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June 30, 2019, 7:16 a.m. EDT

Warning for renters: Signing a new lease during the summer comes at a premium

This is how much more it will cost renters to move when the weather is warm

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By Jacob Passy


Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty Images
Warm, sunny weather is not a good sign for renters looking to move.

Think the rent is too high? Then you’ll want to avoid signing a new lease during the summer.

A new report from Zillow Group /zigman2/quotes/204413973/composite Z +2.65%   subsidiary HotPads examined the premium renters pay for moving in the late spring and summer months — when the weather turns warmer and school is out of session.

As it turns out, renting at the peak can cost consumers more than $100 a month in some of the country’s largest housing markets.

In New York City, the most expensive month to start renting a home or apartment is May, HotPads /zigman2/quotes/205077794/composite ZG +2.93%  found, where the rent premium is 4.7%. That premium equates to $122 for a median-cost apartment where the rent would otherwise be $2,390 a month.

It’s even worse in San Jose, Calif., where the premium to sign a lease during the most expensive month (August in this case) is $180, or 4.8%, over the median monthly rent of $3,745.

On a percentage basis, renters in Columbus, Ohio, have it worst as the premium to rent starting during the most popular time of year is 7%, followed by Buffalo, N.Y. (6.1%) and Oklahoma City (5.7%).

Read more: Mortgage rates are dropping — so why aren’t more people buying homes?

“Factors like job growth, school schedules and even the weather can influence the amount of demand in the rental market, which often drives rent prices up during high-demand summer months,” said Joshua Clark, economist at HotPads.

Parents looking to relocate their families will often wait until the summer months to avoid having to pull kids out of school in the middle of the year. Meanwhile, college graduates generally turn to rentals after they’ve finished school — unless they’re moving in with mom and dad.

Meanwhile, many people choose to move in the summer in cold-weather states. Otherwise, they could be contending with snow and frigid temperatures while moving their possessions.

Bad news for those planning to move in early summer: Rentals listed on HotPads have the highest asking prices in May, followed by June and July. In the country’s largest housing markets though, June is a more expensive time to start renting.

Also see: Buying a house? Here’s how to ensure your confidential financial details remain secure

All real estate being local, some cities experience peak pricing earlier or later in the year. In Providence, R.I., the most expensive time to sign a lease is March, while in Columbus, Ohio, it’s September.

Those looking to save money would do best by waiting until the winter months, if they can, when landlords are more inclined to provide discounts given the slower traffic listings will see when the weather is cold.

Consumers could also look to score a deal by making concessions to landlords — such as agreeing to a multi-year lease from the start; doing this can also help prevent unexpected rent hikes in the future.

While renters may be none too pleased by rental prices this summer, the rising cost to buy a home has made renting more affordable comparatively in many parts of the country.

/zigman2/quotes/204413973/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 32.10
+0.83 +2.65%
Volume: 3.59M
Oct. 17, 2019 4:00p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$6.46 billion
Rev. per Employee
$307,554
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/205077794/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 31.93
+0.91 +2.93%
Volume: 836,594
Oct. 17, 2019 4:00p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$6.41 billion
Rev. per Employee
$307,554
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Jacob Passy is a personal-finance reporter for MarketWatch and is based in New York.

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