Brief comment on an article in yesterday’s Globe.

The gist of the story was that Allston was becoming more dense, because a lot of single-family homes are being torn down and replaced with multi-family homes.

The reporter provided a couple real examples, but I found it hard to believe that this sort of thing is widespread. (Data is hard to collect and verify.) She says that over the past decade, she found evidence that four homes have been torn down with two- or three-family homes taking their place.

My guess is that the homes being torn down were run-down or on lots so large (10,000-20,000 square feet – half an acre) that it made more sense to replace them with multiple units.

Sure, I can see why this is not preferable. Neighborhoods made up of single-family homes are appealing.

But, with changing demographics, can we expect anything else?

As the reporter notes:

The number of families, on the other hand, is shrinking because of the rising cost of housing or a desire for better schools.

I think it’s more reason #2 than reason #1.

Is it any news that people are moving to the suburbs?

The number of children enrolled in the Boston public school system as dropped from 65,000 to 56,000 over the past decade (you’ll have to trust me on this one, I don’t have the time to find a source).

There is certainly evidence that many new arrivals to the city are enrolling their children in pre-school and public schools, but whether or not this will have any noticeable difference is an open question. I doubt that the children will end up at a Boston high school, however. Parochial and private schools seem to be more logical.

Allston and Brighton have always been popular places for apartments, obviously. Lately, for condos, which I see as a benefit (and not just out of self-interests). Adding lower-priced home alternatives to the mix is great for our city.

I think the homes that are being sold are by old people who are downsizing or dying. No one was going to come in, anyway, to buy them.

(The Census Bureau reported in 2000 that Allston (02134) housing was 87% renters and 13% owner-occupied and Brighton (02135) housing was 76% renters and 24% owner-occupied. No 2006 numbers available, but my guess is, we have more owner-occupants now than we did just six years earlier.) (I checked twice – I would’ve thought Brighton had more renters than Allston, but I guess not.)

Best and greatest use, right?

Source As condos squeeze in, space is not all that’s lost – By Andreae Downs, The Boston Globe

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