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Unlocking the Secrets of Seasonal Rent Trends in 2024

November 29, 2023
The best times to move into an apartment coincides with seasonal rent fluctuations. Explore to learn more about rent seasonality and how renters use it to their advantage.

Seasonal rent trends are the changes in the rental market that coincide with fluctuations in moving activity throughout the year. These are often driven by location, changes in the weather, school calendars, and local job markets. Being familiar with these trends is essential for both renters and landlords alike. For example, renters can benefit from knowing the cheapest months to rent, while landlords can determine when is the best time to increase rent prices.

With this in mind, we put together a list of things landlords and renters should know about seasonality in the apartment market.

How Does Seasonality Impact Apartment Searches?

Apartment searches are lowest at the end of the year in December. They, then, pick up from December to January and increase steadily until their peak in July. Many people start thinking about accomplishing their New Year’s resolutions when the winter holidays are over. For some, that means improving their living conditions, which is why it shouldn’t come as a surprise that December and January are the best months to apartment hunt.

Monthly Search Volume for Apartments and Movers

July is the peak month for apartment searches, as many try to secure a rental before it gets colder. Therefore, renters are better off aiming for the winter months if they’re looking for the cheapest time to get an apartment. Strategic thinking like this can help them save big bucks in the long run.

How Does Seasonality Impact Moving?

Seasonality can impact moving in a few ways. For instance, moving during peak seasons such as summer may be more expensive due to high demand for moving services. Weather conditions during different seasons can also affect the moving process, especially if transportation services are needed to transfer personal belongings over a long distance.

Share of Renters Searching with High/Low Urgency

Renters in San Francisco or Los Angeles might not be as concerned about weather conditions. However, when deciding when to rent an apartment, residents of cities like Chicago or Boise often avoid moving during winter when dealing with snowstorms and icy roads.

How Does Seasonality Impact Apartment Rental Prices?

Average Month-Over-Month Rent Growth

“Off-season” months are the best times of year to rent an apartment for a cheaper price. Since the demand for rental housing is at its lowest in winter, December and January are the best months to rent. Most property managers try to keep their vacancies low and often negotiate when filling their units is harder. The national median rent falls by an average of 1.7% from the summer peak to its lowest point in December or January, in some markets the discount can be even greater. In addition to rent discounts, property managers may also be more likely to offer other incentives during the off season, such as a month of free rent. Try looking for an ‘apartments move-in special’ offer when browsing.

When Is the Best Time to Rent an Apartment?

The best time of year to rent an apartment is in the winter. Here’s why:

Lower Demand in Winter

The best time to apartment hunt is during the winter. reduced demand resulting from individuals' preoccupation with holiday festivities can work in favor of prospective renters by offering less competition and potentially more favorable prices.

Greater Mover Availability

Since fewer people are moving around in the winter, renters will likely find more availability with moving companies. However, keep in mind that unfavorable weather conditions may cause potential delays.

More Time Off for Moving

The winter season naturally offers people more time off due to holidays. Renters use this to their advantage and plan their moves without requesting PTO.

Better Pricing

Renters interested in finding an affordable apartment should consider looking around in the winter due to potentially favor pricing changes. Many landlords drop rental rates during this less popular time to avoid long-term vacancies.

Move-In Specials

Ask about move-in specials during winter months. Since it’s a less popular time for renters, landlords may be more willing to compromise on a few things.

Where Should Renters Consider Moving in the Winer?

Discover U.S. cities where rent prices significantly drop during the winter, offering great options for those prioritizing their budget while apartment hunting. We've analyzed rent estimates from dozens of cities, comparing prices from July 2023, a nationwide peak, to November 2023 rates.

1. Oakland, CA

Winter is typically the off-season for leasing in Oakland, CA, offering renters the opportunity to secure more affordable housing options. As the bustling summer crowds dissipate, landlords may be more willing to negotiate on rent prices to attract tenants. This can translate into significant savings, especially for those seeking spacious or centrally located apartments.

And while the winter months bring cooler temperatures to Oakland, the city's mild Mediterranean climate ensures that the days are typically sunny and comfortable. The average winter high in Oakland is in the mid-50s Fahrenheit, making it a pleasant time to explore the city's outdoor attractions, such as Lake Merritt, the Oakland Museum of California, or the Peralta Hacienda Historical Park.


