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The best and worst months to sign a new lease in NYC

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Here’s when to take advantage of New York’s fluctuating rent prices

Conventional wisdom holds that the time of year a lease is signed in New York affects the price of the rental—and now there’s the data to prove it. The housing data site RentHop has put the numbers to the test to prove when it’s cheapest and most expensive to rent in New York and—no surprise here—it found that the higher the mercury rises, the higher the rent runs and vice versa.

RentHop’s analysis found that renters would be well-advised to sign a lease in February, the cheapest month to rent in New York. Rental prices begin to increase in early May and reach their apex in the summer months, peaking in July. They begin to decrease again come October, reaching their low in February.

So how much do prices differ throughout the year? For a one-bedroom, renters will pay about 5.4 percent more if they sign their lease in July rather than February. For two-bedroom leases, that percentage dips slightly to 5.3 percent. Those numbers may not sound like a lot, but operating under the assumption that the average one-bedroom rents for $3,000/month and the average two-bedroom for $3,400/month, that’s a difference of $171/month and $191/month, respectively, or $2,050 and $2,292 annually—and that’s major.

RentHop not only analyzed the seasonality of rental prices in New York, but also that of nine other major US cities. Interestingly, of those ten cities, New York’s variation in rental price from peak-to-trough for one-bedrooms varied the most at 5.4 percent. The smallest percentage of variation belonged to Miami, where renting in a peak month runs an additional $17/month.

The variation in rents for two-bedrooms from peak-to-trough varied the most in Chicago at 5.8 percent, beating out New York’s 5.3 percent. But because New York rents are higher than Chicago’s, the variation in dollar amount between peak-and-trough in New York is greater at $191 versus Chicago’s $135.

As the New York rental market has changed over time, the numbers have varied from RentHop’s previous studies. The site found in 2016 that January was the cheapest month to rent in New York, with July being the most pricey. The variation peak-to-trough was less at that time, at 4.5 percent or $140/month.

Moving in New York in the winter is a pain, but it’ll help save on rent in the long run—and that’s got to be worth the day of frozen fingertips.