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Old 06-16-2009, 12:48 PM
 
Location: A place that's too cold
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My fiance recently learned that he may be transferred from Chicago to Boston. I've lived in Indianapolis my entire life until last year, when I moved in with him in Chicago.

As I've begun checking real estate web sites for houses in Boston, it's pretty depressing! In Indianapolis, I had a beautiful 3000 sq ft, brick home, with 3-car garage and lots of amenities, on a 1/2 acre lot, currently on the market for $300K. The houses I'm finding in Boston suburbs in that price range....well, they are typical of what I would see in rather poor areas here.

According to indeed.com, the average salary in Indianapolis in $52K, and in Boston, $70K (and my particular field pays very close to this average). Yet the median home price in Boston is about 2 1/2 times higher than in Indy! ($149K to $367K)

Maybe I need to adjust my thinking of what constitutes a "nice house." It's just hard to think of spending $300-350K on a house that would be such an enormous step downward in size, features, and attractiveness.

I find myself wondering, how in the world do most people afford a nice house in the Boston area?
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Old 06-16-2009, 01:52 PM
 
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You'll find housing very expensive all the way from metro areas of Boston to Washington DC on the east coast.

If you're happy where you are in Indianapolis, why give up your beautiful home and take a huge step down in housing if your income won't go up substantially?
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Old 06-16-2009, 03:11 PM
 
Location: A place that's too cold
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clevedark View Post
If you're happy where you are in Indianapolis, why give up your beautiful home and take a huge step down in housing if your income won't go up substantially?
As I said, it looks like my fiance will be transferred to Boston. Being with him is infinitely more important than keeping my house in Indy. I'm just trying to figure out how people get by in areas with a significantly higher cost of living, when salaries are not proportionately higher.
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Old 06-16-2009, 03:52 PM
 
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Lots more money in Boston (and other East Coast metro areas) than in Indy. Affluent people drive up the prices. Add to that a somewhat limited supply of housing--it's hard in Mass to assemble a development site and put up 200 houses, as compared to Indiana. Many people have less house than people with comparable incomes in less costly regions of the country. For some there are good tradeoffs--less house but cultural, educational, geographic amenities you can't find elsewhere. Others leave--lots of outmigration to places like North Carolina. Still others get into the "not so big house" mindset. NYC is sort of the extreme example: people making good money squeezing into some walkup tenement, but they're not in Elkhart; they're in New York, and so they cope with meagre housing for all the blissful advantages of city life (oops--I'm baiting Holden here ). Anyway, if you end up in Boston, hope your experience is good on balance.
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Old 06-16-2009, 06:52 PM
 
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Well, I've never spent much time in Indianapolis so I don't want to make assumptions or speak ill of it. I'm sure it's quite lovely! That said, I think you'll find that most people in the greater Boston area are content to pay more for their smaller slices of living space because they live in the entire metropolitan area. We don't just pull into our driveways here after work and roll up our sidewalks at night; we head out to take in the many fun cultural events that Boston/Cambridge have to offer. We don't need big yards, we have miles and miles of fabulous parkland. Our kids play in neighborhood playgrounds, not behemoth eyesores in our backyards. Yada, yada.

It's really a mindset, I think. When I see how much house I could buy in other areas, I admit that I'm tempted. But then I remember all I'd be giving up...I can't imagine living somewhere without easy access to every kind of ethnic restaurant I can imagine, and several art-house/indie film theater options, and tons of venues for live music, and all the museums, and and and...

300k here would buy you a small condo in a nice area where you can really take advantage of what Boston has to offer. I mean, do you really NEED a 3-car garage? Do you really want to pay to heat 3000 square feet? Eeek!
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Old 06-16-2009, 07:49 PM
 
Location: Massachusetts
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Kayanne, could you let us know what towns you have been browing the listings in? If you could pin it down to a certain area of the city you'd need to commute to, we could give you a better idea of what towns you might want to target in your search. Keep in mind, we have an extensive public transit system here in eastern Massachusetts. Lots of people commute from either southern New Hampshire or Rhode Island, as well.
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Old 06-16-2009, 11:13 PM
 
Location: A place that's too cold
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Casey, my fiance will be working in Cambridge, and I'll find a job wherever I can once we move there (I'm a clinical laboratory scientist, so will be looking at any and all hospitals, medical labs, etc).

When I go to realtor.com, I select Cambridge as the city, but I select that option that lets me look at anything within 20 miles of that. So I'm looking at a fairly wide area. If it's feasible, based on road traffic or public transportation, to live further out than that, I'm open to it.
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Old 06-16-2009, 11:38 PM
 
Location: A place that's too cold
4,088 posts, read 4,053,788 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redpanda View Post

I think you'll find that most people in the greater Boston area are content to pay more for their smaller slices of living space because they live in the entire metropolitan area.
<snip>
It's really a mindset, I think. When I see how much house I could buy in other areas, I admit that I'm tempted. But then I remember all I'd be giving up...I can't imagine living somewhere without easy access to every kind of ethnic restaurant I can imagine, and several art-house/indie film theater options, and tons of venues for live music, and all the museums, and and and...

300k here would buy you a small condo in a nice area where you can really take advantage of what Boston has to offer. I mean, do you really NEED a 3-car garage? Do you really want to pay to heat 3000 square feet? Eeek!
RedPanda, you make some very good points. Thank you.

Perhaps we midwesterners do more in-home entertaining than east coasters. And perhaps more we stay at home more in general. But like you, I also enjoy getting out and enjoying what my city has to offer. When I return home, I enjoy coming to a nice, well-kept home. I think of it as my "sanctuary" from a stressful world.

And do I "need" a 3-car garage? Well.... it would be nice to garage both of our cars and still have room for bikes, power tools, gardening stuff, etc. But I'm guessing I won't need the riding lawn mower up there though, so that will cut down on garage space needed!

It really is a mind-set, as you said. And considering I've lived 40+ years in the midwest, my mindset is naturally that of a midwesterner. But I am an open-minded person, and one who tries to find the best in any situation. So a move to Boston will present many wonderful opportunities I'm sure, even if living in a large house with big garage is not part of that lifestyle.
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Old 06-17-2009, 06:41 AM
 
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It is great to get out and do things, but if you don't have any money to do it...then it can be difficult. $70k in and around Boston isn't much when you start getting hit with taxes, home prices, and the high costs of everything. Your lifestyle will definitely change, Boston is not a city for automobiles or space.
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Old 06-17-2009, 09:24 AM
 
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Oh gosh, sorry, I didn't digest some of the details about you already having moved from Indianapolis to Chicago to follow your fiance. I was focused on the fact that you could afford to live in beautiful house for 350K and that you were happy with that and didn't want to give it up. It sounds like you've already given it up, so....

Welcome to the rat race!
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