Gentrifiers continue pouring into Roxbury

State Rep. Liz Miranda (D-5th Suffolk) writes:

I'm an elected official and I cant afford to buy a home of my dreams in Roxbury. Everyday my family gets calls and letters to buy our homes, cash. Its harassment. Its greed. Its absurd.
Roxbury is tired. We are tired.
Go develop your suburban towns.
Go speculate your land.

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Comments

Cause and effect

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There's a real misunderstanding and confusion of cause and effect among too many of our elected officials. There's a reason she's getting those letters. It didn't come out of thin air. You have an area close to downtown that is desirable in a time of overall housing scarcity. That will not change at this point. Developers didn't create this demand. Best thing to do is support new multi-family housing there to meet the demand and prevent block busting and conversion of existing homes. But instead, people like the representative and others blame new housing itself for the situation. We have seen this story play out time and time again with the same results.

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Gentrification

That's part of what started the gentrification of Roxbury trend. Lot's of suspicious fires in the Dudley/Fort Hill section.

Here is an idea

Maybe she can contact her elected official and ask them to introduce a bill to make unsolicited phone calls illegal. Instead of just complaining, maybe do something about it?

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huh?

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Unsolicited phone calls illegal? So one can never call another person without the person being called giving them permission first?

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Works for me

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Send a certified letter stating the purpose of your proposed call. I might get back to you with a suitable time windows for said call.

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So...

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I’m confused. I understand that home prices have risen sharply the past few years and that yes, suddenly there’s an influx of buyers interested in Rox/Dot who wouldn’t have been ten years ago but...how many properties does her family own? Is it that hard just to say no, we’re not selling? Would she rather have her family own property in Cleveland or Gary, say, where it’s worth $30k and surrounded by abandoned properties? I get that people—renters primarily—are being forced out but shouldn’t she be, uh...counting her blessings a bit? I can’t afford to buy my “dream home” either but how many of us can?

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1st world problem

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Neighborhood has gotten nicer.

People won't stop harassing me with cash offers to buy my house.

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"Suburbs"

Does Rep. Miranda believe that people in the suburbs don't get those letters and phone calls? Her desired neighborhood is not special that way.

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I feel left out

I've only gotten one in the last 6 months.

On the other hand, it is kind of depressing to walk around my neighborhood (Beacon Hill) and see all the papers on the steps that haven't been pick up in a few days. It is like no one actually lives here.

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Saw this coming a year ago

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We were driving some young friends of ours home that had just gotten engaged. As we drove down Mass Avenue (away from Cambridge) they pointed to the right (west side of the street) and said - we just bought a new renovated condo in that building for almost $1 million.

Thought to myself - Roxbury is going to be changing. Fast.

!

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Raise your hand if you can't afford your dream home.

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Raises Hand

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But, hey, I'm ready to retire and will have no problem getting that home in some more isolated place. Why? Because I bought in a convenient area that nobody wanted to raise kids in 20 years ago, fought the backward locals to improve the schools, and waited for other people to get sick of commuting.

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Sometime all one has to do is

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Sometime all one has to do is settle for a smaller dream, and then everything fits just right!

Hedonistic adaptation (from wikipedia): The observed tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes.

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So it has a name!

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So it has a name!

There are things about my house that I might change, I guess. Nothing I feel strongly about, and not in ways that are really available on the existing market anyway. I already live in my dream house. It is a dream to have a house.

It sounds like she feels stuck in something that was supposed to be a starter home. But that's still leagues ahead of renters getting crushed out.

I bought mine - in Roxbury in

I bought mine - in Roxbury in 2003. Everyone thought I was crazy but it was easy to see this day coming. Have a beautiful big Victorian that’s just a quick bus ride into downtown. Or I’ll walk on a nice day. Values have shot up since then but I happen to like it and like my neighbors so no plans to sell anytime soon. No, I probably couldn’t buy into this market if I were starting out today, but that’s the way it goes with Boston neighborhoods. South End, JP, South Boston, now Roxbury is getting its turn. If you want your dream home in Boston you have to think ahead.

Back in the day...

