Rental Concessions Are Harder to Find as Prices Grow

Move-in specials like free rent, a gift card or complimentary streaming services are becoming harder to find. In our latest analysis of rental concessions, we found that renters will find a move-in special in fewer than 1 in 100 rental listings on HotPads – a 29.4% decrease from this time last year.

Likely driving this trend are growing rent prices, which have picked up after slowing late last year. The same factors that drive growing rent prices – primarily that demand for rentals is outstripping available supply – also often lead to fewer concessions being offered as landlords need less of an incentive to attract new tenants. As we enter the summer season, which typically brings an increase in rental demand, this pattern should continue.

The biggest drops have come in San Francisco, San Antonio, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. The number of rental listings with concessions has fallen by more than half over the past year and rent prices are growing faster than they were last year in each of these markets.

Of course, all real estate is local and some markets are deviating from the trend. The number of rental listings offering concessions has more than tripled in Orlando, and more than doubled in Atlanta, Boston and San Jose. Orlando’s rental market has cooled since late last year, while Boston still has a low share of move-in specials overall – just above half the national average. Atlanta’s jump in concessions came despite being one of the hottest rental markets in the country amid the area’s surge in construction.

Looking at the raw numbers, renters can expect to find price breaks most often in Portland, Louisville, Atlanta and Los Angeles. Landlords in Louisville, Atlanta and Los Angeles are offering move-in specials in about 1 in 50 listings – more than double the national average. Portland renters have an even greater likelihood, as about 1 in 30 rental listings there offer a concession.

Renters looking for a deal on their next home or apartment can use the HotPads search filters to find listings that are offering move-in specials. HotPads’ search filters include an option that allows renters to limit their search to only include properties with listing promos.