Boston is building a record amount of housing, much of it affordable

New Developments News Boston South Boston
Boston is building a record amount of housing, much of it affordable.
Boston is building a record amount of housing, much of it affordable. GLOBE

Mayor Marty Walsh announced today that Boston is experiencing a swell in housing units that low- and middle-income residents can afford. Almost half of the 2,461 apartments, condos, and homes the city approved in the first half of 2015 were listed as affordable, for low-income residents, or priced as middle-class units, showing a trend much-welcomed by a city in great need of inexpensive housing.

“I am extremely pleased by the efforts that have taken place across city agencies to ensure that we are able to meet our housing goals,’’ Mayor Walsh said in a statement. The Walsh administration’s housing goal is for the city to produce 53,000 new units by 2030, with 6,500 of those properties listed as low-income.

Due to the city’s expanding population and strong economy, Walsh said developers are finding they can make money by tapping into lower-cost housing developments.

Since the start of 2015, the city has permitted 450 units for low-income families, up 25 percent from last year.

The report also showed a boom in all types of housing around the city.

Boston approved construction for over $1.65 billion in housing in just six months – a city first. The building pace is 138 percent higher than the $692 million in approved construction projects this time last year.

The rapid pace of development can be attributed in part to changes within the city’s Inspectional Services Department (ISD), which issues building permits. Officials said the agency has halved the time it typically takes to process building permits and to rule on zoning permits by extending their hours, installing a digital kiosk for submitting applications, and forming a separate committee to review home additions and renovations.

Most of the construction – 915 of the permitted units in 2015 – is in South Boston and the Seaport.

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If the pace of construction continues at this speed, the city will surpass its goal of 53,000 units by 2030, but Walsh said they would continue to push for more non-luxury developments.

The BRA also announced Monday that it will conduct planning studies in several “transit-oriented’’ corridors of Jamaica Plain, South Boston, and Roxbury, looking for further opportunities for redevelopment.

“It’s clear that developers have taken a serious interest in both of these areas, and we should use that as an opportunity to put together a comprehensive vision to guide development in the future,’’ Mayor Walsh said in a statement.