To say we're living in a state of uncertainty is an understatement. For weeks now, the world has been on pins and needles awaiting positive news of some return to normalcy. This week, state governors began to issue guidelines of easing back into normality with phased plans to allow businesses to open while still maintaining social distancing. With what is hopefully the beginning signs of a positive transition "back to normal," it appears the positive sentiment is mirrored in online apartment searches and multifamily marketing campaigns. Below shows a graph from Google Trends, showing online search volume for "apartments for rent" in the U.S. from February 1st to April 28th. While a strong dip in search volume is evident during the introduction and early stages of state lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders in March, prospective renters appear to be ready to start moving again. We are seeing search volume for apartments increase and getting more in line with expected levels during this time of the year. Street Digital Media specifically is seeing apartment website traffic up as high as 39% for some apartment communities so far in April vs. March, with new users increasing by as much as 41% and conversions up as high as 19% MOM. Our multifamily search engine marketing campaigns are seeing new users up 43%, sessions up 44%, and conversions on property websites up 13% in April vs the prior month.
According to many, the U.S. is not in the clear from additional spreading of COVID-19. Given the recent announcements from many state governors of easing the economy back into its stride, it appears multifamily marketing might be easing back into normalcy as well. As all of this plays out coming into the Summer leasing season, it will be worth monitoring the appetite for apartment renters to take advantage of lease up specials and upfront concessions vs. staying at their current residence until the future becomes more clear.