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This morning I came across this story on the Forbes website:

Every morning, Doris commuted to her Boston job from her suburban home because, simply put, “I can’t afford Boston rents.” 

This may soon change. The suburbs are rebounding faster than the cities from the depressing effect the pandemic has exerted on American housing. A new report from Apartment List, a national platform for apartment listings, shows that while many large cities are getting cheaper, rents are actually rising in surrounding suburban communities.

Boston Apartment Rents are Declining

Following the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic downturn, rental markets across the country experienced an uncharacteristic decline in rent prices. Nationally, rents dropped 1.3 percent from March to June, a time period when rent prices rose roughly 2 percent in each of the three previous years.

According to the Apartment List research, which draws on data collected by the Census Bureau as well as internal data from apartment listings, suburban rents are outpacing city rents in 27 out of 30 major metropolitan areas.

In Boston, rents in the city are down 7.8% since January. New York rents have dropped 13%, and, above all, San Francisco rents have taken an 18% tumble.

In these pricy cities, rents in nearby suburban areas are, on average, down, too. In Boston, for example, they are down by 3.4%. When housing is at a premium, as in Boston, New York, and San Francisco, the suburbs become de facto bedroom communities.

Boston Real Estate and the Bottom Line

Warnock says, “There are a number of reasons why rent trends in the principal cities do not mirror those of nearby suburbs. The pandemic’s effects on everyday life have certainly been more pronounced in cities than suburbs. Shelter-in-place requirements and business restrictions have ground to a halt many of the events and amenities that attract people to cities in the first place: live entertainment, bars and restaurants, public festivals, and the like. Many renters today are questioning whether it still makes sense to pay a premium for city living.”

Doris may be the happy beneficiary of that shift

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