Boston has dropped in the rankings of the most expensive US cities for renters

Renting Boston
Boston tied with Indianapolis for the largest month-over-month decrease in rent. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

It wasn’t that long ago that Boston was the third-most expensive U.S. city for renters.

That was last month.

Boston has dropped to fifth as COVID-19 continues to take its toll on the market and landlord and renter incomes, according to an analysis released Wednesday.

Online rental marketplace Zumper put Boston’s median rent for a one-bedroom unit at $2,020 in January, sitting behind only San Francisco, New York  and San Jose, in that order. For two-bedroom units, Oakland is more expensive, relegating Boston to fifth place.

Boston tied with Indianapolis for the largest month-over-month decrease in rent: six percent. Year over year, rents are down a whopping 19.2 percent. For two-bedroom apartments, they are down 13.8 percent.

“So there may be some end in sight in terms of Boston rent declines,” said Crystal Chen, an analyst for the website. “The San Francisco Bay Area is a prime example of how trends may be shifting, especially for markets heavy with tech. For the first time since April 2020, we saw rental prices increase at a monthly rate in San Francisco after months of consistent decline. As the vaccines are getting rolled out, people may start to see a light at the end of the tunnel and begin thinking about their moves back into historically expensive markets to take advantage of the rent deals being offered right now.

“But we will have to see how the next few months play out to be sure.”

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