Boston is ridiculously overpriced

Rant for anyone considering living in Boston.

I have no idea what people find attractive about this city. Boston is equivalent to Minneapolis/Pittsburgh/Indianapolis yet it is 3x+ the price. 

Nightlife: Few good places but nothing crazy that any other city doesn't have. There's like 2/3 clubs that people actually go to and all are pretty overrated. Everything closes at 1:30/2:00 and zero happy hours. 

Work lunch spots: Get ready for either shawarma and falafel or sweet green every day. Very few food trucks. Bon Mi is okay I guess.

Dinner: Not a ton of good options. Same crappy Italian food throughout north end. Top places like SRV/Craigie/Giulia all meh. Whole city raves about Regina's which is 7/10 at best. Will say the seafood here is pretty fire though.

Girls: 3 Categories. Stuck up NE white chicks with no ass, extreme liberal feminist with hairy armpits, or fat.

People: 99% of conversation will be about the Red Sahks or fahkin Tahm Brady leaving the Pats. 

The Cape/Vineyard: Beaches are rocky and if you go in the water 90% chance you may have to punch a great white in the nose. 0/10 compared to other east coast beaches, even places like Ocean city MD and Jersey Shore destroy NE beaches.

Mountains/Outdoors: Nice in the fall. Acadia is dope. Skiing is awful either going down sheets of ice or slopes packed with children. Either way you're going to tear your ACL.

Weather: It's cold and dark for 9 months. June - August are pretty nice. 

Rent: Minimum $3k for a nice 1 bed/office place in a desirable part of the city.

Can someone explain what I'm missing here? It's not an awful city but for it to be priced in the same ball park as NYC/SF/LA is just insane. 

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Comments (79)

Jan 3, 2021 - 9:36pm

What you're missing is population density 

Money can purchase freedom, if you have the guts to buy it

  • 6
  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Jan 3, 2021 - 9:47pm

Boston is a college town and a suburban/urban mix for middle-aged people. You're not the target audience IMO, the city is not really designed for mid-late 20-somethings who want to go clubbing. As said before, there's no density. Maybe the development at the seaport changes the city dynamics a bit in 5-10 years but for now you're just looking at the place.

Most Helpful
Jan 3, 2021 - 10:23pm

You are preaching to the choir.

I think the overpricing is tied to the large population in AM, the medical field, consulting and engineering coupled with a pretty low supply of anything remotely urban.

Only thing I can think of for lunch that might help is Al's State Street.

Skiing-wise you have to want it. Jay Peak, Mad River Glen, Stowe... there are legitimately challenging and interesting places.

I think the real appeal is for families. The western part of Cambridge, Brookline, Boston if your kids test into BLS, the North Shore... you can't really compare that to Mpls/Pittsburgh/Indianapolis.

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Jan 4, 2021 - 11:06am

Go to the Kong.

but don't eat the food.

Director of Finance and Corporate Development: 2020 - Present Manager of FP&A and Corporate Development: 2019 - 2020 Corporate Finance, Strategy and Development: 2011 - 2019 "An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin
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Jan 5, 2021 - 1:12am

oh my god that brings back memories of when I visited for a college thing pre covid haha. Decent chain at least. Only Harvard party I went to was pretty lame ngl but it was undergrads

Array

Jan 4, 2021 - 4:37am

Boston is the worst. Don't know why you'd actively choose to live there given the option and no anchoring factors such as family. Sure there are good PE opportunities such as Bain or TH Lee which are definitely worth it, but other than those just do yourself a favor and don't move there.

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  • Analyst 2 in IB - Ind
Jan 4, 2021 - 7:25am

I think a lot of people moved there since they were out of options to get a job in IB/PE elsewhere. Like it or not, many finance companies have an office there, of which many focus on Tech.

I am unfamiliar with the city but know a friend who's struggling to get out there for years - your work ethic / toughness is not as respected as people coming out of NYC.

Jan 4, 2021 - 8:00am

Well, there is this thing called employment and that is where lots of asset management companies such as Fidelity, State Street, Eaton Vance, etc. are located. I have never worked in PE but I am sure there is plenty of it and VC in Boston.   There are so many rants on this site about places like NYC, CA, Boston, etc, but if you want to work in finance or tech, this is where you are likely to get a high paying job.  If you want a lower cost of living, you can try to find a job in Louisiana but I have a feeling the employment opportunities are not going to be abundant.  

