HOUSTON - If you're looking to move to a new apartment or rental home, now is the time to save money.
Half of Houston's apartment rentals are cutting deals to fill vacant units, according to research firm ApartmentData.com.
Right now, you could rent an apartment in many places in greater Houston for anywhere from half a month to three months off of a year-long lease.
During the stay-at-home order, apartment tours went online to try to keep renters coming in. Now, many apartment complexes are offering deep discounts.
"You can go downtown and you'll still see two to three months free on individual properties," said Bruce McClenny, President of ApartmentData.com.
McClenny says apartments offering concessions have jumped from an average of 2.9% off in May of 2019, to 3.4% off of rent in May of this year. He says that's about half a month's rent off a 12-month lease.
"Basically more properties are offering concessions. We're up to 50% of all properties offering concessions, at a higher level of discount," up from 44% in May of last year, he said.
Not only did the stay-home order keep renters from applying, now it's job loss.
"Their situations have changed where people are moving out but not as many people are moving in. That's the pressure on occupancy going down," explained McClenny.
Even before this drop, Houston already had too many apartments.
"We really know how to overbuild a market here. We've got a lot of apartment developers. We've got a lot of great inventory because of it. But the timing of the delivery of this with the pandemic, it's not very opportune for the market," he said.
That adds up to big savings for renters, but bad news for property owners. Although, McClenny doesn't believe the downturn will last.
"I think the stability of the industry and people needing a place to stay wil be there, and rents may change and occupancies may change a little bit. But the overall health of the industry will be fine," he said.
If you're looking to move, now is the time. Don't be afraid to try to negotiate your rent, particularly if you can sign a longer lease. It doesn't hurt to ask.