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What’s the best time of year to start renting in Philly?

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A new study suggests signing a lease in the winter

Philadelphia towers in Center City. Courtesy of Shutterstock

Spring and summer in Philly can be a lot of things. They’re beautiful, warm, sunny, and—according to a new study—expensive. At least that’s if you’re trying to rent.

The study, conducted by housing data site, Renthop, analyzed rental prices in Philly to determine the relative costs of signing a new lease on one and two-bed apartments at various times of the year. In findings that may not be surprising to some—especially those who have lived in the city for years—they found winter to be the cheapest, and early-mid summer to be the most expensive times to start a new lease.

“The peak season seems to pick up in March before peaking in May. The slower season seems to start in September/October,” the study said.

But those numbers vary depending on what kind of apartment you’re trying to rent. The average one-bed lease in Philly is cheapest in January at around $1,600 a month, compared to the most expensive: July at $1,667.

Meanwhile, December is the ideal time to start renting a two-bed spot, with an average cost of $2,000 a month. Two-bed apartments hit their peak cost in May, when the average lease will start at $2,083, according to the study.

Renthop

Philly is hardly out of the ordinary when it comes to changing rental costs. The study analyzed nine other major U.S. cities, finding that they all similarly fluctuated when it came to the cost of starting a lease in the summer versus the winter. In every case, the latter was more cost-effective.

Renthop doesn’t speculate too much on the reasons for the cost disparity from one season to the next, but they do offer several suggestions, largely based on the idea that more people seeking out rent drives up the cost of a lease.

“The theory that wintry weather is keeping people away might have some merit,” the study said, adding that fewer people are looking for apartments around the winter both due to the cold and obligations like the various winter holidays.

While it makes sense to consider the influx of college students has an impact on rental prices especially during the late summer, Renthop says the evidence doesn’t support that theory.