In Boston, 'affordable' rent for a family of three is about $1,400 a month

Ed. note: Corrected to reflect fact that a family of three would need two bedrooms, not three, and that the BPDA requires rental units be available to people making up to 70% of the area median income, which drops the monthly rent from nearly $1,900 to $1,400.

In Boston, developers putting up buildings with at least 10 units are required to set aside 13% of the units in new buildings as "affordable" (or contribute even more to a fund that acquires such units elsewhere). Typically, this means they have to be affordable to people making up to 70% of the "area median income" for apartments and 80% for condos.

The BPDA last week released its 2018 calculations for just what that means:

For an apartment, 70% of the area median income would mean an annual income of no more than $52,850 for a single person and $67,950 for a family of three - with rents ranging from $984 a month for a single person to $1,459 for that family of three.

For a condo, with a limit of 80% of the area median income, that translates to a maximum sales price of $147,100 for a studio and $217,000 for a two-bedroom unit.

Over the past year or so, the city has been making noises about increasing the amount of "workforce" housing, for people making up to 120% of the area median income. That would let single people making up to $90,550 and a family of three bringing in $116,450 enter the lottery (and most of the units have lotteries) for an apartment. For the corresponding condos, the maximum prices would range from $226,800 for a single person to $343,000 for that family.

In some neighborhoods, such as Roxbury, Dorchester and Jamaica Plain, non-profit community development corporations have won approval for projects that include some units available to people making as little as 30% of the area median income.

The area that the city uses to define median income consists of Boston, Quincy and Cambridge.

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True

By on

I'll work on the wording.

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You forgot to add:

By on

Along with the so called 'affordables' of the 13%, which is a lottery, you can't have more than $70,000 in assets. So, if you're saving to buy a house or Condo and have saved at least 71,000, you're screwed. Also, Mission Hill lottery for these 13% 'affordable' housing they are using 70% AMI. There is no in between for middle class. Either you have housing for super poor or super rich. Where's the middle? I read recently the 13% 'affordables' in East Boston you have to be 120% AMI..................

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Voting is closed. 28

If you've got $70,000

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You have 20% down for a $350,000 property, or 10% down for a $700,000 property. Say you put $50,000 down on a $350,000 property (leaving you with $20,000) with a 4% mortgage, you are talking about a mortgage payment of about $1,850 a month. Per the story, that is affordable for a family of three.

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10 years ago renting a 2

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10 years ago renting a 2 bedroom apartment in an average East Boston triple decker would cost anywhere from $650 to $900 .today it’s more like $1,900 to $2400 . Unreal ,, where does it stop... bring back rent control!!!!

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Rent control

Well, if I can only charge X, then I'm not spending my money to build anything...and then people never move here from elsewhere, and we end up with a community full of old people and no innovators.

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Innovators???

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Landlords and developers are not innovators. I guess from your dismissive response that affordable housing is of zero concern to you.

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This thread

Has really brought the atrocious anons out of the woodwork.

When did I say that landlords and developers were and weren't innovators? I was talking about prospective tenants who might come live in Boston, but might have a harder time getting in at a desired price because incumbent tenants in some places (smartly) won't punt on a fixed rent.

Affordable housing is of concern to anybody who needs to pay money for shelter (which, again, is essentially all of humanity.) To that end, I have advocated in these threads for market-based solutions to the dilemma of a lot of great people wanting to live in a great, but small, city.

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Our current unaffordable mess

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Our current unaffordable mess is the "market-based" solution. We need strategies that have an end-goal of helping lower and working-class people who are being hurt in our current system, not strategies with an end-goal of making sure they meet your "market-based" religion.

And you can take your racist "prospective innovative tenant" garbage out of here. No we do not need even more white, upper-class people with plenty of options of where they could live comfortably displacing residents who have been here and need things like train access to survive. They are not better or more deserving than Bostonians who don't have a tech degree.

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So you're saying

Only white people can be innovative? That's how your post reads. This wasn't a race debate until you made it one.

