Oct 26, 2022 - Real Estate

Subsidy programs not helping Massachusetts housing shortfalls

Illustration of a welcome mat that says SIGHHH instead of welcome.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Extremely limited housing inventory continues to fuel rising costs for homes in Massachusetts, and a new report suggests subsidization systems aren't helping.

Driving the news: Flaws in the state's housing subsidy systems mean "thousands of people who qualify for subsidies are getting lost in a fragmented system that is difficult to navigate," according to a report from the Boston Foundation released today.

  • The 2022 Greater Boston Housing Report Card found that a confusing mishmash of state, local and federal housing aid programs are not easily accessible to those who would benefit from them the most, leading to racial inequity in homeownership.

What they're saying: “The report as a whole tells a concerning and all-too-familiar story of high prices, low vacancy rates, and systems that make it difficult and often impossible for people, especially families of color, to navigate the complex rules and application requirements for subsidized housing,” Boston Foundation president M. Lee Pelton said in the report.

Details: The market analysis found that low vacancy rates create a lack of options for renters and potential homebuyers, which in turn leads to some of the highest rental rates and home prices in the nation.

  • Ultra-low vacancy rates lagging behind most major cities disqualify metro Boston from being considered a healthy housing market, according to the report.
  • "As a result," the report states, "Boston homes sell more quickly than homes in any other major metropolitan area."
  • The study considered the current state of the housing market and an analysis of equity in subsidized housing.

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