Why do corporate apartment complexes change their prices so often?
December 12, 2017 1:15 AM   Subscribe

I’m curious about how dynamic pricing in large, corporate-owned apartment complexes works, particularly in hot rental markets. Why do the prices change so quickly and so frequently?

I’m apartment-hunting in the Bay area, and it seems prices fluctuate every day on websites from large corporate landlords (Essex, Prometheus, Irvine Company, Grey Star, etc.) What’s especially confusing is that they are not all in sync, i.e. Essex will go up one day, while Grey Star will drop. I’ll hear through the grapevine how Prometheus has entire complexes in Mountain View that are sitting half-empty, where 1-BRs are $3500, yet prices are dropping in their complexes in Sunnyvale (which even with traffic, isn’t as dreadful a commute to a more reasonably-priced area like Fremont). Last month was especially aggravating, because just when I thought all prices would go down the week of Thanksgiving, they actually went up. Even more mind-boggling was that the prices stayed up, even while the units sat empty and are (as of, like right now) still listed as available on the websites. I’d be interested to read any articles or hear viewpoints from those who’ve worked in the leasing industry.

Please, no advice or recommendations to go with a small, independent landlord. Been there, done that, and I ended up breaking the lease both times.
posted by invisible ink to Work & Money (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
You might want to take a look at the software corporate landlords use, like Entrata or YieldStar. It seems like it can factor in all kinds of events to influence rents, even factors you can't see like how many people came in to see the place last week.
posted by zachlipton at 1:37 AM on December 12, 2017 [4 favorites]


Prices change because of funding, outsourcing of management, service fee costs, local, state and federal taxes, and about a thousand other factors. Small leasing companies can't change prices as much in California as they can't as frequently negotiate some cost factors like corporate lessors. Some low cost housing will have additional cost factors that small landlords don't charge for, such as service fees, maintenance fees, parking spaces, etc. They won't have to explain those fees in the advertisement.
posted by parmanparman at 9:15 AM on December 12, 2017


In my experience, corporate landlord pricing is like new car pricing where if you go to the leasing office and talk to someone in person, you can get a slightly better price by moving in at a time that helps them out, taking a unit they want filled, signing a longer lease than the usual, taking a "less desirable" unit (like one that doesn't have a balcony or something), having really good credit, or just asking etc. I'm guessing a lot of software crunched market factors affect the sticker price.
posted by WeekendJen at 10:27 AM on December 12, 2017


Seconding Yieldstar and similar applications. Once a property moves to a platform like that, it's subject to responsive pricing.

It is not usually the case that you can negotiate for "deals" in large commercial properties. Leasing agents have to be very careful to offer the same opportunities to every potential tenant to comply with fair housing laws. Leasing agents may have certain incentives they can offer (specific units on "special", look-and-lease bonuses, extended lease terms) but they must be offered equally to every prospect.
posted by rekrap at 10:45 AM on December 12, 2017 [1 favorite]


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