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I'm not agreeing with the anon

By on

But they probably interjected race into the debate because in a truly unfettered market, racist attitudes by some landlords makes the market less than open, thereby screwing minorities by constraining where they can rent. Throw in the idea that the minority pool of renters or buyers is growing while the possible market is kept at the same level, bad things happen. It's the theory behind what happened in most major cities from the start of the Great Migration.

Of course, that assumes the Fair Housing Act was never passed, or that you for some reason are thinking that it should be repealed (which of course you don't want, hence my lack of agreement.)

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Doesn't work.

By on

You create slums, and favoritism for the lucky lotto winners. Then there's the losers.

You need to build to meet demand and let wages / income catch up.

Problem is right now Boston is building and nowhere else in MA is allowing it. Then you have our transportation woes.
So people are coming here.

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Voting is closed. 29

Joey, Joey, Joey...

By on

When anon deuce and I agree, you got a problem.

The reason Boston real estate is so expensive is:

A) we have lots of good jobs, especially if you have an education
B) our zoning laws are ridiculous - drive around Boston and look at all the one story commercial buildings. We don't have to build gigantic, but 3-4 stories of condos in Allston, Brihhton, JP, West Roxbury etc would solve a lot of the problem in short order.
C) thanks to these affordable housing requirements, costs go up and supply goes down. Other than the lucky lottery winners, everybody else pays more. Only the landlords and developers win, which keeps them lining the politicians' pockets.
D) similarly, the residential exemption just gets used to bid up property values. It's a crappy law, but easy to dupe the dopes with " but it lowers your taxes"

All this keeps the money flowing to the incumbents. Dump these stupid rules and thanks to "A" above, it will always be expensive to live here, but it won't be ridiculous.

Don't hold your breath though. If you support these rules, you won't get any campaign donations from the big property developers who are the power brokers in this town.

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Amazon

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There's been rumblings that Amazon has widdled down HQ2 to Boston or DC. If we get it, it's going to blown this metric out of the harbor like George Washington on Telegraph Hill.

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I hope they don't choose Boston

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I am sorry to say but I think if they come to Boston the greater Boston area and surrounding suburbs will become even more out of reach for many working people in terms of housing. And I don't just mean the working poor I also mean middle and moderate income people too.

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Voting is closed. 48

What, wha?

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There are 240,000 households in Boston proper. Amazon is what, up to 50k jobs but with the labor living throughout the region. So let's say you get a new 15,000 households in Boston proper, and let's say every one of them is above the median.

You've raised the median from the 120,000th best income to the 127,500th best income. No question it will push up the median a smidge, but the thing about medians is that they're pretty stable.

And, don't forget, the 15,000 new homes built in Boston -- most will be in buildings of 10 units or more, which means that Boston will get more affordable housing as part of the effort to house the people who work for Amazon HW2 and don't need Affordable. Net result: there will be more Affordable units for Boston residents living here now who are eligible for Affordable.

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uh

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Sure those 50,000 jobs may only raise the median slightly, but they need somewhere to live. So in a place where supply is far outpaced by demand, you are adding a further 50,000 people to that demand. So even considering we hit Walsh's goal of 35k additional apartments, that supply will evaporate in a second if Amazon comes here.

If you don't think Amazon will have a negative affect on the average Boston renter, then you should probably do some research on what's happened in Seattle because non-Amazon residents would not agree.

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Will evaporate in a second

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Those 50k jobs are projected over a 10-20 years period, they aren't all just showing up at once. Even if Amazon doesn't come here we will probably beat those numbers anyways.

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130,000 new residents

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By 2030 is the latest projection. I mean sure, you can say what's another 50,000 families. But the truth is, it is going to make it worse.

Especially with a city / region that refuses to tackle transportation issues, and towns outside of Boston proper refusing to build housing.

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$1,900 a month

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Timing is everything

Like more than a few posters on here I think, we were lucky enough to buy a house in Roslindale in the early 2000s. At my kid's school though, the parents skew younger (and more minority) and it feels like classmates move away on a monthly basis to places like NC, GA and TX because the parents have a better opportunity to raise a family there without putting everything they earn into the cost of living.

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Voting is closed. 41

See that, Cinnamon Girl?

