Inside a 200-square-foot apartment

My 200 sq ft Microapartment

Guy shows off his basement microapartment in Porter Square, which he's trying to sublease for the summer - at $1,200 a month.



    Free tagging: 


    Yeah, so

    What the fuck more do ya need?

    Although, as someone who spent my first 17 years sharing less than 700 square feet with three other people (with 7' ceilings!), I have to say that the high ceilings are certainly useful here.

    Consider as well that $1200 a month is a really good deal for space in that location - 9 months of room and board at Lesley University runs $15K (and that is actually much lower than at many universities!). Although you might be able to do better in a 2br with a roommate for $1500 a month plus.


    By on

    You begin to go UP and not OUT when it comes to storing things.

    I lived in an studio apartment for a while, its amazing when you stop thinking about storage at eye level and start to think about going UP with it. It was amazing how much stuff I was able to cram into a studio.

    What else?

    By on

    Well, let's see - for starters, how about a kitchen that's just that - a kitchen without a TV, bed and a bike hanging off the ceiling? Perhaps a living room that can fit more that a small loveseat and a 20" TV. A separate bedroom would be nice as well. You know, all those things that are taken for granted by anyone who's lower middle class and up anywhere else but Boston. But I guess Boston is special, you gotta be stinkin' rich or one of the habitually poor, anyone working for a living making less than $60K/year (vast majority of Boston's population) is SOL - either slum it with roommates/live in a basement shithole, or spend 3+ hours a day driving to/from work.

    REM 5:1

    Take your instinct by the reins // you're better best to rearrange //
    what we want and what we need has been confused, been confused

    -Finest Worksong, REM


    By on

    Easy for you to say from your (probably 2000sqft+) Medford freestanding single-family house. Do as I say, no as I do.

    Greetings anonymous troll!

    Go fuck yourself ... and don't enjoy it!

    Try 1300 square feet, asshole. For four people.

    Note that is about the size of the home I grew up in plus the size of the home my husband grew up in. That's what I fucking know.

    Greetings swirly

    By on

    You've been around here long enough. You can (and do) make your point without all the F-bombs. Can you please spare us? What bee crawled in your bonnet this morning? That's two in one thread. Totally unnecessary.

    Bonnet bees welcome!

    Please, bees, take all this f*&%ing lilac pollen with you!

    (and the first f-bomb was a reference to the Real Housewives of Southie intro ...)


    By on

    Poor swirly, only 1300sqft! We need to call the DCF to take those kids away before they run off to college, they should not be living in such squalid conditions! As a matter of fact, let's just forget about that house completely - swirly grew up in a trailer 30 years ago or so, meaning she has every right and obligation to tell us all what to do and where to live now, completely oblivious to the fact that she's currently living in a nice house in a safe suburb. Heck, why doesn't she run for office? She would make such a great politician - do as I say at its worst, and a trailer argument to silence the critics. That, and plenty of f-bombs ready to go at any second.

    PS: There's this thing called NPD swirly, look it up...

    A good deal?

    By on

    Please, housing prices are ridiculously over inflated in Boston and you know it. And don't fire back at me like I just moved here yesterday and don't know what I'm talking about.

    Context is everything

    Yes, Boston real estate is ridiculously inflated and rentals are absurdly expensive.

    This has been true since the mid-1980s, more or less.

    However, salaries are higher here as well, and public transit is somewhat more prevalent than in most US cities. A lot of those "cheaper" rentals in other cities? They come with lower salaries and the need to have a car to get anywhere.

    Considering how much space costs in such a location (trains, grocery, walk to Harvard Square), that space with its private accommodations is not entirely unreasonably priced.

    Arguing "but the price of oranges is ridiculous and not a good deal" isn't useful when you still need an orange.

    Overpriced is overpriced...

    By on

    I get that there's a high demand and that salaries in Boston are higher than other parts of the country. But it still doesn't negate the fact that unless you make a substantial salary, you are priced out of the city and the surrounding area, and will most likely have to battle your way to/from work every day. Public transit into the city blows, to top it all off. So what is the working class supposed to do? Just suck it up?

    Adapt or Migrate

    I came here for the educational opportunities, and stayed for the economic opportunities.

