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Could Boston End Up Building Too Many Apartments?

Boston's in the midst of a once-in-a-generation apartment-building boom. (Don't believe us? Check out our New-Development Heatmap.) The city suffers an acute housing shortage, which is a big reason why rents and prices remain so high. There simply are not enough homes to go around, and the homes that have been built (and are being built, for that matter) are not necessarily the most effective at curbing the housing shortage. Still, the apartment-building boom must be unmitigated good news.

It is. The idea of overbuilding in Boston right now is ridiculous. Casey Ross of The Globe addressed the issue in an interview with Frank Petz, the managing director for the Boston wing of Chicago-based commercial brokerage Jones Lang LaSalle.

With so many units being built, could we end up with an overbuilt apartment market? There is always a risk of overbuilding, but there are plenty of factors that justify the amount of development activity. There is strong demand with all the people moving into the city. There is also a lack of supply. Boston just hasn't built much of this product over the last 20 years.

That's it in a nutshell. Case in point: Governor Patrick recently pitched a plan 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. But even that's not really enough (as we've noted more in-depth here).

Enough for what? To both bring down prices and stem the tide of young professionals (and families) splitting the Greater Boston region. The region's housing shortage has been pegged at 25,000 units and growing. It will be very difficult to overtake that deficit. And that means there can never be too many apartments. Not now. Not for a while.
· Building Up Boston's Apartment Supply [Globe]
· Our Updated New Development Heatmap: Then There Were 50 [Curbed Boston]
· 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]
· Is Governor Patrick's Apartment Plan Too Little, Too Late? [Curbed Boston]