Mayors Coalition Looks for Ways to Address Housing Concerns

Just last month, the Metro Mayors Coalition announced that it has set a new goal to facilitate the construction of 185,000 new housing units in the Boston area by 2030. The coalition, which consists of 15 mayors from the area, set this goal in the hopes of addressing concerns surrounding rising housing costs and the continued increase in population. Already one of the most expensive regions in the country, population growth in the area will only exacerbate the problem.

Problems with population growth outpacing residential housing growth are nothing new to the area. In fact, the mayors of the 15 cities and towns included in the coalition found that they added nearly 110,000 residents and 148,000 new jobs to the area since 2010. Yet, during this same timeframe, they only permitted 32,500 new housing units. The region is on track to add another tens of thousands of jobs to the area by 2030. As such, housing options need to also increase at a much faster pace in order to accommodate the anticipated continual population growth.

In addition to adding more housing to the region, the mayors are looking to ensure the new housing meets the needs of a variety of different people. For example, some of the housing will be designated as affordable while other housing will be constructed with the intent of helping people with special needs or those with moderate incomes meet their housing needs.

London-based Company Bringing Private Dorms to Boston

One initiative that will help to address the lack of housing in Boston is that of the London-based Scape. A development and ownership company that specializes in private dorms, the company recently announced its plans to launch its first American effort in Boston. As part of this announcement, the company also stated it will be setting up its U.S. headquarters in Fort Point.

Since its development, Scape has worked to change how we view private dormitories. So far, the company has concentrated its efforts on dorms in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia. According to its latest announcement, however, the company will soon be bringing 20,000 beds to the United States. The U.S. efforts will start in Boston, with the company investing $1 billion in the city over the next five years.

While Scape chose Boston as its starting point for its US growth for many reasons, the fact that the city’s housing supply is significantly lagging behind demand was a major reason for making the choice. According to the company’s press release, the city recently identified a need for 69,000 units of housing, including 16,000 new undergraduate beds and 3,000 graduate beds, by 2030. The company hopes to help meet this needs.

The model that Scape has developed has been quite successful in its other locations. Many of room types at Scape locations in London are fully leased, with many entire locations being occupied. While the company has not released information regarding pricing for the housing, room shares with two to five other people at the company’s Wembley location are being leased at around $240 per month.

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