    If that isn't working for you, Boston isn't the only city in the nation, continent, or planet. Find a job somewhere else and move there and enjoy it. After years of renting and years of commuting and years of looking for houses, that's what my former administrative assistant and her husband ended up doing. Sad to see her go, but she's pretty happy back in the Midwest, making 2/3 of what they did here but able to afford a family size house with 40% down.

    If Boston starts losing people to more economically tenable places, things might change.

    Adapt doesn't mean not make any dissentsion

    When did adapt means not voicing that high cost to live here is a problem? I think in past posts you talk that we should build more transit to allow more areas to increase supply for people who want transit accessibility. I'm pretty sure I remember you posted in the past that Boston and the area should build more. Maybe I remember you wrong, but I think many like the idea of more construction for both transit and housing because we want to keep prices lower rather than move.

    I fully agree!

    I want to get rid of these kids someday ... and I am hugely anti-NIMBY and would love to see meaningful upzoning on transit corridors AND more transit corridors. Those are the long-term answers.

    BUT we are fighting an endless tide of "I got mine fuck you" from people who think that places like North Cambridge are suburbs and want half-acre zoning on industrial reuse parcels (that is NOT an exaggeration, either!). We need much tougher zoning laws that limit all challenges to the zoning and not building level, and to get proper funding for the MBTA before any of this will happen.

    As my grandfather would say "if wishes were horses then beggars would ride".


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    If that is the case, why are we paying for all of Boston's habitually poor? If you're saying all those working for a living who can't afford Boston's ridiculous rents need to STFU and move to a cheaper location, shouldn't all the poor be moved to a cheaper location as well, where section 8 voucher/*HA apartment doesn't cost the taxpayers $2500+ a month?

    Excuse me?

    By on

    Fist off, I can more than afford to live here. Second, you pretty much just snorted a snobby, "Well if you don't like it, then you need to leave." Why do so many of your posts end up insulting people?

    Anyway, your comment is the perfect example of what I'm talking about and it absolutely proves my point. Every city needs economic diversity, and people like you seem hell bent of chasing the working class out of Boston.

    You are the reason why I have

    By on

    You are the reason why I have grown to despise Massachusetts liberals. Soooooo much compassion for the poor and minorities. But if you're a white working class guy who makes $30k a year and can't afford to live here? Just move!

    Spot on!

    By on

    When it comes to caring about the less fortunate, most Boston liberals' compassion only goes so far. As you said, white, working class folks can pound sand as far as they're concerned. What's more, people like you and I are branded as "racist" because we dared say the word white in defense of white working class people.

    Why do you think you have a right to cheap housing?

    Just a question.

    Another question: why do you think that moving to someplace where you can find the digs you like at a price you can afford is so heinous? That's a pretty damn American thing to do, overall.

    You call me Liberal like it is a dirty word ... and yet you are all GIMME GIMME GIMME I'M ENTITLED. I'd say you were a communist, except you seem to think that is being white and male and from here that merits you special protection from the capitalist system unleashed by the noble end of rent control.

    Seriously. Look at yourself here.

    Do you honestly think...

    ... your aggressive, self-righteous tone will get anyone to re-think their existing opinions? This is not how fruitful dialogue works. Really.

    I was responding in kind

    Sorry, but "I'm being picked on because I'm a white male" isn't dialogue.

    I merely pointed out that other parts of the country are more affordable. Sorry if people don't want to hear that, or feel entitled to what they want because they were born here.

    Mobility is and has been the reality of American life for generations.

    Well then

    By on

    Why do the poorer working folks who are just above the cutoff point to qualify for public assistance (yet are still way too poor to enjoy anything resembling a normal life in Boston) need to shove it and move, but you're perfectly fine with taxpayers wasting countless billions to house the nonproductive poor in extremely expensive cities like Boston, NYC and SF? Shouldn't they be moved to a cheaper location as well? A section 8 voucher in Boston can easily be worth $2500 for a three bedroom apartment, whereas same apartment in Cleveland would only cost the taxpayers $700. You see, I have no "gimme" attitude whatsoever and I'm all for capitalism, but this is not capitalism but rather a really perverted form of communism - the poor get everything as long as they're of the right color with the right number of babies, yet the (white) workers and peasants Lenin & Co loved so much get the boot. Sure, rip off the uber-rich who ripped off the poor but let everyone enjoy the spoils, not just those who will vote for you in the upcoming election.