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Jan 4, 2021 - 8:38am

Yeah I agree for the most part. Friends and family are the only reason I've stuck around the area. It can also be great depending on what you're into. Skiing can be good if you know where to look/chase the snow. There's great hiking and camping in the White Mountains. World class mountain biking trails and networks. You can catch a striper in about 20 minutes. That's what I look for though, I don't care much for dining and traditional urban living. I'd much rather get some property up north somewhere. 

Jan 4, 2021 - 9:46am

I'm in between living situations as I couldn't justify paying rent in a high cost area with the shutdowns/my office closing. I am pretty frustrated with the product out there and think that rent is marginally better value in a Boston zip code. Thought I could get lucky. 

Looking to park some cash and I am turned off by buying around here so now focusing on neighboring vacation communities. Any thoughts?

Contrary to the rest of this thread, I am a believer in Boston long-term. Boston's higher education and healthcare network is top tier and might be discounted on a finance thread. 

Jan 4, 2021 - 10:20am

I am born and raised in the Boston MSA and plan on leaving for the mild weather and newer homes of the PNW. Boston has become a lot like the SF MSA. High education rate (58% with a BA or more), and double high income households are all I see in affluent suburbs. We also have lots of affluent students and immigrants who buy high-end real estate (I almost sold one of my condos to them and almost bought one from another party). Growth has come from high profile hospitals, universities, biotech, FANG + startups and Hubspot/Wayfair types add in the stable finance jobs you have a huge base of white collar workers.

I live in the "cheap" part of an affluent area suburb. Min buy in for a 1800sqft 3x2 home is around 1.1-1.2M and my street has ranged from 1.2-1.9M.  The average family consists of specialist doctors and biotech/tech. Specialist doctors and lawyers typically make 200k+ and biotech jobs almost always pay 120k+ and houses over 1.2M typically attract more senior positions. Almost every family paying 1.2-1.4 is bringing in 275-400k+. They afford these houses they buy a second in the Cape or Maine.

Boston attracts families who are focused on education. Our public schools are rated well and the are lots of private school options in my area. I am childfree so I bought my house to make money as I want to retire early.

  • Summer Associate in IB - Ind
Jan 4, 2021 - 10:31am

Cant you buy a place in somewhere like a reading for $500k-$1mm? I agree that Boston is expensive but it still seems more commutable than nyc. Also much lower property taxes than NJ or NY

Jan 4, 2021 - 11:08am

Depends on your standards.

Can you find something in that range even in an Andover, Hingham or Duxbury? Yes. But it won't get you what that would get you elsewhere.

Wellesley or Newton? Probably not.

Director of Finance and Corporate Development: 2020 - Present Manager of FP&A and Corporate Development: 2019 - 2020 Corporate Finance, Strategy and Development: 2011 - 2019 "An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin
Jan 4, 2021 - 11:18am

For sure Boston, definitely is better than NYC in a lot of family oriented ways IMO. NYC crushes Boston with nightlife and dating/people but if you are planning on having kids it doesn't matter as much.

Lower taxes like you mentioned and you definitely can get paid to commute. The expensive part of Boston is the city and the inner suburbs. If you don't care as much about schools 500k is way more achievable. Same with housing types, condos in less built up places go for less than a house in JP.

To give an extreme comparison of inner suburbs:

Lexington, MA borders Cambridge MA so short commute.

Mean SAT: 1329

Median house price: 1.1M

Property taxes: High for inner suburb

Dedham touches more suburban parts of Boston.

Mean SAT: 1085 

Median house price: 600k

Property taxes: Average

Schools + Relative Property Tax Rate + Commute to Boston/Waltham = Town base price to an extent.

Jan 4, 2021 - 11:34am

Yup. Lived here my whole life and I am actively trying to leave, at least for a few years. With that said, Boston will always continue to grow (both in price and population) due to the world class healthcare and universities.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Jan 4, 2021 - 11:48am

Just live in Southie with the rest of the younger crowd, it's reasonable. The north end and back bay both have some good restaurants.

Jan 4, 2021 - 12:36pm

Grew up here. I disagree that nightlife is bad, I think it is above average because Boston does have a bunch of fun clubby-bar type places. I may be biased because I have a big friend group in Boston from my town and high school, so that might make nights out objectively more fun for me. I do get sick of people hyping up new york nightlife so much as a comparison though--for a city of 8mm+ people, NYC nightlife is lowkey mediocre IMO, at least not what it used to be. I really hope it improves since I live there. Also for Italian food, there are definitely some good spots in the north end but the better homestyle places are in the actual italian-american neighborhoods in Somerville, Medford, and Revere. Regarding the sports talk, it is a pretty big deal up here so can you really blame people? What else are they going to talk about? How they sat around all day doing zero work because unions absolutely run the show and keep the city permanently under construction?

