Renters surveyed by property management software company Entrata cited cost and space-related reasons as their biggest impetus for moving over the past year.

Property investors rode a wild wave during the pandemic, with the short-term rental market stopping, then restarting, and property prices in many second-home markets soaring. What does the future hold for new second-homeowners and for managers of more robust property portfolios? We’ll explore that and more, all May long, at Inman.

Renters have had a hard time during the pandemic, with many in high-contact jobs most impacted by layoffs. With optimism about an end to the pandemic now upon us, renters are preparing to make their move after a year of upheaval.

More than have of renters (56 percent) are planning a post-pandemic move, and 22 percent have already moved to a larger apartment within the last year, according to results from a survey recently released by property management software company Entrata. In addition, many younger adults decided to move back home, with 14 percent of Gen Z renters reporting they moved back in with parents over the last year.

Credit: Entrata

Entrata conducted the survey prepared by PR and marketing firm Method Communications, and distributed the survey through Qualtrics among 1,000 U.S. adult renters who have moved within the last three years. The survey was conducted from March 9 to March 29, 2021.

“2020 was a life-changing year for people, industries and businesses across the globe,” Chase Harrington, president and CEO of Entrata, said in a statement. “Our survey of U.S. renters shows that many moved to larger spaces to accommodate work-from-home needs, moved back to hometowns and some even moved to the city to take advantage of lower rental rates. We’re seeing a shift in the industry as renters look for more flexible leasing options and think differently about apartment amenities.”

Not surprisingly, many renters cited costs of owning a home as their biggest incentive to continue to rent. Thirty-nine percent of renters said they couldn’t afford a down payment on a home, while 33 percent said that homeownership was just too expensive.

Out of those renters who have moved in the last year, most were motivated to do so because of cost and space-related reasons. Cost of rent was the top reason for renters to move in the last year, with 27 percent of renters citing this reason as their motivation. After that, 24 percent of renters said they moved because they required more space.

Most renters who moved in the last year also said that they did so with long-term plans in mind. Only 33 percent of renters said they made a short-term move in the last year, while 61 percent said they plan to stay situated for longer than a year.

Renting became more challenging over the last year on a number of fronts, according to Entrata’s data. Nearly one-quarter of renters reported that they had difficulty finding rentals in their price range, 20 percent said their friends and family were unavailable to help them with moving, and 18 percent reported that they were unable to tour rental units as a result of the pandemic.

In addition, 47 percent of renters had to switch to month-to-month rental agreements as a result of the pandemic. Out of those renters, 42 percent said the pandemic impacted their rental rate, with it increasing the rental rate of 34 percent of respondents. And while 19 percent of renters said they became more interested in a month-to-month rental agreement as a result of the pandemic, 53 percent said they wouldn’t be willing to pay a higher rent in order to benefit from a month-to-month rental agreement.

Credit: Entrata

Although apartment amenities were largely restricted because of COVID-19 for many renters (61 percent), only 14 percent of renters said the reduction in amenities was reflected on their rent with a price discount. But, 79 percent of renters who saw their amenities reduced or eliminated because of the pandemic believe their rent should have been reduced in price as well.

Email Lillian Dickerson

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