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At these rents, why not buy?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis April 13, 2012 06:17 AM

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Renting is hot now. But the choices and prices available for renters still lag significantly compared to what's available on the for-sale market.

Boston area rents jumped another 6 percent in the first quarter, RentJuice reports.

That brings the average asking rent in Boston, Cambridge and the inner suburbs to $2,332 for a two bedroom apartment.

That's a pretty decent sized mortgage payment, all for a two bedroom. It's about what I pay in Natick for my modestly sized, four bedroom fixer-upper. And I have a home office on the second floor and a potential spare bedroom on the first floor, which just might come in handy someday given the ways things are going right now with my elderly parents.

You can do a lot with 1,800 square feet, if you can configure it the way you want it - something you can do if you are a homeowner, not a renter.

OK, let's face it, two bedrooms are great if you are living together, newly married, or just had your first child.

But if you decided to have a second child, or really get radical and go for three - which, strangely, counts as a large family these days - it's a configuration that is less than ideal.

Karen and I did that for a while before we added onto our house - getting a five year old boy, and his three year old and one year old sisters to settle down and go to sleep in the same bedroom was a nightly adventure!

OK, not saying it was the worst thing in the world, hardly, but given a choice, it was nice to be able to give the girls their own bedroom and move big brother out.

But if we were renting, we would pay dearly for that luxury.

The average asking price for a three bedroom in the Boston area is $2,740 a month, with four bedrooms commanding $3,249 a month.

Nor is there a lot to choose from. The vast majority of the apartments currently on the market in Boston, Cambridge and nearby suburbs such as Newton, Belmont and Arlington - more than 67 percent - are studios and one and two bedrooms, according to RentJuice.

Three bedrooms make up just 12.6 percent of the market, with four bedrooms accounting for just 9.3 percent.

Really, if you are going to shell out more than $3,000 a month in rent, why not buy?

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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