Real Estate

Rental market is already seeing effects of coronavirus

Online searches for apartments have dropped

As more and more people across the country are under stay-at-home orders, the rental market has quickly seen the effects.

As many open houses have been canceled or moved to virtual, the number of movers has also slowed down.

According to Zumper’s National Rent Report for April, Google search volumes for apartments for rent were down between 10% and 35% last week in its top cities, while long-term inventory dropped by about 12% last week.

“Though renters have hit a pause on their moves right now, as no one is going to open houses, we have an optimistic view for the long-term as the rental market will not be impacted as deeply as industries like travel and hospitality,” the report said.

Short-term inventory, defined as a minimum lease of less than four months or an option for month to month, has grown about 20-25% year over year, Zumper said.

“It seems short-term property owners originally renting out to traveling guests are now marketing their properties to longer-term flexi-stays in response to the collapse in demand from travelers,” the report said.

Out of the top 10 cities Zumper analyzes, Seattle had the largest year-over-year decline, with one-bedroom rent falling 8.5%. Meanwhile, the markets with the biggest monthly rent declines, all down around 5%, were mainly on the east coast.

Overall, the report said that national one bedroom rent increased 0.2% to a median of $1,221 last month, while two bedrooms grew 0.6% to $1,471. On a year-to-date basis, one and two bedroom prices are up 0.4% and 1.1%, respectively.

San Francisco continued to rank as the most expensive market, with one-bedroom rent remaining the same, at $3,500, and two-bedrooms dropping 0.9% to $4,540. Year over year, one bedroom rent is down 5.4%.

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