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Boston affordability 2018: Where tenants face the most serious rent burdens

Leather District, Fenway, and Mission Hill among most expensive neighborhoods relative to rent and income


The ZIP code 02111, which covers Boston’s Leather District and Chinatown, is the most expensive ZIP in the Boston area for comfortably renting a two-bedroom apartment.

That is according to an analysis of median two-bedroom rents and household incomes as of August 1 from real estate listings site RentHop. The 02111 ZIP posted a median two-bedroom rent of $3,600 month, which is more than 200 percent of the median household income of Suffolk County, which includes Boston.

RentHop based its conclusions on the oft-cited 40-times rule: That a household should make 40 times the monthly rent.

The 02115 ZIP—which covers Fenway—was the second most expensive under this rule, with $124,000 in income required to comfortably cover the $3,100 median rent on a two-bedroom. The third most expensive was 02120, or Mission Hill, where a $104,000 income was needed to comfortably cover the $2,100 two-bedroom median.

Because of this, ZIPs covering areas such as the Seaport District, Cambridge’s Kendall Square, and the Financial District—usual suspects in any regional rundown of expensive areas—were among the most affordable cited in the report. The higher household incomes in these places made covering even high rents—$4,628 a month, anyone?—relatively easy.

In fact, according to RentHop, if we pan away to the rest of the country, the Boston area is relatively more affordable than places such as Miami and Los Angeles, where more than half of metro-area households paid two-bedroom medians exceeding half of their median household incomes as of August 1. Here the share is 16 percent.