Can CoBuying, CoLiving & local preferences help Generation Priced Out?

Is it unreasonable for Millennials, GenX and members of future generations who are born in Cambridge to aspire to settle in their hometown, or afford something nearby without competing with foreign buyers, aka #SpeculatorsWithoutBorders?

For Generation Priced Out and their parents who see them struggling with student loans and unprecedented housing costs, a year-long debate in Vancouver goes to the heart of the affordability crisis in Greater Boston:

“Should young working British Columbians be forced to subsidize those who are using foreign funds to out-compete them for housing? Would you accept that situation if you were in their shoes?” (share article above via social media)

Don’t know the details, but for 50 years Switzerland has restricted foreigners buyers, Singapore has imposed both a 15% foreign buyer tax and multi-tiered speculator tax on domestic investors.  By a unanimous vote, the Cambridge City Council recently authorized the town assessor to explore different ways to impose a real estate transfer tax, but unlike Switzerland they’re NOT protecting the existing affordable Inventory or “naturally occurring affordable housing.”

If authorized by the state, the transfer tax will redistribute real estate wealth through the PUBLIC SECTOR, raising policy questions about the best ways to leverage the annual flow of funds to create a multiplier effect.  Will the funds be limited to new construction or used more creatively to create the greatest good for the greatest number?  Will funds be allocated without regard to buyer profiles, or will weighting criteria give preferential treatment to local residents and other factors (as they currently do in some other affordable housing programs)?  Hope to explore those questions by inviting affordable housing advocates, the Interfaith community as well as #FinTech & #RETech innovators to “hack” the #RETransferTax: (share via social media)

Regardless of how transfer tax funds are distributed, market stats reveal that something is already happening in the PRIVATE SECTOR — families, friends and new financing tools have created a surge of CoBuying as shown in the Realtor Magazine article above.


Any insight into CoBuying in the Boston / Cambridge SMSA?  Is it true that 1 in 4 sales already involve CoBuyers, not family gift money but real people buying together?  Are these friends, unmarried couples, parents guaranteeing loans, or some shared equity entity taking a percent ownership?  Regardless, is this a healthy trend or a sign that the housing market has overshot market fundamentals because external demand — investors, speculators, institutional buyers — have skewed affordability.

Note:  Contrary to expectations, housing prices in Seattle — another tech-driven hub popular among foreign speculators — have fallen 11% in the past six months.  Does that foreshadow a price correction in Greater Boston; and if so, will Cambridge be impacted or immune?  Whether you’re a homebuyer thinking about buying a home this Spring because interest rates are at their lowest in 10 months, or an empty-nester thinking about timing the top of the market, how do these revelations influence your plans?

Instead of an gridlock, is there potential for an intergenerational WIN – WIN here?  What might that look like has generated nearly 60 comments on NextDoor, content accessible to local residents only.  At two Cambridge Envision Housing meetings, local residents asked what could be done with large homes to create affordable housing?  Nationally, four million baby boomers already live in roommate groups of three or more, hence the phrase the “Golden Girl” movement.  Lifting the four-person cap on unrelated individuals living together would open the door to new forms of CoLiving, even intergenerational or intentional micro-communities.  Invite fellow real estate innovators and affordable housing advocates to seed some demonstration projects, if not in Cambridge — somewhere displaced residents feel at home in a “New Cambridge” of their own making.

Carpe Diem:

Anyone want to begin discussing CoLiving and CoBuying options offline tonight in Cambridge?  Join us for FREE beer samples, 5-6pm tonight (2/21/19) at our next #REonTap at Cambridge Common restaurant.

If you can’t make tonight’s event, we’re glad to TweetUp anytime, just DM via

Posted in #SpeculatorsWithoutBorders, Affordable housing, Co-Living, Consumer protection, Downsizing, Great Senior Sell-Off, Group buying, Intentional Communities, Mlllennials, Real Estate Roundtables

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