Boston to try to get even more housing built

Mayor Walsh announced this morning Boston is upping its 2030 housing goals by 30% - from 53,000 new housing units by then to 69,000, based on new projections that show the city's population growing to nearly 760,000 by then.

In 2014, the City based its housing goals on projected growth in Boston's population to 709,400 people by 2030. With 27,513 housing units permitted thus far, production has exceeded expectations, but the projected population of Boston has increased as well. The City of Boston has been working with the Massachusetts Area Planning Council (MAPC) and the Metro Mayor's Regional Housing Task Force to forecast housing need. Using the best demographic data now available, Boston's 2030 population is projected to be 759,727 people.

But is it enough, especially as downtown and the Back Bay become filled with empty, foreign-owned investment condos?

Walsh says he's committed to preserving "income restricted" housing in the city - up to at least 20% of all units - but as the Boston-area median income, which is used to determine who gets to move into these units, rises, can we keep Boston from becoming another Manhattan or San Francisco?

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More of the same

I have 0 doubts that we’ll get 20% (ish, we all know how this works) “affordable” and 80%+ fauxury, with those in the middle left competing to pay artificially inflated “market rates” for whatever wasn’t knocked down or gut renovated for the other two.

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Voting is closed. 26

Did Nobody In Charge Study Urbanism?

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I don't think the people in charge get it. They see nothing wrong with property as an investment vehicle.

You can't build your way out of problems. It doesn't work with highways and traffic. And it doesn't work with housing. This concept that you can build enough housing to preserve or depress market prices is just another form of trickle down economics. The only way to fix the issue is to work towards decommodifying housing. One step that would go a long way towards this is to penalize, perhaps disallow entirely, the purchase of property by LLCs and non-owner occupants - especially people who are not Boston citizens. As long as people view property as investments rather than places to live, we will never solve this problem.

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Voting is closed. 47

Really?

Housing in Houston is much cheaper than here because housing can more cheaply be built with fewer restrictions. Now, they have sprawl and traffic (and flooding) issues but that has happened absent any rules about investment property owners. But we need more regulations here in Boston instead of working towards regional solutions? Nonsense. We need more regional housing and better infrastructure so it's not Boston or bust for people.

I don't buy the argument that real estate investors parking money in One Dalton and the like have anything to do with the rents being charged in Roslindale by someone who bought a two family unit and lives in 1/2 of it.

Edit - I'd love to see some data supporting the theory that the middle class housing crunch in Dorchester, Roslindale, WR, HP, Mattpan, etc... is driven by LLC investment vehicles vs. simple supply and demand. More people want to live here now so there's more competition for housing.

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Voting is closed. 38

No one is asking for you to "buy it"

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If you cant see the onnection from foreign investors buying up condos to how it affects the surrounding property values and rents, I'm not sure you have much business discussing it at all.

Now, I do agree to your point about infrastructure investment but in the long term when those foreign investors dry up for whatever reason whether it be a dumb tariff war against China or their own countries economic issues (see japan in the 1990s) those massive bonds we take out now will still need to be paid.

If our overinflated housing market takes a dive it "could" send us into recession. We may not take a hit like say South Florida or LA & Orange Country would but we WILL feel it and it WILL 100% definitely trickle down to the small duplex owner in Roslindale.

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Oh look, no actual counterpoint

Is it your assertion that the condos being bought in Roslindale are largely being bought by offshore investors? Really? Because I see the people who bought the condos and houses on my street in the past 10 years, you know, living in them. Or are you saying that because someone overseas bought a $1m in One Dalton, the middle floor on the triple decker next door was bought by someone who was going to buy a $1m condo downtown but wasn't able to.

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Oh, look you missed the entire point.

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People would live closer to the city center if prices werent as high as they are.

They remain high partly due to foreign investments interested in investing in Boston.

If foreign investors have no motivation other than profit, that ties a part of our economy to a foreign entity (again, see japan in the 90s)

If their economy crashes or Tangerine Mussolini's tariffs disuade foreign capital from being invested here we could suddenly have a surplus market of overpriced housing.

