Local mayors hope to add over 180,000 units to help statewide housing emergency

BOSTON — Since 2010, the communities in Greater Boston added 100,000 residents but only permitted about 32,000 housing units. Now, they have to catch up with the demand.

Mayors from over a dozen Massachusetts cities and towns announced a plan to add tens of thousands of housing units by the year 2030 to address what they call a housing emergency.

According to the Warren Group, the median home sale price jumped more than six percent since last year to almost $390,000. Condo sales are surging even more. The median condo sale price jumped more than 10 percent since last year to almost $375,000.

"The rate of housing production is not keeping up with demand. As a result, metro Boston is experiencing a serious housing shortage. One out of every 10 homeowners and one out of every four renters currently pay over half of their income to cover housing costs," said Mark Draisen, executive director Metropolitan Area Planning Council.

At this affordable housing development construction site, the coalition announced they plan on creating 185,000 new units across the region by the year 2030.

"We needed 430,000 units of new housing in order to meet the demand," said Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone.

The state as a whole is way off pace to meet that goal and community groups have criticized city building projects for lack of affordability and their destabilizing effect on communities.

"We're all faced with losing the middle class. Most of us are faced with gentrification," said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

The task force of mayors have a strategy for the build, including expedited permitting for affordable housing, property tax exemptions for renovation or conversion and anti-speculation tax.

"Boston can't build all the affordable housing for Massachusetts," said Walsh.

Mayors like Walsh say the suburbs, many with prohibitive laws, need to build more housing units, too.

"Things are happening in Newton," said Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller.

Newton recently passed an ordinance that allows more people to rent their homes out.

"We're targeting 17.5 percent of units to be set aside for moderate or low-income families," said Fuller.

The target date for the new construction announced is 2030. You can read the full plan for the construction project here.