Agree with pretty much everything else. Boston is wildly overpriced and its pretty fucking stupid if you ask me. Being pissed off at the state of Massachusetts is basically my second job, and for a city/state that has so much money, it is a true wonder why so much shit just doesn't work around here. Bad public transit, worst roads I've ever seen, constant construction, etc. The 2am closing time for bars is absolute bullshit too and really needs to be pushed out to at least 3, ideally 4. Boston's wealth gap is also grossly large and the city/state tend to forget about the actual working class people that it once prided itself on. Not to mention a black community being pushed around by rising rents. But hey, in a state that fought to keep busing around longer than anyone, I would expect nothing less. Also would agree on the girls, but will add that there definitely are some hotties up here.

Dayman?
  • 2
  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jan 4, 2021 - 8:15pm

+1 on unions, in suburbs too. Seems like the main section of my suburb has been under constant construction for 2 years with no progress.

Jan 4, 2021 - 8:29pm

There was an exit in my town when I was in high school that was under construction for two years when it should have taken less than a month. This made everyone in the town use the other two mini exits off that one main highway exit. Someone even did the math once and estimated how much time it cost commuters who lived on that side of town, and it ended up being like cumulative decades of added time sitting in traffic. Like what the actual fuck.

Dayman?
Jan 5, 2021 - 12:06am

Nightlife is mediocore in NYC? lol There are so many parties and things to do at night time, the problem is finding the right place that fits what you're looking for, and I bet you NYC has it. Places like Marquee and Lavo are overhyped, cramped, expensive, and the people there are just uhh Instead, I invite you to try bar hoping in West Village/East Village. It's so much fun and you will meet all different types of people.

Some of my favorite experiences have taken place in Brooklyn. The stuff I experienced there reminded me of good European bars/clubs. Nothing cooler than finding a random disco in the basement of a grocery store (with that disco selling drinks for 5-7 dollars vs the watered down garbage at MARQUEE).

Array
Jan 5, 2021 - 1:38am

Bar hopping in the aforementioned neighborhoods is definitely my favorite nightlife activity. I meant more the club scene is a bit overhyped since many of the old guard have left and some good newer spots shut down. Should have specified that. But even so, going to higher energy bars in NYC really has not been any better or worse than the ones I used to go to in Boston. It's obviously a ton of fun, but just hearing the "NYC is so much better" stuff all the time from friends who are from there has soured my opinion a bit. Have not hit BK enough to get a read, but seems like a place I'd enjoy even more.

Dayman?
  • Prospect in PE - LBOs
Jan 4, 2021 - 12:37pm

I agree with a lot of your analysis but "$3k+ minimum for a decent one bedroom apartment"? I don't know what it is with this website but this is not the first time I've seen someone unironically say something to the effect of "you need to make $500k a year to live decently in NYC" since "A decent apartment is $10k+" per month.

Maybe I underestimated the degree of entitlement on this forum, but if $3k for a one bedroom apartment in Boston is your criteria for a minimum base level one bedroom, perhaps you need to seriously adjust your life expectations.

I agree that Boston is comparatively expensive and features similar benefits as a cheaper midwestern city, and strict zoning laws lead to artificially low supply and increased rent prices but come on. 

Jan 4, 2021 - 12:43pm

Fully enjoying what Boston has to offer means not limiting yourself to the city. Boston area is kind of a package deal that comes with Cambridge, Sommerville, and Boston. All of which are connected through okayish public transportation.

1) Boston area is the kind of place where you need to do some active exploring. Southie is like Hoboken. Seaport is kinda like Jersey City. North End is a Little Italy. Chinatown is well Chinatown...  Back Bay and South End are kind of like the Upper East Side. Beacon Hill is the Upper West Side, just cozier(?). Allston is K-town + Brooklyn. Once you cross the river, it's a completely different ball game. Central Square is full of bars, burger joints, and exotic restaurants. Kendall Square is this clean business district with a sprinkle of interesting restaurants and bars. East Cambridge is an unassuming place filled with good Portuguese food. Imnan, Union Square, Davis, and Porter Squares all have a pretty cool small town hangout vibes (filled unique restaurants, bars, and stores).