There's an open place in Greater Boston. A family just moved away because they can't and won't pay $1,900 a month. So, one of two things will happen:

1) Someone else will try to pay that price and maybe fail or,

2) The owner will lower the price eventually to attract a tenant.

Eventually, you'll run out of people who can and will pay $1,900 a month to live in Medford. I know I wouldn't. Unless that place has three bedrooms, forget it. See you schmucks in Tewksbury or Las Vegas.

Also, serious question: What does a kid cost in a year? I don't have one, so I don't know.

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You have no clue

By on

This is a very complicated mess, and it will take more than families moving away to make it work out for anybody.

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Voting is closed. 38

I pay 1900 a month

to live in Medford and it's a whole lot better than living in a one bedroom shithole a mile away in Davis Square for 2500.After being gentrified out of Belmont.

And who do you mean when you say "schmucks"?

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Voting is closed. 28

Gentrified?

Or outbid? The latter is the word that I would use.

I used "schmucks" with love.

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The problem keeps moving

By on

We were priced out of Arlington when the rent control cash hoarders from Cambridge moved there, so we bought in Medford. Now all our neighbors owned in Somerville and then bought in Medford when the kids and dogs overran their space.

Medford is now getting ridiculous. I couldn't afford if I didn't already own a place.

I don't see how anyone can even think of buying now unless they bought 15-20 years ago.

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Voting is closed. 36

Fun fact about kids and dogs

Ownership of both is, in this secular community with proper reproductive freedom for all, voluntary.

And if you're reading this and think that your access to reproductive freedom has been compromised, what can I do to help you?

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So is...

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Living in Boston is just as voluntary. So if you don't like the tax code and laws, that's on you.

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How

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Does one get gentrified out of Belmont. It’s been richy rich Gentry for hundreds of years

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Voting is closed. 30

Not in Waverly Square...

Belmont is not as tony as it's perceived. Still a lot of two family houses with old lady landlords. Like mine who charged 1250 a month for a two bedroom for nine years, finally raises it to 1750 after doing some repairs that had not been done for years before the increase and then the landlord's son decided to close the place for six months, renovate it and charge 2650, which he'll get all day long.

It's a two minute walk to the bus and the commuter rail. Ask the many, many people from Lincoln and towns like that who park in the streets around Waverly and take the T into Cambridge so they don't have to pay to park at Cambridge rates every morning.

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Voting is closed. 27

That's not gentrification

By on

That's a market correction! I paid $850 a month in the early 90s over on Slade, and that was low at the time.

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Medford is on its way up in

By on

Medford is on its way up in rents and home buying prices. North Medford close by the wegmans supermarket is coming up.

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That's not North Medford

By on

North Medford is up on the hill by I-93.

You are talking about Riverside/Haines Square.

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Not much? They only eat a

By on

Not much? They only eat a little bit of food, and need diapers, but they don't care if you get them second-hand clothes and toys, and you should because they're just going to puke on them and grow out of them a month later. I suppose they double your water usage because you're always washing them and everything they've soiled.

If you do daycare, then yeah, that's expensive. It's like in-state tuition for u-mass. It's not clear to me that having both parents work actually increases household disposable income when you have to hire childcare, especially with 2 or 3 kids.

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Ah, childcare

That thing that's expensive, because the purveyors are - wait for it - businesspeople who know that you can't and won't leave your kids home alone. Those damned markets!

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Well they circumvented birthrate growth dilemma

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and pushed it negative. Decreased need for daycare..Yeah! However now they have negative birthrates--causing increased deficits to support their aging populations...Boo! (see southern European countries and places like Japan)

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Agreed, they should

By on

Immigration does help the decreased birthrate. Immigration has been great for the US in this regard.

You know what also helps? Increase social spending on childcare, family leave, etc. Denmark, Sweden and Norway increased spending on these programs after the decrease in birthrate in the late 1960's and early 1970s and birthrates went up again. Oh yeah and they also provide conception and have legal abortion (95% of Danes support legal access to abortion).

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Voting is closed. 36

Here's the trick

By on

Having one parent at home, even if it is cheaper than childcare, doesn't help you qualify for a mortgage.

