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Average Boston rents top $2,000 for first time

The Boston Business Journal reports monthly rents continued to increase even as vacancy rates have been inching up due to new construction. New York, San Francisco and San Jose still have higher average rents.

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It means people want to live here

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I always thought major cities like Boston were welcoming places for the poor the hungry and the tired immigrant, like immigrants that came in droves from the early settler wasps who drove out the Irish immigrants from neighborhoods like Beacon hill, to the Mystic Jews that lived in cities along the mystic river in places like Chelsea and East Boston back then known as slums, the Mystic Jews thrived and went to places like Brookline and Newton, then the Italian immigrants arrived and occupied the North End which was then abandoned by the Irish immigrants, Italians settled in East Boston where generations remained since the late 1800s up until today, did we run out of immigrants coming into the United States, I truly think every new ethhic group like ethnic groups who came before them should have a chance to experience and live in a Boston neighborhood without worrying about $2000 per month rental prices.

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Look at places like East Boston and Hyde Park. The former, though, is soon going to be too pricey for immigrants.

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You're describing Immigrant Disney Land where the foreigners play their little part making falafel or whatever for you.
The immigrants are buying the houses and three deckers and charging the rents.

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Agreed, most 2- and 3-family houses in Dorchester/Mattapan, as well as cities like Malden, are being purchased by immigrants who live in one unit and rent out the others, just like the working-class whites of old.

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Wellesley, Weston, Newton, Nantucket, etc welcoming places for those who have lived in the country for a while (a few generations)? I truly think every ethnic group who has been here for a while should have a chance to experience and live on the ocean in Nantucket without having to worry about $20,000 a month rental prices.

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Boston has more low-income and subsidized housing than just about any other major US city. Look it up.

And, keep in mind, those "immigrants" you talk about lived in cold water flats, ten to an apartment. In slums.

Now, low-income residents have access to housing in subsidized housing developments and to other government programs.

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a good amount of those subsidies are Section 8 vouchers, and they're not keeping up with the rent increases. That makes having one pretty useless if you want to rent in many of Boston's neighborhoods.

(from someone who helps people with disabilities - many low income - find affordable, accessible housing in the region)

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There is a process but the program is pretty generous and fair.

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Immigrants used to live in cities because of three things: immigrant communities, work for those with limited language (and possibly other) skills, and cheap rents. The latter came in the form of tenements that would not be legal today. I don't pine for the good old days that weren't so good, but you have to understand that the immigrant neighborhoods in America's cities weren't exactly paradise. They represented grim necessity more than a vibrant ethnic whatsis that new immigrant groups should have a "chance to experience".

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What about the people that lived here for a long period of time? They should also have a chance to live in a neighborhood in their own state without crazy rents.

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plays the dominant role, which is greatly facilitated by extremely low interest rates, especially for large real estate interests and investors. You can never go wrong with rental properties in the right neighborhoods, or sometimes entire towns/cities, Brookline a case in point.

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.

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You must hang out with Leonard Samia.

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We're Number 7 on the list of states people move out of. Granted, there are weather related conditions and other factors but we have a booming economy and many advantages over other states. I'm a Massachusetts lifer and North Carolina doesn't look that bad to me right about now.

Given that the Boston Metro area makes up most of the population of Massachusetts, I'm going to guess that its high housing costs are pushing people away.

http://money.cnn.com/2016/01/04/real_estate/oregon-most-popular-moving-s...

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if some of that is by design. Thanks to the plentiful universities, Massachusetts has a disproportionate number of the nation's professional trianing programs, drawing in lots of prospective doctors, lawyers, professors, teachers, musicians, actors, while not necessarily having a higher-than-average local demand for many of those positions. Those theatre students expect to go to NY or LA. Many med students plan to go back to their hometowns, and professors just take whatever jobs open up nationwide.

A lot of people will come to MA for a few years for school, with the intent of moving on afterward.

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He just bought a house in North Carolina. He's a mid-20s corporal in the Marines with 3 kids and a stay-at-home wife. I asked how he could afford it. It cost less than $100k, that's how. Cost of living is also super cheap.

I was born and raised here, thought I would always stay here. I like the cold weather and snow. But now even I'm thinking of heading south.

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Yeah but North Carolina is a cultural void. There's trade-offs for the cheapness.

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With the tax on clothes and food, it makes Taxachusetts look perfectly sane. When I left there, the fight in Durham County was if they would extend the proposed "light rail" public transportation to the major hospitals such as Duke and UNC. (Answer in my head - "Um, why is this a question??")

Lived in Raleigh-Durham for 12 years through three hurricanes, four blizzards (real ones, not an inch of snow), a tornado, two ice storms and blazingly hot summer weather. After fleeing back here 9 years ago, I'm happy to be home.