    Nice try..

    By on

    I will not "look at myself here" because I am not the one sitting atop my ivory tower telling anyone who doesn't like the out of control gentrification of Boston to go be a poor somewhere else. After all, you're trying to enjoy YOUR city. I can pretty much afford to live anywhere in Boston, but unlike you, I feel for those who are being priced out of Boston.

    By the way, I am not "from here". And quote me the exact sentence where I support rent control. All I did was to call you out on your snobbery and you spun into a tizzy.

    Sorry buddy

    By on

    But you're about 10 years too late - white collar white guy making $60K is the new working class blue collar guy. Blue-collar white guys making $30K have gone the way of dodo and dinosaur quite a while ago 'round these parts.

    Old blue collar meet the new blue collar

    The old blue collar was on a Dickies two-pocket with a nametag. The new blue collar is on a polo shirt emblazoned with the logo of your retail overlord.

    The new working class doesn't get a full-time assembly job and a pension; they get to work multiple sub-full time food service and retail jobs, as in frying chicken on Monday, selling hardware on Tuesday, mopping floors on Wednesday… at 8 bucks an hour you can work ten hours seven days a week and never get to 30K.


    By on

    Overpriced where you want to live you mean. Try Chelsea or Revere or Everrett or Mattapan.

    $169k for a 2BR condo here.

    $160 for a 1BR condo here.


    I think you mean why the working class can't live in the middle class neighborhoods and that's not going to change without more development. I don't care if the Backbay and South End and North End all fill in the luxury housing because that pays for my kids schools. The need to make the housing market 'fair' somehow should only apply in areas where there is room to build more housing stock for families without killing the golden goose of luxury housing in select neighborhoods.

    Buy versus Rent

    There are plenty of reasonable places on the market in the less "desirable" communities in the area. The problem is that a lot of people can't buy right now for a number of reasons, and that sends the rental market spinning upward.

    This is particularly true of that demographic bulge known as "millenials", who are leaving school with heavy debt and can't possibly shoulder a mortgage right now.

    A similar thing happened to my family in the late 90s, except we had just cleared off our student loans and had paid off our car, so we were able to buy when others were shut out.

    Is this a joke?

    By on

    That address is one of the worst places in Dot - a crime-ridden Blue Hill Ave side street a couple blocks away from one of BHA's worst housing developments. Try any Dot/Rox middle-class, relatively crime-free area close to the T (in other words, a working-class neighborhood, not "mostly on the dole" neighborhood) and you'll quickly realize you'll be hand-pressed to find anything decent for under $1500 a month.

    You read the comment before responding, right?

    By on

    Yes, there is a difference between a place to live and a desirable place to live.

    Okay, I'm going to assume that you are 25 and first moved to Boston when you started college, and I'll give you some education.

    Some desirable areas today, namely the South End but also the lower end of Southie, the north slope of Beacon Hill, Charlestown, and even the parts of Dorchester that you consider okay along with Jamaica Plain along the Orange Line, were once shitholes. These areas became desirable when gentrifiers moved in. I normally use that term with scorn, but they were the true pioneers that cleaned places up. On the other hand, Blue Hill Ave used to be fashionable destination, meaning, amongst other things, the housing stock in the area, though perhaps in need of sprucing up, is great. I didn't look at the locale, but take a house near one of the new commuter rail stations, and you have a good investment.

    Are you looking to live in Boston, or are you looking to live in a nice place in Boston? There's a difference, but if you are looking for the former, you can be flexible on the latter.

    EDIT- it's a half mile from Franklin Park! The parking situation does not seem ideal, but that is not a bad location.

    Half mile

    By on

    From Franklin Park, half block from BHA Franklin Field. You seem like a know-it-all, so you must know what it is. Be honest for a second, would you want to live in that "not bad location with less that ideal parking situation?"

    This reminds me of another thing

    By on

    Franklin Field is far from the worse BHA development in Boston, and the area is far from even the worst part of Dorchester. Heck, it's not even the worst part of the area around Franklin Park.

    But, no, you anon must know better. Where in Dorchester do you live?


