A house that no longer exists on Hancock Street - Image (c) Integrated Construction Sitework & Landscape LLC

A house once stood on Hancock Street – Image (c) Integrated Construction Sitework & Landscape LLC

By Citizen Columnist Dan Brosgol

Take a drive around Bedford this spring and a characteristic that is shared by most neighborhoods is the unmistakable sound of demolition and construction.

The number of older homes that are being bought, torn down, and replaced with homes in the very high six figures is no longer the odd occurrence. As I spent a full day in town today (a rare Monday treat as I had last week off for Passover) I filled two hands counting tear-downs and new constructions within a half-mile radius of Whole Foods.

On the one hand, this is a nice thing for folks who bought their homes a while ago and can now cash in by selling their place for a tidy profit. It’s also nice for builders who can outbid middle-income families on an older home and then make a few hundred grand by building a home that’s twice as big.

On the other hand, this isn’t a good thing for anyone who has a smaller home that wants to buy a bigger one at a reasonable cost; they are being priced out of the market as the stock of modest homes shrinks. It’s also not-so-great for people who appreciate the historic nature of the old homes and feel that destroying them comes at the cost of destroying some of Bedford’s history.

Far be it from me to chastise any seller or contractor who wants to cash in on this kind of transaction. We live in a free market and people are welcome to do as they please. But a word of caution is necessary: the more that affordable homes are torn down and replaced with million-dollar new constructions, the more that the middle class will vanish from Bedford, replaced only by those who can afford jumbo mortgages or find their way into condos. That is the kind of dichotomy that will emerge if this trend continues, as the supply of smaller, more affordable homes, continues to dwindle.

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