Just three months into 2022, there are barely any vacant apartments in Fenway. That is especially astounding considering that just 18 months ago, Fenway’s rental market was flipped upside down when the vacancy rate climbed to an unprecedented 17.59% as a result of remote learning policies that took effect at local Universities.
In the year that followed, we saw a market recovery unlike anything we’d ever seen. From September 2020 to September 2021, the vacancy rate plummeted from 17.59% to 3.02%, an unprecedented 82.83% drop. The free-fall was far from over, as the vacancy rate continued to fall throughout Q4 2021 and into Q1 of this year. Now the vacancy rate for Fenway apartments sits at 0.14%, the lowest recorded level by far.
Vacancy rate is not the only apartment supply metric in Fenway that has hit all-time lows. The availability rate for apartments in Fenway dropped 47% below its previous all-time low in November of 2021. Fenway apartment availability bottomed out at a paltry 0.72% in December of 2021 before trending back upward at the beginning of the year. Now the availability rate of 6.61% is significantly lower than its pre-pandemic level of 10.69% in March of 2019.
Fenway is no stranger to high apartment turnover, as it is centrally located near two of Boston’s largest higher learning institutions. Apartment availability typically peaks in the spring months in the 10-12% range historically. However, the availability has already begun its seasonal downtrend early in 2022, as it peaked at 8.02% earlier this month before dropping 1.5% to its current level of 6.61%.
Vacancies typically hit their cyclical low in late August in Fenway as it does in most neighborhoods in Boston. With apartment occupancy nearly full in late March, it looks like we may see 100% occupancy for the first time in Fenway. Unseasonably low availability combined with almost full occupancy will only mean one thing for renters in 2022: rising prices.
Look for Fenway’s average rent price to surpass its previous all time record of $3,157 set in April of 2020. At the current rate of price growth, that could happen as soon as June, as the average rent price has already increased by $153 since the start of the year and currently sits at $3,004.