Accommodation in Boston

Finding accommodation in Boston is difficult. The compact city centre receives an annual influx of university students, increasing housing competition, while the high property prices continue to make it one of the most expensive places to buy or rent a home in the country.

This is a significant deterrent to potential city dwellers. Nevertheless, with a bit of patience and determination, expats are likely to find their ideal accommodation in Boston.

Types of accommodation in Boston

There is a diversity of housing options in Boston and expats can typically choose between large family homes, apartments and the brownstone rowhouses.


Brownstones are mostly historical homes built in the late 1800s. They are usually three or four stories high and are made of brown or red brick. They’re usually built in a row, hence they’re also referred to as rowhouses, with street-facing fronts.

These are found in more affluent areas such as Back Bay, North End and Beacon Hill, and are some of the most highly sought-after types of properties in the city, so they can be on the more expensive side. Although spacious and well built, these homes don't provide off-street parking which is a distinct disadvantage for car owners.


There are a variety of apartment types in Boston, from high-rise residential blocks to the more exclusive condo or loft options. These buildings usually include amenities such as air conditioning, central heating and laundry facilities. Apartments are a popular form of accommodation in Boston and are highly sought after.


Houses in Boston are mostly found in residential areas in the outer suburbs of the city. There are many options, from large family homes to smaller units. Houses can be expensive in Boston, but they are popular with students who are looking for a house-share to bring down rent costs. Demand is therefore high for houses, so it can take some time to find the right home, particularly before the start of the academic year.

Finding accommodation in Boston

There are many online listings for property in Boston. Another option is to utilise the services of a reputable real estate agent. However, expats should not that agencies typically charge more than a month's rent as their commission. 

Apartments near downtown are steadily snatched up by university students, but the turnover rate is high. 

Factors to consider when house-hunting in Boston

As with most cities, accommodation near downtown Boston is the most expensive, though house prices in the suburbs are unusually high as well. The price of property close to public transportation is also rising. 

When searching for a property in Boston, expats should consider the proximity of their home to their place of work and their children’s school. Access to public transport is also important, if not owning a car. 

Signing a lease in Boston

When signing a lease in Boston, it’s important to read the contract carefully and to establish exactly what is included in the rental agreement. It’s common for tenants to pay their own utility bills. 

A month’s rent is usually required as a deposit. The first and the last month’s rent is often required to be paid upfront to secure the property.

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