News & Trends

"Houses for Rent" Inquiries Down 50% at the Start of COVID

February 18, 2024

Leasing Trends

Google Search Trends shows the search for "houses for rent" is down almost 50% year over year.

Showdigs internal data shows similar trends, with properties receiving just half of the inquiries they had previous to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Short Term Implications and Recommended Actions

If you have an active listing, there are fewer renters looking. For tenants, owners, and yourself, it's still critical that you place tenants. Now more than ever, people need a place to live.

Here are some ways to prevent vacant days on the market:

  1. Extend soon to expire leases. Be proactive and avoid any days on market. Extend your leases by a month or two, working with the tenant and the owner to prevent move-out during this time.
  2. Adjust your leasing processes. Stop group showings, offer FaceTime showings, offer self showings, offer virtual/video tours.
  3. Optimize your adjustments. If you do offer a new type of showing, in particular an instance where the process involves removing an in person viewing, adjust your lease agreement to include a site unseen clause. If you're offering FaceTime showings or video showings, market that feature to increase lead flow.
  4. Lower your rents. If you're not getting any activity, it may make sense to reduce your rental amount to get someone in the home now. There's simply less demand than we've seen historically at this time.

Long Term Implications and Recommended Actions

Prepare for a downstream of effects following COVID-19. This will be on top of what is the craziest time of the year as a Property Manager (summer).

No one fully knows what's to come, but we could easily see more move-outs, maintenance requests, defaults on payments, and everything that accompanies that happen all at once.

While you have some extra time right now, put some thought into how you can adjust your processes to quickly scale (and then descale) your business.