What You Need to Know About Renting an Apartment in Boston

At the start of the year, Boston.com ran a story called “Why Boston Rents Won’t Ever Go Down.” The premise was that even though Boston already can claim its spot alongside San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles as one of the priciest locations in the U.S. to rent an apartment, the Boston rental market won’t be falling anytime soon due to an ongoing apartment and condo crunch.

With half of 2014 now behind us, recent reports suggest that the January prediction is now coming true. Despite the fact that construction continues throughout the Boston area with an increasing number apartment towers and luxury condos springing up, rents still aren’t going down.

Part of the reason for this — as Boston Real Estate Now reported earlier this month — is that the housing boom forecast by former Mayor Thomas M. Merino is not on track to meet the goal of 30,000 new housing units by 2020. In fact, Boston is expected to start construction on 3,200 new residential units this year—a large number to be sure, but not as high as the initial numbers suggested. Plus, many of those new buildings are deluxe condos and other luxury rentals, which prices out many would-be renters who require more affordable options.

Adding to the challenge is the fact that while many prospective renters have traditionally relied on online search tools like Apartmentguide.com and Forrent.com to help locate rental properties, fewer buildings are advertising rentals on these sites as the Boston rental market has gotten tighter. “The majority of our luxury rental buildings are not included on these sites,” says Marcy Frankel, a relocation consultant for William Raveis Real Estate. “Often units listed are outdated and used as ‘bait and switch’ ads. The only way to find them is to Google around until one discovers that they exist.”

Changing Trends in the Boston Rental Market?

Yet Frankel and other industry insiders suggest an end may be in sight to these trends. “One might think that the huge increase in these luxury units throughout the city would reduce rents by sheer competition, but that has not come to fruition,” says Frankel. “Yet from my many years of rental experience, I know that if you can wait out the market, you will see reductions as the summer market passes and the fall is upon us.”

John V. Donovan,director of leasing and marketing at The Devonshire, predicts that market trends will more fully reveal themselves over the next two years. “At some point, the real estate developers will see that continuing to build rental housing geared at the $100K-plus salary range prospective residents will fall flat,” says Donovan. “If a developer decided to build moderately priced apartments, they would rent before construction is completed.” He adds that the rental structure at the Devonshire has always been priced just below its competitors, providing the edge they need to maintain high occupancy levels.

Temporary Furnished Rentals Are a Solution

Many in the housing industry point to temporary furnished rentals as a more cost-effective way to get situated for those relocating to the Boston area. According to Frankel, “this affords one the opportunity to bide one’s time for the fall rental market and it’s somewhat reduced pricing.” Additionally, an advantage to staying in a furnished short term rental is that it gives guests a chance to get the lay of the land before they commit to longer-term housing.

“Many people relocating for work are reimbursed by their employer for 30 days, 60 days, or sometimes longer depending on their position in their new company,” explains Donovan. “Many of these companies realize the difficulty of either finding suitable rental housing or purchasing a home in the Boston metro area and want their new employees to have an easier transition. Renting temporary furnished apartments provides the perfect solution. Relocation clients can literally walk in with their suitcases and be in a beautifully furnished and fully equipped temporary home.”

Donovan notes that as Boston has seen job growth across many industries including healthcare, biotech, and technology, demand has risen for furnished short term rentals. “I believe that they provide a cost-effective alternative to hotel stays,” says Donovan. “Of course the huge academic community in Boston, and their faculty and student body, also are major drivers in demand. These same factors have also driven the traditional rental market.”

Frankel agrees that prospective renters are now exploring furnished short- or long-term housing options in increasing numbers. “This circumstance affords the luxury of living in a fully furnished unit in one of the luxury buildings one may be contemplating,” says Frankel. “A potential renter is now armed with the experience of making an educated decision whether this particular building or location is the right choice.”

Are You Looking For a Short Term Boston Apartment Rental?

Furnished Quarters can help. We have numerous furnished short term rentals in Boston that are loaded with amenities to make your stay as comfortable as possible. Call us today at 800-255-8117 or visit our contact page.