The city of Boston as a whole has been on a winning streak, as well. The population has increased by 100,000 in the last two decades, in large part to a thriving community of technology companies and startups, a sharp increase in home values and the completion of the Big Dig, the most expensive highway project in U.S. history.
With all this winning comes an increase in the cost of living. Rents in some of Boston’s most famous neighborhoods are on the rise. This growth is most evident in some of the most expensive Boston neighborhoods.
We compared the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in every Boston neighborhood on Rent.com to prices in those same spots a year ago. From this, we determined where in The Hub rent has increased the most.
5. South End
- Average 1-BR rent price increase: 2.53%
- Average 1-BR rental price: $4,145
Don’t confuse the South End of Boston with South Boston (better known as Southie), which is on the other side of the Interstate 93 Central Artery. The South End is a unique neighborhood to Boston, and much of the U.S.
Its distinguishing characteristic is the multitude of Victorian style row houses, a 300-acre district of homes which is the largest such assembly in the nation. There’s also a plethora of green space, with 11 public parks and 16 community gardens ringing the neighborhood.
There are many units available in South End, both apartment buildings and bowfront rentals, the homogenous five-story brick-and-sandstone rowhouses. While the South End is less pricey than some other central Boston neighborhoods, rental prices have increased in the last year, up 2.53 percent to an average of $4,145 for a one-bedroom apartment.
4. D Street-West Broadway
- Average 1-BR rent price increase: 3.74%
- Average 1-BR rental price: $3,839
D Street-West Broadway is a mixed culture, ethnically diverse area of Boston located along the northeast portion of the famous South Boston neighborhood. The former blue-collar enclave is a densely-populated district that has gentrified since the turn of the millennium, attracting young professionals and families.
The waterfront neighborhood combines a residential grid on its south side, with a commercial and cultural hub on the north. The Seaport District section features trendy cafes and brewpubs alongside the office buildings around Far Pier Park, as well as many museums such as the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Boston Children’s Museum.
And central to the neighborhood is the massive Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Popular parks in the area include the South Boston Maritime Park and the Lawn On D, adjacent to the Convention Center.
Living the true Southie experience has gotten more expensive in the last year, no thanks to reputations Ben Affleck and Mark Wahlberg films. An average one-bedroom has increased 3.74 percent to a monthly average of $3,839.
3. West End
- Average 1-BR rent price increase: 6.69%
- Average 1-BR rental price: $3,264
Adjacent to Downtown on the northwest side of the Shawmut Peninsula, Boston’s West End is an office enclave of high-rise buildings and well-known cultural landmarks. Most of the living space in West End is concentrated in several upscale residential towers borne from 1950s urban renewal.
The western edge of the West End offers several waterfront parks along the Charles River, including Lederman and Nashua Street Parks, which are bisected by the main boulevard into Cambridge. A large government complex sits in the southeast corner of the district, down Thoreau Path and its canopy of residential buildings from the Charles.
But the neighborhood’s most public feature is TD Garden, home to the Bruins and Celtics, built on the site of the old Boston Garden along the West End’s northern border. The area around the Garden is the neighborhood’s hub of nightlife, with many pubs, cafes and restaurants catering to fans before and after the game. The gigantic North Station transportation hub sits directly underneath TD Garden.
If you wish to be walking distance from The Gahh-den and in one of Downtown Boston’s fastest-growing neighborhoods, be prepared to pay even more. At a monthly rate of $3,264, one-bedroom units in West End are up 6.69 percent from this time last year.
2. Fenway-Kenmore-Audubon Circle-Longwood
- Average 1-BR rent price increase: 8.36%
- Average 1-BR rental price: $3,693
The administrative conglomeration of Fenway-Kenmore-Audubon Circle-Longwood is a neighborhood better known among Beantown residents as The Fenway, Kenmore Square or just Kenmore. And let’s get this out of the way first: Yes, this neighborhood is the home of Fenway Park. But the district is more than just the Red Sox.
There’s a joke in the film “This Is Spinal Tap,” where upon when the band’s Boston gig has been canceled, manager Ian Faith reacts by stating, “I wouldn’t worry about it though, it’s not a big college town.” The joke plays on the abundance of schools in the city, with many right here in Fenway-Kenmore. These include The Art Institute of Boston, Northeastern University, Berklee College of Music, Massachusetts College of Art, Boston Conservatory, parts of Boston University and Harvard Medical School and more.
But Fenway-Kenmore consists of not just undergrads, but also young professionals and solo renters. Among the famous baseball stadium surrounded by a variety of schools, residents of all walks are offered a series of parks, athletic fields and green spaces cleaving the neighborhood, as well as a bevy of drinking and eating establishments one would expect in a stadium neighborhood.
Brownstone townhouses, red brick-covered walk-ups and mid-rise apartment buildings dot Fenway-Kenmore, both old and new. But housing all the college students and millennials filling the neighborhood comes at a price. Rents within its borders has increased 8.36 percent in the last twelve months, pushing the average rent for a one-bedroom to $3,693.
1. Back Bay
- Average 1-BR rent price increase: 23.13%
- Average 1-BR rental price: $4,403
Nestled between Fenway Park and Boston Common is the Boston neighborhood of Back Bay, a reclaimed shore of the Charles River that was formerly a literal bay. The northern half of the neighborhood is a grid of houses along the primary east/west thoroughfares and Public Alleys.
The southern portion consists of a “High Spine” of upscale shopping, hotels and high-rise office towers, including the John Hancock Tower which — at 60 stories — is the tallest building in New England. And in between, along Newbury and Boylston Streets, is an eight-block thoroughfare of trendy bars, popular restaurants, quaint shops and fine-blend cafes.
The world-famous neighborhood features many celebrated and historical sites, as well, such as Trinity Church, the Boston Public Library and the Prudential Tower. Back Bay offers two upscale shopping centers in Prudential Center and Copley Place and recreational space such as Copley Square park, the Charles River Esplanade waterfront walking and biking path and the wide grassy Commonwealth Avenue Mall along the spine of “Comm Ave.”
More and more Bostonians — as well as an influx of new residents — are discovering Back Bay, making it one of Boston’s most desirable neighborhoods. So desirable, in fact, that rents have skyrocketed up a staggering 23.13 percent in the last year. That makes Back Bay one of Boston’s most expensive locales, with rents running $4,403 a month for a one-bedroom apartment on average.
We looked at all neighborhoods in Boston with sufficient available inventory on Apartment Guide and Rent.com and compared the average price from June 2018 to June 2019 to find the neighborhoods with the highest percentage increase in one-bedroom apartment prices.
The current rent information included in this article is based on June 2019 multifamily rental property inventory on ApartmentGuide.com and Rent.com and is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein does not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.