Moving in the Winter: Is It Easier or Harder To Find A Rental?

Winter may officially still be a month away, but in many parts of the country renters are already turning up their thermostats as an arctic blast blows in.

For hearty souls used to rough winters (we’re taking about you Chicagoans) and who are in need of a new place to live, now may seem like the perfect time to get a jump on the competition and find the perfect place.

But depending on where you live, new rental data out from HotPads shows that you might just be better off staying inside bundled up and waiting out the winter before starting your rental search.


HotPads analyzed rental listings across the country in the top 25 metros during the 13 weeks from November to January, between 2011 and 2013. Based on average seasonal factors in more than half of the cities analyzed, rental listings were less plentiful during the winter months.

Hardest Cities To Find Rentals In During Winter

If you live in one of these top four cities, we suggest hunkering down for the winter and trying your luck in spring. In particular, Bostontonians would be better off sitting around sipping Irish coffees because the number of listings dropped by as many as 5,000 during your winter months!

  1. Boston
  2. New York
  3. Denver
  4. Pittsburgh
  5. San Diego
  6. San Antonio
  7. San Francisco
  8. Atlanta
  9. Los Angeles
  10. Riverside
  11. Tampa
  12. Philadelphia
  13. Baltimore
  14. Minneapolis-St. Paul
  15. Chicago


Easiest Cities To Find A Rental In During Winter

There were however, a few exceptions. Renters can actually find more plentiful listings in certain cities November through January. The data reveals seasonality and, in some cases, economic factors accounting for the ample number of listings in the below cities. Those in need of a new pad in these regions are advised to grab a scarf and/or rain boots and hit the open houses.

  1. Detroit
  2. St. Louis
  3. Houston
  4. Seattle
  5. Dallas Fort Worth
  6. Miami-Fort Lauderdale
  7. Portland
  8. Phoenix


Cities With Even Chances of Finding a Rental in Winter

In two cities, there was essentially no difference between the number of rental listings in winter versus summer. Those cities were:

  1. Sacramento
  2. Washington DC

Need some help in your rental hunt? Start here. Or, just enjoy some eye candy while you hibernate and we’ll see you in spring!

Lead photo: Steven Leonti