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Boston apartment rents among nation’s priciest heading into November, report says

A new Zumper report underscores a reality likely to continue into 2020

A row of three-story apartment buildings in Boston. Shutterstock

Boston remains one of the most expensive major U.S. cities for renting an apartment heading into November, according to a new report from real estate listings and research site Zumper.

The report tracked vacant and available listings in Zumper’s own database; so, while not a complete rendering of the market, it’s a good snapshot.

And the picture is bleak for tenants and great for landlords. The median one-bedroom rent in Boston was $2,530 a month as of the end of October—the third-highest among major U.S. cities, behind only San Francisco and New York. That also represented a 5.4 percent increase from the same time in 2018.

The median two-bedroom rent was $2,930 a month, an 8.5 percent annual gain. But that total still trailed several cities, including San Fran, NYC, Oakland, San Jose, and Los Angeles. See the chart below for a bigger breakdown.

Why are Boston rents so high? For so many reasons, including perennially high demand amid relatively low supply and zoning regs that have historically stymied the sort of multifamily construction the region could use.

Perhaps now that the Boston area’s for-sale market is cooling a bit more tenants will jump into that and free up space in the rental market, thereby bringing rents down. Perhaps.