Prices drop and so do home values like a pebble in water and suddenly the middle floor of a triple decker in the middle-of-nowhere-Roslindale is worth 30-50% less than what the owner paid for it 2 years ago.

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Just not true

Are you claiming that One Dalton, Millennium, etc... would have been built as middle class housing in high towers if not for the evil offshore investors? That's just not economically true - building that tall costs a lot of money. These developments take relatively small footprint lots and generate millions in tax revenues for the city. They are a win for the city residents in terms of tax income vs. service cost outlay.

The money is already being spent on these now and even if they turn out to be white elephants in 5 years due to global downturn, bulk of the money will already be committed and the change in tax revenue for the city from these developments won't drop that far.

If you want more housing downtown, push to get Comm Ave to look like the Fenway does now, push to get Andrew Square to look like the Fenway does now, etc... Don't waste your energy getting het up about 4-5 buildings in the city where rich people live.

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Voting is closed. 14

Not building isn't the solution, either.

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I read the report and very few of the luxury buildings identified therein replaced existing housing. Millennium Tower was a gaping pit for years after Filene's was demolished. Millennium Place was a parking lot. 45 Province was a hideous high-rise parking garage. The Belvedere and Mandarin Oriental were unbuilt parcels at the Pru. Atelier was a parking lot. 22 Liberty was an open lot (or parking) in the Seaport. Carleton House replaced hotel rooms at the Taj/old Ritz. I don't recall exactly what the new Ritz replaced but people (apart from the homeless) weren't living in the Combat Zone, either.

Most of the new luxury projects newly built or under construction (many in the Seaport, plus Pierce Boston, Lovejoy Wharf, Bulfinch Crossing, the Boulevard, 1000 Boylston, etc.) replaced parking lots/garages, empty lots/air rights or low-rise commercial.

The rental stuff being built (which is presumably aimed at people living in those units) is also high-end: Avalon North Station, One Greenway, the Kensington, Radian, 660 Washington, Ink Block, etc. With Boston's high property prices, even higher construction costs, and affordable housing requirements, that's the only way to make money without some sort of government subsidy like LIHTC or free land from the government.

Southie gentrified due to its location and the fact that the other, more desirable neighborhoods got too expensive; that's the reason why the South End gentrified and it's why gentrification has spread to Mission Hill, JP, Dorchester, Roxbury, Eastie, etc. When you have close to 100,000 people move into a city with ~50 sq miles of total land area in the space of two decades (from 589K in 2000 to 685K in 2017) housing prices are going to go up.

The number of housing units owned by LLCs/foreign nationals exclusively as places to park money is a tiny fraction of the total housing stock in Boston -- almost certainly well under 1%. As far as city government is concerned, that's a really good problem to have. Those property owners pay a lot in taxes, don't get a residential exemption, and consume very few city services because no one lives in those properties. Those luxury buildings create dozens or hundreds of high-paying construction jobs and most also have several full-time staff on premises.

If you want to cut housing costs, just repeat the 1960s and 1970s. Discourage job creation in the city and reduce law enforcement. That should do the trick.

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Voting is closed. 32

There are multiple

(former) 3-families on just my block that have been gutted and turned into luxury condos or are in the process of. Another existing building was knocked down and turned into a luxury building. There are more plans to knock down existing houses along my street for more of this. This is a single residential one way street in Eastie, think about how much of this is happening all around the city, block by block.

It's not just about the towers, waterfront boxes, and industrial conversions. And those buildings do have a trickle down effect on costs elsewhere.

I agree with some of what you said, but the bottom line is we need to find the fine line or it's just going to be more of the same.

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Why

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Is this a problem?

Seriously - why is it an issue?

(you hate change - I get it)

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Those aren't the types of buildings...

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That draw absentee foreign investors, though. That stuff is happening in Eastie because folks are getting priced out of Boston Proper or even Southie and improvements in the neighborhood (Piers/Bremen St. Park, Greenway, Blue Line upgrades) make it a more appealing place to live. Long-time owners are selling out or upgrading because they can make a lot more money either going condo or renting out a spruced-up floor of a triple-decker that hadn't been renovated since 1960.