    By on

    A small outdated 2 bedroom in public housing-style brick box out in the boonies, with no rapid transit to downtown, going for $1500. Similar place in a similar location would rent for under $700 in plenty of large US cities, yet none of those cities are going to have average salaries that are less than half of those in Boston , more like 15-20% lower at most.

    Keep changing the topic

    By on

    (to be sure, you might not even be the same anon, but you all look the same to me)

    Look, you claimed that there is nothing at $1,500 or less that is not in some crime infested locale. I give you a 2 bedroom a half hour from the Back Bay by public transportation and a 2 minute walk from 5 high quality restaurants, a library, a supermarket, and a bunch of stuff I cannot even think of and you still are not happy.

    Just leave, now. If you think Boston sucks so much, pack up your bags and move to someplace cheaper. Like Cleveland, or Des Moines, or Boise. Someone who likes the place will be able to rent the places you are too good for.

    You still don't get it

    By on

    There certainly are apartments under $1500, even in places where one doesn't need to wear a bulletproof vest when going outside, but none of them are even halfway decent. Take any of the cities you mentioned - spending half of one's professional takehome salary on a place like that (I.e. small run-down apartment on the periphery of the city) would essentially indicate one is a failure in life/career, more or less, yet around here it appears to be the norm. College-educated individuals who are just starting out cannot expect anything resembling middle class life in Boston unless they're trust fund babies or landed an extremely well-paying job right away (we're talking $80k+,) whereas elsewhere one making an average professional salary can easily afford a decent apartment and a car, and still have a good amount of money left over. Boston caters for the very rich and the poor and completely ignores the middle class - in fact, the poor are living in better conditions than the middle class. Take that apartment you've posted - that's pretty much an average "bricks" apartment, the lower end of public housing, yet it would cost over $2000 to rent if it's closer to downtown (Brighton, Somerville, Southie, even parts of Dot and Roxbury.). Now, how much do you think one has to make in order to be able to afford to drop $2000 on rent every month?

    Let's walk this back

    By on

    (again, assuming you are the same anon. You all look the same to me)

    MatthewC noted that there is nothing affordable in the area. Vaughn K noted affordable condos, one in the city, a half mile from Boston's biggest park, and a nice park to boot. You then claim that it is in some kind of warzone, which it is not (Bowdoin-Geneva and Four Corners are much worse in Dorchester alone,) and near the worst projects in the city (as apparently you've never heard of Bromley-Heath, Mission Main, or Alice Taylor.)

    Okay, we give you some place that is further away than a place that is nice, but not nice enough for you, and at the price point (under $1,500) that you asked for. It is close to public transportation, but no, you need the subway steps away. It is close to restaurants, but no, somehow it is in the boonies (how Somerville and Brighton are not boonies, yet Roslindale is in your eyes, is a mystery.) In short, you are looking for luxury accommodation at, let's face it, Detroit prices.

    Look, kid, here's a basic lesson in real estate. If it is popular, it costs more. If you are just out of college and trying to get by in Boston, either you are living away from the crap you want, you're living in a place that is not the greatest, or you've got roommates. This is not a new thing. It's been this way for decades. You need to realize that people live here and have lived here. Am I happy that Allston, Brighton, South Boston, Charlestown, Mission Hill, and other parts of the city are becoming unaffordable? Hell no, but on the other hand, to say that there is nothing affordable in the city, or that all these places are shitholes or the boonies, is insane. Moreover, many of the places you and others might see as desirable were once shitholes.

    I've somehow managed to live in Boston for all of my 42 years and have never made $80,000 a year. The same can be said of most of my friends. Of course, I never tried to live where you think someone just out of college should be able to live. I guess I lived in the real world instead.

    And don't talk shit about Rozzie unless you've actually been there.

    Sure, let's walk back

    By on

    Vaughn K noted affordable condos, one in the city, a half mile from Boston's biggest park, and a nice park to boot.

    Yes, a cheap condo in a poor crime-ridden neighborhood - great for an absentee section 8 landlord, not an owner occupant. You could get a small two bedroom in that price range in a slightly better location back when the market bottomed out, but that's certainly not the case now.

    In short, you are looking for luxury accommodation at, let's face it, Detroit prices.

