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2019 Cambridge Apartment Real Time Vacancy Rate and Fall Forecast

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Cambridge Rental Market

Picturesque architecture and the stunning state of the buildings combine with eclectic culture to make a Cambridge apartment a fantastic place to live. The energy and optimism that Cambridge throws off can be contagious as you stop by a coffee shop and overhear people discussing the next great internet startup. Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology provide an intellectual accent, while proximity to Boston proper allows residents to enjoy a world-class art, culture, and culinary scene.

Although rentals are often tough to come by in neighborhoods with major universities, this also creates a natural turnover, so finding a place to live in Cambridge may not be as hard as you think. The keys are planning and details. Have you ever heard the saying, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail?” Getting a great in Cambridge apartment requires a blueprint and a systematic approach to winning.

About Cambridge

Cambridge is located just outside of the City of Boston, just over the Charles River facing Allston, Fenway, and Back Bay. It is bordered by Somerville to the North and the River and Boston to the South. It is famous for being the home of Harvard University and MIT, both world-class educational institutions. For people looking to move to Greater Boston area, Cambridge is usually at the top of most people’s list of ‘Places they’d like to live’.

But just because it’s outside the city, don’t expect to get a break on rent. With the exception of Kendell Square and Mt. Auburn, the average rent prices for a 1 bedroom apartment for all local neighborhoods within Cambridge are all over $2,000 per month. You are competing for apartments and housing with a lot of well funded, venture capital backed companies. They pay high salaries and bonuses so that employees can live closer to work to help them win.

Price isn’t everything, though. If you work or go to school in the area, it may make better financial sense to pay a bit more for a Cambridge apartment that provides easy access to your classes. Let’s dig into the real data below.

Cambridge Apartments: Availability & Vacancy

Residents looking to get into a Cambridge apartment will have limited options until about January and February when the market begins to open up a bit. Out of the 5,658 Cambridge apartments in our database, only 40 are currently vacant and available for immediate move-in, a Real-time Vacancy Rate of 0.71%.

If you have some time to look around, there’s an additional 82 apartments that are slated to become vacant in the next 12 months, giving Cambridge a Real-Time Availability Rate of 2.16%. This is well below the average of all areas, which is 2.58%. You really have to time the market correctly. Working with the best agents in the area that have longer lead times on potentially vacant apartments can give you a huge advantage. Do your homework.

Town Neighborhood Total Apartments Total Apartments Non Luxury Total Available Non Luxury Real Time Availability Rate Total Vacant Non Luxury Real Time Vacancy Rate
All Areas 150854 70850 304 2.58% 448 0.63%
City Of Boston 121837 41837 176 2.78% 177 0.42%
Outside Boston 29972 29013 128 2.28% 271 0.93%
CAMBRIDGE 5843 5658 17 2.16% 40 0.71%
CAMBRIDGE – ALEWIFE 132 106 0 0.94% 0 0.00%
CAMBRIDGE – DAVIS SQUARE 115 115 0 1.74% 1 0.87%
CAMBRIDGE – EAST CAMBRIDGE 317 271 1 1.48% 3 1.11%
CAMBRIDGE – HARVARD SQUARE 1395 1376 6 3.49% 20 1.45%
CAMBRIDGE – INMAN SQUARE 537 537 2 1.68% 3 0.56%
CAMBRIDGE – KENDALL SQUARE 209 184 0 1.09% 0 0.00%
CAMBRIDGE – LECHMERE 416 398 0 1.01% 1 0.25%
CAMBRIDGE – MT. AUBURN/BRATTLE/ FRESH POND 391 382 0 1.57% 1 0.26%
CAMBRIDGE – NORTH CAMBRIDGE 209 208 2 3.37% 3 1.44%
CAMBRIDGE – PORTER SQUARE 527 520 3 3.46% 5 0.96%

Vancy Rate

Alewife has the lowest vacancy rate of all Cambridge micro-neighborhoods at 0.94%. It is located in the northern half of Cambridge in an ideal location for people who travel into the city often because it’s also an intermodal transit hub. Here residents can catch the MBTA Bus or the Red Line subway and be in the city in minutes. If that sounds ideal to you, others agree. Out of the 132 Alewife apartments in our database, none are currently vacant and only 1 is scheduled to become available in the near future.

On the other side of the spectrum, the Harvard Square boasts the highest vacancy rates in Cambridge and probably has to most options for prospective renters looking in Cambridge. Out of the 1395 Harvard Square apartments in the Boston Pads database, 20 (1.45%) are currently vacant and available for immediate move-in, and 48 (3.49%) are set to become vacant in the upcoming months, giving it a vacancy rate of 0.33%. Yet most landlords there still keep their pricing high to some degree – regardless of vacancy rate – because they hold steadfast to the concept of “location – location – location”. Keep in mind we are still talking about a super low vacancy rate no matter how you slice the apartment pie.

