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Pricey Boston Apartment Rents Continue To Fall


Boston remains one of the most expensive cities in the country, but apartment prices continue to fall precipitously. 

The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Boston this month is $2,210, according to rental website Zumper’s November National Rent Report, with the median rent falling 12.6% in the past year.

Prices have been in a steady decline since the coronavirus pandemic rocked real estate markets in March, but Boston’s falling median rent rate for one-bedrooms flattened out in September before dropping 3.9% this month, Zumper said.

The only cities more expensive than Boston, San Francisco ($2,800) and New York City ($2,550) saw rents drop between 1% and 2% this month. Zumper Growth Analyst Neil Gerstein said it is too early to tell if the nation’s most expensive markets are hitting a price floor. 

Gerstein attributed declining rents to migration to cheaper neighboring cities, but that migration is having the opposite effect on those markets including Providence, Rhode Island, 50 miles away.

“If we’re talking about this effect where people are migrating out of expensive cities and moving to historically cheaper ones, prices are going in opposite directions,” Gerstein said.

Median one-bedroom rent rates in Providence jumped 5.2% this month, making the city the 12th-most-expensive rental market in the country.

Multifamily property owners are feeling the pinch in Boston, where landlords collected just 68.6% of rents between Oct. 1 and Oct. 6. The rental collection drop-off rate of 11.7% was the largest among the country’s major markets. The Metropolitan Area Planning Council earlier this month indicated nearly 1 in 6 Massachusetts renters were behind on rent payments, and an estimated 60,000 households face eviction. 

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker's administration on Oct. 12 unveiled a $171M rental assistance fund, while a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention federal order seeks to prevent evictions, although the Washington Post reports landlords have already found loopholes.

The U.S. Senate headed into recess this week with no national stimulus package, also putting associations representing multifamily assets on edge.

Related Topics: multifamily leasing, Boston,