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Average Rent Prices in Boston Infographic

6 minute read

The apartment rental market in Boston is experiencing quite a recovery in 2021. Following a year where widespread vacancies put downward pressure on apartment prices, rents are slowly beginning to climb again in some areas of Greater Boston. Overall housing demand is being restored as people clamor for city living again. Still, the neighborhood data reflects a few notable shifts in renter demand, and this trend may be here to stay.

Hover over any neighborhood to display average rent prices.

YOY Changes in Boston’s Average Rent Price

Average rent for Boston apartments is down -1.30% from late August 2020. That figure has been shrinking quickly; in July of this year, YOY average rent prices were down by a much larger margin (-4.31%). This marks the first year where rent prices dropped since the housing market collapse over a decade ago. Boston’s rental market is partially fueled by the student population, so when most campuses went remote in 2020, the effects on the apartment supply were crippling. Apartment vacancies soared in: Fenway, Allston, Cambridge, Mission Hill, and Symphony leaving landlords no option but either reduce prices or offer move-in concessions.

Around the April/May timeframe of 2021, many Universities began announcing their plans to reopen campuses for Fall 2021, and the vacancy rate began to reverse course and quickly retract.  Now we’re seeing prices on an slight upward trajectory in most areas. The only thing potentially stopping apartment rental prices from going up is that we are entering the September – December time frame when there is traditionally far less renters seeking housing.  Look for apartment prices to be up YOY in January as the vacancy rate continues to shrink and Greater Boston Property Owners try to recalibrate back to their normal renting price points and preferences.

Average Rent Prices in Boston Per Bedroom

    In terms of hyper-local YOY changes in average rent prices, it is interesting to see what neighborhoods are seeing the biggest upheaval. Let’s start with the areas where rent prices have declined the most. In an interesting twist, apartment prices are most notably down in the core areas near downtown. Neighborhoods that were the most expensive in Boston have seen prices tumble the most. We predict this will be a short lived downward trend and over the next couple years as tenants move, landlords will increase prices accordingly.

    The current data suggests that while the end of remote learning has restored the off-campus housing demand in many of Boston’s popular student enclaves, the business professional crowd may be slower to return to these downtown areas. Remote work may be here to stay longer than anyone had expected, which would explain why the vacancy rate is highest in some of these neighborhoods, and also why prices have fallen the most in these areas. There is also the real consideration of numerous Airbnb and short term rentals that were concentrated in those areas. Most landlords and property managers are reticent about re-renting them out in the short term corporate environment as that market has not recovered and many landlords ended up with vacancies they couldn’t fill quickly at the price point they needed to make the numbers work.

    Boston Neighborhoods Where Rent Decreased the Most YOY

    Neighborhood Studio % Change 1BR YOY % Change 2BR YOY % Change 3BR YOY % Change 4BR YOY % Change Average % Change
    DOWNTOWN -12.24% -8.65% -2.59% -15.64% -8.96%
    CHARLESTOWN -10.61% -8.80% -6.04% -11.47% -8.01% -8.58%
    BEACON HILL -2.05% -2.89% -3.98% -10.80% -5.89%
    FENWAY/KENMORE -4.34% -4.86% -4.53% -2.22% -9.82% -5.36%

    That trend is also illustrated in the list of neighborhoods where rent grew the most in the past year. All of these areas are located either far from Boston’s urban center or on the outer edges of the City. This reflects a shift in demand from the densely populated downtown areas towards the more open suburban neighborhoods in Boston. It will be interesting to see how this trend will evolve over time as many workplaces seem to be embracing the remote work trend. This is a fluid situation that could be exacerbated by numerous external corporate factors and also perhaps other strains of the virus.