    No one's asking for a 2000sqft loft for $800/month, but it would be great if a more or less normal (by US standards) apartment did not cost more than half of one's net paycheck. That's certainly not the case in cities that do not cater exclusively to the rich. As for Somerville/Brighton vs Rozzie, they have red/green line while Rozzie has mega$$$ commuter rail line with really crappy schedule, hence the boonies comment.

    If you are just out of college and trying to get by in Boston, either you are living away from the crap you want, you're living in a place that is not the greatest, or you've got roommates.

    Not just fresh out of college crowd but pretty much everyone not in high-paying fields for many years after graduating - tell me, how is a university postdoc or social worker who won't be seeing anything over $60k for quite a while supposed to afford to live on their own, let alone save up for a condo? I know some people don't mind living paycheck to paycheck because they know they'll be getting a nice chunky inheritance when their rich mommy/daddy keels over, but what about everyone else?

    Of course, I never tried to live where you think someone just out of college should be able to live.

    Problem is, someone fresh out of college can't live anywhere, period, unless it's a roommate situation of something similar to that basement closet in the OP. Let's be realistic - vast majority of jobs in Boston have starting salaries well under $50K and that won't get you too far, especially if you have student loans.

    Good counterpoints, but

    By on

    You ignored my last one.

    You can get from Roslindale Square to Back Bay in a half hour, 40 minutes tops, using the T but not using the pricy commuter rail (hey, as long as your not the commuter rail troll, you can't be too bad.) Most of Somerville is no where near the Red or Green Lines, as is the case with most of Brighton. Roslindale is a great place, and there are great places all over the place that are not hell expensive, as you note. It doesn't have to be in a place that is "on the rise" as realtors will try to tell you with a straight face. Malden, Quincy, East Boston, Watertown, heck someone mentioned Everett. These places are close enough to downtown without the prices of the South End (once again, once a horrible shithole) or the Fenway (oh, that was another shithole.)

    In short, broaden your horizons. Living cheap is the way to save. Does it suck that for some that mean Worcester or Lowell? Yup, but that's the way to go long term. Or you can go all pioneer and perhaps end up in the next hot place. And if you want an idea of what one can do in Boston, we bought, in 2005, a 3 bedroom house with an income under $100,000. Yes, a dual income, and that was back when the people were talking about how unaffordable Boston was.

    period comma...

    "Problem is, someone fresh out of college can't live anywhere, period, unless it's a roommate situation of something similar to that basement closet in the OP anywhere that's good enough for me, that is."

    fixed it for ya.

    I wasn't so special as you when I was fresh out of college; it was a long walk to public transport from my small apartment. I still don't live anywhere good enough for someone as special as you, but I manage to survive in Boston nonetheless.

    I've lived lots of places with lower rents, but no place with higher salaries. I'm happy to be in Boston.


    By on

    When were you "fresh out of college?" You see, even 5 years ago rents were still somewhat reasonable (i.e. it was possible to find a studio for under a grand and a one bedroom apartment for under $1200 in most parts of the city,) but that is certainly not the case today. Rents have gone way up, but salaries haven't changed all that much - most grads not in pharma/engineering/IT fields still start in low to mid 40s. True, some will weather it out for a few years until they're making more and can finally live like normal human beings, but many will leave for better quality of life elsewhere. That's why Boston is essentially a trust fund baby playground with no middle class - everyone not making over $75K (i.e. able to afford $2000 in rent - bare minimum for a decent-sized one bedroom partment in safer neighborhoods) is lower class, often living in worse conditions than the subsidized housing population.

    Trust fund babies

    Those are the ones who can afford not to learn something that'll help them get a good job once they graduate, right? The cool ones who can take internships at non-profits and not worry about rent?

    Just because they can get everything handed to them and their liberal arts degrees won't get in the way of their daddy's connections doesn't mean poor kids like you should emulate their choices. If you wasted four years of college tuition on a useless degree instead of pharma/engineering/IT, it's on you. Make a better choice with grad school, mkay? Maybe someday your kids can afford to be the cool ones.

    When I was fresh out of college, mortgages were cheaper than rent and I bought an apartment in an undesirable neighborhood to start building equity and quit throwing rent money out the window. Guess what? They still are. Do you know how much you can buy for 1200 a month? Mortgage rates are really low right now; you could finance 200K for that, which could buy you a small condo in an undesirable neighborhood. Like my first place.

