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It can pay to stay on the T that much longer when it comes to renting, report says

A new analysis of apartment costs along the Boston area’s main mass transit system shows increases in one-bedroom rents around dozens of stops—but also some relative deals

A subway sign in Cambridge’s Kendall Square stop, with commuters walking by. Shutterstock

It can cost tenants a lot more to live near commercial centers in the Boston area than elsewhere. That’s no surprise, given that the region is one of the most expensive U.S. metros in general for renting an apartment.

Many tenants, then, are forced to or will pick an apartment near a T stop that will take them to another stop along the region's main mass transit system that’s near their workplace. Some areas around T stops are—unsurprisingly—cheaper than others; and some are lot more expensive.

A new report from real estate listings and research site RentHop tracked non-duplicated one-bedroom listings in its database within 0.62 miles of a T stop. If there were 50 unique data points within that radius, RentHop calculated the median. If not, the site widened the radius to 1.2 miles. The data was culled from October 2018 to January 2019 and then from October 2019 to January 2020, and compared.

And what comparisons. Median one-bedroom apartment rents were up around 88 stops, and decreased around 27. A half-dozen saw no change from late 2018 to early 2020. (In general, Boston’s median one-bedroom rent was up 3.6 percent from 2019 to 2020, according to RentHop.)

Where were some of the biggest increases? The median one-bedroom rent around the Green Line’s Heath Street stop was up 14.6 percent, to $2,350. The Boston University East and Boston University Central stops along the Green each saw 10 percent increases; and the median rent around Haymarket (Green and Orange lines) went up 9.6 percent, to $3,125.

The Heath Street increase was due mostly to rents at the new 201 South Huntington Avenue, a higher-end apartment building called the Brynx just 0.2 miles from the stop, according to RentHop. The increases around the BU stops were due mostly to the recently finished 839 Beacon Street, the site also said.

As far as decreases, Green Line stops accounted for a chunk of those too. Median one-bedroom rents around the Eliot stop declined 6.7 percent, to $2,100, and around the Prudential stop 6.5 percent, to $2,900. The median around both the Green Line’s Longwood Medical Area and Brigham Circle stops dropped 4.3 percent, to $2,250 in both cases.

Finally, it shouldn’t shock anyone familiar with the Boston area’s Thunderdome-like rental market that rents can vary widely not only neighborhood to neighborhood but block to block. But the RentHop breakdown shows just how much rents can vary in those short distances.

For instance, $1,247 separates the median one-bedroom rents around the Blue Line’s Aquarium and Maverick stations, which are one stop from each other. The one-stop rent gap between the Orange Line’s Back Bay and Mass. Ave. stations is $1,100; and between the Red Line’s Broadway and Andrew stops it’s $900.

Check out the interactive map below of median one-bedroom apartment rents along the T.