Ishay Grinberg says the eye-popping rents in some Boston neighborhoods are basic economics.
"It's supply and demand," said Grinberg, founder and president of the Somerville-based real estate website Rental Beast. More people want to live in desirable neighborhoods such as the Seaport and Back Bay than there are rental units available.
The U.S. Census Bureau's data on median gross rents in Massachusetts shows that Boston is home to a number of the state's most expensive zip codes, including the priciest -- 02199, a sliver of the city on Boylston Street near the Boston Public Library, where the median gross rent is $3,049.
Look at the real-world listings and prices can climb even higher, like a two-bedroom, 1,500-square-foot unit in the 02199 zip code for $14,500 a month.
But such examples also belie the citywide median gross rent of $1,369, which is still about 21 percent higher than the state median of $1,129.
Japonica Brown-Saracino, an associate professor of sociology at Boston University, said the state's capital is experiencing "an affordable housing crisis."
Upper-middle class professionals are continuing to move in to center city neighborhoods, she said, a trend that is partly to blame for spikes in both rent and prices for owner-occupied homes.
While gentrification started in some cities in the 1970s, it intensified in Boston in the 1990s.
"There's high demand," Brown-Saracino said. "They want the rights to an urban lifestyle."
At one point people might have been looking to move to neighborhoods such as South Boston, she said. But prices there rose, so people started moving to Roxbury -- spurring gentrification and higher prices there. The real estate website Zillow shows two-bedroom apartments in South Boston starting at $2,450 a month. The starting point in Roxbury is lower, at $1,650.
And as prices continue to rise in the city people are having to move out, pushing up rents in neighboring communities such as Cambridge and Somerville.
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Brown-Saracino said that as Boston and its suburbs become more expensive, "We have to be thinking regionally what the impact that will have on surrounding communities down the line."
Across the state line, Rhode Island's capital could offer competition for people looking to rent. Brown-Saracino said people might decide to leave Boston for the more affordable Providence, where they can still enjoy city life for a more affordable price.
Around Massachusetts, meanwhile, there are cities like Fall River Places where rents have remained low. In the state's two largest cities after Boston, Worcester and Springfield, Census figures show rents at well below the state median. Median gross rent in Worcester was $975, and $839 in Springfield.
"The vast majority of cities have not gentrified," Brown-Saracino said.
On the slides that follow, we'll look at median gross rent figures at both ends of the spectrum -- the communities with the 25 highest in Massachusetts, and those with the 25 lowest.
The figures are from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2016 American Community Survey.
The median is different from the average, or mean. The median represents the midpoint price in a community -- with one half the sample size being lower, and one half the sample size being higher.
Each slide shows how the community's median gross rent compares to the state median of $1,129. And, where available, the slides offer a range of prices for current listings on the real estate website Zillow.
A table at the end of the slideshow allows you to look up the data for the city or town where you live.
Range in current listings: $700-$7,000.
With significant outliers at the lower and upper ends of its range, Somerville's Zillow listings illustrate why a median figure can better represent a market than an average.