University of Wisconsin–Madison

Towering Excess: The Perils of the Luxury Real Estate Boom for Bostonians

Type Policy Brief or Report
Year 2018
Level City or Town
State(s) Massachusetts
Policy Areas Economic Justice, Housing
Boston is experiencing a luxury real estate boom, with thousands of new luxury residential and rental units in different stages of development. A decade from now, Boston’s skyline and population demographics will be fundamentally altered by decisions being made today. This boom does have benefits, providing good jobs in the building trades and increasing property tax revenue for the city. But the boom is not helping address Boston’s acute affordable housing crisis. This report takes a preliminary look at the perils of Boston’s luxury boom. These pages examine how Boston could better protect the public interest and, in the process, capture more of the current luxury real estate wealth flow to support affordable housing for Boston residents. The authors focus here on residential condominium ownership as a form of “wealth storage” and examine twelve of the highest-priced and presently occupied luxury housing developments constructed in Boston over the last decade.

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