Governor Patrick details multifamily housing plan
Governor Deval Patrick detailed a plan Tuesday to produce 10,000 multifamily housing units a year through 2020 in an effort to keep young professionals from leaving Massachusetts.
The initiative includes a program called Compact Neighborhoods that will encourage and create housing near workplaces, public transportation, and city and village centers, Patrick said.
The plan is meant to complement other state initiatives that promote so-called smart-growth — the creation of housing near train stations and urban centers, state officials said. It would more than double the amount of housing with five or more units — including apartments and condominiums — expected to be built by the end of this year, the state said
“Access to housing for our middle- and moderate-income families is an important component in the Commonwealth’s continued growth to retain and build our young and innovative workforce,” Patrick said in a statement.
The move comes amid a growing chorus of housing specialists who are stressing the importance of building more higher-density housing. On Wednesday, a Boston nonprofit is scheduled to release its annual report forecasting that an increasing number of home buyers will seek “smaller, more transit-oriented developments” rather than traditional suburban single-family homes.
Study author Barry Bluestone said the housing demand will be led by younger families with significant debt, and older people looking to downsize.
The report by the nonprofit Boston Foundation calls for the state to double or triple its housing development in the region as young professionals and baby boomers compete for the same types of homes in Suffolk, Essex, Middlesex, Plymouth, and Norfolk counties.
Barry Bluestone, director of the Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University, and lead author of the study, said he was “thrilled” to learn about the governor’s goal to bolster the creation of multifamily residences.
Bluestone said housing demand over the next eight years will be led by younger families with significant debt, and older people looking to downsize.
“We are about to see a very dramatic shift in the overall demand for housing and the type of housing people will want,” he said.
Marc Draisen, executive director of the regional Metropolitan Area Planning Council, also praised the new state initiative, saying it will focus public and private efforts on a similar goal. The council predicts the Boston area will expand by 120,000 households — most of them younger families — between 2010 and 2020.
“I’m very glad the governor has set a goal,” he said. “What we really need is multifamily homes.“