Jim Chellel has spent virtually his entire life in Pawtucket, but before the pandemic hit, he’d decided it was time to make a change.
Chellel’s kids go to school in North Providence, and his job as a shift supervisor for the state’s 911 system requires him to commute to Scituate every day. He wanted to be closer to both — “like a true Rhode Islander,” he jokes.
As a full-time state employee who also works part-time as a substitute teacher, Chellel thought that he’d have no problem finding a home that he could comfortably afford. But as housing prices surged last year, he became uneasy. Every property he bid on went to a buyer who had been willing to pay more than the asking price, and he worried that competing in that market would mean overpaying for a house that might not be worth as much in a few years’ time.
Finally, after more than a year of searching for a home to buy, he decided to stop looking.
“I can’t be…