Boston's rental market remains tight ... and pricey

Boston’s apartment market remains one of the tightest — and priciest — in the country, a situation that is unlikely to change in the near term amid strong renter demand and a dearth of new housing supply coming on line.

The city’s strong fundamentals bode well for its already red-hot multifamily market, where the pace of transactions and new development proposals have snowballed over the past 12 months. Just this week, The Abbey Group of Boston pitched a plan to build more than 200 rental units at the corner of Boylston and Jersey streets near Fenway Park, a stones throw from another development by Samuels & Associates to add 290 apartments to the neighborhood.

Other recent transactions — deals that have seen thousands of housing units change hands — have involved local and national players such as Wood Partners, The Hamilton Cos., Behringer Harvard, UDR Inc. and Equity Residential, among others.

According to new report by Reis Inc. , Boston’s apartment market had a 4.4 percent vacancy rate at the end of June. The rate marked a 1.8 percentage-point improvement over the city’s vacancy figure in the year-earlier period and was well below the national rate of 6 percent at the end of the second quarter. The country’s lowest vacancy rate was recorded in New Haven, home to Yale University as well as a slew of smaller state and private schools.

Reis’ rental-market report was derived from rental data in 82 major metro regions nationally.

Boston also ranks high relative to the effective rents charged by landlords. The city’s effective monthly rent of $1,664 was fifth-highest in the United States behind New York (effective rent of $2,826); San Francisco ($1,806); Westchester County, N.Y. ($1,796); and Fairfield County, Conn. ($1,750).

Boston’s effective rent at the end of June was up 2.4 percent from the year-earlier period. Nationally, effective rent averaged $997 per month at the end of June, a 0.6 percent year-over-year change.

Reis said the national market’s trends are unlikely to change anytime soon, as new completions of rental housing remain in the doldrums. New completions totaled 8,675 units in the second quarter, up slightly from the first quarter’s total of 6,930 units. Reis said both totals were the lowest on record since it began tracking rental data in 1999.