Rents in major US cities fluctuate as much as 5.8% during the year

A well-timed rental in NY could save up to $191 per month

Miami, Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago skylines (Credit: Max Pixel, Public Domain Pictures, Pexels)
Miami, Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago skylines (Credit: Max Pixel, Public Domain Pictures, Pexels)

Renters in the nation’s largest cities could save as much as $2,200 a year on rent if they wait for the right time of the year to sign a lease, according to a newly released report.

Renthop found that rents during the most expensive and least expensive months last year fluctuated by 4 percent to 5.4 percent for one-bedroom apartments and from 2.3 percent to 5.8 percent for two-bedroom apartments.

In most cities, rents are highest from late spring to early fall and drop over the winter months. New York City saw the biggest difference in seasonal pricing in terms of absolute price. One- and two-bedroom pads were cheapest in February, with median prices at $3,000 per month and $3,400 per month, respectively. The median price for a one-bedroom apartment jumped to $171 by July and two-bedroom pricing jumped $191 by June.

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The spread wasn’t so drastic in Los Angeles. November and December were the best months to rent, with pricing 4 percent to 4.1 percent lower than in peak months — June for one-bedrooms ($2,085-per-month) and September for two-bedrooms ($2,603-per-month). That means a renter could theoretically save $1,236 with a one-year lease by waiting three months to sign on the dotted line.

Rents in Miami fluctuated very little last year, perhaps because of the balmy year-round weather and fewer college-age renters, which Renthop theorized fueled some of the seasonality. The five cities with the highest enrolled student percentage had an average seasonal variation of 4.4 percent, 1 percent higher than those with the lowest population of students.

Rents were just $37 and $51 higher between the best and worst months in Miami for one- and two-bedroom apartments, respectively. The cheapest month to rent was December and the most expensive was July.

Chicago two-bedroom apartments fluctuated the most between peak and off-peak rental months, in terms of percentage. The median rental rate in September, $2,335 per month, was 5.8 percent higher than March when it was $2,200 per month.