The struggles of a half-dozen island towns, plus countless coastal communities, with what must seem like relentless pressure from real estate developers could ease a bit if the current national credit crunch gets any worse. A market in which borrowers find credit to be tighter than it used to be is likely to cause a coastal slowdown, meaning all those stakes in the woods could just stand there for a while. While that’s surely unwelcome news to developers and contractors, it’s not bad for communities hard-pressed to respond to proposed projects that — if actually built and sold — could change the communities forever.

Real estate, like lobsters, the paper industry, Wall Street and a lot of other things, is a cyclical affair. The Maine coast is littered with the bones of failed developments, many of which were never built because of war, the Depression, earlier real estate meltdowns due to speculation or simply changing tastes.

So if this year’s national credit crunch results in slower development here and there, that’s a good thing. If it brings hardship to credit-worthy people who can’t buy or sell an existing home somewhere because mortgages aren’t available, that’s not a good thing. On balance, however, less pressure to transform the shore into seasonal houselots can’t hurt.