Having a second income, even if it goes entirely to childcare, helps you qualify for a mortgage.

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Voting is closed. 32

Grownups to Will

By on

That isn't spending money you don't have on anything.

That's simply the way things get rearranged in our society. You still can't get a mortgage if you don't have the money to support it.

You really need to grow up. Like, ten years ago.

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Voting is closed. 33

I'm trying to parse your comment

But I can't, so instead, I'll address your wussified swipe that you took without registering as a user:

Define "grow up." I have a good financial position, no debts, and no dependents. I live largely as I please. If that's not grown up, then what is? Are you suggesting that I become a careerist and/or a breeder and/or some kind of toxic monogamist?

I mean, seriously, "you can't get a mortgage if you don't have the money to support it?" That's the point, right? Houses in an efficient market wouldn't cost more to the end user than what it costs to acquire the land and build it. I have no sympathy for people who fail at turning human shelter into a profit center.

"Waaaah, this will hurt my property values." I don't care about your plight. I really don't care.

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Voting is closed. 20

Boston Housing Prices

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I feel you and know that the landlords here in Boston are cray cray because they keep raising the rents on tenants who are on Section 8 and know that they can't afford to pay $2300/$3000 for a 2 or 3 bdrm apartments! I have been living in mine for 8 yrs and then the landlord up and raised the rent to $2300 which I couldn't afford even on Section 8 and my landlord turned around and evicted me stating he was selling the building and wanted the tenants out! Now come Monday April 30th I will be homeless with my 2 esa dog's!
Boston landlords only care about credit scores and high rents and don't care how much that they are destroying people's lives by making them homeless!

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The City of Boston

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Does not care about the lower and middle class families. The last two administrations have done everything to discourage affordable housing and pushing families out of the city. Everything from a crappy school system to horrendous parking can be blamed on the current and last administration.
The City needs a people’s mayor right now.

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Really?

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Yes - cause why would we not want to prevent house prices and property value to increase in the City? How and why would the previous/current administrations stop capitalism? Would you rather be in a situation like Flint, MI where they cannot get homeowners to fill the amount of vacancies? I lived in the City my entire life, the house I wanted, in the neighborhood I wanted, with the traits I wanted were not affordable in Boston - so I moved out of Boston.

Crappy school system? Yes, because an education in BPS is so much worse than most public educations.

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It's not 1974 anymore

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And BPS isn't what it used to be. Yes, it still has some major problems, but compared to other big cities, it's a lot better. Now if only they didn't force parents to work so hard to get their kids a decent education.

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Voting is closed. 39

I know there has been a lot

I know there has been a lot of focus on Air BnB and people using luxury condos to house money... but these quite frankly are only the tip of the iceberg. Maybe they affect some centralized markets but they can not be pulling the whole market with them.

The issue really comes down to supply and demand with a bit of a bubble. The 2000's run up was running on a bubble , anticipating where we are now. So when it exploded it really did a number to the housing costs. This is different because what we have now really is more people needing places to live in an area than there are currently places to house them. IMO this stems largely from Boston (and San Francisco and other cities) never quite getting over the exodus from the cities all those decades back to begin with. We allowed the expanse of Mass Transit to dwindle, people built out instead of up, neighborhoods that were never designed to be quiet little enclaves became quiet little enclaves and then got used to it. Even though there was development over the past few decades it was minimal compared to what is now happening but now it is being fought street by street, house by house.

This is where the rubber should hit the road. We need to invest more in Mass Transit and with it insist that areas around a transit station should be built up. Every expansion should come with promises of increased zoning along the corridor. Conversely the state should look at transit stations across the Greater Boston area and threaten to close stations in any suburb that does not meet its quota for affordable housing and does not meet new guidelines for increasing density by other means by a reasonable amount. Currently the weight of these issues seems to be falling on the shoulders of Boston and the inner suburbs but lets face some of these other close suburbs are not an option because they have zones condos and other high density units out of their towns BUT have kept their transportation infrastructure.

