Rental Housing In Massachusetts

Massachusetts Rental Overview

The population of Massachusetts, according to the 2010 Census, is 6,547,629. The total number of households in the state is 2,547,075. The average household size for Massachusetts is 2.4. The total number of renter households in the state is 959,917 which means that 37.69% of households are renter households. Compared to all other U.S. States, Massachusetts is ranked 20th in percentage of renters. District Of Columbia is ranked first with 57.99% and West Virginia ranks last with only 26.55%.

According to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the median rent paid among all renter households and housing types and sizes in Massachusetts is $1,063 per month. Ranked against all other states in the country, Massachusetts ranks 43rd for the highest median rent. Hawaii ranks first at $1,387 and West Virginia ranks last at $618. Though rents are set more locally, statewide median rents provide a basic outlook of housing costs for each state.

The number of vacant rental units in Massachusetts is 46,564 representing a vacancy rate of 6.4%. Among all U.S. states, Massachusetts ranks 16th for the lowest vacancy rates. New York ranks first with a vacancy rate of 4.5% and South Carolina ranks last with a vacancy rate of 12.9%. As lower vacancy rates are an indication of a healthier rental housing portfolio, Massachusetts’s rental housing portfolio is performing above the National average.

ProgramProjectsUnits
Project Based Section 8 647 55,861
Section 202 209 9,468
Section 811 131 901
Section 515 60 1,845
RDRA 57 1,490
LIHTC 626 43,200
Senior 283 13,760
Public Housing 636 51,304
Section 8 Voucher 134 81,906
Total 1,428 120,964
Note: The total does not necessarily equal the sum of each program as some properties may participate in multiple funding programs.

‡This program is not project based, instead Housing Authorities provide vouchers to individual renters. In the state of Massachusetts there are 134 independent Housing Authorities that may issue these vouchers.

The average number of units per property for affordable rentals in Massachusetts is 84.70. The largest market for federally assisted housing in the state is Boston at 18,274 units and the smallest is Buckland at 3 unit(s). 283 apartment properties provide housing for seniors containing 13,760 units. Of the 120,964 units, 98,601 units include some form of rental assistance (like Section 8) to make rent more affordable for very low income families.

Affordable Housing by Counties in Massachusetts ranked by federally assisted units

There are 14 counties or county equivalents in Massachusetts. The county or county equivalent with the largest population is Middlesex County at 1,503,085 and the smallest is Nantucket County at 10,172. The county or county equivalent with the largest percentage of renter households is Suffolk County at 64.74% and The county or county equivalent with lowest portion of renters is Barnstable County at 22.6%.

The density of Federal housing assistance at the county level in Massachusetts ranges from a low of 21.1 units per 1,000 renter households in Nantucket County to a high of 405.9 units per 1,000 renter households in Suffolk County. The average Federal housing assistance density for all counties in Massachusetts is 170.3 units per 1,000 renter households.

The table below summarizes the Federally assisted housing located in each county in Massachusetts. All major affordable housing programs are provided on a county by county basis. Click on the name of the county to see a more in depth summary of affordable housing in that county.

CountyTotal Units
Suffolk County 40,674
Middlesex County 17,558
Hampden County 12,640
Worcester County 11,461
Essex County 10,745
Bristol County 6,695
Norfolk County 6,339
Plymouth County 5,515
Berkshire County 1,868
Barnstable County 1,866
Hampshire County 1,711
Franklin County 1,176
Dukes County 199
Nantucket County 37

Affordable Housing by City in Massachusetts ranked by federally assisted units

We are tracking 261 cities in Massachusetts that have at least one Federally assisted housing community. With a population of 6,547,629, East Wareham has the largest population of these cities. There are 1 Federally assisted housing communities in East Wareham which are home to about 32 families, most of which are lower income families.

The table below provides a summary of all Federally assisted housing communities by city in Massachusetts. All the major affordable housing funding program breakdowns are provided. Click on the city name to get a full affordable rental housing report for each city in Massachusetts.

