Most Expensive Places To Live In Massachusetts For 2020


We used science and data to determine which cities in Massachusetts that will put a big dent in your wallet.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the most expensive places to live in Massachusetts.

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Everyone wants a home that mixes affordability with comfort and Massachusetts does this very well. Families love the Bay State's beaches, midlands, and mountains as tourists before moving here and calling it home.

But before you decide to relocate, you have to do some research into the exact cost of living around the state -- and that's how we're going to help you.

These are the places in Massachusetts that cost a pretty penny -- the most expensive cities in the state.

After we saved up for months and could finally afford it, we landed on this list of the ten most expensive cities in Massachusetts for 2020.

So where is the most expensive place to live in Massachusetts? That would be Cambridge.
the 2014-2018 American Community Survey for the 53 places in Massachusetts with more than 12,000 people.

What's the most expensive place to live in Massachusetts? Well, HomeSnacks crunched the numbers and discovered that Cambridge is the most expensive place to live in Massachusetts.

So hopefully Palmer Town (the cheapest place to live in Massachusetts) can show these guys how to live on a budget in the coming years. Read on for how these places had costs rise faster than inflation.

And if you already knew these places were expensive, check out some more reading about Massachusetts and the most expensive cities in the country:

The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In Massachusetts For 2020

Cambridge, MA

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 115,665
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.5x (1st most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 46.1x (9th most expensive)
More on Cambridge: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Cambridge is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, and part of the Boston metropolitan area.

The median income in Cambridge comes in at $95,404 and the median home value is $719,300 for 2020.

Boston, MA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 679,413
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.4x (2nd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 42.8x (5th most expensive)
More on Boston: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Boston BOSS-tn) is the capital city and most populous municipality of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States. It is also the seat of Suffolk County, although the county government was disbanded on July 1, 1999. The city proper covers 48 square miles with an estimated population of 673,184 in 2016, making it the largest city in the New England region of the northeastern United States. The city is the economic and cultural anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area known as Greater Boston, a metropolitan statistical area home to a census-estimated 4.8million people in 2016 and ranking as the tenth-largest such area in the country. As a combined statistical area, this wider commuting region is home to some 8.2million people, making it the sixth-largest in the United States.

The median income in Boston comes in at $65,883 and the median home value is $487,300 for 2020.

Somerville, MA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 80,434
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 6.8x (3rd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 51.7x (16th most expensive)
More on Somerville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Somerville is a city located directly to the northwest of Boston, in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. As of 2010, the United States Census lists the city with a total population of 75,754 people, making it the most densely populated municipality in New England. As of 2010, it was the 16th most densely populated incorporated municipality in the country. Somerville was established as a town in 1842, when it was separated from Charlestown. In 2006, the town was named the best-run city in Massachusetts by the Boston Globe. In 1972, in 2009, and again in 2015, the city received the All-America City Award.

The median income in Somerville comes in at $91,168 and the median home value is $616,100 for 2020.

Revere, MA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 53,966
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 6.4x (4th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 40.7x (3rd most expensive)
More on Revere: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Revere is a city in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States, located approximately 5 miles from downtown Boston. It is named after the American Revolutionary War patriot Paul Revere. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city has a population of 51,755 inhabitants.

The median income in Revere comes in at $55,020 and the median home value is $354,700 for 2020.

Everett, MA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 45,856
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 6.3x (6th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 43.6x (7th most expensive)
More on Everett: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Everett is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, 4 miles north of Boston. The population was 41,668 at the time of the 2010 United States Census.

The median income in Everett comes in at $60,482 and the median home value is $381,300 for 2020.

Malden, MA

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 61,094
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 6.0x (11th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 42.3x (4th most expensive)
More on Malden: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Malden is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. At the time of the 2010 United States Census, the population was at 59,450 people. In 2009, Malden was named the "Best Place to Raise Your Kids" in Massachusetts by Bloomberg Businessweek.

The median income in Malden comes in at $64,178 and the median home value is $382,200 for 2020.

Chelsea, MA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 39,852
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 6.1x (8th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 39.1x (2nd most expensive)
More on Chelsea: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Chelsea is a city in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States, directly across the Mystic River from the city of Boston. As of 2013, Chelsea had an estimated population of 36,828. It is also the second most densely populated city in Massachusetts behind Somerville. With a total area of just 2.21 square miles, Chelsea is the smallest city in Massachusetts in terms of total area.

The median income in Chelsea comes in at $53,280 and the median home value is $323,400 for 2020.

Source: Public Domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 18,535
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 6.0x (10th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 51.4x (15th most expensive)
More on Winthrop Town: Real Estate | Data

Winthrop is a city in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 17,497 at the 2010 census. Winthrop is an ocean-side suburban community in Greater Boston situated at the north entrance to Boston Harbor, close to Logan International Airport. It is located on a peninsula, 1.6 square miles in area, connected to Revere by a narrow isthmus and to East Boston by a bridge over the harbor inlet to the Belle Isle Marsh Reservation. Settled in 1630, Winthrop is one of the oldest communities in the United States. It is also one of the smallest and most densely populated municipalities in Massachusetts. It is one of the four cities in Suffolk County. It is the southernmost part of the North Shore, with a 7-mile shoreline that provides views of the Atlantic Ocean to the east and of the Boston skyline to the west.

The median income in Winthrop Town comes in at $68,322 and the median home value is $408,900 for 2020.

