Cape Cod’s economy can’t be understood without accounting for its large share of seasonal homes. Second-home owners occupy nearly 40% of Barnstable County’s residential units, and represent roughly half of all seasonal homes in Massachusetts.
To better understand the role these homes and their owners play, the Cape Cod Commission went to the source, conducting a second of its kind survey.
Second homeowners were asked about their homes, how they use them now and plan to in the future, and how they participate in the region’s economy. The first survey was completed for the Commission in 2008.
The survey was conducted in Spring 2017 by the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute. A random sample of 6,448 second homeowners on Cape Cod received written surveys, 1,300 of which were returned.
“We recognize the commitment second-home owners have to this region and the benefits they bring to communities,” said Paul Niedzwiecki, Executive Director of the Commission. “We also recognize how their buying power can influence the housing market and create ownership challenges for local residents.”
Survey findings will inform land-use planning, housing policy, economic development priorities and infrastructure needs across Cape Cod.
The Cape’s second-home owners are above average in terms of education and income. While a third of respondents acquired their second home in the last 10 years, 10% in the last three, more than a third have owned their homes for more than 25 years, with some remaining in the family for upwards of 100 years. More than half of the respondents live year-round in Massachusetts. In-state responses were dominated by the Boston-area counties of Middlesex, Norfolk and Suffolk, which represent a third of all respondents.
A new area of study is the effect climate change and sea-level rise play in the outlook of second home owners. Despite a majority of second homes located within a mile of the coast, fewer than 7% of expected any short-term impacts of coastal erosion or flooding. This grows to 11% in the next 25 years.
Respondents were also asked about changes in water quality since purchasing or constructing their home. A decline in nearby pond or coastal water quality was reported by 12% of second homeowners.
Key findings in the survey include:
Survey findings are reported for the Cape as a whole and by four Cape sub-regions: Upper, Mid, Lower, and Outer.
LINK TO REPORT: Cape Cod Second Homeowners, June 2017
Item Last Updated November 13, 2017
A new study prepared for the Cape Cod Commission ties a lack of housing that meets the region’s life stage and income needs to a significant increase in cost-burdened households over the next 10 years.
The data-rich report prepared by Crane Associates and Economic and Policy Resources (EPR), both of Vt., confirms the complex and unique pressures at play in the Cape Cod housing market. The study projects that without changes in the housing supply to meet life stage preferences, more than half of year-round households could experience housing cost burdens by 2025.
Titled "Regional Housing Market Analysis and 10-Year Forecast of Housing Supply and Demand," the report provides objective baseline data on the state of housing on Cape Cod, with a look 10 years down the road.
"These findings should be used as a foundation for more analysis and to inform local and regional policies related to housing opportunity and jobs,” Jeff Carr, President, EPR.
The study used a gap analysis between what residents can afford and what's available in the market as an indicator of housing cost stress. It represents the number of existing households spending 30% or more of monthly income on housing, and are therefore expected to be home cost burdened.
From the 2015 baseline year, the study shows the greatest housing stress is felt by those earning 80% or less than Barnstable County's median income. In 10 years, the effect on the lower end of earners increases and deserves continued attention. More striking, however, is how housing stress climbs through higher tiers of income. By 2025, the greatest increase in burdened households are with those earning 100% to 120% of the projected median income.
The high demand for seasonal units combined with a housing "monoculture" of single family homes constrains housing options for those looking to enter the market or downsize.
"We recommend that Cape Codder’s plan for life stages through better urban design and consider planning for a housing product that doesn’t exist," said Michael Crane, President, Crane Associates. "Smaller, Cape Cod ‘style’ units, ideally in community centers, walkable to amenities, with storage, are needed for downsizing seniors and active young people."
The study makes a number of recommendations for the Commission to consider as it develops new housing policies. These will be considered in the broader context of the Regional Policy Plan update to align all regional policies and planning efforts.
"This isn't a problem we can build our way out of under the regulations of the past," Cape Cod Commission Executive Paul Niedzwiecki said. "If we create the right environment and appropriate opportunities for higher density, we could see the market respond and close these gaps."
Working with existing data sets and some developed specifically for the study, the Housing Market Analysis provides a level of insight not previously available for Barnstable County. The demographic and economic model developed by Crane Associates and EPR was refined with the guidance of experts from Provincetown to Falmouth. The resulting forecast is an expression of what could be, given the best understanding of local land use constraints.
Data was developed for the county as a whole, as well as for subregions -Upper, Mid, Lower and Outer Cape – and each of the 15 Cape towns. This deeper dive shows that the greatest changes will be in towns that start with a better balance between wages and home prices.
"Through better community design we can break this cycle,” Niedzwiecki said.
The final report and supporting data developed for the analysis are available at www.capecodcommission.org/housingstudy.
Item Last Updated September 12, 2017
The Cape Cod Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) annual report for Year 3 of the 2014 CEDS Five-year Plan is now available.
DOWNLOAD THE YEAR 3 ANNUAL REPORT
Item Last Updated July 5, 2017
The fee schedule for the Cape Cod Commission's CHAPTER A: Enabling Regulations Governing Review of Developments of Regional Impact has been revised, effective July 1, 2017.
Item Last Updated June 30, 2017
The Cape Cod Commission was awarded $50,000 to create a stormwater management coalition to help Cape communities meet stormwater management requirements.
The grant award was formally announced by Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew A. Beaton during his June 22 keynote speech at the OneCape Summit in Hyannis.
Work toward a coordinated effort started informally through a subgroup of the Barnstable County Coastal Resources Committee. The Cape Cod Stormwater Coalition will build on this work. The grant will fund work to inventory existing stormwater management resources, a needs assessment, collaborative strategies for towns and a Cape-tailored set of policies and standard operating procedures.
"As with wastewater, stormwater management will benefit from a coordinated regional approach," Cape Cod Commission Executive Director Paul Niedzwiecki said. “And the two are related. Improved stormwater management can help towns meet nitrogen reduction goals.”
The grant was part of more than $193,000 awarded by the Baker-Polito Administration for five projects to assess watershed pollution and plan for work to address water quality impairments. The other projects selected by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) are located in Provincetown, Belchertown, Kingston and Waltham.
"Our administration understands the important role that environmental protection and natural resource preservation plays not only today, but for generations to come," said Governor Charlie Baker. "The work supported by these grants will measure water quality and help fund necessary plans to improve and protect vital local watershed resources."
The grants are funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through Section 604b of the federal Clean Water Act. Since 2007, MassDEP has funded 62 projects under the 604b water quality management program, totaling more than $2.8 million to address non-point source pollution problems.
The Cape projects in brief:
"I am encouraged to see that both the Provincetown Harbor Stormwater Mitigation Project and the Cape Cod Stormwater Coalition have been awarded grant funding to further assist their water quality management efforts," said State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro).
Item Last Updated June 27, 2017
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