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Boston leads nation in gentrification

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis March 5, 2014 08:48 AM

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The Hub is undergoing the most rapid gentrification of any city in the country, a new study by the Cleveland Fed finds.

More than a quarter of all Bostonians now live in formerly low-income neighborhoods that have since been gentrified, many over the bubble years of the early and mid 2000s.

And that number is likely higher now - the study doesn't go past 2007, with prices once again back or having blown past previous peaks in a number of neighborhoods.

I spotted the item on John Ford's Boston Real Estate Blog, which offers an interesting take.

As Ford's blog points out, the study offers up a somewhat controversial assessment, seeming to argue that gentrification isn't all that bad for long-time neighborhood residents.

"A look at the data suggests that gentrification is actually beneficial to the financial health of the original residents," the Cleveland Fed study finds.

Well as long as they can still afford to live there, that is.

Here's an excerpt from the Fed study:

Gentrification is sometimes viewed as a bad thing. People claim that it is detrimental to the original residents of the gentrifying neighborhood. However, a look at the data suggests that gentrification is actually beneficial to the financial health of the original residents. From a financial perspective, it is better to be a resident of a low-price neighborhood that is gentrifying than one that is not. This is true whether residents of the gentrifying neighborhood own homes or do not and whether or not they move out of the neighborhood. This is interesting because one might expect renters to be hurt more by gentrification, and one might also be concerned that people who moved out of the neighborhood did so because they were financially strained.

Boston is also also way ahead of everyone else when it comes to upscaling its neighborhoods.

While more than a quarter of Hub residents live in gentrified neighborhoods, in Washington, No. 2 on the list, it's 19 percent, followed by New York, Tampa and Atlanta at 18 percent.

Seattle? Just 9 percent.

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

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