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Good time to buy a Cape home?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis August 20, 2012 11:23 AM

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That's the gist of this Globe article which cites falling home prices on the Cape.

But I wonder. Maybe one reason home prices are down on the Cape is the bloom is off the rose when it comes to what has long been one of the nation's favorite vacation playgrounds.

Yes, of course, there's the real estate downturn, which has certainly hit the Cape hard.

The median price in Barnstable County is down to $320,000 from a peak of $390,000, the piece points out, citing The Warren Group, noting prices on the Cape's more middle income towns are even lower.

But there are big problems that go with being a popular vacation spot, with traffic a major headache on the Cape, as any casual visitor discovers.

It's not just getting on and off Cape, which can be a nightmare during the warm weather months, but even just getting out to the store or the beach.

And if you are planning to retire and hope to have your children help take care of you, the traffic can be far more than an aggravation. I know, having tried to shuttle back and forth from the mainland to the Cape to care for my parents before they moved to a retirement community in Marlborough.

Beyond traffic, skyrocketing home insurance rates - driven by insurer anxiety over ever more intense hurricanes - more than make up for relatively modest property taxes cited in the article.

Just take Paula Aschettino of Eastham, chairwoman of Cape-based Citizens for Homeowners Insurance Reform chartered the bus.

When I last caught up with her late last year, she was paying $3,200 a year on her home, which, by the way, is not even on the waterfront. And that's atop a wind deductible of $33,000.

"I am basically self-insured and I pay $3,200 a year," she said.

No oddity, homeowners across the Cape like Aschettino are getting slammed with higher rates.

So is the bloom of the rose when it comes to Cape living and Cape real estate? You can't beat the beaches and some of the scenery, but the price of living in this vacation hotspot may be higher than current home prices suggest.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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