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Where Middle Class Buyers are Priced Out

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis June 9, 2014 07:50 AM

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Most of Boston is now off-limits for middle-class buyers, with just five neighborhoods still affordable to teachers, firefighters and construction workers.

Check out this nifty Globe chart, which very clearly lays out the dilemma facing middle class families in Boston as prices rise across the city, not just in downtown. It looks at the percentage of homes sold over the past year that were affordable to someone taking home the city's median salary of $80,000 a year.

Yes, we all know you won't get far trying to buy a home in the Back Bay, Beacon Hill or the South End if you are making less than six figures.

In Back Bay, the percentage of homes sold over the past year that were affordable to middle income buyers was a big fat zero. On Beacon Hill and in downtown Boston it was 1.7 percent, while the South End (2.9 percent) and in Charlestown (3.3 percent) weren't much better.

And it doesn't get much better in the Fenway (2.3 percent) or in South Boston (4.7 percent), neighborhoods that have undergone rapid gentrification over the past couple decades. And let's not forget Jamaica Plain,15.2 percent.

But even traditionally middle-class and working class Hub neighborhoods are also increasingly off-limits.

Just 27.5 percent of the homes sold in Allston-Brighton were affordable, while that number rose just a bit to 30 percent in West Roxbury. Even in Roslindale, less than half of what was sold was affordable to Joe or Suzie median (45.8 percent).

In fact, there are just five neighborhoods where the majority of homes are still affordable for middle-class buyers: East Boston 67.6 percent; Hyde Park, 64.1 percent; Mattapan, 72.1 percent; Dorchester, 62.5 percent; and Roxbury, 64.8 percent.

Mayor Marty Walsh is looking at various incentives to spur construction of middle-class housing, but has pretty much given up on the upscale downtown neighborhoods.

I guess it's a bit like throwing good money after bad at this point to be pushing affordable housing downtown - the Back Bay and Beacon Hill are pretty much playgrounds for the rich at this point.

What's your take?



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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