Fewer rental listings nationwide are advertising concessions – move-in specials such as rent discounts, gift cards, ride share offers or free streaming services – than one year ago, according to a new HotPads® analysis.
Across the U.S., the number of rental listings on HotPads mentioning at least one concession has decreased 29.4% from this time last year. Renters will find a move-in special in fewer than 1 in 100 rental listings on HotPads.
Nationally, rent prices are seeing strong growth after slowing in 2018. The same factors driving this growth – primarily that demand for rentals is outstripping available supply – may also lead to fewer concessions being offered as landlords need less of an incentive to attract new tenants. As we enter the summer season, which typically brings an increase in rental demand, this trend will likely continue.
In San Francisco, San Antonio, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., the number of rental listings with concessions has fallen by more than half over the past year. Rent prices are growing faster than this time a year ago in each of these markets.
"The fall in concessions over the past year is consistent with the rental market beginning to heat up again. This potentially signals more rent growth is to come, as landlords not only reduce incentives to move but also increase prices," said HotPads Economist Joshua Clark. "Of course, all real estate is local and deals are becoming more common in some places.
More important for renters than chasing a move-in special is finding a place that meets enough of your needs and wants at a monthly rate you can afford. While these types of specials can bring savings in the short term, those can be quickly erased if concessions expire after one year or with the cost of another move."
Not all markets are seeing fewer deals than they did last year. The number of rental listings offering concessions has more than tripled in Orlando, and more than doubled in Atlanta, Boston and San Jose. Orlando's rental market has cooled since late last year, while Boston still has a low share of move-in specials overall – just above half the national average. Atlanta's jump in concessions came despite being one of the hottest rental markets in the country amid the area's surge in construction.
Landlords are offering price breaks most often in Portland, Louisville, Atlanta and Los Angeles. Renters in Louisville, Atlanta and Los Angeles can expect to find a move-in special in about 1 in 50 listings – more than double the national average. Portland renters have an even greater likelihood, as about 1 in 30 rental listings there offer a concession.
Change in Rental Listings Advertising Concessions, YoY
Percentage of Rental Listings Advertising a Concession
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