4 Trends To Attract and Retain New Renters

In this modern housing market, in order to become and remain competitive, multifamily communities, developers and property owners need to understand and implement the current housing trends that attract new renters and keep them happy enough to stay put.   From construction and renovation trends to smart home technology, renters have made it clear what they want. Now it's time to deliver.   

Open Layouts

Floor plans in newly constructed multifamily communities are now following the same trends we've been seeing in the residential single-family housing for years. Open layouts with fewer dividing walls between the main living spaces like dining, kitchens and living areas look and feel bigger than their counterparts with the same square footage. Open floor plans are here to stay, so it makes sense to invest in already constructed properties and renovate to attract new renters. If you're considering renovating existing units to new layouts with open floor plans, call Stonebridge Builders, a Denver based commercial construction firm that specializes in apartment and multifamily renovations. Stonebridge offers expert consultations in design and renovation.   

Modern Materials 

Granite Countertops used to be the "it" or "go to" kitchen upgrade.  But now, builders and developers are answering the call for a more modern apartment concept that appeals to a new generation of renters. Poured concrete countertops combined with rustic looking lighting and metallic accents all create a more modern look and feel that satisfies the new renters' desire for a more urban and industrial look and feel. While traditional lighting works, replacing standard outdated lighting with a trendy new product is a low cost upgrade that will turn heads and deliver signed leases.   

Smart Home Technology 

The newest generation of renter is tech-savvy and they want home technology that aligns with their lifestyle. While it may seem like a poor investment for multifamily properties to adopt new in-home technology given that technology changes so rapidly, there are certain tech upgrades that are universally accepted and desired and come with minimal cost upfront, but may save money in the long run. LED lighting, web connected sensors for turning lights on and off and digital thermostats controlled with a mobile device save residents money, but also decrease the property's energy costs for common areas.   

Amenities 

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It used to be that a pool was all that was needed to create the feeling of luxury. But today's renters are looking for more. They want updated amenities that align with a more modern lifestyle. As more people are working remotely, renovating a common area to provide a business center or co-working space to accommodate residents that work from home can be a huge selling point to prospective residents.  Additionally, fenced in dog runs, on-site dog washes and package delivery rooms attract residents. 

If your community currently doesn't offer these amenities, Stonebridge Builders can design and build one at a low cost for a big return on investment. 

The "Next Generation" Apartment - survey results of what renters really want

What is The Next Generation Apartment?  Read on for some interesting stats on what renters want based on results from the recent MFE survey.

Multifamily Executive Magazine recently engaged their Concept Community data partner, J Turner Research, to uncover the wants and needs of the next generation of renters in one of the largest research studies collecting over 84,000 responses nationwide. They dove deeply into the question of which unconventional amenities are renters willing to pay for.

The multifamily industry is consistently trying to come up with new ways to entice renters; upgraded interiors like hardwood flooring versus carpet, stylish lighting and trendy lifestyle amenities. But are those efforts attracting renters who are willing to pay extra for them? The clear answer from the research is No, especially given the consistently increasing rental rates over the past several years. But there are some exceptions, and if you’re looking to make some changes to your community, considering certain amenities over others may pay off in the end.

Nationwide, 84,924 residents living in 1,555 communities representing 26 apartment companies responded to the J Turner research survey. The majority of respondents were Millennials (18-34 years) at 59%, followed by Gen Xer’s (35-50) at 25% with Baby Boomers (51-70) and the Silent Generation (71 and older) combined at 15%.

The study was weighted to gain greater insights into certain topics like health and fitness amenities, electric car charging stations, bike storage and bike sharing opportunities, and Common Area and Smart Home upgrades. Here’s how they stacked up:

Smart Home Technology: Sure! If it saves money

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Renters want technology options that will ultimately save them money: number one on the list is free, in-home Wi-Fi, followed by smart thermostats, and then Energy Star kitchen appliances. However, it’s not just about money, they also want technology options offer convenience like keyless electronic front entry, in-unit built-in USB charging ports, motion-detection cameras, and motion-sensing lighting. Unfortunately, the survey didn’t yield statistics on the additional monthly amount renters are willing to pay, but the desire for money-saving smart technology was consistent throughout all demographic groups and spanned all generations.

24/7 Package Lockers: They want it!

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Over the past several years, the recent popularity of online shopping has substantially increased the volume of packages delivered. There is minimal impact to single family homes but has a dramatic affect in multi-family residences. When asked how many packages residents receive per month, excluding the holiday season, over 25% answered at least one, 20% said two while 17% said 5 to 10. Owners and managers are having trouble keeping up with the increased volume and often have to come up with new systems for making sure packages are delivered securely to renters.  In some communities, because packages can go missing once delivered to a doorstep, residents authorize entry to their unit for package delivery in their absence. Despite creative approaches, over 27% of respondents said they have experienced problems or delays in receiving packages. When asked to rate the importance of 24/7 access Package Lockers, over 28% rated secure on site package storage as a top priority amenity and are willing to pay for it. 20% said they would pay additional rent of $5/month for this amenity.

Fitness Classes: Some do, most don’t.