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Given that the Boston Metro area makes up most of the population of Massachusetts, I'm going to guess that its high housing costs are pushing people away.

You seem to be assuming that "moving away" = "net loss", and it doesn't. Remember the large number of colleges and universities in MA, plus other educational and research programs: many people come here with no intention of settling permanently. It's called churn: there will always be large numbers of people "leaving MA", and also large numbers coming here.

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A lot of people move out of Massachusetts. A lot of people move into Massachusetts. That could be a net gain, no change or a net loss.

I just happened to have this article on my mind because a friend who lives in Portland, OR sent me a link yesterday bemoaning the influx of people in her state.

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When you consider everything that this region offers over most other parts of the country at any price, for those of us that grew up here, it would be a step down to move away.

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It also means, however, that Boston (the city that I love), which is already becoming a victim of its own success, may eventually choke on it.

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Woo, looks like I bought just in time!

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When you decide to move to the suburbs in 8 years the prices out there will have risen too.

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Looks like the thousands of luxury apartments and condos that were built in Boston this past year or so haven't helped bring down rental prices.

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Can you prove that they wouldn't have gone up even more without the new units?

Keep building more, and then build more, and then build more. More supply helps with the demand, which helps keep prices from rising even higher.

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Sean117, no I can't. Can you prove your point?
I think that building thousands of $$$ luxury units in the city only serves to drive apartment prices up. Landlords see what condos are fetching and then figure that the demand is there and people are willing to pay any price just to live in the city so they may as well jack up rental prices.

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The natural growth/absorption rate of Boston's residential real estate market is about 1% (+/-). That's roughly 2500 units a year. The article states we have built over 13,000 units in the past three years. Most of that is catch up from the financial crisis (we built almost nothing from 2009 to 2012). This puts us back at roughly equilibrium or, as the article states, around 5-6% vacancy. Throw another 4k-6k units at the market for another year or two and you'll see vacancy bump to 6-7% and prices moderate - and that's if the economy keeps plodding along. Throw in any kind of recession and you'll see prices moderate even faster than that.

Best news though is that this demand is driven by jobs. As long as the legs of Boston's stool (medical, education, tourism and finance) stay strong - we should be able to grow steadily through good times and bad.

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Seattle is building enough housing to meet demand, and their prices stabilized and even fell a little:

http://www.vox.com/2015/12/23/10657690/seattle-housing-crisis

In the original article, written from the perspective of landlords, this is seen as a bad thing!

http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/morning_call/2015/12/report-finds-ala...

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More housing is more housing. New luxury let's people eventually move up chain as they leave cheaper places, and this isn't something you can measure month by month. It takes time, and the only way to fight it is to promote more growth no matter what. If you really want to speed it up though, we need to allow more density and for that you need to take on home owners, not bitch about developers doing what makes economic sense given the rules they must play by.

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Don't blame the homeowners. Blame the government that makes up the rules as it goes along. If the city wants to change zoning - fine - go through the public process and do it. Stop relying on the arcane rules of blight and the BRA to do the dirty work of the politicians by rezoning the city project by project.

Homeowners have rights. The BRA has trampled all over them for 60 years or so now. Hopefully some of their shenanigans will end as there are brewing legal challenges to their bogus urban renewal zones.

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Just think of how much additional usable supply (i.e., being able to get to and from the places where the jobs are in a reasonable amount of time) we would have because the existing (often beautiful) vacant housing stock of so many small cities around Boston would be in play (it's not now).

I don't think that one train saves the world, but to the extent that it is reliable and people think that it will continue to be, this 1hr Worcester-Boston express run thing might make some people who want to live an urban lifestyle but are priced out of Boston stand up and take notice. Hell, if I were back in my late 20s, the idea of being able to get a phat pad in a restored Worcester factory building (perhaps in the Canal District) for Worcester prices while getting a Boston salary would be a pretty good get.

[Disclosure: I have no ties to Worcester, but I think its a great town, has tons of additional potential, and great proximity to lots and lots of great outdoor recreational opportunity - it just needs (much) better non-driving connectivity to Boston (among other cities) to take off].

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What the heck is wrong with you, you're making way too much sense.

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Rents are pretty high, even if the units are large. Nigh on par with much more convenient locations inside Boston city limits.

Plus there is no chance of car-free living [saving tons of money] there if for nothing else, groceries or going out.

And it has the negative aspect of being in the sleepy suburbs, with no street life, bustle, or such. Too many trees, not enough concrete.

And smoke free, including outside? F*** that. If I am paying that much to live in the middle of nowhere I want to be able to do whatever I want there, even smoking Drano and Crack, let alone cigarettes. Lofts are traditionally meant for artist-occupants anyhow, which means the place sucks if someone is not using sulfuric acid and smoking hash while making jewelry.

