Cambridge and Somerville Remain Amongst Most Expensive Places to Rent in Boston Area

A number of factors have contributed to the high cost of rent in the Boston area. Among these is the fact that many of those who work in the area’s technology sector can actually afford the higher prices. According to a recent report, however, rents within the Boston region are now outpacing the salaries of those working in higher-paying technology jobs, which means they may soon begin to struggle with the high costs as well.

Outpacing Salaries

According to a report from listings and research site RENTCafe, information technology wages in the Boston area fell by 0.4 percent from 2016 to 2019. Meanwhile, rents increased at a much higher pace with a 6.8 percent increase during this same time period. The same report also found that those who work in the technology sector in Boston spend 27 percent of their income on rent for an average of $2,211 per month. This is the third-highest amount among technology workers, with only those living in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley (San Jose) paying a higher percent toward rent.

An Ongoing Trend

Whether employed in the technology sector or within another field, Boston’s residents cannot expect to see a break in rising costs anytime soon. According to the latest Zumper report, median rents for one- and two-bedroom rentals remained basically flat in February while the city remains one of the most expensive places in the nation to rent. As of February 28th, the median cost for a one-bedroom rental was $2,390 per month, while the media rental cost of a two-bedroom rental was $2,750. Other than New York City, no other Northeaster city comes anywhere near the cost of renting in Boston. In fact, the top five most expensive cities to rent, in order from most expensive to least, are as follows:

  • San Francisco, California
  • New York, New York
  • San Jose, California
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Los Angeles, California

Looking for Affordable Options

When looking for more affordable options, one may be tempted to look at neighboring cities. Unfortunately for those who are interested in living in the Boston region, more affordable options are not likely to be fund in this way. In fact, prices continue to rise throughout the region. Waltham, for example, experienced double-digit percent increases when comparing March 2018 prices to March 2019. As a result, it is now one of the more expensive of the 16 municipalities tracked by a recent Zumper report. Overall, the top five most expensive places to rent within the region are as follows:

  • Cambridge ($2,470 for a one-bedroom, $2,950 for a two-bedroom)
  • Boston ($2,390 for a one-bedroom, $2,750 for a two-bedroom)
  • Brookline ($2,350 for a one-bedroom, $2,800 for a two-bedroom)
  • Waltham ($2,120 for a one-bedroom, $2,520 for a two-bedroom)
  • Somerville ($2,100 for a one-bedroom, $2,390 for a two-bedroom)

Addressing Rising Rental Costs

In an effort to address rising rental costs, some are considering implementing rental control guidelines in the state of Massachusetts. While Governor Charlie Baker expressed disapproval of such a measure, many officials and activists are pushing for the state to consider such steps. Whether it will be implemented and whether it will alleviate the problem remains to be seen.

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