Real Estate Development – Good or Evil?
Real estate developers tend to have a tarnished reputation in most communities. People argue that developers are responsible for destroying the authenticity of a community. This authenticity is referring to the original population and the original housing established in a community. The concept of maintaining the character of a neighborhood is reasonable, but I believe that a transitional period is inevitable in growing communities nearby a flourishing city.
It’s unfortunate that developers are a common target for neighborhood activists. It seems that the “money makers” behind change can gain the reputation of greed. It may be true that investors are money-motivated, but the inflated housing costs are dictated by the market, the demand for housing, and interest rates determined by lenders. As long as businesses and schools continue to thrive in Boston, people will continue flooding to nearby areas, thus prices will continue to sky-rocket until the housing supply matches or exceeds the demand.
Yes, it is true that the increase in housing costs will draw a new population to an area. This may change the dynamic of an area, but statistically brings more good than bad. For example, crime rates in Suffolk County have decreased in all aspects in the past 10 years (Chart 1). I believe this is a direct reflection of the progressive gentrification in the region. Employment in Massachusetts has increased drastically for similar reasons (Chart 2). The labor force has increased by 300,000 in 10 years. Education and health services are crucial aspects of a functional society, and both industries have drastically improved in Boston (Chart 3). This clearly shows a substantial increase in health care and educational professionals.
Neighborhoods will change. This will always be inevitable. It’s important to focus on the types of change and the overall impact these changes bring on a community. It’s clear to me that development and gentrification in Boston has introduced too many positive changes to be viewed in a negative light.