It’s often difficult to control when you start a new lease, but being able to carefully time when you move into a rental could save you some serious cash. Recent research from RentHop found that the best time to rent an apartment varies from city to city. You probably won’t be shocked to learn that rents tend to be lower in winter, but some of the variations in rental trends in different cities might surprise you — and knowing how to navigate them could potentially save you hundreds of dollars in rent every month.
RentHop, a search engine for rental listings in major U.S. cities, analyzed rental data from ten U.S. cities to find out how much the average rental price for a one-bedroom apartment changes from month to month. Business Insider then made a handy video of RentHop’s results for New York City, Los Angeles, Houston, Phoenix, Atlanta, Chicago, and Philadelphia. (If you want to see RentHop’s data for Miami, Charlotte, and San Diego, you can check out the full report).
There are a variety of reasons that a rental market might shift throughout the year. Rent prices tend to be lower in the winter, at least in part because of the holidays and because nobody wants to move their stuff in potentially freezing conditions. RentHop also points out that cities with major student populations from universities and colleges will also see a lot of movement in the housing market in the spring and summer, as students graduate and leave in May or June, and new students arrive for the fall. In cities like New York, major corporations also tend to bring in new junior employees in the summer, which can make the market more competitive for everyone.
Unsurprisingly, New York City had the highest rents, regardless of the time of year, of any of the seven cities featured in the video. New Yorkers can expect to pay $3000 for a one-bedroom at the best of times (January), and upwards of $3300 at the worst (September and October).
In contrast, Phoenix had the lowest rental prices overall, reaching their peak of $932 in December and bottoming out at $792 in February. (Phoenix is also unusual among these seven cities for having its worst month for rental prices in the winter; in other cities, the bad months tend to be in the summer or fall.)
Houston and Philadelphia both have their best months in January and their worst in August, though Houston’s apartments tend to be a bit more expensive overall.
Atlanta and Chicago both offer their cheapest rental prices in January. You can expect Chicago’s most expensive housing costs in July, and Atlanta’s in September.
After New York, Los Angeles has the most expensive rental costs of the seven cities.
L.A. is also the city where the month that you start renting can have the greatest impact on what you end up paying; the difference between L.A.’s most expensive month (October) and its least expensive month (February) is a whopping $303. New York follows closely behind with a difference of $300.
The smallest variation in average rents from month to month can be found in Chicago, where the difference you’ll pay between the best and worst months for rentals is $104. But although that amount is only a third of what you could pay in New York or L.A., it still adds up to $1248 over the course of a year — which is obviously nothing to sneeze at.
To see the rest of RentHop’s data (and figure out how to time your next move for the dead of winter), check out the full report here.
Images: Unsplash/Pexels; YouTube (7)