Location, Location, Location

high housing costsLocation, location, location.

We’ve all heard this phrase before, and my bet is we will continue to hear this for many years to come. While I have known this to be true, I never REALLY KNEW what it meant – until recently. As many of you already know, we’re getting ready for the big move. I’ve been hunting for a new place to live, including both buying a home (or rather, asking whether we can afford to buy a home yet) and looking for an apartment to rent. As I’ve been looking, I’ve been hit with this harsh reality that location really does matter.

For those who don’t know, my wife and I are planning on moving to Boston. I’m not sure if I have announced it on this blog yet, but now it’s out there. We’re really excited about the move, not only because we love the area, but also because we both already have jobs lined up. In fact, we’re working them already. My wife works out of the Boston office (remotely) for her organization and I will be able to switch offices, while staying at the same company. I couldn’t have planned it better if I tried.

Why Is Everything So D*** Expensive?!

When I first started looking for apartments and condos, I was patient. I started to see high housing costs, higher than where we are currently living, and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Since I started looking a couple months ago, I let it be. “Surely, there will be other, more affordable places to live,” is what was going through my mind.

But, as time passed by, my thought process soon changed. I started to see a trend. The neighborhood that we are looking to live is not only more expensive than our current town in New Jersey, but a lot more expensive. And an increase from where we’re currently at is saying something. We are already paying more to rent our 1 bedroom apartment than both of my older brothers pay for their 3-4 bedroom mortgages. Please say you understand my pain.

Adjusting to Higher Housing Costs

Anyone who has lived in the Northeast or in California, probably knows what I am going through. I have many friends who live in the south, midwest, and northwest parts of the country, and as luck would have it, all are more affordable than the beloved Northeast. Why do we have to enjoy living in the Northeast so much?!

Those who have lived in some of the more costly regions know what it’s like to spend a huge chunk of change each month on housing costs. When my wife and I moved out to New Jersey four years ago, it was heart-breaking. We weren’t used to paying so much for housing. A few years ago, finding a 1-bedroom apartment in a decent area for under $1,000 per month proved impossible. Now, with the hope of finally having laundry in the unit and being close to public transportation, the cost is significantly increasing.

Paying this much for housing is almost unavoidable. I only use the word “almost” because we do have the option of living in a less-popular neighborhood, or without laundry in our own home, or even choosing to live farther from public transportation. But, these decisions come with hidden costs themselves and after making a sacrifice for four long years, these are some of the things that are important to us.

While some may laugh or judge us for this decision to spend more money on housing (maybe even doubling or tripling other friends’ housing costs), the reality is that this is what it costs to live where we want to live. While we may spend more in housing, I guarantee that we will spend less in traveling. Not only will we be able to go back to being a 1 family car, but will also be able to drive our one and only car on the weekends only. This means our car will last a few extra years, minimum. If we were to add everything up, we’re probably still spending more than others on the essentials. While that kills a small part of me, I also know that everyone’s situation is different and I’m not going to lose sight of the benefits of paying more for housing.

It may be easy to point the finger at people who pay outrageous amounts for a condo in an urban environment, but make sure to stop and ask yourself if you are looking at the whole picture. I know it was, and in some ways still is, hard for me to swallow the bigger renting costs on the surface, but when you stop to consider what you are getting for paying for location, it is more than worth it.

Readers, are you willing to pay more for housing?

9 Responses to Location, Location, Location

  1. Little House says:

    I can honestly say, I feel your pain. I live in the Los Angeles area and housing is super expensive. It’s up there with the costs of New York City, well maybe a little less but not much less. A huge chunk of our income goes towards housing, but that’s just they way it is. For a while we were talking about moving out of the LA area, but since I got a job, we’re now thinking of staying at least another 5 years. At least in Boston, you won’t have to drive much. Can’t say that about LA. 😉

  2. I used to live in the DC suburbs and it was outrageous there. Luckily I now live in the south and housing is much more affordable. There are less opportunities for income and advancement though.

    • Corey says:

      Yeah, that’s another benefit of living close to Boston. I forgot to mention career advancement as a perk to balance out the high costs of living. Lots of non-profits that I would be qualified to work for if/when I want to transition. I guess the ideal place would be an affordable place to live in a place with lots of potential for advancement/income growth.

  3. I was going to mention that high cost of living areas usually have salaries that are commensurate. If you can swing living and saving in a HCL area, you typically can save more than if you live and work in a low cost area. This is because non-housing things like food and clothes have similar costs anywhere in the country. Since you should be getting paid more, you can save more.

  4. Micro says:

    My girlfriend and I are in the same situation. When we moved we had to stick near a metro station so she had a way to get to school. It makes our rent more expensive but we can stick with only needing one car.

  5. Depends if we are going to earn more in we move to a more expensive location. There are lots of things to consider, housing could be more expensive, but if it’s near my workplace, school, and anywhere else our family need to go on a daily basis, I will certainly go for it, since it could mean saving some money on gas and other transportation expenses.

  6. I think the convenience is worth the extra cost if you can afford it. Location really is everything when it comes to real estate 🙂

  7. If the pros outweigh the cons I would probably consider it. Especially if it’s in a good location i.e. a few blocks away from the grocery, work, hospital, school and other important establishments. And of course if the compensation is commensurate with the cost if living then why not?