Vote NO on 2
On November 2, Massachusetts voters will have the opportunity to preserve Chapter 40B, the state’s primary too for producing affordable housing for working families and seniors, by voting NO on 2.
The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® has always supported Chapter 40B and the need for affordable housing; and for that reason, has joined with more than 200 individuals and organizations to form a grassroots coalition called the Campaign to Protect the Affordable Housing Law. These members represent hundreds of thousands of residents committed to protecting this law. This coalition includes civic, business, religious, and academic leaders as well as senior, environmental, housing, and civil rights groups.
Vote No on 2 in the News
MAR Housing Policy General Statement
What is Chapter 40B?
The Success of 40B
Opposition to 40B
Why we need to keep 40B
Consequences of 40B’s Repeal
Working around Chapter 40B is Not the Answer
More Facts about 40B
MAR Housing Policy General Statement:
“One of the mega-issues facing our country and especially our Commonwealth is the issue of ‘affordable housing’. Few issues will pose as substantial a threat to the American Dream. As an Association, REALTORS® reaffirm the national goal of ‘a decent home and a suitable living environment for every family.’ No attainment of this goal is possible without the commitment to address the need for affordable housing not just for those climbing up the housing ladder, but more importantly for those not yet on its first step: the homeless, those remaining in the family home because they cannot afford to rent, and those renting property because they cannot qualify as first-time buyers.”
What is Chapter 40B?
Under Chapter 40B, in any municipality where less than 10% of its housing qualifies as affordable under the law, a developer can build more densely than the municipal zoning laws would otherwise permit with more units per acre of land, when building a new development, if at least 25% (or 20% for certain rental developments) of the new units have long-term affordability restrictions. Chapter 40B was enacted in 1969 to help address the shortage of affordable housing statewide by reducing barriers created by local approval processes, local zoning, and other restrictions. Its goal is to encourage the production of affordable housing in all communities throughout the Commonwealth.
The Success of 40B:
More than 56,000 homes have been created for low and middle income families, seniors, and people with disabilities all across the state…in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Chapter 40B has been the single most important tool to create unsubsidized affordable and mixed-income housing outside our largest cities and, as such, is often cited as a national model. In the last 10 years, Chapter 40B has generated approximately $9.25 Billion in construction-related spending.
Opposition to 40B:
Despite its enormous success, the opponents of the affordable housing law have gathered sufficient signatures to initiate a November 2010 ballot referendum to eliminate this landmark legislation. The petition would eliminate all of the “Low and Moderate Income Housing” sections of Ch. 40B (sections 20-23; the other sections relate to regional planning) and invalidate all 40B Comprehensive permits that have not obtained a building permit for at least one unit by January 1, 2011.
Approximately 56,000 homes have been produced under 40B and another 10,900 homes have been approved locally, but are not under construction yet. Of these, 29,000 homes are reserved for households below 80% of area median income. Over 39,000 are apartments and almost 17,000 are homeownership units.
40B produces more units of affordable housing than any other housing program in the Commonwealth.
From 2002-2006, 40B led to the creation of nearly 80% of all new affordable rental units in Greater Boston (outside the City of Boston).
Chapter 40B has prompted over 89 communities to develop affordable housing plans under the 2003 “planned production” regulation.
A Harvard/Rappaport Study [The Economic Impact of Restricting Housing Supply, May 2006 concluded that:
Limits on new construction are responsible for declines in Massachusetts’ population
Restricting housing supply leads to greater volatility in housing prices
Restricted housing supply and its resultant increased housing prices have led to a decline in employment and income
High housing prices change an area’s demographic mix, making it less diverse
Consequences of 40B’s Repeal:
If this law is repealed it would immediately halt the creation of housing that is affordable to modest income families and seniors in most areas of the Commonwealth and will jeopardize the future economic prosperity of our state. Moreover, approximately 11,000 housing units that have already received local approvals would immediately be nullified. This comes at a time of high unemployment, a severe recession, growing homelessness, and the worst foreclosure crisis on record.
Working around Chapter 40B is Not the Answer:
Some municipalities resist the permitting and building more housing because of the belief that the cost of services demanded by the new occupants with children, largely for education, are greater than the taxes received for the housing unit.
Municipalities have occasionally attempted to gain "affordable" classification for existing inexpensive housing units which are not deed restricted to maintain the future affordable status of the units. Some have requested that mobile homes be allowed, but this has been denied. Others attempted to include prisons and school dormitories to little avail.
More Facts about 40B:
For the purposes of this statute, affordable housing is defined as a unit which could be purchased or rented by a household making up to 80% of the area median income. Such housing must be subject to affordable housing restrictions to preserve affordability in the long term.
- Under Chapter 40B, in any municipality where less than 10% of its housing qualifies as affordable under the law, a developer can build more densely than the municipal zoning laws would permit with more units per acre of land, when building a new development, if at least 25% (or 20% for certain rental developments) of the new units have long-term affordability restrictions.
- As of December 2007, 51 of 351 municipalities in the state have greater than the 10% threshold of affordable housing units, mostly cities.
- Even with Chapter 40B very few new houses are built in Massachusetts relative to its needs. The state is very interested in increasing the supply of inexpensive homes.
- The shortage contributes to sprawl as workers move further away from jobs in order obtain affordably priced houses. The high price of housing is one reason that young adults move away from the state.