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Cambridge's Dilemma: Even Six Figure Incomes Can't Afford Rent

Rentals in Cambridge are pricey. But will Cambridge open its doors to middle-income housing anytime soon?

It's hard to say, especially since "middle-income" in Cambridge means $80,000 to $117,000.

With the redevelopment in Central Square, local residents are voicing their concerns over the need for cheaper housing in Cambridge, reports the Gatehouse News Service.

Over the past few years, many people have had to leave Cambridge due to the high cost of housing.

According to a recent survey by the Community Development Department, only ten percent of the available three bedroom units in Cambridge are affordable to those families at the median income in Cambridge. And what is the median income in Cambridge? Nearly a six-figure income.

So that means that most households making $97,800 have difficulty affording a three-bedroom apartment at the current rental rates in Cambridge.

But that's just "middle income," which falls at 80 to 120 percent of the area's median income. Low income is another issue, affecting those who make less than 80 percent of the area's median income.

Low income housing is often subsidized by the government. Special units are set aside in various housing projects to cater to low income families. But the same cannot always be said for middle-income families.

Part of the reason that many families can't afford to live in Cambridge has to do with the simple laws of supply and demand. The demand for larger units has generally been higher in areas outside of Cambridge, such as Somerville, Watertown and Arlington. Cambridge's apartment supply revolves around student needs, focusing more on smaller units, reports Gatehouse News.

To add to the housing woes in Cambridge, approximately 800 low-income units are set to expire this year, writes Wicked Local.

Middle income housing is an issue in Cambridge. While many residents are pushing the local government to include middle-income within the parameters of affordable housing, others feel that doing so would benefit a relatively affluent class who can easily afford a large house in a nice suburb outside of Cambridge.

But the fact still remains-- even families making six figures can barely afford rent in Cambridge. There's something wrong with that picture.

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