Housing Strategy Archive

Newton Housing Strategy 2015

What's Next in the Housing Strategy?

Housing is an incredibly complex and important issue. We are appreciative of the time Newtonians have dedicated to being a part of this strategy development. We are actively working to make the best possible draft strategy, reflective of the input so far in this process. In April we will be announcing the Draft Strategy release date and ways to be involved in the next phase. Stay tuned.

About the Strategy
Newton is a great city to live in, and we all want to keep it that way. To plan for now and the next 25 years including a growing senior population, city employees who might want to live here, and children who might want to settle in Newton as they grow and have families of their own, we need to think about diverse housing choices. We want to meet the needs of the community by providing diverse housing, affordable housing, and housing for those with disabilities.

In June 2015, the Department of Planning and Development and Mayor Warren embarked on a 9-month process to develop a City-wide Housing Strategy. In the end, this housing strategy will identify housing development goals and provide us with a clear set of actions that will allow us to advance those goals. It is anticipated that action items will include policy and financing recommendations as well as specific locations for new development.

Your thoughts and ideas will be instrumental in shaping a housing strategy that deals with current and future needs. Click the my sidewalk link to share your views on housing needs and opportunities for our city now and into the future. Join the conversation and start exploring the conversations shaping your community: https://newtonhousing.mysidewalk.com/.

We also encourage you to join the Newton Housing Strategy mailing list to receive updates on upcoming meetings.

Discussion Areas
(from 6/14/2015 Open House and on My Sidewalk Discussion Board)

Demographics - To keep Newton great and to help our residents thrive, we must plan for Newton's future based on our changing demographics. A key element in a long-term strategy is to plan for the variety of housing that will be required.
    Dukakis Center Report #1: Demographic Trends and Housing in the City of Newton, Massachusetts
    Dukakis Center Report #2: Demographic Projections for the City of Newton, Massachusetts

Housing Design - Designing the right building for the right place. 
 New housing could mean many different things; explore the housing typologies that were discussed at the November 22nd workshop.

Housing Affordability - We want Newton to be a place where seniors can afford to stay as they age, where our kids can raise their own families, and where our teachers, police officers, firefighters, and other city workers can make a home for themselves and their families. A city that is diverse in every way--in age, income level, occupation, ethnicity, religion, race, sexual orientation, and other qualities that make us who we are as individuals and as an inclusive community-must have a diversity of housing options available.


Housing Policy Forum, January 25, 2016 - On Monday January 25, 2016, the consultant team presented on housing policy at Newton South High School. We encourage you to review the complete presentation and discussion in the NewTV video. RKG-Sasaki Presentation

Council Roundtable, January 11, 2016 - The Zoning and Planning Committee hosted a roundtable discussion for City Councilors on housing locations in Newton and the results of the November 22nd Housing Strategy workshop. Follow this link to a written summary of findings. This meeting will take place at 7:45pm on Monday January 11th, in Room 205 at City Hall.

Location Selection Workshop Presentation, November 22, 2015 - On Sunday November 22, 2015, more than 100 people participated in the Housing Strategy Location Selection Workshop. The purpose of the Workshop was to engage the community in identifying preferred locations for the development of affordable and diverse housing units within the next five years. Through presentations from the consultant team (RKG & Sasaki) and a hands-on location selection exercise, participants walked through the opportunities, challenges, and constraints of developing new housing in Newton while providing valuable feedback to the City on what types of housing they would like to see built and in which locations. Participants were presented with a menu of housing typologies to consider as well as a map outlining development opportunities and constraints, e.g. areas within a 10-min walk to transit and grocery stores, parks and wetlands, vacant parcels, and commercial areas.

Participants of diverse interests worked in randomly assigned groups to outline principles for future development and to place a mix of single-family, townhouse, and small (2-4 unit) and large (4 unit+) multi-family residential housing types across the City of Newton in keeping with the principles that their group had established. Once these maps and principle statements have been digitally catalogued, they will be posted online.

Here are the materials that were provided to participants:
Base Map highlighting development opportunities
Housing typologies
Supplementary Informational Maps
Lego Summation Chart

Market Analysis Report Presentation, October 1, 2015
- At the October 1st meeting, RKG Associates presented their market research. Below are some of the key statistics from the presentation and this link includes a short summary of the team’s findings. We encourage you to review the complete presentation in the NewTV video.

Key statistics

  • Newton’s population is 86,241 divided into 31,295 households (as of 2013) 
  • Between 2010 and 2013, a net of 74 new households were formed in Newton 
  • Between 2000-2013, the City’s number of households with incomes of $200,000+ grew by 4,200 while the number of households with incomes below $125,000 declined by 4,700. 
  • Seniors currently made up 15% of the population in 2010 (13,000 seniors) and are projected to make up 24% of the population by 2030 (20,900 seniors). 
  • If the Boston region grows under a strong economy; Newton could see 1,900-3,200 new households formed in the city by 2030.

Housing Stock & Housing Development:

  •  1,284 housing units were built between 2005-2014; most as replacements of previously existing units 
  •  41% of all new construction between 2005-2014 was for single family housing 
  •  Land in Newton is valued at $1.4 million - $1.99 million per acre (this does not include the value of any existing structure on a particular lot) 
  •  It is estimated to cost $300,000-$500,000 to develop one unit of income-restricted housing (based on a household with 80% AMI)


  • 66% of the units available for rent on the open market are priced to be affordable to households making less than the Area Median Income ($75,300 for a 2-person household) 
  • 10% of the units available for purchase on the open market are priced to be affordable to households making less than the Area Median Income ($84,700 for a 3-person household) 
  • The City is estimated to have a net shortage of 2687 rental units to meet the demand of Newton residents at all income levels ; including shortages for those making more than the area median income and those  making less than 50% of the area median income ($75,300 for a 2-person household) 
  • The City is estimated to have a net surplus of 3,110 ownership units to meet the demand of Newton residents at all income levels; but a shortage of 3,186 units available to those making less than the area median income ($84,700 for a 3-person household)

Here is the data used in preparing the presentation and the conclusions outlined above:
MAPC Projections: These regional projections estimate population growth in the Boston metropolitan area under a “Status Quo” economy or in the situation where Boston has a “Stronger Regional” economy as compared to other areas of the country.
Newton Demographics: These tables include US Census Data on Newton’s population changes from 2010-2013.
Newton Housing: These tables relate to the housing stock analysis completed by RKG Associates
Newton Affordability: These tables relate to the affordability and cost-burden analyses completed by RKG Associates

Housing Strategy Alderman Meeting, June 15, 2015

Housing Strategy Open House, June 14, 2015
- Housing Strategy Open House was held at Newton North High School. Attendees offered some great input on topics such as housing affordability, design and demographics. The event marked the start of a 9-month process to collect community input to help shape our city’s housing strategy. In the coming weeks, the Planning Department and consultant team will be reviewing best practices, asking for your input and analyzing data. In the fall, they will present their work to the Newton community and will hold additional meetings. If you were unable to attend Sunday’s Open House, you can still join the conversation and submit your input online at https://newtonhousing.mysidewalk.com/

Housing Strategy Contract

Housing Strategy RFP
Bid List






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