As 2019 winds down, the apartment rental market in Brookline remains rock steady. This will mark another year of growth and development in the local market as more people clamor to move into the area. Brookline has been and remains to be one of Boston’s great suburbs, and the average rent prices for apartments in Brookline are reflective of that.

Compared to all other suburbs of Greater Boston, Brookline has the highest average rent prices for both 2 bedroom apartments and 3 bedroom apartments. They have the 2nd highest average rent for 4 bedroom apartments at $4,277, behind only Cambridge. The following table breaks down the Top 5 most expensive suburbs to rent an apartment.

Town Neighborhood Bedroom 1 Bedroom 2 Bedroom 3 Bedroom 4
BROOKLINE $2,272 $2,860 $3,539 $4,277
CAMBRIDGE $2,371 $2,827 $3,483 $4,586
SOMERVILLE $2,084 $2,504 $3,050 $3,836
NEWTON $2,302 $2,432 $2,872 $4,131
WATERTOWN $1,865 $2,142 $2,766 $3,108

Even when comparing the most expensive micro-neighborhoods outside of Boston, it’s easy to see why Brookline is one of the priciest markets around. When you look at the Top 5 most expensive micro-neighborhoods in Boston, 3 out of the top 5 are in Brookline:

Town Neighborhood

Bedroom 1

Bedroom 2

Bedroom 3

Bedroom 4

CAMBRIDGE – HARVARD SQUARE $2,512 $3,138 $4,076 $5,170
BROOKLINE – CHESTNUT HILL $2,487 $3,068 $3,984 $3,501
BROOKLINE – BOSTON UNIVERSITY $2,296 $3,132 $3,980 $4,469
BROOKLINE – COOLIDGE CORNER $2,310 $2,807 $3,710 $4,604
NEWTON – CHESTNUT HILL $2,655 $2,823 $3,625 $4,550
CAMBRIDGE – CENTRAL SQUARE/CAMBRIDGEPORT $2,241 $2,752 $3,563 $4,569
BROOKLINE $2,272 $2,860 $3,539 $4,277
CAMBRIDGE – PORTER SQUARE $2,260 $2,813 $3,533 $4,450
CAMBRIDGE – EAST CAMBRIDGE $2,317 $2,706 $3,510 $4,000
CAMBRIDGE $2,371 $2,827 $3,483 $4,586

Over the course of 2019, Brookline saw a steady increase in prices for 1 and 2 bedroom apartments. The price for a 1 bedroom apartment increased 3.21% throughout the course of 2019, and the price for 2 bedroom apartments increased by 2.96%.

What’s interesting is the price for a 3 bedroom apartment has remained relatively steady throughout the course of the year. The price for 3 bedroom apartments in Brookline fell by .05% in 2019 thus far. We view this as a temporary blip, because some of the recent inventory we’ve seen could use some refreshing. We believe there is still some additional upward pricing power in Brookline if landlords update and/or renovate their units.

Looking to 2020, prices should remain steady and even climb despite some pundits predicting an overall economic market cool down. While rental prices in Brookline have leveled off towards the end of 2019, inventory is still incredibly scarce for apartment units. While recent construction projects in Brookline have brought with it added inventory, it pales in comparison to demand. The ability to quickly create additional significant inventory in Brookline is a not a realistic possibility based on current zoning hurdles and anti-development neighborhood groups.

This limited supply combined with a steady influx of eager new residents will most likely tip the hand to prices increasing over the next year, although possibly not as much as in years past. Wages continue to move upward in the Greater Boston Area and that tends to manifest in higher rent pricing power.

Historically the Real-time Availability Rate and Real-time Vacancy Rate in Brookline has always been among the lowest of all areas in Greater Boston. That trend still holds true now, as Brookline is among the lowest in terms of average vacancy rates and availability rates throughout the year. Brookline to some degree, is more sheltered from the high turnover rate of other areas of Greater Boston due to less overall students in the area. Therefore we tend to see longer occupancy and less frequent turnover especially during up markets. If you are looking for a bargain in Brookline, you are going to have be patient and ready to pounce quickly if you see a great deal.

