Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer, and it’s usually when the crowds of tourists who have enjoyed Cape Cod leave for home. But this year is different. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything, including where people live and work.

Experts in Cape Cod's real estate and vacation rental industries say home sales and rentals in the area are booming, as tourists traditionally drawn away from the Cape each fall for a return to work and school can now do both remotely.

Joan Talmadge, co-owner of, said her company has seen a 58 percent increase in contracts over last year. And Ryan Castle, CEO of the Cape and Islands Association of Realtors, reports more than $450 million in home sales in Barnstable County in July, more than $120 million above the previous record. Castle said many of the new buyers say they’re are planning to stay year-round.

Wendy Northcross, who runs the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, said the in-migration will boost the Cape's year-round economy.

"For years we've been talking about the need to have more families on Cape Cod to have a younger demographic," Northcross said. "Having young families move to Cape Cod has actually been quite exciting."

But there are potential negative consequences as well, experts say. Among their concerns: The always-scarce affordable year-round rental housing may be even harder to find, the environment could take a hit, and business owners could have trouble finding enough workers.

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