Dorchester and Roslindale Win Boston's Highest Rental Price Awards
Boston, which is fifth in the nation for average apartment rental prices, is no stranger to high prices on the real estate market. Prices vary, however, within individual neighborhoods across the city. Dorchester and Roslindale, two prominent suburbs, have the highest increases in one-bedroom apartment rental rates. For a city where the average rental price for a one-bedroom apartment is $2,200 across all districts, rapidly rising above that average is good for apartment landlords and building owners, but it's leaving tenants and renters in a cold sweat. In Dorchester, apartment rates increased 9.4 percent from June through July 2017. In Roslindale, rental rates for a one-bedroom apartment increased 10 percent from June through July in 2017.
Across Boston, rental rates are increasing for a number of reasons. Many corporations, including some big-name brands, have set up shop in Boston in recent years. The improving economy, higher wages, and demand for nearby has led to increasing demand for housing in Boston. People are still searching for the basics, like proximity to transportation and their workplaces. They are also looking for amenities like concierge service, rooftop and outdoor living spaces, and parking places. With the income from jobs to support that demand, they are willing to pay top dollar for apartments and condominiums.
In Dorchester, home sale prices have increased by 21 percent since 2016. They now average $80,000 per year. Apartment rental prices per square foot have increased to $384 from $320 since 2016 in the same amount of time. Unlike other neighborhoods in Boston, sales across all types of properties have increased. The most significant changes in single-family home prices have occurred among two-bedroom and three-bedroom homes. Since 2016, two-bedroom homes have been selling for about 20 percent more this year. That translates to an average asking price of $420,000. Three bedroom homes in Dorchester have been selling for about 20.5 percent more in 2017 than in 2016, or a dollar increase of about $510,000 more. For one-bedroom apartments, there has been just over a 14 percent increase in median home sale prices since 2016. That amounts to an average sale price of $270,000 per home. Four- bedroom homes have seen the slowest sales growth, with a 1.7 percent increase from 2016 to 2017, or a current listing price of $590,000. Across all types of single-family homes, Dorchester has seen a staggering increase of 21 percent in the past year. In Roslindale, the median rental price is $1,900 per month.
The increase of rental prices in these two neighborhoods, however, pales in comparison to asking prices throughout Boston. The priciest neighborhood in Boston so far in 2017 is the downtown area, which has a median average rental price of $2,950. Along the waterfront in Boston's historically trendy and luxurious South End, average rental prices for a one-bedroom units are $2,900. In the West End, prices for a one-bedroom apartment unit averaged $2,800. In Beacon Hill and the North End, in comparison, prospective tenants can find apartments available for about $2,500 per month. Prices drop in neighborhoods like Mattapan, West Roxbury, and East Boston.
Several factors contribute to the pricing difference among apartments throughout Boston. Proximity to major transportation centers is one major consideration. Roslindale, for instance, is a predominantly residential neighborhood with convenient transportation via the MBTA to major points within Boston. Specifically, the MBTA Orange Line in Jamaica Plain and MBTA bus lines make it a key living location. Dorchester, a historic neighborhood covering six miles, is Boston's largest neighborhood. It is serviced by five transportation stops for the MBTA, and has various bus routes. Renovations to the Red Line, which is exclusively the Dorchester Branch of the MBTA, have made this neighborhood conveniently accessible over the years. This, in turn, has sparked demand for more housing. Pricing among neighborhoods also varies based on factors like maintaining older structures, such as the Victorian and brownstone townhomes found in older neighborhoods like Beacon Hill and Back Bay. It can cost quite a bit to make an older building suitable for modern living, with requisite renovations like fixing leaking faucets and making a window free of drafts.
Only time will tell if the pricing increase will continue in these neighborhoods, but if economic growth and demand for housing continues across Boston, nothing will likely change anytime soon.