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Delicate Balance

country life

Balancing Act in the Berkshires

Delicate Balance 

The Berkshires are a spectacular geographical location that blends culture, proximity to urban amenities yet sufficient distance from urban sprawl along with unmatched natural scenic splendor.  Apparently, the experts agree since the Berkshires are cited in National Geographic's Traveler magazine as one of the top 10 places to visit in America.

 Berkshire property owners encourage  promoting the uniqueness of the Berkshires  to bring in new businesses.   However, we do so with more than a modicum of worry.   New business will bring with them employees who will buy and settle in the Berkshires.   The dilemma occurs when we compare the sedate atmosphere and quiet rural life style we treasure with that of a thriving  industrial community.

The Berkshire real estate market reflects this push pull dilemma of preserving the lifestyle we treasure while actively promoting and encouraging new businesses and entrepreneurs to settle in Berkshire County.   Loss of large industrial employers in the Berkshires has contributed to a lack of qualified buyers contributing  to the glut of real estate inventory.  We are experiencing a dilemma and a "Catch 22" in real estate .   In the Berkshire County Real Estate market sellers currently outnumber buyers four to one.   We are rich in homes for sale.  Buyers would increase if our business community began thriving again.  Attracting businesses will require political savvy, tax breaks and a compromise from both the business owners and the residential property owners.  Finding a middle ground in maintaining the value of living in the Berkshires with the value of having abundant employment is the goal.

Berkshire County MA is a buyer's dream market; plenty of choices, increasingly eager and flexible sellers and great local lenders with terrific loan rates. Why aren't  more buyers attracted to a home in the Berkshires?  The Berkshires are not widely known beyond the northeastern part of the United States even with the good press in travel magazines.    The reality is that most people need to sell their own home and have promise of employment before they can purchase another home.   

So that brings us back to the dilemma of  attracting new business to the Berkshires.  What kinds of impact would a large influx of new people have on the Berkshires? Many Berkshire small towns were all built in a much earlier era.  Accommodating larger numbers of people, cars and businesses would bring  parking lots, franchise stores and  increased traffic congestion on what are mostly two lane roads.

 Would these parking lots, franchises and crowded roads be inevitable?   To some extent, yes . The Berkshires will always attract new residents drawn to  the rural quality of life here while that quality remains rural.  Buyers today may be looking to live in the country but they are also wanting employment near to their home.  

Can the Berkshires balance the irresistible force of growth and maintain its' unique charm?  What are your thoughts?  We would love to hear from you with comments about growing businesses in the Berkshires.