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Why the middle class in greater Boston has thinned out since 1990

Posted on June 2nd, 2016

In greater Boston, the middle class is shrinking. The cost of renting and Boston real estate is driving middle class families out of Boston according to a new report.

The middle class families that have children is thinning from the outer Boston suburbs along the I-495 and this has dropped 112 percent since 1990 says a new report by the Urban Land Institute.

In Boston, the number of families in the middle class fell 14 percent. The “inner ring” of communities that surround the city such as Cambridge. Everett, and Quincy saw a drop that was higher at16 percent. Boston housing prices have played a large role in this exodus as middle class families end up having to pay around 30 percent of their paycheck on mortgages has gone up significantly. This is up from 27 percent in 1990 to 43 percent in 2014. This was shown in the study which the Metropolitan Area Planning Council researched.

The middle class in th urban core of Boston is being priced out of the market. Action will need to be taken to reduce the consequences and to ensure that the region is competitive according to executive director of the Terwilliger Center for Housing Stockton Williams.

The high prices make it difficult for buyers, especially those that have lower than average incomes in the middle income bracket since they can’t find any homes in their price range, even though they want to buy.

Across Eastern Massachusetts in 2014 and 2014 just 22 percent of single-family homes were affordable for a family with two kids earning $75,000 per year. The study took notes from the Warren Group who are the publisher of Banker & Tradesman. For condos the percentage rises to 39 percent, but this is still less than half.

For renters the difficulties are even more pronounced as just 12 percent of the listings for apartments were affordable for a family that was making $75,000. In the areas of Lynn, Brockton, and Lowell the affordable rentals are at a greater percentage.

There needs to be another 200,000 new homes, apartments, and condos in Greater Boston to keep up with the growing Boston economy by 2030. There needs to be more stability for rentals and housing prices.

The workforce is growing and more housing is needed. For economic opportunity and equality as well as the stability of Boston, there needs to be affordable housing for the middle class.