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Boston sets affordable housing record

January 7, 2016

Neighborhood Development

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Neighborhood Development

The 1,022 new units of affordable housing permitted in 2015 is the largest number of new units permitted in a single year in 20 years of record-keeping. The previous record was 862 units in 2004. 

 Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced today that Boston has surpassed the 1,000-unit mark of new affordable housing units permitted in a single year. The 1,022 new units of affordable housing permitted in 2015 is the largest number of new units permitted in a single year in 20 years of record-keeping. The previous record was 862 units in 2004. This number includes all deed-restricted housing permitted in the City of Boston.  

Boston is now running at 107 percent of the target rate needed to create the 6,500 new affordable units called for in Mayor Walsh's housing plan Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030.

"We are committed to creating a Boston that anyone, at any income level, can afford to live in," said Mayor Walsh. "I am pleased that because of our administration's commitment to creating affordable housing, we have been able to capture the strong real estate market, create jobs and give more people and families the opportunity to find affordable housing in Boston."

The Mayor made the announcement during remarks at the Commercial Real Estate Services' annual market overview meeting in Boston on Thursdaymorning.

Of these new affordable units, 364 will be affordable to households making below 30 percent of area median income. In addition, this number includes 658 units of deed-restricted units affordable to the middle class.  

In 2015, the City's Department of Neighborhood Development and the Boston Redevelopment Authority approved 1,443 new units of affordable housing - 35 percent of all new development approvals in 2015 and a 55 percent increase over 2014.  Although these units have not received permits yet, they make up a sizable portion of Boston's affordable housing pipeline.  

The estimated total development cost for these affordable units is approximately $492 million, with a total public investment of approximately $154 million, including $23 million of City funds from sources including HOME, Inclusionary Development funds, Linkage and City operating funds.  Other public funding sources include state and federal funds, along with tax credit equity.

With 19 percent of its housing units reserved to help house its low and moderate income residents, Boston's share of affordable housing is higher than any other major city in the country. But even though Boston is a national leader in affordable housing production and policy, there are still many residents in need of affordable housing options.

The City of Boston is currently home to an estimated 28,400 low-income households who need affordable housing. Demographic projections show that by 2030, there will be approximately 9,750 additional low-income non-elderly households living in Boston, resulting in a projected affordable housing need of approximately 38,200 units by 2030.

In 2015 alone, the administration invested nearly $50 million in affordable housing this year through 2 RFP processes; shifted the Inclusionary Development Policy to generate more units and more finding for affordable housing, and increased the amount of City-owned real estate designated for housing and mixed-use development from 29,625 square feet in 2014 to 419,442 square feet in 2015.