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Cape Cod Faces Affordable Housing Crisis

Phil Hall
Oct 17, 2017
Cape Cod

One of the Northeast’s most popular tourist destination is experiencing a significant housing dilemma impacting its year-round residents.
According to a report from the regional trade publication Banker and Tradesman, Cape Cod has evolved into an acutely lopsided housing environment. Half of all of the second homes within Massachusetts are on Cape Cod, and the demand for vacation homes is forecast to grow by six percent over the next eight years, according to a report from the Cape Cod Commission. But the region’s tourism industry is not overflowing with high-paying jobs – the median household income for Barnstable County, which covers Cape Cod, is $63,251, but the median home price is $370,000. As a result, there is a shortage of more than 26,000 homes that would be affordable to residents making 80 percent of the median household income, and that gap is predicted to rise to more than 33,000 within 12 years – and that doesn’t take into account the absence of affordable rental apartments.
“As the number of second home owners increases, the seasonal economy becomes stronger, more businesses close in the off season, which further increases seasonal migration, decreases municipal tax revenue from year-round residents, and increases the town’s incentive to attract more seasonal homeowners,” the commission’s report stated.
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