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When to look for an apartment? (A Boston Rental Guide)

Are you moving to Boston soon? Are you wanting to start your apartment search but unsure about the timing? Check out this tips and tricks so you can avoid a headache and easily find your next Boston apartment.

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The Real Estate Market Cycle

The first thing that all potential renters need to understand before looking for an apartment is that the timing of your search is a very important aspect to consider. This is because the real estate market tends to be cyclical and seasonal. Therefore, potential renters should have an understanding of the timing of real estate market trends, so they can use this knowledge to their advantage and tailor their search for their specific needs and preferences.

Rental Reasons

A general rule of thumb in the rental market is that inventory is higher in the months between May-September. Summer break for students of all ages opens up free time to move, and warmer weather makes the daunting task of physically moving more bearable. With this higher inventory, renters have more options of apartments to choose from, and are likely to find what they are looking for. However, the upside of this higher volume of options is also accompanied with higher demand throughout the entire market. This high demand means that interest rates and rental prices are higher. Not only this, but there is generally just more competition in the market, making it a stressful time to search.

On the other hand, there is less inventory during the winter months, from October to April, for the opposite reasons of summer being so popular (cold weather and school in full swing). However, the low demand during this time means that prices are more reasonable and can be more easily negotiated. Therefore, you may want to consider looking for a cheap apartment during this time if you are on a budget.

Boston's Real Estate Market

Furthermore, these general trends in the real estate market are even more extreme in Boston. Boston is not only home to one of the most competitive real estate markets in the country right now, but the city also has a very unique rental schedule. Specifically, a very large portion of the city’s apartment leases run from September 1st to September 1st. This separates Boston from other cities around the country and even throughout Massachusetts, as leases are usually staggered throughout the year. However, Boston’s September 1st schedule was adopted by many landlords in the city to accommodate the needs of the large student population in Boston and their academic schedule, with 35 institutions of higher education throughout the city.

September 1st Move-in

Therefore, if you are looking to move on September 1st you should start searching for your apartment very early on, around 6 months in advance. If you are a student, you should consider starting even earlier, as undergraduate friendly listings for September are usually released first. On the other hand, if you are not a student, October, November and December are good months to move in, as the September 1st rush is over. Specifically, if you are on a budget these are great months to look for an apartment in Boston because the listing you are looking at will mostly be the left inventory from September 1st, which can usually be found at a lower price.

How we can help?

Overall, when looking for an apartment in Boston, it is crucial to take these general factors about timing into consideration, alongside with your personal needs and preferences, so that you can find what you are looking for. At Rentwise Boston, the platform that shows buildings, we can help you search, contact an agent or check out our website today to learn more.


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