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Renters Seek Short-Term Leases During Pandemic

Relocating renters are showing an increased desire for more flexible lease terms that don’t require a long-term commitment. Compared to last year, the apartment sector has seen a 30% increase in the share of renters searching for leases for six months or shorter, according to Apartment List’s fourth-quarter “Renter Migration Report.”

The increased interest in short-term leases is fueled by renters looking to leave pricey coastal metros for mid-sized cities in scenic locales, the report notes. Demand for short-term leases is also increasing among those who want to stay in the city where they currently live.

Honolulu has seen the largest increase in the share of renters searching for short-term leases, the report finds. The city is also seeing a large uptick in out-of-town searches from people looking to relocate there. Other cities that have seen the largest increases in the share of out-of-towners looking for short-term leases are primarily located in small to mid-sized cities.


Short-term rental chart




In some metros, renters may be searching for short-term leases as a way to escape to another area during the pandemic. Demand for short-term leases has grown the most in San Francisco among outbound searches.

“Much has been made of the significant cooling in the San Francisco rental market, and while rents in the city have fallen sharply, our search data suggests that softening demand may have more to do with a lack of newcomers rather than an exodus of current residents,” the Apartment List report notes. “This data hints that some of those who left the area may not be planning on those moves being permanent.”


Apartment chart




Source:  “Apartment List Renter Migration Report: 2020 Q4,” Apartment List (Dec. 7, 2020)

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