We need sub-$1000 rents for units that size [sans the lifestyle judgements] right in the inner core of the city. Anything less affordable than that means a revolution is merited.

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With parking up to $25 a day in the mud lots, and the MBTA acting up, Whitman might as well be on the fucking moon when it comes to commuting.

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That a place that is 25 miles (downtown-downtown) away from Boston "might as well be on the fucking moon when it comes to commuting."

That. Is. Nuts. (and untenable).

Choking on our own success, people. Choking on our own success.

[although I note for the record that google maps shows a 35 minute train ride from Whitman to SS, while the ride from, say, "tony" Wellesley (15 miles) is shown as 40 minutes]

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No, Boston should not develop extreme density in all of its neighborhoods. It's good that there is a mix of suburban and urban in the city.

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You must be one. Get it? Haha.
Because it sounds like you have a house in West Roxbury and don't want more buildings in the neighborhood or something. Most of Boston is FAR too suburban looking. The least dense areas of the city [and all surrounding towns] should look at least as built up as the Back Bay. Anything less is a housing fail.

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Actually, not I'm not. Unlike you, I do NOT believe that those who live in the suburban parts of Boston are garbage that need to be pushed aside like you seem to believe.

"Most of Boston is FAR too suburban looking."

According to you, maybe. Not according to the people that live there. The people who live there have a right to advocate to keep their established neighborhoods the way they want them.

Just because you are a whining transplant that thinks you are entitled to an affordable place to live in one of the most desirable cities in the country, does not mean that those who've live in the areas that you deem not dense enough can't preserve the places that they live in.

" The least dense areas of the city [and all surrounding towns] should look at least as built up as the Back Bay."

That's absolutely ridiculous sounding and isn't even remotely realistic or practical. You are basically suggesting people don't have any property rights, never mind the absurd notion that the region could easily support that kind of density.

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If/when people who grew up in West Roxbury suddenly find that they can't afford to live there outside of buying a house from a relative, that will be the direct result of keeping development limited.

There are no special property rights for 'long time' residents vs transplants. Money rules over all.

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can pass along that property to their kids.

Which is fair but also another story altogether.

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Boston should be more dense, but at the same time, it's unfair to expand density to Back Bay levels without also expanding transit access to the same standard. There's parts of the southern suburbs where you really can't live without a car, and until that changes sticking hundreds and hundreds of more units onto the same packed streets is foolish.

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Three and four story buildings on small lots is not "extreme density".

Hong Kong is extreme density. Paris is not "extreme density".

Sorry, but your conception of OMG FIVE UNITS PER ACRE IS EXTREME!!!! is laughable

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Tearing down established neighborhoods isn't the answer. Sorry that you can't appreciate what this answer offers. Perhaps you should move back to whatever place you came from which was probably so much better, yeah right haha.

Sorry, your straw man argument of Hong Kong's density isn't even relevant.

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That should read area offers. The answer also offers too.

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Roslindale used to have mostly 4 story buildings around the square - now they are mostly one story. I'm sorry you can't appreciate that some of us want to get back to our heritage.

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Totally agree with anon. No need to build up the density in every single neighborhood. The only people think like that are WalMart shoppers: big box, OMG, it all has to be the same, I hate diversity, local is bad, tell me what to do, what to buy!!!
Each neighborhood has its own flavor, which is what makes Boston a much sought after city to live in, much like Chicago and NYC.

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We don't need to grow dramatically. Boston is an old built out city, we need to ensure higher standards of livings for the majority.

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on renters who pay rents out of their work income compared to income coming from their parents/trust funds, etc.

Not that there is anything wrong with either, but if people are getting rent help from their parents at age 25+, I think there is a problem for the working families in this area who do not have that support.

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I think the answer to that lies in where the majority of rental units in the city are. If truly most are in the inner neighborhoods, then there's probably a good chunk, although offset by the huge amount of high end apartments in those neighborhoods. However, I really doubt people in Rosi, HP, WR, Dorchester, etc... are getting help from their parents.

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All those blue-blood WASPs with giant trust funds living in South Boston and Dorchester.

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down payment on a condo in South Boston.

Not a rental of course, but it is just one example I know.

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Who didn't have his parents give him any money, yet he still can afford to rent a place in the city.

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But if you think South Boston is some place where only working class people or self made renters live (compared to other parts of the city which is what someone questioned), I think you would be mistaken.

I think park of the issue (and my point) is that today you need a lot more to rent/buy in every section of the city. In 1980 you could buy a house in Newton on a teachers salary with a stay at home parent and wouldn't even think of getting any help on a down payment. today you need some serious help.