If the big "luxury" towers downtown & in the Seaport hadn't been built, the people who actually do live in them would have needed some other place in which to reside, and that would have pushed up values in the neighborhoods even more.

I will agree that having nicer housing in the city does induce some better-off folks to move back into the city from the suburbs and/or keeps them from moving out. Is that a bad thing?

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Sombody

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Has never dealt with probate.

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Did Nobody Study Economics

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Nothing in that post makes any sense

Try Adam Smith a few Centuries ago he got a handle on it:

Build enough of anything artificially in short supply and the price will decline as demand is ultimately limiting -- e.g. build two housing units for every person living in Massachusetts and you'd have the buyer's market of all time.

On the other hand -- Restrict the supply artificially -- i.e. by enacting highly arbitrary and restrictive zoning regulations -- and the price will rise until either the demand declines due to its elasticity with price -- or substitution replaces whatever is supply-constrained.

The Classic Example of all time is the Transistor -- from something which was carried about in a velvet lined box in the early 1950's -- to something almost too cheap to price in 2018. That change happened not due to regulation of their price -- it's the result of making a whole lot of transistors at once on a single silicon wafer -- aka Moore's Law

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What's he doing about the

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What's he doing about the Boston army of homeless people crisis?

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Boston's 'Army' of homeless is not unique

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Part of the problem is most newcomers do not come from large urban areas. Most are middle and upper middle class, and most such people in America come from small suburban towns. And they generally get their ideas of urban life from popular culture, which leaves them pretty ignorant. Many people that posters onhere believe are homelesw, drug addicts, probably aren't. And the major problem is MENTAL ILLNESS and DEINSTITUTIONALIZATION dating from a successful 1970s ACLU lawsuit.

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Get rid

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Of all the golf courses and build, were a city not a suburb. And spare me the "green space" crap.

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All?

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How many golf courses you think there are in Boston?

And spare me the crap about not needing any green space.

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Guessing you're impressed with yourself

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It was a rhetorical question. I can see 50% of Boston's golf courses out our kitchen window and hear the golfers yelling "fore" on weekend mornings, so, yeah, I know how many golf courses Boston has.

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Voting is closed. 13

The golf course

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itself is bigger than Mission Hill, not including all the other green space barely used (less the zoo) surrounding it.

Boston needs housing but doesn't have space, what we don't need is a barely used gold course in a densely populated low income neighborhood.

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Voting is closed. 11

Please

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There is tremendous space in Boston that you can use long before you start tearing up the parks and golf courses. Drive down Blue Hill Ave, Columbia, Comm, Huntington and so many more where there's a storefront and little else above. Developers seem to be finding plenty of places to build for now and at least at equilibrium with demand. We have decades before we need to start tearing up our green space.

And barely used? Ever played these places - OK - not in the winter but busy the rest of the year (They could probably make better use of the club houses)

And you may not be aware -but these courses have been restored (using money they generated from operations) to the point where the premier state amateur championship-I believe for both men and women - were held on these courses this year to rave reviews from both the most talented golfers in the state and the Mass Golf Assn.

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Boston is 2 sq miles in land area larger than S.F.

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S.F. currently has around 850,000. Boston currently (just the city) has probably hit 700,000 (in the 1950 census it had 850,000). The 3 most densely populated large cities in the country are: #1 NYC, #2 S.F., and #3 Boston. Boston could and has in the past 150,000 more people in the city limits. A big reason why it's still climbing nack up to the peak 1950 level is urban renewal in the 60s displaced probably 100,000 people.

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Urban Renewal

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Didn't displace that many people; the population of the city declined mostly due to white/urban flight from the 1950s to 1970s. Randolph, for example, added 17,000 inhabitants between 1950 and 1970. Canton went from 7,000 to 17,000. Acton went from 3,500 to 15,000. Rockingham County, NH added 120,000 to its 1950 population of 70,000 by 1980.

