The Affordable Homes Act and the price of living in Massachusetts

March 16, 2024

Our house was the single largest purchase in our lives, but we could afford it on our salaries in 1993. Unfortunately, this is no longer possible for many families today.   

Massachusetts has a housing crisis. Homeownership has become increasingly out of reach, as the state’s median home price is approximately $600,000. In more than 20 communities, including Concord ($1,594,000 in 2023), the median home price recently passed $1 million. The high cost of housing has led to displacement, and in a growing number of municipalities, the local workforce can no longer afford to live there.  

Governor Healey has responded to this crisis by introducing the Affordable Homes Act, which combines funding authorizations for various housing programs with important new policy measures for affordable housing. One of its key proposals is the local real estate transfer fee option. It enables cities and towns to levy a small fee on large real estate transactions to create a dedicated revenue stream for affordable housing production and preservation. Cities and towns across the state have already expressed a desire to do so — Concord’s home rule petition has been refiled for the third time and is pending at the State House. The Affordable Homes Act also includes capital authorizations to support the badly needed repair, rehabilitation, and modernization of over 43,000 crumbling public housing units across the Commonwealth, including $150M for public housing decarbonization and $115 million for sustainable and climate-resilient affordable housing. 

The Affordable Homes Act is a much-needed measure to address our housing crisis. I hope our legislators, Rep. Cataldo, Rep. Gentile, and Senator Barrett, will continue to advocate for the strongest legislation possible at the State House. Let’s make Massachusetts a place where people can afford to live at any stage of life. 

Hewon Hwang 

Minot Road