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AKA how most of "old" southie does it.

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Could you explain your post a little more? It's not entirely clear. The theme in the other posts seems to be that "new southie" are the ones getting help on the down payments.

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I suspect that anon is merely pointing out how many people have simply inherited their entire house from their parents.

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Many parents loan their kids money so they don't have to pay interest or so that they can pay a lower interest rate. I know quite a few people in that situation. There's nothing wrong with parents who bust their ass their entire lives helping out their kids who are working to pay off student loans in this way. BTW, that's not my situation -- sure it would be nice, but I don't begrudge those who are so lucky.

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I walked around East Boston yesterday and noticed hummers and brand new Mercedes benzes parked out in front of a brand new private small scale condo development. (And this was not in Jeffries point) So there are people out there that have disposable cash who can't afford to live in Boston proper , but is willing to pay top condo prices in Eastie.

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I live in Chelsea and I see the same thing. What cars people drive means nothing.. they could live in a two bedroom with 7 other people in order to afford such cars. For many people, their car is everything and will spend every last dime they have on a fancy one.

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Would love to see the stat of college kids taking out loans for their living expenses. Also how about creating some legislation that would force colleges to create enough dorms for their students.

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had help from their parents, if not outright bought by their parents.

Those of us coming from lower-middle white backgrounds, even if we go into debt for the elite education, and we target reasonably well-paying and employable careers... end up renting in an overpriced dump here, with roommates, well into our 30s.

And, unlike NYC, we can't point to a wealth of cultural opportunities that we're getting in exchange for paying too much money to live in dumps.

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You don't think Boston has a wealth of cultural opportunities? Then move somewhere that's cheaper. Problem solved.

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What are the cultural opportunities you feel Boston is lacking? No one is stopping you from moving to NYC. Quit your bitching and get packing!

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My rent just went up $200/mo next month. I'm going to be paying $1600/mo for a 2BR in Brighton by myself. It's getting ridiculous!

/humblebrag

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You're taking up space in a two-bedroom apartment just for one person?!!

Shame on you for being successful.

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I count myself very lucky to have found an amazing landlord that has made this possible for me to do so. If I were paying market rates for the same space, I'd have a roommate (or live somewhere else) and that's making a very good salary.

I am good to the landlord (who lives on the other floor of the house) and she and her late husband and the rest of her family have been very good to me because I'm a stable and well-behaved tenant.

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For a brighton rat trap isn't that great, it would have been much cheaper if you bought it once you account for principal payments and mortgage interest write-off. As for "waaaaah I don't have the down payment," I know plenty of clowns making close to six figures who don't have a penny to their name because they need their rented downtown "innovation luxury" shoebox, leased BMW and at least $400 worth of piss-drunkenness every weekend.

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How much should a 2 bedroom cost? That means the renter should make about $68,500/year to afford. Not a ridiculous sum.

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While it sounds like my rent is going up quite a bit (and it is going up about 15% in one fell swoop), it's still not reaching market rate, so I was being facetious to say that $1600/mo was a ridiculous amount for a 2BR in Brighton right now (also thus the /humblebrag tagging).

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Yeah, but, it's Brighton. Also, you are probably about twice the age of the average renter there.

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Because if you did, you'd realize there are some fairly significant parts that have few if any students. You might want to Google "Oak Square" and "Brighton Center."

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No one refers to the South End, South Boston, Beacon Hill, Hyde Park or any other part of the city as being the massive student ghettos as that do Brighton and Allston. Sure, as you explain you not every area is like that, but few other parts of the city skew so much towards students and the under 30 crowd.

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But not if somebody's going to complain about how somebody is too "old" to live in a neighborhood, when for all we know he lives in one of the non-student parts.

Even a studentish part, like along Allston Street between Comm. Ave. and Washington Street and up Summit Ave. towards Brookline actually has a significant number of single-family homes occupied by non-students.

But. again, you're showing some ignorance here: Mission Hill has as significant a student population as Comm. Ave. and even the North End now has enough students to qualify as a potential student problem area, if not exactly "a ghetto."

Basically, cut the ageist crap is what I'm asking.

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I don't care who lives where. It was meant to be a light hearted dig at his "humble brag".

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The other areas are pretty well known. Even Fenway is starting to get a lot of NU students in addition to Mission Hill. Brighton and Allston will probably still remain the most well known hub though.

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Fenway starting to get a lot of NU students? It's packed with students. Walk around there for a while, you'll see.

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That's because the South End, South Boston, Beacon Hill, Charlestown and Hyde Park are increasingly out of reach of students, in terms of price.

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Brighton Center has less.

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Limits on the amount of residential property that people who aren't citizens can speculate on would help.

Australia has already done that.

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