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How Much Should You Spend On Rent In Boston?

8 minute read

The question of the day is how much should you spend on rent for Boston apartments?

The answer is a bit complicated. First and foremost, you want to live in the most comfortable surroundings possible. However, it makes economic sense to stay within a reasonable budget. The nicest apartment on the block may be incredibly tempting- the more amenities the better. For example, you may want to live in a building that has a gym. Maybe a swimming pool or having rooftop garden is important to you. Perhaps you’d like to have concierge services available on a 24/7 basis.

Many tenants desire everything appliance related looking stainless steel and other fancy fit and finish work in their units. Some renters want access to electricity charging stations for their hybrid or all electric automobiles. Others require dedicated office areas with all the equipment in the building so they can work from home. The good news is that there are apartments for rent in Boston that have all those amenities and more. Yet, it’s never smart to spend more money than you can afford. If you’re thinking about moving here, there is also something else that you need to consider.

Boston apartments

Rent in Boston is near the top of the list of most expensive cities in the country.

Our outdated zoning practices and endless “not in my backyard” attitudes have kept the building of supply well below population growth. Let’s be honest here; if anyone has ever taken a macroeconomics course it is not too hard to figure out that with a less than 1% vacancy rate; supply is low so prices stay high. Getting an apartment in Boston is not as casual and easy as it is in other cities. There are simply a ton of people who want to live in Boston and be close to all the action and activities that our great city provides. That being said, the price of admission is well worth it. Boston has a lot to offer. From the culture to the endless entertainment options to the history, it’s truly an amazing place to live. Some of the most prestigious colleges and universities on the planet are in the city. Boston also houses many of the best hospitals in the world. Yet the question remains. How much should you spend on rent in Boston?


boston dog

How To Calculate Your Boston Budget

Do you know how to determine your budget when it comes to rent in Boston? If you answered no to this question don’t worry. You’re certainly not alone. In fact, the vast majority of apartment hunters have no idea how to figure it out. It’s also why you’re reading this article in the first place. With knowledge comes power. At least the information will provide you with some guidance so that you don’t end up in the poor house. The best way to figure out how much money you should spend on rent each month is to use our Boston Pads Rent Affordability Calculator.

It’s as easy to use as entering the amount of money you that you earn each year before taxes. We’re talking about your gross income here people. The power of the Boston Pads Rent Affordability Calculator then does all of the work for you. It even provides you with three (3) answers that depend on your lifestyle and how it affects your finances.

Boston apartments

The High-End Rent Figure

You can choose to base your monthly rent in Boston budget on the high-end rent figure. That means you’re willing to spend up to 35% of your gross income on rent in order to enjoy the finer things in life, like your own space. It also indicates that you may need to make compromises on other areas. Here’s a realistic example. If you earn $85,000 per year then a high-end figure for your rent in Boston equals $2,479 per month. Please keep in mind that this figure is only a suggestion. It does not take into account any other debts that you may have.

shared boston apartment

The Middle Range Rent Figure

You can also choose your monthly rent in Boston budget based on the middle range figure. In fact, that's what most people do. It means that you're willing to spend up to 25% of your gross income on rent. In essence, it may very well put you in a safe range. However, your overall cost of living in Boston may mean that you're breaking even each month. Here's a realistic example. If you earn $85,000 per year then a middle range figure for your rent in Boston equals $1,771 per month. Please keep in mind that this figure is only a suggestion. It does not take into account any other debts that you may have. You may be able to find a nicer apartment than living on your own, even, if you are open to sharing common spaces with 1 or 2 roommates.

low range apartment

The Low-End Rent Figure

Some apartment hunters choose to base their monthly rent in Boston budget on the low-end figure. The bottom line is that you're only willing to spend up to 15% of your gross income on rent. The low-end figure is for people who don't mind living in lower end apartments in order to save money. It's perfect for people who do not spend a lot of time in their units. Here's a realistic example. If you earn $85,000 per year then a low-end figure for your rent in Boston equals $1,063 per month. Please keep in mind that this figure is only a suggestion.

boston couple budgeting

How Much Rent Is Too Much?

