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Mayor Walsh releases first housing progress report

May 21, 2015

Mayor's Office

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Mayor's Office

 Mayor Martin J. Walsh today publicly released the administration’s first progress report on achieving the housing production goals laid out in his ambitious housing plan, “Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030.” The plan, released in October 2014, called for increased transparency into housing policy, including quarterly releases of data and an end of year Annual Report. This is the first report in that series. 
“I am extremely proud of the progress that the City has made in increasing the supply of new housing that will reach the market,” said Mayor Walsh. “But in order to create a thriving, healthy and innovative city, we must work harder to ensure that everyone who wants to live here is able to. This report shows that Boston 2030 is more than just a thoughtful plan; it is a true blueprint for action.”

The City of Boston’s data demonstrates that the City is on target to meet the Mayor's goals of creating 53,000 units of housing by the year 2030. In the first quarter of 2015, 1,187 units of housing were created, bringing the total number of new units of housing created since the inception of the plan to 13,017.  This represents 128 percent of the target production level needed to reach the City's goal of creating 53,000 units by 2030. In addition, another 825 units of housing were approved through the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), bringing the City's total number of units permitted or approved to more than 21,000 units.

This quarter, the City also achieved 121 percent of its target rate for creating 6,500 units of low-income housing by 2030. To encourage continued development of affordable housing, this week Mayor Walsh awarded nearly $39 million to support affordable housing developments in neighborhoods throughout Boston. The funding, which will create or preserve 1,194 housing units, uses $27 million of federal and local resources through the Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) and uses $11.7 million in linkage funds through Boston's Neighborhood Housing Trust.

The City reached 88 percent of its quarterly target to reach 20,000 units of middle income housing by 2030, with 551 units created this quarter, and 3,740 units permitted to date. Analysis of the data appears to show an increase in middle income housing creation.  When this quarter’s new housing starts come on the market, projections indicate that nearly half of the units will be affordable to middle income households, in comparison to 26 percent in 2014.  

“Boston is well on its way to achieving the level of production needed to house its growing population,” said Marc Draisen, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC). “Middle income housing still remains a challenge, which is why we strongly support Mayor Walsh’s efforts to address barriers related to zoning, permitting and the cost of construction.”

No new units of senior housing were created this quarter; however, the City has permitted 284 new units of low-income senior housing, which is 89 percent of the target rate needed to reach 1,500 units by 2030. The elimination of the Federal 202 program has meant that it has been a year since the last elderly housing project started construction; however, passage of a new line item in Mayor Walsh’s Fiscal Year 2016 City budget would mean that the City can begin to rebuild the senior housing pipeline and to fund new projects again. The City also filed state legislation in January to create a new affordable senior housing program using existing state housing bond bill funds.

Additional data points in the report include:

  • Dorm Production. No new undergraduate dorm beds were produced this quarter, while 1,983 have been produced to date. This represents 58 percent of the target rate needed to reach 16,000 beds by 2030; however, 2014 was a record year for dormitory construction completions, with nearly 1,400 new dorm beds coming on line.
  • Transit-oriented development. 75 percent of the City’s new housing starts are within a 5 minute walk of major transit.
  • Foreclosures. Although the homeowner foreclosure rate has declined, foreclosure filings are rising. This is a statewide phenomenon that the City is investigating, and strategies will are being developed for deployment in Q2 of 2015. 

The entire report can be found here.