Housing

George_Apley

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For all the concerns and complains from landlords and their sympathizers about the harm that would be caused by proposed municipal regulations, the high prices give them enormous power in the leaser/lessee relationship. It encourages people who have no experience or skills with managing property to play at landlord as a source of supplementary income. High costs also discourages tenants from seeking out new housing if their in a bad situation (sunk-cost, "just stick it out till the lease is up"), which plays into bad landlords' hands ("I can avoid managerial responsibilities and continue to collect payment because my tenants are reluctant to leave").
 

DAVE

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If public transportation displaces the poor and drives up rents then why wasn’t the inner cities of Boston and Cambridge gentrified in the 70’s thru 90’s. Roxbury crossing, Chinatown, Kendal square, porter square, Davis square, maverick station. There was no real interest living in these areas with public transit back then rents were reasonable.

An expansion of Public transportation would seem to have the opposite effect it actually helps with progression for the classes creates a balance for effective transportation for those who choose not to invest in automobiles

While not specific to Boston/cambridge, I think we should note that gentrification was happening due to macro-level trends in the 70s:
 

stick n move

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“Newton takes a step to solve housing crisis”

“Try to imagine the perfect spot to add housing in Greater Boston and it would be hard to dream up anyplace better than Newton’s Washington Street corridor. It’s rich with amenities, including a grocery store, drug stores, and even one of the region’s few remaining neighborhood movie theaters. It’s ripe not just for growth, but also for the most sustainable kind of growth: Located right next to two commuter rail stations, and served by MBTA buses, the area will ideally accommodate transit-oriented development that aims to minimize traffic and pollution.”

“The council voted to advance a plan that would allow buildings of up to 6 stories tall, encourage mixed-use spaces, and foster vibrancy (with, for instance, narrow storefronts and outdoor patios). It urges more affordable housing reserved for low-income residents, though without setting a specific goal. The vision the council endorsed also foresees redesigning the streets in the area to make them friendlier to pedestrians and cyclists. Right now, parking lots and low-rise buildings squander the corridor’s potential, and sidewalks are often narrow and forlorn.....”
Globe link
 

Johnnyrocket891

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Public Transportation was not the main driver that has driven up the cost of housing in Boston. The Universities land grab and low interest rates are the main drivers to why housing is out of the reach for the local communities.
MBTA is a positive factor but was not the main driver for the cost of housing to explode in Boston.
 

George_Apley

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University land grabs as a primary cause? Huh? Try zoning artificially restricting the housing supply for decades. And the consolidation of regional business in Boston led by high-tech in Kendall. Coupled with the endless supply of educated graduates for these businesses to recruit to high-paying jobs. That spurs the climate in which Boston's housing market is not only very strong (too strong), but also very resilient.
 

Johnnyrocket891

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Look at how much land BU, TUFTS, MIT, HARVARD, EMERSON, SUFFOLK, BC have accumulated over the last decade? Should I go on?
Commonwealth Ave is owned by BU & BC.
Cambridge is owned by MIT and Harvard.
Tufts owns like 20+ Two family houses in Medford around its campus.

MBTA works well with the Universities because most students barely can afford housing never-mind a automobile.

If the MBTA was driving out the poor then why was Roxbury Crossing such a troubled area for so long?
 

whittle

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Look at how much land BU, TUFTS, MIT, HARVARD, EMERSON, SUFFOLK, BC have accumulated over the last decade? Should I go on?
Where is this abundance of residential land universities have bought up over the past decade?

And how would you explain the explosion in housing prices in cities without such a strong presence of major universities?
 

Johnnyrocket891

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Where is this abundance of residential land universities have bought up over the past decade?

And how would you explain the explosion in housing prices in cities without such a strong presence of major universities?
There is a big difference between most of the US cities versus the rise of Boston area real estate prices.
Those Universities I mentioned own a ton of housing in around there campus area. Do you think Commonwealth Ave started out as a Boston University Campus?


And how would you explain the explosion in housing prices in cities without such a strong presence of major universities?
(Low Interest rates) Inflation--- since 2008 Not being properly recorded by GVT agencies.
The Federal Reserve our Federal Govt are now talking negative interest rates. Who would buy a negative yielding bonds if the economy is doing so good?
 
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George_Apley

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I'm struggling with your assessment that this has all happened over the last decade, rather than over the last several. What properties have the universities actually bought up since 2010? I'm genuinely curious.
 

Johnnyrocket891

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The university land grab has happened over the last 3-4 decades which has forced real estate values to skyrocket in other towns. Remember once the property is sold to a University it usually never comes back to the market. The supply gets gobbled up to never see the market again.

Now factor low interest rates for a decade which is creating a bubble on all assets.

The MBTA railroad did not create a housing bubble in Boston it’s the Universities and low interest rates that created the bubble. The Universities are just well situated to happen to be located near transit,

The solution is to innovate and build rapid transit throughout Mass. It will help solve both housing affordability and transit issues.
 

KentXie

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I would argue that Greater Boston, being segmented into so many little towns and cities with only a few of them willing to contribute to solving the housing problem, plays a huge role as to why Boston is so unaffordable. Instead of having one government entity enforcing one standardize policy to increase the number of housing, you have a bunch of entities playing a game of who blinks first.

Having just migrated to Los Angeles and currently looking for a studio, I'm astounded by the number of studios below $1,600/mo that constantly advertises remodeled apartment with new stainless steel appliances (microwave, stove, refrigerator) flooring, countertops, etc, some offering to cover utilities while some are offering the first month free. This at a city who's median one bedroom apartment is on par with Boston. In Boston, at $1600/mo, the only results I get are a bunch of outdated studio apartment, still dirty and musty from the previous tenant, and appliances that are at least 10 years old. None of the landlords in Boston had any incentive to update their properties because they know they can charge a high rent without it and the only time I see any rentals being offered with the first month free are those that charge north of $2000/mo.

