Cost of Living in Boston Massachusetts – All You Need to Know

The Hub, as Bostonians call it, is a Massachusetts leading metropolis in just about every respect from job offers to universities. If you are relocating to the home of Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots, and Bruins you might wonder how much are season tickets at Fenway but also what is the cost of living in Boston and can you afford it?

An eclectic array of culture and arts, shopping malls, historical sites, and restaurants, Boston attracts everybody from families to artists. The Hub is filled with students looking for high-quality education because, besides MIT and Harvard, there are more than 30 universities where they can study. Add the fact that the metropolis is the sixth-largest economy in the country, and you get why moving to Boston is ideal for ambitious professionals. To help you find the answers to questions like Is it expensive to live in Boston? or What salary do you need to live in Boston? We made a list of need-to-know things that will help you calculate your overall budget before relocation.

What Is the Average Cost of Living in Boston Massachusetts

Relocation is one complex process, and it takes a lot of planning and calculating. You need to look for a professional moving company to help you with your belongings. Additionally, you need to calculate the cost of an interstate move and figure out how much money you will need to live in The Hub.

The average cost of living is the amount of cash a person needs to sustain a certain standard of existence, by affording basic things like food, housing, and paying taxes. It is tied to salaries, and that’s why expenses are higher in metropolises like New York, Los Angeles, and Boston because residents there have higher earnings.

What Is Boston Cost of Living Index

The index measures the difference in the price of goods and services in different regions. Many different methodologies can help approximate the index. Website BestPlaces indicated that the US average index is 100. The amount below would mean that the place is cheaper than the average. However, The Hub index is 162.4, making it more expensive than the average city in the country, with housing as the most significant factor.

How Taxes Affect the Costs?

If you are wondering how taxes can affect your financial situation, know that they, in one way or another, affect prices of everything, from clothes to real estate. The state of Massachusetts is a high-tax place. Suffolk County, where the metropolis is located, holds average effective property tax rates at 0.84%. Also, MA has an estate tax that applies to any property over a million dollars.

The best way to determine your expenses is to put them all on the paper.

How Expensive Is It to Live in Boston Compared to Other Cities

Are you moving from a small town to a big city or are you going from one metropolis to another? No matter what, you should be aware that your current financial situation will change when you relocate. If you are not sure that The Hub is the best choice for you, compare its prices to other big cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle.

LocationUtilitiesMedian RentMedian House ValueMonthly Net Salary
New York City$135$1,400$570,500$5,840
Boston$170$1,540$487,300$5,070
Los Angeles$130$1,380$599,700$4,580
Seattle$195$1,500$605,200$5,840

Source: Niche.com and Numbeo.com

 

How Housing Prices Affect the Cost of Living in Boston Ma

When moving to Boston, you have an important choice ahead of you – renting or buying a new home. If you opt for the first option, as 65% of Bostonians do, you will need approximately 2,050 fo a one-bedroom apartment, while for three bedrooms it’s $2,860 a month.

Becoming a homeowner won’t come cheap, but you will surely find the house of your dreams. The offer of properties on the market varies from single-family homes to modern condos and apartments. The price per square foot in the center is $1,020. Whether you choose to rent or buy a property, picking the right location will greatly affect the overall expenses. Before relocation, look into the housing market and find the property that fits your lifestyle and budget.

 Prices
Renting one-bedroom apartment in Center$2,755
Renting one-bedroom apartment outside of Center$2,050
Renting three-bedroom apartment in Center$4,280
Renting three-bedroom apartment outside of Center$2,860
Price per Square Feet to Buy Apartment in City Center$1,020
Price per Square Feet to Buy Apartment Outside of Center$460

Source: Numbeo.com

What Is the Cost of Living in Boston Suburbs

Moving to suburbs will bring you a slower lifestyle and a chance to live in more affordable places while still being in the vicinity of big city amenities. The Hub walkable suburbs with some of the best restaurants in Boston and plenty of residential space could be your next home. All you have to do is figure out which one out of many suburbs of Boston fits your budget the best:

  • Wellesley is a forward-thinking suburb that attracts families, professionals, and creative people. When you are looking for things to do with kids in Boston, know that Wellesley is a home to many parks where you can have picnics or spend the day playing ball. If you are accustomed to luxurious things, this is where you will find them. Elegant and spacious homes surrounded by parks can be found on the market for approximately $1,090,400, and even though it is a bit pricey, 82% of residents own their homes.
  • Salem is the best location for all of those that wish to become homeowners. According to Niche, the median home value is $347,200, and there are plenty of family residences to choose from. Also, if you are looking for unique things to do in Boston, remember that Salem has plenty of history and its attractions that can keep you entertained for days.
  • Arlington is one of the closest suburbs to the city center. If you find a home here, you will need around 24 minutes to reach Downtown. From single-family buildings to condos and townhouses, Arlington has it all, and if you want to follow the trend and own a property like 60% of residents, know that median home price is $609,800.