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It was true for Back Bay as well. Needles, prostitution and arson were all the rage about 50 years ago. Then some "pioneers" moved in, planted some magnolias on the north side of the street and the rest is history.

Bought in 1993. Got lucky. Not leaving if I can help it. Sorry millennials.

Don't blame the buyers

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People looking for places to live will buy where they can afford.

Take a look at who is selling and why.

Then start talking to those people rather than blaming people who are new to the area.

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Or

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to Southie, East Boston or Andrews Sq or ......any neighborhood in Boston?

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"I cant afford to buy a home of my dreams"

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"I cant afford to buy a home of my dreams"

Uh sorry, but not many people can.

"Go develop your suburban towns."

The market demand is not for suburban development right now. That's just the way the free market works.

"Everyday my family gets calls and letters to buy our homes, cash"

Nothing about this makes me feel sorry for you. I would happily take these calls over the fake-IRS calls and other robo-nonsense most people get.

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There is very little suburban

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There is very little suburban development because the suburbs are not allowing it. They are being selfish and it is hurting the regional economy. Yet suburbanites are happy to make money off Boston real estate. That is not "free market". So this puts all the pressure on Boston, Cambridge and Somerville to develop. This pressure forces rents to skyrocket. Why the hell should only people in the city have to bear the burden of increasing the housing supply?

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Meanwhile ...

There is a solid contingent of OMG PEOPLE ARE BUILDING THINGS WITHOUT MY PERMISSION types just outside the city who are whining that people who want to live close in should just "go live in the city" rather than "make me share something I don't own".

Not just Roxbury

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My parents in Brookline get regular unsolicited and astronomical offers on their house. Unfortunately the neighbor apparently took someone up on the offer so that house (an old Victorian which was part of a set) was torn down and now there is a truly ugly duplex which doesn't fit into the neighborhood at all is going up in it's place.

And the amount I spent last year on my condo (which I had been renting for 15 years prior to buying it) was equally stunning, but the only rational way to keep my rent from skyrocketing.

This is a phenomenon affecting the Hub area as a whole, not just the inner city.

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Well...

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The previous owner did buy it originally from her father who is a now retired professor...

(But I don't think she has any sway over the university in question, but one does have to wonder these days, don't we?)

We Buy Ugly Houses

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I constantly get mail from the We Buy Ugly Houses people, for my house in W. Roxbury, which, while not my dream home, is not all that ugly. I get them from random developers too. It's not just Roxbury.

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?

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If you don't mind saying, what street in Brookline is this project? I actually have seen a number of cases in Brookline where this has happened, so I'm curious.

I agree with you that this is happening all throughout metro Boston...

Greenough St

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There was also a tear-down-and-replace done on Gorham, but at least that one fits into the neighborhood. On Gorham there is also a complete re-build around a still existing shell, which also will not stick out like a sore thumb. The thing these days seems to be to put the parking in the basement.

I suspect we have developers who would love to put in really big buildings if they could, but local zoning laws have prevented that so far. My neighborhood in Brighton on the other hand has buildings going up willy-nilly and will be unrecognizable any day now!

Oh yes

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I know that project. It was a shame that the developer just waited out the demolition delay, rather than working with the Preservation Commission to design something that would have better fit within the neighborhood. If I recall, that site had a large amount of space at the rear, where they could have done a sizable addition without ruining the context of the street. They chose not to even attempt to do so.

I'm familiar with the Gorham Street projects as well, and I agree, while not ideal--one of them replaces one of the oldest houses in the area, but it had structural issues--those projects are better designed within the immediate context. You are correct though--Brookline down-zoned in response to some of the tall, urban-renewal type projects, and the result makes for much smaller buildings in response. That doesn't do much for affordable housing though...

It's too bad Brookline doesn

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It's too bad Brookline doesn't have any restrictions on what you can build, to prevent new buildings from making existing residents unhappy. /s

The only way to keep rents and condo prices from rising astronomically is to build more of them. That means we can't preserve every beautiful old house, even if that disappoints the neighbors.

It's not hard to build medium sized apartment buildings that fit in with existing neighborhoods of houses. In fact, Brookline has them all over the place. Here's one block I found at random: https://goo.gl/maps/mzcreFxMjPy

We should change the rules to make it easier to build them, and require the features and aesthetics that make them pleasant for the surrounding areas.

