BOSTON (CBS) – As moving vans and college students once again descend on Boston, real estate experts say thousands of apartments are still empty and unrented due to the pandemic.
Landlords are finding it difficult to fund buildings typically crammed with college students. Experts estimate more than 10,000 apartments in Boston remain up for grabs.
“We actually have a building in Harvard Square that we’ve had trouble renting out because Harvard has gone completely online,” said Maggie Getman, marketing manager for First Choice Realty. “We’ve had to rent out some larger apartments by the room because everyone is in such different places this year.”
The rental changes driven by remote learning trends at colleges and a rapid shift to at-home work.
“The biggest decrease we’ve seen so far was a $1200 decrease for a 5 bedroom in Brighton,” said John Puma, Chief Operating Officer for apartment search website Places for Less.
In downtown Boston, there are still ads for brand new luxury apartments but, on average, Puma says rents are down roughly $200 to $600 a month.
Landlords and brokers are being forced to offer sweet deals.
“We’ve seen 2 to 3 months rent free. Other incentives like free parking, waived deposits, waived pet fees, all kinds of incentives,” said Puma.
Many brokers are now advertising apartments using virtual tours and settling in for the long haul.
“We expect by this weekend that there will be another round of price reductions because it’s finally going to set in what September 1st looks like,” Puma said.