself) who never visited the house. The offer was ridiculously low.  No deal.
  • Had 3 successful closings without attending any of them.
  • Sent a new listing to my buyers on March 23rd. They wondered when they would be able to see it, but 4 days later it had already gone under contract! Sixty properties went under contract on Cape Cod in the past 7 days.
  • Signed a listing agreement for a new listing.  It is unoccupied so will be easy to show using a lock box.
  • Hired a photographer to start filming videos of the interiors of my listings.

As buyers show more caution, the number of showings has slowed significantly, but real estate activity has not stopped completely. With technology, we can continue to work relatively safely.  See the graphic below for a summary of what we can and cannot do at this time.

I’m feeling very grateful that:

  • My family, friends, and clients are staying healthy so far.
  • We can safely exercise on Cape Cod beaches and in Nickerson State Park while following CDC guidelines.
  • There are dedicated medical personnel and other workers on the front lines making sacrifices for all of us!  Thank you!

Feel free to call or email with questions.

Above all, be well!


Please see my Facebook for Cape Cod beach videos if you need a quick dose of Cape Cod!

Search Listings at


Posted on March 29, 2020 at 4:03 pm
Amy Harbeck | Posted in Amy Harbeck's Blog |

This is NOT like the last time!

5 Simple Graphs
Proving this is NOT Like the Last Time
With all of the volatility in the stock market and uncertainty about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), some are concerned we may be headed for another housing crash like the one we experienced from 2006-2008. The feeling is understandable. Ali Wolf, Director of Economic Research at the real estate consulting firm Meyers Research, addressed this point in a recent interview:
“With people having PTSD from the last time, they’re still afraid of buying at the wrong time.”
There are many reasons, however, indicating this real estate market is nothing like 2008. Here are five visuals to show the dramatic differences.
1. Mortgage standards are nothing like they were back then.
During the housing bubble, it was difficult NOT to get a mortgage. Today, it is tough to qualify. The Mortgage Bankers’ Association releases a Mortgage Credit Availability Index which is “a summary measure which indicates the availability of mortgage credit at a point in time.” The higher the index, the easier it is to get a mortgage. As shown below, during the housing bubble, the index skyrocketed. Currently, the index shows how getting a mortgage is even more difficult than it was before the bubble.
2. Prices are not soaring out of control.
Below is a graph showing annual house appreciation over the past six years, compared to the six years leading up to the height of the housing bubble. Though price appreciation has been quite strong recently, it is nowhere near the rise in prices that preceded the crash.There’s a stark difference between these two periods of time. Normal appreciation is 3.6%, so while current appreciation is higher than the historic norm, it’s certainly not accelerating beyond control as it did in the early 2000s.
3. We don’t have a surplus of homes on the market. We have a shortage.
The months’ supply of inventory needed to sustain a normal real estate market is approximately six months. Anything more than that is an overabundance and will causes prices to depreciate. Anything less than that is a shortage and will lead to continued appreciation. As the next graph shows, there were too many homes for sale in 2007, and that caused prices to tumble. Today, there’s a shortage of inventory which is causing an acceleration in home values.
4. Houses became too expensive to buy
The affordability formula has three components: the price of the home, the wages earned by the purchaser, and the mortgage rate available at the time. Fourteen years ago, prices were high, wages were low, and mortgage rates were over 6%. Today, prices are still high. Wages, however, have increased and the mortgage rate is about 3.5%. That means the average family pays less of their monthly income toward their mortgage payment than they did back then. Here’s a graph showing that difference:
5. People are equity rich, not tapped out.
In the run-up to the housing bubble, homeowners were using their homes as a personal ATM machine. Many immediately withdrew their equity once it built up, and they learned their lesson in the process. Prices have risen nicely over the last few years, leading to over fifty percent of homes in the country having greater than 50% equity. But owners have not been tapping into it like the last time. Here is a table comparing the equity withdrawal over the last three years compared to 2005, 2006, and 2007. Homeowners have cashed out over $500 billion dollars less than before:During the crash, home values began to fall, and sellers found themselves in a negative equity situation (where the amount of the mortgage they owned was greater than the value of their home). Some decided to walk away from their homes, and that led to a rash of distressed property listings (foreclosures and short sales), which sold at huge discounts, thus lowering the value of other homes in the area. That can’t happen today.
The Bottom Line
If you’re concerned we’re making the same mistakes that led to the housing crash, take a look at the charts and graphs and graphs above to help alleviate your fears.

Posted on March 22, 2020 at 11:40 am
Amy Harbeck | Posted in Amy Harbeck's Blog |

Call your lender!

Mortgage rates are crazy low right now! If you haven’t checked with your lender lately about how much house you can afford, time to rework the numbers!  Some buyers have been pleasantly surprised and open houses on the Cape were busy this past weekend! However, sellers may prefer to just do individual showings starting this weekend.  Please call to set up a property tour.

Listings are entering the spring market now too, making this a great time to buy real estate!

