Personal-finance firm Smart Asset published a study recently of what it takes to live comfortably in America's largest cities, including (of course) Boston. The firm's benchmark? What households needed to make to pay a market-rate rent in April for a 2-BR apartment and still have a nice chunk leftover.
Turns out the magic number for Boston is a household income of $120,900. That makes Boston one of the pricier big American cities in which to live comfortably (see chart below). From the study: "A Boston apartment with a couple of bedrooms will cost you $2,821 per month, on average. If you can’t afford that, consider checking out apartments in some of the cities nearby."
As for those "nearby" cities, Smart Asset suggests Lowell, where "you’ll only need to make $59,143 per year to rent a place." The study does warn prospective tenants off markets closer to Boston proper: "Market rents for two-bedroom apartments in [Cambridge] are 7.4 percent higher than they are in Boston."
There is a sliver of good news in the report for Boston tenants. Rents were basically flat from 2015 to 2016 vis-a-vis the income needed to lease and still live comfortably.
- The Income Needed to Pay Rent in the Largest U.S. Cities [Smart Asset]