Rental property managers, property management companies and single-property landlords should take into account how and why rental property prices change from season to season. Rental prices often fluctuate with the seasonal moving habits of prospective new renters. That is, increases in rent tend to happen in the “on season” in the spring and summer rather than in the “off season” in the fall and winter.
When Is Demand Highest and Lowest for Rental Property?
The degree to which the seasons affect rental demand is dependent on how variable the climate is in the region you live but there are some basic trends that apply in most markets.
December and January tend to be a low-demand season as few people want to relocate during the cold weather. Moving in a snow or rain storm is not appealing for obvious reasons. This is the time when renters will be looking for deals if they’re going to move at all, so prices should be kept lower.
There is a big jump in the number of people moving in March; it grows steadily through the springtime and then even more dramatically in the summer. Demand peaks in August, before falling gradually throughout the autumn.
People who move during the summer generally understand that rental prices will be a bit higher. Many of them are interested in the greater selection that summer moving offers them and getting settled before the cold weather and the school year starts. If your rental property offers something special and higher end than the average rental, this is the time that you are most likely to get a renter willing to pay higher rent.
Apartment Search versus Moving Trends
Those looking to rent property should understand that the seasonal patterns of actually making a move differ somewhat from those of searching for a new apartment.
Some people begin searching for apartments in December or January; searches increase gradually until they hit their peak in July and then gradually decline during the late summer and fall. Once the search has yielded results, the application process begins followed by moving day which upticks in March and peaks in August.
There are two main types of apartment searchers:
Those who begin early and plan long-term are somewhat more likely to not move at all but end up just being “window shoppers” for 2-3 months. This group often starts searching in January and may wait until spring or summer before moving.
Those who start searching only a month or so before actually moving often start their search in July and move in August.
Pricing Property to Match the Seasons of the Rental Market
When a property manager has an unfilled unit, they need to consider both when prospects tend to begin searching as well as when they tend to move along with other market factors before setting the rental property price.
Many aren’t going to move in the winter, during the holidays, until after they graduate from college, or until the kids are out of school for the summer. In general, it’s best to price a property lowest in the winter, highest in the summer, and at mid-point during the “shoulder seasons” of spring and fall.
Non-seasonal factors that can affect rental property prices
The biggest factor that affects rental property prices is supply and demand; when a community or area has a very low rental property vacancy rate, rental prices go up.
Other factors that can cause higher rental prices are increases in expenses for property owners such as higher property taxes or metered water usage. In some cases, additional amenities or a major property renovations warrant a rent increase.
Apart from these additional factors, rental property managers understand how the seasons affect rental property prices.
Son-Rise Property Management has been serving the property management needs of Bellingham and Whatcom County since 1996. Contact us today to see how we can help you find a rental property for your family or manage your rental properties.