Six Fast Facts About Boston's Affordable Housing Crisis
Affordable housing is one of greater Boston's most vexing problems. Hear more about it, and what maybe can be done, from the experts at our Affordable Housing event at The Ritz-Carlton Boston on Sept. 28. Until then, here are six facts about the affordable housing situation.
MA Is A High-Cost State For Housing
It now takes an annual household income of $100k/year to comfortably afford Boston’s median monthly rent of $2,497/month. Median household income in the state is closer to $80k/year, and even a 1,200 SF rental unit would, on average, take more than 40% of median household income.
MA Is A High-Cost State For Residential Development
Of the average $274/SF cost of urban residential projects in Massachusetts, $159/SF is devoted to construction, or 58% of total development costs. Land acquisition is the second-biggest cost component, at nearly $41/SF. For a 2k SF unit, the cost of urban land is now close to $66k.
Many Full-Time Workers In Boston Are Low Income
A quarter of the city's fully employed workers and just under half of all labor force participants earn less than $35k/year. The median wage of Boston residents, $35,273, has remained roughly the same (in real terms) for nearly three decades. Housing costs have not remained the same.
Source: Boston Redevelopment Authority
Boston's No. 1 In Income Inequality
When the income of the top 5% of households is compared with the income of the bottom 20%, the city of Boston has the largest disparity in the nation, with the top 5% making 17.8 times as much on average as the bottom 20% (about $266k/year vs. $15k/year). Greater Boston came in at No. 6 in income inequality among metro areas.
Source: Brookings Institute
Are Micro-Units Part Of The Answer?
A prototype Uhu (Urban Housing Unit) has been designed in a collaborative effort by the Mayor’s Housing and Innovation Lab, the Boston Society of Architects and housing developer Live Light. It is small indeed: 385 SF. Currently, most of Boston has zoning in place that doesn't allow units that small.
Source: Next City
Or Will The 2030 Plan Help Fix The Problem?
The stated goals of the 2030 Plan are these: produce 53,000 new units of housing in the next decade and a half, to accommodate the projected 20% growth in Boston’s households, generate $21B in new development, and create 51,000 construction jobs through 2030.
Source: The City of Boston
Our Affordable Housing event begins at 7:30am on Sept. 28 at The Ritz-Carlton Boston. Sign up here.