By Cara Philbin and Cynthia Prairie
The Chester Telegraph
Housing in the rural central tier of southern Vermont always has been dependent upon single-family homes. While Chester – with a population of 3,005 – has two purpose-built, townhouse-style apartment complexes, they are rare in most villages.
Instead, residents in this east-west corridor have found housing in single-family homes to purchase and apartments to rent in repurposed larger homes or other buildings.
Despite waiting lists for low-income or senior housing, that formula seemed to have satisfied the majority of the populace – until Covid-19 hit the East Coast in March of 2020. The pandemic brought with it “Covid refugees” with a strong desire to escape the uncomfortably crowded, but locked-down cities. And these refugees also brought with them hefty wallets that enabled bidding wars that some realtors said reminded them of what happened after 9-11: homes bought sight-unseen, properties without a perc test.
The beginning of Covid created a minor housing crisis for some local residents who were looking to buy. But most seemed to understand the market flux. And many believed that the refugees would stay and grow the communities.
Republished with permission from today’s Chester Telegraph, an outstanding local online daily news outlet covering Chester and surrounding town.