Category Archives: Census 2010

Affordable Housing Needs and March 5th Planning Board Hearing

The following is some background information being shared with the Planning Board for the hearings on March 5th.

The Town adopted a plan to meet our affordable housing goals last year. The plan addresses meeting our affordable housing goals.

In addition, the Cape Cod Commission has prepared a report on the region’s shortfall in affordable housing. Dennis has a shortfall in affordable rental housing for the local work force.

Work force housing needs to be reemphasized over and over in the affordable housing discussion. The table above illustrates, in red, all the professions in Barnstable County that has an average pay scale that falls BELOW the $54,400 income level, the level for earning 80% of the county’s median income.

These two graphics show that, if you work on Cape Cod, you probably cannot afford to live here.

Another point, the three fields in yellow above, represent 60% of our labor force. Retail, accommodations and health care. Three areas critical to our tourist economy and our aging population, CANNOT afford to live on Cape Cod.

I will let these last few go with no comment.


First American: Home affordability slips in February – Housing Wire

First American: Home affordability slips in February

The report notes that year over year, housing prices increased by 11% AND mortgage rates went up, pushing homes further out of reach for those in need of affordable housing. Complicating matters more, personal income over the same time period only grew by 0.4%.

Looking at another set of numbers, Consumer Prices increased about 2.4% year over year, with the cost of shelter increasing 3.5%. Clearly, exceeding the growth in personal income.

Overall homeless count on Cape, Islands at 5-year low

Overall homeless count on Cape, Islands at 5-year low

While this is promising information, it continues to illustrate a need for everyone to step up and do more. Couch surfing is a big, missing, portion of the equation. Without a count of these, we are not getting a complete count. We should also remember that “sheltered” homeless are, still, homeless. longer term living facilities continue to be needed, from group homes for those meeting the criteria for these facilities, single room occupancy efficiency units.

Dennis has stepped up to the plate, creating single room occupancy units with the conversions to year-round housing of the former Dennis West, Cape Haven and Plantation motels and two cottage communities on Route 28. We now have a similar conversion planned for the former Dennis Port Motel under review.

Of course, our big effort is the creation of the Home for Veterans on Route 134. We look forward to the day we can begin construction on this project.



Affordable Housing Data from the 2013 American Community Survey – Part 3

The following information has been extracted from the American Community Survey and paints a rather bleak picture for housing affordability in Dennis. This information was made available to the town leaders participating in the March 3rd Housing Forum hosted by the Dennis Board of Selectmen.

Finally, some information on home owners.

  • 82.6% of owners live in structures with just one unit either single family home on a separate lot (79.8%) or a detached dwelling on a lot with another home (2.8%)
  • 3.2% are in duplex units and 14% are in multi-family settings.

As most would suspect, we are a heavily single family community when it comes to home ownership. While we have a few multi-family ownership properties, they make up a small portion of the overall housing picture.

  • 8.7% of owners are in one or no bedroom units
  • 91.3% are in units with two or more bedrooms
  • 36.2% of owners are in single person households
  • 13.7% of owners are in 4 or more person households

These numbers are both frightening and interesting. While the American Community Survey does not directly provide this information, the large percentage of single person households owning homes is most likely due to the age of our population. It more accurately reflects a larger number of widows and widowers remaining in their homes than single younger residents buying into the housing market. It does suggest that there is a continuing, and growing, need for more housing opportunities for our senior residents looking to downsize.

  • 32.7% of owners pay more than 30% of their income for housing costs
  • Of owners earning less than $35,000 annually 77% pay more than 30% of their income on housing costs
  • 5,205 households reporting in 2013, 1,702 are paying over 30% of the monthly income for housing.
  • Mortgage Holders with Owner Costs exceeding 30% of income 1,205 (42.4%)
  • Ownership units with no mortgage with housing costs exceeding 30% of income 493 (21.6%)

Some scary numbers, nearly one-third of our home owner population is paying more than 30% of their monthly income on housing costs. Essentially, this means that one-third of our population is cutting corners in other aspects of their lives simply to pay the mortgage, insurance and taxes. There are 1,176 home owners earning less than $35,000 annually, 77% or 906 of these are paying over 30% of their monthly income for housing costs. Really scary is the 493 home owners paying over 30% of their monthly income to home ownership costs – while not having a mortgage. Most likely, this latter category reflects elderly home owners who are living on fixed incomes that fall below the poverty rate.

  • Median Household Income 2013 $50,672.
  • 70% of median income $35,470 (70% of median typical ownership yardstick for affordable housing)
  • 2,602 owner households earning $50,672 or less annually
  • 1,265 owner households earning less than $35,000

For home ownership, and affordable home ownership, Median Household Income and 70% of Median Household income are critical figures. Median household income is the point at which half the people earn either above or below that point. Generally, people earning 70% of median household income are potentially eligible for affordable home ownership programs.

  • Housing Buying Power at Median Household Income $168,906
  • 401 Owner occupied housing valued under $150,000
  • Buying power at 70% of median income $118,233
  • 216 (est) Owner occupied housing valued under $118,000

Half the households in Dennis, under traditional measures, have the financial wherewithal to pay up to just under $169,000 for a home and not anticipate spending more than 30% of their monthly income on housing costs. For those at 70% of median income, they need to find homes selling for $118,000 to get their foot in the door and not expect to pay more than 30% of their income on home ownership costs. Based upon the American Community Survey, there were about 216 ownership units in Dennis valued at or under $118,000. A far cry below the 1,265 households who might be able to purchase such housing.

  • Ownership Affordable Housing Deficit – Two Measurements
  • Paying over 30% of income on ownership costs – Deficit of 1,702 affordable units
  • Buying Power – deficit of 1,049 affordable ownership housing units

Finally, what is our affordable housing ownership  deficit? If we look at providing housing for all residents presently paying more than 30% of their monthly income towards housing, we need to find  ownership housing for as many as 1,702 households. If we look simply at the buying power of people earning up to 70% of median income, we have an affordable ownership deficit of 1,049 housing units.

When combined with the rental affordable housing deficit, Dennis needs to seek to provide as many as 2,000 housing units, whether rental or ownership, affordable to people earning 80% or less of median income.

The State Housing Inventory suggests we need a total of 765 affordable housing units. Real need is far higher than this figure.