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New Report: Rent Control Would Cut Housing Supply, Lower Values & Tax Revenue in Boston, Across Massachusetts

A new analysis shows rent control proposals would drastically reduce the supply of apartments, property values and tax revenue in Boston and throughout Massachusetts if the Legislature rescinds the voter-approved ban on the policy.

The new NAA reports analyze the impact if a 3% annual cap on apartment rents is implemented in Boston or across the state, as proposed in current legislation. Among the key findings:
● New apartment supply will drop by more than 700 units per year;
●  Apartment property values will drop by more than $260 million; and
●  Property tax revenue to the City of Boston will drop by more than $2 million annually.

Across Massachusetts, the negative outcomes increase exponentially:
● Impacts 40%, or more than 18,000 units of foregone new housing stock and existing units potentially lost due to infeasible repairs and upgrades of existing stock;
● Apartment property values drop by more than $820 million; and
Property tax revenue to cities and towns will drop by more than $7 million annually.

The reports further notes that, in Boston, apartments and their residents contribute more than $54 billion to the regional economy annually, and support more than 228,000 jobs. Throughout the state, apartments and their residents contribute more than $60 billion to the Massachusetts economy each year, and support more than 268,000 jobs. But if a 3% annual cap on apartment rents is implemented, both the economic strength and massive workforce created by the apartment industry would come under serious threat.


New Rent Control Report
New England Real Estate Journal - December 2021
New England Real Estate Journal - November 2021
New England Real Estate Journal - October 2021
New England Real Estate Journal - September 2021
New England Real Estate Journal - August 2021
New England Real Estate Journal - July 2021
New England Real Estate Journal - June 2021

REFA invites you to submit nominations for the Swain Award to be presented at the 2021 REFA Gala on October 26th

The Robert S. Swain Jr. Distinguished Service Award is an annual recognition of an outstanding contribution made to the real estate industry either by lifetime example or specific achievement. 
This year’s Gala will be a celebration of coming together and supporting each other and our community through a challenging time.  We recognize that so many have done so much. 
At REFA, and through the Swain Award, we want to recognize individuals, companies or groups in the CRE industry who have made a significant impact in the last year managing through the pandemic.  This could come in the form of assisting with COVID logistics, testing and vaccine rollout, offering housing or rent relief, financial contributions, above and beyond support for employees, or anything else that merits recognition.

Submit your REFA Gala Honoree Nomination
New England Real Estate Journal - May 2021

REFA Webinar Recap

The Impact of COVID-19: One Year Later
April 29th, 2021

Presented by:

Paul Ayoub, Chair, Nutter

Leslie Cohen, Principal, COO, Head of Asset Management, Samuels & Associates

Jonathan Davis, Founder & CEO, The Davis Companies

Robin Lidington, Managing Director, Wells Fargo Bank

Robert Palter, Global Co-Head, Real Estate Practice, McKinsey & Company

Navjot Singh, Managing Partner, Boston Office, McKinsey & Company

John Wolff, SVP/Real Estate Market Executive, Commercial Real Estate Banking, Bank of America

If you missed it, you can view the webinar recording here.

Top Takeaways from our Speakers:

Click here to download the printable version.

Return to Work

  • The results of “the great working from home experiment” have been better than expected. 70-90% of employees like working from home and are productive at home, despite the challenges
  • However, the reality of remote work is that it has also made us more distant and is hard on younger colleagues, who are missing out on mentorship and training opportunities.
  • Moving forward, employees want to be together, but they also want the flexibility to work remotely.
  • Much of today’s office space will be reduced or redesigned for more collaboration and to meet the needs of tenants and workers in a hybrid world.
  • The race is on to find collaboration tools and technology to support hybrid working models.
  • Companies are considering different models, such as having multiple microhubs, having employees work fully remotely and leasing flex space only, or having a partially remote workforce and multiple hubs.

Banking Industry and Labor Capacity

  • The massive scale of the federal fiscal and monetary response to the crisis has been a welcome surprise to the real estate industry.
  • The life sciences market in Cambridge and Boston has seen tremendous growth in response to the pandemic.
  • The rebound in the capital markets has been strong, which has helped the banking and real estate sectors with liquidity which has helped restore/maintain asset values.
  • The economy may not be prepared for the consumer demand that is coming as a result of vaccines, pent-up demand, accumulated savings, and rising consumer confidence. Goods shortages, capacity and labor shortages are occurring and the possibility for sustained rising inflation exists. There will be increasing competition for CRE professionals in the coming years.

Residential, Retail, and Parking

  • The residential market in Boston over the past year was negatively impacted by the pandemic and the related school closings and decrease in international travel, but the market is now showing positive signs.
  • Many restaurants and retail outfits have closed, but the relief offered to tenants last year is allowing some tenants to reopen, and we are starting to see new retail tenant deals.
  • The industry must figure out how parking will work for office tenants moving forward in the hybrid model.


  • Panelists predicted that this year will be a challenging time for owners and operators of office real estate. Net office demand will likely continue to decline and vacancy rates will rise. This trend is jarring in light of the robust economic growth that’s being predicted, but may be the new normal, at least in the near term.
  • There was a movement pre-pandemic toward more flexible leasing arrangements, which the pandemic accelerated.
  • The bulk of leasing being transacted now is short-term renewals because tenants do not want to make long-term commitments.
  • The desire to “reimagine the workplace” will increase the cost of leases and decrease lease renewal rates.

Lasting Positives and Lessons Learned From the COVID-19 Era:

  • A renewed and greater push for diversity, equity and inclusion in the commercial real estate industry. We are seeing the promise of meaningful change in this area.
  • A deeper sense of corporate responsibility. The inequality gap was vastly accelerated by the pandemic. Companies that focus on social causes, giving back to the community, and the health and well-being of their employees will have a competitive advantage going forward.
  • The pandemic has produced a shift in personal preference in behavior. Many people are choosing to retire early or wish to relocate. These are challenges for the real estate industry, but also present opportunities for the next generation.
  • Communication with employees, colleagues, tenants, and residents is essential to keeping people calm, engaged, and informed.

This update is for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any specific facts or circumstances. Under the rules of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, this material may be considered as advertising.

REFA COVID-19 Webinar Takeaways
New England Real Estate Journal - April 2021

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