Department of Numbers

Boston, Massachusetts Home Affordability

The data below measures home affordability for the Boston-Quincy, Massachusetts metropolitan area using price-to-income and price-to-rent metrics.1 The maximum affordable loan amount for the median household income is also calculated. You can also compare Boston home affordability to other cities.

Boston, Massachusetts Home Price-to-Income Ratios

The current price-to-income ratio for Boston is 5.18 as determined by December 2013 Realtor median sales prices. The second chart shows a history of the ratio as an index calculated from the Federal Housing Finance Agency's Boston HPI series. Median household income data for Boston is from the Census American Community Survey.

Price-to-Income Dollar Ratio: Realtor

Price-to-Income Index Ratio: FHFA

Note: Index set to 100 in Q1 of 2000

Boston, Massachusetts Home Price-to-Income Ratio History

Date Realtor
(Dollar Ratio)
FHFA
(Index Ratio)
December 2013 5.18 118.6
September 2013 5.49 116.7
June 2013 5.33 115.1
March 2013 4.63 113.8
December 2012 4.90 113.2
September 2012 4.90 112.7
June 2012 4.90 111.9
March 2012 4.90 112.1
December 2011 4.98 116.2

Boston, Massachusetts Home Price-to-Rent Ratios

The current adjusted price-to-rent ratio for Boston is 23.99 as determined by December 2013 Realtor median sales prices. This ratio is calculated using household size adjusted median contract rent for Boston. The chart below shows an index of the rent ratio calculated from the metro FHFA HPI series and the Boston median contract rent data from the Census ACS.

Price-to-Rent Dollar Ratio: Realtor, Realtor Adjusted Rent

Price-to-Rent Index Ratio: FHFA

Note: Index set to 100 in Q1 of 2000

Boston, Massachusetts Home Price-to-Rent Ratio History

Date Realtor
(Dollar Ratio)
Realtor Adjusted
(Dollar Ratio)
FHFA
(Index Ratio)
December 2013 29.22 23.99 97.4
September 2013 30.98 25.44 95.8
June 2013 30.08 24.70 94.5
March 2013 26.14 21.47 93.4
December 2012 27.64 22.69 93.0
September 2012 27.64 22.69 92.6
June 2012 27.64 22.69 91.9
March 2012 27.64 22.69 92.1
December 2011 27.58 22.21 93.5

Boston, Massachusetts Home Rent-to-Mortgage Payment Ratio

The rent-to-mortgage payment ratio uses the adjusted rent for Boston against a 100% loan-to-value mortgage (30-year fixed) for the median price home using Realtor home sales statistics. It's a lot like a cap rate, but I find it more appealing in ratio form. A ratio of 1.0 means that annual rent is equivalent annual mortgage payments. Values less than 1.0 indicate rents are cheaper and values greater than 1.0 mean mortgage payments are cheaper. Beware, taxes are not considered here. The rent-to-mortgage payment ratio for Boston was 0.69 in December 2013.

Rent-to-Mortgage Payment Dollar Ratio: Realtor

Boston, Massachusetts Home Rent-to-Mortgage Payment Ratio History

Date Realtor Adjusted Rent
(Dollar Ratio)
December 2013 0.69
September 2013 0.65
June 2013 0.70
March 2013 0.86
December 2012 0.83
September 2012 0.82
June 2012 0.80
March 2012 0.77
December 2011 0.79

Boston, Massachusetts Inferred Affordable Mortgage

The inferred affordable mortgage value is determined by taking the median household income for Boston, Massachusetts and calculating the mortgage 30% of that income could afford. Traditionally, 30% of income is the maximum amount a homeowner could use towards a home loan. Inferred affordable loan values are calculated from ACS median household income and average monthly mortgage rates.

Inferred Affordable Mortgage

Boston, Massachusetts Inferred Affordable Mortgage History

Date Inferred Mortgage
February 2014 $362,407
January 2014 $356,880
December 2013 $355,623
November 2013 $364,133
October 2013 $367,183
September 2013 $354,372
August 2013 $355,623
July 2013 $359,415
June 2013 $372,502
May 2013 $397,413
April 2013 $401,886
March 2013 $395,938
February 2013 $397,906

1. Specifically, home prices are from the non seasonally adjusted FHFA all-transactions quarterly series. Dollar ratios are calculated using NAR metro prices when available. Rent and income data are from the Census ACS and are carried forward into the following year prior to release of the new data.