Had Los Angeles been broken up into several town and cities with housing policies constrained at each city/town boundaries, I bet it would have ended up just like Boston. Beverley Hill residents are already fighting against having public transit run through their neighborhood. Maybe it's high time for a movement start to calling for consolidation of the neighboring towns and cities into Boston.

Also can we all agree that a broker fee is an absolute scam? A full months rent for showing me a few apartments? LA does it right by posting the landlord/housing management phone number on a sign in front of their property so you can skip the middleman and save yourself a whole month's rent.
 
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George_Apley

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I would argue that Greater Boston, being segmented into so many little towns and cities with only a few of them willing to contribute to solving the housing problem, plays a huge role as to why Boston is so unaffordable. Instead of having one government entity enforcing one standardize policy to increase the number of housing, you have a bunch of entities playing a game of who blinks first.

Having just migrated to Los Angeles and currently looking for a studio, I'm astounded by the number of studios below $1,600/mo that constantly advertises remodeled apartment with new stainless steel appliances (microwave, stove, refrigerator) flooring, countertops, etc, some offering to cover utilities while some are offering the first month free. This at a city who's median one bedroom apartment is on par with Boston. In Boston, at $1600/mo, the only results I get are a bunch of outdated studio apartment, still dirty and musty from the previous tenant, and appliances that are at least 10 years old. None of the landlords in Boston had any incentive to update their properties because they know they can charge a high rent without it and the only time I see any rentals being offered with the first month free are those that charge north of $2000/mo.

Had Los Angeles been broken up into several town and cities with housing policies constrained at each city/town boundaries, I bet it would have ended up just like Boston. Beverley Hill residents are already fighting against having public transit run through their neighborhood. Maybe it's high time for a movement start to calling for consolidation of the neighboring towns and cities into Boston.

Also can we all agree that a broker fee is an absolute scam? A full months rent for showing me a few apartments? LA does it right by posting the landlord/housing management phone number on a sign in front of their property so you can skip the middleman and save yourself a whole month's rent.
You're definitely correct that New England's hyper-local governance exacerbates our housing and infrastructure problems. It's not a problem that's going to be solved, though. Municipal government is sacrosanct in New England and has been since the colonial era. Maybe in the long-term we can hope for county reforms and devolve some state functions and pull some municipal functions to county level, or hope for the state government to put more requirements on municipalities for housing and infrastructure goals. The politics of either of those would be very toxic for state legislators, and our state legislature is institutionally very (small-c) conservative and unwilling to risk the ire of local pols and their constituents.
 

Johnnyrocket891

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Boston does not have the proper infrastructure in place to become a NYC or a Super City.
Boston has the Universities (Top talent of innovators) and this is why these corporations have positioned there headquarters or have a significant presence near the schools.

That is Boston bubble (University sector) The land grab over the last 25 Years never properly replaced the supply.
Then factor in low interest rates since 2008.
 
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KentXie

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Johnnyrocket891

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Joe Kriesberg, president and CEO for the Mass. Association of Community Development Corporations, and his take on how to solve the housing crisis:

"Our boom-and-bust housing cycle will likely continue, with lower-income families bearing the brunt of the pain at each point along the way. "
Who do you think is buying at these levels in the first place?

"Gentrification and displacement will accelerate; "
It already has. The communities are long gone.

"The housing affordability gap is likely to grow"
It's not like the lower income families had access to loans after the 2008 banking crisis. The hedge funds took out the loans and started to buy in Cambridge and Sommerville.

"Housing segregation will persist with dozens of cities and towns in Greater Boston remaining almost exclusively white"
I always looked at Greater Boston and the Suburbs as one of the major cities that has Globalized concerning overall races and religions. There is nothing you can say about people that built a strong foundation on where everybody wants to raise a family based on there values in the past. Housing affordability is not there problem. Low interest rates along with the Universities real estate portfolios took advantage of Boston creating the affordability issue.
 

bakgwailo

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"Housing segregation will persist with dozens of cities and towns in Greater Boston remaining almost exclusively white"
I always looked at Greater Boston and the Suburbs as one of the major cities that has Globalized concerning overall races and religions. There is nothing you can say about people that built a strong foundation on where everybody wants to raise a family based on there values in the past. Housing affordability is not there problem. Low interest rates along with the Universities real estate portfolios took advantage of Boston creating the affordability issue.
Universities maybe part of the problem, but, they aren't nearly a big contributor to our housing shortage and gentrification.
 

odurandina

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Victim of our own success: How bad is it? Does anyone know? i read some of Dukakis' think tank study a couple of years ago, putting down numbers. (Are they doing annual reports)?
If i were to attempt (a very poor guess)--i'd estimate the State is between 20 and 45 years behind on transit development, and greater Boston having a deficit of 40~65,000 affordable housing units.
It will be bad for decades.
Are the number like near that? worse?

Globe story just out:
 

Johnnyrocket891

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This proves my point. Boston real estate values should not even come close to NYC comparing since the city transit system is much more robust.

Mass-MBTA has not really made any real major upgrades to their system.

There is definitely value to have accessible transit but it doesn’t determine that all areas with transit will drive property values through the roof. I think the opposite would happen with expansion throughout the state it could help balance out the overall equilibrium of overall rents

Also lower interest rates continue to plaque the local economies as they continue to keep housing very inflated. If the economy is so great why does the Fed continue to lower interest rates?
 
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