Located on the South Shore of Massachusetts is the idyllic small town of Norwell. Once a thriving shipbuilding district, the area is rich in history, natural beauty, and incredible riverfront views. Widely known for the well-preserved buildings of days gone by, the distinctive community features Cape Cod-inspired residences that pay homage to the town's historical roots.
A convenient 30-minute ride via commuter train or ferry transports residents to the hustle and bustle of Boston, providing easy access to world-class entertainment, dining, shopping, and cultural activities.
Norwell has an excellent education system and is home to one of the oldest private charter schools in the state. The charming suburb offers tranquility and exclusivity to its affluent residents, connecting neighbors via side streets and country roads. The meandering North River that runs through town is a tributary that leads to the Atlantic Ocean. Once used by shipbuilders, the river is now a favorite spot for fishing and kayaking.
The cost of living in Norwell
According to the Economic Research Institute, the cost of living in Norwell is 38% higher than the national average. It is ranked the 466th most expensive city in the United States, and the state tax rate is the 9th highest in the country.
The high cost of living in Norwell can be attributed to the upscale amenities available in this picturesque residential community, which has a small population of approximately 11,140 residents.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports a median monthly expense of $3,355 for homeowners with a mortgage, based on 2017-2021 figures.
Housing costs in Norwell
An estimated 90.7% of residents in Norwell own their own homes, despite the housing costs in Norwell being less affordable than in other parts of the country. The U.S. Census Bureau data reflect a median value of $652,300 for owner-occupied housing units (in 2021 dollars). The national average median value for homes in the United States is currently $410,200, making the Norwell real estate market considerably higher than the rest of the country.
For luxury properties along the South Shore offering impeccable views, first-class amenities, designer elements, and a premier location, the cost is much higher. According to the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, the median list price (as of June 2023) is $1,950,000, with a median sold price of $1,550,000. In June 2023, 39 houses sold after spending an average of only 20 days on the market, confirming that Norwell real estate is still a seller's market.
The cost of utilities in Norwell
The Cost of Living Index estimates utility bills, such as electric, heating, and water, to be approximately $222 per month for a family of four, with monthly internet connection charges costing around $92.80.
Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities recently announced higher rates for gas and electricity, which could result in monthly bills going up this winter by approximately 23% in comparison to last year. Heating costs are a major concern in Norwell, especially when it's snowing and extremely cold, as some homeowners are paying upwards of $1,000 to fill their oil tanks to run a furnace.
In Eastern Massachusetts, food costs are approximately 24% higher than the national average. The Cost of Living Index estimates that a family of four will spend about $1,604 per month on groceries, which varies dramatically according to the amount and types of items they purchase. Where a person shops can also affect the overall pricing.
Dining out for two in a nice restaurant can cost upwards of $70, with a fast food meal costing $7.98 per person. Expect to pay approximately $5.96 for a beer in a pub. Norwell offers a nice blend of upscale, casual, and quick-serve restaurants to fit any budget.
On average, the cost of basic grocery items in Norwell is $3.92 for a loaf of white bread, $4.43 for a gallon of milk, and $5.39 for a dozen eggs. High-end organic markets, such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and Market Basket, are readily available, as well as discount grocery stores, such as Big Y, Shaw's, Target, and Stop & Shop.
Norwell is approximately 30 minutes outside of Boston, making it a popular place to live for business commuters. A taxi or Uber to the city will cost around $100, with a bus route taking longer but being considerably more affordable — approximately $40. Getting to Boston via train will take a little over an hour, costing between $18 and $28, depending on the time and day of travel.
The commuter rail that the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority operates costs $10.50 for one-way travel to Boston and $21 for a round-trip fare. There is also a monthly commuter rail zone pass available for $340. The Hingham/Hull commuter ferry travels between Boston, the Logan International Airport, and Hingham, with a monthly pass costing $329 for unlimited travel.
Overall, transportation costs in Norwell are more expensive than in other towns in the United States. The average commute time is 37.5 minutes.
According to the Economic Research Institute, the average annual salary in Norwell is $69,328, equivalent to a $33 hourly rate. The median household income (in 2021 dollars) is $172,022.
Naturally, buyers wishing to purchase luxury properties in Norwell will have to earn considerably more to qualify for a mortgage on a high-end residence.
Let Pamela Bates help you find your next home in Norwell
Pamela Bates has unparalleled experience helping clients navigate the South Shore real estate market. She understands the cost of living in Norwell and the surrounding communities and has the knowledge and expertise to negotiate the best deal while monitoring current trends.
She has earned recognition as one of the top 3% of all real estate agents internationally and has consistently received the Coldwell Banker President's Elite award. As Boston's South Shore premiere real estate resource, Boston Magazine has named Pamela a Top Hingham Real Estate Agent for the past three years. Real Trends has also recognized her as one of America's Best Real Estate Professionals, who has assisted buyers and sellers with more than $200 million in local real estate.
Contact Pamela Bates if you would like to learn more about the cost of living in Norwell or you have questions about the surrounding communities. She is happy to listen to your objectives to help develop a unique plan that meets your goals.
While the cost of living in Norwell may be higher than in other parts of the country, you will be hard-pressed to find an area as unique and inviting as this quaint suburb of Boston.
*Header photo courtesy of Pamela Bates