Moving to Boston
Boston, the capital of Massachusetts, is otherwise known as ‘The Hub’, ‘The City on the Hill’, ‘The City of Notions’ and by Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins and New England Patriots fans, the ‘City of Champions’!
Greater Boston is home to 4.5 million people, with a quarter of Bostonians born outside of the US. People that move to Boston are attracted by the city’s tech, medical, and academic achievements and as a result Boston is growing faster than any other metro area in the northeast.
Boston’s colleges and universities are world famous and world class, making the city an international centre of higher education and medicine. Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston University, and Brandeis University are all based in the Boston area. More than 250,000 students are enrolled in Boston and Cambridge alone.
Massachusetts was the first state to legalise gay marriage and in 2013, Boston and Cambridge were awarded 100% rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index in 2013. Most people moving to Boston report a welcoming community, unless you are a NY Yankees fan, that is!
Boston has a lively theatre district and is home to, amongst others, the Cutler Majestic Theatre, Citi Performing Arts Center, the Colonial Theater and the Orpheum Theatre. Both the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops Orchestra are based at Symphony Hall and the Boston Ballet performs at Boston Opera House for when you want a bit of culture in your expat life.
Greater Boston metropolitan area has the sixth-largest economy in the country. Tourism, academia, healthcare, technology and biotechnology contribute more to the economy than other industries. Tourism alone brought in $8.3 billion in 2011; the 350,000 college students from across the globe contributed more than $4.8 billion.
Unemployment in Boston is, at time of writing, at 3.7% - which is below the national average - and the cost of living is 21.2% above the national average. The average monthly disposable salary is $4,067.26, though some of that goes into the boring things like rent and utilities.
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Boston, and Cambridge in particular, is undergoing an unprecedented housing boom making it a tough time to buy. In Cambridge buyers are paying an average of 4% over the asking price and homes are only on the market for about eight days before they are sold. This is compared with 50 to 70 days during the last housing boom.
Other areas such as Jamaica Plain, South Boston, Charlestown, Somerville, and Newton have also hit pricing levels above pre-recession peaks.
The median price of homes currently listed in Boston is $489,900 while the median price of homes that sold is $448,250.
The median rent price in Boston is $2,395. Being a university town, it’s worth noting that 70% of properties come onto the rental market in September.
Boston neighbourhoods are defined by distinct characteristics and demographics. Allston is a great spot for young renters with an abundance of affordable apartments to choose from, while Roxbury is home to over 570 acres of parks, playgrounds and athletic fields. North End is home to Little Italy and is a waterfront neighbourhood characterised by quaint little streets.
For many, the key to finding a great neighbourhood is going to hinge on the daily commute to work. 1.3 million passenger trips are made each day on the T, or the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority Walk Score ranked Boston third best out of US cities for walkable neighbourhoods with good access to public transit.
- Family Friendly: West Roxbury - A tree-lined neighbourhood comprised of single-family homes. Also the location of Millennium Park, which has over 100 acres of trails, bike paths, ball fields, and picnic areas.
- Hip and Trendy: Jamaica Plain - Jamaica Plains is an area at peace with itself, with a real artistic flavour. The neighbourhood has attracted artists, academics, immigrant communities and activists making it a diverse and interesting neighbourhood to call home.
- Upmarket: The Waterfront - A narrow strip along the inner harbour, this area abounds with luxury condos, marinas, restaurants and hotels.
- Up and Coming: North Station - North Station used to be carved up by the Central Artery freeway, blocking hopes of regeneration. All that has changed with the freeway being replaced by the Rose Kennedy Greenway, a linear urban park, and now the neighbourhood is set to flourish.
Schools and Education
The Boston Public Schools district enrols 57,000 students attending 145 schools. Great Schools scores Boston four out of ten based on its public schools’ tests.
Out of the city’s 27 high schools, the Boston Public School district contains nine schools that received gold, silver or bronze medals in the U.S. News Best High Schools rankings. Top rated schools include Excel Academy Charter School, Eliot Elementary School and Boston Latin School.
Four members of the Association of American Universities are in Greater Boston: Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston University, and Brandeis University.
Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the US and has impressive alumni. Eight US presidents and other foreign heads of state have graduated from Harvard. 150 Nobel laureates have been affiliated to the university as students, faculty or staff.
Cost of Moving
The average shipping cost of moving for a family of three from the following cities will cost approximately:
A Day in the Life
One of the great things about Boston is that the city is easily navigated by foot or bike. It’s only a 15 minute walk from the North End to the Common, or 20 minutes from Back Bay to Southie. So when the sun is shining why not start off your day with a coffee from one of the lovely Italian coffee shops in North End then stroll along the beautiful waterfront to Long Wharf North.
From the wharf catch a ferry out to the “Hub” Islands: Georges and Spectacle for a swim or a hike, enjoying the spectacular views of “The Hub” itself.
For lunch, get a ferry back and pick up a bike from one of the 140 Hubway stations and take a leisurely ride over to Back Bay for a slap-up (but expensive) meal at Liquid Art House which is also a gallery. Or if you are after something cheaper and a bit more down to earth, then you can’t go wrong with the Salty Pig for shared platters of charcuterie or stinky cheese. They also do really good pizzas.
Get back on your bike and head to Boston Common, the oldest public park in the US. If it’s fall just sit and watch the leaves change colour. This is what New England is known for after all and it’s one of the greatest pleasures of living in Boston.
By mid afternoon it’s time to tear yourself away to find a great bar from which to watch the game. Whatever season it is, there will be a game on.
As a newcomer, one sure way to ingratiate yourself to a local is to show your support over a beer. Be it the Red Sox (baseball), Boston Celtics (basketball), the Bruins (hockey) or the New England Patriots (American football), there is always a game on. Get used to it, and get cheering. You’ll soon be singing “Sweet Caroline” with the rest of them.