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Median Boston two-bedroom out of comfortable reach for many renters: Report

There’s a major gap between what Bostonians make and what rents are for two-bedroom apartments

Apartment buildings in Boston, including a red-brick one. EpochCatcher/Shutterstock

A tenant needs to earn an annual income of $83,720 to comfortably rent a median two-bedroom apartment in Boston, according to a new study.

The study from real estate research and listings site Apartment List culled federal data and its own in-house information from the last three months of 2018. The study worked off a median household income in Boston of $64,006 and a median two-bedroom apartment rent of $2,095.

As might be expected, the conclusions were grim for prospective and existing tenants. Median-earning households in Boston need to make 31 percent, or $19,714, more to comfortably afford rent on that two-bedroom each year.

“Comfortably” is the operative word. To avoid becoming rent-burdened—or spending 30 percent or more in gross income on rent—a household in Boston needs to pull in $83,720 a year. That means $40 an hour in real wages.

Below is another snapshot of the report, showing how Boston compares with other cities. It is among the most expensive for renting a median two-bedroom in terms of the necessary annual income to avoid becoming rent-burdened.

The situation is not much brighter for tenants who want a median one-bedroom. The report in that case recommends an hourly wage of $32 and an annual household income of $67,587 to avoid becoming rent-burdened.

That falls more than $3,000 short of what’s needed to avoid paying 30 percent and up in income on rent. What are you seeing out there rent-wise?