Starter homes needed: Report calls for building 20,000 in 5 years – By Scott Van Voorhis, The Boston Herald

A panel of academics, business leaders and activists is preparing to release a report later this month calling for the construction of 20,000 modestly priced homes over the next five years.

The new homes, which would range in price from more than $250,000 to $400,000, are needed to fill in a crucial gap in the state’s real estate market, executives and activists say. Groups involved include the Commonwealth Housing Task Force and the Massachusetts Association of Realtors.

To help spur construction of middle-market homes, the group is considering incentives. The carrots range from state money for towns that open up their doors to starter homes, to raising the income limits to allow more middle-class homebuyers to tap low-cost, government-backed mortgage financing …

Sounds like a laudable goal.

But, I have to point out something: There are starter homes available. They’re called used or old homes.

When you were sixteen, did you get a brand new car? Most likely, not. You got a used Pinto. That’s because it was all you could afford.

Same story with housing, right? I don’t quite get the concept of building “starter homes”. I’m not trying to be all trickle-down theory, here, but doesn’t a rising tide lift all boats?

So, if we increase the number of larger and luxurious (more expensive) homes, wouldn’t that increase the supply of lower-priced homes, as well?

Or, perhaps we need to put the idea of a single-family “starter home” to rest. Maybe condos are here to stay.

Also, if there was a pressing need for this type of housing, wouldn’t developers jump on it?

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Updated: 1st Quarter 2018

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