We think this article by Tom Vanderbilt at Outsideonline is particularly poignant. While it characterizes a mountain town in Colorado the parallels to Cape Cod are astounding. Vanderbilt describes how the growing trend in short term rentals through companies like Airbnb is slowly eliminating potential housing for residents. The problem is one of economics: if you can own a home in a desirable area, why would you rent it on a long term basis - yearly for example - when you can rent it on a short-term basis, through a company like Airbnb, and generate more income? Vanderbilt follows a local father struggling to make ends meet, working multiple jobs, and worrying about where he will live when the tourist season starts...sound familiar? What makes the Cape such a great place to live also makes it a great place to vacation and it is difficult to dissuade a homeowner from the extra income potential.
On Cape Cod we are finding that more and more homes are being rented just for the summer, making them unavailable for long term lease seekers. In fact, in response to the decreasing supply of affordable housing on Cape Cod, CCYP is holding a design competition for architects (see the brochure here). The contest encourages a repeatable homes design balancing 'affordability, utility, adaptability, durability and suitability for the target demographic (young professionals, working families, year round residents).' Other initiatives on Cape Cod seek to remove restrictions on building and renting accessory dwelling units (more commonly known as in-law apartments) to increase the amount of available housing. This link comes from the local MLS on Cape Cod and describes the problem well.
While the economy plays a large roll in housing trends on Cape Cod we are curious to see where the future will lead. On one side of the coin locals will be increasingly priced out of the market and the Cape will be a resort where service personnel commute from less expensive housing elsewhere. On the other side of the coin the development of Cape Cod will find a balance between the tourist economy that sustains the region and more permanent solutions.
If you are interested in learning more about housing on Cape Cod and buying or selling property please contact us today with your questions.