Report Says Housing Crisis Is Shrinking Cape Cod’s Labor Force

Photo by Tim Mossholder, Courtesy Pexels

HYANNIS – A new report on Cape Cod’s housing crisis revealed the impacts it has had on the local economy and the region’s shrinking labor force.

The study, led by economist Tim Cornwall, identified high real estate and rent prices and a limited workforce housing inventory have contributed to the labor shortage the Cape has been experiencing.

The report said the dwindling workforce is leading to businesses and municipalities struggling to staff stores, restaurants, and town positions.

“The displacement the Cape is experiencing is unsustainable for its economy,” Cornwall said at a recent summit to launch Housing to Protect Cape Cod. (HPCC)

HPCC is a partnership between several local organizations who are supporting initiatives that lead to more year-round opportunities.  

“We’ve known anecdotally that we’ve been losing work-age people as they lose their rental housing, but this report lays out the cold, hard data,” said Housing Assistance Corporation CEO Alisa Magnotta.  

According to the study, the Cape is annually losing over 800 households of those making $100,000 or less a year. It adds that almost 50% of people who work on the Cape commute from another county.

Additionally, Cornwell’s report found that households making a combined income of $200,000 are facing difficulties when trying to rent or buy homes on the Cape.

The study says corrective legislation is needed for the region to have a chance of building its labor force back up and to stop more displacement of workers.

“Local, county, and state governments need to take action to preserve and enhance the Cape’s communities by prioritizing available and attainable housing, using public dollars to achieve such benefits,” the report said.

Cape Cod & Islands Association of REALTORS CEO Ryan Castle explained some factors that have impacted housing options for people.  

“We have a zoning policy that encourages large lots and more expansive homes, and we have a housing affordability strategy that focuses exclusively on the most in need. We need a ‘capital a’ strategy and a strategy for the missing middle,” he said.

Head to Housing to Protect Cape Cod’s site to learn more.

By Brian Engles, NewsCenter

About Brian Engles

Brian Engles is a longtime local of the Cape. He studied Film & TV at Boston University and in addition to his role at Cape Cod Broadcasting Media, he also works as a music instructor and records original songs.
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