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Can't afford new construction?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis November 15, 2012 07:01 AM

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If so, you are not alone. New homes, apartments and condos carry a big premium in Greater Boston, and the reason why is not so hard to figure out.

We are now well into years-long housing drought here in the Boston area, with the 1980s the last time builders built big numbers of new homes, condos and apartments.

Basically, that decade saw 30,000 new homes, condos and apartments built each year across the state. Now we are down to maybe a third of that number, if even that.

The decade from 1980 to 1990 saw 331,000 new housing units built across Massachusetts, according to a 2004 report by the UMass Donahue Institute.

That number plunged to just below 150,000 over the 1990s. The only bright spot was the number of new single families, which actually increased even as the overall amount of new housing built shrank dramatically.

Even so, supply did not keep up with demand, with something like 167,000 new single-family households formed compared to the 142,000 new single-family homes that were built in the decade.

Housing construction fell again in the 2000s before tumbling off the cliff altogether the last few years. The number of new housing units has dropped to about 6,000 a year since the Great Recession in the Boston area. Just over 9,000 building permits were issued for the entire state in 2010.

Never fear, though. Gov. Deval Patrick yesterday unveiled a proposal to spur construction of 10,000 new condos and apartments across Massachusetts each year over the next decade. We are not talking about suburban subdivisions, but rather "compact neighborhoods" of condos, apartments and townhouses built next to train stations and office parks.

If your dream is living in a condo overlooking the commuter rail or subway tracks, you are one lucky devil then!

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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