Apartment Amenities: What Renters Want in 2019

Do you know what renters want most this year?

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According to a National Multihousing Council survey, 20 percent of renters choose to leave their current apartment communities in search of better amenities. No property manager wants to think about a 20 percent, or higher, attrition rate.

When it comes to retaining existing residents and attracting new ones, amenities play a huge role. People will pay more for a community that meets their needs and they are more likely to stay longer.

While you don’t need to chase every amenity trend, you should pay attention to your residents’ lifestyle needs. One multifamily expert counsels:

“...beware of getting caught up in the glitz and glamour of searching for the next best, flashy amenity. Rather, the extras that will draw residents—and keep them at a property for the long haul—cater to their needs on a lifestyle level.”

Consider the following and how you might address these renter wants in your multifamily community:

Pools

A recent amenity survey from Greystar shows that pools rank among the top priority for renters in all climates. Even in colder places where renters can use a pool only in the summer, they see it as a huge asset.

A community pool offers residents fitness and social benefits. A pool gives people a place to work out, let off steam and socialize. It’s a natural community-building spot.

Quiet

In the Greystar survey, renters ranked soundproofing as their top in-unit wish, and who can blame them? People want a sense of calm and respite away from the world when they enter their own front door, and that’s hard to achieve when you can hear your neighbor breathing.

If you are developing a new property, consider adding additional soundproofing measures throughout your design.

Convenience

People want to do their laundry in their underwear. Nobody wants to haul three baskets of clothes down two flights of stairs and sit in a noisy laundry room for hours. After soundproofing, in-unit washer/dryers ranked at the top of renters’ wish lists.

Renters also want additional convenience features like secure package delivery and on-site assigned parking. According to a recent National Multihousing Council survey, valet parking mattered most to high-end luxury apartment residents. Most other renters just wanted one space (or two) to call their own, but will happily park their own cars.

Air

No, you don’t need to install a trendy flavored oxygen bar, but people will love you if you give them a private balcony. Humans crave open spaces and air to breathe (fresh, if you’ve got it, but even an alleyway balcony is better than nothing, right?).

If your property doesn’t offer individual balconies, consider how you can give residents more open spaces and more green spaces outside. A community garden, rooftop lounge or an atrium full of live plants can go a long way toward meeting this human need to connect with the outdoors.

Community

We talked about top apartment technology features in a previous blog, but as this Curbed writer points out:

“What these technological solutions offer in ways to simplify life with the tap of a phone screen, they often lack in human connection. Perhaps thanks to the rise of tech amenities in high-end apartments, the desire for community as an amenity has grown. It’s not just about offering community gardens or rooftops; it’s about planning events and finding ways to link residents.”

The Curbed article goes on to give examples of how to take each amenity one step further by adding a human or community element. Some ideas include:

  • If you have a community garden, bring in a local chef to do a cooking class with vegetables harvested from the garden

  • Hire an instructor to lead aqua fitness classes at your community pool

  • Host monthly networking events at your on-site coworking facility

  • Live-stream spinning or treadmill workouts in your apartment gym  

Creating a sense of community and bringing people together helps fill another basic human need. Whether your residents are mostly singles, families or older adults, almost all of them would love to have a chance to meet like-minded neighbors and connect on a deeper level.

In an article we shared on social media last week, the writer examined how services like friendship apps and coworking spaces have helped individuals ease their loneliness:

“Loneliness is pervasive, particularly among younger people. We’re moving across the country, ripping ourselves away from social networks that can take years to construct. We’re delaying marriage and kids, or skipping them entirely. We’re working all the time, often alone, outside the confines of a traditional office and without the camaraderie of coworkers.

...societal shifts coincide with a rise in the percentage of people who report feeling adrift, lacking a sense of community or an offline support system.”

The right apartment amenities and events can play a role in helping residents feel less lonely, and that’s a plus for society as well as your apartment community.

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