Housing

whighlander

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He just really wanted to patronizingly explain a French-origin term that 100% of the people on this board are already familiar with.
Apparently Not!

The relevance is that there are now and have always been people who want a place in the city just as they may want a place on the beach, in the mountains, etc.

For those people -- we build Millennium Tower and 1 Dalton

For the rest we build things like The Alcott (née Garden Garage Towers) | 35 Lomasney Way | West End anbd other smaller-scale and somewhat cheaper

everybody else == well they get hand-me-downs
 

KentXie

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Etik, no one said building luxury housing won't impact pricing on other segments. What I'm saying is building more luxury housing won't lower prices enough in other housing segments to make them truly "affordable." Sure you can transfer wealthy residents out of affordable housing to luxury housing where they belong by building more luxury housing but the fact remains that the current existing stock of affordable housing, whether it's currently occupied by the income bracket it is geared to or not, is no where near the level it is needed to accommodate the number of residents in the middle to lower class and that's the real problem.

And yes I am aware of your case study of people flipping houses. In fact, I stated the same exact scenario in the past on this forum and it supports my argument that the city, the developers, and landlords are putting too much emphasis on building or converting older housing into luxury housing and not enough on adding more affordable housing to increase supply or just to replace the ones lost.
 
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jklo

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where they belong by building more luxury housing but the fact remains that the current existing stock of affordable housing, whether it's currently occupied by the income bracket it is geared to or not, is no where near the level it is needed to accommodate the number of residents in the middle to lower class and that's the real problem.
Boston's low income population is booming actually. Presumably they are getting a govt subsidy one way or another. If you don't qualify for the subsidy, though...
 

etik

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That's fine, and I don't think we're in any fundamental disagreement here, really the question is one of magnitude. I think if we build enough top-quantile homes to the point where that market is saturated (measured by, for instance, vacancy rates in this segment vs the others), and make some changes to law that encourage more cost-effective development, developers will naturally start to build at lower-priced segments (and in fact we see that with new small-unit or co-op living proposals here). These buildings won't necessarily serve the bottom-most segment, but it seems you'd agree that they'd more readily lower the prices in the existing stock.

Of course, no amount of housing we build will ever serve the needs of our citizens at the tail end of the income distribution, so for these people we need other (government-led) measures. But that's also why I specified a "profit-maximizing" framework for building the housing in the first place - if we don't need to rely on subsidies to build for the middle segments, then we can free up more resources to serve those in need. My main concern is that if we don't address the main reasons why middle-income housing isn't being built in the first place and instead just heavily subsidize them through affordable housing grants, our dollars are being less effective.
 

Rover

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At one point, people will be leaving cities similar to the White Flight seen in the 1950s but instead of racism, it's because only the wealthy few can afford to live in them. Again all these problems lead back to a single misconception: you can't just build luxury housing and think that it will push housing prices down to affordable, you have to increase supply at all price levels. Housing is not a homogeneous market.
So what you're saying is the old Yogi Bera-ism: "nobody goes there anymore. its too crowded" :D

Isn't your premise based on the notion that there's not enough people of means to afford the higher housing prices? As Boston's population growth seems to indicate, there's plenty of residents who can afford to pay the toll. Whether you personally approve of that or not is your choice, but it seems only a killer recession, even worse than the last one, would cause your prediction to come true.
 

Johnnyrocket891

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There is no such thing as luxury housing vs middle class affordable housing. It's all supply & demand. It's housing stock
Here is a partial list that has created the overall bubble demand and housing spikes.
#1 Universities since the 70-80's have been buying Boston housing stock for the last 4 decades but never really replaced or resold those houses to flip in the overall markets
#2 Since 2008 banking liquidity crisis, developers have been very cautious only to build condos towards the International groups with money
#3 Overall costs and restrictions in building anywhere in and around Boston is very costly also can require big capital to offset risk.
#4 Interest rates (low interest rates) Record low rates for 12 years now.
(low Interest rates-- -Increase assets values)
(high Interest rates --- decrease asset values)
#5 Factor in this list along with the subsidizing low income housing you just forced out all the working class families out of the area & there communities.

Also factor in the Universities don't pay property taxes which is putting the cities in tough spot concerning their own public works and maintaining the city services.
It's going to be interesting to watch Boston evolve in the future. There will be extreme income inequality Mass. Very Rich vs very Poor.
 
