Why Do Apartment Lease Rates Change So Often?

July 31, 2014


For those of you who have been searching for apartments, you might have noticed a difference in the way that apartments are priced these days. Nowadays, rather than setting a fixed price for all of their available units, many apartment communities are opting to use a dynamic supply and demand-based pricing model that closely resembles the pricing models of modern airlines and hotels.

The Variables That Go Into Rental Rates

Rental rates fluctuate daily because they are based on many variables, the most important being supply and demand for that floor plan in the broader market and in that community, seasonality, and overall market conditions. Other factors that can influence the rates include specific amenities in the particular apartment you are looking at, its location on the property, when you want to move in and how long you want to stay.

In days gone by, apartment communities used to fix their rents for longer periods of time because it was a lot more labor intensive to figure out what was going on in the market. Leasing agents had to call competing communities and ask for rent and occupancy rates on each floor plan type. As you can imagine, sometimes the information given was not terribly reliable. Nowadays we rely on outside services to provide us that information. The added benefit to the consumer is that it offers an additional layer of Fair Housing protection. The pricing is determined by a computer model and cannot be manipulated to offer preference to one renter over another for any reason other than the ones noted above. (For more information about Fair Housing laws, please read our recent article titled What is Fair Housing and How Does It Affect Me?)

Tips for Getting The Best Deal

To get the best deals under the dynamic pricing model, and the best possible lease terms, we recommend that you:

  • Do the research ahead. Because prices can fluctuate on a daily basis, and rate quotes are only good for a limited time, (Springs quotes are good for 24 hours) it’s important that you have a really good idea of what you want, when you want it and how much you want to spend. You have to be ready to commit quickly so you don’t miss out on the rate and term that works for you.
  • Pay attention to the lease end date. Apartment communities don’t want leases to end during slower months because they will be harder to release. So it may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes it may be advantageous to take a shorter term lease. A 12-month lease might not be the way to go – longer or shorter terms may offer better pricing, so ask for options.
  • Rent an apartment that was very recently vacated. Rates will often be better if you move in as soon as an apartment is ready. If you ask the community to hold the apartment until you’re ready, the rate will go up. Apartment communities have to try to recoup some of the lost revenue from having an apartment vacant for a long period of time.
  • Think about the time of year you move. Although you may expect you’ll get a great rate if you lease during a slow leasing month (November through February in most markets), that is not always the case. Think of supply and demand – most communities have a lot of leases expiring in the summer months, creating a glut of supply, meaning rents may be lower. But remember to ask about the lease length (see above) to get the best price.

Apartment leasing is like any other business: we stay in business when we’re able to make a reasonable profit that allows us to reinvest in our communities, consistently maintaining and upgrading facilities, services and amenities to ensure a high level quality and continued value and appeal to residents. Our method of establishing leasing rates helps us do that, and knowing how it works helps residents take advantage of the process.

If you’d like more detail about where Springs stands when it comes to rates in the areas where we have communities, feel free to reach out to talk to one of our leasing associates. And to learn more about our available apartments and lease prices in your area, try using our online location finder!

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