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Is Governor Patrick's Apartment Plan Too Little, Too Late?

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It's long been known (we hope) that the Hub's apartment prices and rents are so high mostly because developers have been building the wrong types of housing for generations, often with the blessings of local and state government. Simply put, too much of the region's housing has been of the single-family or small-apartment-building variety (think triple-deckers), soaking up precious acreage that could have otherwise been used to develop sturdy buildings with several more apartments than the squatter realities. Until development markedly changes—and until there is more of it (we're getting there)—prices and rents will not budge all that much and the Hub's more desirable areas will remain cordoned off economically from young families and singletons desperate for a toehold.

Enter a new plan by Governor Deval Patrick. It would seek to build 10,000 apartments annually through 2020, in large part by offering financial incentives for building more densely—at least eight units per acre for apartments and at least four units per acre for single-family homes, according to Jenifer B. McKim in The Globe. The plan is baldly targeted toward the young professionals (and their families) who will increasingly make up more of the Hub's population. It's also meant to mesh with the transit-oriented development already much in vogue.

But is it enough? The Urban Land Institute pegs the Hub's housing shortage at 25,000 units and growing. Ten thousand units annually—the best-case scenario—means it's three years before building overtakes the deficit and we're in the black housing-wise. In the meantime—in 2013, 2014, 2015, and tomorrow and tomorrow—the young folk this plan targets are growing older and making decisions about where and how they want to live. And, increasingly, it won't be an ever more expensive Hub.
· Gov. Deval Patrick Details Multifamily Housing Plan [Globe]
· Why the Hub Housing Market Could Get Worse, Much Worse [Curbed Boston]
· Boston Is for Lovers (Just Not Their Kids): a New Apt. Dynamic [Curbed Boston]
· Somerville's Downward-Facing Doghouse and Hub's Apt. Future [Curbed Boston]
· Our Latest Rental Heatmap: the Hub's New Apartment Buildings [Curbed Boston]
· Our Renters Week 2012 archive [Curbed Boston]