Affordable housing in Boston and beyond


Custom Script - Don't Delete


Complete our online form to have your rental or purchase property featured on Metrolist.



What is affordable housing?

Affordable housing on Metrolist includes properties with restrictions on the income and assets you can earn and hold to rent or buy them. For example:

  • Many of these properties are restricted to households earning between 30-60% of the area median income (AMI).
  • Many of the re-sale opportunities are restricted to households earning between 70-100% of the AMI.

These programs and opportunities may place limits on the value of assets you can hold.

Using the term affordable housing

Metrolist also uses affordable housing as a relative term. This means that aside from income-restricted properties, we include private market listings where rent is more affordable.

These properties do not have an income or asset requirement, but may require a credit or background check, or both.


You can apply for affordable rental and homeownership opportunities developed through programs such as the City's MetrolistInclusionary Development Program and the Neighborhood Homes Initiative. These affordable housing opportunities largely target middle-income households.


Selection for these opportunities are done by lottery. The developments and programs have different income and asset requirements as well as preferences. For more details on any specific lottery, contact the lottery agent or realtor listed for the property that interests you.

  1. Applying. Interested applicants should contact the agent or department listed on the advertisement for details and deadlines. Applicants must obtain a new application for each lottery; there is not a centralized list.
  2. Pre-Screening. Completed applicants will be prescreened for eligibility.
  3. Lottery Selection. The Office of Fair Housing oversees the random selection of applicants from the pool, creating a lottery list. Applicable preferences may move an applicant up or down on the list. The marketing agent maintains the list.
  4. Final Screening and Certification. The applicants at the top of the list will be more fully screened and have their eligibility certified.
  5. Offer of Housing. Selected applicants are notified.
Interested in Buying?

If you are interested in purchasing an affordable unit, please contact the listing agent or owner on record to begin the process. After your offer has been accepted, the Department of Neighborhood Development will need to verify your income to ensure the guidelines for the property are met.

Interested in Selling?

If you are interested in selling your unit, please submit a Notice of Intent to Sell form in order to obtain a Certificate of Maximum Resale Price.

Public Housing is housing owned and operated by a local housing authority, such as the Boston Housing Authority. This type of housing is funded by a number of state and federal programs to help low-income individuals, families, the elderly, and the disabled.  For more details on public housing programs, visit Boston Housing Authority (BHA) or HUD websites.

Rental Assistance Programs provide financial aid (vouchers) to help low-income households rent apartments. The value of the voucher is determined by household income, size and geography and can be used in private market housing. Examples of rental assistance include Section 8, the Mass Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) and Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH).

Privately Owned Subsidized Housing is owned and operated by private owners who receive subsidies for renting to low and moderate-income households.

Tax Credit Units provide an affordable housing option for moderate or middle-income households.

  • Boston Housing Authority (BHA): BHA provides affordable housing opportunities in and around Boston to low-income residents through public housing and state and federal voucher programs. Learn more about their apartment listings, programs and how to apply.
  • Housing Navigator: Housing Navigator Massachusetts, Inc. strives to create quality listings on affordable rental properties throughout Massachusetts.
  • Metro Housing Boston: Metro Housing Boston is Massachusetts' largest regional provider of rental housing voucher assistance. Learn more about their programs or view their list of affordable rental apartments in Greater Boston.
  • Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA): BPDA implements Boston's Inclusionary Development Program, which creates and maintains affordable housing opportunities for middle and moderate-income households. Learn more about applying for rental and homeownership lotteries and re-sale opportunities.
City of Cambridge
Community Development Department
Maloney Properties
MCO Housing Services
Metro West Collaborative Development
Back to top