Tracking Multifamily’s Seasonal Rent Fluctuations

Prices fluctuate due to weather, school calendars, job searches, holidays and local traditions.

Landlords adjust their rental prices for supply and demand and how occupancy percentages stack up. A case in point was in New York City over the last three years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Then vacancy was low, allowing landlords to push up rents, which now are stabilizing or dropping a bit.

But there’s another factor that influences lease prices: Rents fluctuate by season, reflecting such variables as moving company schedules and prices, weather and the challenges it brings, school-age children’s calendars and job markets, according to Apartment List.

These fluctuations may vary dramatically by city. In Chicago, it’s known that rents often peak in the fall, then go down in early spring, making that a good incentive for renters to wait to sign on the dotted line. In Texas because of very hot summers, searches for moving may be spaced more throughout the year, according to MoveMatcher.

And in many markets nationwide, there’s a common denominator that searches drop year-end in December because of the busy holiday time. The New Year often kicks off a steady rise in searches, peaking in the summer around July when many make more time to look, especially if they have children and want them to be settled before the school year begins.

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Experienced renters and those doing their homework know more–that the cost of their lease isn’t the only moving expense to consider. Moving companies know about the ups and downs of these prices and may offer better rates when fewer move. Weather is another factor since many moving to a cold climate don’t want to do so when snow and ice affect traffic and getting in and out of buildings. Yet some may decide that the possibility of less costly prices is worth the short-lived hassles. In fact, many property managers may be willing to negotiate better leases then. According to Apartment List, the national median rent falls by an average of 1.7% from the summer peak to its lowest point in winter.

Nevertheless, other renters may still favor summer moves and be willing to pay a higher price. One reason is that they may be able to pick from a greater supply of inventory and have more leisure time.

The bottom line is that getting the very best rent is a deft balancing act of looking at a host of numbers: prices of apartments, moving companies’ charges, numbers of vacancies. And then, in some cases, a move has to be made at a set time, perhaps, if a renter is moving out of town to accept a job.  

Source: GlobeSt.