Other areas with higher than average availability in Cambridge include Porter Square (18 available, 3.49% availability rate), Central Square (21 apartments available, 1.35% availability rate), and North Cambridge (7 available, 3.37% availability rate).

Cambridge Apartment Average Rent Prices

Average prices of rental units in the Cambridge area range from slightly below those of their counterparts in Boston to substantially above them. For instance, a one-bedroom apartment in Cambridge average $2,360, while the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Boston proper is $2,154. Residents looking to live with roommates to reduce living expenses will only find slight relief. The average 2 bedroom in Cambridge runs $2,800, $3,479 for a 3 bedroom, and $4,501 for a 4 bedroom apartment. However, the aggregate trends match Cambridge trends to a solid degree. If you want to save money, start finding some friends or get some roommates.

Town Neighborhood Studio 1 Bedroom 2 Bedroom 3 Bedroom
All Areas $1,792 $2,125 $2,511 $3,017
City Of Boston $1,808 $2,154 $2,557 $3,019
Outside Boston $1,732 $2,055 $2,435 $3,014
CAMBRIDGE $1,971 $2,360 $2,801 $3,479
CAMBRIDGE – ALEWIFE $826 $2,800 $2,425 $1,385
CAMBRIDGE – DAVIS SQUARE $1,850 $2,617 $3,500 $2,936
CAMBRIDGE – EAST CAMBRIDGE $1,765 $2,248 $2,650 $3,479
CAMBRIDGE – HARVARD SQUARE $2,014 $2,476 $3,157 $4,041
CAMBRIDGE – INMAN SQUARE $1,775 $2,159 $2,491 $3,313
CAMBRIDGE – KENDALL SQUARE $3,550 $1,958 $2,609 $3,429
CAMBRIDGE – LECHMERE $2,300 $2,000 $2,493 $2,923
CAMBRIDGE – MT. AUBURN/BRATTLE/ FRESH POND $1,817 $1,830 $2,125 $2,959
CAMBRIDGE – NORTH CAMBRIDGE $2,013 $2,508 $2,829
CAMBRIDGE – PORTER SQUARE $1,792 $2,123 $2,591 $3,493

Rental Insight by Neighborhood

Residents of the Alewife area of Cambridge pay the most for a one-bedroom apartment with an average of $2,800, and Davis Square is in close second at $2.617 per month for a one bedroom apartment. Rents tend to be the highest in these two areas and Harvard Square, which holds the highest average for 3 bedroom, 4 bedroom, and 5 bedroom average rent prices in Cambridge ($4,041, $5,150, and $7,221 respectively).

For residents looking to save on rent, there best options may be in several neighborhoods of Cambridge, particularly the area around Mt. Auburn and Fresh Pond ($2,125 on average for a 2 bedroom), North Cambridge ($2,013 average rent for a 1 bedroom apartment), and Porter Square ($2,123 on average for a 1 bedroom). If you are looking to save money, you may want to start your search there.  Keep in mind figures can change quite a bit depending on the season and forward forecasting. Right now we see no weakness in future pricing of apartments in Cambridge as a whole. You may want to keep your eyes open and look for individual underpriced apartments under special situations if price is your biggest driver of your decision.

There are still some reasonable options closer to the City in terms of rent prices. Lechmere and East Cambridge both border the Charles River and both have average rent prices around $2600 for a 2 bedroom apartment.

You Can Find a Great Deal

The bottom line is stay flexible and be ready to pounce. If your gut instinct is telling you it is a good deal; it most likely is a great deal. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you’d like more information on finding Cambridge apartments or apartments in any other location in the Greater Boston Area. We have great real estate agents that can help you see these properties as fast as possible so that you can make an empowering decision!

Demetrios Salpoglou

Demetrios Salpoglou

Published September 5, 2019

Demetrios Salpoglou is the CEO of which is an information and technology based services company that provides cutting edge resources to real estate companies. Demetrios has developed over 90 real estate related websites and owns hundreds of domain names. Demetrios also owns and operates six leading real estate offices with over 120 agents.

Demetrios has pulled together the largest apartment leasing team in the Greater Boston Area and is responsible for procuring more apartment rentals than anyone in New England – with over 130k people finding their housing through his services. Demetrios is an avid real estate developer, peak performance trainer, educator, guest lecturer and motivational speaker.