When and How to Search for Monthly Rentals?
Austin is home to the University of Texas as well as many other colleges. It’s also a city that US News and World Report ranked as the number one Best Place to Live in America in 2019.
So it’s no wonder that getting into a good month-to-month rental home can be so hard: current estimates put the city’s vacancy rate at around 6%. But difficult doesn’t mean impossible, especially if you know when you want to move.
SPRING AND SUMMER
The rental high season in Austin is April/May to September, with May through August being the busiest period. One upside to moving at this time is that many college students are leaving their rentals. Another is that the weather, though usually quite hot, is much more accommodating.
On the downside, you’ll be facing a market that is much more volatile. More people will be on the market looking for monthly rental homes, which pushes up demand. This means you’ll have to act quickly to get a good rental. Landlords may also not be willing to negotiate. Because Austin market is tight, expect to pay more during the spring and summer. You’ll also have to pay more for rental trucks/moving services.
Rent search strategies
Don’t look for month-to-month rental homes in neighborhoods close to college campuses as rents are typically higher in those areas than they are elsewhere. And if you move in early spring (and especially around March), be aware that SXSW does impact rental prices.
Scan rental listings at least once a day and try to schedule apartment viewings as early in the day as you can. And if your schedule allows, give yourself at least one month to look for a place to live.
FALL AND WINTER
The period between October and February can offer renters looking for monthly rentals more choice and greater opportunities to save money.
Because this period falls during the holiday season, most people are busy shopping, traveling and preparing for get-togethers with family and friends. The colder weather can also make this time less appealing to prospective renters.
With fewer people looking, landlords are typically more willing to negotiate on rent. You’ll also find better deals on rental trucks/moving company services.
Rent search strategies
If you have a choice between fall and winter, ask yourself what works best for you and your budget. Prices begin to drop in autumn and the weather is still reasonably good. Prices are lowest in winter, though inclement weather may make moving more of a chore.
Since fewer students are looking for housing, more neighborhood options may be available. You’ll also be in a stronger position to bargain with a landlord, who may not want to wait until spring to rent a unit at full price.
No matter when you begin searching, go in with a clear game plan. Knowing what you have going for you and what you’re up against will make finding the perfect monthly rental home that much easier.