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M. Brown

How Much Cheaper is Philly than Boston?

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Reason I ask is becuase I after I get my bach degree with will be in prolly 2 and a half years, Im thinking about moving somewhere cheaper but still feel the same if possible.

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My friend lives in Philly and pays 250/month plus utilities, and this is a three bedroom apartment split three ways. I doubt you could find that in Boston. This isn't in the nicest neighborhood, but is only a few miles from center city.

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Reason I ask is becuase I after I get my bach degree with will be in prolly 2 and a half years, Im thinking about moving somewhere cheaper but still feel the same if possible.

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Philly is remarkably cheaper than Boston! Its even cheap relative to Providence, and that is saying quite a bit. A nice neighborhood similar to the North End or South End in Philly will cost about 40% less in Philly. And if you are willing to go into marginal areas, you can buy a house for $30k-$140. there isn't a single neighborhood in Boston remaining where you can do that.

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I wouldn't expect Philly's cheapness to last too long, it's now becoming known as the 6th borough, of New York.

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I wouldn't expect Philly's cheapness to last too long, it's now becoming known as the 6th borough, of New York.

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Yeah, no kidding! The place is EXPLODING with development. Makes the stuff in Providence look downright paltry...I was just down there last week and there was work going on all over the place.

BUT, there is SO far to go there, I think there will be deals for a long time to come. I'd say if you are willing, totally go for a relocation to Philly, it would be well worth it.

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I don't know much about Philly, but I always get the feeling from people that it is poor.

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I dont think Id be living in Philly if it was THAT poor.

Bostonfaker, you may be hearing that from people that know nothing about the city of Philadelphia. It is a HUGE city and yes it has its dumpy areas. But it has the best architecture of any city Ive ever seen. Fairmount park, kelly and lincoln drive Chestnut hill, manayunk, east oaklane, mt airy are unrivaled anywhere else. Even in North philly you can see that it was once something special. You wont ever find housing in any other city made of marble in stone like you do in Philly. Philly is a city of old money and it doesnt pride itself and bragging on what its got.(which is quite a lot). I loooove living here. It has all of the amenities of New York but without the hassle. Well some hassle but not as much lol.

Ok Ill quit talking now:)

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What I liked the best about Philly was the fact that you could live in a very cheap apartment very close to both subway stations and basic neighborhood services. Try doing that in Boston.... I really liked downtown Philly too (center city), felt really big and had a nice mix of old narrow streets and larger impressive boulevard type streets. Plus I think the housing stock appears worse than it really is, my friend lives in what looks like a decaying crackhouse yet when you get up close or go inside, its nicely furnished and has a lot of character.

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So why is it so cheap if it is so great?

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While I think the "Philly is to NYC what Providence is to Boston" analogy is stretching it a quite a bit (Philly is a city of 1.5 million and a metro of 6 million, after all), there are some similarities...

Why is it cheap if its so great? A couple of reasons...

1) It lives in the shadow of a still much larger city and metro (NYC)

2) Had a period of its history with relatively sharp decline in all spheres. Philly, like many Northeastern cities, had a profound middle class flight during the last 40-50 years or so...

3) Both for that and other reasons, Philly doesn't have a great national (or even regional) reputation. It is often thought of being a disproportionately poor city with depressed economic activity and bad racial relations. As with all stereotypes, there is perhaps a hint of truth to all these things (didn't the Mayor order the national guard to attack some prision riot or seize by black activists during the 60's or 70's?). This "disrespect" shows up in lots of little ways. For example, in the national sports media, Philly is constantly called a "small market sports town" for reasons I can't figure out... If Philly is a small market, what is everywhere else save NY and LA?

So, like Providence, Philly has been relatively affordable and lagging other areas in development. Also like Providence, Philly is now waking up and all of a sudden there is a flood of development, and prices are now starting to go up...

I've visited Philly a lot, and like Providence, the city has gotten hugely better over the last 15 years. Center City was a dump back in the early 90's, and now it sparkles. Philly is widely known as having one of the best restaurant scenes in America, and I think it just won some travel guide's award for best restaurant scene in the US. The architecture is wonderful, and its delightful contrast of old and new (a colonial building next to a skyscraper) is similar to Providence and Boston as well, but it bustles and feels much like NYC (and much unlike Providence and Boston). I still say the three most beautiful urban neighborhoods in the Northeast are, in no particular order, 1) Benefit Street in Providence, 2) Gramercy Park in NYC, 3) Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia.

The only cautionary note is that I've heard from many people that salaries in Philly in their fields (be it law, IT, etc) tend to be lower than many other cities and not keeping up with increased costs. Perhaps it's because of the historically low cost of living (much like Providence too), or, as some locals have explained it to me, a historical artifact of Philadelphia having developed far more institutions (anticipating it would grow to NYC size) than its eventual Philly sized population has been prosperously able to support.

This is definitely true in my field (medicine). Philly has more hospitals and medical schools than NYC, serving a metro population almost 1/4 the size. This does not make for good economics. The only region with salaries in medicine lower than Philadelphia is Rhode Island, actually...

Still, that said, when job search time comes, I'll probably check out Philly as well. One thing that I've seen attract people there is the large and affluent suburbs along the main line right near the city. Unlike the East Side of Providence, for example, those areas have excellent public schools. So living there gives people quick and easy access to downtown while still enjoying suburban amenities and good schooling.

- Garris

Providence, RI

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Interesting. You do slightly agree with how I view these cities but elaborated.

Funny how Philly seems to be in the shadows of Boston and NYC in the national view. But what is left after this view:

Boston: brains (academics/research)

NYC: heart (money)

DC: fist (gov. power)

Philly: guts?

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From the PA section of UP, this link is the best Phily development forum I've seen:

http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?threadid=826

- Garris

Providence, RI

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Impressive...

and this doesn't include the literally hundreds upon hundreds of small projects going on...townhouses being converted to condos left and right ala the South End in Boston...

scary in some ways, but overall pretty good for the city.

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Philly is a nice city, but the development there does not match what is going on in Boston.

Really? Is this true? I'm not that up on Boston development, but I was under the impression that there are few Northeast cities with the flurry of major projects proposed that Philly has...

- Garris

Providence, RI

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Philly is a nice city, but the development there does not match what is going on in Boston.

Yea right. pfffft. philly is building the second tallest building right out of Chicago. Bunk that. Plus dozens of condos.

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