Well, “roughly”, if you mean 20% less than the median income.

Andreae Downs wrote an article that appeared in yesterday’s Boston Globe. She profiled a married couple who were looking to buy a single-family home, but couldn’t find anything suitable, in their price range ($200,000 – $250,000).

The couple, according to the reporter, “could be a poster family for the ‘Housing Report Card’ … issued last fall, which concluded that few families making the area median income in 2004 could afford the median-priced home”.

Except, they don’t make the median income. They make 80% of the median income.

Between them they earn about $60,000. The federally calculated median income for a family of three in Greater Boston in 2006 was $75,659.

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My point being, you’d have to go back seven years, into the last millennium, in order to find the time that the median single-family sales price was $200,000, or less. (And, interest rates were higher, and incomes lower, then, too.)

Which was well before this “housing bubble” ever started.

It’s impractical to think they could buy a single-family home. Those who think that is possible probably still read the paper version of the Boston Globe (exactly).

I know, however, that they could find a nice condo for $200,000 – $225,000, in East Boston – I’ve seen them. I’ve also seen them in Dorchester, at $239,000 (floor-throughs, 1000 square feet), near JFK/UMASS (really near JFK/UMASS). I’ve seen them in Chelsea. A nice part of Chelsea.

It very well may be a dream deferred. In fact, it may be a dream unfulfilled, I’m sorry to say. There will always be those who have to rent, unfortunately.

Actually, that raises a good point.

Where are they able to RENT an apartment for $1,200? What kind of shape is it in?

(The story also discusses housing lotteries. In one lottery, six hundred people vied for one of six homes. Does this seem like a realistic way to solve a “housing crisis”? Or, even, a worthwhile endeavor?)

I don’t think the Globe does a service to anyone to use this couple as an example.

If they want to have a serious discussion about the state of the real estate market and the high cost of housing in Massachusetts, I’m available.

Full story: Housing dreams deferred – By Andreae Downs, The Boston Globe

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