Boston Condos

Boston firefighter says city housing prices are too high for him

Updated 9/27/17

Boston Firefighter says city housing prices are too high for him

It may just be the contrarian in me, but I don’t agree with the basic argument here.

The person interviewed is saying that city workers shouldn’t be forced to live within the city, because homes are so expensive.  I don’t have a very strong opinion on that subject, either way.  However, I wouldn’t want people to use the high cost of housing as an excuse as to why they need to change the rules.

First, this guy isn’t poor, by any means.  Notice how the writer kind of sneaks a piece of information in.  “…Rich, who made about $66,000 after taxes…”.  Whoa, taxes take about 28% of my income, I’m not sure about you.  Based on that, this guy makes about $91,000 a year.  (I am pretty sure the reporter must have written this wrong, and meant, “before taxes”, but it’s not to me to say.  Plus, even before taxes, that still leaves plenty of money in which to buy a house.)

If he chooses to stick with his plan for a single-family home, he should have no trouble finding a home (there are 191 single-family homes on the market, as of today, under $400,000).

However, I have to say, for a first-time homebuyer in the city of Boston, he might consider buying a condo, instead.  I mean, does this 38-year old single guy really need a whole house?

If he goes the condo route, there are 925 properties on the market, under $400,000.

By Patrick Gerard Healy, Boston Globe

The Boston housing market is on fire, and there is not much that firefighter Larry Rich can do about it. Since December, the 38-year-old Dorchester native has been looking to buy a single-family house in Boston, where the median sale price last year was $387,400.

He can’t look elsewhere, because the city requires its workers to live in Boston. The rule, which unions aim to make an issue in the mayoral race, has exceptions for longtime employees and teachers, but Rich, a firefighter for nine years, doesn’t qualify. “For the city to pretty much handcuff their people and hold them down is just not right,” he says. Nonetheless, he’s determined to leave behind his rental and become a homeowner.

“Being single, with only one income, it’s pretty much cost-prohibitive for me,” says Rich, who made about $66,000 after taxes last year. His base pay is about $56,000, and he is considering a side job in real estate to supplement his income.

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