Multi‐family development has been steadily on the rise for the last five years due to a number of economic factors including downsizing Boomers and Millennials’ desire for more accessible in‐town living. Both groups have similar demands including upscale amenities that they have become accustomed to in sprawling suburban housing. Parents want the same perks and benefits they had in their larger homes and so do their recently graduated children starting their careers. Why would a graduate settle for anything less than the upscale experience they had in an on campus apartment?
While the Boomers enjoy the freedom and flexibility of apartment living, Millennials chose apartment living because paying off student loans and saving for their first down payment on a home takes time. In fact, Goldman Sachs reports that only 39% of millennials currently own homes compared to 47.5% in 2007.*
In 2015, The National Multifamily Housing Council recently conducted a survey of more than 120,000 participants to determine exactly what influenced these two primary residents to select one apartment over another. Location was the first priority which comes as no surprise. The preference of today’s renter is focused on walkability to work, their favorite activities and access to daily needs like the grocery store, restaurants or bars, entertainment, and public transportation. Promoting this feature and nearby conveniences online clearly informs a potential renter of this important decision factor.
WiFi is an extremely enticing factor influencing renters and around 53% of potential renters actually check for connectivity while on a tour of an apartment. Since connectivity is complimentary at most airports, restaurants and stores, it seems logical that modern apartment seekers prefer free wifi in their place of residence. An article on REscour notes that millennials are beginning to push connectivity even further with the rise of virtual working options and are looking for the fastest fiber internet connection speeds possible.†
Pet‐friendly features, such as grooming stations, day boarding facilities and pet walking services, are also at the top of many renters’ priority lists. The survey found that 33% of apartment dwellers own a pet so dog parks and pet‐ friendly policies are now necessary features especially for millennials who actually have a much higher rate of pet ownership of 57%.†
According to an article from Women’s Marketing, millennials are changing the face of fitness and not only expect a great gym onsite but a more social environment that includes group exercise that emphasizes achieving goals and keeps their interest peaked with personalized attention.‡
And if a gym is a great social environment, a shared outdoor space is ideal. An outdoor space can include anything from a pool to a fire pit to an outdoor kitchen. Outdoor pool decks featuring lounge chairs, a grilling area, private cabanas, a shuffleboard court and amazing long‐range views seem more like luxury vacation resorts than the old traditional pool areas of apartments from ten to twenty years ago.
Perhaps a more unexpected trend is ”package acceptance” where packages are accepted and stored by the apartment complex’s office at no extra charge. The National Multifamily Housing Council noted in its survey that participants are no longer willing to pay for space to keep their many eCommerce purchases thanks to Prime memberships offered by companies like Amazon who ship for free and deliver in many cases same day or overnight.
Today’s contemporary renters look for an all-encompassing lifestyle that reflects their new standard of living when they chose an apartment. Staying ahead of customer demands and technology to meet Boomers and Millennials demands is required to stay competitive in a multi-family market in high demand. Emerging trends will continue to influence the next level of service renters require and anticipating the newest next feature and benefit they want is what great multi-family developers do every day.