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Old 02-10-2011, 12:58 PM
 
Location: Brookline Village, MA
6 posts, read 10,322 times
Reputation: 12
Default Is cost of living really more than Boston?

Hey everyone, I just signed up to the forum because I had a few questions regarding the whole COL situation in San Diego. My boyfriend and I are currently living in Boston, I'm a Realtor and he is a PhD student in Neuropsychology. I've read/heard countless things about the cost of living in San Diego as being is one of the highest in the national, higher than Boston. This doesn't seem to add up to me considering how low the rent is(comparatively). We live in Brookline which is a town over from the actual city, where we spend $1,700 a month for a 1 bedroom ($1,885 including parking). Including utilities and groceries it costs us about $22-2300 a month to keep a 1 bedroom apartment up and running. This is just in Brookline too. As I said I'm a realtor and a similar apartment in the actual city would easily go for $3,100 a month (this doesn't include utilities or other living expenses). From what I've seen it appears that someone could get a pretty nice 1 bedroom in the San Diego area for less than $1,500 a month. So my question is, with this huge difference in the cost of housing, how is that San Diego is more expansive?
I understand that actual cost for owning a house might be higher in the general San Diego area, but again it doesn't seem to add up to me. Boston is a pretty dense city and small in comparison to quite a few other cities. I understand that housing 45 minutes outside of the city is much cheaper, but if someone lived 45 minutes outside of Boston they wouldn't tell others that they live in Boston, whereas it seems that San Diego has a pretty large "umbrella." So for those that actually live in the city the cost to own a property is through the roof. A pretty lackluster 2 bedroom in the South End would easily go for $550,000, if not more (keep in mind, this would only be 1 floor in a brownstone).
I guess I'm just a little confused. How does it work out that San Diego is more expensive?? I look forward to your responses!!
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Old 02-10-2011, 01:24 PM
Status: "Beautiful Fall" (set 20 days ago)
 
Location: New York City/San Diego, CA/Gloucester, MA
348 posts, read 369,830 times
Reputation: 388
One thing to bear in mind is that the city of San Diego is absolutely huge and sprawling. City limits extend all the way from Rancho Bernardo in the north to the Mexican border which is a distance of 45 miles. My house in Gloucester, which most people would think of as far, far out of Boston (I do!), is 32.7 miles to the center of Boston for comparison.

There is a very different attitude here. Almost nobody walks to work and a very small percentage use public transportation to get to to work which IMHO is a huge reason the South End and Brookline are expensive. San Diego is just not laid out for it, though many Easterners get confused because there are a lot of tall buildings downtown and it looks centralized. The business in San Diego is not really downtown but tends to be in far flung office parks. Instead, the beach areas command a high premium because everyone wants to live close to the water. If you look at areas such as La Jolla, Crown Point, Del Mar, close to the beach you will see lackluster 2 beds for 550k if you are lucky.

Also, income and sales taxes are much higher in SD than Mass and water bills are a major expense.
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Old 02-10-2011, 01:25 PM
 
Location: Lemon Grove, CA, 91945
4,536 posts, read 4,531,557 times
Reputation: 1617
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatMassachusettsDude View Post
Hey everyone, I just signed up to the forum because I had a few questions regarding the whole COL situation in San Diego. My boyfriend and I are currently living in Boston, I'm a Realtor and he is a PhD student in Neuropsychology. I've read/heard countless things about the cost of living in San Diego as being is one of the highest in the national, higher than Boston. This doesn't seem to add up to me considering how low the rent is(comparatively). We live in Brookline which is a town over from the actual city, where we spend $1,700 a month for a 1 bedroom ($1,885 including parking). Including utilities and groceries it costs us about $22-2300 a month to keep a 1 bedroom apartment up and running. This is just in Brookline too. As I said I'm a realtor and a similar apartment in the actual city would easily go for $3,100 a month (this doesn't include utilities or other living expenses). From what I've seen it appears that someone could get a pretty nice 1 bedroom in the San Diego area for less than $1,500 a month. So my question is, with this huge difference in the cost of housing, how is that San Diego is more expansive?
I understand that actual cost for owning a house might be higher in the general San Diego area, but again it doesn't seem to add up to me. Boston is a pretty dense city and small in comparison to quite a few other cities. I understand that housing 45 minutes outside of the city is much cheaper, but if someone lived 45 minutes outside of Boston they wouldn't tell others that they live in Boston, whereas it seems that San Diego has a pretty large "umbrella." So for those that actually live in the city the cost to own a property is through the roof. A pretty lackluster 2 bedroom in the South End would easily go for $550,000, if not more (keep in mind, this would only be 1 floor in a brownstone).
I guess I'm just a little confused. How does it work out that San Diego is more expensive?? I look forward to your responses!!
Well by any measure, Boston and its greater area are expensive by the natl avg.

