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Boston Rent Report: What Are the Hottest Neighborhoods in Boston?

Lilly Milman

By Lilly Milman

Dec 18, 2023


While rent prices cool across the nation, Boston renters seem to be out of luck. A lack of new residential construction and a high demand for housing — driven by the annual population increase in the city as well as the large number of students that move into town for school each year — have squeezed the rental market, increasing prices across neighborhoods.

In this report, we provide an overview of where renters are most likely to get more space for their money and where costs have increased the most across the city.

Renting in Boston: Challenges and Opportunities

Residential living space comes at a premium in Boston, with an overall median rent per square foot of $4.63, and this makes finding an affordable apartment a challenge for many budget-conscious renters.

However, among Boston’s neighborhoods, there is substantial variation in the cost of space, and for renters willing to expand their search, it is possible to find units where you get much more bang for your buck. At $5.85 per square foot, the median cost is most expensive in Boston’s Seaport neighborhood. Meanwhile, less than three miles away in Charlestown (which also sports water views) the cost per square foot runs closer to $3.73. The lowest median cost per square is found in Roslindale, at only $2.52 per square foot.

NeighborhoodMedian Cost Per Square Foot
Allston$ 4.00
Back Bay$ 5.19
Beacon Hill$ 5.04
Brighton$ 3.83
Brookline$ 3.78
Central Square$ 3.44
Charlestown$ 3.73
Dorchester$ 2.80
Downtown$ 4.67
East Boston$ 3.32
Fenway$ 5.19
Harvard Square$ 5.35
Jamaica Plain$ 3.40
Kendall Square$ 4.86
Medford$ 2.67
Mission Hill$ 4.18
North End$ 4.69
Roslindale$ 2.52
Roxbury$ 2.64
Seaport$ 5.85
Somerville$ 3.00
South Boston$ 3.79
South End$ 5.10
West Roxbury$ 2.73

What’s the Price of a One-Bedroom Apartment in Boston?

Over the years, it has become more and more costly for renters to get a one-bedroom apartment in the Boston area. Two years ago, there were nine neighborhoods in Greater Boston where the median monthly rent price was below $2,000 during the peak rental season, which occurs between April and September, according to our data. Last year, this figure decreased to just one neighborhood — Roslindale. This past summer, there were no neighborhoods in Greater Boston where one could rent a one-bedroom apartment for less than $2,000 a month. 

Neighborhood or CityMedian Rent Price (1BR) 2021Median Rent Price (1BR) 2022Median Rent Price (1BR) 2023
Allston$1,785$2,050$2,250
Back Bay$2,650$3,000$3,085
Beacon Hill$2,350$2,600$2,745
Boston$2,200$2,500$2,600
Brighton$1,819$2,050$2,238
Brookline$2,200$2,590$2,700
Cambridge$2,450$2,752$2,874
Central Square$2,300$2,754$2,762
Charlestown$2,500$2,750$2,695
Dorchester$1,950$2,350$2,852
Downtown$3,219$3,654$3,813
East Boston$2,000$2,100$2,300
Fenway$2,350$2,650$2,900
Harvard Square$2,400$2,625$2,800
Jamaica Plain$1,900$2,408$2,500
Kendall Square$3,472$3,626$3,791
Medford$1,750$2,100$2,398
Mission Hill$1,700$2,000$2,395
North End$2,059$2,400$2,500
Roslindale$1,850$1,950$2,300
Roxbury$1,985$2,100$2,338
Seaport$3,307$3,811$4,195
Somerville$2,000$2,275$2,532
South Boston$2,930$3,000$2,988
South End$2,950$3,245$3,346
West Roxbury$1,855$2,228$2,150

As of the end of November, the monthly rent price of a one-bedroom Boston apartment cooled off in many neighborhoods — but Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Charlestown, East Boston, Jamaica Plain, Mission Hill, the North End, and West Roxbury actually saw increases, despite peak rental season ending. Prices rose between the end of August and the end of November in nearby Somerville as well.

Neighborhood or CityMedian Rent Price (1BR) Aug 23Median Rent Price (1BR) Nov 23
Allston$2,317$2,300
Back Bay$3,200$3,672
Beacon Hill$2,750$3,000
Boston$2,800$2,951
Brighton$2,300$2,439
Brookline$2,800$3,045
Cambridge$3,000$2,975
Central Square$2,950$2,945
Charlestown$2,900$3,240
Dorchester$2,878$2,702
Downtown$3,883$3,702
East Boston$2,416$2,575
Fenway$3,052$3,000
Harvard Square$2,950$2,850
Jamaica Plain$2,500$3,020
Kendall Square$3,821$3,627
Medford$2,800$2,700
Mission Hill$2,306$2,514
North End$2,650$2,850
Roslindale$2,420$2,373
Roxbury$2,400$2,200
Seaport$4,350$3,918
Somerville$2,550$2,695
South Boston$3,200$3,100
South End$3,517$3,400
West Roxbury$2,111$2,138

What are the Hottest Neighborhoods in Boston?

Despite this seasonal cooling, there are a few neighborhoods in Boston that stand out for their exponential rent growth year over year.

While nearly every neighborhood that we looked at in Greater Boston experienced significant rent growth between 2021 and 2022 due to pandemic-induced rent inflation, most saw significantly slower growth over the following year. For example, between 2021 and 2022, the median rental price for a one-bedroom apartment in Jamaica Plain grew by 26.8%. However, between 2022 and 2023, it only grew by 3.8%. When looking at the entire city of Boston, rent grew by 13.6% between 2021 and 2022 — and only by 4% the following year.

On the other end of the spectrum are the neighborhoods that saw even greater increases this past year, bucking the citywide trend. Between 2021 and 2022, Dorchester saw a rent hike of 20.5% — then another of 21.4% between 2022 and 2023. Mission Hill also saw a greater rent increase between 2022 and 2023 (19.8%) than it did during the previous period (17.6%). And Roslindale, which has one of the lowest median prices for rent on our list, saw its rent explode between 2022 and 2023, increasing by 17.9%, despite only seeing a small increase of 5.4% between 2021 and 2022. 

It is in these once affordable pockets that rent is increasing the fastest in the city, while historically pricy areas like Kendall Square in Cambridge are seeing much slower rent increases.

Neighborhood or City% Change in Rent YoY (21–22)% Change in Rent YoY (22–23)
Allston14.89.76
Back Bay13.22.84
Beacon Hill10.65.57
Boston13.64
Brighton12.79.15
Brookline17.74.25
Cambridge12.34.43
Central Square19.70.301
Charlestown10-2
Dorchester20.521.4
Downtown13.54.33
East Boston59.52
Fenway12.89.43
Harvard Square9.386.67
Jamaica Plain26.83.8
Kendall Square4.454.56
Medford2014.2
Mission Hill17.619.8
North End16.64.17
Roslindale5.4117.9
Roxbury5.7911.3
Seaport15.210.1
Somerville13.811.3
South Boston2.39-0.42
South End103.1
West Roxbury20.1-3.5

Methodology

For this study, ApartmentAdvisor analyzed listings available on its platform in the Boston neighborhoods for which we had sufficient inventory. Rent prices and cost per square footage calculations were based on median rents. The change in rent price calculations were based on aggerated median rents for one-bedroom apartments during the peak rental season months of April through September in 2021, 2022, and 2023.

For a look at average rent prices at the state level, refer to our Massachusetts Rent Report, published monthly. ApartmentAdvisor also publishes a Boston market report that breaks down rental market trends, which is updated daily.

Press contact: Amy Mueller (pr@apartmentadvisor.com)

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