When do you start looking for a Boston apartment?

post by jkaufman · 2019-10-29T16:30:01.716Z · score: 9 (3 votes) · LW · GW · 4 comments

A huge fraction of Boston-area apartments are on a September 1st to September 1st lease cycle. This is driven by college student rentals, but the whole city has ended up on the same pattern. So you might expect to see the most apartment listings in August or maybe July? Nope:

The peak is in late spring, May-Jun, about a hundred days out. It's not as dramatic as what I saw with one year's data in 2013, but people are planning way ahead. I think this might be driven by students lining up housing before they leave for the summer?

This matches my experience looking for apartments and lining up housemates: if you have strong preferences or want an especially good fit you need to start looking in the late Spring.

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comment by Kenny · 2019-11-28T21:57:12.392Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm really confused. I'm used to the NYC rental market, particularly Brooklyn, and, aside from lining up apartment-mates, the rule is that you look for a new apartment right before you're reading to move. I can't even remember seeing apartments listed for rent months in advance, tho I wouldn't be entirely surprised that it happens, e.g. for students.

Where are you getting your listings and how can you tell when the lease is intended or expected to start from the listing?

comment by Raemon · 2019-11-28T22:01:28.788Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

NYC doesn't have the "almost all apartments operate on a Sept 1 - Sept 1 schedule", so if that's true in Boston it makes sense for there to be a fairly different ecosystem there.

comment by jkaufman · 2019-11-29T02:25:38.368Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm used to the NYC rental market, particularly Brooklyn, and, aside from lining up apartment-mates, the rule is that you look for a new apartment right before you're reading to move.

NYC has a very different apartment listing culture than Boston, yup!

Where are you getting your listings and how can you tell when the lease is intended or expected to start from the listing?

I'm scraping Padmapper. The availability date is usually plain text in the listing, unfortunately, and is also not something I have in my archived date (just location, price, and number of bedrooms).

But if you go on Padmapper, Craigslist, etc in April and look at listings, you'll mostly see 9/1 start dates.