You are also comparing Apples to Oranges in terms of density makeup and overall size between Boston and SD. You are in real estate, you should know that its ALL local only relevant to streets and neighborhoods in a city. I remember when I lived in Allston over a decade ago....the South End was not what it is today. A friend of mine moved in there and said it was the next 'big thing' for the gay scene. So what was once a rundown poor area, now is expensive to live in. When I lived in Boston, people would just say they did even though they lived in Quincy or Brockton....I suppose status has changed in social circles.

First off when San Diego is said to have a high COL, it generally refers to the County as a whole. Plus this is a car centric place, our network of mass transit is a fraction of what the T is. Not necessarily in mileage but what the stops and areas the lines access. Way spread out.

When you factor in the fact that we dont have urban work/life combined, yes it can be expensive to live here.

Last edited by shmoov_groovzsd; 02-10-2011 at 01:51 PM..
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Old 02-10-2011, 01:45 PM
 
Location: Brookline Village, MA
6 posts, read 10,322 times
Reputation: 12
I know that San Diego is more spread out and usually refers to the whole county. So I can understand that the county as a whole is more expensive but I suppose my question is referring to only Boston proper. And I know that the cost of living would skyrocket for someone that moves from Malden to San Diego. However for someone that is spending close to $2,000 a month on rent for a 1 bed and already has a car payment and all that, is San Diego really more expensive? I understand that if I lived there it wouldn't have that urban-ness that Boston has but I suppose I'm not too concerned about that. Would somebody who moves from Boston proper to San Diego really see much of a change in cost of living? If taxes and such are more expensive wouldn't that just come out in the wash if one is spending $500 less a month in rent?
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Old 02-10-2011, 01:52 PM
 
Location: Lemon Grove, CA, 91945
4,536 posts, read 4,531,557 times
Reputation: 1617
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatMassachusettsDude View Post
I know that San Diego is more spread out and usually refers to the whole county. So I can understand that the county as a whole is more expensive but I suppose my question is referring to only Boston proper. And I know that the cost of living would skyrocket for someone that moves from Malden to San Diego. However for someone that is spending close to $2,000 a month on rent for a 1 bed and already has a car payment and all that, is San Diego really more expensive? I understand that if I lived there it wouldn't have that urban-ness that Boston has but I suppose I'm not too concerned about that. Would somebody who moves from Boston proper to San Diego really see much of a change in cost of living? If taxes and such are more expensive wouldn't that just come out in the wash if one is spending $500 less a month in rent?
They are about on par....but then there is the employment part, all of which there are not many oppts as we are a tourist/military town. Earnings can be far less for desk jobs.
Everyone here in SD is/was a real estate agent.
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Old 02-10-2011, 01:53 PM
 
Location: Rolando, San Diego CA 92115
7,128 posts, read 18,107,258 times
Reputation: 2900
Urban Areas of SD are less expensive than Boston, but suburban areas are much more expensive, and you get much less home, less land, usually worse schools, etc.
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Old 02-10-2011, 03:34 PM
 
3,174 posts, read 3,465,412 times
Reputation: 2334
To me SD is definitely less expensive to live than Boston. Boston is my favorite city and I'd love to live there but can't afford it. The only difference might be that in SD you might not earn as much as back east, so that would be a big factor...however that might not be in your case. As others have mentioned, when we refer to SD here, we generally mean the County of SD.
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Old 02-10-2011, 05:12 PM
 
Location: Escondido, CA
1,504 posts, read 3,604,286 times
Reputation: 815
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sassberto View Post
Urban Areas of SD are less expensive than Boston, but suburban areas are much more expensive, and you get much less home, less land, usually worse schools, etc.
I'm not so sure about that. I'm looking at Boston suburbs on redfin right now, and houses with greatschools 8+ local schools seem to start around 600k, except in exurbs (outside the I-95 loop). Even old and tiny ones. For example,

http://www.redfin.com/MA/Belmont/231...8/home/8439725
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Old 02-10-2011, 05:29 PM
 
Location: Lemon Grove, CA, 91945
4,536 posts, read 4,531,557 times
Reputation: 1617
Quote:
Originally Posted by esmith143 View Post
I'm not so sure about that. I'm looking at Boston suburbs on redfin right now, and houses with greatschools 8+ local schools seem to start around 600k, except in exurbs (outside the I-95 loop). Even old and tiny ones. For example,

231 Orchard St, Belmont, MA 02478 | MLS# 71187107
Edit: Belmont is a middle class neighborhood as it is next to Waltham which can be a bit higher up the bracket. Maybe not the best example.

Try other areas like Framingham, Natick, Brockton, Medford.

Last edited by shmoov_groovzsd; 02-10-2011 at 06:30 PM..
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Old 02-10-2011, 06:29 PM
 
Location: Fayetteville, AR
1,000 posts, read 1,458,260 times
Reputation: 609
I like this website for cost of living calculations:

Cost of Living Wizard | Salary.com
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