Boston just got its housing report card and it doesn’t look great. The 12th Annual Greater Boston Housing Report Card by the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University says that there is a major mismatch between the type of housing available and what’s needed in the city.
One of the biggest issues facing the loss of housing options for working families. Boston’s signature triple-decker houses have historically been occupied by intergenerational families, but they’re now being used as rental spaces for millennials who can’t afford to live alone.
Northeastern professor Barry Bluestone spoke to WBUR about the report card on Morning Edition. He said that Boston is full of graduate students and medical students. Many would like to have spaces of their own but can’t afford studio or one bedroom apartments near their universities. Other cities have addressed this issue with micro-units, a trend that Greater Boston is beginning to adopt, though not at the level of affordability of other cities.
Bluestone also noted that 25 percent of Greater Boston residents spent more than half of their monthly income on rent alone. While such housing burdens are increasingly common throughout the country, Boston outpaced even New York City in housing price and rent increases between 2000 and 2007, setting the stage for today’s affordability crisis.
Jenn Stanley is a freelance journalist, essayist and independent producer living in Chicago. She has an M.S. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.