To all developers, urban planners, housing authorities, and mayors in and around the city of Boston:
You have failed this city.
Now, I don’t know if it's laziness, incompetence, a gross disinterest, or a combination of the three, but when it comes to developing affordable luxury apartments for the city’s ever-expanding class of young professionals and recent college graduates, no one is stepping up to the plate.
What’s clear is that nobody in this city, adorned with the power and equipped with the voice, has truly tried to put a stop to this overpriced madness.
There are so many brand new and beautifully built residential spaces that are outlandishly priced. I’ve lost count and I’m sure you have as well.
They’re popping up all over Boston and surrounding areas like Somerville (at Assembly Row and Twin City Plaza), in Medford (at Wellington Station), in Everett, Chelsea, and Boston’s Government Center (near the TD Garden), to name a few.
As I pass by these fancy modernized dwellings during my travels, I start to daydream a little bit: “Word? What’s the name of this spot?” I ask as I reach for my phone.
Then, when I get to the website and check out the prices, I see numbers that belong on a paycheck, not a monthly rental fee.
Numbers like $3,443 for a 1 bedroom, $4,245 for a 2 bedroom, and $5,072 for a 3 bedroom scatter real estate offices all over Boston. What calculator are these people that set the prices using? And, more importantly, who is willing to pay these prices? I wish I could have a word with both sides because I cannot, for the life of me, understand why a studio is worth that much money. I just can’t.
According to a recent article on BostonMagazine.com, in order to own a home in avaricious Boston, residents need to have a salary of approximately $98,518.71.
I’ll let that sink in.
This is more than double what one needs to earn to own a home in Atlanta, Ga., or Buffalo, Ny. But don’t get stuck on this number. It shoots up once percentages enter the conversation. For example, if a 10 percent down payment is paid on a house or condominium rather than 20 percent, then that almost six-figure salary climbs to $114,102.23.
Now that I’ve scared you, let’s crunch the numbers:
The median Boston home costs $494,900 with the average monthly Boston mortgage payment at $2,298.77. In 2015, the median income in the city of Boston was $54,485. Today, it is about $78,000.
Are you seeing the problem here?
At this point, young professionals in Boston should band together like a torch-wielding, Frankenstein-like mob and march upon the offices of the city’s most contracted developers in fuming protest. What city officials fail to understand is that there are far more college-educated poor people than there are well-off ones.
We are becoming a generation forced to live in one of three ways: either with 4-6 different people—which in many cases, plays out to be 4-6 different kinds of weird, awful, and crazy—while working ourselves to death to pay an astronomically high rent, or stay at home with our parents through ages 35-40 until we finally manage to rent or buy our own home, or get married for the two incomes to throw at the gargantuan housing costs.
With a national student debt at $1.3 trillion hanging over our heads and Boston refusing to tell developers to build affordable luxury homes for people far below the $98,000 salary mark, it seems like young Bostonians will be left out in the cold this winter.