As Work-From-Home Policies Take Hold, Boston Renters Seek More Space: ApartmentAdvisor Report Reveals the Costs to Upsize Your Digs in Boston’s Most Popular Rental Neighborhoods

Cambridge, MA. September 14, 2021 – With work-from-home policies extended indefinitely at many Boston-area companies, many local employees are feeling crunched for space in their apartments-turned-home-offices. ApartmentAdvisor (www.apartmentadvisor.com), an online home rental search platform, today released a report revealing the costs to upsize to a bigger place in Boston. Where are renters most likely to get the most space for their money, and how much more will renters have to pay for an extra bedroom?

Boston Ranks as Third Most Expensive Rental City in the U.S.

Residential living space comes at a premium in Boston, and this makes upsizing a challenge for many budget-conscious renters, especially in a tight rental market. With an overall median rent per square foot of $3.40 per month, Boston ranks third among large U.S. cities where renters pay the most per square foot – only New York City ($4.69/PSF monthly) and San Francisco ($4.20/PSF monthly) are higher. Boston also has some of the smallest residential units available compared to other large cities. The median area for a one-bedroom apartment in Boston is only 650 square feet, which doesn’t leave a lot of extra room for a designated office space.

However, among Boston’s neighborhoods, there is substantial variation in the cost of space among neighborhoods. For example, Seaport is Boston’s priciest neighborhood, where overall rent per square foot runs $5.14 monthly. But less than three miles away, Charlestown is closer to $3.50/PSF monthly. And in Roslindale, roughly eight miles from Boston’s Seaport, the median cost per square foot is only $2.38/PSF monthly.

Monthly Cost Per Square Foot

NeighborhoodMonthly Cost Per Square Foot *
Back Bay$4.67
Beacon Hill$4.48
South Boston$4.35
North End$3.81
West End$3.76
Mission Hill$2.89
East Boston$2.67
Jamaica Plain$2.67
West Roxbury$2.62

* The monthly cost per square foot in this table is the median cost for available units in the neighborhood, based on the listed monthly rent divided by the square footage for each unit analyzed. Actual cost per square foot for individual units will vary.

What Does an Extra Bedroom Cost in Boston’s Most Popular Neighborhoods?

For many renters now working remotely from their apartments, it’s not just more square footage they want, but also more separation of their work and life spaces. On average, upgrading from a one-bedroom to a two-bedroom unit in Boston will add roughly 25% to the rent, but relative upsizing costs vary depending on neighborhood.

Below are the costs to upsize from a one-bedroom unit to a two-bedroom unit in Boston’s popular rental neighborhoods:

Costs to Upgrade From One-bedroom to Two-bedroom

Neighborhood1 Bed Median Monthly Rent2 Bed Median Monthly RentCost to Upsize from 1 to 2 BedsCost Increase as a %
Back Bay$2,600$4,000$1,40054%
West End$2,985$4,135$1,15039%
Mission Hill$1,850$2,950$1,10059%
South Boston$3,228$4000$77224%
West Roxbury$1,835$2,538$70338%
North End$2,100$2,730$63030%
Beacon Hill$2,350$2,900$55023%
East Boston$2,000$2,400$40020%
Jamaica Plain$1,900$2,300$40021%

* Neighborhoods are ranked from highest dollar price increase to lowest, and the data is based on median rents by unit size for available units.

“As remote work becomes the new normal, many renters are finding they need more space at home to accommodate both life and work,” said Tom Gilmore, co-founder and CEO at ApartmentAdvisor. “Although rent prices are generally high in Boston, trading up to a larger place in the city doesn’t have to break the bank, especially if you are willing to consider different neighborhoods. Our latest study gives renters a lens on the relative costs to upsize to a larger unit and highlights the Boston neighborhoods where renters are can get more space for their money.”

Renters can find the full report here.


For this study, ApartmentAdvisor analyzed listings available on its platform during the month of August in the Boston neighborhoods most searched by renters. Analysts did not include neighborhoods with less than fifty available units at the time of the analysis. Rent prices and cost per square footage calculations were based on median rents. Listings on ApartmentAdvisor come from a range of small and large property owners and include luxury and non-luxury units. The full report can be found here.

ApartmentAdvisor analysts note that amenities, age and quality of unit, and location specifics, among other features, all factor into rent prices. For simplicity, this analysis focused strictly on the overall cost per square foot based on asking rent prices.

About ApartmentAdvisor

ApartmentAdvisor (www.apartmentadvisor.com) helps renters easily find the right apartment. The company is building a rental search platform that combines rigorous rent price analytics with neighborhood insights from local residents, empowering renters with a more transparent way to compare prices, features and locations of available apartments.

ApartmentAdvisor was founded in 2020 by a team of founders and engineers from TripAdvisor and CarGurus, including Langley Steinert (co-founder of TripAdvisor and founder and executive chairman at CarGurus); Tom Gilmore (founder and CEO of VacationHomeRentals, sold to TripAdvisor); Josh Arnold (engineering at TripAdvisor and director of data science for MineralTree); and Oliver Chrzan (former chief technology officer at CarGurus). The company is based in Cambridge, MA.

Press Contact: Amy Mueller pr@apartmentadvisor.com

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