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The survey asked renters to express their interest in several fitness related amenities, among them were yoga rooms, spin studios, golf simulators and conventional fitness equipment with Bluetooth connectivity etc. Three unconventional fitness amenities stood out as having the greatest interest and potential revenue generating impact: fitness classes, steam rooms and walking trails. 46% of all renters are willing to pay at least $5 extra per month for fitness classes. Of the 46%, 14% said having fitness classes would be worth an additional $15 in additional rent per month.  Steam rooms came in a close second with 43% of all renters willing to pay an extra $5/month. Of that 43%, 12% said a steam room would be worth $15/month extra.

Bike storage: Yes… if they have a bike or plan to get one.

Over a third (32.3%) of all renters currently own a bike and 11.8% more say they plan on getting one in the near future. With 44% of renters having a potential need for bike storage, does it make sense to create a designated bike storage space? The stats look good on this one, especially when you consider that 20% of all renters, whether they own a bike or not, are willing to pay $5/month for bike storage. 7.4% would kick in an additional $10/month and 4% would pay $15. In the end, 30% of all renters are willing to pay for bike storage, independent of bike ownership.

Bike sharing: Nah, not at this time.

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The results show that while renters are enthused by the idea of a bike share program, few are willing to pay for it. Over 10% of all renters showed great enthusiasm for bike sharing. Another 22% ranked their interest at 5 on a 10 -point scale. However, when it came to putting money where their mouths are, only 26% are willing to shell out even $5/month for it. More renters are willing to pay for bike storage than bike sharing, so save the upfront and ongoing expense of a bike share and build a secure bike storage facility.

Electric Car Charging Stations:  Nope!

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J Turner’s Survey results found that 15% of renters intend to purchase an electric vehicle within the next 5 years. Of this 15%, just over half would be willing to pay for on site charging stations. However, that still leaves 85% of renters with intention to buy and no need for EV charging stations on-site.

When considering adding new amenities that will benefit renters and bring the biggest bang for your buck, the research shows that offering bike storage, providing 24/7 Package Lockers and upgrading units with smart technology are the best bets.  Stonebridge Builders specializes in common area upgrades and build outs for added amenities as well as in-unit renovations. Call to schedule a consultation today to generate more income tomorrow!

Look for full survey results of “the Next-Gen Apartment” study when they’re officially released at the 2016 Multifamily Executive Conference next month.

4 Trends in Multifamily Housing

Across the US, builders, developers, and investors are rushing like maniacs to keep up with the huge demand for rental apartments and multifamily housing. Plenty of money is finding its way into the multifamily housing sector. Not only areinvestors and developers looking to boost home’s value, they also recognize the opportunity to earn a substantial ROI. Generally speaking, the multifamily housing market is booming because renters are looking for newer, better places to live as they bounce back from the housing market crash and they recover along with the improving economy. With that said, let’s take a look at four trends to track in the multifamily housing market.

1. Renters Seek Luxury and Affordability

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Right now, renters in metro areas are looking to live as close to downtown as possible. Despite the desire for a certain lifestyle, affordability can be an issue. Unfortunately, a large portion of current renters still aren’t in the greatest shape financially, so their housing options are typically limited. Builders have taken it upon themselves to create micro apartments in an effort to fill this need. These apartments are roughly 250-350 ft.², they are quite luxurious with modern sinks and vessels, and typically lease for 75% of the monthly cost for a larger, similar style apartment in the city. As you can see, this option is still luxurious but much more affordable for lower income renters.

2. Green Leases Are a Hot New Trend

As the development of environmentally friendly apartments with energy efficient appliances, a cool roof, electric car charging stations, bike storage, and a focus on green initiatives takes shape, property managers are now asking tenants to sign a green lease. In Boston, in an effort for developers to get a green district designation, the city created the green lease. When a tenant signs this lease, he or she must agree to follow routines that lead to a sustainable lifestyle. This entails things like composting, recycling, and taking advantage of the available public transportation in the community. More and more metro areas are slowly catching on to this trend, and green leases are going to become a major phenomenon in the multifamily dwelling market sooner rather than later.

3. Tenants Now Have More Technological Control

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We live in a massive period of innovation and technology is changing all the time as new advancements get released into the marketplace. In today’s modern multifamily dwelling, building owners are going to have to adapt with the changing times. As an example, many tenants are looking to take advantage of Internet TV. Yet many building owners are not ready to eliminate satellite and cable TV services. At this time, building teams have recognized the value of technological advances as far as improving a building’s sustainability is concerned. And they are beginning to embrace this new technology in an effort to provide a greener, more stable environment for their tenants and the world at large.

4. Living the Urban Lifestyle

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As of now, multifamily dwelling owners hope to attract empty-nesters and millennials as their target renters. By focusing on these particular demographics, luxury property owners are making strides to develop building communities that provide the urban lifestyle. They are offering access to all of the latest technology, all of the hottest amenities like an outdoor fire pit, an indoor swimming pool, game/media room, laundry room, bike room etc. And everything a tenant could ever need is within 20 minutes of the apartment, whether they are walking or taking public transit. Again, this urban lifestyle trend is all about focusing on sustainable living.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, the current crop of renters is focused on living a sustainable lifestyle.  As a building owner, you must utilize the four suggestions mentioned today to stay relevant in this ever-changing market.

 

About the author:

Wendy Dessler is a super-connector with OutreachMama and Towering SEO who helps people find their audiences online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing bigger customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.