Average Rent Prices Are Down in Cambridge, MA - Market Report

Written by Posted On Thursday, 18 February 2021 11:53
Cambridge average rent prices Cambridge average rent prices

The housing market in Cambridge, like that of Greater Boston as a whole, has undergone some major changes in the past year. After decades of market growth and record high rent prices for Cambridge apartments, the past year has brought with it a sizable increase in vacancies caused by the pandemic.  Remote learning at the area’s many Universities has caused a supply glut in available units as the student population has been diminished. 

Cambridge is famous for its two prestigious universities: Harvard and MIT. Much like the City of Boston, the housing market is heavily dependent the student population.   So while many of the suburbs and outer neighborhoods have been insulated from this alarming inventory trend, Cambridge has not been so lucky.  As a result of all of this excess inventory, average rent in Cambridge has fell 4.75% year over year while in average rent only dropped 2.88% in the all of the suburbs combined. 

Average Rent Prices in Cambridge, MA

Before the pandemic hit, Cambridge was the most expensive suburb to rent an apartment in Greater Boston, slightly more expensive than apartments in Brookline MA.  Despite the YOY price decreases in both neighborhoods, both are still the most expensive suburbs to rent an apartment by a $300 margin over the 3rd and 4th most expensive suburbs, Somerville and Newton.   Cambridge is still edging out Brookline with an average rent of $2,767 compared to Brookline’s $2.734.

    • The average price for a studio apartment in Cambridge:  $1,714
    • The average price for a 1 bedroom apartment in Cambridge:  $1,988
    • The average price for a 2 bedroom apartment in Cambridge:  $2,402
    • The average price for a 3 bedroom apartment in Cambridge:  $2,999
    • The average price for a 4 bedroom apartment in Cambridge:  $3,813


YOY Changes in Average Rent Prices in Cambridge

Landlords and renters can benefit from the recent changes the Cambridge rental market. By analyzing the year over year changes in rent prices in Cambridge and similar neighborhoods, we can take a shot at predicting what will happen in 2021 and make strategic decisions for the future. 

    • The YOY change for a studio apartment in Cambridge:  -0.58%
    • The YOY change for a 1 bedroom apartment in Cambridge:  -3.45% 
    • The YOY change for a 2 bedroom apartment in Cambridge:  -3.53%
    • The YOY change for a 3 bedroom apartment in Cambridge:  -1.67%
    • The YOY change for a 4 bedroom apartment in Cambridge:  -1.42%


The current housing conditions are creating a short term renters market in Cambridge and other neighborhoods close to Boston.  Until remote learning is phased out of local schools, it’s fair to assume that the supply overages will stick around.  As a result, we expect prices to continue to fall in Cambridge in the first half of 2021.  Landlords have been able to prevent a steep decline in prices by offering a concessions on move in fees.  Boston Pads has noted that in some neighborhoods close to schools, up to 60% of the available listings were marked as no fee or reduced fee, while it’s normally only 4% in a healthy market.  Renters previously priced out of premium neighborhoods like Cambridge could score some deals in 2021.

The entire market will be looking towards the pivotal 9/1 leasing date with anticipation to see what schools decide to do.  We will continue to monitor the situation as it develops. 

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Zach Parker

Zach Parker is a proud dad, husband, and Owner of ProSource Media, a real estate marketing company specializing in SEO, content marketing, social media marketing, and business automation.  He's also Marketing and Communications director for Boston Pads, New Englands largest real-time rental database.  


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