By early 2010, “For Sale” placards dominated the picturesque lanes of Cape Cod, a grim sign of the economically stressed times. What’s more, many had sat since the previous summer season with no buyers coming on board. It wasn’t just the Cape. The financial crash impacted the holiday home market from Massachusetts to Florida.

That was good news for (solvent) bargain hunters, as prices in traditional tourist areas fell. But 2011 sees a different story. Alongside the housing market in general, many nearby tourism destinations are seeing sturdy recovery.

“People are stepping up to the plate,” says Cape Cod realtor Deb Schilling of RE/MAX Classic in Marstons Mills. “People are cautious, but psychologically, they are ready. The tide has turned due mostly to greater consumer confidence.”

Schilling is seeing a lot of buyers from Boston, New York City and New Jersey on the hunt this season. Some towns are hotter than others.

“Dennis and Brewster seem to be cooking,” she says. “They have low taxes and are accessible to the bridge, yet they still feel like a getaway.”

Anyone still looking for bargains should try Barnstable, a conglomerate of towns that includes Hyannis. “Hyannis is a great opportunity right now,” says Schilling.

Still, buyers need to have realistic expectations.

“Some still look for the best bargain so they can brag about it,” she says with a giggle. “I’ve had buyers miss their dream home because they didn’t move quickly enough or underbid. They’re expecting mint condition homes for the price of a fixer upper. Interest is now at such a level that this doesn’t happen.”

Make this your home sweet home

This two-bedroom, one-bathroom, 1957-built Cape-style house in West Hyannisport (pictured above) is currently for sale at $297,500. It has 768 square feet of living space and is set on a 7,841-square-foot lot on the Seaside Park on the Avenues estate. Oh, and that most important factor: The private beach is just a walk away.

»Deborah A Schilling, RE/MAX Classic, 508-776-1872

Latest From ...