New England is America’s old country. Steeped in history and heritage reaching back to the country’s founding and beyond into its indigenous origins, New England has a unique “feel,” and residents in its various cities can attest to the original flavor of life they experience there. One of those cities is the historic, beautiful, and occasionally infamous Boston, Massachusetts. If you’re looking into moving into the area, you may be wondering if you should rent or buy an apartment, condo, townhouse, or entire home. Here are some insights into the region that may help you decide if you should be renting an apartment or starting to look into Boston houses for sale.

  1. Boston Overall

Boston, officially the City of Boston, is the capital and most populous city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States and 24th-most populous city in the country. The city covers 48.4 square miles with a population of 675,647 in 2020, also making it the most populous city in New England. Boston is best known for its famous baked beans, Fenway Park, The Boston Marathon, and of course for the bar from Cheers, but dig a little deeper below the surface and you’ll find a surprising wealth of things that make Boston one of the best cities in America—and the world.

2. Long Term vs. Short Term Needs

Are you looking for a place where you can spend the next few years while you work on attaining a degree? Are you looking to settle into a home to start a family? Chances are that by examining your short term and long term goals, you’ll be able to decide whether or not renting or buying is the best decision. Ideally, you’ll want to have spent some time in Boston, either as a traveler and visitor, with relatives, etc. to get a real feel for if it’s right for you. When it comes to choosing whether to rent or buy, however, there are many factors to consider.

3. Affordability

The average sale price of a home in Boston is $720,000, an increase of 2.9% since 2020. The average price of sale per square feet of space is $618, which is a whopping increase of 8.3% since 2020. When it comes to rental properties, you’ll be looking into the 3 to 4 thousand dollar a month range for a decent apartment of a livable size, though of course there are cheaper rates if you are willing to live in dodgier areas with multiple roommates. While Boston is considered an expensive city on par with New York and Chicago, its cultural, educational, and job opportunities make it worth the investment. 

4. Access to Resources

Boston is a commuter and walker’s city, with an efficient and reliable public transportation system, as well as accessibility to anything you need within walking distance of an apartment. This changes a little once you start moving out of the core city, so once consideration may be that you need a car to buy a home rather than for renting an apartment, which is another financial consideration.

5. The Devil is in the Down Payment

The median downpayment for a home in the Boston area in 2019 came in at $76,500. A typical payment for an apartment would be the first and last months of rent. This would range between $6k and $8k.

So, should you rent or buy in Boston? There is no one answer, no one-size-fits all. Weight the factors of your life, including finances and short vs. long term plans to decide what is best for you.