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What will happen to rents in Seaport once GE makes the move?

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GE is moving its headquarters to Boston with Seaport in its sights, but what will happen to the neighborhood’s already pricey rents?
GE is moving its headquarters to Boston with Seaport in its sights, but what will happen to the neighborhood’s already pricey rents? Bill Sikes / AP Photo

By now you have probably heard that General Electric is moving its corporate headquarters to Boston and is expected to land in the Seaport District. In a neighborhood that has seen a lot of change in the past few years, becoming a hotspot for new developments while also being one of the most expensive places to live in the city, the addition of a major corporation will further shake up the district.

We spoke to Ishay Grinberg, president of Rental Beast, an online rental listing service, about what he thinks will change in Seaport’s rental market once a corporate giant like GE hits the ground.

“If you look at what has happened since 2011, since post crash,’’ he said. “Rents [in Seaport] went on average from about $3,100 to $4,100, from 2011 to 2013.’’

Then when demand wasn’t high enough, they plummeted almost 20 percent in 2014, but went back up in 2015, increasing 15 percent to an average of $3,850 per month.

Currently, rents are high, but so are vacancies — a rarity for the Boston market.

More than 12 percent of all rental units in Seaport are currently vacant, according to Grinberg, while in Downtown only a little more than 2 percent are empty. The Greater Boston vacancy rate is 4 percent.

And supply is still coming into Seaport, such as One Seaport Square, will include 832 units.

“On average it will still be an expensive neighborhood,’’ Grinberg said of the effects of GE’s move. But, he added, “All the new employees will absorb inventory and stabilize rents.’’

Though rents are not likely to go down, he thinks they can at least stop fluctuating as much as they have in the past few years.

Grinberg is also optimistic that a grocery store will soon come to the neighborhood, along with other amenities they have been lacking.

“There are already world class restaurants,’’ he mentioned. “[GE is] a huge positive. It’s like getting the trophy spouse of corporate America.’’

Related: See Seaport change through the years