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520 Apartments for rent in Boston, MA

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Last updated September 25 at 6:49AM
Garrison Square
32 Garrison St
Boston, MA
Updated September 24 at 11:12PM
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City Guide
What to Expect:

Big complexes with sprawling courtyards, dog parks, and pools? Nope; Bostonians, and even those in neighboring suburbs would scoff at that vision. It’s high rises, duplexes, triplexes, and multi-unit buildings comprising dozens of architectural styles that illuminate the Boston renter's scene. Like many historic cities, these buildings often possess some features that would be considered outdated by many of today's construction standards, but are grandfathered under historic commission rules and/or practical limitations. With such an array of rental choices, policies vary widely. Terms, deposits, pets, and inclusions are anybody's guess and can diverge even within an individual building. Ask, ask again, and then make sure you get it in writing. Bostonians are a colorful folk with a deserved reputation for…let’s just say, “business playfulness”.

Parking: One word of wisdom - fugeddaboutit. If your building includes parking, it's probably going to be for a vehicle that sees the valet more than its owner, so bully for you. The rest of Boston must jostle, cajole, sneak, and strategize for their rare parking pearls. Thus, Boston is one of the nation's premier cities in which to ditch the ride. Between the costs of renting a space, the meters and tickets if you don't, the snow removal, the traffic, and the higher than average automobile user fees (inspection, registration, and that festering little disease called excise tax - a recurring annual charge based on you car's estimated value), and an exceptional and far reaching public transportation system, get rid of it - more money for Sam Adams and steamers.

Boston's Wicked Cool Neighborhoods

Boston is not a large city geographically, but like any major metropolis, it houses a lot of hoods. Home to a (measly) forty-three colleges and universities, you can plan on your neighbors being students, really smart, or both. Using the diminutive downtown as the "hub" (that's the single word real Bostonians call their city) and in basic descending order of price (with as many exceptions as there are politicians with cocktails), here’s a renter’s look at Boston’s historic nabes:

Back Bay: Nestled between the public garden (Boston Common), The Charles, and Kenmore Square, the Back Bay is home to Newbury Street, Boston's most fashionable district. Take a leisurely two-mile stroll from the western outskirts of the Back Bay and you'll reach Brookline, the very tony, upscale "village" where you can expect to pay around $1,750 - $2,500 for a 1 BR apartment. The Fenway and The South End are subsets of the Back Bay and are exciting urban areas with just as much in the way of public transit. Expect to pay around $200 - $700 less for comparably sized apartments.

Charlestown: Possibly Boston's most insular neighborhood. Charlestown steadfastly holds on to its roots in history and is the home to Bunker Hill and The U.S.S. Constitution - the U.S. Navy's oldest commissioned ship. Charlestown wasn't always the most welcoming place but has seen fierce upscale redevelopment in the past two decades. Now Charlestown is a sort of bedroom community to Downtown Boston - which happens to be just about a mile away. $1,700 - $2,400 for a 1 BR.

Beacon Hill: Home to some of Boston's most exclusive addresses. Private parks, gas lamps, wrought iron gates, tree lined streets, and meticulously maintained homes really do exude the "George Washington Slept Here" feel of America's earliest days. Think Epcot meets The American Revolution. $1,600 - $2,200 for a 1 BR.

Cambridge: Harvard, MIT and Squares galore (of both the library lounger and geometric variety – we’re referring mostly to the latter). That's how Cambridge is divided - Harvard Square, Kendall Square, Inman Square, and Central Square. The Cambridge neighborhoods are the most ethnically diverse in all of Boston, with throngs of the world’s brightest students and teachers mingling with one another in America's intellectual Hippodrome. As such, expect the widest variety of food, markets, cultural activities, and languages spoken. $1,600 - $2,200 for a 1 BR. Inman and Central squares are nominally less as they are slightly farther from their respective mega-institutes of higher learning.

South Boston: The home of the best Bawstuhn accents and many legendary and/or infamous members of Boston's political, religious and business realms, South Boston is a tough yet forgiving place. Its roots are mostly Irish, and Southie is supremely proud of that heritage. Churches, corner shops, kids playing in small parks and the iconic working class life you know from the movies – these are the pictures of Southie. These images are quickly changing though as gentrification is having it’s way with Southie at a rate more rapid than in any other Boston ‘hood. $1,500 - $2,100 for a 1 BR. 2 BR apartments here are comparatively more reasonable than most other sections of Boston.

