The saga of rising rents in Boston reached a new milestone this week.
A new report found average rent in the city for the first time ever topped $2,000 in the last quarter of 2015.
Renting in Boston now costs an average of $2,009, a weighted mean that doesn’t include affordable housing stock, according to real estate data firm Reis, Inc.
That’s a 1.3 percent jump over the previous quarter and up 5.5 percent over last year, according to Reis. Only New York, San Francisco and San Jose had higher average rents, at $3,436, $2,491 and $2,023 apiece, Reis said.
Breaching the $2,000 mark isn’t a surprise, but the take-away is clear, said Kathy Brown, coordinator for the Boston Tenant Coalition.
“It’s bad,” Brown told Metro. “It’s really bad out there for renters. The rents are just crazy and the threat of more and more displacement of low income and working people is really of great concern to us.”
Much of the jump in rents’ average comes from “expensive class A spaces” that have been popping up around the city, said Shan Ahmed, a Reis analyst.
Last year, the number of new units that came on the market in the citywas about 1,600 per quarter. By comparison, in 2012 there were 431 new apartments per quarter in Boston, Ahmed said.
Nationally, rents grew by about 4.5 percent overall in 2015, which is “well ahead” of inflation, said Ryan Severino, Reis’ senior economist and director of research, who prepared the report, in a statement.
When rents go up, there are side effects to consider other than a bigger check to sign every month, said Maria Christina Blanco, community organizer for the Jamaica Plain-based City Life/Vida Urbana.
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Many who can’t afford their apartments end up on the street, with few affordable options for housing left to choose from, Blanco said. Many, she said, end up in shelters.
“There’s just such an explosion in the rental market and it’s just not possible to find another place,” she said.
Her organization has been rallying community members to hold demonstrations and show up at City Hall to demand more units of affordable housing and to call for laws protecting renters facing eviction.
Those efforts have picked up speed over the past year as the cost of living in Boston continues to rise, she said.
“It’s really about working-class tenants and homeowners being able to live in Boston and not being pushed out,” Blanco said. “That’s what we think is really in everyone’s interest long-term.”