Rent Change Diverges Across Massachusetts
Boston and nearby Worcester – the two largest apartment markets in Massachusetts – saw very different rent change performances in the past year. Before the pandemic, rent growth in these markets was similar. As of February 2020, effective asking rents in Boston were growing 3.5% annually while, located about 50 miles west of Boston, Worcester rents were growing 4.2%. Throughout the unprecedented past year, Worcester rents have maintained relative stability. Operators in the market only turned to rent cuts for a couple of months in the summer, and quickly rebounded to modest growth through the end of the year and into 2021. In Boston, rent cuts were initiated in May 2020 and got more severe every month, finally bottoming out at cuts of 8.4% in January 2021 before seeing marginal recovery. Between March and April, both markets saw major improvement. Worcester annual rent growth surged to 5.8% as of April, while Boston rent cuts eased to 4.7%, the most mild cuts this market has seen since July 2020. Overall, monthly prices in Worcester still fall below Boston rents. As of April, rents in Boston averaged $2,273 and while Worcester prices averaged $1,764.