An in-depth look at the Massachusetts rental market


David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
A mural outside of the Mission Hill School in Jamaica Plain. Asking rents are down year over year in several aspects of the market in this Boston neighborhood. David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

The big Sept. 1 move-in day is in the review mirror, but renters continue to get “Storrowed.”

The overall median asking rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city jumped 5.36% from July to August, and the city was ranked the third-most expensive rental market in the country, according to a report ApartmentAdvisor released earlier this month.

The big surprise in the rankings was Burlington, Vt. The city shot up 12 spots to No. 10 on the list with a 33.3% month-over-month increase in the median asking rent for a one-bedroom, based on available listings on the site.

These were the top 10 most expensive cities for renters:

Rank City
1. New York City
2. Jersey City
3. Boston
4. San Francisco
5. Miami
6. San Diego
7. Washington, D.C.
8. San Jose
9. Los Angeles
10. Burlington, Vt.
Source: ApartmentAdvisor

And these were the cities with the lowest asking rents:

Rank City
91. Lexington, Ky.
92. Fort Wayne, Ind.
93. Lincoln, Neb.
94. Cheyenne, Wyo.
95. Little Rock, Ark.
96. Cedar Rapids, Iowa
97. Akron, Ohio
98. Toledo, Ohio
99. Morgantown, W.Va.
100. Wichita, Kan.
Source: ApartmentAdvisor

Here’s where all the New England cities on the list ranked:

3. Boston
10. Burlington, Vt.
14. Providence
23. Manchester, N.H.
24. Portland, Maine
58. Hartford, Conn.

Rent in Boston

The month-over-month change in rents paints a bleak picture in Boston, but a look at the year-over-year figures offers hope for renters looking to move into anything with fewer than 3 bedrooms:

Source: ApartmentAdvisor
Note: Figures are based on website listings. An (*) means there weren’t enough listings to tabulate.

A drilldown into the city’s neighborhoods shows where bargains can be found. (Hint: Jamaica Plain)

Studios

For studio units, prices were down significantly year over year in Jamaica Plain (nearly 24%), but up quite a bit (about 18%) in Brighton:

Source: ApartmentAdvisor
Note: Figures are based on website listings. An (*) means there weren’t enough listings to tabulate.

One-bedrooms

Prices were down year over year in Allston (which bears the brunt of the madness on Sept. 1) and nearly as much in the North End and Jamaica Plain, while costs were climbing in Roslindale.

Source: ApartmentAdvisor
Note: Figures are based on website listings. An (*) means there weren’t enough listings to tabulate.

Two-bedrooms

The significant decrease in year-over-year prices for two-bedroom apartments in Fenway may reflect a significant fluctuation in available listings, so let’s hold off until the September figures come in. Looking at the numbers, bargains await in Charlestown and, again, in Jamaica Plain.

Source: ApartmentAdvisor
Note: Figures are based on website listings. An (*) means there weren’t enough listings to tabulate.

Three-bedrooms-plus

Prices for this sector of the rental market aren’t offering the warm and fuzzies. The skyrocketing year-over-year increase in the Back Bay may be the result of fluctuations in a few listings, but jumps in Charlestown and West Roxbury indicate a month-to-month pattern of climbing costs. Rents appear to be slipping in Downtown Boston and in Hyde Park.

Source: ApartmentAdvisor
Note: Figures are based on website listings. An (*) means there weren’t enough listings to tabulate.

In Massachusetts

If you are looking for bargains outside Boston proper, here’s the good news: ApartmentAdvisor reported that the median rental price for a one-bedroom in August ($2,500) in the state was unchanged from July. Prices in Cambridge slipped 3.3% month over month, but the website ranked it as the most expensive city for renters in the state — a distinction that comes as no surprise. Cambridge is always No. 1.

These were the top 5 most expensive communities for renters in August based on available listings on the site:

RANK CITY Median Rent
1. Cambridge $3,000
2. Lexington $2,855
3. Medford $2,800
4. Boston $2,800
4. Brookline $2,800
Source: ApartmentAdvisor

The least expensive were:

RANK CITY Median Rent
1. Fall River $1,350
2. Springfield  $1,395
3. Brockton $1,645
4. Haverhill $1,750
4. Everett $1,850
Source: ApartmentAdvisor

Prices climbed the fastest month-over-month in Norwood, Reading, Beverly, and Arlington and decreased the most in Marlborough, Waltham, Plymouth, Worcester, and Natick.

Happy hunting.

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2023-09-07 22:39:00

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