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Rover

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I think you left something out which is most important. Boston population 1980: 563K. Boston population 2020: >700K

A full 150 thousand more people live in the city vs 40 years ago, a whopping 26% increase. A bubble would be price increases with nothing to justify the increase. As Boston isn't adding more land, this is the crux of the problem.
 

Johnnyrocket891

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I think you left something out which is most important. Boston population 1980: 563K. Boston population 2020: >700K

A full 150 thousand more people live in the city vs 40 years ago, a whopping 26% increase. A bubble would be price increases with nothing to justify the increase. As Boston isn't adding more land, this is the crux of the problem.
Expansion of the Transit to outer boundaries of all East, North, West, South is the only solution that will create a balanced environment for all income inequality groups.
Along with possibility solving the traffic congestion issues that are a major problem throughout the state.
 

Rover

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Expansion of the Transit to outer boundaries of all East, North, West, South is the only solution that will create a balanced environment for all income inequality groups.
Along with possibility solving the traffic congestion issues that are a major problem throughout the state.
I agree except for expanding transit east since that's the Atlantic Ocean which I'm going to need to see more details on. ;) One thing I will say is that places like Brockton, Plymouth, Taunton, Worcester and Attleboro aren't that expensive relative to Boston and are for the most part on transit so people of less means do have some options.
 

KentXie

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There is no such thing as luxury housing vs middle class affordable housing. It's all supply & demand. It's housing stock
Here is a partial list that has created the overall bubble demand and housing spikes.
#1 Universities since the 70-80's have been buying Boston housing stock for the last 4 decades but never really replaced or resold those houses to flip in the overall markets
#2 Since 2008 banking liquidity crisis, developers have been very cautious only to build condos towards the International groups with money
#3 Overall costs and restrictions in building anywhere in and around Boston is very costly also can require big capital to offset risk.
#4 Interest rates (low interest rates) Record low rates for 12 years now.
(low Interest rates-- -Increase assets values)
(high Interest rates --- decrease asset values)
#5 Factor in this list along with the subsidizing low income housing you just forced out all the working class families out of the area & there communities.

Also factor in the Universities don't pay property taxes which is putting the cities in tough spot concerning their own public works and maintaining the city services.
It's going to be interesting to watch Boston evolve in the future. There will be extreme income inequality Mass. Very Rich vs very Poor.
Saying there isn't a difference between luxury housing and middle class affordable housing is saying a mansion is the same as a studio apartment. Why do developers build micro units geared towards people with income under 75k? Why developers build different size houses if they are all the same? I'm sure wealthy families, if no luxury houses are available and the only thing available is an apartment in the projects, would rent it, since housing is housing.

If you can't recognize that there are different types of housing, then I bet you think a Maserati is no different than a Toyota Camry and in that case, theres no point to debate with you.
 

Johnnyrocket891

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Saying there isn't a difference between luxury housing and middle class affordable housing is saying a mansion is the same as a studio apartment. Why do developers build micro units geared towards people with income under 75k? Why developers build different size houses if they are all the same? I'm sure wealthy families, if no luxury houses are available and the only thing available is an apartment in the projects, would rent it, since housing is housing.

If you can't recognize that there are different types of housing, then I bet you think a Maserati is no different than a Toyota Camry and in that case, theres no point to debate with you.
Then how do you explain old 2-3 multi-unit houses that used to house section 8 tenants across the city in Cambridge, somerville, malden, everett, Charlestown, Medford, Jamaica plain, Chelsea originally built for low income families now costs millions of dollars to purchase ?

what’s the difference there? Those multi units now are considered luxury But they used to be considered low income housing. So which is it luxury or low income housing? It’s like the car manufacturer bought an old Subaru and cleaned it up and sold it for a Ferrari price? So this explains your comment up above concerning the difference between the camry vs Maserati. It was always a supply issue which did not get addressed till too late. There are people buying the camrys cleaned up paying the Maserati prices because of the supply issue. The multi-units are the camrys.

its called supply and demand in housing.
factor in low interest rates (which the poor nor middle class never prospered from)
universities buying binge- which ate up the supply
surge In population growth/especially the target of rich international elite to purchase the Luxury condos in the city.
cities/towns tight zoning and regulations process Which creates risk to develop housing.

its tough to debate somebody who doesn’t understand the logistics, history, politics, along with market forces that has created such a massive income inequality situation around the so called blue collared city of Boston.
 
