Selectman Says Swampscott Cost of Living Well Below Marblehead's

Selectman Barry Greenfield drew on single-family home prices and other data for his comparison.


You might be surprised to find out how much less expensive living in Swampscott is compared to Marblehead, said town Selectman Barry Greenfield.

The selectman took Boston Magazine's 2011 report on single-family home prices and "compared the cost of living in Marblehead to Swampscott for both 20 and 30 year periods, including property taxes added to the cost of a home purchase (which most people don't do)."

The selectman said many people will be "shocked to learn how much less expensive it is to live in Swampscott." 

In 2011, the average cost of a single-family home in Marblehead was $510,000 vs. $348,000 in Swampscott.

The tax rate in Marblehead is $10.52; and the tax rate in Swampscott is $17.99.
So, for the Marblehead house, annual property taxes would be $5,365, he said.
For the Swampscott house, annual property taxes would be $6,260, he said.

Over the first 20 years of owning that house, the cost of living in Marblehead would be $617,300; while in Swampscott it would be $473,210.
"Swampscott is more than $143,000 less expensive to live in, that's a savings of $7k per year," the selectman said.
Over the 30 years the cost of living in Marblehead would be $670,950 and in Swampscott it would cost $535,800, or end up costing $135k less, he said.

The selectman said his reason for comparing the costs is that he felt there were misconceptions about the costs of living in the two towns.

"There are a lot of factors to consider other than simply taxes," he said.

Myjanda May 17, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Bety, the point is that most of us on the side of better schools and upgrading our fields have kids, and therefore are more likely to live in a house than not. And even if one rent's a house, the tax is usually paid indirectly in the form of higher rent. Since basically you have no clue how many people who voted for a new high school (horrors!!) own their own home, your point is nonsense. I'll throw a totally made up fact at you now: I feel that most of the people against those things enjoyed all these fine things when their kids were young but now feel the rest of us should settle for 50 year old run down fields and buildings that they were too cheap to maintain, because now that they are retired and want to stay in a 4 bedroom house that is too big for them they don't want their taxes to go to helping other people. How's that?
William R. DiMento May 18, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Barry: Are you claiming the same home in Swampscott worth $348,00 is worth $510,000 in Marblehead ? I generally appreciate your "thinking outside the box" but this time you have become nonsensical.I suggest the two towns have comparative budgets but there at 3000 more parcels of land 6000 more residents to share the costs.I f memory serves me well the police budget in Marblehead is 3.2 mil and in swampscott 3.3 mil. They have many more taxpayers to pay the same cost. We just can't compete with wealthy towns but we spend like a wealthy town. I think we need to concentrate of the essentials such as we do but at a sustainable level.
John Connelly May 20, 2012 at 04:33 AM
So higher and higher taxes are a good thing because it keeps lowering our home values and that makes it cheaper to live here as compared to towns with lower taxes, better services and stable home prices...Okay, I think I get it... If we were to double our taxes, will that make Swampscott even more of a bargain compared to Marblehead than it already is?
DAG January 03, 2013 at 03:27 PM
Back to the initial thought... Having recently moved to Swampscott, our analysis at the time was that, as a function of the monthly mortgage payment (which includes insurance), the cost of the house, and property taxes, was that living in Marblehead was less expansive than living in Swampscott. All the same, I would be very interested in someone taking just a bit of time and trying to offer up a true apples to apples analysis for just the financials. To me, this would factor in, say, what a $500,000 house in Swampscott would be in Marblehead, e.g. about $650,000 +/-. Then, suggest financing for the entire amount + insurance + property tax, and reach a number. I agree that "average" house value is not likely that accurate, but am looking to the experts on what is... I reference insurance because that amount goes up based on the price of the house, but may end up being a nominal factor. If there are other factors that influence price, such as cost of energy, please add that in. I am hoping someone with current knowledge of the housing market can help with some of this. Please do not factor in schools, distance to commuter rail, etc. as those can be adjusted by the reader as they see fit. Thanks Barry for starting the discussion.
Annie Livingstone October 24, 2013 at 07:05 PM
This has been really helpful, we will be starting to look in these two towns and even though we are semi retired, the train service is huge for us. We will be looking for a community that isn't as seasonal because after living on Cape Cod for 6 years and feeling I have been put out to pasture, I'm not so sure I want to live in a town like Marblehead where so many residents don't consider it their permanent home. So Swampscott is looking a bit better. So many factors to consider


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »