Rent

Could February actually be the best time to sign a lease in NYC?

New York rents are at their cheapest in the middle of winter, according to a new study.

Jeffrey Zeldman/Flickr

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February is perhaps the least pleasant month to be in New York, and certainly not a time of year most New Yorkers are itching to move (unless they're fond of hauling their stuff through slush puddles or getting a moving van stuck in a dirty snow drift). But maybe it's time to reconsider: A new study from the site RentHop found that February is the best month to sign a new lease, with apartments sinking to their lowest price point of the year. 

Winter has long been known as the slow season in New York: demand, and prices, tend to peak in the summer, thanks to an influx of college graduates. In winter, by contrast, renters seem to go into hibernation mode, typically having signed one- or two-year leases that won't be up for renewal again until the warmer months. 

RentHop looked at rents in 10 metropolitan areas across the U.S., and its data supports conventional renting wisdom. The price differential for one bedrooms in particular is dramatic in New York. Citywide, RentHop found that the median price for a one bedroom is $3,000 in February, and $3,171 in July. 

You also stand to benefit by signing a lease in February on a two bedroom: according to RentHop the median rent is $3,400 in the winter, compared to $3,591 in June. 

RentHop's numbers indicate that you'd do well to snag a rental during any of the winter months. There's an uptick in prices come April, and June, July, and September are especially pricey times to rent. 

"Summer is peak volume—and peak pricing," says Jonathan Miller, president of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel. The firm's own data indicate that in Manhattan, the highest number of new leases are signed during July and August. In fact, there was a record-breaking number of leases signed this past August, according to Curbed, and that fierce demand drives up prices. 

Also compounding the slower rental market during winter is the current oversupply of new, luxury developments, which has been compelling landlords to offer concessions and even breaks on rent for some time now. These deals tend to favor New Yorkers seeking rentals at the higher end. If that's not you, take a look at our guide to negotiating with landlords during the slow season. 

 

 

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