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Boston Apartment Rents About to Fall to Fourth Most Expensive in the Nation—Yay?

Region has long held third spot, behind NYC and San Fran

One of the salient features of the Boston region is its cartoonishly high apartment rents. They are born of a handful of causes, a lack of sufficient supply amid perennially high demand perhaps the most gnawing. Two other major U.S. metropolitan regions share that predicament just as acutely: New York and San Francisco.

And both regions have long duked it out for the unenviable title of most expensive for renting an apartment. The Boston area has long finished a thankful third. At least that is according to real estate search site Zumper, which is out with its latest market rental market report, this one covering all rentals available or vacant in February.

The report still has Boston 1-BRs third nationally (see above). But it as clear as this beautiful day that Oakland, Calif., San Francisco's cross-bay neighbor, is about to overtake Boston as a more expensive region for renting a 1-BR, based on median rents.

It already has in terms of renting a 2-BR, as have Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and San Jose, Calif. The below chart provides stark proof of both this 2-BR turnaround and the 1-BR turnaround that's looming. Oakland's 1-BR rents are trending upward, while Boston's have actually dropped (as has the median rent on the region's 2-BRs, according to Zumper).

All of this is small solace to tenants, we're sure, who will be in the hunt this summer; and gives little cause for concern for landlords. Still, it's a shift that deserves attention: Boston out of New York and San Francisco's rental orbit.

Now, for that summer apartment hunt, below is Zumper's neighborhood-by-neighborhood breakdown of median rents going into the spring.