How do seasonal homeowners affect the local economy?

With more than a third of its housing stock classified as seasonal, Cape Cod’s economy is affected by the good and services demanded by seasonal residents. In a 2008 survey of seasonal homeowners, we asked about their consumption patterns. Over 90% of seasonal homeowners purchase groceries, hardware and building supplies and garden supplies on the Cape. These are the top three economic sectors visited by seasonal homeowners, and they differ by the Cape’s four regions: Upper, Mid, Lower and Outer. These differences can be explained by the availability of these services and products. The interactive map below identifies these differences in regional purchase patterns.

Public transit use on Cape Cod more than doubles during summer months. We find the largest increases in locations with a high concentrations of second homes. While some second homeowners use public transit, 13% according to the survey of seasonal homeowners, the seasonal jobs created by their demand for goods and services ultimately has a much greater effect. Many of these seasonal jobs are filled by individuals who rely of public transit to get around. Combining the demand from second homeowners, visitors and seasonal workers, the Cape experiences a summer increase in transit use that is most pronounced in locations with a high concentrations of second homes.

CCRTA provides service to a wide range of users for a variety of purposes. From year-round residents getting to medical appointments, school or shopping to many seasonal workers who rely on transit to get to their job and to visitors who want to enjoy the sights of Cape Cod, beautiful beaches, historic downtowns, art galleries and museums, car-free.


The on-Cape spending patterns of second homeowners reflects the temporary nature of their visits. While everyday needs, such as groceries, are bought locally, longer-term items and services are purchased elsewhere.

Among all Classmates, there was a notable increase in arts and entertainment opportunities, or what we term the "creative economy." This is seen in U.S. Census information and is reflected in the 2008 Seasonal Homeowner survey.

Select from the dropdown menus to see the purchase patterns of second homeowners. Hover on the circles to see how these patterns change across each subregion.

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Data sources: CCRTA, 2013 5-year American Community Survey, Cape Cod Commission 2008 Second Home Owner Survey