Why Are Houses in Massachusetts So Expensive? (Explained)4 min read

Massachusetts is an expensive state to live in, with the cost of living and property prices being above the national average. Property prices vary drastically across Massachusetts. 

A county like Berkshire offers many benefits Massachusetts has to offer yet the average property price is only $230,000. Whereas Nantucket properties are over $1.5m. 

Within this article, we detail why Massachusetts is so expensive and what you should consider before buying a home there. 

Summary

Massachusetts is expensive with average property prices of $560,000. High prices are mainly driven by a shortage of housing. The supply of single-family housing decreased by 64% between 2020 and 2021. Massachusetts also offers good job prospects and has a high cost of living. 

How Much Are Houses in Massachusetts?

Property prices across Massachusetts are currently at an all-time high of $560,000 (July 2022). The average condo in Massachusetts costs $530,000. The price of properties has increased by 30% since the start of the pandemic in early 2020.

Buying a house isn’t a one size fits all process. It can take a while for you to find a house that meets all your needs. 

In addition, the price of houses can vary greatly, depending on a few factors. Some of these factors can include:

  • Square footage
  • Location
  • Amenities
  • Proximity to services
  • State of the property

What Is the Cost Per Sq Ft in Massachusetts? 

When looking at square foot prices in Massachusetts, you need to consider a couple of factors. The first factor is location. Where you choose to settle in Massachusetts has a significant impact on the overall price.

Nantucket, for example, has an average sale price of $1.627m whereas somewhere like Plymouth County is closer to the median expectation with an average sale price of $530,000. Whereas if you purchased a property in Berkshire, average property prices are at $235,000.  

Here is a table showing the average prices of property across Massachusetts as of January 2021: 

County

Average property

Price per sq. ft. 

Cost (Low - High)

Barnstable

$505,000

$287

Medium

Berkshire

$234,950

$134

Low

Bristol

$363,000

$208

Medium

Dukes

$950,000

$544

High

Essex

$517,850

$296

Medium

Franklin

$250,750

$143

Low

Hampden

$230,500

$132

Low

Hampshire

$310,000

$177

Low

Middlesex

$595,000

$340

High

Nantucket

$1,941,500

$1,112

High

Norfolk

$605,000

$346

High

Plymouth

$440,000

$252

Medium

Suffolk

$630,000

$361

High

Worcester

$338,950

$194

Low

Still, location isn’t the only determining factor. Another important factor to think about is how the standard of renovations within the property. 

If you decide to build the house over a pre-existing property, it can work out cheaper than renovating. The average cost to build a house in Massachusetts ranges from $130 to $290 per square foot. This price range changes based on what construction grading you plan on executing.

If you want to find out how much building a house in Massachusetts costs, you can request a quote through this link.

Are House Prices in Massachusetts Increasing?

Property prices across Massachusetts have been increasing year on year since 2019. The median home price grew by 26.1% between 2021 and 2022. This is primarily driven by economic growth alongside a shortage of single-family homes in Massachusetts. The supply of single-family homes is down 64% between 2020 and 2021. 

Generally, it’s normal that the price of houses increases every year. Still, it doesn’t follow a specific formula. The price of a home is all about supply and demand. When there are many properties in the market, the price of houses can decrease.

The time of year you’re looking at houses can also affect the price. House sales usually drop around fall. This is partly because of the holidays. 

So, shopping for properties around Thanksgiving is a good idea. It can mean that you might find more affordable options. 

Still, with the levels of inflation, it’s unlikely that the prices will drop significantly.

Is Massachusetts a Good Place to Live?

The only real drawback to living in Massachusetts is the living expenses. Other than that, the state of Massachusetts has so much to offer. 

Some of the great features of the state include:

  • Wonderful summers with excellent weather
  • Amazing seafood all year round
  • Excellent education, including schools and universities
  • One of the most intense sports cultures
  • Incredibly rich in history
  • Exceptional health care and hospitals
  • Many endless winter-time activities
Massachusetts also offers close proximity to New York, where trains run 14 times daily.

These are just some of the things Massachusetts has to offer. Another amazing feature of the state is that it has both small and large cities. So, no matter where you grew up, you can find a piece of home in the Bay State.

How Long Does It Take to Sell a House in Massachusetts?

Typically, it can take anywhere from four to 8 months to sell a house from start to finish. This time frame includes paperwork and finding a good real estate agent.

8 months might seem like a long time, but considering what you have to do, you’ll barely fit it all in. Some of the tasks that you’ll need to complete are:

  • Home maintenance and getting it ready for potential buyers (2-3 months)
  • Looking for a buyer (2-3 months)
  • Closing (1-2 months)

Giving yourself and your realtor plenty of time to sell a house is crucial. More time means you’re more likely to get a fair price for your house.

How Much Does It Cost to Live in Massachusetts? 

Massachusetts has a slightly higher living cost than the national average in the USA. According to some studies, Massachusetts is the third most expensive state in America.

This is mainly due to the price of properties in the state. On average, a property will cost at least twice as much in Massachusetts as the USA average.

Still, properties aren’t the only reason living in Massachusetts can be expensive. There are a few other factors that are more expensive in Massachusetts. These can include:

  • Groceries can 20% more than the USA’s average
  • Housing can be 76% more than the USA’s average
  • Utilities can be 12% more than the USA’s average
  • Transportation can be 8% more than the USA’s average

However, it’s not all bad news. One factor that’s actually less expensive in Massachusetts is health care. It costs about 30% less in the state. This can be a huge help because we all know how expensive health care can be.

How Much Money Do You Need to Live Comfortably in Massachusetts? 

Depending on the size of your family, living wages can be incredibly different.

If you live alone, you need an average income of about $20 per hour. That’s if you work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. However, this number is just an estimate. It can change dramatically based on your specific needs and habits.

There are many versions of this equation, but in general, as the size of your family grows, so will your expenses. With three children, your hourly income should be about $70, so you can live comfortably.

If you want to know how the state calculates these averages, you can check out the living wage calculator.

What Is the Average Income in Massachusetts?

Your occupational area will affect your average income in Massachusetts. This means different sectors in the workforce have varying incomes.

One the lowest end of the spectrum, there’s the food sector. Servers and preparation workers can earn about $33,000 annually. This can prove challenging in the state of Massachusetts, as it doesn’t cover living expenses. 

However, at the highest end of the spectrum, we have the management sector. In this sector, the average annual income is about $140,000. This should be enough to support a family of four comfortably. 

Wrapping Up

Houses in Massachusetts can be quite expensive due to many reasons. Some reasons include location, living expenses, and amenities. So, when moving to the Codfish State, make sure you do plenty of research. It’s an amazing state with a lot to offer if you can afford it.

Sources

Team Vantage Point

WBR.org

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