2023 Brighton MA Apartment Rental Market Report
Scarce would be the word describing the Brighton apartment rental market thus far in 2023. As the market enters into peak season, both real-time availability rate (RTAR) and real-time vacancy rate (RTVR) for Brighton apartments are down by -29.22% and -62.50% respectively year-over-year. As a result, Brighton’s average rent price continues to hit new record highs with each passing month. Here are the main trends driving the Brighton MA apartment rental market in 2023.
Record Low Apartment Supply in Brighton MA
The current real-time availability rate (RTAR) in Brighton MA is 2.81%. That figure is down -29.22% year-over-year and down -47.87% from its pre-pandemic level in April 2019. It appears that Brighton’s RTAR has already hit its seasonal 2023 peak and will start to trend downwards in May as it has in years past. Brighton RTAR hit an all-time low in December of 2022 when it bottomed out 0.27%. Having personally spoke with dozens of property owners in Brighton; there clearly seems to be a high lease renewal rate happening. There are a number of reasons for the low vacancy rates in the Brighton apartment market. Generally speaking, we see a lot of people settle into Brighton after graduating from a local college. After a couple of years in Brighton, renters usually start making their home purchasing decisions. It appears that with the local availability of home purchases so low in the Greater Boston Area; renters are staying longer in their same apartment. We also see Brighton landlords quite happy to have their same tenants stay another year at a slightly lower rate than market if it means less turnover and hassle.
The current vacancy rate in Brighton is a paltry 0.15%. Brighton’s RTVR is down by a considerable margin (-62.50%) since last April. Last year, Brighton’s RTVR peaked early in April at 0.51%, breaking a decades-long seasonal trend of vacancies peaking in September. Prior to the pandemic, Brighton vacancies would always peak in September alongside the 9/1 leasing date like it does in many of Boston’s student enclaves. That was not the case in 2022, as vacancies only increased to 0.26% in September after trending down all summer. Drive down any side street in Brighton and you can see one clear thing; it is very difficult to find a parking spot in Brighton. When you talk with a lot of Brighton residents you will all notice them say that the streets seem packed and generally more traffic. Brighton is bustling with life and activity for sure.
Record High Average Rent Prices in Brighton MA
As a result of the record scarcity for apartments in Brighton, average rent price has been fast on the rise. The current average rent price in Brighton MA is $2,615. That figure is up by double digit margins year-over-year (+11.70%) and is at a historical high mark. Brighton’s average rent price surpassed its previous all-time high in May of 2022 and has climbed higher each month since. Having spoke with a considerable amount of tenants in the Brighton area; there seems to be a renewed draw to live in the area considering all the exciting commercial developments that have happened in both Brighton and Watertown. The selection for food and activities has never been higher.
2023 Brighton Apartment Rental Market Forecast
Based on the most recent apartment data in Brighton, MA, it appears like rent prices are highly unlikely to reverse course in 2023. Quite the opposite, it seems nearly all data points suggest rents increasing for the foreseeable future. Apartment supply is just too tight to envision any situation where rent prices will come down. Unless a seismic economic event happens that causes widespread unemployment in the metropolitan area, rent prices will continue to push upwards throughout 2023 in Brighton and elsewhere in Boston.
Brighton’s seasonal apartment vacancy cycle appears to have been disrupted during the pandemic. Now instead of seeing a spike in vacancies in September, Brighton is holding a low vacancy rate year-round similar to neighborhoods that have less turnover such as South Boston. This could be evidence of a shift in the typical makeup of Brighton renters. It appears that Brighton is slowly evolving into less of a shorter term student market and into more of a longer renting young professional demographic.
Regardless, Brighton is a neighborhood in desperate need of new apartment inventory to help ease the burden of skyrocketing rent prices. The city must do more to pave the way for builders and even existing Brighton landlords to increase the rental supply. What’s being done currently simply is not going to get the job done. Last year we saw the lowest number of new housing units hit the market since 2014. This is not a sustainable course of action, and if something isn’t done to address the housing shortage, the renter will bear the burden. We will continue to monitor these trends as they develop.