Average Rent in Boston Approaches $2,000 Tipping Point


The rental market in Boston has been red-hot for some time now, and it is approaching a milestone

Back Bay residential district in Boston

The average rent in Boston’s housing market is nearly $2,000, and the area’s rental growth remains strong.

Those were the main findings in the latest report from Reis, which analyzed the nation’s rental markets through 2015’s third quarter.

We put together a series of graphs to illustrate Reis’ data. First, a look at average effective rents in the third quarter:


At $1,966, Boston’s average rent is among the highest in the nation, and even exceeds that of historically expensive Los Angeles; only San Francisco and the mighty New York are more expensive.

That said, in terms of rent growth, Boston’s market is a step behind the rest. First, here is how rents have grown since 2015’s second quarter:


At 0.8 percent, Boston’s growth was among the slowest among large metro areas, amounting to only a quarter of what San Francisco and Seattle have experienced.

The situation is similar with 12-month rent growth:


At 3.8 percent, Boston’s yearly rent growth still trails behind the growth in Atlanta, San Francisco and Seattle, among other metro areas.

Rents in Boston, though, remain among the highest in the nation, and it’s natural to wonder if such expenses signify bad things for the area’s housing market. After all, Freddie Mac research has shown that aggressive rent increases have been the main trend stopping renters from buying homes. If rents increase, the research suggests, even consumers who want to buy are unable to do so, given that they are less capable of saving for a down payment.

There is no definite link here in Boston that recent rent increases are harming homebuying (and indeed, sales were up 13.5 percent year-over-year in August), but it will be interesting to see how homeownership shifts in 2016.

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