Affordable Housing In Boston
Suffolk County, Massachusetts

Jump to:

There are 185 low income housing apartment complexes which contain 19,037 affordable apartments for rent in Boston, Massachusetts. Many of these rental apartments are income based housing with about 11,514 apartments that set rent based on your income. Often referred to as "HUD apartments", there are 8,832 Project-Based Section 8 subsidized apartments in Boston. There are 11,442 other low income apartments that don't have rental assistance but are still considered to be affordable housing for low income families.

The HUD funded Public Housing Agencies that serve Boston are the Boston Housing Authority and Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development.

Affordable Apartments in Boston

Image of Parmelee Court Homes
1782 Washington Street
Boston, Massachusetts
Parmelee Court Homes is a 74 unit low income housing apartment community that provides 1-3 bedroom apartments for rent in Boston. Rents at Parmelee Court Homes are $1,850-3,100.
Apartments in this community are not rent subsidized. However, this apartment community has rents considered affordable for low income families in Boston.
Low Income Housing Tax Credit
Image of Langham Court
26 Worcester Street
Boston, Massachusetts
Langham Court is a 84 unit low income housing apartment community that provides St.-2 bedroom apartments for rent in Boston. Rents at Langham Court are $1,350-2,900.
Apartments in this community are not rent subsidized. However, this apartment community has rents considered affordable for low income families in Boston.
Low Income Housing Tax Credit
Image of Oliver Lofts
166 Terrace Street
Boston, Massachusetts
Oliver Lofts is a 62 unit low income housing apartment community that provides 1-2 bedroom apartments for rent in Boston. Rents at Oliver Lofts are $1,995-2,950.
Apartments in this community are not rent subsidized. However, this apartment community has rents considered affordable for low income families in Boston.
Low Income Housing Tax Credit
Image of Bowdoin School
45 Myrtle St
Boston, Massachusetts
Bowdoin School is a 35 unit low income housing apartment community that provides 1-2 bedroom apartments for rent in Boston. Rents at Bowdoin School are 3000.
Some or all apartments in this community are rent subsidized, which means rent is income based.
Project-Based Section 8 Project Based Rental Assistance
Image of Parker Hill
170 Parker Hill Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts
Parker Hill is a 90 unit low income housing apartment community that provides St.-2 bedroom apartments for rent in Boston. Rents at Parker Hill are $1,800-2,400.

Housing Authorities that serve Boston

The Boston Housing Authority is a Section 8 and Public Housing public housing agency in Boston, Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development is a Section 8 public housing agency in Boston, Massachusetts.

Understanding Affordable Housing in Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, MA Affordable Housing Snapshot

Total Affordable Apartment Properties 185
Total Low Income Apartments 19,037
Total Rent Assisted Apartments 11,514
Percentage of Housing Units Occupied By Renters 65.68%
Average Renter Household Size 2.29
Total Population 650,281
Housing Units 256,294
Average Household Size 2.35
Median Household Income $55,777 ±$1,049
Median Rent $1,320 ±$14
Percentage Of Renters Overburdened 49.45% ± 1.13pp

Population and Household Demographics

Boston is a City in Suffolk County, Massachusetts with a population of 650,281. There are 256,294 households in the city with an average household size of 2.35 persons. 65.68% of households in Boston are renters.

Income and Rent Overburden in Boston

The median gross income for households in Boston is $55,777 a year, or $4,648 a month. The median rent for the city is $1,320 a month.

Households who pay more than thirty percent of their gross income are considered to be Rent Overburdened. In Boston, a household making less than $4,400 a month would be considered overburdened when renting an apartment at or above the median rent. 49.45% of households who rent are overburdened in Boston.1

Data derived from 2010 Census and 2015 5-Year American Community Survey. Learn More.
1 Margin of Error: ± 1.13 percentage points.

Area Median Income In Boston

Affordable housing program eligibility is always determined by one's income. Each household's income is compared to the incomes of all other households in the area. This is accomplished through a statistic established by the government called the Area Median Income, most often referred to as AMI. The AMI is calculated and published each year by HUD.

HUD often uses an area larger than a city to determine the AMI because HUD anticipates those searching for housing will look beyond individual cities during their housing search. For Boston, the AMI is calculated from all households within Suffolk County.

In Boston, HUD calculates the Area Median Income for a family of four as $103,400

Most affordable housing programs determine eligibility based on the percent of AMI a given household's income is. Among the programs that determine eligibility based on the AMI are Section 8, HOME, LIHTC, Section 515, 202 and 811.

Rental Assistance in Boston

Rental assistance is a type of housing subsidy that pays for a portion of a renter’s monthly housing costs, including rent and tenant paid utilities. This housing assistance can come in the form of Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, project-based Section 8 contracts, public housing, USDA Rental Assistance (in Section 515 properties) as well as HUD Section 202 and 811 properties for elderly and disabled households.

Boston HUD Rental Assistance Income Limits

AMI Band 1 Person 2 Person 3 Person 4 Person 5 Person 6 Person 7 Person 8 Person
30% $21,700 $24,800 $27,900 $31,000 $33,500 $36,000 $38,450 $41,320
50% $36,200 $41,400 $46,550 $51,700 $55,850 $60,000 $64,150 $68,250
80% $54,750 $62,550 $70,350 $78,150 $84,450 $90,700 $96,950 $103,200

You can identify apartment communities that participate in a program that provides rental assistance by looking for the tags in the apartment list above. View Apartments.

Low Income Housing Tax Credits in Boston

The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program aims to create affordable rental housing for low and very low income families.

From 1987 to 2012, 95 low income apartment communities containing 8,992 rental apartments have been constructed and made affordable to low income persons in Boston by the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program.

You can identify apartment communities that participate in the program in Boston by looking for the tag in the apartment list above. View Apartments.

If your income is less than 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI), you should not expect to pay more than the rent value for a unit in the table below. However, Affordable apartment communities that receive funding through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program may have rental units that are not subject to income and rent limits.

Rent limits for the LIHTC Program are determined so that a household making the maximum income for the expected household size of the unit would only pay 30% of their income for rent.

Boston Low Income Housing Tax Credit Income Limits

AMI Band 1 Person 2 Person 3 Person 4 Person 5 Person 6 Person 7 Person 8 Person
50% $36,200 $41,400 $46,550 $51,700 $55,850 $60,000 $64,150 $68,250
60% $43,440 $49,680 $55,860 $62,040 $67,020 $72,000 $76,980 $81,900

For example, the expected household size for a two bedroom apartment is 3 people. Using the table above, the maximum income for a 3 person household at 60% of the AMI in Boston is $55,860 a year, or $4,655 a month. To determine the maximum rent in the table below we multiply the monthly maximum income, $4,655 by 30% to get a maximum rent of $1,397 a month.

Rent for units in the LIHTC Program include a utility allowance which is determined by the average monthly cost of utilities paid directly by residents. This allowance has not been subtracted from the rents in the table below. These utility allowances are set on a property by property basis.

% of AMI Studio 2 Bed 3 Bed 4 Bed 1 Bed 5 Bed
50% $905 $970 $1,164 $1,344 $1,500 $1,655
60% $1,086 $1,164 $1,397 $1,613 $1,800 $1,986
Fair Market Rents in Boston

Fair Market Rents, often abbreviated as FMR, can be used to better understand the average housing costs of an area. Notably, Fair Market Rents are used to establish the payment standards for the Housing Choice Voucher Program, maximum rents in HOME financed rental projects and initial rents for Section 8 project based assistance.

2017 Fair Market Rents
Studio One BR Two BR Three BR Four BR
$1,194 $1,372 $1,691 $2,116 $2,331