CityTotal Units
Boston 18,274
Springfield 8,716
Dorchester 8,114
Worcester 6,188
Roxbury 4,710
Lowell 4,597
Cambridge 3,113
Lynn 2,295
Brockton 2,223
New Bedford 2,178
Lawrence 2,035
Holyoke 1,923
Quincy 1,765
Salem 1,643
Fall River 1,583
Somerville 1,568
Haverhill 1,388
Chelsea 1,353
Brighton 1,343
East Boston 1,336
Jamaica Plain 1,183
Framingham 1,179
Chicopee 939
Newton 917
Charlestown 903
Allston 858
Leominster 798
Pittsfield 794
Brookline 789
Revere 754
Fitchburg 734
Rockland 698
Weymouth 651
Malden 648
Westfield 640
Roslindale 628
Greenfield 608
Walpole 600
North Adams 566
Gardner 548
Attleboro 523
Andover 522
Abington 514
Dorchester Center 512
Peabody 502
Beverly 501
Taunton 495
Dartmouth 482
Roxbury Crossing 455
Webster 446
Oxford 430
Melrose 425
Raynham 421
Methuen 417
Hyde Park 402
Randolph 371
Woburn 362
Wareham 345
Waltham 332
South Boston 331
Norton 318
Mattapan 310
Marlborough 308
Shrewsbury 302
Milton 299
Plymouth 294
Reading 294
Southbridge 291
Saugus 286
Wakefield 284
Amherst 277
Hanover 270
Lakeville 264
Turners Falls 264
Watertown 256
Northampton 253
Florence 252
Clinton 251
Bourne 246
Natick 241
Stoughton 241
Medford 239
Danvers 236
North Andover 234
Mansfield 231
Hyannis 229
Adams 219
Canton 212
Everett 202
Burlington 202
Mashpee 201
Longmeadow 201
Feeding Hills 200
Amhearst 200
Newburyport 199
Ipswich 197
Stoneham 194
Athol 193
Marshfield 191
Orange 191
Wilbraham 186
Hadley 185
Palmer 183
Westwood 180
Yarmouth 174
Littleton 172
Holbrook 170
Fairhaven 169
Pocasset 168
Braintree 166
Sudbury 165
Middleborough 164
Ashland 162
Falmouth 160
Arlington 157
Vineyard Haven 152
Franklin 146
Chelmsford 144
Ware 140
Easthampton 140
Wellesley 134
Belchertown 130
Fiskdale 130
Harwich 125
Billerica 122
Westport 120
Swansea 120
Ayer 114
Lexington 113
Maynard 112
Stow 110
Scituate 109
Winchendon 108
Tyngsborough 104
Orleans 100
Sharon 99
Needham 99
Douglas 96
Blackstone 96
Norwood 95
Lee 95
Dedham 95
Hudson 95
Sandwich 94
Somerset 90
Upton 89
Plainville 88
Westborough 87
Townsend 86
Baldwinville 85
Williamstown 82
Northborough 81
Dracut 80
Northbridge 80
Millville 80
Whitman 80
Holden 80
Southwick 80
Kingston 78
East Longmeadow 77
Dalton 77
Holliston 75
West Roxbury 72
Rutland 69
Gloucester 67
Lunenburg 66
South Dennis 64
Foxborough 64
Whitinsville 63
Rockport 61
Edgartown 60
Spencer 60
Hingham 60
West Newton 59
Groton 58
Wrentham 58
Duxbury 58
Middleton 58
Hampden 56
North Chelmsford 51
Weston 51
Ashburnham 48
Grafton 48
Shirley 48
Wheelwright 48
Newbury 48
Chatham 47
Byfield 46
Dennis Village 46
Dennis 46
Lenox 44
South Hadley 44
East Douglas 41
Berlin 40
Belmont 40
Pepperell 40
West Barnstable 40
Sturbridge 40
Southampton 40
Plympton 40
Dorchestr Ctr 40
Charlton 39
Nantucket 37
Hubbardston 36
East Sandwich 36
Westford 36
Middleboro 36
Fallriver 35
Merrimac 34
Salisbury 34
Dennis Port 32
East Wareham 32
East Taunton 32
Westminster 30
Dorchester And Mattapan 30
Auburn 30
Stockbridge 30
Great Barrington 29
Bolton 28
Williamsburg 28
Topsfield 28
Brewster 28
Amesbury 27
Marion 27
North Brookfield 24
South Deerfield 24
West Wareham 24
Rowley 24
Harvard 24
Boylston 24
Worthington 22
Manchester 21
Wales 20
Concord 20
Winchester 18
Provincetown 18
Carlisle 18
Marlboro 17
Princeton 16
Agawam 15
Chester 15
Oak Bluffs 14
Wellfleet 12
North Attleboro 12
Barre 10
Newbedford 10
North Reading 8
Monson 8
Hanson 8
W Springfield 8
West Springfield 8
Warren 6
Ludlow 6
Wilmington 5
Groveland 5
Clarksburg 5
Marblehead 4
Lansborough 4
Glouchester 4
Lanesbourgh 4
Buckland 3

