Survey: Many Renters Plan to Move But Have New Needs

Modern apartment buildings

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Many renters have been on the move during the pandemic or are planning to move soon, according to a new survey from  property management software company Entrata. Twenty-two percent of renters moved to a larger apartment with more space over the last year while 46% say they’re planning a post-pandemic move. Financial limitations are the main reason renters say they’re continuing to lease instead of buy, with 39% of survey respondents saying they can’t afford a down payment and 33% saying homeownership is too expensive.

“2020 was a life-changing year for people, industries, and businesses across the globe,” says Chase Harrington, Entrata’s president and chief operating officer. “Our survey of U.S. renters shows that many moved to larger spaces to accommodate work-from-home needs, moved back to hometowns, and some even moved to the city to take advantage of lower rental rates. We’re seeing a shift in the industry as renters look for more flexible leasing options and think differently about apartment amenities.”

Nearly half of respondents—47%—cited the pandemic as the reason they switched to a month-to-month lease. The top reasons why renters say they moved over the last year are:

  • The cost of rent (27%)
  • Need for more space (24%)
  • Need for a change of pace (18%)
  • The COVID-19 pandemic (16%)

Many rental amenities, like fitness centers, spas, clubhouses, and playgrounds, were closed or strictly regulated over the past year. And only 14% of renters say their rent was decreased because of those restrictions; the majority of respondents felt their rent should have decreased due to the closures.

After that experience, renters say on-site amenities will influence their decision less in the future. Forty-five percent of renters say that while they still want good amenities, they will ultimately choose a property based on location or price.