Boston apartment search leads to September 1 rental rush
Jul 2011 20

RentJuice is a national rental database used by landlords, real estate agents, and renters / tenants to post, search, and find apartments for rent. Open for just two years, the company has rapidly become the default database for real estate agents in all the cities it currently covers.

For the first time, RentJuice has compiled its Boston apartment data and released the results to the general public.

What their data shows is that most apartments in Boston rent for September 1 occupancy – as much as 79% of all apartments being listed for rent.

That’s a startling figure. Obviously, a lot of what’s driving that is college students looking for housing for the school year.

The unintentional effect is that, most everyone else ends up going on that schedule. Landlords who rent to “everyone”, students and professionals, want to have their apartments available for September 1, so they often force tenants to sign September 1 – August 31 leases.

No landlord wants to be stuck with an apartment to rent in January or February – people just don’t move then, unless it’s a job relocation or something similar changing their lives.

Because there’s huge demand, and limited supply, this puts pressure on prices – upward pressure. That’s why tenants often have to pay brokers’ fees in order to secure an apartment.

So, in a certain way, the system as its unfurled is jigged against tenants.

RentJuice has done an excellent job of collecting data and presenting the results. I do have major issues right now with drawing any conclusions, however. Even RentJuice would probably agree, right now, its reports are works in progress.

The reports only include rentals put into the RentJuice system; not all apartments available for rent. So, craiglist and landlord-direct apartments are not included. These might often be available for less than what is offered by brokers. (Basically, you’re paying your agent to find you an apartment so you don’t have to waste your time on craigslist hour after hour.)

For example, RentJuice reports that Kendall Square and East Cambridge have higher average rents than its overall average.

That’s because the many apartments available out there are in new, large, high-rise, full-service buildings (Watermark and Third Square) whereas other neighborhoods have a much-wider selection from which to choose (Back Bay, Beacon Hill, South End).

So, take the data with a grain of salt; it’s not exhaustive and it’s not complete. (Again, not that they’re saying it is …)

If you’d like to see the full report, have any questions about rentals / apartments, or would like to see apartments, please let me know.

2 Comments

  1. [...] quite like what happens on Boston's skinny, winding streets in the days before Labor Day. With a reported 79% of rented units in this city turning over on September 1st, it’s as if someone picks up Boston and gives it a [...]

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