Another sign of Boston’s soft rental market: Permits for moving trucks are way down

Fall House Hunt News Renting
In busier years, like 2016, moving trucks were even blocking bike lanes in Boston. But permits to park moving vans fell sharply this September in Boston, the latest sign of the city's soft rental market and absent student population. David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

In another sign of how unusual this September has been in Boston, even the moving trucks are staying put.

The lack of activity is an indication of the city’s soft rental market. A real estate website this week crunched the numbers on how many people sought permits to park moving trucks in Boston this year, and found requests are down sharply in September compared with last year. Indeed, they’ve been down for five of the last six months, and are off 15 percent for 2020.

It’s a real-life example of the COVID-19-induced slowdown in Boston’s typically-tight apartment market, said data analysts at Renthop, who have tracked city moving permit data for several years. As the traditional Sept. 1 turnover date approached, some landlords were cutting rents and offering a month or more free as incentives to fill thousands of still-unspoken-for apartments. And sure enough, when move-in weekend hit, there were fewer rental trucks plying the streets from Allston-Brighton to the Seaport.

(Learn the 10 things you need to know about moving during the pandemic.)

Read the complete story at

Don’t have a Globe subscription? readers get a 2-week free trial.