Greater Boston Scores Low Marks On Housing Report Card

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BOSTON (State House News Service) — Massachusetts is on pace to meet a modest housing production goal Gov. Charlie Baker set in 2017, but most other measures of the market paint a harrowing picture of strain, inequity and displacement, experts concluded in a sweeping new report.

The latest annual Greater Boston Housing Report Card found that the region's vacancy rates the share of homes available for rent or purchase at any given time — is among the lowest in American major metropolitan areas and well below the benchmark that defines a "healthy" market.

As a result, apartments and houses that do become available sell or rent for record prices. Researchers with The Boston Foundation found about 45 percent of renters in the greater Boston area are cost-burdened, meaning they pay more than 30 percent of their monthly income on housing, and nearly one in four pay more than half their monthly income on housing.

Slow production of new units continues to drive up prices. The report found statewide permitting just narrowly exceeds the pace needed to meet the Baker administration's goal of building 135,000 new units statewide by 2025, but is barely half of the goal the Metro Mayors Coalition set to build 185,000 new units in their 15 municipalities by 2030.

"The report as a whole tells a concerning and all-too-familiar story of high prices, low vacancy rates, and systems that make it difficult and often impossible for people, especially families of color, to navigate the complex rules and application requirements for subsidized housing," Boston Foundation President and CEO M. Lee Pelton said in a statement alongside the report. "As a result, thousands of families struggle not just with the lack of availability, but with a fragmented process that defies any goals of equity and diversity." 

Written by Chris Lisinski, SHNS

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