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The Greater Boston Housing Report Card 2015: The Housing Cost Conundrum

November 13, 2015

Why has housing supply not kept up with housing demand? This is the question we decided to finally tackle head-on in this edition of the "Greater Boston Housing Report Card" by undertaking an in-depth study of detailed housing cost data that we have collected from housing agencies and developers. The answer to our question is an unsettling one. 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. 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.Solving this problem of insufficient housing supply will require a battery of new approaches to zoning and construction techniques -- something that has eluded developers and policymakers alike. We suggest in these pages some new approaches to increase housing supply.

The Greater Boston Housing Report Card 2013: What Follows The Housing Recovery?

September 18, 2013

This report is the 11th in the series of annual "Greater Boston Housing Report Cards," the first of which appeared in 2002 at a time when housing prices in the region were skyrocketing. In the course of this series, we have reported on the local housing bubble from 2000 through 2005, during which time home prices appreciated at annual double-digit rates; the retreat in home prices that begain in 2006; and then the beginning of a housing recovery in 2010. Like past report cards, this 2013 report probes Greater Boston's housing landscape, keeping tabs on housing construction, home prices, and rents. We have analyzed the relationship between the region's economy, demography, and housing, and we have kept track of federal, state and local government policies that affect the region's housing market. This report also includes a new analysis of local zoning regulations in Greater Boston communities because of the critical role zoning can play, particularly in the development - or lack of developmeent - of multifamily housing. The 2013 Report Card attempts to answer six questions about Greater Boston's housing market and its effect on the region's well-being: 1. What are the most recent trends in home sales, housing production, and foreclosures? 2. What does the future trajectory of home prices and rents look like? 3. Given current economic conditions, is another housing bubble on the horizon? 4. Given the changing demographics and economic health of Greater Boston, have we begun to build appropriate new housing stock to meet expected demand and to help moderate furure price and rent hikes? 5. Do we still face zoning constraints at the local level that hinder the production of an appropriate housing stock for the region? 6. What roles are the federal government and the Commonwealth playing in the housing market today?

Life Sciences Innovation as a Catalyst for Economic Development: The Role of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center

March 17, 2013

This report provides an up-to-date, independent evaluation of the $1 billion, 10-year Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) charged with the responsibility of carrying out its mission. The initiative was established in July 2008 by Governor Deval Patrick's Administration and the Legislature to encourage the growth of discovery and production in the life sciences, including biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical diagnostics, medical devices and bioinformatics in the Commonwealth. Based on the region's existing comparative advantage in life sciences research and development (R&D) emanating from the laboratories of its leading universities and medical institutions, this substantial infusion of public funds was undertaken with the ambitious goal of making this cluster of industry sectors the most successful in the world. This evaluation comes at a propitious time, given the state of fiscal affairs in the Commonwealth and the nation. Virtually every unit of government is scrutinizing the use of each tax dollar to ensure that public revenue is being spent effectively and efficiently. Put simply, our goal in this evaluation was to gather as much data as possible to assess whether the Commonwealth's sizeable commitment of public resources is paying off in the form of a life sciences "super cluster" capable of attracting massive amounts of investment dollars, generating well-paying jobs for Massachusetts residents and yielding additional tax revenue for the Commonwealth.

The Greater Boston Housing Report Card 2011: Housing's Role in the Ongoing Economic Crisis

October 24, 2011

Analyzes results of a 2011 survey of housing market conditions in the Greater Boston area, including trends in supply, rents, foreclosures, home sales, and public spending for housing, as well as effects of feedback loops on housing and the local economy.

Toward a New Grand Bargain: Collaborative Approaches to Labor-Management Reform in Massachusetts

October 19, 2011

Proposes interest-based collective bargaining, as opposed to traditional adversarial negotiations, and empowering teachers, staff, and principals as a way to enable unions to play a critical role in improving education and closing the achievement gap.

Greater Boston Housing Report Card 2010

October 14, 2010

Analyzes 2010 survey results on Greater Boston's housing market conditions, including trends in production, rents, and home prices, with a focus on foreclosures, affordability, differential impact of the recession by type of housing, and student housing.

The Greater Boston Housing Report Card 2009: Positioning Boston in a Post-Crisis World

October 29, 2009

Presents an annual survey of Greater Boston's market conditions, including economic and demographic trends; housing production; rents; home prices; housing affordability; foreclosures; and public spending in support of housing. Analyzes implications.

The Greater Boston Housing Report Card 2008: From Paradigm to Paradox: Understanding Greater Boston's New Housing Market

October 28, 2008

Combines an annual survey of Greater Boston's market conditions, housing production, rents, home prices, and public spending and support with an analysis of the dynamics of rising foreclosures, falling prices, and the unresolved problem of affordability.

Staying Power: The Future of Manufacturing in Massachusetts

July 15, 2008

Reviews the state's manufacturing employment since 1939; analyzes current data by industry, economic share, workers' demographics, and location; and projects trends through 2016. Based on surveys and interviews, examines manufacturers' perspectives.

The Greater Boston Housing Report Card 2006-2007: An Assessment of Progress on Housing in the Greater Boston Area

October 11, 2007

Presents an annual survey of the state of housing in Greater Boston: market conditions; housing production; rents, home prices, and affordability; and public spending and support. Notes sliding home prices, tight mortgage markets, and falling production.

The Greater Boston Housing Report Card 2005-2006: An Assessment of Progress on Housing in the Greater Boston Area

September 27, 2006

Presents an annual survey of the state of housing in Greater Boston: market conditions; housing production; rents, home prices, and affordability; and public spending and support. Notes a modest rise in housing supply and a slight decline in prices.

The Greater Boston Housing Report Card 2004: An Assessment of Progress on Housing in the Greater Boston Area

September 8, 2005

Presents an annual survey of the state of housing in Greater Boston: market conditions; housing production; rents, home prices, and sales; and public spending and support. Notes trends in modestly increasing housing construction and stabilizing rents.