- Jan 28, 2013
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I don't have data to support this, but I suspect the exact opposite is true. I suspect that people making high incomes make up the vast majority of population growth in metro Boston, especially downtown.Here's a good counter argument. The number of people who make 50-99k are growing at a faster rate than those making above that; however housing stock that serves those making 99k+ are increasing while those serving those who make less than that is either stagnant or even decreasing as many of those older housing stock are being upgraded to luxury housing. Restricting luxury development may not be the answer, but affordable housing should be the main focus, not luxury and unfortunately market forces aren't going to compel developers to build more affordable housing. You need the government for that.
Also, I can't believe this needs to be said, but there is no such thing as "housing stock that serves" people at any particular income level. Houses are fungible.
I live in a house built in 1910 in what was a blue collar town. The first residents of the house were probably factory workers and the vast majority over the years have probably been school teachers and auto mechanics. What is the neighborhood like today? I'm an engineer, my upstairs neighbor is an economist, and 2 doors down is a software entrepreneur and a surgeon. The housing stock doesn't pick its residents, the residents pick the housing stock.
In a marketplace, if you have a widget to sell, you sell it to the highest bidder. That is the way the world works. There are more people with more money who want to live in Boston. Each home sale is a little auction in which the highest bidder wins. Every year there is someone willing to fork over just a little more cash than the next guy to live in a house built for factory workers.
Without government subsidy to make the deal worthwhile, you can't force a developer to sell a new home to someone other than the highest bidder. That's all there is to this. It really is that simple.
If your position is that government should do more to subsidize housing then I agree! That is a tactic that can and likely will work.
Stopping building new homes because you are angry that there are so many people with so much more money than you is not going to get you your desired result.