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Design a Better Boston Are you disappointed with the state of Boston's current architecture/development? Think you have a better idea? Post it here.

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Old 02-22-2019, 09:40 PM   #101
bakgwailo
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Re: Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030

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Originally Posted by TallIsGood View Post
Houston builds enough housing. Markets work.
Boston isn't Houston - they have (over) 10x the land area, and we already have an order of magnitude higher population density.
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Old 02-23-2019, 02:00 PM   #102
BussesAin'tTrains
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Re: Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030

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Originally Posted by TallIsGood View Post
Houston builds enough housing. Markets work.
Thanks for this complete non-sequitur. As said above, the Boston and Houston metro-areas are not analogous, nor are their housing markets. And not only because of the differential between MA and TX municipal zoning ordinances.
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Old 02-23-2019, 02:09 PM   #103
Proposition Joe
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Re: Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030

I'm pretty tired of people pointing to Houston as some sort of example of a housing market that works because although units may be cheaper there, Houston has definitely not developed in an ideal way. There is too much sprawl and Houston's environmental situation has hit vulnerable people who are stuck in those flood plains that the 'free market' allowed people to build on.

If Boston looked like Houston it would be awful. If you want a vibrant city with cheap housing you need public housing. That means constructing lots of new housing, finding revenue sources to better maintain housing, expanding government owned housing to middle income brackets through social housing, and buying/seizing currently privately owned housing for public use.
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Old 02-23-2019, 03:07 PM   #104
jklo
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Re: Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030

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Originally Posted by BussesAin'tTrains View Post
The displacement problem cannot be waved away and needs a political solution. The out-of-balance demand in the northeast and west coast needs to be corrected as well.
Well, if you aren't going to build, something is going to have to give. And in those situations people with more money tend to win out, even if they are poor themselves.

Short term I think they are going to have to "encourage" higher occupancy utilization of units, even to groups that might not want it and lift/raise whatever limits there are. Is it going to cause problems? Absolutely. But the alternative might be worse.
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Old 02-23-2019, 05:37 PM   #105
BussesAin'tTrains
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Re: Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030

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Well, if you aren't going to build, something is going to have to give. And in those situations people with more money tend to win out, even if they are poor themselves.

Short term I think they are going to have to "encourage" higher occupancy utilization of units, even to groups that might not want it and lift/raise whatever limits there are. Is it going to cause problems? Absolutely. But the alternative might be worse.
Who says we aren't going to build? We are building. A lot. The problem - for now - is that new, market rate construction is not affordable to the median renter or buyer, and thus far, demand is still strong enough that older stock is staying sky-high as well. So the "trickle-down" concept isn't working.

The concern is that if there's a slump in occupancy rates for the new construction, they'll just stop building, and few will benefit from the increased supply in terms of price.

They're building the kind of urban housing that's in demand for the Millennial/Gen Z urbanite (1-2 Br for single/married + childless), but only a small percentage of them can actually afford those units, so many of them are still living in old-stock family-style housing in multi-roommate scenarios.

The elephant in the room for the Boston-metro is that the suburbs are highly resistant to pulling their weight wrt multi-family housing construction. Not without reason either, given the way our school districts are funded as fiefdoms for the property owners. Obviously there are lots of other NIMBY reasons towns don't want more multi-family housing, but protecting their school budget is the biggest. Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville can't (politically, financially, spatially, pick an adverb) absorb all the new housing demand on their own.

Sorry this is a kind of rambling, disconnected post.
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Old 02-24-2019, 05:36 AM   #106
TallIsGood
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Re: Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030

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Originally Posted by BussesAin'tTrains View Post
Thanks for this complete non-sequitur. As said above, the Boston and Houston metro-areas are not analogous, nor are their housing markets. And not only because of the differential between MA and TX municipal zoning ordinances.
This is my point - zoning is one of the reasons and that’s regulatory created restriction.
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Old 02-24-2019, 05:41 AM   #107
TallIsGood
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Re: Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030

We are building but we aren’t building enough. Boston (region wide) has underbuilt for too long. Zoning restrictions, linkage payments, community benefits, union and prevailing wage requirements, low income inclusionary requirements all increase the cost of housing and make the marginal cost of a unit higher. In addition the long regulatory approval process increases the cost of housing production. We impose restrictions and increased costs on housing production and then wonder why we have a problem??
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Old 02-24-2019, 12:01 PM   #108
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Re: Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030

Quote:
Originally Posted by BussesAin'tTrains View Post
Who says we aren't going to build? We are building. A lot. The problem - for now - is that new, market rate construction is not affordable to the median renter or buyer, and thus far, demand is still strong enough that older stock is staying sky-high as well. So the "trickle-down" concept isn't working.

The concern is that if there's a slump in occupancy rates for the new construction, they'll just stop building, and few will benefit from the increased supply in terms of price.
I think there is a contradiction buried in here. You cannot just have a slump in demand for high cost units without a slump in demand for all units. Even with all the market distortions and no matter how much the word “luxury” is bandied about, there is only one housing market. Nobody wants an expensive home, they just want a home and they want to pay the lowest price they can for the features they want.

There is a lower bound on the price of new construction units set by the actual cost of construction. Obviously nobody will build new units at a loss. So the only actual pitfall is to end up with a scenario where the only new units than CAN be built are too expensive for ANYONE in the market. As long as new units are absorbed, then so-called “trickle down” is working. You can’t just say that it isn’t working when it clearly is.

The question was never “will prices fall compared to some point in the past?” The question has always been “are prices lower for everyone than they would be if we didn’t build the new units” which I don’t think anyone thinks is “no.” You are asking too much if you want to get something at one price if someone else is willing to pay more. That’s just never ever ever ever going to happen.
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Old 02-24-2019, 12:05 PM   #109
fattony
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Re: Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030

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Originally Posted by TallIsGood View Post
We are building but we aren’t building enough. Boston (region wide) has underbuilt for too long. Zoning restrictions, linkage payments, community benefits, union and prevailing wage requirements, low income inclusionary requirements all increase the cost of housing and make the marginal cost of a unit higher. In addition the long regulatory approval process increases the cost of housing production. We impose restrictions and increased costs on housing production and then wonder why we have a problem??
This is unquestionably the true source of the high cost of new housing. It is actually expensive to produce. Coupled with the high salaries around here, the restrictions guarantee homes are only produced at the highest price points.
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