Boston Mayor Michelle Wu hammers on housing 

State of the City held promises for affordable housing, easier path to ADUs

Michelle Wu Hammers on Housing in State of the City Address
Boston mayor Michelle Wu (Getty)

Housing is top of mind for Boston Mayor Michelle Wu this year, if her State of the City address is any indication.

Schools and law enforcement issues cropped up during her speech, but many of Wu’s remarks focused on housing. The mayor even invited first-time homebuyers as guests for her second State of the City, this week at MGM Music Hall, WBUR reported

Wu pointed to permits approved last year for 7,400 units and the city’s best ratio of affordable housing to market-rate housing in more than a decade.

Affordable housing been an issue on Wu’s agenda since her election to mayor. Her plans aired in the recent speech include a program that would make it simpler to add accessory dwelling units and granny flats to homes.

The city is looking to expand a program it launched in East Boston last year, Wu said, targeting permanently affordable housing units for roughly 400 families. She also said the city planned to identify sites for 3,000 more affordable housing units and solicit federal grants to develop them.

Wu also discussed the city’s program to convert sparsely used office buildings into residential complexes, according to CBS News. There are already eight proposals for office-to-resi conversions in the city, which could boost housing stock while taking some struggling office properties out of play.

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One thing Wu didn’t discuss was the rent control proposal passed in March by the City Council. It would tie rent increases to inflation, capping hikes at 10 percent. The plan excluded small landlords and buildings fewer than 15 years old, combining to comprise about 45 percent of Boston’s rentals.

Despite the measure passing the City Council almost a year ago, the State House and Senate don’t appear eager to sign off on the bill.

The median sale price of a home in Boston in November was $797,000, according to Redfin, up 3.9 percent year-over-year. The city sported one of the fastest-growing average sale prices among major metros.

Holden Walter-Warner

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