2) There are actually lots of very good dining options. Lots of good exotic cuisines in Cambridge and Sommerville (Ethiopian, Cambodian, Nepali, Afghani, Middle Eastern, Portuguese). Solid sushi and ramen places run by actual Japanese chefs. Solid Chinese food (dim sum, hot pot, Taiwanese style, Hong Kong style bakeries, you name it). Solid Vietnamese Banh Mi and Pho scene besides Bon Mi. Good Korean food in Allston. Several solid Jewish delis + sandwich shops. Did I mention couple dozen Michelin star worthy fine dining restaurants spread across 3 cities?

3) Rent prices are similar to SF/NYC but other costs (food, groceries) are mich lower. Also taxes are lower.

4) Social scene is kinda weird. There clearly is a divide btw the locals and the transplants. Nowadays, the transplants tend to outnumber the locals.

5) Dating scene is not that bad. You gotta look into the transplants who went to one of the colleges nearby. 

6) Club scene is pretty much non existent but the bar scene ain't that bad. Lots of good dive bars, speakeasies, you name it. Sucks that they close by 2 am, but you can always start partying earlier. 

7) Rocky beaches are such typical NE thing. Some like it some don't. I'm personally a big fan of taking a stroll on one of those rocky beaches during fall. Very quaint. No wonder why so many literary geniuses came out of NE. If you want a nice sandy beach then there's Carson Beach.

8) Vermont and NH areiterally an hour drive from Boston. If you want to ski that's where you go. Also NE probably has one of the best spa resorts in America. Closest thing to Japanese Onsen towns that America has to offer IMO.

9) Fuck Tom Brady and the Pats though. 

  • NA in IB-M&A
Jan 4, 2021 - 3:20pm

I grew up in the suburbs of Boston, and have been living at home since the start of quarantine. Honestly could not imagine living in MA and raising a family here after seeing other parts of the country.

  • OP hit the nail on the head with the weather. Most of my life I didn't have any exposure to anything else, but man is it shitty. Winter is straight up depressing here - it gets dark at 3:30 in the afternoon and is cold and wet for 5 months straight. Not much to do in the winter besides ski, and half the time there is either no snow, or conditions are so iced over it is not worth going given the $100+ lift ticket cost.
  • There is a very strange dichotomy between the locals and the transplants. Transplants are typically oblivious, young, tech/med professionals who are largely responsible for the soaring living costs in the metro-Boston area. Locals are often what they are stereotyped to be (loud, obnoxious, rude). Neither group like each other, and they each place blame on the opposite party. 
  • I will never understand the fascination with the Cape/Vineyard/Nantucket. For two months of the year the weather is admittedly good, but that's about it. The crowds and traffic are ridiculous. Friday night traffic near the Sagamore/Bourne bridge is regularly backed up 20+ miles just to get on the cape, and the same happens on Sunday afternoon when everyone tries to leave. Beaches are packed and not that good, but if you think 60 degree water in August, rocky sand, and sharks are an enjoyable experience then by all means go for it. Then there are the prices. Holy shit, I get tourism is the driving force behind most of these businesses, but you will get gouged doing pretty much anything. Renting a house? Gouged. Hotel room? Gouged. Food prices? Gouged. Trying to do anything remotely fun? Gouged. Locals and transplants alike make it their life goal to have a "cape house" and spend all of their vacation days there in the summer. There are seriously so many better places to go on a beach vacation. I just don't get it.
  • Taxes are not as bad as NYC, but pretty damn close. Politics are arguably worse with so many colleges and woke transplants. 

Y'all can have Boston lmao. I'm gone ASAP

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jan 4, 2021 - 4:34pm

Traffic and crowds may be true but there's nothing like the Cape during the summer. Everyone has been trapped all winter and spring and finally get to enjoy warm weather in a charming and carefree way...Nothing beats a fire on the beach or day drinking and then hitting the bars on a summer night.

Jan 4, 2021 - 3:41pm

I think Italians should be allowed to shoot anyone who insults their food.

Nice thread anyway.

Never discuss with idiots, first they drag you at their level, then they beat you with experience.

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Jan 4, 2021 - 7:08pm

From someone who has lived in Boston for 10 years, here is where you're right and wrong.

