Over the past year, the local housing economy has seen a shift in renter demand from the densely populated neighborhoods of Downtown to the suburbs. As a result, the divergence between average rent prices of the City and its suburbs has shrunk, as rent prices have dropped in some of Boston’s premier neighborhoods while simultaneously increasing in some of Boston’s outer areas.
Despite this shift, the most expensive suburbs to rent an apartment in Boston have remained relatively unchanged since last year. These are the top 5 most expensive suburbs to rent an apartment.
Average Rent: $2,755
In 2019, Cambridge dethroned Brookline as Boston’s most expensive suburb to rent an apartment. Two years and a pandemic later, Cambridge has solidified itself in that position. Cambridge is currently the most expensive suburb to rent a 1 bedroom ($2,172), 2 bedroom ($2,702), 3 bedroom ($3,392), and 4 bedroom apartment ($4,306). Rent prices in Cambridge are down -6.38% on average since July of last year, but prices are back on an upswing. Look for Cambridge prices to continue to grow as University enrollment numbers increase and VC funding continues to flow to the area.
Average Rent: $2,705
Brookline is the second most expensive suburb to rent an apartment in Boston at $2,705 average rent. Interestingly enough, they rank second highest in terms of average rent price for 1 bedroom ($2,143), 2 bedroom ($2,611), 3 bedroom ($3,362), and 4 bedroom apartments ($4,095) behind Cambridge. Brookline also saw the 3rd largest drop (-6.55%) in average rent compared to July 2020. Only Newton and Belmont saw a larger YOY decrease in rent prices among the 14 suburbs closest to Boston.
Average Rent: $2,473
Somerville’s apartment rental market has faired better over the past year than the top 2 most expensive suburbs. While vacancies soared in Cambridge and Brookline, Somerville’s vacancy rate stayed under the area average throughout most of the pandemic. As a result, rent prices dropped by a smaller amount (-4.80%) than numbers 1 and 2 on this list. Somerville is the 3rd most expensive suburb to rent a 1 bedroom ($2,005) and 2 bedroom apartment ($2,406). It is the 5th most expensive suburb to rent a 3 bedroom apartment ($3,009).
Average Rent: $2,409
Newton saw the second largest drop in average rent prices over the past year (-10.80%) out of the 14 suburbs closest to Boston. Still, Newton holds the 3rd most expensive price tag for 3 bedroom and 4 bedroom apartments at $3,217 and $3,961 respectively. Prices for smaller units tend to be more reasonable in Newton as studios apartments average $1,567/month (Rank 9/14) and 1 bedroom apartments average $1,836/month (Rank 6/14).
Average Rent: $2,312
The days when Arlington was considered one of the best ‘affordable’ neighborhoods in Boston may be up. Arlington was the only suburb out of 14 where rent prices are in the black YOY (+4.68%), and as a result, they now hold the 5th highest average rent price in outer Boston. Arlington boasts the 4th highest average for 2 bedroom apartments ($2,269) and the 5th highest average for 1 bedroom apartments ($1,836).