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Renting and Buying in Boston

Dec 25, 2007
One of the oldest cities in the United States, Boston currently houses more universities and colleges than any city in the country. Once the home to those that begun the Revolutionary War, Boston today is still the city of champions, with both the Red Sox and New England Patriots sitting high atop a mound trophies and vanquished foes.

The city itself has only 573,000 residents and is actually geographically quite small for a major city. But if the borders of the city were set up like New York City or L.A.'s, then the surrounding cities of Somerville, Cambridge, Medford, Arlington, Newton, Malden, Brookline, Revere and Chelsea would all be part of the city, and it would have a population of about 2 million. That's why you generally hear the phrase the Boston Area about as often as the word Boston itself.

Boston is also an expensive city. It's expensive to live here in general, and a big reason why that's true has to do with the cost of buying or renting a home. The median price of a home in the area is about $410,000. That figure is true despite how old most of the buildings are here. The median age of a rental building is 65 years, and that number takes into account all of the new homes that have been built in recent years, so you know there are a whole bunch of old buildings creaking around here.

For the most part, the Boston area sports a quality public transportation system with a large number of buses and quality subway lines. Be forewarned however, while most of the lines on the T, as locals call it, are pretty quick, the Green line is horribly slow. This antiquated part of the public transport system effectively doubles the commute time for most homes in the Allston and Brighton regions of Boston.
The occupancy rate is 95.09%. That means that it is much easier to find a home here than it is in New York City where occupancy rates are about 99% but, compared with the rest of the country, it certainly isn't easy.

That being said, the market has indeed cooled in the past year, and there are a number of great deals to be found. They are not, however, easy to find. Residents of the city have keen memories of when it was nearly impossible to find a reasonable price here, and are quick to jump on homes that are good values. If you are intent on finding a great deal, use a highly customizable search engine to make your search process as efficient as possible. While the Boston Globe's web page has the largest selection of homes, CityCribs offers by far the most in-depth search engine, as well as one of the largest databases of available homes in the area.
About the Author
Gea Elika is a freelance writer specializing in business, politics and economics. He has studied economics and political science at a number of different institutions, both here and in the U.K. For more information, visit http://boston.citycribs.com.
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