Search
Contact Us

Capturing the Essence of ‘Walkability’ Outside the City Limits

TransUnion
Blog Post05/06/2020
Business
Capturing the Essence of ‘Walkability’ Outside the City Limits

When it comes to must-haves for a new home, increasingly renters want walkability. Millennials are certainly leading the charge, opting for residences in locations close to entertainment, restaurants, fitness studios and more — and that includes the wealthiest members of the generation, according to a report by Coldwell Banker.

Surprisingly, while many do flock to densely populated cities, according to that research, Millennials tend to prefer markets that are more affordable, like the suburbs or second-tier cities, (think: Raleigh, Nashville or Austin). And they’re not the only ones wanting a taste of urban living. Seniors and empty nesters want to be part of the action, too.

Ultimately, a large portion of today’s renters want to be part of a vibrant community, with opportunities to gather and connect.

Creating a community from scratch

For property management companies that don’t have properties within existing walkable areas, it creates a big opportunity to recreate that downtown feeling within their communities.

While luxury multifamily units in both large and small cities are going all out with amenities to beat out competitors for quality residents, we are also seeing a rise in the urban-like amenities, such as on-site coffee shops and entertainment options, in rural and suburban properties.

What is their top priority? Creating a real sense of community because that’s what renters want most.

Going way beyond the common area

Communal space in a multifamily complex isn’t exactly a new idea. However, how property management companies are designing and using common areas has changed significantly in recent years.

Such transformations serve two important purposes. First, it provides renters with the walkable atmosphere they crave. Additionally, with many common areas or flex spaces, renters are more comfortable giving up square footage and in-unit amenities, so upgrading those areas can be a great way to bring in renters — even when competitors can tout larger units.

So how are they building that sense of community? Here are some ideas we’re seeing pop up in new development and renovation projects.

In-unit features could be deal breakers

Multifamily properties have long had pools or even small green spaces, but many are taking their outdoor spaces to a whole new level.

Pool areas and roof-top decks are now decked out with outdoor fireplaces, lounge furniture or dining tables, and fully equipped outdoor kitchens and grill stations.

Communities are offering spaces to garden and grow their own plants and vegetables. Others provide parks for children, off-the-leash dog parks, rock-climbing centers or serenity gardens. Larger communities offer biking and hiking trails and stock fishponds for residents.

Such spaces bring residents together and provide them a place to host their family and friends for dinners and parties. They get all the benefits of owning a single-family home, without all the hard upkeep.

Taking community spaces outdoors

Multifamily properties have long had pools or even small green spaces, but many are taking their outdoor spaces to a whole new level. Pool areas and roof-top decks are now decked out with outdoor fireplaces, lounge furniture or dining tables, and fully equipped outdoor kitchens and grill stations.

Communities are offering spaces to garden and grow their own plants and vegetables. Others provide parks for children, off-the-leash dog parks, rock-climbing centers or serenity gardens. Larger communities offer biking and hiking trails and stock fishponds for residents.

Such spaces bring residents together and provide them a place to host their family and friends for dinners and parties. They get all the benefits of owning a single-family home, without all the hard upkeep.

It’s all about convenience

One of the reasons people love living in walkable communities is that most of what they need is just a quick walk away. Property management companies are bringing some of that into their communities and have started to offer on-site conveniences, such as:

  • Coffee shops
  • Grab-and-go meals, with fresh food options from local restaurants
  • Spas and salons
  • Pet sitting, walking and grooming services, doggie daycare or pet cleaning stations
  • Car washes
  • Dry cleaning or dry-cleaning drop-off and pick-up zones
  • Bike storage, cleaning and repair stations
  • Concierge services that will make dinner or car reservations
  • Package delivery rooms and storage
  • Electric car-charging stations
  • Libraries
  • Fitness studios, with a range of equipment and class offerings
  • Fully equipped work and study areas for telecommuting residents or students who need a quiet place to study

The ultimate goal: To make the day-to-day life of residents easier — and it’s a big draw for busy people who are searching for ways to streamline and simplify.

Don’t drive residents away before they walk through the door

Another attractive aspect of city or downtown life is that there is always something to do, including movies, restaurants, bars, live music, and the list goes on. To meet that need for fun and socializing, multifamily communities are offering a wide range of entertainment options, such as:

  • Comfortable living room-type spaces, where residents can play board games or watch TV
  • Cinema rooms, with huge screens, HD projectors, reclining seats, and snacks, drinks and popcorn
  • Maker and crafting spaces, with a variety of expert-led classes, in everything from welding to knitting
  • Music rooms and recording studios, often with a range of musical instruments and equipment
  • Arcades that include everything from old-school pinball machines and pool tables to high-tech centers with a range of gaming consoles, large TVs and comfortable couches
  • Bowling alleys
  • Virtual golf simulators
  • Wine cellars and wine tastings
  • Live music and other performances

Ultimately, when you give residents plenty to do, they don’t feel like they are missing out. Those types of amenities can be a big bonus for families and singles who want to meet their neighbors and foster social connections.

Amenities will attract potential residents. Make sure you screen them first.

From identifying potential fraud to screening and evaluating the financial health of renters, TransUnion is here to help you find high-quality residents. To learn more, visit our Resident Quality Management information page.

Contact us

* Required field