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Roxbury is tired?

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So was Charlestown. So was Somerville. So was/is South Boston and Jamaica Plain.

Did she really think Roxbury would be immune from forces that have been affecting the entire region for decades? This is not new.

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Politicians will never miss an opportunity...

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Don't let facts get in your way Waquiot....Despite the fact that ALL neighborhoods in Boston are experiencing change - with daily letters offering to buy homes (Rozzie too), Ms. Miranda is doing her best to wind up a really strong virtue-signal, race-based stance here.

Focus on the use of "your" in her post.

"your suburbs, your land".

Who does she mean by "your"?

hmmm.

Playing the victim, furthering the divide, zero leadership - Boston Politics 101.

sad

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Roxbury has been improved

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Roxbury has been improved continuously over many years through the efforts of its people. Now, the secret has gotten out (about 8 years ago really). Outsiders are pouring in. Those who made it a great place to live are priced out if they rent. They can cash out if they own. BUT many feel a strong connection with the EXISTING community and urban fabric and it is a great loss for that community to be pulled apart.

To only go back in time, and help the renters buy their properties and this gentrification might have been held at bay.

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Calls

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It must be a good feeling to know her house is worth a ton of money. I guess she doesn't want those evil rich white people moving into her neighborhood.

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Roxbury is not special.

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I live in a suburb (a close one) and regularly get solicited to sell my home. I have a rental property in another suburb (another close one) and got a text offering to buy it! Creepy because I don't know how they got the cell number.

I think it's great. Good problem to have.

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Clearly what she wants is a

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Clearly what she wants is a big, beautiful border wall around Roxbury to keep new people from coming in from shithole suburbs.

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Maybe She Knows

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That many of her current neighbors would be treated like garbage if they were forced out of Roxbury and had to relocate into the suburbs.

What a lot of people aren't getting here is that a lot of the quality of life in Roxbury is being able to be POC and walk down the street without half the people looking side eye at you like you're a thug or going to steal something. You can talk about someone raised in Southie having to integrate into Wakefield or wherever. But that is nothing compared to what someone from Roxbury would be looking at in these places.

I have Haitian friends that got priced out of Somerville, and took a place less than 2 miles away in Medford. They told me that it's like night and day. The kids are getting treated worse in school, the neighbors didn't like them even before they met them, and so on. They want to move back to Somerville - not because it's close to downtown - but so they can just be Black without all of the drama. Roxbury as it is, has that - few other places in Mass. do.

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You Hit the Nail On the Head

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I hope your comment doesn’t get overlooked because I see a lot of people complaining and saying Miranda is making a problem but your comment sums this up completely. My family and I now live in Newton and as nice as it is I long for the days I truly felt comfortable walking down the street with my kids as a youth growing up in Roxbury. I feel like I’m in Jordan Peele’ Get Out and that’s definitely the vibe we feel from our neighbors. The same way other towns or neighborhoods want to keep that “I was raised here, I want to stay here” Roxbury and other neighborhoods want to keep that too. People don’t realize generations of people are being pushed out of their homes. It’s not about the money or a real estate trend

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"Those" people

Medford has had a substantial African American population since the beginning of the colonial era - first as slaves, then as free workers in skilled trades. Traditionally, these families lived in one area of town.

Unfortunately, some of the old town idjits can't imagine "those people" not being kept in that part of town. They kicked a fuss when the schools were merged, two segregated schools were combined and the middle schools became open enrollment, and continue to fill their children's heads with dated bullshit that makes it difficult for them in school to behave properly.

That said, Medford is far more representative of the population of the US as a whole than most communities. Sad that a lingering few diseased jerks who can't seem to grow the eff up make it unwelcoming for new folks.

Everyone kicks a fuss

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Everyone kicks a fuss whenever schools are merged. Parents like smaller neighborhood schools. School districts try to consolidate schools to save money, but parents usually don't want to see them merged.

