Medford MA Rental Market Starts To Heat Up As Tufts Rental Season Nears
A quick glance at Medford’s apartment rental market could be a cause for concern to the untrained eye. Despite vacancies for Medford apartments staying well below the Metro Boston average throughout most of the pandemic, last month that number climbed above the vacancy rate for Boston Metro for the first time since summer of 2019.
The current vacancy rate in Medford is 2.01%. That is just a fraction above the Metro Boston vacancy rate of 1.98%. Nonetheless, it’s the first time vacancies in Medford eclipsed that of Metro Boston, as Medford held a vacancy rate almost 50% below the Metro vacancy rate throughout most of the past 12 months.
In 2020, the vacancy rate for Metro Boston ballooned to 7.73% in September, the highest number recorded in over a decade. In Medford, the vacancy rate never surpassed 4%. In addition to this, a bit of local knowledge will tell you that Medford’s rental season is far from over as it is for much of Metro Boston.
To understand this part, it’s important to understand a critical component of the Medford MA apartment rental market: Tufts University off campus housing. Metro Boston’s rental market is highly cyclical due to the large student population, and most leases center around September 1. Medford’s market is unique in that their academic calendar and semester dates create demand for housing throughout the Fall, as students can opt in for an 8 week semester starting in October.
As a result, the rental season in Tufts stays busy from September through November, and apartment inventory wanes throughout the fall. So although it looks like their is a glut in apartment supply now compared to a year ago, that will most likely change before the end of the year. Look for the vacancy rate to be at or below the Metro Boston vacancy rate by January 2022, and look for Medford’s rental market to continue to grow in 2022 as demand for suburban housing has increased since COVID.