Boston’s Rising Rents Have Been Outpacing Income Since 1980

ApartmentList has released a study that analyzed how rents and incomes have evolved in major urban areas across the US since 1980. Anyone who’s ever looked for an apartment in Boston won’t be shocked to hear that rents have been steadily climbing over the past 40 years. The surprising part of the study is just how much rent increases have outpaced income increases.

The median income of a Boston tenant increased only 20 percent from 1980 to 2014 while median rents went up 60 percent. Boston joins the trend of increasingly expensive coastal cities like San Francisco and New York. Incomes have risen in these areas but not enough to keep up with the rents.

Washington, DC, for example, had a 33% increase in real incomes but rents rose by 86%. Similar results were seen in San Francisco, New York City and Boston. Renters in Los Angeles struggled the most as rents jumped 55%, even as incomes only increased 13%.



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