Boston Apartment Market Sees Mixed 2Q Rental Rate Movements

A subsidiary of Zillow, RentJuice, reports that average asking apartment rents climbed by 4 percent in the Boston metro area in the second quarter of 2012, those same neighborhoods saw the effective cost of rental space drop.

Boston—A subsidiary of Zillow, RentJuice, reports that average asking apartment rents climbed by 4 percent in the Boston metro area in the second quarter of 2012, those same neighborhoods saw the effective cost of rental space drop. The overall cost for space remained stable for the Boston metro’s rental market at $2.85 per square foot.

During the second quarter, neighborhoods in student-heavy Cambridge saw the cost of space tumble, RentJuice said. The largest declines in price per square foot were in the Riverside and Cambridgeport neighborhoods, down 11 percent and 10 percent, respectively. East Cambridge also dipped by 5 percent. The company chalked up the downticks to changes in available inventory and shifts in demand.

On the other hand, North Cambridge experienced one of the largest jumps in price per square foot: 20 percent over the last quarter. Also, compared to the first quarter, it’s becoming more expensive for Boston residents to move closer to the Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood, home of the Red Sox. The reason is the emergence of new luxury developments near Fenway, causing rents to go up.

Fenway-area apartments increased in price per square foot by 9 percent during 2Q12, while Back Bay rose by 7 percent, the Zillow subsidiary explained. Kenmore experienced the steepest price hike in all of Boston quarter-over-quarter, a 67 percent increase. Fenway and Kenmore residents both pay an average of $3.51 per square foot, and those who call Back Bay home pay the second-highest rate among all Bostonians at $4.16 per square foot.

As per usual in a place with so many students, RentJuice’s data shows landlords, property managers and brokers are looking to take advantage of the influx of students in September. Seven out of 10 rental listings being marketed now are noted as becoming available come early September.

The cost and the type of apartment available to students vary by neighborhood. Students looking to move to Allston (average asking rent $1,995) should expect to spend a little more than those moving to Brighton (average asking rent $1,958). Moreover, those looking for a studio apartment have more to choose from in Allston; 17 percent of listings are for studio apartments, compared with just 7 percent in Brighton.