By Manjit Sohal
Amenities play a critical role in the success of a multifamily community. For current residents, they can make or break the decision to renew or start the search for a new place. Meanwhile, prospective residents will gravitate towards communities that offer amenities that cater to their varying lifestyles.
To show the importance that many residents, especially those in younger generations, place on amenities, consider the findings of the 2022 NMHC/Grace Hill Renter Preferences Survey. For example, according to the report, residents are willing to pay a $54.73 monthly premium for in-unit washers and dryers, and they’re willing to spend an extra $47.93 per month for high-speed internet access.
Amenities have a powerful impact on the financial performance of a community. With that in mind, below are some that owners and operators should consider.
There comes a time when features are so highly in demand by residents that they begin to drift from the nice-to-have category into must-have features for landlords to remain competitive. As more residents work from home or a hybrid model, high-speed internet access has become an expectation, with community-wide WiFi access close behind.
Other amenities that rank high in demand among residents, according to the survey, are in-unit laundry, air conditioning, storage space, secure parking, media rooms and outdoor features, such as roof-top patios, parks, and playgrounds.
In addition, the number of packages delivered to residents has experienced significant growth since the start of the pandemic. Package service Fetch reported delivering nearly twice the number of packages in 2021 vs. 2020, and some communities reported receiving double to triple the volume in the summer months, according to the National Apartment Association. As a result, there is rising demand for package lockers or services that make it convenient for residents to pick up their deliveries.
In the NMHC/Grace Hill study, almost half of Millennials and Gen Z said the availability of smart tech is a higher priority than a parking space in their community, and they’re less likely to rent from a community that doesn’t offer it. Smart tech is on the cusp of being a must-have with people of all ages eager to have these conveniences in their homes. Two of the most popular items are smart locks, which allow residents to easily enter their own apartments and grant access to others, and smart thermostats, which provide greater control of the unit environment and the ability to join local energy usage programs.
With pets being viewed more as a member of the family, communities need to provide residents with a dog park or have easy access to one at the very least. There are other pet amenities that will help communities rise above the pack, such as dog-washing stations and pet concierge services through a third-party provider.
Social amenities are increasing in importance; some of the social amenities that appeal to residents include fitness classes, pet events at the dog park, meet-and-greets on the rooftop or in another common area, movie nights in the media center and food trucks onsite. Interacting with neighbors is an increasing priority for many multifamily residents, and these are great opportunities to boost retention and generate five-star online reviews.
Electric Vehicle (EV) Amenities
This year brought a surge of sales on the horizon with the vehicles expected to account for 58% of the new car sales market within the next two decades, according to Bloomberg. Charging stations can still be a rare find in multifamily communities, and an owner/operator willing to invest in the installation of electric vehicle amenities will stand out amongst the crowd.
Not all amenities need to be something physical, and one of the most powerful benefits communities can provide residents comes through reporting on-time rent payments to credit bureaus, which helps residents build their credit histories. According to the Credit Builders Alliance (CBA), renters are seven times more likely to be credit invisible — meaning they lack enough credit history to generate a credit score — when compared to homeowners.
By reporting positive rental payment histories, apartment communities help residents improve their financial well-being, making it easier for renters to do things such as secure a car loan or a credit card — and to do so at favorable interest rates. Furthermore, they give residents a strong incentive to pay their rent on time and in full. And because this financial amenity is not widespread throughout the industry yet, it can provide a community with a significant competitive advantage.
As communities gain greater knowledge about their residents and their regions, there are other amenities that are not as common but are growing in popularity and are helpful to make a community rise above the competition.
One of the more popular of these amenities is bike-sharing services, which make it easier for quick trips, especially in urban areas. Apartment communities in Hawaii and the southern United States are seeing increased demand for gear walls to maximize space for gadgets and other items. Other amenities that are increasing in demand are free or discounted access to local transit services, spas and meditation rooms, automated outlets and sustainability features like recycling, composting, plant walls and community gardens.
Amenities continue to play a critical role in the success of a multifamily community, and from the examples, new and diverse amenity ideas are appearing every day. From technological changes, to new trends regionally or culturally, there are many ways to be creative and introduce new amenities to your community. What amenities are most in-demand or sought-after in your community? Start a conversation on your social network by sharing this article.
Categories: Amenities, Apartment Leasing, ESG, Property Management, Resident Retention, Thought Leadership
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