The number of U.S. renters hit a 50-year high in 2017, according to Pew, and the trend doesn’t appear to be slowing. While Millennials are fueling the surge, increasingly adults of all ages, educational levels, and racial and ethnic groups are renting, says Pew.
For many of them, renting is a deliberate choice, rather than an economic necessity. In fact, high-income renter households, with earnings of at least $100,000, represent the fastest growing segment of the US housing market — making a 48% jump during the 2008–2017 time span.
The love of rental living isn’t just limited to major cities either. Mid-size cities, such as Oklahoma City, Memphis and Nashville, that boast strong economies and low rents have seen dramatic jumps in high-income renters. Moreover, even suburban and rural areas are seeing a rise in renters with six-figure salaries.
While the choice to rent is driven by several factors, for many people, luxury amenities and innovative features are a huge draw. As property management companies aim to attract quality residents, they’re providing more than just a place to live, offering amenities that meet residents’ social and wellness needs too.
Building a sense of community
For many people, the ideal of a built-in community holds huge appeal. Property management companies are capitalizing on that by offering common areas for entertainment and learning and leisure activites, according to the CBRE Multifamily Innovation Watch.
We’re seeing property management companies focus on entertainment by creating theater rooms, arcades and gaming rooms. Others are scheduling live music and performances to offer residents something to do.
Increasingly, property management companies are devoting spaces and resources to educational experiences. For example, they’ll hire instructors to run classes on everything from water color to welding.
Many communities are allocating spaces where residents can build, garden and create. For example, some communities are including writing spaces and music recording studios that sometimes provide musical gear to residents.
Think outside the gym
Nearly 84% of residents want a fitness center, according to Kingsley. Still, the old traditional space filled with exercise equipment may not be enough to capture the attention of the most discerning residents.
That’s motivating many property management companies to think outside the gym, and offer studio space and classes, including pilates, barre, yoga and crossfit, or even personal training. Others are going beyond physical fitness and providing emotional wellness amenities, including spaces for meditation, serenity gardens and on-premis spa treatments.
In-unit features could be deal breakers
While community amenities will attract high-income renters, the luxury of the individual unit could be what matters most. Renters see their homes as a place to recharge from the hecticness of everyday life, and they prioritize convenience and comfort.
In fact, 93.8% said they expect soundproof walls, 84.9% want noise-reducing window panes and 77.3% want noise-reducing shades, according to Kingsley.
Additionally, high-speed internet and phone connectivity are top priorities for more than 90% of renters, and they increasingly want smart home technology to up the comfort level, reduce energy waste and cut costs. Most want apartments with smart thermostats (77.1%), smart lighting (72.3%) and smart locks (66.8%).
Making life easier for residents
While concierge services have been a part of the luxury apartment scene for a long time, we’re seeing them crop up in more moderate properties too.
Many properties are taking advantage of location and building partnerships with nearby restaurants, grocery stores, car companies and more to provide convenience to residents. They might partner with local restaurants to offer on-demand dining or work with local grocers to deliver groceries straight to residents’ fridges.
Creating a place to work
According to Kingsley, roughly 41% of residents telecommute, and apartment communities are attracting them with state-of-the-art working spaces. They include features, such as comfortable workstations, soundproofing and even high-end technology.
For telecommuting residents who want to meet clients — or just get a change of scenery —these spaces are a huge perk.
Don’t drive residents away before they walk through the door
Innovative amenities may catch potential renters’ attention, but if your application and screening process is tedious or slow, you may not keep it for long. To learn how TransUnion’s real-time screening and identity verification can help you streamline and quicken the whole process, visit our Resident Quality Management information page.