    Greater Boston Neighborhoods Where Rent Grew Most YOY

    Neighborhood Studio % Change 1BR YOY % Change 2BR YOY % Change 3BR YOY % Change 4BR YOY % Change Average % Change
    ROXBURY +7.13% +3.32% +7.89% +1.18% +4.88%
    ARLINGTON +8.88% +0.60% +3.54% +4.67% +1.08% +2.47%
    ROSLINDALE -11.35% +9.78% +8.23% +1.35% +2.00%
    DORCHESTER -1.91% +2.49% +4.85% +2.27% +1.92%
    MALDEN -3.41% -3.48% -3.48% +8.37% +2.54% +0.99%
    EAST BOSTON +18.92% -2.49% +3.01% +1.48% +1.22% +0.80%

    Most Expensive Neighborhoods to Rent An Apartment In Boston

    Despite the larger than average drops in rent prices, the most expensive neighborhoods to rent an apartment in Boston are still in the core downtown neighborhoods. downtown Boston, no surprise, tops the list in terms of Average Rent at $3,372. Back Bay, Symphony/Northeastern, South End, and Beacon Hill round out the top 5, where average rent sits above or near $3,000 per month.

    5 Most Expensive Neighborhoods to Rent an Apartment in Boston

    Neighborhood Studio Avg. Rent Price 1BR Avg. Rent Price 2BR Avg. Rent Price 3BR Avg. Rent Price 4BR Avg. Rent Price Average Rent Price
    DOWNTOWN $1,900 $2,239 $3,126 $4,450 $6,000 $3,372
    BACK BAY $1,769 $2,382 $3,321 $4,107 $5,900 $3,270
    NORTHEASTERN/SYMPHONY $1,824 $2,464 $2,980 $3,844 $4,978 $3,096
    SOUTH END $1,738 $2,348 $3,037 $3,866 $5,468 $3,084
    BEACON HILL $1,769 $2,214 $2,874 $3,743 $2,944

    Most Affordable Neighborhoods to Rent An Apartment in Greater Boston 

    Boston’s most affordable neighborhood to rent an apartment goes to Waltham, with an average rent of $1,967. Malden, Revere, West Roxbury, Medford and Chelsea are also on the list of most affordable neighborhoods to rent an apartment in Greater Boston.

    6 Most Affordable Neighborhoods to Rent an Apartment in Greater Boston

    Neighborhood Studio Avg. Rent Price 1BR Avg. Rent Price 2BR Avg. Rent Price 3BR Avg. Rent Price 4BR Avg. Rent Price Average Rent Price
    WALTHAM $1,525 $1,601 $2,091 $2,210 $3,080 $1,967
    MALDEN $1,386 $1,610 $1,968 $2,461 $2,744 $2,013
    REVERE $1,603 $1,722 $1,970 $2,556 $2,757 $2,083
    WEST ROXBURY $1,485 $1,786 $2,149 $2,405 $2,753 $2,113
    MEDFORD $1,410 $1,482 $2,134 $2,732 $3,468 $2,116
    CHELSEA $1,617 $1,686 $2,114 $2,592 $3,264 $2,131

    Considering the relatively high cost of renting near downtown compared to the suburban areas, it seems likely for suburb apartment prices to continue to climb at a faster pace than Boston’s downtown areas.  Overall, we were highly impressed at how quickly the rental market absorbed the excess apartment supply. Although some of the inventory overhang was notably slower to recover and larger in quantity throughout most of the downtown areas. 

    We are now heading into the fall which historically has a lower volume of rented apartments. This fall could be a vastly different leasing cycle. We may see far more rentals than normal due to the continuing market bounce back from the disruption of the pandemic.  For those reasons, we believe rent prices are likely to remain mostly flat in the majority of Boston areas, but will start to rise around the January 2022 time frame.  The Greater Boston outer suburbs and surrounding neighborhoods may actually still experience slight increases for the next several months.  We’ll continue to monitor this data as the end of year approaches, and we’ll provide our full apartment rental market report in early 2022.

    Demetrios Salpoglou

    Demetrios Salpoglou

    Published September 13, 2021

    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.

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