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Online Searches Suggest Apartment Renters Are Back In The Game


Online search activity for U.S. apartments dropped suddenly in mid-March as the coronavirus became a worldwide pandemic.

RENTCafé analysts saw a 25% fall in the number of renters searching for apartments in the week of March 11-17. 

Now, just a few weeks later, search activity levels the company is tracking suggest many apartment hunters are already back in the market for rentals, or at least looking for options for when the economy reopens. 

Searches documented by Google Trends and RENTCafe's site show activity is back to pre-pandemic levels, RENTCafé reported this week. Furthermore, recent April numbers from the RENTCafé site show searches for apartments are now 17% higher than they were prior to the mid-March coronavirus-induced traffic decline.

"The bounce-back and realignment of apartment searches with typical seasonal trends are positive indicators that consumer optimism is returning," RENTCafé's Sanziana Bona wrote in her report.

A recent survey of 9,000 individuals by RENTCafé indicates that 62% of respondents intend to move as soon as they find a new apartment. About 11% said they intend to stay where they are, while the rest surveyed were either delaying a move or undecided.  

About 28% said they intend to use virtual tour options when looking for their next apartment.