"While Boston experiences a boom in luxury housing, construction costs have made it prohibitive to build housing for the middle class," the station reports. "That’s according to The Boston Foundation, which released its Greater Boston Housing Report Card for 2015 Friday."
Barry Bluestone, part of the Northeastern University team that collected and analyzed the data for the Boston Foundation report, "looked at more than 100 rental housing projects built over the last decade in Massachusetts and other states," the station reports. "He found that developers cannot build new housing in Greater Boston at reasonable price points."
"Unless we can find ways of bringing down land costs, zoning costs, construction costs, it will be almost impossible for any developer to put up housing in Greater Boston that working families can afford,” Bluestone told WBUR.
The full 82-page Boston Foundation report is posted online here (see: "The Greater Boston Housing Report Card 2015 The Housing Cost Conundrum," by Barry Bluestone, James Huessy, Eleanor White, Charles Eisenberg, and Tim Davis.) The authors sum up the conclusion in simple terms: " We have failed to meet housing production targets because there is no way to do so given the high cost of producing housing for working and middle-income households," they write. "In part, this is because of the extreme barriers to new construction, especially in the form of severely restrictive zoning at the local level across much of Massachusetts. The cost of developing new housing requires a price point or rent beyond the pocketbooks of such households and therefore developers only produce such housing, in quite limited numbers, when they are required to do so by so-called “inclusionary zoning” regulations or when they are able to secure limited public funding and subsidies to support affordability. The very high cost of land and site preparation, major contributors to prohibitive total development costs, will not come down until zoning restrictions are relaxed."