Boston sets affordable-housing record even as thousands still wait

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BOSTON – Boston’s pipeline to create affordable housing last year reached its highest level since record-keeping began, according to City Hall, which also said more than 28,000 city households would qualify for the units if enough existed.

Even so, the city said the proportion of housing that is classed as “affordable” is higher than any other major city in the country, at 19 percent.

The city permitted 1,022 affordable units for construction last year, the most since record keeping began two decades ago, according to a statement released Thursday by City Hall. Also, it said city agencies approved the development of 1,443 new affordable units in 2015, up 55 percent from the previous year. It said these units have yet to receive building permits.

There are 28,400 low-income households in the city that need affordable housing, and the need is projected to grow to 38,200 units by 2030. Rents in the city have been rising fast as well, with the median two-bedroom apartment in the city fetching $2,650 a month, behind only San Francisco, New York and Washington, according to

“We are committed to creating a Boston that anyone, at any income level, can afford to live in,” Mayor Marty Walsh said in the statement. “I am pleased that because of our administration’s commitment to creating affordable housing, we have been able to capture the strong real estate market, create jobs and give more people and families the opportunity to find affordable housing in Boston.”

In October, Walsh announced a plan to create 6,500 new affordable units in his Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030, with a goal to create 53,000 new units of housing at various income levels across the city. Boston is now running at 107 percent target rate to reach that goal, according to City Hall.