Governments, businesses struggle to meet local housing demand

Housing in the Greater Boston metropolitan area has grown outrageously expensive in recent years, and state and local governments have struggled to come up with ways to help people afford to live and work in the region. Private companies have tried to come up with solutions, as well.

Recently, a startup company began offering a type of rental property that it describes as a possible solution. In April, Bungalow, a San Francisco-based company, began leasing 15 properties in Boston, which it bills as "co-living" units. The properties are all described as furnished, large, single-family homes where the company rents out individuals rooms. Bungalow says it is marketing these units to young professionals who need a convenient place to live for a relatively short time, and which they can leave without having to break a lease when they move on to a work assignment in another town.

The population of the Greater Boston metropolitan area has grown by more than 300,000 people over the past decade, and Boston is now the 10th largest city by population in the United States, with 4.875 million people. At the same time, construction of new residences has not met demand. The cost of housing has risen dramatically, and by some estimates, home buyers in the area must now spend more than 56% of their monthly income on their homes.

Gov. Charlie Baker advocates for the passage of a bill he calls the Act to Promote Housing Choices, which he says would help open 135,000 new residences by 2025 through zoning law reforms and other changes.

In this atmosphere, residential real estate is a high-risk business, but one with the potential for very high rewards. Individuals and businesses hoping to develop, buy or sell residential property in Massachusetts need help from lawyers with experience in Boston real estate law.

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