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Rent vs. Buy: Two Southie 2-BRs, Two Very Different Costs

As part of Rookie Roosts Week 2012, we thought we'd take two similar properties in the same neighborhood, one recently for rent and the other recently for sale, and see which is the better deal for someone new to Hub real estate. These two 2-BRs in Southie are separated by less than a mile. Ready?

For Sale

This 2-BR, 2-BA is part of a condo building developed on West 7th Street less than 10 years ago. It comes with oak hardwoods throughout, stainless-steel kitchen appliances, granite counter-tops and garage parking (though that could mean different things). It's 1,216 square feet and last traded in September 2006 for $417,500. We did some back-of-the-envelop calculations: If you paid 10 percent of the $429,000 asking price and took on a 30-year mortgage at 6 percent, your monthly payment would be $2,741. So, so far, you've spent about $43,000 on the down payment and you will owe $2,741 a month to pay the mortgage. You will also likely owe just over $1,000 a year in homeowners insurance, so another $83 or so a month (and don't forget utilities). And, of course, as an owner, you're responsible for repairs, upkeep, etc. And the building dates from 1910.
For Rent

This 2-BR, 1.5-BA on Columbia Road is smaller in square footage and does not have the finishes, particularly in the kitchen, of the above condo. But it's a decent-looking space with similarly fabulous views. And what's this? Electricity and gas are included in the $2,260 rent as is "off street parking," which probably means nothing but the chance to park on the street where you can. So your monthly costs beyond the rent will be ... nothing but the rent and Internet/TV if you choose to get either. What say you, then? More than $3,000 a month for the condo (plus the down payment) or $2,260 for the less-fancy apartment? Keeping in mind that the rental at the end of a year is worth exactly what the landlord says it is, while the condo could be worth something else entirely. See why this is an everlasting argument?

· Decoded: the Different Meanings of 'Parking' in Boston [Curbed Boston]
· Rookie Roosts Week 2012 [Curbed Boston]

1410 Columbia Road

1410 Columbia Road, Boston , MA