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Dog Days of Boston Rentals

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The rental market continues to heat up as much as the dog days of summer we've had. The thing is, we know come September the temperature will cool down and we'll get some reprieve from the heat. Not the case for the rental market in Boston. We've told you before that Greater Boston saw its apartment asking rents increase 10.3 percent annually in June and we've also told you before in April that we need the right kind of housing. We don't want to say this either, but we told you so. Things are getting much worse for long time residents and renters alike.

The initial feeling was one of optimism, the real estate market is on the rebound and things are on the up and up for Boston. Well, it is up, the rent that is. And now it's at a level of panic for renters, as they scramble to find affordable apartments but are left with nothing in stock.

A new report by Rental Beast found that the average monthly rent jumped more than 3 percent in the past year. Even finding an available apartment has become increasingly difficult as the vacancy rate is at 3.1 percent and in neighborhoods like Back Bay and the South End, it is a measly 1 percent. Good luck trying to find anything there.

But you may ask, what about all those cranes in the sky, busily putting up new apartments, especially in areas such as Back Bay, Fenway, and the Seaport District? What about the 7,000 apartments and condominiums approved by the Boston Redevelopment Authority in the last 2 years?

The problem is, many of the new-market-rate units are still in the development or construction phase, and won't help ease the crunch on apartments any time soon. Even then, most of the projects focus on the higher-end of apartments in more of the desirable neighborhoods. About another 1,077 affordable units are focused on lower-income tenants.

So what has been the response? Build more! Build smaller! Micro-housing, or micro apartments are units that are as small as 350 square feet. Most of these units are going up in the Innovation District in the Seaport area and are still asking $1,200 to $1,600 a month.

But maybe there should be another option, for those who aren't tech stars or empty nesters. How about building more affordable housing that's in line with what the city actually needs. What a novel idea! - Brenda Phan

· Boston Rents Spiral Even Higher [Boston.com]
· Nobody Move! Hot Hub Rents Sears Tenants' Bottom Line [Curbed Boston]
· Why The Hub Housing Market Could Get Worst, Much Worst [Curbed Boston]
· Boston Is for Lovers (Just Not Their Kids): a New Apt. Dynamic [Curbed Boston]

Innovation District

1 Marina Park Drive, Boston, MA 02101