Lexington strives to promote and maintain the socioeconomic diversity of Lexington by:
- managing and implementing the Town's housing programs
- developing initiatives to preserve and expand the Town's stock of affordable housing
The Planning Office works to acquire, build, and preserve affordable housing, along with our partners:
- Lexington Housing Assistance Board (LexHAB)
- Lexington Housing Authority
- Lexington Housing Partnership
- Private developers
- other non-profit housing providers
Lexington is a member of the Regional Housing Services Office, (RHSO) provides affordable housing support and information to member communities and helps to monitor the Town's 1,300 affordable units.
Affordable Housing Opportunities
Affordable opportunities in Lexington are listed here: There are none at this time.
What is affordable housing?
Affordable housing is generally defined by the income of the household in relation to housing costs. For example, HUD identifies units as affordable if gross rent (including costs of utilities borne by the tenant) is no more than 30% of a household's net adjusted income (with a small deduction for each dependent, for child care, for extraordinary medical expenses, etc.) or if the carrying costs of purchasing a home (mortgage, homeowners association fees, property taxes and insurance) is not more than typically 30% of income. If households are paying more than these amounts, they are described as experiencing housing affordability problems or cost burdens; and if they are paying more than half of their income for housing, they have severe housing affordability problems and cost burdens.
Determining Eligibility for Affordable Housing in Lexington
Listed below are the current maximum annual household incomes, adjusted by size, in order to be eligible to rent or purchase a restricted unit Lexington.
The current maximum HUD Area Income Limits for the Boston Area, 2023 are listed here: 2023 income limits, maximum sales prices and maximum affordable rents based on area median income (PDF). These figures are published by the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and are revised every year based on the median income for the Boston area.
Affordable unit applicants must also meet any program-specific income and asset limits that may be applicable. Most programs target households earning less than 80% of the Area Median Income, or AMI, while assets are typically capped at $82,950 (including bank accounts, stocks and bonds, retirement accounts, etc). Generally to be considered affordable, the total housing costs for these units must not exceed 30% of the gross annual income of the owner or renter.
Housing subsidy programs are typically targeted to particular income ranges depending upon programmatic goals. Extremely low-income housing is directed to households with incomes at or below 30% of area median income as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (up to $40,050 for a family of three for the Boston area) and very low-income is defined as households with income between 31% and 50% of area median income (up to $66,800 for a family of three). Low- and moderate-income generally refers to the range between 51% and 80% of area median income (no more than $106,650 for a family of three). First-time homebuyer programs typically apply income limits of up to 80% of area median income.
Chapter 40B -
The most commonly used definition of affordable housing is that which applies to the Chapter 40B comprehensive permit law. Chapter 40B is a state statute, which enables local Zoning Boards of Appeals to approve affordable housing developments under flexible rules if at least 20-25% of the units have long-term affordability restrictions. For a unit to be affordable under Chapter 40B, and thus counted towards a community's progress towards reaching the 10% affordability threshold and included as part of its Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI), a unit must meet specific state requirements including the following:
Units must be subsidized or approved by a subsidizing agency.
Occupants must have income at or below 80% of area median income, adjusted by household size and presented in the above table.
The unit must be deed restricted for specified periods of time including in perpetuity for newly constructed affordable homeownership units. These deed restrictions are monitored and enforced.
The units must be affirmatively marketed through the implementation of a state-approved Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing and Tenant Selection Plan.
Subsidized Housing Inventory
The Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI) is used to measure a community's stock of low-or moderate-income housing for the purposes of M.G.L. Chapter 40B, the Comprehensive Permit Law. While housing developed under Chapter 40B is eligible for inclusion on the inventory, many other types of housing also qualify to count toward a community's affordable housing stock.
To see Lexington's Inventory visit RHSO's website.
Learn more about the Local Initiative Program (LIP) that regulates Local Action units.
But how are we really doing?
Lexington has surpassed the 10% statutory Chapter 40B requirement. 11.18% of Lexington's units are considered affordable. Being above the 10% gives us safe harbor and we are not compelled to grant any 40B housing developments. While the SHI is an important tool to measure affordable units, it does not give us the complete picture of what is truly affordable. The Chapter 40B law allows us to count all the units in a project even though in reality only 25% of those units are actually affordable. Our actual number of affordable units is much lower than 11.18%.
Housing Production Plan
We are pleased to publish the final draft of the Housing Production Plan. This effort was facilitated by the Metro West Collaborative Developers with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council responsible for the bulk of the drafting.