Having people knocking your door down to buy your property might sound like a good problem to have, especially if the price exceeds your expectations.
But as tantalizing as some of these offers might be, accepting them means having to find another place to live at a price that the sales proceeds will allow. In other words, there’s no point in selling your home if you can’t find another one in your price range.
That’s the situation that worried members of the audience at the meeting on Berlin’s strategic plan last week at St. Paul’s Church on Flower Street. So persistent are these offers to buy that some residents have begun to wonder if they are somehow being encouraged to move out to allow for the gentrification of their neighborhoods.
While gentrification — replacing less expensive property with upscale development — happens everywhere, it’s usually due to market forces, which is the case here.
Obviously, some prospective buyers believe there might be deals to be had in the Flower Street area, but just as obviously they are wrong. For one thing, this is a tight-knit community that doesn’t want to be broken up and sold off in pieces. Secondly, these property owners know their relocation options in the immediate vicinity are virtually nonexistent.
Consequently, the question put to town officials last week is how they might provide some relief for these solicitation-weary homeowners. The short answer, unfortunately, is there’s little they can do because the town doesn’t have the land or the ability to develop moderately priced housing.
Besides, the absence of affordable housing is a countywide problem and fixing the problem, if that’s possible given the demand for coastal area property, will require a countywide effort.
In the meantime, all the Flower Street community can do is tough it out, which, as tiresome as it is and has been, is what its residents have been doing for generations.