Michael L. Manelis
Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer at Equity Residential
Thanks, Mark. The entire peak leasing season delivered consistent high levels of demand that allowed us to continue to grow occupancy as well as rates at a pace that exceeded our expectations. In both the earnings release and in the accompanying management presentation, we have provided some key performance metrics, which demonstrate the strength of the leasing season and the fundamentals that position this portfolio well for 2022.
Occupancy is 96.9% today, which is 60 basis points higher than 2019 and 260 basis points higher than the same week in 2020. At this point, we expect to maintain strong occupancy through the balance of the year.
Pricing trend, which includes the impact of concessions grew throughout the entire peak leasing season and is now 28% higher than it was on January 1st. The pandemic caused our net effective pricing to decline by $520 from March to December of 2020 and from January 2021 to today, that same pricing trend has grown $637, which demonstrates a V-shaped recovery and shows that we have more than fully recovered what we had lost in price.
Concession use, which has been a main topic of discussion for the last 18 months is now being used on a very limited basis and inline with pre-pandemic levels, with less than 1% of our applications in September and October receiving an average concession amount of less than two weeks. New lease change was up 10.1% in the third quarter and is on track to be just over 11% in October.
We have seen signs of seasonal softening, both in terms of pricing power and application volume. But these trends are normal to slightly better than typical seasonality patterns and more importantly, the volume of traffic and applications currently is more than sufficient given the low levels of available inventory we have in the portfolio. Renewals were a major focus for the quarter, given the rapid improvements in market pricing from a year ago as well as the fact that we have slightly more expirations in the back half of 2021 than normal.
We have been centralizing negotiations for the San Francisco, New York and Boston markets in our off site call center group as pricing in these markets were the most impacted by the pandemic and conversations in these markets have become more and more difficult as we are dealing with residents who received large concessions and much lower rates this time last year.
The good news is that the results have been great across all of our markets. We renewed 62% of residents in September and October is on track to be just below 65%, which is much better than the 55% historical norm that we thought we were going to stabilize that. At the same time, renewal rate achieved has continue to improve with September at 7.7% and October on track to be 9%. We expect continued growth despite what will likely be challenging negotiations. Perhaps our biggest positive from these negotiations is that so far, we are not seeing any material difference in renewal behaviors from the deal seekers who received very discounted rents last year versus our more tenured residents.
Overall, they are renewing at similar paces. This is something we will continue watching very closely.
Before providing color on a couple of markets, let me touch on our positioning for 2022. As we think about same-store revenue growth, we have some key drivers that should work in our favor.
First, our existing leases are add a material loss to lease. What I mean by that is if we snapshot all of our leases in place today and compare them to current market prices, 86% of our residents are paying on average rents that are significantly below current market prices. The result of this is a net effective loss to lease of 13.6%. This provides us with a significant opportunity to increase our revenue as we move these leases to market rates.
That of course does not mean that we will capture the full 13% in 2022, largely because leases expire throughout the year, not on January 1st. And we currently are subject to renewal restrictions in some jurisdictions, which means the change is very dependent upon who actually moves out. Regardless, this is definitely the highest loss to lease we have ever seen, with such a large majority of leases below market. And the teams are hyper-focused to recapture as much of the loss to lease as possible.
Second, we expect that the significant demand and favorable fundamentals in our business will drive additional revenue growth opportunities in all of our markets in 2022. Remember, we have seen unprecedented demand even with only modest return to office activity. So the backdrop for intra-period rent growth expectations in 2022 is strong. Third, we expect to get a nice lift from occupancy in the first half of the year, as we were at 95% in the first quarter and 96.2% in the second quarter of this year.
We are currently running above 96.5% and would expect to maintain this level or better in 2022. And finally, we have regulatory restrictions that are beginning to expire. This presents an opportunity to recapture revenue through the reduction of bad debt and increased collection of late fees in 2022. All of these factors combined put us in a position to deliver very strong revenue growth next year, assuming regulatory conditions continue to improve and the general economic conditions remain supportive.
Moving to a couple of quick market comments. Starting on the East Coast. The New York market not only has fully rebounded, but it continues to have strong demand for our product despite the broader delays and return to office. At this point, New York is positioned to outperform seasonal trends in the fourth quarter. Boston and D.C. are performing as expected with great demand and strong occupancy with normal seasonality.
On the West Coast, Southern California has been and continues to be very strong. San Francisco and Seattle appeared to be the two markets most impacted by the delay in return to office in terms of overall demand levels, but so far, appeared to be following normal seasonality trends. San Francisco while demonstrating a good recovery remains the only market that has not yet fully recovered from a pricing standpoint.
Occupancy has been improving in San Francisco over the past month or so and today we are 96.5% and should be well positioned to capture demand and pricing power once the tech companies begin to provide more clarity around return to office plans. Seattle has been a little more volatile than expected. Current occupancy is 95.6%. And while the overall demand level is holding up, the announcement from Amazon a few weeks ago regarding office return decisions has impacted our leasing velocity.
Our on-site teams in Seattle mentioned their prospects definitely have a lack of urgency to lease, but are very interested in options for later this year or early next year.
Moving on to expenses. Mark mentioned, our same-store expense guidance at 3 in a quarter. For the full year, we are seeing increased cost across all utility categories. However, about 65% of these costs are ultimately passed back to residents through the utility reimbursements that run through the revenue line. We are also seeing pressure on wages in this very tight labor market, but have been successful in mitigating growth in our on-site payroll numbers by realizing staffing efficiencies. These efficiencies have been achieved through the numerous innovation initiatives that we have rolled out over the past year or so.
This includes moving to self-guided tours, online leasing and utilizing our artificial intelligent leasing agent named Ella. On the service side, we also leveraged our service mobility platform and new technology to deliver the experience and service that our customers require, which is evident by the all-time high online reputation Google rating of 4.2, all while also reducing the expense pressures.
We expect these efficiencies and opportunities to accelerate into 2022, as we continue to harness technology to deliver the customer experience that our residents require. Finally, I will end and an update on the rent relief recoveries. Fortunately, our affluent resident was less impacted by the pandemic as they kept their jobs and continue to pay rent.
For those that were impacted, we have continued to work with them, including assisting them in applying for rent relief. We have received $18.3 million September year-to-date in this rent relief, with the majority of that coming to us in the third quarter. This exceeds our prior expectations of $15 million recovered in the full year. Even with some of the eviction moratoriums expiring, our goal will be to continue working with residents to gain access to be additional rent relief funds.
We continue to have good traction in this process and now expect the full year rental relief recoveries of between $25 million and $30 million in 2021.
Let me close by thanking the entire Equity Residential team for their continued dedication and hard work.
With that, I will turn the call over to the operator to begin the Q&A session.