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Cape Cod Commission Releases Final Regional Housing Strategy

Strategies and recommendations to solve the region’s housing crisis

For Immediate Release (May 22, 2024) — The Cape Cod Commission is pleased to release Housing Cape Cod: The Regional Strategy. This comprehensive document identifies policies and strategies for appropriate housing development and redevelopment to address housing supply, affordability, and availability challenges while protecting the region’s sensitive resources.  

Development of the Regional Housing Strategy involved comprehensive data collection, research, and the engagement of numerous stakeholders with a wide range of perspectives and expertise. Cape Cod Commission staff and stakeholders learned from one another and from examples and practitioners across the country to identify strategies and recommendations for the region.  

Cape Cod is in the midst of a housing crisis. The median sales price of single-family homes has risen sharply, far outpacing income growth. In order to affordably purchase a median-priced single-family home on Cape Cod, a household must earn $210,000. The median income in Barnstable County is just under $91,000.

Eighty percent of the region’s existing housing stock is detached single-family homes, providing limited diversity and housing choices. Only 2% of the land area in the region is zoned to allow housing developments with more than two units to be built by right. The region must take action to ensure more affordable and attainable housing opportunities are available for current and future residents. 

“The Regional Housing Strategy provides a path forward to address housing supply, affordability, and availability,” said Kristy Senatori, Cape Cod Commission Executive Director. “We look forward to working together with towns, advocacy and community organizations, the business community, and others, to implement local and regional recommendations and take bold and meaningful action to solve this significant regional challenge.”

The Regional Housing Strategy sets a strong foundation for implementation. The Strategy includes guiding principles that provide direction and context for what must be considered, addressed, and incorporated as the region implements identified recommendations. The principles aim to generate a greater variety of housing, support the year-round population, protect natural and cultural resources, address climate change and coastal resiliency, prioritize redevelopment, coordinate housing and infrastructure, regionalize efforts to support municipalities, and build support for housing through education.

The Regional Housing Strategy includes thirteen key regional recommendations developed through data analysis, research, and dialog with stakeholders, looking at near-term and longer-term solutions to target the most pressing needs. Recommendations include changing zoning, streamlining permitting, creating a regional land trust and housing land bank and developing a permanent regional housing services office. A suite of resources to support implementation of recommendations, including model bylaws and design guidelines, accompanies the Strategy.

The Regional Housing Strategy provides the data and information necessary to target key short- and long-term actions to improve housing access and affordability. It outlines a path forward for each of the key regional recommendations, identifies local zoning opportunities in each of Cape Cod’s 15 towns to better facilitate development and redevelopment of housing, and empowers local and regional stakeholders to take action to sustain and enhance Cape Cod’s year-round community.

The final draft incorporates suggestions made in over 60 letters received during the public comment period from December 30, 2023 through February 16, 2024.

The full Regional Housing Strategy, along with links to strategy fact sheets, housing profiles for the county and each town, and model bylaws and design guidelines are all available on the Cape Cod Commission website: www.capecodcommission.org/housing.

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