The coronavirus pandemic created a situation where millions of Americans had to live and work within their homes for over a year — encouraging many renters to look for better living arrangements, both then and now.
Entrata, a property management software company in Lehi, Utah, found in a new survey that 56% of renters plan to move after the pandemic is over. This may be due to finding more affordable properties, as half of respondents expect rental rates to go up within the next year.
COVID-19 encourages renters to find more suitable living arrangements
The past year saw much movement across the country as people sought better living arrangements during the COVID-19 outbreak. The biggest reasons renters gave for moving included:
- The cost of rent (27%)
- Needing more space (24%)
- Needing a change of pace (18%)
- The coronavirus pandemic (16%)
Some moved back in with their parents, with Gen Z making up the largest share of this group (14%). Entrata also found that 20% of Gen Z renters moved out of rural and suburban areas into the city, possibly to take advantage of lower-than-usual rent prices during this time.
Similarly, a survey from Realtor.com found that pandemic-era homebuyers sought out value and affordability in their home purchases as well, with younger buyers willing to commute farther to work to do so.
Other respondents don't plan on staying for the long term, though. Although 61% of renters said they will remain in their current place for more than a year, a third hope to change their living arrangements in the months ahead.
Another 21% aim to buy a home of their own after the pandemic, a number that includes 30% of millennials. And with the number of home listings expected to increase in the coming months, prospective homebuyers have much to look forward to.
Difficulties of renting during the coronavirus pandemic
Entrata's survey also found that more than half (54%) of renters that moved within the past year had difficulties doing so. The biggest challenges respondents had were:
- Difficulty finding rental units in their price range (24%)
- Family and friends being unavailable to help with moving (20%)
- Inability to tour rental units (18%)
Just over 6 in 10 respondents (61%) also said their properties closed down or began regulating the use of on-site amenities like fitness centers, pools and playgrounds during the pandemic. Only 14% of renters reported a discount in their rent as a result, even though 79% believe their rent should have been lowered due to these new restrictions.
However, amenities like these aren't the deciding factor for most renters. In fact, for 45% of respondents, their main priorities are location and rent price. Only 12% would choose a rental specifically for the on-site amenities it offers.
Methodology: Entrata's online survey was created by Method Research and distributed by Qualtrics from March 9-29, 2021, among 1,000 adults in the U.S. who currently rent and have moved within the last three years. The data was then balanced for age, gender and geography.