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What month has the cheapest rents?

Rents may fluctuate throughout the year, so real estate site RentHop looked into the best and worst months to rent in 10 U.S. cities.
To get the best deal on an apartment, you may have to start your lease in the winter, according to a new report. Photo: iStock

There are a lot of factors to consider when looking for an apartment, and apparently, what time of the year you’re renting is a big one.

Real estate site RentHop released a report Monday looking into the best time of the year to rent a new place in cities throughout the country because, according to the site, different factors can cause fluctuations in prices throughout the year.

In the summer, for example, college students tend to be moving to start school or, if they recently graduated, moving somewhere new for work. In the winter, fewer people are apartment hunting because of the cold weather, which may mean cheaper rents.

But is that true in practice, rather than just theory? According to RentHop’s research, yes — the best months to rent overall were between December and March, while the worst were between May and October.

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On average, those “best” months resulted in a 3.9 percent discount on rent, as compared to the worst months.

In New York City, the savings was even higher, with a max discount of about 5.4 percent.

The single best month to rent a new one-bedroom place in New York was February, when rents average $3,000, according to the report, and the worst was July, when rents are up to $3,171. Choosing to rent in the winter could mean saving as much as $171 per month for a one bedroom, or more than $2,000 a year.

For a two-bedroom, the results were pretty similar. The best month to rent a two-bed in New York City was February ($3,400), while the worst was June ($3,591). Renting in February could mean saving up to $191 per month.

To conduct this report, RentHop looked at the top 10 United States cities based on population of the overall metro area.

February was also the cheapest month to rent a one-bedroom in Philadelphia at $1,100, while May was the most expensive, at $1,153. The difference there was $53 a month in savings, or 4.6 percent.

For two-beds in Philadelphia, December was the best month ($1,500) and May the worst ($1,560), with a savings of $60 per month, or about 3.8 percent.

Boston had a lower percent difference between the best and worst one-bedroom rents, but still averaged a higher monthly savings (RentHop did note that dollar savings will be smaller in cities where the cost of living is cheaper).

If you’re looking for a one bed in Boston (or Cambridge, included in RentHop’s report), February is the best option with an average of $2,200 and September, at $2,278, was the worst.

Unfortunately, it may be a little bit harder to find a non-September rental there, as about 80 percent of the city’s leases turn over on Sept. 1.

If you can manage to avoid the practically city-wide move-in date in Boston and settle into a new one bed in February instead, you could save up to $76, or 3.4 percent.

For two-bedroom places in Boston, January (at $2,800) was the best month and, again, September (at $2,911) was the worst. Renting in the winter could mean saving $111 per month, or 3.8 percent.

However, apartment searching in the winter, RentHop acknowledges, could mean fewer options overall.

“Generally, higher turnover means more possible apartments (though they’ll likely get swooped up faster!)” the report notes. “There might ultimately be a trade-off between cheaper rents versus potentially larger selection that renters should be cognizant of.”

 
 
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