Experts Affirm Housing's Direct Link to Economic Recovery in New England

Attendees polled point to rental housing as a solution to economic recovery in the region

Oct 07, 2010, 17:09 ET from Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston

SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Oct. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- An overwhelming number of attendees from the six New England states polled at a conference hosted by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston believe that creating a mixture of owner-occupied and rental housing will help boost the New England economy. A majority of those polled also believe that the soundness of the financial institutions in the region contributes to its economic strengths.

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston hosted the conference titled Through the Lens of Housing: New England Economic Recovery to explore the connections between housing and economic development in New England. The conference attracted more than 170 attendees who ranged from banking and housing finance experts to housing advocates and economists. The attendees heard from speakers such as Richard Walega, regional northeast director of HUD; Tina Brooks of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development; Barry Bluestone of Northeastern University; Anne Krieg of Bar Harbor, Maine; and Douglas Duncan, VP and chief economist of Fannie Mae.  Karl "Chip" Case, co-creator of the Case Shiller Indexes, delivered the keynote address.

"The Federal Home Loan Bank held this conference to bring together some of the best experts on housing and economic development to explore the key issues affecting New England and its potential for future economic development," said Edward A. Hjerpe III, president and CEO of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston.  "It was particularly important that we heard from our attendees who are on the front lines of creating and providing housing throughout New England."

The conference included an interactive polling session that captured the collective wisdom and experience of the attendees.  Following are some of the results of that poll that focused on housing and economic development in New England, which is available upon request.

  • Attendees were split on whether or not New England was stronger and more competitive than other regions
  • 93 percent found that an educated workforce contributed to New England's competitive strengths as a region
  • 84 percent found that the cost of living was a major challenge to economic development
  • 89 percent saw state and municipal regulations as a challenge to economic development
  • 71 percent found that the aging housing stock was a major challenge for economic development
  • 88 percent believe that creating more quality rental housing would boost the economy
  • 92 percent of the attendees believe the 30-year mortgage should still exist.

Barry Bluestone, founding director of the Dukakis Center for Urban Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University, stated that "those regions, states, and cities that can attract and retain young working families to fill in the labor force and revenue gap will find the most opportunities for economic development and success."


Mark S. Zelermyer


Lily Bryant


Terence Burke


SOURCE Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston