Why Everyone is Leaving Boston, Massachusetts
Why Everyone is Leaving Boston, Massachusetts
People are moving to Boston every single day… But there are some people that are moving out! According to census data, they estimate that there were 675,000 people that lived in Boston on April 1, 2020. This is compared to the 650,000 that lived there on July 1st 2022.
So people are moving from Boston. So I wanted to figure out why are they leaving? And that is what we are going to explore in this video. But stick with us to the end and we will talk about where these people are moving to… And the answer may just surprise you!
Hey, it’s Jeff Chubb. I am a recovering investment banker, turned real estate agent that has sold more than a 1,000 homes. We get calls, texts and emails from folks just like you who are looking to make a move in the Boston Metro area and I absolutely love it! So whether you are looking to make a move in the next 9 or 90 days… It doesn’t matter. Give us a call, shoot us an email or stop by YouTubeRealEstateAgent.com and fill in your information and we will reach out to you!
So why are people moving from Boston?
As one of the most mosaic of reasons behind why people leave Boston… One recurring theme that constantly stands out is the weather. I have said that I personally don’t think it’s that bad, but for some… They just can’t handle the cold!
I think what can drive me the most crazy is the unpredictable extremes. It’s not unheard of to walk out the door in a short sleeve shirt in the morning and be regretting that decision by the afternoon. But we have all the seasons, which I personally like. My biggest peeve is the winters where we get no snow. You heard that right, no snow winters! I feel like it’s either a winter where we are getting whooped with snow or it’s a winter where the snow blower never comes out. That was last winter. My kids got so desperate to sled that they were trying to sled down our hill with a dusting of snow on the ground… I kid you not, I looked into what the cost of what a snow machine would be this winter! Ya, after a very little amount of research… That didn’t happen.
I just get annoyed when it’s freezing cold outside and we get no snow. I consider a couple snow storms the payoff for the torture of the cold weather!
People leave because of the winters… But boy are the summers perfect… They are too short, but perfect. Not humid. Not blistering hot. Just perfect.
But the cold weather does impact economics… Like the higher heating costs. So let’s talk about the cost of homeownership and that being a reason why people leave!
Cost of Homeownership
When people think about the cost of homeownership, then they immediately jump to the actual cost of the home. Which is true, but there are some other factors that go into the cost of homeownership and why people move from Boston.
Homes are expensive. It doesn’t matter if you are buying one or renting one. Pricey is a house in Boston’s middle name.
According to the 2023 Apartment List Renter Migration Report, 37% of apartment hunters in metro Boston are looking to leave the city while 9.4% searched for places like Providence. Worcester also tallied a response rate of 6.3%. I can actually think of one friend who had a dream of owning a home. She rented and realized that she would never be able to afford a house in the Boston Metro Market. So she picked up and moved down South… Tampa, Florida to be exact.
Year to date, the median sales price for a Single Family home in Boston is $800,000 and $750,000 for a condo. Homes are not cheap in Boston and this is why people move.
But there are also other factors that go into homeownership costs. Property taxes can be a big one, especially for retired folks. I have always said that there are two ways for a town to get more revenue. The first way is with a property tax hike. The second way is by increasing assessment amounts. Door number one is a lot harder than door number two when it comes to increasing revenue rolls. I look at my in-laws. Their tax bill has gone up by more than 50% in the last two years. The town has re-assessed them based off of recent sales in the neighborhood. Good for the town, but tough for two retirees on a fixed income. The neighbors across the street from us moved down to South Carolina a couple years ago because the property taxes had become a burden that they couldn’t shoulder anymore. It happens. A lot.
Another factor is the utility cost. It gets cold up here. And that means you are running your furnace to not only stay warm, but also protect the house from the harsh elements. The cost of electric and Natural gas has increased as well as home heating oil. The cost of heating our homes is getting more and more expensive.
I will say that Massachusetts has an amazing program called Mass Save to help with this. I read somewhere that we are the most efficient state in the country and I think a lot of it has to do with this program. Insulation in homes is heavily subsidized through this program. You can also get interest free loans to upgrade your furnace.
And now let’s do the Question of the Day. What is it about where you are right now that made you consider Boston? Type your answers in the comment section below.
Taxes (Millionaires Tax)
Good ole Taxachusetts! As I have mentioned in some past videos… Our tax burden isn’t as bad as they make it out to be. But, let's be honest… it could be better.
We do have the 5% income tax so that makes states like New Hampshire or Florida attractive. And those are two states that we lose quite a few residents to each year. This became a good option for people who enjoy working virtually from home and no longer have to worry about coming into the office.
Then there is the newly voted on and passed Millionaires Tax. The millionaires tax kicks in an additional 4% on the portion of income over the millions dollar threshold. This tax ended up affecting Celtics player Grant Williams and his decision to go to Dallas and play there. I have to give it to the guy… He laid it out pretty well as he ended up taking less money to play in Dallas. “He said that $54 million in Dallas is really like $58 million in Boston and $63 million in L.A.”.
This tax is too new to really know how it ends up shaking out… But I do know for a fact that people have moved and will continue to move because of this tax.
Schools in Boston
The Boston Public School System spends more per student than any other large school district in the country. What is amazing is that the school budget keeps growing while the student enrollment continues to decline. The city’s highest in the nation cost is $31,397 per student during the 2020 - 2021 school year.
Quoting a Boston Globe Story, “Yet for all the money BPS is spending, many education advocates, parents, and students are bewildered at how little the district generally has to show for it. State standardized test scores are low, huge gaps in achievement exist between students of different backgrounds, and the district had to aggressively fight off a state takeover last year.”
Looking at the numbers, there are 115 schools that serve 48,000 students with a 10 to 1 student to teacher ratio. The Math Proficiency was 22% which is compared to the state’s 37%, the Reading Scores ranked at 33% compared to the state’s average of 49% while the graduation rate is 75% compared to 88% for the state.
The Boston School District is not known as one of the better ones in the state. This makes me need to bring up Niche.com and their rankings. They have the Boston Public School system ranked as a “B”. Public School Review has them rated as 1 star out of 5. A quick piece of advice. Don’t just take the rankings at the face value. Dig into the numbers.
I have to say that personally I have never felt Boston was bad for crime. It’s one of the biggest cities in the United States… There is going to be crime! I also remember trying to do a video on neighborhoods and crime a couple years ago… I got nowhere with that one… And that even included a Freedom of Information Request. I think they are tricky on how they report their crime data. When it comes to crime, I always recommend people to either call or stop by the local police station. They will tell you everything that you would want to know.
Using stats off of NeighborhoodScout.com, Boston ranks as 16 out of 100. In other words they say that they are safer than 16% of the U.S neighborhoods. Again.. Big city. To put this number in perspective, New York is 15, Chicago is 9, Los Angeles is 9, Philadelphia is 8. Washington D.C is 2. Our nations capital really makes your proud, doesn’t it?!? You get the pont. Boston is pretty good when compared to other big cities in the country.
But they do have crime. Again, according to Neighborhoodscout.com, there are 6.02 violent crime incidents per 1,000 residents and 18.64 property crimes per 1,000. Violent crime is a little more than double what the state average is while Property Crime is about 8 more incidents per 1,000 residents when compared to the state average.
It’s not awful, but it’s definitely something people are more aware of when living in Boston then some quiet and sleepy suburb outside of Boston.
A reason that people leave is definitely tied to our traffic. We have some of the worst traffic in the country. When we here in Boston aim to do something... We aim to do it right. And while we aren’t #1, USNews.com ranks us as the second most congested city in America.
Ya, it’s not great. I-93 is a cluster you know what… At all times of the day. I have gotten on that highway at 1:30 in the morning coming home from a long flight… Bumper to bumper in hair ripping out of the head traffic. I swear. That road does not take any prisoners.
The Mass Pike I think is better, but still no slouch when it comes to congestion. The best thing they ever did was get rid of the toll booths… That has helped significantly!
And with so much traffic, then you would assume our public transit system would be on point, right? No. The best way I can describe our public transit system is a 3 year old grabbed a couple crayons, Red, Blue, Green, Orange and Purple to be exact and drew some lines over a map of Boston. It makes no sense.
To be fair, the Green Line is the oldest subway in North America and Boston is one of the oldest cities in North America. Our roads aren’t on a grid - For the most part that is. Newer areas… And by newer, I mean areas developed in the last 120 to 140 years are… So our public transit system is a system that is almost squeezed into areas by sort.
Let's say you live in Brighton and are working in the Seaport. Well then that is going to be a start on the Green line with a transfer to the red line and then another transfer to the Silver Line… By the way, the Silver line is really a bus line. And yes, we have an entire other bus line transit system. Or let's say you are in Brighton and want to see a friend in Roxbury. That’s a green line to red line to orange line situation. Or maybe you live in Southie and want to go to East Boston. Then that is a red line to green line to blue line situation. It’s not pretty.
And since I have started… Let’s just talk about the craziness of the commuter rail. You have two stations. You have North Station and South Station… And the two do not connect. Let’s say you live on the North Shore, but work in the Financial District. Then buckle up because thats a train into the city into North Station. Then jumping on the Green line to then transfer to the Red line to jump out at Downtown Crossing which is one stop before the South Station Stop. This is why when someone says they are moving to Boston and that they are looking at suburbs, then one of the first questions I ask is where are you working. Because if you are working in the TD Bank area, then living on the South Shore makes little sense. Just like if you are working in the Financial District, then living on the North Shore would equate to a lot of wasted commuting time.
Many of these gray hairs can be attributed to traffic. I can’t wait to have a car that drives itself!
Retiring & moving to warmer, less expensive areas.
I wish I had kept track of how many times I have heard that someone is moving out of Boston because they are retiring and that they are going to be moving to a warmer or less expensive area… And in many cases… Both!
We have talked about the cost of living here is not cheap. Living in one of the best cities in the country comes at a price. But when you stop making the big bucks… Then a lot of times it makes sense for people to cash in their chips and move down south or up north.
The cost of living pretty much anywhere else is cheaper. Many will move up to New Hampshire or Maine. Others will take advantage of the less expensive lifestyle as well as the warmer weather to head to the Carolinas or the all too popular Florida destination. And you don’t even have to be older… I can tell you all about my waterfront Florida home if I was to hit the Mega Millions this week. No income tax with a billion dollar annuity paid out over 30 years seems like a no brainer.
A person who bought a house in Boston 30 years ago and has been paying down their mortgage is most likely sitting on a nice egg. For a lot of these folks, selling that property and buying something down South allows them to live a comfortable life during their golden years… It turns out to be a lot of people's built in, contributed to monthly retirement plan quite frankly.
So where is it that the majority of people are moving out of Boston to?
The easy and obvious answer is that the majority of people head to the Boston Suburbs. People leave the city of Boston for more space and higher ranked schools.
At first thought, I would have immediately thought that people were headed to some Florida destination. And I would have been wrong. And I have to say that it made sense when I saw the actual results.
The number one place that Boston residents are going to is Providence, Rhode Island metro area. Number two was the Worcester Area with number three being the Manchester-Nashua, NH Metro area. The first Florida destination was number six which was the Miami - Fort Lauderdale Metro areas.
Whether you are looking to relocate to Hingham Homes For Sale Massachusetts in the next 9 or 90 days, then I would love to chat with you. Would love to hear about your goals and also talk to you about what you are looking for in your new home to help offer some suggestions on possible communities that could work for you.
All of my contact information is below. You can also reach out to me at YouTubeRealEstateAgent.com and fill out your contact information and then I will reach out to you.
Until next time.