Housing affordability is a universal and complex topic. So is the global pandemic we’re all navigating. Downtown Boston and in particular the Boston suburbs have a housing inventory shortage that hasn’t helped to house affordability over the past year, nor has it shown any signs so far of slowing. When it comes to buying a Boston downtown condo, how should prospective buyers wade these troubled waters?
First and foremost, let’s educate ourselves. How is affordability calculated, and how does it affect the average buyer? What are the primary forces influencing the market right now? The more you understand about the Portland real estate market, the more you’ll be able to cash in on the most affordable home for you.
Using Best Place’s data for the cost of living, we found the following information:
Overall Boston, Massachusetts receives a 3-star rating
As of 2021 Boston’s Population:
+11.0% since 2010
Boston Unemployment Rate is doing well (if these numbers are correct)
Boston Median Income
Boston Median Home Price
Boston Median Age
Even during the economic expansion from 2009 to early 2020, Greater Boston didn’t build enough homes to keep up with demand. Meanwhile, housing prices increased 53% during this period, far outpacing household income growth.
But high housing costs and inadequate supply are not natural outcomes of market forces; they are the result of policy choices. Too many of the cities and towns in the Boston area and places like it have used zoning and other regulations to limit new housing development, especially of small, moderately priced homes.
Overly restrictive zoning by Boston’s suburbs creates three problems for the region. First, high housing costs impede the regional labor market, making it harder for employers to hire and retain workers. Second, limiting housing development near job centers and public transit leads more workers to undertake long-distance solo car commutes, worsening traffic and creating harmful environmental impacts. Third, exclusionary zoning by affluent, mostly white communities exacerbates racial and economic segregation in the region, limiting Black and Latino or Hispanic families’ access to high-opportunity communities.