Can NIMBYism Lead to a Gen Y Brain Drain?

The state of Massachusetts has a real problem – they’re losing many of the coveted demographic of young professionals due to a lack of available apartments. From the article:

Though the production of more rental units is integral to the growth of the state, many communities, namely single-family strongholds, are still staunchly against multifamily projects. But the lack of rental units across the state is starting to cause something of a brain drain among the Gen Y crowd.

“We’re trying to break a stalemate,” Massachusetts’ housing and economic development secretary Gregory Bialecki said at an Urban Land Institute forum in January. “The approach the state has taken is what I call an ‘eat your veggies’ strategy. ‘I know you don’t want this, but it’s necessary.’ It hasn’t been effective.”

The state already lost a congressional district in 2010 after seeing just moderate census numbers, and multifamily starts have been down. So far, Boston’s scheduled completions are well short of the state’s 10,000 unit starts per year goal—the city’s inventory will grow roughly 1.5 percent this year as it sees about 6,500 completions…

A big part of that education process is changing the perception of multifamily in NIMBY-heavy areas. Municipalities should view the production of apartments as integral to the state’s future  as roads and bridges. The state is working to create a prompt and predictable permitting process