Why Millennials Love Living in Boston and Cambridge
Two cities known for higher education — and higher prices — are ranking just as high on a Forbes list of the best places for millennials to live. Forbes evaluated 232 cities in the United States using factors such as percentage of residents age 25–34, rent prices, ethnic diversity, ease of commute and proximity to bars, coffee shops and restaurants. Cambridge, Massachusetts, took top honors on the list, while Boston ranked ninth. So why does living in Boston and Cambridge rank so well with millennials?
Academics, entertainment and employment are easily accessible. The high rankings are no surprise to some millennials and Boston residents, like Chris Dupin. “Reno is the ‘Biggest Little City in the World.’ Boston is the ‘Littlest Big City in the World,'” he says. “The sports teams rock. The fact that academia, tech and finance are piled on top of each other makes for an amazing professional environment. And getting around is easy.”
Creativity spices up city life
It’s not just Tom Brady and the Pats who will entertain you while living in Boston. The city ranked high on another Forbes list: America’s Most Creative Cities. Boston was number two, second only to San Francisco, California. The ranking does not simply represent the number of art galleries and performance art venues. It also makes activity on websites, such as Kickstarter, IndieGogo and ReverbNation — where people manage and promote their creative projects — a heavily weighted factor.
Why rent when you can buy?
In terms of social life and community connection, millennials seem to have figured out Boston and Cambridge just fine. So let’s focus on finances — after all, one of the ranking factors where Boston and Cambridge did not fare well was rent prices. Both cities have median rent prices above the national average and cost of living index numbers in the 160s. The national average is 100.
With rent prices high, a significant portion of millennials have become increasingly interested in owning real estate rather than renting. Bloomberg News reported that 32 percent of the 2014 homebuying market was comprised of millennials, and that 5.2 million then-current renters planned to purchase a home in 2015.
Concepts to consider to make purchasing a home more possible:
Condo versus house: Do you really need 2,000 square feet and a white picket fence right now? If you are currently living an apartment lifestyle and enjoying it, consider purchasing a small condominium instead. Your purchase price will be significantly cheaper, making your down payment and monthly mortgage significantly more manageable, too. You’ll also spend less time mowing a lawn and more time enjoying the city.
Be as lendable as possible: For a bank to give you a loan on any home, you need to be prepared to come up with a 10–20 percent down payment, although some properties qualify for FHA loans that require much less down. But there’s more: You need to be relatively low-risk, which means your credit score needs to be strong (a score in the low 700s or better), among other things. Student loans and unpaid credit cards will ding this score. If you chose the entrepreneurial route over the corporate gig, make sure you have at least two years of tax returns to provide to your lender. Banks want to see consistent salary amounts and regular payments before they give you their cash.
If you’re thinking about buying a home in Boston or Cambridge, consider all your options. One couple recently purchased a two-family home instead of having an extravagant wedding. The tenants offset their mortgage payment, resulting in greater savings while living in a beautiful space.
Living in Boston and Cambridge has its advantages, and Owners.com can help you find the right home with real estate listings, tips and advice.
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