Overpriced - Agree for the most part, especially if you're living alone. If you have roommates its significantly cheaper than NYC, SF, LA and you get way more for your money. I don't think you're getting anything close to what you're getting in Boston for a similar price in those other cities. 

Nightlife - Agree, same few spots seem to be the move every weekend. Not a ton of options that are worth while. Mariel Underground and Yvonne's are fun if you're looking for something more high end/different. 

Work Lunch - Agree, severely lacking. Yamato all you can eat sushi if you're feeling dangerous.

Dinner - I don't think you know Italian food if you're disappointed by the North End. 7/10 for Regina's is fair.

Girls - Spot on.

People - Generally assholes, but I'm one of them so fuck off.

Cape / Vineyard - Please, for the love of God never compare Cape Cod or the Vineyard to Ocean City or the Jersey Shore again. Have some respect. However, Newport > the Cape and Vineyard.

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Jan 5, 2021 - 4:17pm

When you say Newport > the Cape are you talking like Hyannis Cape or Orleans Cape? Because I'd agree with the western parts of the cape, but once you go past the elbow.... And it's not like any of us are living in the Breaker's either. 

Jan 6, 2021 - 12:15pm

Agree with Muskrat. Newport is like 90 mins south and you only get clogged in 93 south traffic until the Braintree area if you leave after work on a weekday. Way more appealing trip than the cape and I'd say the elbow is the only area worth going to. I only really partied on the cape consistently in college and was frustrated by how far apart things are especially when you need to get home from the bar. Good for you if you have access to a house in Chatham or equivalent but if I go to the cape it is to get on a ferry.

See y'all in Newport or ACK next summer. 

Jan 5, 2021 - 1:21am

So you're comparing Boston to Newark, Trenton and Camden haha? Bad comparison if you're defending Boston lol. I guess JC and Hoboken are cites in NJ too but I feel like they are satellites of NYC because it's a 10 min subway ride.

Array

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jan 5, 2021 - 10:41am

Girls - the girls here aren't that hot but there is definitely a good amount of them (and pretty much all of them are rich). None of us will be hanging out in the same social circles/bars as the trashy fat massholes you all are thinking of. One thing i've noticed is that any actual very hot girl (~8.75/10 and above) is going to be banging a Bruin..In Boston average joes wont be pulling any dimes.

Jan 6, 2021 - 4:53pm

These are the truest words I've ever heard, matter of fact you won't be banging anything >7 unless you're a tall ass rich model dude, or an athlete. I mean god forbid you make $200k/yr and are of average looks, the women there just don't give a fuck. And NE chicks as a whole are stuck up, pretty average looking, and have stupid high expectations 

Jan 5, 2021 - 10:39am

Fucking preach. I lived in Somerville (Assembly Row) and gtfo. 3k rent for 515 sq. ft. when I come from the Midwest? No way. Spent a year there and came back to the Midwest and bought a house. My mortgage for a 3k+ sq. ft. house is 2k/month at 2.6%.

Over priced. Had some fun but not worth it

Jan 5, 2021 - 12:03pm

BOSTON IS A HOCKEY TOWN BABY

YOU POORS CAN GO ROAST IN THE BLEACHER SEATS AT FENWAY WHILE I'M GASSING BEERS IN THE CLUB SEATS AT TD GARDEN

ALSO GETS ME AWAY FROM THE LUNATIC LIBS THAT DOMINATE THE STATE, THEY HATE HOCKEY

"The problem with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other peoples money" - Margaret Thatcher
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Jan 5, 2021 - 1:17pm

Hey Boston isn't that bad. Could be worse...imagine living in Providence or Hartford.

"Work ethic, work ethic" - Vince Vaughn

  • Developer in RE - Comm
Jan 5, 2021 - 4:56pm

Born and raised in the Northeast. There's an significant aesthetic/lifestyle aspect to Boston that you don't find in most of the country. There's a ton of history, old buildings, tiny streets in the North End and Beacon Hill, shops in Harvard Square, etc. A lot of it feels more like Europe than America. Even the inner suburbs have way more history and character than suburbs in most other places.

 You either care about that or you don't. I do, and I didn't appreciate it as much until I spent time in other parts of the country. There are a lot places that are cheaper, have good job opportunities, and better weather...but they have no character at all. Everything is slick and new, but it's basically just sprawl. Zero history, and everyone is a transplant from somewhere else. Hard for me to envision living my whole life in someplace like that- it would be kind of depressing.

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