Housing Authorities in Massachusetts ranked by assisted units and vouchers

Housing authorities are governmental (or quasi-governmental) entities that manage various Federal housing assistance programs on behalf of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These programs include Public Housing, Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers and other programs.

There are 134 housing authorities in Massachusetts. These housing authorities own and operate an aggregate of public housing units and administer Section 8 rental vouchers. Of the 134 housing authorities, 45.5% have both a public housing and Section 8 program.

The largest housing authority in Massachusetts by total housing assistance units managed is Boston Housing Authority with 24,618 public housing units under management (10,404 public housing units and 14,214 Section 8 vouchers).

The table below provides a list of housing authorities in Massachusetts and includes each housing authorities public housing and Section 8 voucher count. Click on the housing authority name to get more details on the housing authority.

NamePublic Housing UnitsSection 8 Vouchers
Boston Housing Authority 10,404 14,214
Department of Housing & Community Development - 21,055
Cambridge Housing Authority 2,400 2,823
Springfield Housing Authority 1,806 2,733
Worcester Housing Authority 2,436 2,087
Fall River Housing Authority 2,042 2,431
New Bedford Housing Authority 1,748 1,884
Lowell Housing Authority 1,641 1,246
Brockton Housing Authority 1,624 1,149
Holyoke Housing Authority 921 1,280
Lawrence Housing Authority 1,049 1,023
Lynn Housing Authority & Neighborhood Development 455 1,605
Somerville Housing Authority 583 1,193
Medford Housing Authority 698 987
Quincy Housing Authority 649 945
Malden Housing Authority 577 976
Taunton Housing Authority 553 999
Framingham Housing Authority 235 983
Salem Housing Authority 39 1,088
Brookline Housing Authority 497 619
Chelsea Housing Authority 352 515
Northampton Housing Authority 109 740
Chicopee Housing Authority 383 393
Pittsfield Housing Authority 163 580
Newton Housing Authority 298 441
Gloucester Housing Authority 89 633
Waltham Housing Authority 265 450
Revere Housing Authority 194 470
Chelmsford Housing Authority - 631
Milford Housing Authority 65 562
North Adams Housing Authority 304 313
Methuen Housing Authority 42 558
Beverly Housing Authority 168 420
Barnstable Housing Authority 68 514
Franklin County Regional Housing Authority - 579
Plymouth Housing Authority 112 456
Falmouth Housing Authority 222 319
Dedham Housing Authority 24 461
Braintree Housing Authority - 480
Greenfield Housing Authority - 450
Norwood Housing Authority 96 341
Amherst Housing Authority 15 413
Arlington Housing Authority - 422
Leominster Housing Authority - 399
Woburn Housing Authority 100 288
Wakefield Housing Authority 40 331
Everett Housing Authority - 365
Haverhill Housing Authority - 349
Peabody Housing Authority - 337
Weymouth Housing Authority 70 225
Shrewsbury Housing Authority 99 173
Westfield Housing Authority - 265
Needham Housing Authority 135 120
West Springfield Housing Authority - 251
Saugus Housing Authority 100 150
Yarmouth Housing Authority - 249
Melrose Housing Authority - 240
North Andover Housing Authority 105 133
Danvers Housing Authority 76 145