    Yeah, it's gotta suck to have that bucket of cold water thrown in your face. But the middle class has been disappearing across this country for thirty years now. You have a chance to be part of it here, but if you're on the way up you'll have to live in some unfashionable neighborhoods for a while. And count yourself lucky; when I was your age, I had to walk uphill both ways to my unfashionable neighborhood.

    Easy there, tiger...

    By on

    Quote me the exact line where I said that "nothing is affordable" in Boston. I said that the working class is being priced out. Don't be putting words in my mouth. That is all.

    Fair enough

    By on

    And I agree with you too.

    But you have to concede Vaughn had a good counter. Now, if you got in rather than the anon, my comments would have been a tad different.

    Exactly. My stove and

    By on

    Exactly. My stove and bathroom would be illegal to have in an affordable housing unit or section 8. The siwrlygirls of the world could not care less that I can barely afford to live here and that landlords are able to keep jacking up my rent, but they bend over backwards to make sure that people in poverty can stay in the housing projects on both sides of me (that have actually been renovated since 1960 and don't blow the circuit breaker 4 times a week).

    What you are all forgetting

    By on

    What you are all forgetting is all of the college's and hospitals and churches that you see around here do not pay any taxes. These institutions take up more than 30% possibly more like 40% of the real estate. They also have deep pockets and are located in areas that should be generating mega 're tax dollars ...but instead aren't generating anything for the city even though the college's etc are getting top dollar rents. Think bay state road. Most of Kenmore square (bu). Mission hill and Longwood ave. (Harvard, New Baptist): the Fenway (multiple schools) Beacon hill (suffolk) so that means land in the downtown area suitable for housing development ( or for transportation expansion) is scarce which drives up the costs. The universities steamroll over city hall because they have the means to do so. Yes they are all great and all that but the city isn't making enough to take care of its infrastructure and provide adequate transportation. These institutions should pay up.

    Higher salaries?

    By on

    Sure, but a $50K starting salary instead of $42K elsewhere isn't of much help when rents are $2000 instead of $750.


    By on

    Isn't considered a luxury anywhere but here or NYC - one can easily save up for a decent used car in less than a year when he's not blowing more than half of his/her paycheck on a 500sqft rat and roach-infested shithole. Liability only insurance on a used car is dist-cheap, meaning a car that's fully paid off doesn't cost more than that $150 a month to own if driven less than 10 miles a day. You see swirly, not everyone needs a leased BMW that ends up costing $700+ a month for loan payments and insurance.

    Not if you have to rely on said car

    A reliable car is far more expensive - and, what do you do while you save up for it if you still have to get to work? Not everybody can live with mommy and daddy and get a ride.

    Most people are going to need a loan to buy a reliable car to get to their job from their cheap apartment in most US cities. That loan means that you will need more than minimal liability insurance on that car, which is expensive if you are young.

    Figure $3-400 a month in car payment, another $100 in insurance. This is what my young nephews and cousins are paying for used, but reliable vehicles that are several years old, in places far from Boston.

    It isn't 1990 anymore. You can't get away with that $150 a month if you actually need a working car to get to work. Sorry. Said young relatives tried that, then came to cousin swirly for a hand with the down payment so they could keep working. I ran the numbers with them, and checked the options.


    By on

    You know, those big scary boxy things that belch black smoke and block your precioussss bike lanes? Slow and unglamorous, but they're everywhere and they'll get you across pretty much any town in less than an hour. Take Raleigh for example - plenty of jobs, plenty of public transportation, and plenty of sub-$750 apartments. Anyone making $40K there can easily save up for a decent used car in less than a year, all while living in an apartment that would go for at least twice as much (and be the same distance from downtown) in Boston.

    Who has the anontroll spray?

    I never said anything bad about buses. I pointed out that transit has to be reliable for nearly all transportation needs on a daily basis.

    Also, do you live in Raleigh? I've spent quite a bit of time there working or with friends, and even more time working with people who live and work there. The transit is really only good for getting back and forth to work in a roundabout way ... forget about weekends. If I have to go on a weekend, I bring my bike so I can at least get somewhere!

    My Smartcar

    By on

    Brand new. $100 car payment, $100 insurance. I can't imagine such a high car payment.


