Fenway Apartment Rental Market Report 2022
Fenway’s apartment rental market has been on a wild ride since COVID began. In 2020, Fenway’s real-time vacancy rate (RTVR) rocketed to 17.87% in September. That marked the 2nd highest RTVR recorded by all neighborhoods during the pandemic, behind Downtown (25.24%).
From there, Fenway’s apartment supply issues only worsened. By April 2021, the real-time availability rate for Fenway apartments (24.37%) was 3rd highest out of all neighborhoods behind Allston (26.8%) and Downtown (25.37%). Then, starting in April, we witnessed one of the fastest market corrections in history. At that point, the worst of the pandemic seemed to have passed and schools announced plans to reopen in fall 2021.
Boston apartment renters came out in full force as initial COVID fears began to wane. We witnessed what was arguably the fastest rental supply absorption in Boston’s history. Fenway’s RTAR contracted to 0.61% by late November, down an astonishing -97.53% in a 6 month span. It was also down -80% from Fenway’s pre-COVID RTAR in late November 2019 (3.05%).
Now, the apartment availability rate in Fenway is 3.66%, down -26.25% from its pre-COVID mark recorded in February 2020. Even more impressive is the fact that Fenway’s real-time vacancy rate (RTVR) is down -81.65% during the same 2 year time span. The current vacancy rate of 0.20% is the 3rd lowest in Metro Boston behind Symphony (0.09%) and Fort Hill (0.03%).
|Neighborhood||RTVR Feb ’22||RTVR Feb ’20||% Change|
|City of Boston||0.72%||1.15%||-37.39%|
Both the current RTAR and RTVR are the lowest supply levels we’ve ever recorded in Fenway. In fact, the -81.65% drop in RTVR more than doubles that of Boston apartments, which is down 37.39% since February 2020.
Average Rent Prices in Fenway 2022
Since the pandemic began, Fenway’s average rent prices have dropped by a larger margin than most neighborhoods in Boston. Comparing current average rent figures to 2 years ago, we see that Fenway’s average rent price has dropped by -4.17% over that time span, the 3rd highest decrease in the city behind Mattapan (-6.44%) and Charlestown (-5.12%). Boston’s overall average rent dropped by a much smaller margin (-1.37%) during that time.
|Neighborhood||Avg. Rent Price Feb ’22||Average Rent Price Feb ’20||% Change|
|City of Boston||$2,638||$2,273||-1.29%|
Despite the rent decrease, Fenway’s average rent price of $3,115 is nearly $500 more than Boston’s average ($2,632). Fenway ranks as the 6th most expensive neighborhood to rent an apartment in Boston based on these most recent average rent figures.
Fenway’s record low apartment inventory could be a result of the reduced pricing and landlord incentives that were typical of the past 2 years. At one point, landlords were offering to waive broker’s fees in as many as 75% of available apartments, which usually only occurs in 4-5% of leases in a healthy market. These highly incentivized apartment deals encouraged more people to rent in Fenway and drew people from a wider geographic location from more affordable neighborhoods.
Predicting Fenway’s Rental Market in 2022
Based on current rental supply and pricing, it looks like renter’s in Fenway may be at a disadvantage in 2022. The rental market is just starting to warm up for the 2022 rental season and landlords are coming in hot. Rent prices have jumped 15% for 4 bedroom and 5 bedroom apartments in Fenway just in the past few months, and other prices are trending up as well. Prices have behaved similarly in the greater Boston apartment rental market so far in 2022.
Renter’s who act early in 2022 will get the best pricing in Fenway. With current apartment availability at historic lows, we expect rent price growth in Fenway to outpace that of the city throughout 2022. With current Fenway rents still down from their 2 year mark and rampant inflation factored in, it’s not unlikely that we could see overall rent growth of 7-10% in Fenway this year.
We expect rent prices to eclipse their pre pandemic levels later this year. We also expect price growth for smaller apartment sizes to accelerate in Fenway starting in late spring/early summer. We’ll continue to monitor this local real estate data as it unfolds.