by Dan Rafter
What should apartment buildings offer if they want to attract the most renters? How about walkable neighborhoods, on-site fitness classes and online rent payments?
Those are some of the amenities that respondents cited in 2015 version of the National Multifamily Housing Council/Kingsley Associates’ Residence Preferences Survey.
The survey, released this month, compiled data from nearly 120,000 renters across the country. The survey found that the most important factor that renters consider when choosing an apartment remains location. Respondents said that they want to be able tow alk to the grocery store, restaurant and bar. They also want to be located near public transit.
But this doesn’t mean that renters want to ditch their cars. The survey also found that renters prefer driving over walking to work, school or to their university classes.
The survey found, too, that a typical apartment commmunity can receive as many as 100 packages for renters a week, a figure that doubles during the holiday season. It’s no surprise, then, that 72 percent of renters said they want their apartment building to ffer a package storage or holding area. However, 87 percent of residents said they would not be willing to pay extra for a package locker.
Landlords who want to attract the most tenants must also offer top mobile-phone reception in their apartments. According to the survey, 53 percent of potential renters test their cell-phone connectivity while touring apartments, and 98 percent say that good mobile reception is important. However, only 68 percent of renters say the cell-phone coverage at their current apartment communities is great.
Landlords need to take pets into account, too. The National Multifamily Housing Council says that 33 percent of apartment residents own a pet, and these owners want amenities for their fuzzy friends. The survey found that 67 percent of pet owners living in apartments are interested in dog parks while 54 percent are interested in a community pet-washing station.
Residents don’t enjoy paying their monthly rents, of course. But when they do pay, they prefer to pay electronically. The survey found that 78 percent of tenants prefer paying their rent online.
The number of renters has grown significantly, with the National Multifamily Housing Council reporting that 1.6 million new renter households have been created during the last five years. Many of these new renters are choosing apartment living not because they can’t buy a single-family home or condominium, but because they prefer the renting lifestyle.
And these renters-by-choice want top amenities.
“Many of these new residents are making a lifestyle choice to rent instead of buy, and are looking for personalized services and amenities,” said Rick Haughey, vice president of industry technology initiatives with the National Multifamily Housing Council. “The apartment industry is stepping up to provide those experiences.”