CAPE COD, Massachusetts – Dylan Fernandes grew up on Cape Cod and returned after graduating from college.
He finally closed a house in Falmouth a few months ago.
“It was so hard. I searched for a decade to buy a house here, saved a long time and finally got a house. One I can hardly afford! ”He said.
Fernandes is happy with his new home, but it got him thinking. Why was it so difficult for a country representative to live in the district he represented?
“When lawmakers in a community cannot afford to live there along with all of the other public servants who find it deeply affordable to live here, it really undermines the sustainability of a community,” said Fernandes, who runs the communities at the Upper Cape represents as well as the islands.
The Cape Cod housing market is on fire.
The median home price is now $ 535,000, up 29.4% year over year, according to Redfin.
Much of the increase is being attributed to people fleeing cities and working from home during the pandemic – on Cape Cod.
“In my opinion, the COVID crisis has kind of frozen our locals,” said Lindsey O’Connell, broker / partner at Orleans Village Properties. “That’s a really, really big problem.”
O’Connell is also on Chatham’s Affordable Housing Task Force. She says that every day more residents with good jobs like police officers, firefighters and teachers are being thrown away from the Cape’s real estate market.
“I have nurses who come to me and say, ‘I want to buy my first house, what can I buy,’ and I literally look at them and say, ‘OK, you have a pre-approved mortgage for $ 450,000, I can You can’t find a $ 450,000 house in Chatham Orleans Brewster Harwich that isn’t demolition, ”said O’Connell.
O’Connell says any transaction with a seasonal buyer suffers a little more from the Cape’s quality of life.
“Let’s face it, your Connecticut neighbor who has the house next door isn’t going to be the butcher at the butcher’s shop cutting your meat, so this is the problem we’re running into.”
“I don’t want to say we’re still at a tipping point because I’m more optimistic,” said Alisa Magnotta, CEO of Housing Assistance Corporation in Hyannis, a nonprofit working to stabilize Capes’ housing supply.
“It is a time when people have to face the facts that the Cape is changing,” added Magnotta. That means it is time to review the building code laws so that more apartment buildings are built, not just luxurious single-family homes.
She also believes that more municipalities should add or expand so-called ADUs or additional housing units. These are converted cellars or garages that quickly expand the inventory and can be rented out.
Magnotta also supports collecting higher taxes from seasonal homeowners.
Rep Fernandes takes a different approach. He has tabled bill that would allow Nantucket to impose a 0.5% surcharge on real estate transactions over $ 2 million.
“We are only asking the state for the tools for this Nantucket community and other communities if they want to do the same to increase revenue to help resolve the housing crisis.”
“We’re seeing a lot of people leaving Cape Cod,” said O’Connell. “Every community needs every level of living to function properly. We cannot deal with multi-million dollar real estate alone. It absolutely cannot happen. “
It doesn’t get any easier to rent on Cape Cod right now. Magnotta told Boston 25 News that the vacancy rate is around 1%.
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