Boston Business Journal – Bay State boasts highest number of multi-family housing permits since 2006 – 2/5/14

By , Real Estate Editor-Boston Business Journal

Courtesy of Peter Foley

The number of multi-family housing unit permits pulled in 2013 rose to 7,601, making it the strongest year for apartment construction since 2006.

Last year’s multi-family permit number represents a 50 percent increase over 2012, when 5,019 were pulled, based on new data from the U.S. Census Bureau’sBuilding Permit Survey. Total permits increased 39 percent between 2012 and 2013 in the Bay State and the proportion of multi-family permits increased from 48 percent of total permits pulled in 2012 to 52 percent in 2013.

In the last four years, the number of multi-family starts have more than tripled, from 2,346 in 2009 to 7,601 in 2013, the U.S. Census reported.

Last fall, Gov. Deval Patrick issued the commonwealth’s goal of creating 10,000 multi-family housing units per year. By creating this type of housing, which is attractive to young families and individuals, he said, Massachusetts is better prepared to keep in state the skilled, young workforce for which employers are looking.

In the final days of his administration, Mayor Thomas M. Menino proposed an ambitious goal of building 30,000 homes in Boston by allowing taller structures with smaller units, selling public land to developers at a discount, and using subsidies to spur development of more affordable housing.

“The market is continuing to respond to the demand for homes that are in the commercial core of a downtown or town center and accessible to public transit,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Gregory Bialecki, in a statement.

A recent report by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council found that Greater Boston will need to produce between 6,800 and 11,660 multi-family homes a year through 2020. The report, which projected housing demand through 2040 for 101 communities in the region, analyzed demographic trends that include retirement and down-sizing by the “Baby Boomer” generation, the labor force needs for “status quo” and “stronger growth” scenarios, and the household size and housing type preferences of the various generational cohorts.

“We are beginning to build in the Commonwealth the housing we will need for older baby boomers looking to downsize and the young millennials we need to power our economy,” said Barry Bluestone, Director of the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University, in a statement.

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