The University of Massachusetts Amherst

UMass Donahue Institute

2009 Publication Archive

The State of the Massachusetts Housing Market: A Statewide and Regional Analysis

The Patrick Administration's secretary of housing and economic development today announced that the state will use a recently completed comprehensive housing market assessment report to help determine the best way to meet future housing needs and guide policies to effectively ensure long-term economic growth and prosperity.

The State of Massachusetts Housing Market: A Statewide and Regional Analysis, prepared for the Commonwealth by the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute under the direction of Dr. Michael Goodman, takes a thorough look at current housing market fundamentals across seven regions of the state to project the likely demand for housing production needed through 2012. The report was designed to inform the Commonwealth's ongoing policy efforts to meet housing needs and promote economic growth and development and not as a snapshot of current housing conditions across the Commonwealth.

  • Creating jobs and attracting new businesses to Massachusetts is the foundation of building a long lasting and prosperous economy," said Secretary Gregory Bialecki of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. "A key component is to build housing that meets our geographic and demographic needs and have it work within the framework of our regional economic development strategy."
  • The state Department of Housing and Community Development commissioned the UMass Donahue Institute to complete the report. The Institute's extensive analysis of statewide and regional economic, demographic and housing market data found that:
  • Slow population growth has led to similarly slow growth of housing demand since 2000 while decreases in household size and other demographic trends are changing the quantity and types of housing needed.
  • While weak or negative job growth may continue to discourage population growth and housing production broadly, targeted responses to support economic stability are needed.
  • In spite of the decline in housing prices, Massachusetts still faces a serious affordability challenge, especially for our most economically vulnerable populations.
  • Even though Massachusetts outpaces the nation in providing tenant subsidies, the state's housing safety net has not fully met the housing assistance needs of our most vulnerable citizens during these difficult economic times.
  • Statewide housing shortages have been in evidence since 2000 and the report projects a likely continuation in that trend through 2012. Even in regions of the state where it appears there are small housing surpluses, affordability issues and other problems indicate that the surplus housing may be poorly matched to the needs of the region's householders.

The UMass Donahue Institute report, which is the first such state study done in more than 20 years, examined the seven regions of the state tracked by MassBenchmarks, the quarterly economic journal published by the University of Massachusetts in cooperation with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

"This study will be a valuable tool for us, especially in these very challenging times to ensure that we are building housing that will boost our economy and help attract new jobs and businesses to Massachusetts," said Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Tina Brooks. "Actions like these will bolster our regional economic development plans to spark growth and create new opportunities for residents on all income levels throughout the entire Commonwealth."


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