MassBio Testimony on H.4138, The Affordable Homes Act

Jun 03, 2024

Image of a multi-unit residential building on the right with a yellow background on the left of the image with the MassBio logo and the text: Testimony on H.4138, The Affordable Homes Act.

May 31, 2024

The Honorable Ron Mariano, Speaker
Massachusetts House of Representatives

The Honorable Aaron Michlewitz, Chair
Massachusetts House of Representatives House Committee on Ways and Means

The Honorable James Arciero, House Chair
Joint Committee on Housing

Re: Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio) Testimony on H.4138, The Affordable Homes Act

Dear Speaker Mariano, Chair Michlewitz and Chair Arciero:

On behalf of the over 1,600+ members of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio) I write to thank the House for your work to address the housing crises in the Commonwealth, and to offer MassBio’s support for statewide legislation to increase housing production at all income levels across the state. The burdensome cost of housing in Massachusetts must be addressed as industries including the biotech sector continue to compete with neighboring states to attract and retain the talent our economy requires.

The high cost of housing in Massachusetts is directly contributing to an outmigration of talent. A recent Boston Indicators report found that Massachusetts is losing a higher number of working-aged adults (25 to 44 years of age) than any other demographic, and tied the trend back to unaffordable housing: “[Housing costs] have grown precipitously from 2018, with prices for typical homes increasing 20 percent in 2021 and 33 percent in 2022.” Single-family home prices in Greater Boston reached an all-time high just last month as the median sales price for a home in the area reached $950,000.

As you know, the Commonwealth regularly pursues thoughtful and intentional investments in our economy, including the notable investments in the life sciences industry over the past two decades. Thoughtful legislative investments like these work to shape the Massachusetts economy, overall, and helped to propel Massachusetts into the number one spot as the worldwide epicenter of biotechnological innovation. To truly complement these investments, MassBio supports legislation to authorize the levels of housing production the Commonwealth needs to retain a quality workforce and make neighborhoods affordable.

To strengthen Massachusetts’ housing production capabilities, MassBio supports the following policy priorities, several of which are included in Governor Healey’s H.4138, the Affordable Homes Act:

  • Increasing housing production “by right,” including allowing for the creation of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs).
  • An intentional approach to repurposing surplus state-owned land and vacant commercial properties to create more housing.
  • Targeted production of housing across the income spectrum, including affordable and market-rate housing.
  • Continued support for transit-oriented housing reforms as first introduced through the MBTA Communities Act in 2021.

As a trade association, we believe in the continued use of data collection to ensure we are on track to meet housing production goals. MassBio supports H.4138’s directive for the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities to prepare a Statewide Housing Plan every five years.

Thank you again for your dedication to the Commonwealth’s increasing housing needs and for the opportunity to share MassBio’s positions with you directly.

Kendalle Burlin O’Connell
President & CEO
Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio)

Download a PDF of the submitted testimony.

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