    I pay $785 for my 1 bdrm in Everett. It's no palace but it's sufficient. 5 buses run by the house and they all hook up with the Orange line. Within walking distance of the library, grocery store, etc. There are definitely places available for $750-$800 in surrounding communities with plenty of access to Boston.

    Name branding of neighborhoods

    That is a big part of the problem with high rents in "desirable" places.

    Sounds like you did some looking around and talking to people.

    Do your homework and you can generally find something in an "off brand" neighborhood if you are willing to ignore people who rely on hearsay for their geographic understanding.

    I bought in a nice neighborhood in what many considered to be a marginal or "avoid" community in 1998, and it isn't marginal anymore. It really hasn't changed all that terribly much, just gained a better reputation as people were priced out of hotter places.


    Yes. A lot of time spent on Craigslist for sure. It's unfortunate because I always tell coworkers, etc who are looking for places--esp on the cheap--to check out Everett, Chelsea, Malden, etc. but they're usually not interested


    And how many miles each way, every day do you need to drive it to get to and from work?

    That's the trap - if you have to have a car to get to work reliably every day, because your cheap rent place is cheap because it isn't near transit or your workplace isn't near transit, a shitbox isn't going to cut it.

    Welcome to Portland, Oregon

    By on

    You can rent a studio for 750 easily on the fringes of Portland, and while TriMet sucks, you can technically replace a car with it. So hey maybe everyone should move to Oregon. Except oh wait, moving costs hundreds and potentially thousands of dollars depending on how far you're moving and how much you have. Haven't moved lately, have you? Most people in the kind of situation we're talking about where you're struggling to get by with a studio can't afford to move elsewhere. But please, tell us more how they should drop huge wads of cash on a truck rental and move to another city in another state.

    The real question is why you're so entitled and out of touch you think a car costs hundreds a month. Used cars aren't horrifically expensive, more than your average working poor can afford but savable for unless something goes wrong. Neither is insurance. 90 bucks a month to insure my 2010 Hyundai Accent. Spent maybe 60 bucks on gas a month because I lived 14 miles from my job. Transit is 100 for a monthly pass but took me three buses and two and a half hours to get to work and the same to get home again.

    But no those are too expensive and everyone should just drop hundreds to thousands on moving. It must be nice to live in your delusional little world.

    Define "over-inflated"

    What metrics would you apply to determine whether or not housing prices in any particular area are "over inflated"?

    And, "More expensive than most people would like them to be." probably doesn't cut it.


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    Compare median income to median rent ratio across a bunch of US cities - I bet Boston will be one of the worst, if not the worst.

    So you shrugged your

    So you shrugged your shoulders that we are at a point that rent cost that represent, on most metrics, not buying a lot of value for good chunk of money for many. Obviously, I am leaving out the account of value of a prime location as Porter Sq. But I think societally, it is preferable, that access to such prime location does not mean that much cost in terms of money or comfort (which is both in this case). Either by greater supply (thus the housing discussions) to provide access to the prime locations or more prime locations (if you think back, we once concurred at each other that MBTA should be massively more expansive so it remains net even in demand rather than expanding one line and thus creating a large demand on that one particular area that now has prime transit access) or both.

    Regardless that we can live all live with a box that has a stove, a toilet, and a futon. I think all prefer we have a higher standard than that. We might not "need" it, but accessibility matters. It doesn't mean this is not troublesome.

    Of course, if you own that piece of land, that's a win for that owner.


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    I don't think sitting in a chair and eating food from a plate on a table should be an unreasonable luxury, let alone doing the above in the company of another human being.
    Could I live in a tiny apartment like that? Sure. But I'd never be home...

    Aren't you supposed to be

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    Aren't you supposed to be super duper liberal? And you think it's OK that the most affordable apartment available for one person in Somerville goes for around $1200? Going by the landlord calculation where they don't accept you as a tenant unless your annual pretax salary is 40X monthly rent, you'd have to make $48,000 a year to live here and have it be "affordable."

    Such a hypocrite.


