Boston can only enact limits on annual rent increases with the approval of the state legislature and the governor, and candidate Maura Healey said today that's not going to happen on her watch.
but that will only work if rents are kept in check.
no, it is not simple "supply and demand", since more supply of a certain kind can create more demand where there wasn't any before.
Jeffries Point is an excellent example. More units, but higher rents.
Not because more units have been built, but because the rest of the city has become less affordable. People who might have lived in Southie or JP or Charlestown or the South End in years past can't afford those neighborhoods, so now Eastie is on their radar.
New construction can accelerate the process of gentrification, but by the time developers are building new units in a neighborhood, rents and purchase prices will already have been on their way up for a while.
... or how do you know that all the white students and professionals who have overrun Jeffries Point might have lived elsewhere and only chose EB because it was the more affordable option?
I saw how EB was marketed to them years ago, it certainly wasnt as the more affordable option. Demand was driven by the developments themselves.
Rent control = less housing, less housing = higher rent. But, of course, rent control never worked because it wasn’t rent control, we just need to try again and it will surely work this time!
Seals the deal for me. She's got my vote. Housing affordability is the #1 issue facing the state and the only way to fix it is to make sure there is a home for everyone. Just doling out protections to the few that are lucky enough to happen to have a home will just compound the problem and discourage investment and employment in our state.
What a warped view.
What’s in it for you to block rent control?
The limit on how much a landlord can raise rents, is one tool. We need to get rid of single family zoning and build more housing. Everyone needs a place to live. The system we have now has too many people on the cusp of homelessness, including myself. A lot of people think they have a home and so everything is great but it is not.
We have laws on sewerage and septic in this state that keep our rivers from being polluted.
You can't just say "Let's Get Rid of Single Family Housing Zoning" and things will be ok. You need to have the places to put the poop and you need water. A lot of suburbs don't have the water.
How about removing height limits in the Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and the South End?
There's a start. The infrastructure is already there.
Why aren't there 600 foot residential towers in Harvard or Central Square? The transit is right there. What a great place to start.
Why can't there be a 120 unit apartment building in Lousiburg Square? Why not a 400 unit building next to Wellesley Hills commuter rail? The are tied into MWRA. Start there before you go picking on Middleton or Boxboro.
You're trying to score snob points against your hated Cantibridgians, but there's actually plenty of Cambridge people pushing back against the NIMBYs for more density and height and changes to the FAR requirements in Central Square especially. 600' is ridiculous, but there's plenty of room for more ~20 story type buildings in the area.
So yes, agreed, Central Square is a great place to continue to densify (Mass and Main just opened to the tune of 19 stories). The main problem here, just like in Boston, is that the Zoning Board is dominated by dinosaur NIMBYS. Board members who, up until voters changed the law this year, were appointed for 5 year terms solely at the discretion of old white conservative city managers.
Single family zoning is was created by racists after WW1 to keep "those people" out of towns. It is time to change it so more duplexes and up can be built. Sewage can be writing into the new one.
"Sewage can be writing into the new one."
Building sewer systems or a septic system for a multi family development can be enormously expensive.
If there is ledge or high ground water, the land won't "perc" and a septic system won't be allowed which would require running a sewer line to the site. Very expensive and not likely.
Take a look at "title 5", the Massachusetts Septic System law.
I always thought that this was a weakness in the new regulations.
If you zone an area for multi family that lacks sewer or other utilities, little can be built.
Well no vote for Healy from me.
You always vote for one person over the other, so boycotting Healy over a single issue might help somebody far worse win the governorship. Why not wait and see who the actual choices end up being, and what their total policy outlook is like? A lot of the time, "all or nothing" voters get nothing.
Sheesh - I thought it was "Healey," but I followed the original poster's spelling because I didn't truste myself.
I would agree with Healey on rent control. Rent control forces the property owner to provide housing services. Housing services are needed but it is a burden that that all taxpayers should share.
Rent stabilization can mean many things. Tying rent increases to inflation for instance.
We need to tackle the true barrier to home ownership. There should be more city/state owned housing. I have this idea about a rent-to-own non-profit. The participants pay market rates. The money left over after insurance, and maintenance is put toward equity ownership. the value of the equity increases at an agreed rate (lower than current exploding home values but stable). The participant can use that equity for a down payment on property when they move out. The Coop would be mostly micro apartments and even efficiencies to provide affordable options. The city of cambridge has a affordable housing program that works like this.
Because BHA does such an awesome job?
But that is fake. Either municipalities help house the people that live and work there or they live in tents on your sidewalk. What's your next try? All people with housing assistance are lazy addicts?
BHA actually does a pretty alright job considering their portfolio and their funding. They have complexes across the city you wouldn't know are public housing unless you looked into it, because they're housing for elderly/disabled - so quiet, clean, well maintained places where neighbors know each other. Go outside Boston and it's the same story, even more - towns all over this state have public housing authorities that run complexes and do a solid job. Again, most of the housing outside the city is for the elderly and disabled, with Section 8 and other voucher programs picking up the need for family support.