One of the biggest issues is areas that have allowed dense planning over the past decade have not seen a return on that investment in the form of lower rents because others have not contributed. So they get upset and assume there are other forces at work.

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Stop it

Conversely the state should look at transit stations across the Greater Boston area and threaten to close stations in any suburb that does not meet its quota for affordable housing

Close a train station? I can name precisely zero citizens whom I've ever heard say "let's close that train station", because:

1) That citizen uses it, or

2) Doesn't give an (expletive) because they don't use it

Your advocacy that government use force and make threats to answer a question that nobody asked is irritating. Explain to me what part of closing a train station serves citizens.

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Every station on the line

Every station on the line costs money.

If your station in a wealthy suburb is surrounded by very very low density homes and your town is chronically low on its required affordable units requirement (a state law passed by ballot I believe in which those same suburbs voted yes to) then I see no reason to continue to subsidize that station when that money could be used elsewhere and an additional station could be added to a higher density area.

Part of living within walking distance of a mass transit station is living in a higher density area. While our control over what these towns do with their own zoning is minimal, what we can do with our transportation system is fully in all of our control.

With low ridership at least you have a chance to increasing usage. With super low density neighbors ridership is tapped out at a certain level.

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Fair

But there's a difference between "we're not subsidizing this" and "we're shutting it down."

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Sure, if the town wants to

By on

Sure, if the town wants to pay out of pocket for its share of the operating cost of the line, then it can stay open. In practice I dont think there are many towns that could afford to do this. The commuter rail is the most expensive service to subsidize by far.

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Tapped out

While it may be a worthy cause to make low density towns pay in the way of T service. I see a bigger problem with the Commuter Rail in that it can't adequately service the demand there is now. Commuter Rail parking lots are filling up early in the morning, and at least on some lines people can't get into trains because there is no room. They need to wait the 20 minutes or whatever for the next line. And given this choice, I think people will continue to choose to drive. So shutting down stations because of low density is just moving the transit problems on to higher density towns.

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In terms of the parking lots,

By on

In terms of the parking lots, the state should really start working with private developers to build 3-story garages (or whatever zoning allows) on these sites in return for some stories atop the garage of residential or office space in these suburbs.
The jam-packed commuter rail lots aren't good for anyone.

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Voting is closed. 27

Shawmut Vs. Union Square

By on

2 very different models. (And dare I say, value systems.) So which one is the more desired . .

Shawmut / Red Line : Middle of Boston, 5 or 6 stops from downtown, nestled into a long-standing residential neighborhood, with no commercial abutters, and surrounded by many single family homes on large lots. No new density, no new development.

So should we start cluster-packing multi-story infill housing around Melville Park and the surrounding streets due to it's proximity to the T station and the relative 'under use' of that station by the surrounding district? Like is being done in . .

Proposed Union Square / Green Line : Where Somerville has seized acres of land and multiple businesses and some homes by eminent domain in anticipation of delivering up the land for for-profit mixed use developments that can be marketed as 'steps from the Green Line!' As opposed to the Shawmut model, which has basically kept the existing neighborhood around transit intact, the Union Square model is essentially either bulldozing or rezoning the existing neighborhood within a quarter-mile radius of the station to pack in that new density and new development.

So if Somerville sounds right, then when does the demolition around Shawmut start? And if Shawmut is any kind of ideal, then what the hell is Somerville doing . . ?

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No need to start demolition around Shawmut yet...

By on

But what Somerville is doing is indeed exactly what Boston should be doing. That said, there is no shortage of places closer to downtown and within a few blocks of rapid transit where one could easily find underutilized property to redevelop. Heck, with appropriate planning for sea level rise and a pedestrian bridge, the Bayside Expo Center would be an awesome location for hundreds, if not thousands, of units of new housing. Plus UMass Boston needs the money! Maybe we should think about decking over the MBTA Cabot Yard or parts of the Southwest Corridor which aren't parks.

Look around Sullivan Sq., Broadway, Ruggles, and Roxbury Crossing -- there are many places to build. It's just difficult AF to get any project past the NIMBYs. One of our city councilors opposed adding one floor and one unit to a triple-decker in Eastie because it would bring too much traffic! Ridiculous!