North End: Boston's predominantly Italian neighborhood, where the language can still be heard on street corners and in the dozens upon dozens of Italian specialty shops, cafés, and restaurants. The North End is quaint and is within easy walking distance to Boston's financial district, Faneuil Hall, and City Hall. $900 - $1,100 for a studio (common in the North End), $1,400 - $1,900 for a 1 BR.

East Boston: Located close to the airport with easy access to Massachusetts' North Shore, Eastie has long been the spot where Boston's newest immigrants first settle. This part of the city has less entertainment and dining than the other ‘hoods, but boasts wonderful views of the harbor and skyline as well as some of the most affordable rents in the city. $1,000 - $1,400 for a 1 BR.

Last bits of advice

Until you learn the neighborhoods, don't talk politics, sports, or religion. Once you do, talk away, you're expected to have an opinion - as long as it's the right one.

Rent Report

September 2017 Boston Rent Report

Welcome to the September 2017 Boston Rent Report. In this report, we'll evaluate trends in the Boston rental market, including comparisons to cities throughout the metro and nation.

Boston rents increased marginally over the past month

Boston rents have increased 0.2% over the past month, and are up moderately by 2.3% in comparison to the same time last year. Currently, median rents in Boston stand at $1,690 for a one-bedroom apartment and $2,090 for a two-bedroom. Boston's year-over-year rent growth lags the state average of 3.8%, as well as the national average of 3.0%.

Rents rising across the Boston Metro

Throughout the past year, rent increases have been occurring not just in the city of Boston, but across the entire metro. Of the largest 10 cities that we have data for in the Boston metro, 9 of them have seen prices rise. Here's a look at how rents compare across some of the largest cities in the metro.

  • Somerville has seen the fastest rent growth in the metro, with a year-over-year increase of 8.0%. The median two-bedroom there costs $2,110, while one-bedrooms go for $1,700.
  • Over the past year, Marlborough is the only city in the metro that has seen rents fall, with a decline of 2.9%. Median two-bedrooms there cost $1,510, while one-bedrooms go for $1,200.
  • Brookline has the most expensive rents of the largest cities in the Boston metro, with a two-bedroom median of $2,630; rents decreased 0.3% over the past month but were up 4.0% over the past year.
  • Haverhill has the least expensive rents in the Boston metro, with a two-bedroom median of $1,460; rents increased 0.8% over the past month and 2.3% over the past year.

Similar cities nationwide show more affordable rents compared to Boston

Rent growth in Boston has been relatively stable over the past year - some other large cities have seen more substantial increases; in contrast, rents in a few cities have actually declined. Compared to most other large cities across the country, Boston is less affordable for renters.

  • Massachusetts as a whole has logged 3.8% year-over-year growth, while rent trends across other cities throughout the state have seen both increases and decreases.
  • Boston's median two-bedroom rent of $2,090 is above the national average of $1,160. Nationwide, rents have grown by 3.0% over the past year compared to the 2.3% increase in Boston.
  • While rents in Boston remained moderately stable this year, similar cities saw increases, including Seattle (+5.4%), Los Angeles (+5.0%), and Chicago (+3.8%); note that median 2BR rents in these cities go for $1,710, $1,740, and $1,290 respectively.
  • Renters will generally find more expensive prices in Boston than most similar cities. For example, Philadelphia has a median 2BR rent of $1,170, where Boston is more than one-and-a-half times that price.

