Cambridge Remains Among the Most Expensive Places to Rent in Boston Area

While recent studies have shown that the number of homeowners in Boston is on the rise, the city still remains one that overwhelmingly consists of renters. Unfortunately for those who are renting in Boston, rental prices continue to remain high and have even shown some dramatic jumps in certain parts of the city and the surrounding area.

An Increase in Homeowners

Despite the tight inventory, the Boston Planning and Development Agency Research Division has found that the share of owner-occupied households within the city of Boston increased from 32.5 percent in 2010 to 35.2 percent in 2017. While this does represent nearly a three percent increase in homeownership, the city remains one that is overwhelmingly occupied by renters. This same report found that those who are renting in Boston are not likely to find any price relief in the near future.

Increased Rental Costs in Boston

According to the report released by the Boston Planning and Development Agency Research Division, the gross monthly rent in 2010 was $1,386 when translated to 2017 dollars. In 2017, however, the gross monthly rent was $1,541. These increases came despite the fact that the 15,000 housing units were added to the city from 2010 to 2017.

A separate report released by real estate listings site Zumper found that the median rents for certain parts of Boston and the surrounding area have increased more dramatically than other parts. The median rents for one- and two-bedroom apartments in Waltham, for example, experienced double-digit increases from December 2017 to December 2018. For one-bedroom units, the increase was 16 percent to $2,180, while two-bedroom units increased by 15.9 percent to $2,550 This represents the most sizeable increase of all of the 16 municipalities included on the site. These dramatic increases are likely due to the rent increases that took place in the communities east of Waltham, which has pushed tenants to look even further from commercial areas such as Kendall Square and downtown Boston.

The report also found that Boston, Brookline and Cambridge remain the most expensive locales in the area to rent, with all three experiencing year-over-year increases in prices. In Cambridge, prices increased by 4.2 percent to $2,500 per month for one-bedroom units, while Boston saw an increase of 7.9 percent to $2,450 per month and Brookline saw an increase of 3.9 percent to $2,380. Two-bedroom units painted a slightly different picture, with prices falling by 2.3 percent in Cambridge to $2,930 per month and by 0.7 percent in Brookline to $2,800. Boston remained flat with a median monthly rental cost of $2,700 for a two-bedroom unit.

On the other end of the spectrum, the least costly places to rent included Brockton, Lawrence and Fall River. Brockton saw a 6.5 percent decrease in cost for a one-bedroom unit with a median rental price of $1,240 per month. Lawrence fell by 8.3 percent to $1,220 while Fall River increased by 8.0 percent to $940. For two-bedroom units, Brockton fell by 4.5 percent to $1,490 while Lawrence fell by 5.3 percent to $1,430. Meanwhile, Fall River got a massive boost of 14.6 percent to $1,180.

Whether Boston residents are living in a rental or they own their home, the Boston Planning and Development Agency Research Division report found that the average size of a Boston household was similar in either case.

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