• What to Expect on the Second-Home Front

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    How will it affect your quality of life on Cape Cod?


    Nearly one of every two households on Cape Cod now is a second home. In many towns, that percentage approaches 60 percent.

    A closer look at these residents finds a growing segment that might be better described as “other homeowners.” That’s because they live very close to the Cape – most in Massachusetts. Of the 5,000 wealthiest second homes, nearly 60 percent live in and around Boston.

    They are far from classic summer residents or winter snow bunnies. Rather, they spend many – if not most – of their long weekends year round right here on the Cape.

    A growing number of these “other” homeowners have offices in their Cape residences and frequently telecommute, with some arriving as early as Thursday night and leaving for work early Monday morning.

    This housing pattern, among other significant ones, will have a profound impact on all us – from the future prices of our homes to their primary features and use of space. It also will influence the spectrum of businesses, recreation and entertainment options we enjoy on the Cape.

    Another huge trend: Many of these current second homeowners plan to become full-time Cape Cod residents.

    A recent survey by the Cape Cod Commission and the University of Massachusetts’ Donahue Institute provides a vivid picture of the next 10 years. Here are some highlights.

    About eight percent of current second homeowners plan to become full-timers within the next four years.

    An additional 14 percent plan to convert their home to full-time use within the next 13 years.

    Stores that sell clothing, sports and recreation equipment, household furnishings, office supplies and appliances stand to benefit the most among retailers.

    On average, seven out of 10 current second homeowners purchase clothing, sports and recreation equipment, household furnishings, office supplies and appliances now. That percentage will rise to more than 90 percent.

    Among local services, banking, insurance, and legal services should see the biggest increase due to second home conversions.

    Currently, six of 10 second homeowners use an on-Cape bank, but 92 percent expect to do so when they become full timers. Similarly, the 50 percent of second homeowners using an on-Cape insurance company now will increase that reliance to 64 percent. The 46 percent of second homeowners using a Cape law firm now will increase their reliance to 64 percent as full-timers.

    These new full-timers will also increase their patronage significantly at art galleries, museums, theaters and music venues.

    These converted second-homeowners will not be traditional retirees. About 4 of 10 plan to find part time work and another seven percent expect to work full time.

    They also will require increased broadband and digital services.

    This trend also has significant implications for municipal services, with demand growing for water and wastewater services.

    At the same time, they probably will not put further pressure on schools.

    Those second homeowners planning to move here full time are likely to add a bedroom or build an auxiliary building on their property.

    Profile: Second homes on Cape Cod

    72 % were existing homes when purchased
    20% are owned by a trust; 12% were inherited or gifted
    19 years is the average length of ownership
    80% are single-family homes with 2-5 bedrooms
    ½ acre is the median lot size
    27% overall are not served by public water supply; 80% on the Outer Cape
    4% are connected to a municipal sewer system
    35% have no Internet service; 22% use dial-up service

    Profile: Second-home Owners

    79% have at least a college education
    67% have an annual income of over $100,000
    60 years old is their average age
    2 adults with no children is their typical household
    58% are permanent residents of Massachusetts; 51% of these are from Middlesex and
    Norfolk counties
    71% are from New England; an additional 17% from the rest of the Northeast

    Source: Cape Cod Commission

    November 19, 2014