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George_Apley

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For context: the copied posts are originally here in the Alcott thread. Sorry if this disrupts the reading flow of this thread.
 

odurandina

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Etik, no one said building luxury housing won't impact pricing on other segments. What I'm saying is building more luxury housing won't lower prices enough in other housing segments to make them truly "affordable."

i think it might. i strongly subscribe to the trickle down theory. Also, students might bunch up and pool their resources to live in those nicer units. Eventually, a landlord will rent a unit at what the market will bear--as opposed to allowing it to stay vacant indefinitely. Capitalism suggests, at least in theory--a path for the upper-middle priced markets, then middle-priced markets and so on to soften up, eventually creating vacancies for the lowest priced units.


Message from BPDA Director Golden:

 

odurandina

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[excerpted fragment from long article]
I’ve had a nagging kind of worry about the Boston area for a while now. I’d fret as I sat through the third light cycle at what had been a flow-through intersection just 10 years earlier. Or when a friend, a software engineer married to a doctor, told me their rent was rising so much faster than their salaries that they were getting priced out of town. Or when I drove by Alan Dershowitz’s former house — he’d sold it for about $3.4 million in 2013, Cambridge’s priciest sale that year — and saw construction equipment hacking it to pieces. A $3.4 million teardown!

My worry: What if Boston is turning into San Francisco? I lived in San Francisco through the bubble years, working at Wired magazine back when it was a startup on a low-rent block south of Market Street. After leaving in 2003, I kept in touch with friends committed to sticking it out, listening to their tales of clogged streets and rocketing rents. Wired once promised the digital revolution would be “whipping through our lives like a Bengali typhoon,” and it was right. Only it changed the Bay Area in ways that Silicon Valley’s digital dreamers never envisioned. And now it could be happening here.

contd

Jessie Scanlon is a writer in Cambridge. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.


i also wanted to post another thread or within this thread (i think we could have as a side discussion here/
moderator input is welcome).

SF's neighborhood architecture sucks imo (leaving much to be desired for a long time).

Is Boston's construction becoming boring, dull and predictable--
like, when a new site is unveiled,
we already know something squat, dull and featureless will ultimately be built there?
Are we running low on exciting places to build transformational architecture?
examples that inspire dread that the next soulless garbage is coming soon:

Hurley Bldg

1 Merrimack St
Midtown Hotel site
O'Neill Bldg (low section or entire bldg)
JFK Fed (low park development)
1-2-3 Center Plaza
1 Bromfield St
Sheraton Towers
Hines Convention Center

2 Charlesgate W
1000 Boylston St
1065-80 Boylston St
601 Newbury St
any site in the West End near Charles River Park
or Beacon Hill
Any site not called Copley Tower, Winthrop Square or 1 Dalton St
Anywhere along Mass Ave, Huntington Ave, Brookline Ave, Boylston St, Beacon St, Tremont St,
Harrison Ave, Albany St, Melnea Cass, Washington St, Ruggle St or Rutherford Ave,
Anything owned by a college or Boston Housing Authority

East Boston
Charlestown
South Boston
Dorchester

Mission Hill
Fenway
Roxbury
 
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DZH22

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Paywalled out from seeing the article.
Use a separate browser that you don't mind clearing the history out of each time you want to read another article. (ie read the Globe on the same browser you use to look at porn) Problem solved!
 

Johnnyrocket891

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Boston ranks #1 in the United States for traffic congestion, then currently ranks 8th in the world.
Wow, and we have the most educated population in the world in Boston. How about solving the traffic problem.
 

HenryAlan

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Thanks -- I thought the browser I was using did that each time I exited, but apparently not.
 

fattony

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SF turned a corner when it became the cool kid outpost for Silicon Valley. Let's say that started 15-ish years ago and accelerated right through Salesforce opening a new tallest/biggest office tower for the city. The Bay Area economy was once as diverse as Greater Boston's, with some tech mixed in with medical, education, finance, and more. Those other sectors haven't died, but tech now dominates and tech salaries dominate those other industries' salaries. Doctors and fund managers obvious make bank, but they get averaged down by many, many more middle-class roles like nurses and analysts. Median salary at Facebook in 2017 was $240k and at Google was $200k. Salesforce has the shiny new tower full of people with a median of $155k. Those are median - so half of the employees make more - and many of those people have a spouse with a second big salary too.

It's great for Boston to get more big tech jobs, but we are nowhere near having as large a percentage of our economy in tech as SF. Meds and eds aren't going anywhere. We have biotech and pharma, but they don't pay like FAANG companies and they aren't growing as fast either. That is our protection from becoming SF - while they are drinking from a fire hose of loose money, we are merely getting the garden hose.
 

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