Time to update your pre-qual letter and jump start your house hunt!  I’m available and happy to set up a tour for you. Call or write anytime. I look forward to hearing from you!

Amy Harbeck

Is now a good time to get a mortgage?

Lenders say yes! Click to read more.

Posted on March 16, 2020 at 11:14 am
Amy Harbeck | Posted in Amy Harbeck's Blog |

Be Kind

I had to share this email I received from Ken Estridge this morning. Ken Estridge is a Certified Executive Coach & Business Growth Expert, Author & Speaker out of Boston, MA. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did! Click here to visit Ken’s blog for more inspiring content!


Kindness Never Goes Out of Style

“In these days of too much to do with work pressures and family pressures, there are many ways to tune out with phones, computers, alcohol or drugs.

The world often seems to be a dark place with more conflict at home and abroad than I can remember. In these challenging times, it’s more important than ever to remember what it means to just Be Human, have an open heart and most of all, Be Kind.

When I was young, my Dad used to tell me to do at least one good deed a day. That deed could be small or big. The important thing was to look for a way to add positive energy to the world, be kind and make a difference. The most magical moments often start with a smile. I have never forgotten his words and still hear his voice in my head around this teaching every day.

During this season of holiday celebration, my gift to you is to remember the best gifts are human connection, being present and really seeing and hearing the people around you. This holiday season light up the world with your smile. And, most of all, BE KIND. “

By Ken Estridge

Posted on December 17, 2019 at 12:09 pm
Amy Harbeck | Posted in Amy Harbeck's Blog |

2019 Cape Cod Farmers’ Markets

Time to buy at local Cape Cod Farmers’ Markets!

Find their schedules, websites/social media, and special events here courtesy of Amy Harbeck!


Brewster Historical Society Farmers’ Market

Sundays 9:30 am – 12:30 pm

51 Drummer Boy Road  Windmill Village at Drummer Boy Park

June 23rd – September 8th (No market on September 1st)

Harvest Market Sunday

October 13th 10 am – 2 pm


Truro Farmers’ Market

Mondays 8 am – 12 noon

20 Truro Center Road

June 3rd – August 26th



Sandwich Farmers’ Market

Tuesdays 9 am – 1 pm

164 Route 6A on the Village Green

June 18th – October 8th



Chatham Farmers’ Market

Tuesdays 3 pm – 6 pm

1652 Main Street


Wellfleet Farmers’ Market

Wednesdays 8 am – 12 noon

200 Main Street

Pre-Thanksgiving Harvest Market

Preservation Hall, 335 Main Street
Sunday, November 24th



Bass River Farmers’ Market in South Yarmouth

Thursdays & Saturdays 9 am – 1:30 pm

311 Old Main Street

June 13th – September 5th



Harwich Farmers’ Market at Brook’s Academy

Thursdays 3 pm – 6 pm

80 Parallel Street

Mid June – Mid October


Falmouth Farmers’ Market

Thursdays 3 pm – 6 pm

180 Scranton Avenue    Marina Park, Falmouth Harbor

Mid June – Mid October




Osterville Historical Museum

Fridays 9 am – 1 pm

155 West Bay Road  at the corner of Parker and West Bay Road

June 21st – September 13th


Hyannis at Cape Cod Beer

Farmers Market Meets Happy Hour

Fridays 3 pm – 6 pm

1336 Phinney’s Lane

May 24th – September 13th





Bass River Farmers’ Market in South Yarmouth

Thursdays & Saturdays 9 am – 1:30 pm

311 Old Main Street

June 13th – September 5th


Orleans Winter Farmers’ Market – In-Door

Saturdays 9 am – 12 noon

70 Route 28 at Nauset Regional Middle School Cafeteria

December – April 27th

Orleans Summer Farmers’ Market – Out-Door

Saturdays 8 am – 12 noon

21 Old Colony Way

May 11th – August 31st

Saturdays 9 am – 12 noon

September 7th – November 23rd


Posted on May 11, 2019 at 8:52 pm
Amy Harbeck | Posted in Amy Harbeck's Blog, Cape Cod |

It’s Cape Cod Baseball Season!

PSA Brewster Whitecaps & Stony Brook Elementary from Lower Cape TV on Vimeo

2019 Cape Cod Baseball League Season begins June 10th!

One of my favorite summertime activities is going to see a Cape Cod Baseball League game!

Posted on April 15, 2019 at 3:06 pm
Amy Harbeck | Posted in Amy Harbeck's Blog |

Kinlin Grover Real Estate Awards Night at Chatham Bars Inn!!

Always fun to celebrate our 2018 accomplishments with colleagues & friends! Kinlin Grover remains #1, selling more real estate than any other company on the Cape!
My personal awards included “Diamond Elite” for customer service plus these production rankings:
#2 KG agent for number of transactions
#3 KG agent for number of properties listed
#8 KG agent for $ volume
Among the 2,254 members of the Cape & Islands Association of RealtorsⓇ, my ranking for transactions in 2018 was #14.
Thanks to my loyal clients, 2019 is off to a great start as well!