While the Vacancy % and Availability % in Brookline does closely follow the trends seen in others areas, the data suggests that Brookline will be finishing the year with a significantly lower availability rate than all other areas, both inside and outside of Boston. Normally there is a dip in some rental prices going into the late fall and winter, but with low vacancy and availability rates there may not be significant price breaks on specific units. As always, if you are renter that really wants to live in this area, pay frequent attention. Be open to placing rental offers out to landlords for units that have been on the market for over 30 days, but don’t expect major drops.

If you’re on a budget and looking to move to Brookline, consider the micro neighborhoods of Brookline Hills, Cleveland Circle, and Washington Square for the best deals, although be prepared for slim pickings as these places also maintain some of the lowest vacancy rates in the area.

Longwood area is also among the more affordable neighborhoods in Brookline, however it is currently seeing a staggering 0% vacancy and availability. Out of 308 units in Longwood in our massive inventory, there is not a single apartment currently available or becoming available in the foreseeable future. While you may never know when a large group of renters decide to buy or move to another area, it bears mentioning that as rental pricing goes up people tend to stay put even more and work out deals with their landlords rather than move. That’s a good indication of how this micro market in Brookline tends to operate. Therefore large sudden turnover that would quickly drive down pricing is more of an exception than a norm especially during our economic environment of record low unemployment.

Town Neighborhood

Real Time Availability Rate

Real Time Vacancy Rate

Bedroom 1

Bedroom 2

Bedroom 3

Bedroom 4

All Areas 1.76% 1.39% $2,132 $2,518 $2,998 $3,702
City Of Boston 1.79% 1.41% $2,168 $2,563 $2,997 $3,633
Outside Boston 1.71% 1.35% $2,056 $2,446 $2,999 $3,822
BROOKLINE 1.17% 1.03% $2,272 $2,860 $3,539 $4,277
BROOKLINE – CHESTNUT HILL 2.95% 2.55% $2,487 $3,068 $3,984 $3,501
BROOKLINE – BOSTON UNIVERSITY 1.14% 1.14% $2,296 $3,132 $3,980 $4,469
BROOKLINE – COOLIDGE CORNER 1.08% 0.86% $2,310 $2,807 $3,710 $4,604
BROOKLINE – NORTH BROOKLINE 3.57% 3.57% $2,450 $3,400 $3,750
BROOKLINE – BEACONSFIELD 1.25% 1.25% $1,750 $2,684 $3,350 $6,000
BROOKLINE – WASHINGTON SQUARE 0.96% 0.72% $2,143 $2,577 $3,193 $3,929
BROOKLINE – LONGWOOD AREA 0.00% 0.00% $2,303 $3,019 $3,156
BROOKLINE – BROOKLINE VILLAGE 0.31% 0.31% $2,209 $2,618 $3,146 $4,282
BROOKLINE – CLEVELAND CIRCLE 0.35% 0.35% $1,967 $2,800 $3,035 $4,027
BROOKLINE – BROOKLINE HILLS 1.23% 1.23% $2,150 $2,369 $3,600

In conclusion, Brookline has some unique characteristics and qualities that keep demand high and supply low. Apartment vacancy and availability rates don’t seem to spike as significantly as other areas. Turnover in Brookline is lower than seen in other parts of Greater Boston, and this keeps rental pricing high and stable. If living in Brookline for you is a must, give yourself time to acquire that great apartment. Be open to making offers on units that have been vacant for over 30 days. Be ready to have funds on hand and pounce should you see a price reduction on a unit you are tracking. Talk to lots of people, and see if you can find proactive agents that will work hard for you to uncover potential deals before there is general market awareness of a specific unit. Sometimes the best deal is a unit that suddenly comes available far in advance of the lease end date, and you can win by taking quick action. Great real estate agents, that maintain relationships with people that they have rented properties to over the years, often get the heads up knowledge on when people are moving before anyone else knows.

To get the best apartment in Brookline, develop a game plan that works for you, because without one you may end up with an apartment you don’t want or choosing another area. Planning and strategy can make all the difference in the world. The apartment market experts found here at Brookline Pads can help you expedite the process by providing access to the largest local real time database of available apartments in Brookline. And, if after looking at the rents in Brookline and you decide it might be a better decision to purchase, there are sales experts found on the website that can guide you through the entire process to achieve the best possible outcome!

Click here to get in touch with one of the apartment leasing experts in Brookline, or call us at (617) 208-2171!