Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® and Greater Boston Real Estate Board Testified on Behalf of bill to increase housing production and encourage economic development in Massachusetts

Housing production is key to keeping home prices affordable and aspiring homeowners from moving away

WALTHAM, Mass. – October 21, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Increasing the opportunity for aspiring homeowners to be able to live and work in Massachusetts was the goal of officials from the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® and the Greater Boston Real Estate Board when they testified yesterday in support of the H.O.M.E. Bill before the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Businesses at Massachusetts State House.

REALTORS® see every day that potential homeowners continue to face increasing housing costs due to housing production barriers across the Commonwealth. Senate Bill 119 “An Act improving housing opportunities and the Massachusetts economy” (or “H.O.M.E.”), filed on behalf of the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® and the Greater Boston Real Estate Board by Senator Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport), would make some changes to Massachusetts zoning laws that would help remove those barriers to housing production, keep future homeowners in the state and strengthen the Massachusetts economy.

“The production of new housing is what we need for Massachusetts to remain competitive in the region, the country and the world,” said 2015 MAR President Corinne Fitzgerald, broker-owner of FITZGERALD Real Estate in Greenfield. “We live in a great state that people want to live in, but the cost of housing is making it more and more difficult to stay here or move here. The H.O.M.E. Bill will remove the barriers that are holding back our ability to produce the housing we need.”

“This legislation will go a long way to moving the needle on housing production. It takes simple steps to reduce red tape on existing building permits making it easier for buyers to obtain financing. It’s a solid first step in supporting job expansion and economic growth in the Commonwealth,” said Gregory Vasil, CEO of the Greater Boston Real Estate Board.

“The H.O.M.E. Bill seeks to meet our state’s housing needs, in turn strengthening the economy and retaining valuable human capital in Massachusetts,” said State Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport). “This bill offers a multifaceted approach to easing the Commonwealth’s housing shortage, reducing red tape, streamlining the housing production process, and encouraging smart growth. It will make Massachusetts an even better place to live and work.”

What the Bill Does:

The H.O.M.E. Bill promotes:
Smart growth by requiring that cluster development be allowed by right in residential zoning districts, at the density permitted in the underlying zoning district.
Multifamily housing construction by requiring that cities and towns permit multifamily development by right on at least 1.5% of the community’s developable land area that is suitable for multifamily residential.
Affordable in-fill housing by requiring that accessory dwelling units (“ADUs”), sometimes referred to as in-law apartments, be permitted by right in all single-family residential zoning districts.
Easing the burden on property owners to obtain dimensional relief for minor improvements by creating a two-tiered variance approach.
Replacing the super majority vote requirements for variances and special permits with a simple majority standard.
Creating consistent wetlands requirements by restoring uniformity across Massachusetts by prohibiting local wetlands requirements in most cases.
Creating consistent sewage disposal requirements by establishing a DEP review and approval process of local sewage disposal systems regulations to ensure they are scientifically-based restrictions, necessary to protect unusual local resources and do not conflict with Title V.
To read about the H.O.M.E. Bill in more click here

About the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®:
Organized in 1924, the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® is a professional trade organization with more than 20,100 + members. The term REALTOR® is registered as the exclusive designation of members of the National Association of REALTORS® who subscribe to a strict code of ethics and enjoy continuing education programs.

About the Greater Boston Real Estate Board:
Founded in 1889 GBREB is the oldest real estate trade association in America. GBREB is one organization powering five divisions that provide education, networking, advocacy and philanthropy. GBREB members specialize in the development, management, and transactional aspects of real estate projects, both residential and commercial. GBREB is affiliated with MAR, NAR, NAA, NMHC and BOMA International.

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Editors and reporters: Please note that the term Realtor is properly spelled with an initial capital “R”, per the Associated Press Stylebook.

by Eric Berman – – 781/839-5507 | Oct 20, 2015

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