I really don’t understand

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I really don’t understand that point of view. Why complain that people are offering you money for your home? That means that you own the house and it has gone up in value. You can ignore the offers, or cash out and make a bunch of money. Property taxes in Boston are low, your area is improving, and you are increasing your net worth. I’m having trouble finding the problem.

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The appraised value goes up

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The appraised value goes up so the property tax goes up. If it's not your intention to sell then it's more money out of your pocket.

Taxes in the city are dirt cheap

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Even with increases assessed values,taxes are VERY low in Boston for residents. I have owned in the suburbs and now in the city and it's night and day so the taxes piece is not part of the issue.

Would you rather it go down?

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I understand the dilemma but again—would you rather live somewhere in decline or somewhere on the rise? No place stays the same—I can’t afford to live in the neighborhood where I grew up or the neighborhood I lived in the 1990s. But at least they’re not derelict and abandoned.

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No, but the increase can be a

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No, but the increase can be a shock. I'm in the suburbs. My property tax jumped 20%.

It's nice my property value is going up, but that doesn't increase my income.

You're missing the root problem

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She's a politician for whom there is never enough money and power. Never. Multiple houses? State-paid employees? She's entitled to all that, of course.

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Empathy

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Many of the comments don't seem to see any downside to gentrification. I wonder why. Could it be that some of them are part of the carpetbagging class? Hmmmm.

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You can't expect white people

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You can't expect white people to be empathetic to a problem they (mostly) created. When cars were all the rage they couldn't wait to get out of the inner city. Now that they all want to ride bikes they need the location back.

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yup

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White people are literally the worst.

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comments are much different than when its Southie gentrification

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Much different comments here than when reports of this happening in Southie. When this happened in Southie, commenters were all about yuppies and how they were destroying Southie. When its Roxbury, Uhub commenters talk about how residents should just be happy. Seems like when its white people being gentrified uhub readers sympathize, but when its black residents they pounce.

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Nah

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People said the same thing about Southie. "Talk to your neighbors who are selling, not those who are buying. Be thankful home values are going up, not down. It's a good think there aren't junkies sleeping in doorways anymore."

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That's funny

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The gist of my comment above is that it's the exact same thing.

I think that it's interesting that when white ethnic neighborhoods were up in arms about yuppies moving in black people didn't care. Now that those areas are conquered and the yuppies are training their eyes on Dudley Square it's a problem.

I don't think the residents of Roxbury should be happy, but I do think it's a hoot that they think this is a recent thing. Charlestown began being gentrified in the 1980s. I feel for Roxbury, like I felt for other, whiter parts of Boston. And the same people having no sympathy now had no sympathy then. Just ask Swirls about that one bus ride she took back in the day when the local Irish American folk were bemoaning the turnover while at the same time happy about what they got for their homes.

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You new people might make her work!

Like, OMG,

People who are moving in like have jobs and stuff and can afford to pay more Benjamins, and don't have to go all tooth pasting because they can give big props to good stuff, when Andrea Cabal brings the green heaven to the hood.

Next thing, those people paying all that moulah too are going to actually like demand like schools and shit that they can
actually get an educamation from. Do you know that in like Brookline and places they have town halls, and not like I'm talking Prince Hall with their dance lines, where citizens actually ask questions and demand like accountability.

KEEP THEM OUT!!!!

My peoples demand low quality services, low quality housing, low quality journalism, low quality schools, low rents and low taxes! Graduated income and property taxes! Guaranteed seats! and especially Low Quality Politicians who can't spell and have bad grammar on their twitter accounts. And if I like notice bad grammar, like you no it's bad!

#speakingtheTtoP

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"Joke Account"

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"Linda' is usually just disgustingly sexist, but now also abhorrently racist. Fun.

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Re: Uh...

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Can you scale back the blatant racism just a bit?

Don't forget her son

A judge on Monday sentenced Cornell Mills, a city employee and former Boston City Council candidate to probation after he pleaded guilty to posing as a real estate broker.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey's office said Mills posed as a real estate broker and asked potential Boston homebuyers to hand over thousands of dollars.

Mills said he would hold the money in escrow while the purchase of the home was still pending, according to Healey's office. He did not have any escrow account.

He spent the money on airplane tickets and a cruise to Jamaica, authorities said.

