Is Boston Expensive? Apparently, it’s North America’s Seventh Most Unaffordable City
A new study by the real estate website Point2Homes has ranked Boston seventh on its list of least affordable cities in North America. (The study was first brought to our attention by Boston Magazine.)
The methodology is fairly simple. Basically, the researchers divided the median home price in a given city by the city’s median family income. The higher the resulting number, the longer it would take to pay off the house while working in the city. It’s a fairly simple equation but it confirms what we’ve long known — Boston is quite an expensive real estate market.
However, the numbers don’t tell the whole story. While Boston is undoubtedly one the country’s most expensive cities (and, indeed, Boston would rank even higher had the list not inlcuded New York, Manhattan, and Brooklyn as three separate top-five markets), owning homes far outpaces renting in terms of cost.
Rents in Boston, particularly for high-end units, have been steadily decreasing in recent years, according to the rental website rentjungle. That’s a big deal because most Boston residents are not homeowners. In fact, almost two-thirds of Boston rent. That’s nearly double the statewide average, according to figures that DATA USA pulled from the United States Census.
Additionally, the city of Boston encompasses only a part of the larger metro area. Surrounding cities and towns like Watertown, Cambridge, Wellesley, Salem, Somerville, Dedham, and Waltham offer great access to the city’s infrastructure, while maintaining cheaper housing prices. (And, in true Massachusetts fashion, those towns feature some of the nation’s best schools.)
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