Since COVID-19 made its entrance into the U.S., people in various states, cities and counties have been under stay-at-home orders. But although the real estate world has hit pause, there is still a desire to move.
In mid-March, Google trends showed an increase in the number of people looking at houses, and that increased interest applies to apartments, too.
In a new report from RentCafe, searches for apartments have now returned to their pre-pandemic numbers.
As Zumper’s National Rent Report said earlier this month, Google search volumes for apartments for rent were down between 10% and 35% during the last week in March in its top cities, while long-term inventory dropped by about 12% the same week.
Now, not only have apartment search levels recovered to pre-pandemic numbers, they have increased 17% compared to the beginning of March, before the drop was recorded.
According to RentCafe, beginning at the end of March and extending into April, apartment searches have been growing from one week to the next.
On Google trends, April searches for “apartments,” “apartments for rent” and “apartment near me” notably rose.
In a survey from RentCafe.com, 62% of renters said they are moving as soon as they find an apartment, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost half of those surveyed said they didn’t have any concerns in regard to “moving in a time like this.” However, about another quarter said they were concerned about whether or not it was “safe to move now.”
Meanwhile, only 11% said they’re staying put, while the rest were either undecided or postponing their move. Additionally, 42% are not changing their apartment selection process.
In line with the rise of home video tours, 28% of the participants said they are also taking advantage of virtual tours to help choose an apartment. Those searching for new digs who now rely on virtual tours and online pictures of a property increased by 11% since mid-March and reached 18%, RentCafe said.