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Boston rents remain No. 4 highest in the nation going into 2016

News Renting Boston
A new Apartment List national rent report highlights Boston’s high rental prices, but shows things might be slowing down in 2016.
A new Apartment List national rent report highlights Boston’s high rental prices, but shows things might be slowing down in 2016.

The bad news is that Boston heads into 2016 as one of the most expensive places in the country to rent an apartment. The good news is that the rate at which rents are increasing finally slowed down in 2015, especially compared to other cities.

Nationally, between December 2014 and December 2015 average rents increased 3.6 percent for one-bedrooms and 2.6 percent for two-bedrooms, according to the rental site Apartment List.

Apartment List found that in the past year rents in Boston only rose 1.2 percent for one-bedrooms, well below the national average and far from the 5.5 percent rise San Francisco saw last year.

And in the past month, Boston has actually gotten less expensive, seeing a 1.3 percent drop in rent prices for two-bedrooms, Apartment List notes, which is consistent with the slowdown in recent months.

Still, the median two-bedroom price in the Hub is currently $2,650, which makes it the fourth most expensive city to rent, according to Apartment List.

San Francisco, New York, and Washington, D.C. had the most expensive rents in the country, with Boston not to far behind.

How is Boston still so expensive if rents aren’t rising as fast as they are elsewhere? Because the real rental boom was over by the beginning of 2015.

The recent Greater Boston Housing Report Card noted some staggering numbers from the past five years or so (and pointed to low rental vacancy rates as the cause).

According to the report, from the end of 2009 rents in the Hub increased by more than 31 percent in the next three years. From the fourth quarter of 2014 to the second quarter of 2015, rents rose another 7 percent.

That’s a tough pace to match.

Update: ApartmentList calculated its numbers using data from only Boston proper. The Boston Globe recently published a story about rents in Greater Boston, using data from real estate data firm Reis, Inc., which found that rents climbed 5.7 percent in the larger metro area in 2015. The average rent for an apartment using this broader data is $2,009 per month.

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