Boston Area Housing Boom Leaves Out Affordable Options

A recent study conducted by Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies and the Brookings Institution named metropolitan Boston a "hot market" for housing construction.

"People who live in and around Boston know that the real estate market is booming," says Alexander von Hoffman, a senior research fellow at the Joint Center for Housing Studies and the author of the report.

"Boston is doing very well, as are its surrounding neighborhoods," he says.

Others are not so sure.

Some non-profit groups have faulted the study for not differentiating between luxury and low-income housing and have challenged its optimistic tone.

They charge the housing boom has only served the wealthy and has contributed to the affordable housing crunch and gentrification in Cambridge and surrounding areas.

"We're not doing nearly enough for moderate or low-income buyers or renters," says Harvard Vice President of Government, Community and Public Affairs Paul S. Grogan, who spearheaded the University's initiative to provide $20 million in loans to create affordable housing in Cambridge and Boston.

Gordon N. Gottsche, executive director of Just A Start, a non-profit community development corporation based in Cambridge, says the report does not address the key issue of affordability.