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Cape Cod rental has an unexpectedly slow summer



"Usually I am fully hired," she said. "I think people stay away."

Last minute offers and vacancies can be a welcome for late summer. But some Cape Cod owners attribute an unexpectedly slow summer to a troublesome couple of unwelcome arrivals: sharks and treasures.

Haik observations have closed beaches and alarming swimmers since last summer saw the first deadly shark attack in Massachusetts since 1

936. The taxes, adopted last winter, took their first bite on July 1 and introduced hotel taxes on cottage rentals for the first time in Massachusetts, and dropped 12.45 to 14.45 percent to already steep prices.

  A sign warned beachers about the presence of large white sharks at Lighthouse Beach in Chatham.
A sign warned the coasters about the presence of large white sharks at Lighthouse Beach in Chatham. The Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce acknowledges the down market, although it has not yet seen data for June to know how bad it is. (Julia Cumes for Boston Globe / File 2015)

But hotel room rent – which taxes are unchanged – is also down by about 5 percent so far this year, said chamber chief Wendy K. Northcross, who noted how unusual it is. "Over the last decade, they've seen increases from year to year," she said.

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Northcross suspects that other factors are in play beyond the sticker of new treasures: a wet, uninspiring spring and a vast array of rentals on the market.

"The weather has not been our friend," she said, an understatement for part of the state that saw two rare tornadoes blow through last week.

And of course, sharks are not good at marketing beach holidays. Swimming was soon blocked at several Cape beaches last week alone, for safety's sake, and outside Truro, witnesses saw that they saw a cruel "outbreak" that a seal was swallowed by a shark.

But the sharks have not come to Harwich – there were tornadoes – so Cahalane is not sure why her house is overlooked for the first time in two decades. She gets home with her parents in the summer, while vacationers use their home.

  Cape Sands Inn in Yarmouth lost the roof of last week's tornadoes.
Cape Sands Inn in Yarmouth lost the roof of last week's tornadoes. ” class=”height_a width_full width_full–mobile width_full–tablet-only” data-src=”https://www.bostonglobe.com/resizer/iY3bFZhORkX1K0DExRAVpryGfJ4=/20×0/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-bostonglobe.s3.amazonaws.com/public/HGORB6VRSAI6TETNFJNY6PFSHA.jpg” src=”https://www.bostonglobe.com/resizer/iY3bFZhORkX1K0DExRAVpryGfJ4=/20×0/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-bostonglobe.s3.amazonaws.com/public/HGORB6VRSAI6TETNFJNY6PFSHA.jpg”/>
19659006] (JOHN TLUMACKI / GLOBE PERSONAL / File)

Some property owners blame the new taxes for deterring vacationers – and questioning whether policy makers considered all potential consequences for the local population.

"I think the worst sharks in Wellfleet are the politicians who put in the 12.45 percent tax on short-term rentals for properties owned by individuals who are just trying to rent their cottage for a few weeks during the summer," Wellfleet property owner John said. Salsberg

Massachusetts Short-Term Rentals Law was signed in December 2018 by Governor Charlie Baker.The law was aimed at Airbnb profiteers and equalized the charging field with hotels, where tourists already paid the investment tax. Two weeks a year, it does not distinguish between a real estate company renting dozens of properties and a year-round resident who leaves her cottage for the summer to make rental income.

  A pier in Falmouth, as pictured in August 2014.
A pier in Falmouth, as depicted in August 2014. (David L. Ryan / Globe Staff)

The Treasury was supported by the Chamber of Commerce and it includes several teams: Lawmakers from Cape Cod Roof Easy a fee to finance water quality improvements, and some Cape Town cities increased their local tax rates at the same time.

Each rental is subject to the 5.7 percent overnight tax imposed by the state, a 2.75 percent water fund tax and a local tax of either 4 or 6 percent.

All told that it increased the cost of a 12.45 percent rental in Chatham, Dennis, Eastham, Falmouth, Harwich, Truro and Wellfleet, and by 14.45 percent in Barnstable, Bourne, Brewster, Mashpee, Orleans, Provincetown and Yarmouth.

So a weekly rental for a house in Yarmouth that once cost $ 4,000 a week now goes for $ 4578.

  Nauset lighthouse in Eastham at dusk May 22.
Nauset lighthouse in Eastham at dusk May 22. (Nathan Climate for The Boston Globe)

Some property owners tried to soften the battle for tenants by releasing the rent. Salsberg, who owns a house on the lieutenant island in Wellfleet with his wife and friends, cut the rate 12.45 percent before the season started.

But his beach house, with a huge deck and stunning views, is still open next week – and in the last week of August, even after he reduced the price to another 23 percent.

He estimates they have lost $ 10,000 for the summer. "I would have paid state income tax on it," he said. "All it does is hurt individuals like me and tenants, who are looking for an opportunity just to be in a house, by raising costs."

The taxes that were kicked in on July 1. , if weekly rental technically started in June. Reservations that were booked before the start of 2019 were also exempt this year.

  The Head of the Meadow beach in Truro, depicted in August 2018.
The Head of the Meadow beach in Truro, depicted in August 2018. (David L. Ryan / Globe Staff)

Stephen Giatrelis still has gaping holes on the calendar for his luxurious house at Hyannis by the sea. Even after he reduced the rate to $ 4,000 a week, from $ 5,000 (before tax), he failed to lock in the current tenant until Wednesday last week. And he still has vacancies in August.

"I don't know if everyone is afraid of the sharks or the treasures or whatever," Giatrelis said.

The house is usually booked for seven weeks; so far this year it has only been booked for four.

"I've heard from all other friends who own property, that they are also this year," said Giatrelis, builder and developer who lives in Mashpee.

Stats Senator Julian Cyr – a Democrat representing the Cape, grew up in the hospitality industry and has family ties to the rental industry – saying it is too early to find the cause of the softness of the market. [19659002] "I think it's too early to say if it's a decisive factor," Cyr said. "I think that in the case of short-term rentals, we have never had an accommodation tax on this. We went from having no tax to having a tax on it; I'm sure there is some sticker shock."

He noted also that with the increasing ease and popularity of websites, from Vrbo to Kappe's own WeNeedAVacation.com, several homeowners have tried their luck to rent out their properties, and some homeowners may lose with all the new competition.

"The tax will definitely come to force owners to do work on their properties, get them rebuilt or at least updated if they are going to rent, "said Cape real estate broker Joe Baker." People buy them because they have all these programs on TV. now, thinking that it is fast-fast. ”

  Low tide on Cape Cod Bay offered some warm relief to beach travelers in Provincetown in August 2018.
Low tide on Cape Cod Bay offered some heat relief to beach travelers in Provincetown in August 2018. (Stan Grossfeld / Globe Staff)

Northcross, the chamber chief, noted that the Cape has had a rapid growth in short-term rental units.

"It doubled in three years," she said. "So we can look at offers versus demand."

And despite the hype, she believes that housing and economic trends are probably more to blame than the sharks. In May, she said, the organization conducted her independent focus groups to measure whether the Cape visitors would be kept away for fear of sharks. No one said yes, she said; Instead, they said they would confine themselves to waist-deep sea water.

Besides, she noted, hotel reservations are also down elsewhere in Massachusetts – from Plymouth to the islands of the Berkshires, she said. [19659002] "Clearly, consumer behavior changes," she said, "because the Berkshires are down and don't have sharks."

  White Crest Beach in Wellfleet, depicted in July 2014.
White Crest Beach in Wellfleet, as depicted in July 2014. (Joanne Rathe / Globe Staff / File)

Stephanie Ebbert can be reached at Stephanie.Ebbert@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @StephanieEbbert.


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