NYC vs Boston: The Cost of Living Edition

NYC vs Boston is a rivalry that’s gone on for ages. Here we don’t discuss the obvious sports one; we’re here to take a brief look at the difference between buying or renting a home in Boston vs finding a place to live in New York City.

NYC vs Boston. The Big Apple vs The Hub. Yeeeeaahh … we’re not going there. This battle between New York and Boston will solely focus on the NYC and Boston real estate markets. The cost of living in NYC is higher than it is in Boston, but Boston is by no means cheap. Two bedrooms in Boston’s priciest neighborhoods like the Leather District can cost as much as $5,000 per month, while NYC rents for similar spaces can go for even more. If you’re thinking of getting an apartment in NYC or Boston, check out the brief overview below.

Tribeca at night

Image Source: Flickr/Garrett Cox

What’s it like buying an apartment in NYC vs Boston?

When it comes to the process of buying an apartment, NYC trumps Boston in terms of sheer difficulty. Co-ops are more common in New York City than they are in Boston, and getting past New York co-op boards can be an excruciatingly daunting experience. The sheer amount of financial and background information that the average potential NYC co-op owner needs to get together can be overwhelming, and that doesn’t even include the stress-inducing co-op board interview.

Beacon Hill cobblestone

Image Source: Flickr/Jennifer Boyer

What types of housing exist in both Boston and NYC?

One great characteristic of both cities is that they share an amazing mix of architectural styles. You’ll find 200-year-old brownstones brimming with gorgeous vintage detailing flanking sleek, hip high rises.

  • Where to Find the Old: If you’re a brownstone lover and you’re moving to Boston, focus on areas like the South End, the Back Bay, and Beacon Hill. In NYC, brownstones can be found all throughout the city, including in the West Village, Chelsea, the Upper East Side, Harlem, and the Upper West Side.
  • Where to Find the New: If you’re in NYC and you’re all about moving on up to a deluxe apartment in the sky complete with doorman and every possible amenity, every single section of the city has something to offer, including Battery Park City, the Financial District, Midtown West, and the Upper East Side. In Boston, the downtown area fits the bill, as well as the Seaport and Fenway.

Boston skyline

Image Source: Flickr

Where can I have a better quality of life: NYC, or Boston?

If quality of life is strictly defined by cost of living alone, you’ll generally get more for your money in Boston than you would in NYC.

  • Just Starting Out: If you’re a young person starting out, and you’re looking for a fun, hip neighborhood to call home, Boston’s Cambridge neighborhood would be a great contender. A combination of hip bars, funky stores and access to top universities make this neighborhood perfect for young people and families alike . Neighborhoods with a similar feel in NYC include Long Island City and the Upper East Side.
  • Vibrant Communities: If living in a fun, diverse neighborhood is key, Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood will set your heart afire. Harlem and Fort Greene offer the same vibe in NYC.
  • No Expenses Spared: If you’re looking for a mix of historic charm, cobblestone streets, and gorgeous homes — you’re willing to pay for the privilege — Boston’s Beacon Hill could be a great option for you. Home to a mix of residents ranging from young families and professionals to med school residents, it’s highly walkable, and public transit in the area is a dream. A similar neighborhood in NYC would be the West Village, but you’d pay a lot more money to live there.

Main Image Source: Flickr


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