Whether you’re searching for a home in Pittsfield, Great Barrington, Springfield, Worcester, Framingham or Boston, Massachusetts is an expensive state to live in!  Right here in the Berkshires, average prices for homes are $500,000 and above in Southern Berkshire County, and $200,000 and above in Northern Berkshire County.  Owning a home is expensive, and sadly many people can’t afford it.

So, I can't say I was surprised that the recent affordable housing lottery in Lenox had only one entry for the 10 Hynes St. property.

If you’re unfamiliar, a quick recap:  The Lenox Affordable Housing Trust had a lottery for that home on 10 Hynes St.   It was renovated with a new kitchen, is 3 bed and 1 bath, and was listed (and sold) for $254,000.  It was supposed to be given away in a lottery, and lots of people were expected to enter.

Only one person did.

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First off, I want to say congratulations to Alejandra Lima of Pittsfield, for getting the home.  This article is in no way, shape, or form a knock on her, and I’m legit happy she has the home!  She seems thrilled about it, and I wish her the best!

No, this article is about how out of touch it seems to me that a $254,000 home is considered affordable.  Maybe it’s because we have two facts that don’t fit well together...

Fact 1:  $254,000 for a 3 bed, 1 bath house with a renovated kitchen in Lenox IS a fantastic deal!

Fact 2:  Many people in Berkshire County can’t afford a home that’s $254,000, along with all the expenses that come with it.

So, what do we do about this?  I honestly don’t know, and there's not one singular answer.  Everything from more opportunities, to better paying jobs, to encouraging the development of new homes, among many factors.

What I do know is my wife and I couldn’t afford that home!  We're both fortunate to have full-time jobs in seemingly good fields (media for me, college for her), and I’ll tell you right now there’s no way we could afford a $250,000 home with our combined salaries.  We were EXTREMELY fortunate to get our home in North County about a year before the pandemic hit and the prices started going crazy, otherwise we’d be hard pressed to find a home in The Berkshires we could afford.

I think I get frustrated because the Berkshires is my home, and it’s sad to hear, and then see, many people and families moving out.  This has been the narrative for too long.  And, in my opinion, when there’s an idea that $254,000 is affordable, regardless of where the home is located, this points to a disconnect about what’s actually going on in many areas of Berkshire County.

Thankfully, the Lenox Affordable Housing Trust is having another lottery with a similar property, and this time the price will be lowered.  We’ll see how it goes.


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