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Greater Boston Housing Report Card 2021

Pandemic Housing Policy: From Progress to Permanence

The 2021 edition of the Greater Boston Housing Report Card focuses on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Greater Boston economy and housing market, with an emphasis on three areas: economic inequality and housing costs, housing stability, and the housing market, including the impact of the pandemic on housing production.

Not surprisingly, the data show the economic burdens of the pandemic fell most harshly on communities of color - but they also suggest emergency measures undertaken to stabilize the market and protect renters and owners made a difference. Looking ahead, keeping or even expanding many of these measures in the longer-term, as well as a renewed focus on housing production will play a key role in the market's future. 

Explore the report chapter-by-chapter, or download the full report to learn more.


Carrie Bernstein
Calandra Clark
Ian Dinnie
Tom Hopper
Mark Melnik
Abby Raisz
Clark Ziegler


Sandy Kendall and Soni Gupta, The Boston Foundation


Kate Canfield, Canfield Design

The 2021 Greater Boston Housing Report Card: By Chapter

Introduction and Executive Summary

Chapter 1 image Explore the chapter

Chapter 1: Economic Inequality and Cost Burden

While the COVID-19 pandemic was first and foremost a public health crisis, the resulting economic impacts fell most harshly on communities with higher percentages of lower-wage and housing cost-burdened workers, who most often are Black and Latino. The pandemic exacerbated the wealth inequality in Greater Boston, underscoring the need for consideration of policies like guaranteed income, enhanced child care supports, and enhanced housing voucher programs.

Chapter 2 image Explore the chapter

Chapter 2: Housing Stability

Emergency actions, including assistance programs and an eviction moratorium kept the pandemic from turning into a housing catastrophe for thousands of Greater Boston residents and families. However, evictions are still happening. Now, as thousands of renters and owners with mortgages face the end of moratoria and other measures that protected them if they fell behind in payments, items like expedited access to housing stability funds and the extension of other measures put in place to protect households are crucial.

Chapter 3 image Explore the chapter

Chapter 3: Housing Market

The pandemic has amplified what was already one of Greater Boston's most pressing needs - adequate housing supply in smart, sustainable, transit-accessible locations. Even before the pandemic, construction was failing to keep pace with affordable housing goals. As post-pandemic home prices continue to rise, building on innovations in zoning, transit-oriented housing and housing equity are essential.