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In Search of Housing Solutions

As part of its commitment to supporting innovative policies that will create more homes and make housing more affordable, the Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GBREB) partnered with the Center for State Policy Analysis at Tufts University to conduct detailed analyses of existing proposals and identify possible alternatives. Through this partnership, GBREB and the Center for State Policy Analysis at Tufts University established the Housing Solutions Annual Audit. Released each year beginning in 2023, the audits focus in on existing or proposed policies and their efficacy in addressing the housing crisis.

The Latest Reports


Empowering Cities and Towns to Tackle the Housing Shortage

May 2024

Several Massachusetts cities and towns are petitioning the state Legislature for the right to impose new real estate transfer taxes, which would allow them to tax the sale of high value properties and dedicate the proceeds to affordable housing. This report highlights the problems with transfer taxes and proposes more effective alternatives.

Missed Opportunities: Funding Housing Through the Community Preservation Act

June 2023

To better understand the real-world impact — and future potential — of the Community Preservation Act (CPA), we at the Greater Boston Real Estate Board partnered with the Center for State Policy Analysis at Tufts University on a thorough assessment of the program, with a particular focus on affordable housing.

Bringing new ideas to the table

Our latest report explores several innovative ideas, including those provided below.

Allowing accessory dwelling units (ADUs) by right, as included in the Governor’s housing bond bill.

Setting clear expectations about local and legal review, so developers know how long approval processes can take — and what recourse they have in case of delay.

Setting core expectations for overall housing production or affordable production, and imposing a builder’s remedy on municipalities that fall short, as is happening in California.

Tracking and overseeing existing pots of money meant for affordable housing, including funds in local housing trusts, which rarely report their activity, as well as revenue from the Community Preservation Act, which sometimes sits in municipal bank accounts.

Exempting affordable housing initiatives from Proposition 2 ½, just as the state allows for new growth.

Allowing municipalities to introduce a new, CPA-like property tax surcharge for the express purpose of affordable housing. Alternatively, the state could permit higher CPA surcharges — or offer a higher state match.

Vastly expanding the number of state vouchers.

Pooling money at the state level- which is often more effective than authorizing local spending.

Pursuing a new generation of public housing purchases and projects.

These ideas are discussed in further detail here.

©  2024 The Greater Boston Real Estate Board.