Rent Shift in the Boston Area

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Boston is an absolutely amazing city. New Englanders, original and new, know there is a lot to love about Boston: the four seasons, the accessibility, the things to do, the history, the nearby beaches, the schools, and medical centers, the sports, and much more. The family-friendly hub and surrounding areas have something to offer everyone, including rapidly rising rent costs. In just over the last three to five years, rents have jumped to intimidating figures downtown and now in surrounding towns. From the more expensive areas such as Seaport, Beacon Hill, the South End and to places that used to be affordable such as Somerville, Southie, and Cambridge, people are finding it difficult to afford just about anything.

Average rental prices in the Boston area over the past year have increased by 128% – up to over $3,000 per month.  Of course, it depends on which neighborhood you’re looking in.  Allston-Brighton’s average rent is 10% less than the Boston average, at around $2,801 per month, whereas Back Bay rent is 18% higher than the Boston average, at $3,668 per month.  In this image below, you can see how other areas of Massachusetts compare in average rental prices to the Greater Boston area.

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With rental prices Downtown being extremely high, they have been pushing people a little further out from the center of the city for years. What this is doing is causing a rippling effect on other neighborhoods which now are in higher demand.  As demand increases and supply is consumed, rent prices inflate and we are seeing that in areas that used to be a lot more affordable.

Pricing does depend, of course, on not only the location but also the size of the property.  See below how rents have increased based on the average apartment size.

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Tips for Renters

It’s recommended that renters know what they’re getting themselves into before the lease is signed.  Ask what the rent increase was the year prior and what the suspected rent increase will be next year so that the future budget can be assessed.  An increase in rent is an annoying reason to have to move, especially with vacancies so low in the Greater Boston area.

Landlords raise the rent for a number of reasons.  Massachusetts property taxes increase, market value increases (meaning that people are willing to pay more for a decent space), and sometimes, rents are raised annually regardless of any other factor.  Know before you owe.

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