Wayland Housing Authority 136 78
Watertown Housing Authority 50 156
Fitchburg Housing Authority - 199
Dartmouth Housing Authority - 197
Rockland Housing Authority 40 154
Winchendon Housing Authority 131 35
Hudson Housing Authority 92 69
Tewksbury Housing Authority 50 110
Acton Housing Authority - 155
Middleborough Housing Authority - 154
Rockport Housing Authority - 153
Newburyport Housing Authority 50 102
Lexington Housing Authority 77 68
Milton Housing Authority - 144
Winchester Housing Authority - 143
Marlborough C.d.a. - Housing Division - 135
Bourne Housing Authority 56 76
Pembroke Housing Authority 49 83
Andover Housing Authority - 127
Reading Housing Authority - 125
Southbridge Housing Authority - 125
Bridgewell - 125
Dracut Housing Authority 44 68
Webster Housing Authority 61 43
North Attleborough Housing Authority - 104
Concord Housing Authority 18 85
Auburn Housing Authority 103 -
Natick Housing Authority - 102
Gardner Housing Authority - 102
Easton Housing Authority - 101
Medway Housing Authority 100 -
Clinton Housing Authority 99 -
Ware Housing Authority - 99
Dennis Housing Authority - 98
Williamstown Housing Authority - 97
Attleboro Housing Authority - 95
Adams Housing Authority - 95
Walpole Housing Authority - 95
Burlington Housing Authority - 93
Stoughton Housing Authority 40 48
Oxford Housing Authority - 87
Abington Housing Authority - 86
Amesbury Housing Authority - 84
Holbrook Housing Authority - 82
Middlesex North Resources Center, Inc. - 75
Bridgewater Housing Authority - 69
Warren Housing Authority - 66
Billerica Housing Authority - 65
Mansfield Housing Authority - 64
Holden Housing Authority - 59
Athol Housing Authority - 58
Groveland Housing Authority 58 -
Salisbury Housing Authority - 58
Ipswich Housing Authority - 55
Scituate Housing Authority 51 -
American Training By Chelmsford Housing - 50
Holliston Housing Authority - 49
Belmont Housing Authority - 47
Community Teamwork, Inc. - 43
Stockbridge Housing Authority - 41
The Bridge of Central Massachusetts - 35
Maynard Housing Authority 32 -
Hanson Housing Authority 6 25
Bellingham Housing Authority - 30
Sandwich Housing Authority - 28
Hingham Housing Authority - 25
North Reading Housing Authority - 22
Millis Housing Authority - 21
Halifax Housing Authority - 14
Brockton Area Multi Services Inc. - 14
Duxbury Housing Authority - 13
Wilmington Housing Authority - 11
Wellesley Housing Authority - 11
Swansea Housing Authority 8 -
Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority - -

Federally Assisted Affordable Rental Housing

According to our affordable housing data, Massachusetts has a total of 1,428 rental properties that receive at least one form of Federal housing assistance and are at least partially reserved for low income persons. These properties contain an estimated 120,964 rental housing units. (Note: Some of the Federal source data we use does not include total unit count for a property -- most notably the LIHTC database -- so the number of units listed here may be less than the actual.)

The Project Based Section 8 Program is the largest assistance program by unit count. The program assists 55,861 in Massachusetts. The charts below lay out how each Federal program impact affordable housing in Massachusetts.

Federal Programs By Unit Count Hover over a bar to view