When Is the Best Time to Apartment Hunt?

best time to apartment huntYou may be surprised to learn that, like most shopping ventures, there are better and worse times to go apartment hunting. And. . . like most monetary expeditions, supply and demand has a very large part to play.

Check out our calendar of rental months below and the pro/cons to having your lease begin with each:

January – February:

Pro: Few people relish the thought of hoisting their sofa down icy apartment stars (though sliding a couch down an icy shoot sure is one way to move it!). Or, for that matter, being outside in sub-freezing weather moving all the little pieces of an apartment move. As a result, you’ll have much less competition and can likely score a better deal.

Con: Hi, January 1 is New Year’s Day. Yick.  Also, all the reasons why these months lead to better deals (hint: COLD). Plus, there will likely be a smaller overall selection than other months.

March – April:

Pro: Definitely one of the best times to apartment hunt! There is a larger selection of merchandise and the weather is warming up.

Con: You’ll be on a March/April lease, so may have fewer subletter options should you need to jet before the end of your lease.

May – September:

Pro: Huge selection of apartment openings – likely the largest number of openings all year as these are the most popular months to rent. You also will be on a fairly common schedule for renewal, so are guaranteed a good selection of apts in years to come.

Con: It can feel a bit like the Filene’s Basement Running of the Brides as SO MANY people are looking for an apartment during this time – and so many Craigslist listings to comb through. September 1 lease are especially bad, so try to avoid September if at all possible.  September is also when all the college kids will be looking, which can get frustrating fast when apartments which look nice in photos and seem so cheap are actually super dumpy.


Pro: Similar to the March/April months, there is still plenty of apartments for rent, but a much less intense search period as the volume of apartments turned over in October is likely half that of September. Hello, deals!

Con: Hard-pressed to find!

November – December:

Pro: Very few people want to move this close to the holidays and all the inherent travel that accompanies the holidays.

Con: See above (Do YOU want to move while dealing with Xmas/Hannukah lists?).

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule and we often have little choice about when we have to move. However, if you do have some flexibility, try to shoot for March, April or October leases.

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Author My First Apartment

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I've lived in apartments in 6 cities (including 2 foreign countries). Does that make me an expert? As of now, my ceiling isn't leaking and I don't have rodents (knock on wood) -- so I'm going to say yes . . . but ask me again tomorrow:) These days, I'm enjoying life Chicago style, but my years in Brooklyn are never far from my mind. P.S. By day I work at Cars.com, but these opinions are totally, 100% my own.

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Comments (2)

  1. Avatar Rodney Dodge

    Thanks for the insights. I was glad to see that confirmed what I had suspected. I will be actually be moving during the Christmas / HanX season. Deals, here I come! :-)

  2. Avatar Tyler Deitz

    This is a really interesting article. We wrote a similar post a few months ago, but we took a statistical point of view by looking at median apartment prices in college towns (most of our readers are college aged) across a year.

    Our findings are very similar, but we noticed a significant price increase in the months of April and May. We use data from our available apartments, so we judge it just as by April and May most apartments are rented our for the next year in college towns. Since most people will take the best deals, then the more expensive apartments are left.

    It was very interesting to see the perspective of ease of moving though, and I think together they can really tell the whole picture for users.

    Our post is located here: http://apartments.cazoodle.com/blog/2011/08/23/when-you-should-rent-in-college-towns/