Lawrence, MA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 79,841
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 6.2x (7th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 37.4x (1st most expensive)
More on Lawrence: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Lawrence is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States, on the Merrimack River. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 76,377, which had risen to an estimated 78,197 as of 2014. Surrounding communities include Methuen to the north, Andover to the southwest, and North Andover to the southeast. Lawrence and Salem are the county seats of Essex County. Lawrence is part of the Merrimack Valley.

The median income in Lawrence comes in at $41,583 and the median home value is $255,800 for 2020.

Quincy, MA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 94,121
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.5x (14th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 51.3x (14th most expensive)
More on Quincy: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Quincy is the largest city in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. It is a major part of Metropolitan Boston and is Boston's immediate southern suburb. Its population in 2014 was 93,397, making it the 8th-largest city in the state. Known as the "City of Presidents," Quincy is the birthplace of two U.S. presidents - John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams - as well as John Hancock, a President of the Continental Congress and the first signer of the Declaration of Independence.

The median income in Quincy comes in at $74,180 and the median home value is $410,400 for 2020.

How We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Bay State For 2020

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Massachusetts
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:

  1. How much do money do I make?
  2. How much do I have spend to live there?

You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.

For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it's actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.

With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2014-2018 around incomes and costs. They are:

  • Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
  • Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
  • Median Home Price

We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).

You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in Massachusetts to figure out which is the most expensive.

What you are left with is a "Cost of Living Index" by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.

So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 53 places in Massachusetts that have more than 12,000 people.

The place with the highest cost of living in Massachusetts according to the data is Cambridge. You can download the data here.

Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck In Massachusetts For 2020

Well there you have it, the places in Massachusetts that have the highest cost of living, with Cambridge ranking as the most expensive city in the Bay State.

Here's a look at the most affordable cities in Massachusetts according to the data:

  1. Palmer Town
  2. Agawam Town
  3. Gardner

For more Massachusetts reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Expensive Cities In Massachusetts

Rank City ExpensiveScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Cambridge 4.0 115,665 7.5x 46.1x
2 Boston 5.0 679,413 7.4x 42.8x
3 Somerville 7.33 80,434 6.8x 51.7x
4 Revere 9.67 53,966 6.4x 40.7x
5 Everett 10.33 45,856 6.3x 43.6x
6 Malden 10.67 61,094 6.0x 42.3x
7 Chelsea 12.33 39,852 6.1x 39.1x
8 Winthrop Town 13.33 18,535 6.0x 51.4x
9 Lawrence 13.67 79,841 6.2x 37.4x
10 Quincy 14.0 94,121 5.5x 51.3x
11 Waltham 14.33 62,979 5.8x 54.1x
12 Watertown Town 15.67 35,103 5.3x 54.7x
13 Peabody 17.0 52,865 5.4x 52.0x
14 Barnstable Town 18.67 44,314 5.3x 53.1x
15 Lynn 18.67 93,617 5.4x 48.3x
16 Newton 19.0 88,660 6.3x 76.4x
17 Medford 19.33 57,771 5.0x 55.4x
18 Gloucester 20.0 30,049 6.1x 59.0x
19 Salem 20.0 43,302 5.3x 53.0x
20 Lowell 23.33 111,249 4.8x 46.8x
21 Fall River 23.33 89,339 5.7x 53.1x
22 Woburn 24.33 40,298 4.7x 58.5x
23 Beverly 25.67 41,731 5.2x 65.6x
24 Worcester 25.67 185,195 4.8x 43.6x
25 Weymouth Town 26.33 56,384 4.5x 55.3x
26 Newburyport 26.33 17,990 5.0x 81.0x
27 Melrose 27.0 28,116 4.9x 76.2x
28 Brockton 27.0 95,426 4.4x 50.7x
29 Marlborough 28.67 39,776 4.2x 55.2x
30 Braintree Town 29.0 37,207 4.6x 66.7x
31 Holyoke 29.0 40,376 4.6x 49.7x
32 Northampton 29.0 28,568 5.0x 59.1x
33 New Bedford 29.67 95,117 5.0x 53.7x
34 Springfield 32.33 154,596 4.1x 43.4x
35 Haverhill 32.67 63,280 4.2x 57.5x
36 Methuen Town 33.33 50,019 4.3x 62.3x
37 Franklin Town 37.0 33,022 3.6x 92.3x
38 Easthampton Town 37.0 16,023 4.2x 60.6x
39 Taunton 37.0 56,963 4.2x 62.9x
40 West Springfield Town 37.33 28,666 4.3x 59.3x
41 Amesbury Town 38.33 17,378 4.0x 70.6x
42 Leominster 39.33 41,579 4.1x 62.3x
43 Greenfield Town 39.67 17,468 3.9x 56.2x
44 Southbridge Town 39.67 16,894 3.8x 56.4x
45 North Adams 39.67 13,089 3.7x 53.5x
46 Chicopee 40.33 55,661 3.6x 53.9x
47 Attleboro 40.67 44,548 3.8x 70.3x
48 Fitchburg 41.67 40,737 3.5x 55.6x
49 Westfield 44.33 41,599 3.6x 66.2x
50 Pittsfield 44.33 43,058 3.6x 57.0x
51 Gardner 45.0 20,555 3.6x 61.9x
52 Agawam Town 45.0 28,744 3.4x 64.4x
53 Palmer Town 49.0 12,251 3.1x 66.5x

How Is The Area In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.