COGnitions

24 October
2019
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Why Buy? A Boston Student’s Guide to Housing Costs | By Jamie Gaines

College is expensive and living in Boston is expensive, so it makes sense that universities charge a premium for living on campus. It’s a big step moving out of your parents house and going off to college, so when a school offers a housing plan most students pay and move on campus as if it is the only option. But what about buying your first home? We put together a comprehensive guide to Boston’s student housing costs. 

We analyzed living and dining costs from schools in neighborhoods across the city and matched these housing costs with an investment (down payment) on a property in the same neighborhood. Take a look at these breakdowns from Boston University, Northeastern University, Emerson College, Suffolk University, Boston College and Wentworth Institute of Technology to see how you could potentially “invest” those university housing dollars to create a real capital return heading into the “real world”.

 

Boston University

At Boston University room and board are not included together in one price. The on-campus housing charge for an average student at BU was $10,080 in 2018 – 2019, and the cost of an average dining plan was $5,190 annually. The dormitories at BU do not include kitchens and small kitchen-et like appliances are banned from the premises due to fire safety. To prevent students from cooking in their dorms, dining is a mandatory addition to the housing voucher. Adding a limited budget for other student expenses ie. books, calculators, etc. ($2,950) throughout the year, this would bring a student’s annual room and board expenses to $18,220. In the past five years, Boston University’s living costs have increased 2.7% on average each year. This means as an incoming first year student in 2019-2020 can expect to be charged approximately $19,045 for room, board and student expenses based on current trends. Total room and board costs at Boston University, over the course of four years would be $78,780. 

Rather than handing  $78,780 more to the university, use that money as  a 15% down payment on a condo like 1415 Commonwealth Avenue, #102! This 720 square foot, two bedroom condominium would not only be a great investment, but since it has a second bedroom the rental income could cover living costs throughout all four years!  Rent second bedroom to your new bestie for $1,200 a month calculating to a $57,600 contribution to YOUR bottom line over the course of 4 years. 

 

Northeastern University

Northeastern University prices housing and dining separately as well. The on-campus housing charge for an average student was $8,680 plus an additional $7,560 for the dining plan. For many standard dormitory building a dining plan is a financially smart addition to housing , as the rooms do not have kitchens and other small cooking appliances are banned.Without a meal plan dining throughout the year would be a significant financial burden. Adding a limited budget for other student utility and supply expenses ($2,950) throughout the year, this would bring a student’s annual room and board expenses to $18,830. Housing and meal plans at Northeastern have changed around 3.2% per year these past five years. Current incoming first year students can expect to spend around $19,845 for housing and dining expenses according to existing trends. Total room and board costs at Northeastern University, over the course of four years would be $82,153. However, don’t forget that Northeastern is typically a 5 year university, so that means living expenses for the duration of a new student will be $110,487.

Instead of spending $110,487 without a return to the university, it could be an 18% down payment on 484 Massachusetts Avenue, #2. This 613 square foot, one bedroom apartment would be a great investment made with just the money you know you would be spending at your university. 

 

Emerson College

Emerson college groups room and board into one category. The standard student spent $16,992 in 2018 – 2019 to live on campus. Adding a limited budget for other student utility and supply expenses ($2,950) throughout the year, this would bring a student’s annual room and board expenses to $18,830. On-campus housing and dining at Emerson have changed around 4.0% for each year of the past five years. This year’s incoming first years in 2019-2020 will spend $22,066 in their first year of school. The room and board total over four years will be $93,383.

Instead of spending $93,383 on housing at Emerson without a return on investment you could put a 15.6% down payment on 3 Avery Street, #702. This 801 SF, 1 bedroom condo at the Ritz Carlton has a doorman, concierge, Equinox Sports Club & all the services offered at the 5 star Ritz Carlton Hotel.

 

Suffolk University

Suffolk College groups room and board as one lump sum payment of $15,046: $12,398 for housing and $3,312 for the dining plan. Calculating in the student utility and service expenses of ($2,950) a student would spend $18,770 per year. Over the course of a 5 year span, the room and board costs at Suffolk University have increased on average 0.6%. Factoring in the year over year increase, room and board total over four years would be $76,244+/-.

This 348 SF garden level studio at 49 Revere Street, #1 is small, but that same $76,244 spent on university housing could be a 17% down payment on the $450,000 price to live in the heart of one of Boston’s best neighborhoods, Beacon Hill.

 

Boston College

Boston College groups room and board together, a standard student spent $8,830 for housing and $5,312 for dining in 2018 – 2019. With additional student expenses of $2,950, the annual total while enrolled at BC for housing was $17,242. These room and board at Boston College have increased over the past 5 years at an average rate of 2.3%  each year. Concluding, this years’ incoming freshmen can expect to spend roughly $18,257 for housing expenses this year and $76,265 over the next four years.

39 Commonwealth Ave # 1, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467. Instead of spending $76,244 on student housing it could be a 16% down payment on this cute 840 SF, one bedroom condo.

 

Wentworth Institute of Technology

In 2018 – 2019, WIT students spent $10,764 for housing and $3,080 for the dining plan. This years’ incoming first year students can expect to pay around $19,278 for room, board and other costs according to today’s trends. There was an average 2.3% price adjustment every year for the past five years in WIT room & board costs. Over the entire degree the expense sum will total $77,668 for a four-year stay.

Instead of spending $77,668 on student housing it could be an 18% down payment 30 Jamaicaway, #15. A 820 square foot, two bedroom apartment would not only be a great investment, but since it has a second bedroom the rental income could cover living costs throughout all four years!  The second bedroom would go for $1,400 a month calculating to a $67,200 over the course of 4 years. 

 


Although, education and city officials are all in coherence on trying to fix the housing surge in the upcoming years, allocating your money on an asset that can gain you equity is always far better than paying Universities for housing that gives you no return on your money! While buying a place that you are only in for four years may seem like a stretch you may end up keeping the property longer if you end up working in the city, going to graduate school, or as an investment property if you leave! Investing your money in real estate while actively pursuing a college degree may increase your knowledge and your net-worth.

 

*college housing cost data taken from collegefactual.com

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