Things like the residency requirement for city employees happened as a response to urban depopulation; that anchored several thousand people and their families in the city as part of their terms of employment. Urban renewal was also attempted as a response to flight from the cities: by replacing decaying, run-down blocks/neighborhoods with higher-quality development, it was thought cities could win back residents and jobs which had moved out.

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Barely used?

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Try getting a weekend tee time at either Franklin Park or George Wright. Unless you are a member, you'll have trouble getting a round of 18 in on a weekend.

Both places are packed everytime I'm there, even on the occasional weekday.

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Strengthening the commuter

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Strengthening the commuter transportation system would help with housing. Also the city & businesses should incentivize people to commute during non-peak hours (or even work from home, where applicable.) Many people would prefer to live in the burbs if the commute into the city wasn't hellish. Boston is small. Increasing the area where people are willing to commute from seems like a more attainable goal than building enough housing within city limits to keep up with demand.

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lack of regional planning and authority

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it behooves the commuter towns to play to their existing base, who don't want "more traffic" or "the urban element" and want their property values to keep going up without it affecting anything about their cost of living. all of which contributes to those towns stonewalling any kind of reasonable growth and development, even to the point where they're out of compliance for things like amount of affordable elderly housing, etc, stuff that actively benefits their own populations.

there's no authority in between the small townships and the state itself, so Boston is trying to deal with growth and stuck pretty much on its own, except for some of the towns that are essentially Bostonian (Camberville)

the only real solution is for the state to unilaterally expand the shit out of transit and let the market take care of the NIMBYS in dover, etc, but that's not happening under Baker.

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UMMMM hope they don't try and take the T

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Just what we don't need more people or condos... the transportation can't handle the people who all ready live here.

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no provisions for

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open space to manage density, nor transportation

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Hope all these new residents

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can just walk downstairs or around the block to work BECAUSE THE T SURE AS SHIT AIN'T GETTING THEM THERE!

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No thank you gentrification

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This seems to be a genius idea to everyone single person making over 60,000 a year. This is a complete utter joke. All of these units going up is moving all Boston citizens out. The area median income keeps rising because of the attraction of these new units to non boston folks. How is it a family of four like myself and makes over 60,000 still cant afford the rents they are proposing. This is disgusting. Marty Walsh is suing away from low income and subsidized rents. He's making all of these units attractive to upper income folk. The South End is gentrified, and it's expensive to live there and parking is expensive, only the rich can afford it. Jamaica Plain is turning into the same thing. Its costing over $2,000 to live in Dorchester on Blue Hill Ave. Please someone tell me how that makes sense. There are families out here making less than me having to choose whether they pay the rent for the month or buy groceries to feed their kids. The city isn't for it's own people, I lived in Boston my whole life and it's to the point where, in order to give a family shelter I'd have to move out. The suburbs don't want us minorities and the city definitely does not want us so Marty what do we do. 20% is not enough, but also when you are middle income like myself you jump on these lotteries hoping to get picked and you don't. But if you do you make too much money or too little. I'm torn, we have families of all races going to work every day but just cant afford to live here. Ask yourself, how many people along centre st, Harrison, Traveler, Tremont, Beacon, Albany Street are actual Boston Born Residents. The city is proud of creating 20,000 units but only 20% is for median type folk. This is some nonsense to me. Pretty soon we will be moved out of Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan. By the way I do not have housing assistance and bust my behind to afford the rent here in the South End, but I can no longer afford the disgusting prices of rent here nor the dogs, and the snobby people that embraces a damn dog before they do a child. I'm fed up

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Amen

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I felt that in my soul. I'm in the same position. It is so sick. To survive in this city you have to be filthy rich or dirt poor. I planned on raising my kids here but soon I'm going to have to move out of the state!

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Suburbs don't want minorities?

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Seriously, you need to get out of the hood more often.Boston does not exist in a vacuum.

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Nooooooooo!

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Maaaty! Stop. Plan a little.

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Time to develop in the less

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Time to develop in the less trendy Boston neighborhoods so affordable housing for working class people will become a reality.

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