Finding Affordable Places to Live in and Around Boston

Ed Greable Blogger September 17, 2018

According to a report recently released by real estate listings site Zumper, Boston is the fourth most expensive city in the United States to rent a one-bedroom and the fifth most expensive place to rent a two-bedroom apartment. When tracking vacant and available apartments in various cities as of July 31, the report found that the media one-bedroom rent in Boston was $2,300 per month. This figure is up 6.4 percent from the previous year. Meanwhile, the median two-bedroom rent was $2,750, representing a 3.8 percent increase when compared to the previous year. Fortunately, there are a few neighborhoods where you can find some more reasonably priced inventory.

Finding Reasonable Rent in Boston

While you are still going to pay a high cost to rent no matter where you choose to rent in Boston, the search site RentCafe has found that the following neighborhoods offer the most reasonable prices:

  • Allston-Brighton: Average rent of $2,705 per month as of late July, which is 10 percent lower than the city’s average.
  • Dorchester: Average rent of $2,597 per month as of late July, which is 13 percent lower than the city’s average.
  • East Boston: Average rent of $2,627 per month as of late July, which is 12 percent lower than the city’s average.
  • Jamaica Plain: Average rent of $2,612 per month as of late July, which is 13 percent lower than the city’s average.
  • Roxbury: Average rent of $2,277 per month as of late July, which is 24 percent lower than the city’s average.

To Buy or to Rent in Boston?

Of course, with such high rental costs, it is only natural to wonder whether or not it is better to buy or to rent in Boston. According to an analysis recently conducted by research portal PropertyShark and listings site RENTCafe, homeowners in Boston come out ahead of renters. In fact, the average renter ends the month with a deficit of $2,244 while the average owner comes out ahead with $2,057 left over at the end of the month. This makes Boston one of the better cities in the country to own a home.

To determine these figures, researchers determined the discretionary income of renters and owners by subtracting living and housing costs from the median household income. Income figures and information regarding living costs was taken from Census data and from the U.S. Department of Labor. While one of the reasons for the discrepancy was due to the fact that homeowners tend to have higher incomes, the discrepancy is also due to the fact that rental costs rise at a faster rate than mortgage payments in Boston. Ultimately, the researchers found that it is impossible accumulate a savings as a renter in Boston earning just the median household income. Even those who find someone to help share the rent would face an uphill battle.

Concerns regarding the high costs of housing are the main reason why Boston was recently ranked as the 62nd-best place in the country to raise a family. While the city came in fifth when focusing on just the Northeast, the large percent of income that has to go toward mortgage or rent made it impossible for any Northeast city to crack the top 20 on the list.

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