How Much Does It Cost to Live in Boston Luxurious Areas

If you like finer things in life, you might consider some more luxurious areas of the city to call your home. There are 23 designated neighborhoods in the metropolis, some more expensive than others:

  • Back Bay and Beacon Hill are famous for rows of Victorian brownstone mansions. These are some of the best neighborhoods in Boston, they are well-connected with other areas, and because of the Downtown vicinity Back Bay and Beacon Hill attract many young professionals. Data from Niche shows that almost 70% of people rent their homes, and pay around $2,160 a month for them.
  • The South end borders Back Bay, and it is distinguished from other areas by Victorian-style houses and eleven public parks. The area is popular with young families, professionals, and the LGBT community. If you are looking for an exciting Boston nightlife scene, this is where you will find it. There are plenty of clubs and pubs where you can drink, dance and have fun. Approximately 60% of residents rent and pay their homes around $1,670 a month.
  • Charlestown, the oldest neighborhood in the metropolis, offers its residents’ housing near the waterfront that overlooks the metropolis skyline. It is home to many hospitals, historical and cultural sites, as well as the community college.  If you are looking for romantic things to do in Boston, this is where you should start. Take a walk by the river, or stroll through parks and charm your loved one with a simple but unique date. Also, almost half of the residents own their homes, making it a great place for homeowners, and the median price is $712,110 if you are considering settling down in Charlestown.

There Are Rules and Regulations Protecting Renters During Coronavirus Pandemic

Due to the global pandemic of coronavirus, renters have been put in a hard position. The Massachusetts government helped its residents with a moratorium on non-emergency evictions and foreclosures as well as with some other regulations.

Since this virus is here to stay, at least for a little while, you should know some of the basic tenants’ rights that apply in The Hub, as well as new measures:

  • The landlord can’t evict you if you contract coronavirus. Evicting somebody because they have any medical condition is a violation of existing fair housing laws.
  • If you are positive on coronavirus, your landlord has zero legal obligation to notify other residents about your condition.
  • The government announced the Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance program (ERMA) that will provide needed funding to eligible households that are going through hardship due to pandemic.
Pandemic didn't only affect everyday life it affected rental rules and regulations as well.

What Are the Monthly Prices of Utility Bills, Transportation, and Food

When creating a budget plan, don’t forget to put down the monthly utility bills’ price because they are necessary evil you can’t avoid. Data from Numbeo shows that a basic utility package for a 915 square feet apartment is $170. That includes garbage, heating, cooling, water, and electricity. Also, if you want to have internet access, you will have to set aside an additional $70 for ADSL with unlimited data.

Food is another unavoidable part of life, and if you are big on dining out, there are more than a few restaurants you can check out. The dining scene is changing and booming. From the rise of casual eateries to high-class dinners, foodies will love living in Boston. A meal in an inexpensive restaurant is around $17, while a three-course lunch at mid-range diner is $40. If you want to grab a beer with some new friends, you will need $7 for a domestic pint, or $8 for an imported small bottle. Those who prefer coffee over anything else will pay cappuccino around $4.20. When you want to have a nice night in and cook for yourself, you will need some groceries. Getting basics like milk is $3.30, carton of eggs is $2.60, and the bread that is $3, which doesn’t seem expensive. However, Numbeo estimates that you will spend approximately $435 on food every month.

Another great thing about the metropolis is a developed public transportation system that can take you anywhere. It consists of busses, metro, and trains, and a one-way ticket is 2.70, while a monthly pass costs $90. If you don’t want to be stuck in public transportation, ship your car to the new location and enjoy expressways and major arterial roads the Greater Boston area has. You will need $2.80 for a gallon of gas and between $400 and $540 for a monthly parking spot.

If all of these costs are putting a dip in your budget, you can look into some ways that will help you lower your overall monthly expenses and save up.

How to Lower Your Overall Costs

Let’s be honest, driving around entails a lot of money. You are paying for gas, parking, scheduled checkups. That’s why you can take advantage of being in one of the most walkable cities in the US by WalkScore, and go anywhere you want on foot. Statistics by the US Census showed that almost 13.5% of Bostonians walk to work. Also, metropolis became a cycling mecca, and the number of residents who commute via bike increased 180% between 2007 and 2016. If you don’t own a bike, you can always rent one at Bluebikes, and the price ranges from $2.50 to $10, but if you get an annual membership for $99, you can ride around all you want.

Know the price of bills and groceries before you relocate to The Hub.

What Income Is Needed to Cover Boston Living Expenses

The Economic Policy Institute calculated how much it costs for families to live in The Hub. The statistics show that a family of two adults and two kids needs to earn combined 113,560 a year, or around 9,465 a month to attain a satisfactory standard of living. If you are a single person moving to the metropolis, you will need to earn at least $46,900 to get by.

The analysis shows that low-wage workers still have a problem making enough money to provide for their family’s basic needs, even after the adjustment of minimum wages. That is not only a problem in MA, other metropolises also have minimum wages that don’t allow employees to cover basic needs.

How Does a Living Wage in Boston Compare to Other Cities

A living wage is a minimum salary needed for an employee to meet their basic needs. In Massachusetts, that minimum is 12.75 per hour as of January 2020, while in Los Angeles, you will earn a minimum of $15 per hour. In New York, the lowest earnings are 12.5 an hour, and in Seattle, that paycheck is $12.

Use an online calculator to determine how much money you need to earn to stay in The Hub

Is It Really Worth the Trouble Becoming a Bostonian

It is only natural to feel a mix of anxiety and excitement when you are relocating. However, you might get caught up in all that planning, and stressing out about preparing. If you want to make a relocation process enjoyable and smooth start with hiring professionals Boston movers who can offer you a variety of services. From packing, and moving to storage service and car shipping, let the professionals do the grunt work, while you explore The Hub, which will make the process of becoming a true Bostonian that much easier. This is the metropolis of knowledge, a booming economy and open-minded people, relocating, no matter how crazy it gets, is really worth the trouble.

Written By: Blake Shaw