2. Long Beach, CA

As the summer rush subsides and the holiday season settles in, winter becomes the off-season for leasing in Long Beach, CA. Landlords, eager to fill vacant units and attract tenants, are more likely to offer competitive rent rates and negotiate with potential occupants, leading to significant savings.

Long Beach's attractions and amenities become less crowded as well, allowing renters to enjoy a more relaxed and personalized experience. Popular beaches, museums, and cultural hubs provide ample opportunities for exploring without the hustle and bustle of peak season.


3. Corpus Christi, TX

Corpus Christi, a coastal gem nestled on the Gulf of Mexico, invites you to escape the winter's chill with its warm embrace. While its allure extends throughout the year, winter presents a unique opportunity to experience Corpus Christi's charm at an affordable price and a more relaxed pace.

When the summer crowds fade, Corpus Christi transforms into a winter wonderland of savings. As landlords compete to fill vacant units, rent prices tend to fall, opening doors to spacious and well-appointed apartments at significantly lower rates. This means you can indulge in a lifestyle upgrade without breaking the bank.

Winter ushers in a tranquil era in Corpus Christi, with its beaches, attractions, and outdoor spaces shedding their heavy foot traffic. Imagine strolling along windswept beaches like Padre Island National Seashore, where the only sounds are the rhythmic lull of the waves and the gentle whisper of the breeze.


4. Atlanta, GA

Atlanta becomes a landscape of opportunity for savvy renters in the winter. With the decrease in demand, rental prices become more flexible, allowing access to a variety of housing options, from trendy lofts in Midtown to cozy bungalows in Decatur, at more wallet-friendly rates. This shift presents a perfect chance for renters to find their ideal apartment at a fraction of the usual cost.

The city's winter months are characterized by a peaceful ambiance, as its famous parks and attractions, like Piedmont Park and the Atlanta Botanical Garden, take on a quieter, more contemplative beauty. You can leisurely explore the BeltLine or enjoy the crisp winter air of historic Atlanta neighborhoods, where the pace slows and the city's rich history and culture can be appreciated in a new light. This combination of affordability and a calmer, more laid-back environment makes Atlanta an attractive option for those considering a winter move.


5. St. Louis, MO

St. Louis's landscape transforms as the year draws to a close, offering a unique charm that captivates those considering a move during the colder months. The city's renowned vigor gives way to a more tranquil rhythm, creating a picturesque setting that's both inviting and serene. Picture the historic streets, now quieter with twinkling lights, touched with the magic of snowfall. This peaceful ambiance invites you to indulge in leisurely walks through the snow-dusted paths of Forest Park, a sprawling oasis that takes on a special kind of beauty in winter.

The rental market in St. Louis mirrors this seasonal shift. Winter brings with it a decrease in leasing activity, making it an opportune time for renters to find excellent deals. Landlords, keen to fill their vacancies, often offer attractive rents and move-in specials. This means that sought-after areas like the vibrant Central West End or the charming, brick-lined streets of Soulard become more accessible, allowing you to experience the city's best without stretching your budget. Winter in St. Louis is not just about embracing the calm and beauty of the season, but also about discovering the joys of living in a city rich in culture and history, at a pace that allows you to truly appreciate it.


Final Thoughts

While the decision of when to move ultimately rests with the individual, it is important for both renters and landlords to consider the seasonal rent trends that can significantly impact the rental market. Renters should carefully weigh the factors involved in a winter move and the potential cost savings that may be associated with it, while landlords may need to adjust rental rates to avoid long-term vacancies during this period. By taking the time to evaluate these considerations, both parties can make informed decisions that lead to long-term success in the rental market.

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Chris Salviati
Chris is a senior housing economist at Apartment List, where he conducts research on economic trends in the housing market. Chris previously worked as a research assistant at the Federal Reserve and an economic consultant, and he has BA and MA degrees in economics from Boston University. Read More
Tristian Brown
Tristian Brown is a Senior Content Marketing Associate at Apartment List, where he manages high-quality content that helps modern renters find the perfect home. He brings an immense wealth of knowledge to the team, having earned a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing and European Management from the University of San Diego and EM Strasbourg Business School. Read More
Emily Kho
Emily is a professionally trained writer who covers a wide range of topics associated with the rental market and real estate industry. With over a decade of professional writing experience, Emily comes from a strong background in the field backed with a Bachelor of Science from the world-renowned William F. Read More
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