Judge Elizabeth Fahey suspended a sentence of two and a half years in a house of correction and put Mills on three years of probation.

Mills, a 44-year-old Roxbury man, must pay back $36,651 in restitution and he can't work as a broker or manage funds.

He pleaded guilty in Suffolk Superior Court last week to seven counts of larceny over $250, six counts of fiduciary embezzlement, one count of acting as a broker without a license and one count of being a "common and notorious thief."

Mills is a son of former state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson, a Democrat who pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges in 2010. She was released in 2013.

https://www.masslive.com/news/boston/2018/12/former_city_council_candida...

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I am SO sad now

At first I was thinking about the worlds smallest violin playing for Liz Miranda.

Then I thought about how Roxbury used to be a big Jewish place, which got me thinking about a Jew playing a regular sized violin.

Then I thought about the Italians and Irish who used to call Roxbury home.

And the American Indians of course.

Now I am envisioning this ragtag band of ethnic instrument players following Liz around constantly like the episode of MASH where the Korean refugees follow Major Winchester around playing Mozart's Clarinet Quintet then the refugees all get blowded up except one refugee who is left.... playing the song all alone.

Now I am wicked sad.

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bubblish

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Not to burst anyone's bubble but....this looks like a serious housing/condo bubble. I don't think it's different this time, I think you would have to be crazy to buy now. Just my two cents.

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About that bubble, well... potential bubble

A friend of mine who owns some real estate recently put all of his residential properties on the market because he believes the market has peaked - maybe not everywhere, but in general. I don't know if he's correct, but he's usually pretty analytical about these things and he's been generally right in the past. It's reminiscent of when people were buying up small apartment complexes 30 or so years ago and turning them into condos further and further out from downtown Boston and the demand to buy those flipped condos just dried up as did the financing. Then the banks started to get hit. These days there's supposedly a lot of money from around the world getting parked in our local real estate because it's seen as more stable than a lot of other investments. If values level off (and there are some indications that this is happening), of if they drop a little with some increases in the supply, I wonder if all that faraway money remains parked here or if some of it goes toward other investments.

Things may be different this time when the bubble bursts because, as we saw in the recession that started around 2008, the federal government could step in to keep home prices artificially high in order to prevent a flood of mortgage defaults. I'm not so sure that this would happen with the current administration, but maybe by the time a potential bubble burst happens we'll be on to a different administration. If so, perhaps they'l just socialize a large fraction of the housing and lots of people will be knocking on the door of government for their housing.

Time will tell re: Boston condo situation

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Unfortunately we don’t have a crystal ball here. But I think slow and steady gains say 3-5% a year in real estate is best for many reasons. When assets appreciate resulting in 70-80% gains in 5 years give or take it turns into a boom and bust musical chairs game which isn’t great for community and generally doesn’t end well causing unneeded heartache and despair for folks if they get laid off etc. I have heard about the condo bust decades ago but wasn’t around for it as an adult. Please post more info about that era if you can. A lot of mid-30ish people I know started doing the “drive until you can afford to buy” thing starting a few years ago. Time will tell I guess. But splitting a 3-decker say in JP (which IS a great area)...but...dishing out 800k per unit or more and 1 mil plus for a so so 1BR condo in S.End w/ HOA, taxes, maintenance, insurance etc. seems a little insane to me even if your income supports it. I think single family homes in all of Greater Boston will be fine long term but condos...a little scary.

home if my dreams

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I’ve lived in Hyde Park then Mission Hill for past 70 years and worked as a RN in Boston for 46 years, couldn’t afford a house when I was young, never inherited anything, and now too old to think about buying- and still don’t have enough for a big downpayment. All my money went to college educations for myself and child, and to church contributions. Now saving to buy my cemetery plot. Don’t complain about calls when you all own homes, even if they aren’t “dream homes” ! I love my shabby rental because I just appreciate getting to live here. Not sure how long it will last, only been in my current neighborhood 45 years.

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Silly, Jeff

Liz is only an elected official, she can't be expected to be aware of such mechanisms...

Enough

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You asked for capitalism, you asked for "social mobility" -- this is it. Sorry it wasn't what you expected.