Close Menu
Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Affordable housing needs attention too

As the Town of Berlin joins Ocean City’s pursuit of a major sports complex in northern Worcester County, it also needs to help provide an answer to the continuously overlooked question of where the employees of a sports complex and its service providers will live.

Although this athletic facility is not expected to employ a huge number of people, it remains that whomever it does employ would join hundreds of other current and prospective employees, managers and owners who can’t find anyhousing that will fit their budgets.

Although home prices have begun to taper off in the county, they are still far beyond the reach of even middle-income families because of the spike in prices over the last five years.

In 2019, the median sales price of a house or condo here was $255,250, according to Maryland Association Realtors statistics. This past November, that price was $409,990.

That’s an increase of $154,740, or almost $31,000 a year, a rate of escalation so great that it’s ludicrous to think that local employers could adjust their payrolls accordingly.

This affordable housing crisis isn’t anyone’s fault. Sellers are entitled to every dollar they can get for their properties, owners are entitled to collect what the market will bear in rent, and Realtors are only the facilitators of these transactions and work hard for their commissions.

The problem is this area’s high level of desirability to buyers from elsewhere with greater financial resources. This is something that happens all over the country, where a great lifestyle beckons to affluent buyers and investors at prices that, in comparison to home prices where they live, are reasonable to them.

But knowing what the situation is doesn’t answer the question. The only way to do that is to dig into this situation and search for a solution with just as much vigor as any effort underway to boost economic growth.

A sports complex task force? Sure. But an affordable housing task force is needed as well.