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    Luckily, I've never dealt with rental realtors since I've only slummed it out with CL roommates for a few years while saving up for condo down payment, but that's pretty damn depressing - based on that calculation one needs to make at least $60K a year in order to be able to rent anything bigger than a basement closet. That salary would also be enough for a mortgage in less ritzy parts of town (with a 20% down payment, obviously, and sometimes a free bulletproof vest, depending on the neighborhood,) but no one has the money for a down payment if they choose to live on their own and not too many would be willing to suffer for years trying to save up for a down payment.

    How is this a "new" thing?

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    How is this a "new" thing? Most prewar studio apartments are 300-400 SF with some of the old servant quarters converted into studios being the in 200-300 SF range.

    Seems like the RE guys want to throw a new label on old housing stock to justify a premium price.


    What is "new" is that many cities have stopped prohibiting the construction of new small dwelling units, after years of waging war on boarding houses and other affordable living options for single people.

    "New" in that people are realizing that they don't need the standard American amounts of space, particularly in the city, and are spending good money on them.

    I own a 550 square foot condo in another city and it was built in an earlier era to house singles and couples - which it still does quite nicely. Boston doesn't seem to have such single-level, u-shaped or l-shaped courtyard sorts of developments like that, though. A lot of them in the west coast cities are now being renovated and are very desirable.

    "Affordable living"?

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    Define affordable? Which "young adults" are you referring to? The young professional types who can be duped into spending their money on anything if they think it affords them a certain lifestyle? $1200 for a glorified closet is not "affordable".

    Please reread

    I was referring to affordable housing built before and immediately after WW-II, and how US cities eroded the practice of building reasonably sized, affordable housing after the early 1950s.

    By that I mean the 380 square foot studios and 500 square foot 1 bedroom rental units that I see in other cities.
    In their day, these were affordable for young couples and single workers.

    But then came the demand that houses be of a minimal size with minimum amounts of land and prohibit separate quarters for even related elders and young adults. Many places also prohibited "mobile homes" from being set up on land parcels.

    We also have neighborhood groups causing delays and making demands for kickbacks and demanding architectural significance and all that adds cost. Then there is the failure, noted by Rhoninfire, to expand the transit system in a balanced way.

    Throw in a large bump of young people with significant debt loads, tighten the restrictions on mortgages and BOOM - extreme rents.

    I don't think someone paying $1200 a month to live alone in Porter Square has been duped at all - do you know how much a T pass costs per month? How about a car? I figure young people are actually finally doing the same math that my husband and I did 20 years ago, and making the trade offs. It isn't dumb to pay an extra $300-$400 in rent and walk or bike to work if it means that you don't pay $600-$800 a month in car payment, gas, taxes, parking, and insurance.

    It is not just that.

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    There were also many more boarding and rooming houses, especially in the cities, which offered affordable accommodations, albeit not fancy. This type of housing has also been zoned out.


    Small places in the past were often rented out by the week or month, such as at the "Y". Beacon Hill apartments seem like former servants quarters and horse stables. Good thing for that guy that Cambridge requires bicycle parking spaces or the typical single guy there couldn't fit his 2+ bicycles, except perhaps suspended from the ceiling over his bed.

    Would have been more interesting to see the closet instead of hearing he leaves the shades up (TMI). Porter is a good location. I think that's the former funeral home.


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    That Reddit thread is a treasure trove. In a scant dozen sentences, he admits that his broom closet is wildly overpriced, argues semantics over "garden" versus "basement" level apartments, and identifies himself as an extremely-religiously-conservative guy who uses phrases like "le sigh" and doesn't understand the world's contempt for guys who wear fedoras. This sounds like exactly the kind of person who I'd like to have in control of my living quarters via a borderline-legally-binding housing agreement.

    If this were Allston.....

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    Look on the bright side: he isn't an off lease sublet of an already illegal sublet throwing underground rock concerts/jam sessions in that tiny space.


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    Whoever is suckered into renting this dump is in for a nightmare.

    It would be a lot better if

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    It would be a lot better if he didn't have so much stuff and made better use of cabinet space. Look at this great 2be in under 450 square feet.

    I guess no one watched the whole video

    Because at the end he invites everyone to look in his windows. he keeps the blinds open all the time and he likes to meet new people.

    that seems more comment worthy than rental prices.

    Also see the Reddit comments

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    On how keeping the blinds up help him and his girlfriend observe orthodox Jewish strictures about unmarried men and women in a room together.