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Bingo bango bongo

One of our city councilors opposed adding one floor and one unit to a triple-decker in Eastie because it would bring too much traffic! Ridiculous!

If you participate in seeking to acquire human shelter, that is to say, you're a (expletive) human being, then a vote for this councilor ever again is a vote against your interests.

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How closing stations helps

By on

> Explain to me what part of closing a train station serves citizens.

Trains on won't stop there and that saves valuable transit time for others that ride the train. Save 5000 people 5 minutes/day less the cost of maintaining a station and that is real economic benefit.

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I've seen the train stations around here

By on

There is no evidence that they are "maintained."

Furthermore, if you have two stations each serving 250 people per day, all of them will take a hit if you close down one and make the other one take 500 people. Half will have to drive further, and all will have to deal with more traffic at the station.

There is no free lunch. This is something that needs to always be said because people who think they alone are smart enough to figure out a way to get a free lunch aren't.

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Snob zoning and red tape is

By on

Snob zoning and red tape is strangling supply when it it is desperately needed to meet demand.

5-6 story elevator buildings shouldn't be taking years of approvals and zoning variances to build.

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Towns have to manage the

By on

Towns have to manage the expenses of their own local services, which is why not everything can manage higher density. Some places are just going to be more expensive.

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Okay

By on

Transit increases property values. Increased property values mean more tax money.

You cannot simultaneously play the autonomy card and then stick your hand out for state subsidies.

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That's just one

By on

That's just one characteristic, and residents use a lot more than that.

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Yep

I saw countless Hillary signs in suburbs which start with W when I drove rideshare. How many of them would, deep down, be comfortable having Hillary's voters in Southern states as neighbors?

Remember the story about Henry Louis Gates going out of his way to introduce himself at the Lexington police station to tell them that he lived there and was going to drive a Mercedes through the town late at night?

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They can barely have capacity

By on

They can barely have capacity for the riders there now, and increased construction out there will create even more road congestion since not all commuting will be done by train. Something isn't the wrong density just because you say it is or housing is higher than you want it to be. Towns also have to pay for the own local services they residents use.

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Cultural imperialism. Authoritarian, to boot

By on

"I like living in Manhattan, therefore I want the State of Massachusetts to turn every part of Greater Boston into Manhattan by force!"

People like their privacy and their peace and quiet. A solution to the housing price problem that seem to acknowledge exists that actually has a chance of happening is to scrap all affordable housing requirements, scrap 40B, and encourage the conversion of the vast swathes of conservation land outside of 128 and inside of 495 into vast swathes of suburbs with detached single-family homes on <0.5 arce lots, and to build out the roads and trains to support that commuting population without mandating high density that people will fight tooth and nail.

The reason that conservation land is there is because people out outside 128 don't want to import the city and its structural problems into their communities. Current laws encourage developers to import the city into those communities, so all development gets fought and conservation land gets banked up to prevent opportunities for development at all. Get rid of the legal incentives to manhattanize and you might find more willing partners out in the suburbs.

Unlike your "Manhattanize of else!" proposal, this will alleviate the price of housing on the "workforce" end, which is an obfuscation to refer to "married couples with children (plural) who don't want to cram into a 2 bedroom" by providing them an opportunity to purchase a house big enough for their needs and withing a reasonable distance of their jobs, which will in turn lower the pressure on the housing closer in to the city for the younger, single, or older set who don't need and don't want to pay for a detached house.

This model worked very well about 60 years ago in not-Massachusetts and continues to work quite well in not-Massachusetts, where 1600 sq foot houses on .3 acre lots in good school districts within minutes of commuter rail with ample parking go for under 500k routinely. Here, it's 700k on the low end and your commute sucks worse.

The only reason actual American suburbs is a taboo in Massachusetts is because the politicians in Massachusetts like high housing prices and traffic congestion. It allows them to develop dependent constituencies by continually promising pleasant-sounding but ineffectual solutions thereby gaining a (national) reputation as activists and a loyal core of true believers to keep electing them. And having repeated the lie for nearly fifty years, they've gotten a whole bunch of well-meaning people to actually believe it too.

