Living expenses and rent in Boston?

Starting as an analyst 1 at a MM IB in Boston, how much should I be spending on rent? I was considering around $1500/room for rent in a 3bd apartment. Thoughts? How much should I expect to be spending on food, utilities, and other expenses? 

Comments (23)

Feb 16, 2021 - 8:39am

Depends on where you're at. My girlfriend and I live in Back Bay and pay $2600 total for a one bed. Not a bad price for the neighborhood and apartment but we are in a garden level. I assume you mean $1500 for yourself and then have two roommates? We pay about $150 per week in groceries but we cook pretty much every meal besides a couple on the weekends and we hit the Trader Joe's so it's cheap. Utilities will depend on the heating system, if it's electric then you'll probably be paying a total electric bill of around $150-200 per month. If you have gas heat it'll be more expensive in the winter and you'll probably be at like $75-$150 in electric and another $75-$150 in heat. I would prep yourself to pay a broker fee unless you look to move into a luxury building. Broker fee is usually equivalent to one month's rent so you could end up putting down first, last, security, and broker fee which is insane and you should negotiate on some of these things if possible. We used to live in a luxury building over by TD Garden and it was only like $100 security and no brokers fee. It was $3K a month for a 1BR but trade-offs I guess. Let me know if you have questions.

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Ind
Feb 16, 2021 - 12:42pm

Thank you! That's really helpful. I was looking around the North End and Southie for some potential places and yes I will have 2 roommates. Because of COVID, a lot of apartment places are waving the broker fee and even giving months free to try and fill up units. 

Feb 16, 2021 - 5:51pm

Was the building over the garden Avalon or whatever it's called? The first highrise there that you can see coming into the city from 93 over the Zakim

  • Associate 3 in PE - LBOs
Feb 17, 2021 - 1:30am

Mind comparing your experience living in both neighborhoods? Moving to Boston soon and looking for a 1bd in that price range. Working downtown.

Feb 19, 2021 - 2:16pm

Sorry for some reason this didn't post the first time earlier in the week. I have a skewed experience because I moved to Back Bay literally the week Boston shut down for COVID. I loved the energy around the Garden when people were going to games and you can hear people leaving the stadium chanting. Unfortunately a lot of the bars around there closed down for good which is just sad because a lot of them are pretty iconic. Also super close access to the North End obviously which doesn't have much in the way of nightlife but plenty of restaurants.

Back Bay has a lot more quick access to green space ie the esplanade along the Charles, the public garden and common, various parks in the South End, etc. It's also a lot more of a neighborhood vibe as long as you're not living on Newbury or Boylston Streets. Those two streets have a ton of shopping and eating and the variety of food options is much greater than TD Garden/North End. 

Any other questions just let me know!

Feb 17, 2021 - 10:00am

Yeah, my friends moved to Cambridge and now hate capitalism and praise socialism. It's ironic considering one of their dads is a lawyer and pays a portion of their rent so she can get her social work degree. smh.

  • 2
Feb 16, 2021 - 5:52pm

Boston is expensive but fun. Wish I still lived there instead of NYC if I'm being entirely honest. NYC is cool but the B is home. What neighborhoods in the city are you looking at? It can differ place to place.

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Ind
Feb 16, 2021 - 11:50pm

That's interesting, I have a ton of friends who actually say the opposite (granted they haven't actually started work yet). Personally, I see Boston as a cleaner but smaller version of NYC. In terms of neighborhoods, I'm pretty open to anything. I've been told that Southie is a solid spot to be because that's where a lot of recent college grads go but seems not as nice as something in the North/West End. I've also looked a little into Beacon Hill area and Seaport but I'm not sure I can justify the price. 

Most Helpful
Feb 17, 2021 - 1:38am

I mean I say it because I'm from there, so to me it quite literally is home. Obviously NYC blows it out of the water in every category except for Lombardi Trophies because of sheer size and the diversity that comes with it, but Boston is still a fun city with a lot of fun nightlife, good food, and other activities. 

Southie is for rats, North End is for cockroaches, and West End is for witnessing overdoses. Just kidding. To break all of these down, Southie is definitely a fun spot for recent grads and most of my friends working in the city live there. They have a bunch of bars that get pretty populated (Lincoln, Capo, etc.) and a decent but improving food scene. Fairly easy commute to FiDi. Southie would probably be the place I would recommend the most, but I think if you are not planning on living with people you know, it's appeal goes down a bit. The North End isn't really a bar place but it does have some good Italian restaurants, although I think the best Italian food is in the largely Italian neighborhoods of Boston's inner ring towns and cities such as Somerville, Medford, and Revere. I am of Italian descent so I definitely have a lot of appreciation for the North End, but I'm not sure it is the spot for a young college grad working in the city. However, you may get the best prices here. Lastly, the West End is loaded with bars and is the center for the club-ish bars that Boston is somewhat known for. It also is a hotbed for Mass' plague-level brutal opioid crisis. I used to walk through there a lot and have literally seen people OD on the street, some who may not have made it. Sad shit. My cousin also got robbed there. It isn't really unsafe, but can be a bit seedy. The variation in places here can be pretty big, from normal old brick building apartments above businesses to high rise luxury apartment buildings. Cut Seaport from your list. Not worth spending so much of your salary on living there, sorry to say. Now Beacon Hill is a very nice area that is a bit less expensive than Seaport from what I know, and I actually have a few banker friends living there now. Very pretty, peaceful neighborhood that is an easy commute to everything. I think the slight uptick in price might be justified here.

If you are living with friends, I'd say Southie or Beacon Hill. If you are living alone or with random roommates, North End could be decently priced and West End can be hit or miss, but if it's a hit it can be pretty nice if you're willing to deal with drunk people and some addicts roaming around. Beacon Hill is honestly good either way if you're willing to pay up. Southie would work too, but the main appeal of living there seems to be going out with the squad. If that isn't really feasible for a group of you, then realistically everywhere else is pretty on par or better.

  • 3
Feb 16, 2021 - 6:34pm

People out of school typically live in Southie or the North End if they can afford it. Right now you can definitely find a place a decent clip below that given the falloff in demand from covid, but assuming you are looking to move in the summer and things start to normalize I'd say 1500 is probably a fair max I'd look to pay in those spots. If you end up paying any more than that you probably were being as diligent as you should've been. In Southie or the North End you wont be living in a palace but you can definitely find a place that was renovated fairly recently with some decent square footage below that price.

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