RadioBDC Logo
Seven Nation Army | The White Stripes Listen Live
< Back to front page Text size +

Boston's Faux Housing Boom

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis July 7, 2014 07:18 AM

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

We keep hearing about all the new housing that's being built. And yes, there are lots of cranes putting up luxury condo and apartment towers in downtown Boston.

But sorry, that's not a true housing boom - at least when it comes to building the kind of homes that would lower rents and prices for everyone, including Greater Boston's
increasingly strapped middle class.

The Hub is nowhere close to meeting former Mayor Thomas M. Menino's goal of 30,000 new housing units by 2020, I find in my weekly Banker & Tradesman column. (Menino rolled out his grand plan in the spring of 2013, a sort of last hurrah during his final year in office.)

No arbitrary number, the 30,000 was drawn from various studies that have calculated the city's housing needs over the coming years. And that's just to keep pace with current demand, let alone put a dent in prices and rents.

But so far, reality is seriously lagging the hype.

Boston is track to see construction start on 3,200 new residential units this year, many of them deluxe units downtown.

Sure, sounds big. But at that pace, it could take a decade to get that 30,000 number.

Marty Walsh, Boston's new mayor, will have a chance to set his own goals when he unveils his own housing plan later this month.

Walsh's plan is likely to look farther out, say 2030, and set the bar higher when it comes to the number of new condos and apartments needed. Expect a couple of numbers, one just to keep pace, and another to soften the market a bit.

Finally, there will surely be more emphasis on spurring builders to develop more middle class housing in Boston's neighborhoods, as opposed to more extravagantly-priced downtown condos.

Fine sentiments indeed. But actually making it happen is going to be the real challenge. After all, if politicians could conjure up new town homes and condos simply by spouting off on the need for more housing, we wouldn't be in the mess we are in right now.

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

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

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

Latest interest rates

RE by the Numbers
South Shore Market Rankings - January 2016
Today we once again check in with towns and neighborhoods South of Boston and rank their real estate markets. As always we are looking at...