But with more than 10 years that Zielinska has Having built a life in Cape Cod, the economy of that place has changed dramatically. And again, she barely can cling.
The influx of homebuyers into Barnstable County has priced Zielinska, which earns about $ 83,000 a year from the rental market. Today she lives with her daughters in the basement of her grandmother’s Pocassette’s house.
“I did all the right things,” said Zielinksa. “And it makes me live in the basement. We were almost on the street. How does it fit into the American dream?”
She is a popular story in Cape these days. The rush of the pandemic era of buying a home at one of the country’s most desirable vacation destinations has upset the already fragile economy of that place. Home prices are the highest ever (According to June data, it is up about 40% from 2019 levels. Cape Cod and Islands Association of Realters). Housing stock has reached historic lows. And long-time residents, many of whom pay rent, are pushed to the limit.
Today, large delegations of middle-class residents (nurses, realtors, and even town employees) can no longer afford to live in the communities in which they grew up. They are too much to qualify for a housing support program, too little to buy a house, or too little to pay the rent that seems to go up weekly.
The impact on the region’s economy as a whole is serious. Waiting times at grocery stores and restaurants are already long, as businesses struggle to find hourly workers who can afford to live there. Hospitals are having a hard time keeping nurses. If nothing is done to mitigate rising costs, locals are afraid that no one will do those jobs.
Paul Niedzwiecki, Chief Executive Officer of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, said: “We see that valuable members of the community, which is the structure of the local economy, have reached this point where they have made economic progress and suddenly cannot afford to live here. It is the longevity of the cape. It’s a monumental challenge for us. “
The plight of this group is probably best summarized in one stunning figure: Harvard Housing Research Joint Center. Estimated earlier this year The family needs to earn a total of $ 188,400 to buy a median home in Cape. This is about $ 7,000 more than what is needed in Greater Boston.
Indeed, the Cape housing crisis has been around for a long time. Housing stock in Barnstable County was already low in 2019 compared to other parts of the state. This is primarily due to the geographical and infrastructure challenges to density, as most zoning in the Cape only allows the construction of single-family homes. In many places.
Increasing the share of second and third home owners, and combining it with the ease and popularity of short-term rentals, and You “have systematic problems that are putting pressure on the market all at once and pushing us towards a very complex crisis,” Niedzwiecki said.
But before 2020, the worst seemed to be years away. After that, a pandemic broke out and the number of wealthy people on the outskirts of the city surged. Seen the cape as a perfect escape In the world of working from home. Real estate owners jumped at the opportunity to sell.
According to data provided by the Cape Real Estate Association, the median home sales price reached $ 649,500 last month, with only 616 units in the market, while the median home sales price in June 2020 was $ 431,000 and 2,627. It was a door. The Housing Support Corporation estimates that Barnstable County has less than 1 percent rental vacancy.
It’s difficult for residents like Zielinska, who have been desperately looking for something affordable for her and her daughters since the collapse of the apartments lined up in May. But all the lists she sees — most of them in the two-bedroom and three-bedroom ranges from $ 2,500 to $ 4,500 per month — Like her, she is flooded with inquiries from others.
“I wake up every morning, and the first thing I do is go to the website, and I see, and I hope, and I pray,” she said. rice field. “Finding a home is now a full-time job.”
It’s the same For Megan Mote. A traveling nurse and a lifelong moat living in Cape, scrolled Facebook last month when she found a familiar real estate list. Then it hit her.It was her house At Marston Mills. Moat’s landlord wanted to get her cash in her hot home market, she was selling it, but she never told her.
Now Mote and her husband I scrambled to find a new place for myself and my five-year-old son, but as she says, “nothing.”
That’s a tricky situation, Moat said. She grew up in a cape and became homeless at the age of 15. She can’t help but be discouraged by what the community she loves is now. So far it’s out of reach.
“Everyone who borrowed most of his life here knew what would happen,” said Moat, who earned $ 102,000 last year with her husband. “But now that’s happening, I feel like we’re losing the cape we’ve always loved.”
There seems to be nothing that can be relieved immediately. Yes, some apartments are under construction, but approval and construction will take years.Moreover, those projects are often I met a severe opposition Ryan Castle, CEO of Cape Cod and the Airans Association of Realtors, said from the wealthy inhabitants of the more crowded Cape Cod outlook.
But none of those ideas address the underlying crisis.
“There are surprisingly many disagreements about this, but it shouldn’t be. You need to build all types of homes, especially apartments and condos,” said Castle. “Otherwise, the Cape community will have no further financial basis.”
Indeed, some long-time residents have already left, Niedzwiecki said. Many more are considering it, including Zielinska. However, her young daughter’s father runs a business in Mashpie. He feels like a beginner to leave. So she keeps scanning her rental website every morning.
“Leaving will solve my problem, but I feel like I can’t leave,” she said. “It’s an impossible situation.”