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Kids Today! Why Fewer Young Folk Own in Greater Boston

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It's all the same trend! The Globe trumpeted on its front page yesterday that fewer young people own homes in Massachusetts than ever, really: the number of 25-to-34-year-olds who own "plunged" 20 percent from 2005 through 2010, while the overall number edged up. Moreover, per Sarah Shemkus: "The rate of homeownership, which measures the percentage of housing units occupied by owners, fell more for 25-to-34-year-olds than any other age group, declining to 34 percent from 40 percent in 2005." That 34 percent's well under the national percentage, too.

Yikes! The reasons trotted out? The young folk don't have the money because they have too much debt from attending the colleges and universities that make this area so desirable a place to live; they saw how well homeownership worked out the last decade for so many; you can, over time, get the same or better return on investment throwing a dart at a collage of stock picks as you can investing in real estate. Etc. We would add something else, which we've talked about before and which you know by being a sentient human being in the Hub: housing's really expensive, and it's really expensive because (a) the wrong kind of it keeps getting built; and (b) not enough of it's getting build, wrong or right.

To (a): Most of the new housing construction in and around the Hub in the last quarter-century has been of the single-family variety, creating the shortage in housing that we all know and loathe—and the higher prices that come with it. To (b): through NIMBY-ism or genuine concern or what have you, it is very difficult to build larger-scale in the Hub (witness what's happening to the Fenway Center, just as one example). Until either or both of these things change (though we imagine they change almost in tandem) then fewer young people graduating into the worst jobs market since who knows when are not going to saddle themselves with mortgages, however low the rates, to roll the dice on what has proven an iffy investment. They'll rent instead. 'Cause that's so much cheaper.

· Young Adults Put Buying a Home on Backburner [Globe]
· Why the Hub Housing Market Could Get Worse, Much Worse [Curbed Boston]
· Of Course: 5-Building Fenway Center Hits Legal Bump [Curbed Boston]
· Where Boston Apartment Rents Are Headed: Way Up [Curbed Boston]

[Jerome T via Flickr]