You want change, quit voting for the democrat who runs unopposed every time. Maybe some rare individual might even grow a pair and run for office himself instead of just complaining. As a friendly reminder...both the state reps and state senators serve two-year terms.

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You are very strange

By on

Do you know what causes most traffic congestion? Anywhere in the world?

Low density, car dependent development.

Please move to California if you want to see the logical result of your "thinking".

Or just go away. Try your ideas out in Pakistan or India - they are receptive despite also living with the consequences of low density development.

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Boston is just as congested as LA

By on

despite being nice and walkable. So is New York City despite having the most subway stops anywhere in the world and commuter rail in every direction. Because it's too damn dense.

Nashville is all sprawl, and it's fine because it's got the roads to handle its population.

Philadelphia suburbs are all sprawl and the metro area is bigger geographically and population-wise than Boston, but it's fine because it's got robust commuter rail and the roads to get to the train stations.

And of course: India and Pakistan low density? God you're dense!

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More people generally leads

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More people generally leads to more cares, regardless of the type of housing.

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This is not a serious attempt at anything

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Anytime you have someone hoping and praying to get an "affordable" apartment by a lottery, which really means that most who apply will not get an "affordable" anything, it tells me that the city is really not serious about doing something serious about creating more "workforce" housing. We need more housing at a monthly rent that most of the workforce can easily afford factoring in other costs of living in the city. And we need more housing in towns which consistently fight and vote against the same.

Excellent and relevant article regarding the same topic:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/19/opinion/democrats-gentrification-citi...

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Right?

The very definition of "government picking winners and losers."

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There is a proposal to

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There is a proposal to restrict or tax non-resident buyers, similar to what other cities have done.

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In the few other cities that

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In the few other cities that have tried this the effect has been negligible. These so-called “foreign buyers” just aren’t having the huge impact that many would like to believe. The problem is that too much of our land is reserved for single family homes so building enougg housing for all of our jobs is impossible.

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Foreign buyers

In downtown Boston it is probably AirBnB buyers who have a larger impact, but I still get postcards from Realtors claiming to have foreign cash buyers who are very interested in my place. And with the very small number of properties available in downtown Boston, all of Cambridge, and much of Somerville I got to think any level of foreign interest has to have some impact.

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Ayup

I got to think any level of foreign interest has to have some impact.

I don't think any of the Boston area Transcript newspapers publish real estate transactions anymore, but wherever you come across a report, it reads like a list that is a cross between chessmasters and a bunch of dropped silverware.

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Didn't think that joke existed here

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Hard to say if they're really foreign though. Plenty of people like that who are "local" by some definition of that word.

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Banker and Tradesman

Banker and Tradesman publishes ever real estate transaction in Massachusetts. Foreclosures are inching up again. I work in the real estate industry and read the paper every week.

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It's not been negligible,

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It's not been negligible, because the home prices would be higher without it. You are extremely uniformed if you think that they aren't a growing factor.

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You mean speculation, right?

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Speculation, which is when people purchase property as an investment, with no intention of living in it, is something that happened a lot in the 1980's and the 1990's, and is still happening. It's disgusting, disgraceful, and selfish, and shouldn't be allowed to take place..

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The HUB History podcast this

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The HUB History podcast this week talks about the 1968 Tent City protest in the South End, and the struggle for affordable housing in Boston: episode

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Will listen. But...

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The Boston of 1968, especially when it comes to housing, is almost unrecognizable today. You could buy a whole South End townhouse then for about the cost of a nice car. That neighborhood was mostly poor, plagued by arson, blight, crime, and people who wanted to demolish it and replace it with a highway and God knows what else. Now it’s the poster child for Shiny Pretty Neighborhoods That No One Can Afford (unless you luck into one of the mixed-income buildings). So the Tent City stuff is fascinating but it doesn’t really help understand the challenges we’re facing at the moment.

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I thought I had a pretty

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I thought I had a pretty decent job. Guess not. But I must be categorized as low income. No wonder I'm borderline homeless and still living with my mother.

