Over Half of American Renters Planning Post-Pandemic Move

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New research reveals how COVID-19 impacts moving during an "industry- and world-shifting year."

In addition to the 22% of American renters who've moved into larger apartments in the past year, 56% say they expect to move post-pandemic, according to recently released research results from property management software provider Entrata.

The research, conducted using an online survey of 1,000 adults who currently rent and have moved in the last 3 years, found that more than a fifth of respondents said they moved to larger apartments within the last year. The research dove into why renters are moving, amenities and how COVID-19 has affected moves.

“2020 was a life-changing year for people, industries and businesses across the globe,” said Chase Harrington, President and Chief Operating Officer with Entrata, in a release. “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.”

Despite ongoing reports of mass relocations from urban to suburban areas, 20% of Gen Z respondents moved from suburban to urban locations. Residents also have the eventual goal of homeownership (21% plan to buy a home after the pandemic). The top reasons renters are waiting to make a home purchase are lack of funds for a down payment and the cost of homeownership. Two-thirds of renters said renting fits their current lifestyle.

Top reasons for making a move during the past 12 months include the cost of rent and more space. Renters heading into urban cores were looking for lifestyle conveniences and better job opportunities, while those moving to suburban locations were searching for more space and lower costs. Three-fifths of movers said the change is long-term.

As far as the pandemic’s impacts, COVID-19 caused 54% of renters to experience moving difficulties, and a quarter of renters said they had difficulty finding apartments in their price range. The inability to tour apartments was listed by 18% of respondents. Half of respondents predict rates to increase in the next year. Almost half of renters transitioned to month-to-month leases due to the pandemic.

Three-fifths of onsite amenities were closed or are heavily regulated due to the pandemic, and fitness centers (70%), pool areas (66%) and clubhouses (56%) were the most impacted amenities. Nearly half (45%) of renters said amenities are still important but will ultimately decide on a community based on its location and price.