For more information check out our national report. You can also access our full data for cities and counties across the U.S. at this link.
City Median 1BR price Median 2BR price M/M price change Y/Y price change
Boston $1,690 $2,090 0.2% 2.3%
Lowell $1,240 $1,530 -1.0% 4.0%
Cambridge $1,820 $2,260 1.0% 3.3%
Quincy $1,500 $1,860 0.5% 1.9%
Somerville $1,700 $2,110 0.5% 8.0%
Framingham $1,490 $1,850 -0.1% 0.8%
Haverhill $1,180 $1,460 0.8% 2.3%
Waltham $1,710 $2,110 -0.7% 3.1%
Brookline $2,120 $2,630 -0.3% 4.0%
Marlborough $1,200 $1,510 -0.9% -2.9%

Methodology - Recent Updates:

Data from private listing sites, including our own, tends to skew toward luxury apartments, which introduces sample bias when estimates are calculated directly from these listings. To address these limitations, we’ve recently made major updates to our methodology, which we believe have greatly improved the accuracy and reliability of our estimates.

Read more about our new methodology below, or see a more detailed post here.


Apartment List is committed to making our rent estimates the best and most accurate available. To do this, we start with reliable median rent statistics from the Census Bureau, then extrapolate them forward to the current month using a growth rate calculated from our listing data. In doing so, we use a same-unit analysis similar to Case-Shiller’s approach, comparing only units that are available across both time periods to provide an accurate picture of rent growth in cities across the country.

Our approach corrects for the sample bias inherent in other private sources, producing results that are much closer to statistics published by the Census Bureau and HUD. Our methodology also allows us to construct a picture of rent growth over an extended period of time, with estimates that are updated each month.

Read more about our methodology here.

About Rent Reports:

Apartment List publishes monthly reports on rental trends for hundreds of cities across the U.S. We intend these reports to be a source of reliable information that help renters and policymakers make sound decisions, and we invest significant time and effort in gathering and analyzing rent data. Our work is covered regularly by journalists across the country.

We are continuously working to improve our methodology and data, with the goal of providing renters with the information that they need to make the best decisions.

Boston Renter Confidence Survey
National study of renter confidence in the economy, homeownership, and cities
Here's how Boston ranks on:
A+ Overall satisfaction
A- Safety and crime rate
A+ Jobs and career opportunities
A Recreational activities
D Affordability
D Quality of schools
C Weather
A Commute time
C State and local taxes
A+ Public transit
C- Pet-friendliness
Best Worst
Full data available when viewing on a non-mobile device.
Overview of Findings

Apartment List has released results for Boston from the second annual Apartment List Renter Satisfaction Survey. The survey, which drew on responses from over 30,000 renters, provides insight into what states and cities must do to meet the needs of the 105 million American renters nationwide.

“Renters in Boston are very satisfied with their city overall,” says Andrew Woo, Director of Data Science at Apartment List. “They gave average or above average scores in many categories, though they would like to see some changes in others.”

Key findings in Boston include the following:

  • Boston renters gave their city an A+ overall for satisfaction.
  • The highest-rated categories for Boston were its local jobs and career opportunities and access to public transit, which both received an A+.
  • Other well-rated categories included safety (A-), access to parks (A), and commute times (A).
  • Some of the larger concerns for Boston renters included quality of local schools (D), and affordability/cost of living (D). Given that rents are rising especially in coastal cities, it comes as no surprise that cost of living is a major concern here.
  • Millennial renters seem to be especially satisfied with life in Boston, with this specific group giving the city an A+ overall.
  • Relative to other cities like New York (B) and Philadelphia (B), Boston did very well, and was comparable to other places like Washington DC (A-).
  • The top rated cities nationwide for renter satisfaction included Arlington, VA; Lincoln, NE; Pasadena, CA; Boston, MA; and Madison, WI. The lowest rated cities included Newark, NJ; Bronx, NY; Bridgeport, CT; Baltimore, MD; and Salinas, CA.

Renters say:

  • “I love the area that I live in which is accessible to many exciting activities and events in the Boston area. I also love that I have easy access to public transportation as well as the local highways.” —Suba C.
  • “I really feel like I'm in the center of the city of Boston - it's easy access anywhere in or around the Boston area, both walking-wise or by public transportation. I also work in the city, and my commute is so easy!” —Anon.
  • “My apartment complex is not pet-friendly. I had to jump through hoops and ladders to keep my 5-pound dog. I also think that the rent is too high for what I have.” —Isatta C.
  • “Love Boston aside from housing that is not affordable and the high taxes. I live in the Southie neighborhood, which doesn't always feel safe, and housing is way more expensive than what the neighborhood offers.” —Ashley J.