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Huh?

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You are borderline homeless and living with your mother, but you thought you had a pretty decent job?

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Providing Goods and Services That People Still Use

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Used to be a good job. People still get their hair cut like they used to. People still need their cars repaired like they used to, and people still need eggs and milk. But today, if you're a barber or own a neighborhood repair shop or are the night manager at a small grocery store, you can't afford to live in Boston anymore. So do their jobs suck now? Should I just tell them to either walk away from their jobs and go learn to code or go to B-school - or move to Brockton and commute in everyday to cut my hair, fix my car, and sell me the dozen eggs that I need to impress my friends with my omelette making skills, and call it day . .?

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Nope

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Ultimately those jobs, and their wages, have becomes completely divorsed from reality. What you're paid mostly comes down to policy in beacon Hill and DC. They've decided that if your wealth isn't in investment income, you're not worth anything.

It's the second gilded age. You get paid much less, so the Robber Barron's can stash money in offshore accounts. Taking it out of the economy, and ultimately siezing up the engine of prosperity.

All because wealth equals power to them, so they need to grab it all beyond reason.

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Yeah. I have a good job but

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Yeah. I have a good job but am still living with my mother. Paying her room and board is cheaper than paying rent in Boston.

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Least you have that choice

My folks are in BVT and in Tampa Bay. I'm here by myself. Either I hack it as a Bostonian, or I'm gone.

I have a 75 year old aunt and uncle in Newton, but they'll be around for at least another 25 years, at which point, I'm not sure I'd inherit their house anyway.

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Daaammmnnn...

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... my mortgage and all utility bills average far below $1,900 per month, and I get a driveway, fenced-in yard, and twice the living space compared to any apartment downtown. Hate to humble brag, but damnit, I love you, Fairmount Hill.

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Just wait

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Until the bubble bursts and all these fools are stuck with property they overpaid for.

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When exactly

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Was the last real estate bubble bursting in MA? 1987?

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lulz

Just wait Until the bubble bursts and all these fools are stuck with property they overpaid for.

I was fiercely arguing counterpoint on this back in 2001 on the internets. They called me a troll. Me. Capecoddah. Being called a troll.

So 17 years later I'll say it again... This ain't any sort of real estate bubble. This is the norm.

It was 2001 that I jumped from selling Boston real estate to the mortgage industry and luckily I ended up in a very ethical firm where most agents would try to talk clients out of any potential balloon fiascos. Many other firms pushed them and that is about as close as any sort of bubble came into play, which barely affected real estate prices during the mortgage crash of the later 00s. You can see a small correction around 2007 but no bubble from at least the late 80s to now unless you wish to torture sales records with inflation adjustments.

My stance is that there is no mass overprice and there has not been since the late 80s. Just one period of a massive influx of new-to-the-market people overextending themselves and buying where they should not have. There is a hefty amount of perspective in the argument but there is no denying that in 2001, people were complaining about a real estate bubble that could not last forever and now in this very thread people are looking back at 2001 as the good old days of house pricing. In 2035, I will be on yet another board, arguing the same thing when people call 2018 the good old days of affordable house prices.

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Bubbles were all regional

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Definitely a bubble in sprawling, overdeveloped, fundamentals-poor places where people were overextending to buy gilded palaces on pauper salaries.

Prices in MA, meanwhile, didn't even take a hit. They stalled out for a couple years, at worse.

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Awesome

They stalled out

Awesome word and great observation.

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Suggested corrections

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There are a few errors with your post.

  • IDP requires 13% of rental units in private development to be income-restricted units set aside for families at 70% AMI or less. IDP requires 13% of ownership units in private development to be set-aside at 80% AMI or less.
  • Affordable rents for income-restricted units are calculated to be around 30% of income or less. A family of 3 typically would need a unit with 2 bedrooms.
  • To qualify for a typical rental IDP unit, a 3-person family needs to make less than $67,950. Their rent for a 2-bedroom IDP unit is $1,459. This is substantially less than your headline statement of $1,900.
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Thanks

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Pretty stupid mistakes, alas. Corrected in the post, will also post something on the home page.

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