Department of Numbers

Massachusetts Residential Rent and Rental Statistics

The median monthly gross residential rent in Massachusetts was $1,179 in 2016 according to the Census ACS survey.1 Average gross rent was $1,221 in 2016. The median rent more accurately depicts rental rates in the middle of the distribution of rents and is thus preferred in the analysis below. 2017 Massachusetts median and average rent data will be released in September of 2018.

Data is also available below for Massachusetts rental vacancy rates, Massachusetts rent as a percent of median income and the fraction of renters in Massachusetts.

Show dollars as: Nominal Real

Real Gross Rent in Massachusetts (2016 dollars)2

2016 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US Median Gross Rent $981 +0.93% +7.80%
Massachusetts Median Gross Rent $1,179 0.00% +8.86%

Massachusetts Real Gross Rent Trends

Median gross rent for Massachusetts peaked in real terms in 2015 at $1,179 and is now $0 (0.00%) lower. At $1,221, real average gross rent in Massachusetts was at its highest level in 2016 since the series began in 2005.

Real Gross Rent in Massachusetts: Median, Average, US Median

Lower quartile, median and upper quartile real gross rent

Real Gross Rent History for Massachusetts

Date US Median Massachusetts Median Massachusetts Average
2016 $981 $1,179 $1,221
2015 $972 $1,179 $1,208
2014 $942 $1,116 $1,144
2013 $910 $1,083 $1,117
2012 $898 $1,053 $1,074
2011 $898 $1,067 $1,086
2010 $912 $1,077 $1,098
2009 $916 $1,075 $1,100
2008 $932 $1,121 $1,140
2007 $885 $1,061 $1,068
2006 $895 $1,094 $1,109
2005 $869 $1,077 $1,083

Massachusetts Rental Vacancy Rate

The rental vacancy rate is the fraction of homes for rent that are not occupied.3 In 2016 the rental vacancy rate for Massachusetts was 3.98% according to Census ACS data.

Rental Vacancy Rate in Massachusetts

2016 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US 5.89% +0.04% -0.60%
Massachusetts 3.98% +0.50% -0.63%

Trends in Massachusetts Rental Vacancy Rate

The rental vacancy rate in Massachusetts peaked in 2007 at 6.20%. Since then it has fallen by 2.22% to 3.98%. Data records for this series originated in 2005. From a 2015 post peak low of 3.48%, the rental vacancy rate has increased by 0.50%.

Rental Vacancy Rate: Massachusetts, US

Rental vacancy rate in Massachusetts

Historical Rental Vacancy Rate data for Massachusetts

Date US Massachusetts
2016 5.89% 3.98%
2015 5.85% 3.48%
2014 6.32% 4.04%
2013 6.49% 4.61%
2012 6.77% 4.46%
2011 7.40% 4.76%
2010 8.17% 5.80%
2009 8.43% 5.83%
2008 7.86% 5.28%
2007 7.87% 6.20%
2006 7.70% 5.55%
2005 7.74% 5.58%

Massachusetts Rent as a Fraction of Income

Using median household income data for Massachusetts, we can calculate the fraction of income the median household would use to pay rent at the median monthly gross rent rate. For Massachusetts, median monthly gross rent as a fraction of median household income was 18.79% in 2016 according to the ACS.

Massachusetts Median Annual Rent as a Fraction of Median Household Income

2016 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US 20.43% -0.20% -0.35%
Massachusetts 18.79% -0.99% -0.57%

Trends in Massachusetts Rent as a Fraction of Income

The fraction of median Massachusetts household income required to pay median monthly gross rent peaked in 2015 (relative to the 2005 series origin) at 19.78%. Since then it has fallen by 0.99% to 18.79%.

Fraction of Income towards Rent: Massachusetts, US

Percent of median household income going towards median monthly gross rent in Massachusetts

Historical Data for Annual Rent as a Fraction of Income in Massachusetts

Date US Massachusetts
2016 20.43% 18.79%
2015 20.63% 19.78%
2014 20.89% 19.21%
2013 20.78% 19.36%
2012 20.65% 19.03%
2011 20.70% 19.74%
2010 20.50% 19.51%
2009 20.12% 18.50%
2008 19.00% 18.18%
2007 18.66% 18.20%
2006 18.90% 18.67%
2005 18.89% 18.93%

Renter Fraction in Massachusetts

You can calculate the renter fraction in Massachusetts in at least two ways: by housing units or by population. I've gone with the housing units measure here. This measure looks at the number of renting households in Massachusetts as a fraction of total Massachusetts households. In 2016 38.01% of households were renters according to Census ACS data.

Massachusetts Fraction of Renters by Household Units

2016 1 Year Change 3 Year Change
US 36.88% -0.09% +0.38%
Massachusetts 38.01% -0.27% -0.45%

Trends in the Massachusetts Renter Fraction

The Massachusetts household renter fraction peaked in in 2013 at 38.46% and is now 0.45% below that level. The origin year for the series is 2005.

Fraction of Renting Households: Massachusetts, US

Fraction of renters in Massachusetts

History of Massachusetts Renter Fraction

Date US Massachusetts
2016 36.88% 38.01%
2015 36.97% 38.28%
2014 36.90% 38.40%
2013 36.50% 38.46%
2012 36.09% 37.76%
2011 35.42% 37.87%
2010 34.65% 37.77%
2009 34.13% 35.79%
2008 33.36% 35.46%
2007 32.80% 34.91%
2006 32.73% 35.08%
2005 33.10% 35.95%

1. Gross rent is defined as contract rent plus the estimated average monthly cost of utilities (electricity, gas, water, and sewer) and fuel (oil, coal, kerosene, wood, etc.). Because some rentals include utilities and others don't, gross rent is a way of normalizing the variability.

2. Real dollars are calculated using the CPI-U less shelter series.

3. The rental vacancy rate is computed by dividing the number of vacant units for rent by the sum of the renter-occupied units, vacant units that are for rent, and vacant units that have been rented but not yet occupied.