Changing Trends for Rentals Since COVID

Changing Trends for Rentals Since COVID

It’s been about three years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve seen a lot of change happen over this timeframe. The pandemic has changed elements of healthcare, family and friend circles, work environments, the rental market, and so much more. In this blog, we’ll explore the effects on the rental industry. Let’s get started.

When the pandemic began, we saw a lot of people moving to more suburbs and rural areas. Many wanted out of the inner cities because they typically had the highest numbers of COVID. Many of these people were given the option to work from home. This allowed them to move out of the city since they no longer needed to go into their job site every day. Some may have even desired larger spaces at home because of working from there. Now that we’re no longer in the heat of things and many companies have returned to “normal,” many people have moved back to the cities. Although some have remained in the suburbs and rural areas, since some companies decided to adopt a work-from-home environment.

Some landlords lost money during the pandemic because of the eviction moratorium. However, some were able to make up for this as rental prices increased with inflation and they could raise their rates. Some were also able to raise rates because of the people who moved out of the cities. But even before the pandemic started, rental prices had been increasing. However, recently, there’s been a slight decrease in most areas of the U.S. It’s speculated that this has to do with people not wanting to take on larger expenses because of inflation and the fear of recession.

That doesn’t mean that landlords won’t be able to fill occupancies. It just means that landlords need to stay competitive with today’s market. Keeping the price competitive with the current market will help. It’s also important to know what renters are looking for post-pandemic.

So, what are renters looking for? Beyond competitive pricing, many people have added a few things to their checklist when looking for a new place to rent, due to the pandemic experience.

  • Room to work. Because many people worked from home during the pandemic, and many still do (either full-time or as part of a hybrid environment), they desire an area that allows them to do their job from home. Many tenants want more space in their units or at least a dedicated area that would work as an office. People are also being attracted by extra amenities that a remote worker would desire, such as WIFI and a coworking space.
  • Outdoor areas. During the pandemic, many people learned to appreciate the great outdoors, where they didn’t feel trapped inside or unsafe. Because of that, many now desire outdoor areas for alone time, entertaining, etc. Tenants will appreciate amenities such as a walking trail, a gazebo, a community garden, a rooftop entertaining space, a patio, etc.
  • Smart devices. Even before the pandemic, people were adopting smart devices in their home. As technology continues to advance, people are desiring these features even more. Not only do they make things easier but many devices also save energy.
  • Pet areas. Many people got pets during the pandemic. So, if you allow pets on your rental property, you may want to consider offering areas for pets such as a dog park or walking trails that allow dog owners to easily take their pets for a walk.

Added amenities are always a great feature for attracting renters, especially when the renter might be spending the majority of the time in this space. Also, keep in mind that some renters may also be looking to sign shorter leases because they may have found themselves wanting to move during the height of the pandemic and unable to do so because of a longer lease. This may be something to consider as you look to attract more tenants.

Another feature that grew more popular during the pandemic was the ability to do virtual tours. At the beginning of the pandemic, we were being told to stay home and then not to be around a lot of people. Many of us were very selective about who we spent our time with and tried to limit our interactions. There were also restrictions placed in several areas across the U.S. Treading carefully allowed technology to grow and blossom though. Many more landlords adopted the use of virtual tours for prospective tenants. This growing option now allows more people to check out a property quickly and make decisions faster. There’s also another option that made things easier, which was the ability to visit properties on your own (without the landlord needing to be present). These conveniences not only make it easier for the prospective tenant but also the landlord.

Overall, we’ve seen a lot of changes in the past few years. But we can learn from them and use them to make our properties more attractive to potential tenants. If you’d like help managing your residential rental, please reach out to us at PMI. We help landlords stay competitive.