Needs improvement: Report card highlights ‘burden’ faced by renters and homeowners in Greater Boston

BOSTON — A new report card is out on the current housing situation in Greater Boston, and researchers say the region’s tight inventory and rising costs are failing would-be homeowners and renters. The study also points to flaws when it comes to subsidized housing, leaving thousands of people lost in the system.

The findings are part of the 2022 Greater Boston Housing Report Card by the Boston Foundation.

“The report as a whole tells a concerning and all-too-familiar story of high prices, low vacancy rates, and systems that make it difficult and often impossible for people, especially families of color, to navigate the complex rules and application requirements for subsidized housing,” said M. Lee Pelton, President, and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “As a result, thousands of families struggle not just with the lack of availability, but with a fragmented process that defies any goals of equity and diversity.”

The report finds housing supply continues to grow more slowly than the need, and that owners and renters in Greater Boston owners pay among the highest rates in the country for their homes.

New construction is also a major problem, according to the report.

“Despite a slight increase in housing permits, new production paces at barely half of the goal set in 2016 by the Metro Mayors Coalition for 185,000 new units by 2030 in 15 cities and barely exceeds the Baker Administration’s goal of 135,000 new units statewide by 2025,” according to the Boston Foundation.

The tight inventory due to record-high prices also means there has been little progress in closing a “historic racial homeownership gap,” according to the foundation.

Boston 25 News has reported extensively on the housing crisis in Massachusetts.

“The report finds that around 45 percent of Greater Boston renters (and 26 percent of homeowners) pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing expenses, and nearly one-in-four renters pay more than half their monthly income for housing,” according to the foundation, with Black and Latino owners and renters more likely to be cost-burdened across all types of communities.

The report also makes clear that communities need more subsidized housing and market-rate housing.

“This failure stems from the state’s inability to create a consistent process for listings and applications, coupled with obstacles in many communities that block those most in need of housing subsidies from accessing available units,” according to the foundation’s report.

The report calls for a new Massachusetts Office of Fair Housing, improved enforcement of fair housing laws and regulations, and the creation of better systems and oversight of housing data statewide.

To view the full 2022 Greater Boston Housing Report Card visit the link here.

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