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Jim Brissette: Echo Village issue really about supply and demand

To the editor:

Taking Echo Village by eminent domain will do little to solve the housing crisis facing Amherst. It’s less than 30 units out of thousands. It’s unfortunate that so many in town view this crisis as a battle — affordable housing versus student housing.

What continues to get left out of discussions of this crisis is the town’s fundamental under-supply of all kinds of low- and middle-income housing (we seem to have plenty of the over $500,000 variety) when there is such a high demand for this housing. As a result, the law of supply and demand has taken over.

Yes, more demand with a lower supply means prices rise, whether for housing, oil or food. And student housing landlords know this and are acting on this most basic of economic principles, which shouldn’t surprise anyone in town. Until Town Meeting members vote for reasonable zoning proposals that will create a sufficient supply of affordable housing — similar to proposals they have failed to pass in recent years — the demand for it will continue to far outpace supply, forcing rents up and up. And forcing families with low (and moderate) incomes out.

Jim Brissette
Amherst

The writer is a Precinct 6 Town Meeting member

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