At this point you may be asking yourself how much rent in Boston is too much? The answer tends to be a bit complicated. There are other factors to consider. The Boston Pads Rent Affordability Calculator provides three choices based on 35%, 25%, and 15% of your gross income. So, anything over those figures is considered to be too much. However, you also need to factor in your other monthly debt. For example, car loans, personal loans, student loans, and credit card debt all fall into this category.

You also need to consider all of your other living expenses. The monthly commitment includes your rent, utilities, transportation costs, and any other items that relates to your apartment. You also need to factor in the costs of food and entertainment. When you add all of those things up it is called the cost of living. You might also want to be a bit conservative with inflation running rampant and high energy costs in Boston. Hopefully energy costs will lower in Boston but it’s always better to be safe than stressed.

Other Financial Factors to Consider

Is this your first-time paying rent in Boston? Maybe it’s been a while since you moved. Either way, there are some other factors to consider. For example, you will most likely need to deposit three (3) months or rent upfront. This covers the first and last lease payment plus the security deposit. For example, based on our high-end rent figure as listed above the rent is $2,479 per month. That means you may need to come up with $2,479 x 3 = $7,437. Dog and cat friendly apartments typically require a separate pet deposit that can equal another month of rent. You should also be aware that it cost money to set up the utilities. The bottom line is that they may require a deposit to set up the cable, Internet, gas, and or electricity.

If you’re hiring professional movers, then you need to factor in that expense as well. The landlord or property management company will most likely require a credit check. If you happen to have low credit scores based on missed payments, they may not approve your rental application. They may also verify your income. It’s common for landlords to contact the employers of prospective tenants. This is done to ensure that you can afford the monthly rent in Boston. If you’re self-employed the landlord will confirm your income based on your tax returns and bank accounts. Your rental history may also come into play. That means the landlord will verify any of your prior rent payments. If you’ve had issues with your finances in the past, it may very well be an issue.

Non-Financial Factors to Consider

There are a few other things to consider regarding rent in Boston. They are not necessarily related directly to finances. For example, you want to ensure that you’re moving to a neighborhood that’s close to shopping and dining establishments. It may also be important to you that the unit is located near your bank. Some people want to be close to a post office, and or their place of worship. You also need to know if and where you can park your vehicle if you own one. Speaking of transportation, you should also find out how close the apartment is to public transportation options. These things may not sound like a big deal now, but they may very well be once you move in.

In conclusion, how much you spend on rent in Boston primarily depends on your income and your lifestyle. There certainly are a great deal of factors and preferences to consider. That being stated, it’s always a smart idea to utilize Boston Pads for your real estate needs. The Boston Pads real estate portal at is far more than a search tool. You will also find a plethora of tips, tools, and valuable information. We provide several hundred real estate related articles in our insights section. You may also want to consider reading a few of our rent saving tips articles. Boston Pads is your number #1 resource for everything related to Boston real estate and the real estate scene across the city. It’s the perfect resource for renters, buyers, sellers, landlords, property owners, property managers, and real estate agents. If you’ve been looking for a one stop real estate source then your search is over. Welcome to Boston Pads!

Andrew Pitsios

Andrew Pitsios

Published April 16, 2024

From the start of his career in real estate, Andrew has excelled at building client relationships and creating standards that set the bar high for fellow colleagues to follow. Focused on building and maintaining relationships in his career, he puts emphasis on the “little details” ensuring clients and landlords are happy to do business with him. Andrew continues to work meticulously with every client in order to make sure they move into an apartment of their dreams. He truly wants to make sure he helps as many people as he can. In his free time, he enjoys going up to the lake, spending time with friends/family, or walking his dog, Milton, along the Charles.