TRD Insights: Apartment searches surpass pre-pandemic level

RentCafe reports 17% increase; Google searches also rose in March

Apartment searches on surpassed their pre-pandemic level by 17 percent in April 
Apartment searches on surpassed their pre-pandemic level by 17 percent in April

Apartment searches on have surpassed their pre-pandemic levels, according to a RentCafe report. The company believes the gain reflects a rebound in consumer optimism and a return to normal seasonal apartment-hunting levels.

From March 11 to 17, RentCafe searches dropped by 25 percent from the previous week as evidence mounted that the coronavirus was spreading across the United States. Search volume started to rebound in the last week of March, however, and April data show that it has exceeded its pre-pandemic levels by 17 percent.


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RentCafe also examined Google Trends data and found that searches for “apartments,” “apartments for rent” and “apartments near me” all jumped after dipping sharply in March.

This jump in search volume broadly aligns with a RentCafe survey conducted April 14 to 16 which found 62 percent of RentCafe users still want to move as soon as they find a suitable apartment, up from 56 percent from a survey conducted in the last week of March.

This apparent rebound in consumer optimism comes as several states have eased social distancing guidelines and governors announced plans to reopen their states’ economies.

RentCafe and Google users aren’t necessarily a representative sample of all people in the United States. Many landlords anticipate a shortfall in May as tenants struggle to make rent or plan rent strikes in May.