The major problems with BHA properties are related to family housing where concentrating poverty and multigenerational enabling creates a lot of issues. Tragedy of the commons, lack of community, crime, etc.
Not really. The terms have specific meanings in New York City because they refer to different programs. But in general it’s possible for either one to have eviction restrictions and inflation increases, depending on the local law.
Build illegally until you get caught.
She isn't exactly saying no to Wu's proposal. The question asked about rent control, not rent stabilization. I'm opposed to the former, open to the latter. She doesn't really go further, so I can't say I know her true position. But overall, there is some good stuff in that answer, particularly about rental assistance, rail transit, and increasing supply.
She’s got my vote!
Rent control is the “r” word and anti competitive. A is A to this objectivist.
Now who am I gonna vote for?
it wont be her
IIRC voters approved the referendum to ban rent control. I am guessing that Healey has done polling on this issue and realizes it is a loser outside of Boston, Brookline, and Cambridge.
I am not a fan but she is an astute politician.
Supply versus demand can not be the primary solution in today's housing environment. There are too many other factors that throw off the simple capitalistic solution. The distribution (or maldistribution) of income, cash and wealth for starters. I don't know the numbers but I will ask: what are the numbers in terms of high, medium and low income today (both as per centages and in absolution numbers) compared to the 50s and 60s. My point is that so long as the money is available to pay high prices for housing then the sellers will continue to sell at the highest prices they can charge.
Location, location, location. Despite the gloom and doom prognosticated from Covid the desirability of city living was not diminished. That demand will continue to support higher housing costs. Combine that demand with the extremely uneven distribution of capital the advantage will continue to go to the seller, to the disadvantage of anyone who doesn't benefit from the overall accumulated wealth.
Let's go back to income distribution. When heavy industry was strong, and unions were strong, blue collar workers could afford higher housing costs. While the jobs did not require advanced degrees the wages were still high enough to afford higher housing costs. Do the people who would quality as blue collar workers receive the pay that previous generations of blue collar workers receive? That asks for a definition of blue collar. For the sake of brevity I'll compare blue collar heavy industry workers to people working at grocery stores, McDonalds, Burger King, etc. In other words employment does not require higher levels of education and which do not keep up with expenses. Are Target or Wallmart "associated" paid what steel workers were paid?
Inflation versus real increases in cost of living. I often read folks comparing the cost of lets say beef today to the cost of beef 40 years ago. So I go to an inflation calculator. Guess what? Often the cost of the beef even with inflation is still higher today.
What can be bought today? How much money is spent today in non-essentials compared to 50 years ago? What is essential today compared to 50 years ago? Cell phones, computers, computer games, then myriad of products and services that are part of the digital world draw a great deal of cash out of incomes. Were there comparable buckets for cash to be dropped into 50 years ago? I'm thinking not (but may be very wrong).
Bottom line is that where housing is concerned supply will not solve the problems of cost. Too many other factors impact both cost and wealth available to meet that cost.
Other solutions: Address both state and Federal mortgage interest deductions. Reduce how much of the mortgage interest can be deducted based on income, cost, or whatever measure. This was done when the interest in credit cards were no longer allowed to be deducted against taxes. It can be done again.
Property tax incentives based on income. In Boston increase the property tax exemption based on income. While a person has a higher income they pay more. As their income decreases - especially in retirement - automatically increase the deduction. That can help older citizens afford their homes while also slowing down the turnover of homes to the market.
But all these steps require willingness to change. Always a struggle.
Before addressing people who are owning and trading their one owned asset that they also live in full time, I think it might be more productive to deal with the investment class who own dozens if not hundreds of units and keep them artificially out of the hands of the non-investor class. If landlords were (whether legally or practically) limited to 2-3 units, horded rent-seeking profit-machines would flow into the market and provide a massive supply boost.
Start taxing landlords at an exponential rate. 1-3 units owned, x% tax. 3-6 units, 2x%. 6-10, 4x%. Etc. Shut the slumlords down.
The Herald reports Healey's staff is trying to walk back her rent control comment. “Campaign spokesperson Maria Hardiman told the Herald, ‘Maura supports the right of communities to implement their own policies on rent stabilization. She does not believe that a blanket statewide policy requiring rent control is the solution to our housing affordability crisis.’”
So it's possible Healey would not get in the way of rent stabilization in Boston after all. Sloppy comment though.
No sitting Attorney General has been elected governor of Massachusetts since 1853.
Many have tried; all have failed.
That no senator had risen to become President in generations. And then he won.
Healey might not win the primary but at the moment she has a vast lead in the polls and is generally well liked in the state. There's more to Massachusetts than Boston.
Help keep Universal Hub going. If you like what we're up to and want to help out, please consider a (completely non-deductible) contribution.
Copyright 2022 by Adam Gaffin and by content posters.Advertise | About Universal Hub | Contact | Privacy