Posted on March 20, 2019 at 9:22 pm
Amy Harbeck | Posted in Amy Harbeck's Blog |

Housing Options for Seniors


The Cape and Island’s NPR station (WCAI) addressed an important issue this morning!

“As we grow older, our housing needs change. There could be a need to downsize, eliminate stairs, or enter assisted living. Others might want to age in place or reduce their housing costs. They discuss different housing options, plus new zoning bylaws that might allow for accessory apartments that could create housing or rental options for seniors. Guests on the program are: Hadley Luddy, Executive Director of the Homeless Prevention Council; and Holly Bellebuono, CH, MPA, Executive Coordinator for Healthy Aging Martha’s Vineyard.”

Listen to the full report here on the WCAI website



Posted on March 6, 2019 at 8:57 pm
Amy Harbeck | Posted in Amy Harbeck's Blog |

Cape Cod named in the Top 10!

Barnstable Town

Cape Cod Ranked the 8th Fastest Growing Retirement Area!

The Cape has been a favorite retirement destination for years and the number of retirees is growing. What I find remarkable is the number of those retirees who are have had remarkable careers elsewhere and then bring their dynamism to enrich our Cape communities in so many ways! Their ideas and energy are the key to keeping this special island green, interesting, and welcoming!

“The white sandy beaches of Cape Cod (part of the Barnstable Town metro) have long been prized vacation refuges for New Yorkers and Bostonians looking for a getaway. But in recent years, there’s been an influx of retirees moving in—or, perhaps more accurately, back. Many of these folks spent their working careers vacationing here and now want to live out their golden years here full-time.

“[That familiarity] makes it easier to sell that big house in the suburbs and buy a smaller home in a beach destination like Cape Cod,” says Chuck Tuttle, a broker associate at Kinlin Grover Real Estate.

Barnstable Town tends to attract more affluent retirees who buy summer homes and then head to Florida for the winter. In recent years, when stocks hit record highs, more of these folks cashed in and bought second homes here. Indeed, 40% of all homes here are secondary residences.”

Click here to read more about the fastest growing retirement towns according to!





Posted on March 6, 2019 at 8:41 pm
Amy Harbeck | Posted in Amy Harbeck's Blog |

Moving? How about the house itself!


It is amazing how many antique homes we show that were moved to the Cape from Nantucket in olden days! One of my favorite programs on WCAI radio is A Cape Cod Notebook. Last week, commentator Mary Bergman talked about how antique homes get moved quite often on Nantucket. You can listen to  her segment here.


“When you live 30 miles out to sea, many things get reused, redistributed and shifted around. I once heard an antique dealer on Nantucket say he’d sold the same scrimshawed whale’s tooth three separate times. The buyers kept departing, one way or another, but the antiques remained.


Houses here are sometimes sold completely furnished–it’s easier than trying to take everything with you when you move off-island. I’ve benefited immensely from countless estate sales, or even the occasional end table left waiting for me on the side of the road. I don’t think there is a single thing in my house that didn’t come from somebody else. Even my cat was salvaged, after being returned to the animal shelter…twice.

But the most ambitious thing Nantucketers reuse are houses. You’ll see houses advertised for sale–for $1– in the paper. All you have to do is move it. These are houses that are often in good shape, but don’t suit the tastes of the new owners. I wonder how many of these houses in motion began their lives as somebody’s dream house. All you have to do is watch the real estate market and the demolition requests to know that one man’s treasure is another’s trash. 

Now that fall is here and the traffic, such that it is, has died down, it’s not unusual to turn down Milestone or Madaket Road and find yourself stuck behind one half of a house, slowly chugging along. It’d be inconvenient if it wasn’t so impressive. It doesn’t matter how many times I see a house move, I still find it fantastic. Something out of a dream.

So many of the houses look the same out here, the same weathered grey shingles, the same white trim. There are stories of summer renters who, coming home in the fog, can’t tell the difference between this house or that house and end up in the wrong one. When a house is moved, sliced in half or thirds and jacked up in the air, curtains still billowing in the windows, it’s finally set apart from all the other earth-bound dwellings, elevated. 

We have more house moves than any town in the state. If you are late to work, it’s a perfectly acceptable excuse to say you were stuck behind a house. They always seem to be on the move when you have somewhere you have to be.

It’s not just the houses that are moving–the very sand under our feet is, too. You can look at time-lapse photos of the sand as it moves around the coastline like a conveyor belt, watch Esther Island as it detaches and reattaches to the western shore. There are some parts of the island growing larger–where the sand is deposited–and other places where the sand is only being taken. The dream houses built along those unlucky stretches of coastline will have to be moved sooner or later, too. Those house movings are less novel. They’re more like a solemn march made in desperation,  retreating away from the receding shore. 

Sometimes I forget there are places other than here, places where you build a house and it stays put. “



Posted on January 15, 2019 at 11:22 am
Amy Harbeck | Posted in Amy Harbeck's Blog |