Like many of the neighborhoods that make up Boston, Fenway’s rental market has seen housing supply issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Admittedly some districts have been managing better than others; there are a few that have seen major increases in real-time vacancy rates (RTVR) and real-time availability rates (RTAR), as well as a fall in rent prices. Fenway’s apartment rental market definitely falls in that category, as it has seen a 1020% increase in RTVR since April of 2020, compared to Boston’s city-wide YOY increase of 422.83%. Here we’ll cover the Fenway apartment rental market while focusing primarily on the Fenway apartment vacancy rate and availability rate.
Astronomically High Vacancy Rates in Fenway
It is essential to note that the RTAR and RTVR of Fenway are exceptionally high. The RTAR and RTVR of the whole of Boston are 11.13% and 4.24%, respectively. On the other hand, the RTAR and RTVR of Fenway alone is a whopping 22.22% and 8.40%. This ranks the apartment supply in Fenway as the 3rd highest in availability and the 4th highest vacancy rate.
The RTAR and RTVR’s year-over-year change is also comparatively high at +242.37%and +1020%, respectively. In terms of year-over-year RTAR change, Fenway is ranked 3rd with the biggest increase compared to 2020, while for year-over-year RTVR, it is the neighborhood with the 2nd largest increase. In fact, there were only two areas of Boston that had an increase of over 1000% in the RTVR metric, and these neighborhoods are Fenway and Downtown.
This erratic reaction of the Fenway real estate market can be put down largely to two factors, the COVID-19 pandemic, and remote learning. As a reaction to the health crisis, the usual mass of students seeking off-campus housing near Boston University has diminished as all local Universities have mandated remote learning. This has been a major hit to Fenway’s real estate climate. Thankfully, all of these schools have announced plans to eliminate remote learning in the fall, so look for the market to absorb a large portion of the supply glut.
A Decrease Average Rent Price in Fenway
Fenway boasts the 7th highest average rent price in all of Boston. For the high average rent, landlords demand in Fenway, the drop in average rent since last year was not too extreme at -7,02%. To make a comparison, the Allston-Brighton district, which has an average rent of $2,367, had a -8.10% decrease in rent prices. In the grand scheme of things, Fenway had the 9th biggest decrease in rent prices in the entire city of Boston.
Due to this reason, the demand for smaller housing units such as Studios and 1 Bedroom properties likely experienced the biggest drops in demand, which are reflected in the year-over-year price changes. For example, Fenway’s Studio apartments saw a drop of -6.9% in average rent while 1 Bedroom apartments had a much larger drop of -9.95%. It i2 Bedroom units noted similar falls of average rent noted by 2 Bedroom units at -6.83%, 3 Bedroom units at -7.40%, and 4 Bedroom units at -6.43%.
Landlords have offset larger rent by piling on incentives such as waived deposits, paying the broker’s fee, adding sublet clauses, and flexible lease dates. Look for these incentives to dry up this year as the student population returns to Boston. Still, renters will score some deals on available Fenway apartments that are not normally available in a healthy market over the next few months.
Fenway’s Apartment Supply Compared to Similar Neighborhoods.
To help you understand better how the rental market in Fenway is performing, here are the 6 neighborhoods with the highest YOY increase in apartment vacancies:
1. Downtown Boston apartments
RTVR Change YOY: +2730.59%
RTAR Change YOY:+1402.34%
2. Fenway apartments
RTVR Change YOY:+1020%
RTAR Change YOY:+242.37%
3. Allston apartments
RTVR Change YOY: +944.44%
RTAR Change YOY:+203.79%
4. Beacon Hill apartments
RTVR Change YOY:+888.24%
RTAR Change YOY:+227.74%
5. Allston-Brighton apartments
RTVR Change YOY:+622.50%
RTAR Change YOY:+189.97%
6. West Roxbury apartments
RTVR Change YOY:+494.23%
RTAR Change YOY:+195.88%