Property

How Much Space Does $1,500 Rent You in Boston?

According to a new report from RentCafé, not a whole lot.
tiny south boston loft

Photo via Luxury Residential Group

Outrageous prices per square foot are nothing new in Boston. Condos like this tiny South Boston loft demand more than $1,000 per square foot, and plenty others fetch even higher dollar amounts.

So it’s not exactly surprising to learn that, compared to the rest of the world, living space in Boston is exceptionally expensive. RentCafé’s newest study breaks it all down—the apartment search site looked at how much space $1,500 rents in you 30 cities across the globe.

According to the report, Berlin and Beijing get a perfectly average bang for their buck; $1,500 rents 1,500 square feet in Berlin and 1,426 square feet in Beijing. But in Boston, things aren’t so pretty. It turns out, $1,500 rents you a whopping 359 square feet. For comparison, that’s about the size of an average living room in a single-family home, or a bit less than a two-car garage.

The good news is that we’re not alone. Boston’s devastatingly low square footage buying power is on par with Geneva and Paris. Both European cities could rent living spaces smaller than 400 square feet for $1,500. The only two U.S. cities that offer even smaller spots are San Francisco at 316 square feet and Manhattan at 277 square feet. (For the record, Manhattan has the smallest square footage out of all 30 cities.)

Those in search of more room on this continent could try moving to Washington D.C., which calculated 543 square feet, or Chicago, which totaled 600 square feet. Istanbul and Shanghai boast the most bang for their buck overall, offering five times the amount of space at 1,899 and 1,705 square feet, respectively.

Need some help visualizing the sad state of housing costs in Boston? Here’s a handy chart.


Madeline Bilis Associate Editor at Boston Magazine @madelinebilis
mbilis@bostonmagazine.com