June 11, 2007

More Starter Homes?

Filed under: Newton, Politics — marcstober @ 10:59 pm

Repost of an article I submitted on TheGardenCity.net:

This article in today’s Globe talks about “a disparate collection of real estate agents, homebuilders, housing activists, and public officials who expect to propose legislation later this year that would either require or encourage municipalities to promote construction of ‘starter homes,’ which are in short supply in Boston’s suburbs. The houses would be modest…priced so families earning between about$80,000 and $130,000 could afford them.”

Our house was featured in another Globe article on housing prices (by the same writer) just about a year ago, and our family income is in the neighborhood of the high end of that range. We’ve been talking on this blog lately about mixed-use development such as Chestnut Hill Square, and what demographic would like to live over a mall. Chuck has blogged in favor of building up. Current state affordable housing law seems to encourage these many-unit buildings. But I probably would not have moved my family to Newton if the only thing in my price range was a high-rise condo. I would have gone somewhere else, where I could get a yard and driveway, even if it meant a longer commute to work. In fact, we moved here from Brookline largely because Newton was, relatively speaking, more affordable. Of course, not everyone is going to be able to afford a single-family here, but is it inevitable that that Newton is no longer going to be a place where middle-class families have their own back yards? Is this something we want, that we should try to change, or that’s just going to happen?