Rent increases slowed in March and “for the first time since 2016, we see a deceleration from February to March, when the rental season is supposed to kick off,” RentCafe says in their latest report.
The report says the rent slowdown was seen in 60 percent of the cities in the survey as the coronavirus pandemic “is beginning to take its toll on the economy and the apartment market.”
The March rent figures are in and, as expected, “they paint a different picture of the current rental market. Still showing positive growth, the national average rent ($1,474) went up by 2.9 percent, a hard drop compared to February’s 3.2 percent rise, the report from RentCafe says.
“The data has yet to reflect the full impact of COVID-19,” said Doug Ressler, Manager of Business Intelligence at Yardi Matrix, in a release.
“We are monitoring both proprietary and publicly available data on a real-time basis in an effort to forecast the evolution of rents going forward. We expect the impact of coronavirus to last three to six months, before a steady recovery boosts the economy once again.”
A decrease in searches for apartments
The report says under normal circumstances, interest for apartments goes up this time of year, and rent prices would be expected to pick up speed in March.
“But as more and more states urge social distancing, both landlords and residents have begun seeing the effects of the pandemic. Google Trends shows a decrease in searches for apartments, as interest in other home-related subjects — such as home disinfection or home office setups — has skyrocketed.”
Los Angeles and Atlanta show declines
About 75 percent of the nation’s renter mega-hubs saw slower yearly rent increases in March than in February, in line with the national trend.
Los Angeles displayed the weakest year-over-year rise, 0.6 percent, posting a $2,499 average rent.
Atlanta rents rose the second slowest, increasing by 1 percent since March 2019, followed by Orlando apartment prices, up 1.6 percent.