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8 Ways Apartment Complexes Are Evolving in a Post-COVID World

Lockdowns, social distancing, and fear of the Coronavirus permanently changed how we work, learn, socialize, entertain, and exercise. To meet those new challenges, apartment complexes are also evolving in this post-COVID world. Here are the top eight emerging trends in apartment living worth looking into if you’re interested in how to improve your rental property:

#1 High Speed Connectivity: It’s All Internet, All the Time

Connectivity is our secret weapon for leveraging our apartment as an office, movie theatre, gym, and virtual social club. As a result, high-speed internet and reliable cell service are no longer a “nice to have,” but rather an expectation. Apartment residents are willing to pay higher rent for high-speed internet access — about $35 more per month according to the 2020 NMHC/Kingsley Apartment Resident Preferences Report1.

#2 Light, Sound, Action – the Demand for Peace and Quiet

Renters are entitled to an apartment complex undisturbed by noise under the “implied warranty of quiet enjoyment”. In most cases, courts will even uphold a tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment even if it is not mentioned in the apartment lease agreement!

With residents seemingly home 24/7, noises that previously went unnoticed are now front and center. In fact, noise pollution ranks as one of the top complaints from residents. “Sound insulation is something that has always ranked very highly for residents,” says Sarah Yaussi, Vice President of Business Strategy for the National Multifamily Housing Council2. “Anybody who waited out the pandemic is going to think twice about how important it is.”

Natural light has also transformed into a wanted amenity. “Larger windows and more natural light help bring a sense of wellness and positivity,” says Tina West, Multifamily Practice Leader for CBRE’s property management business in the Americas.

#3 Dedicated Spaces for Working

Hybrid work is the future of work in America. Recent statistics show that 75% of employees want to continue to work flexibly and 40% of Americans surveyed who were working at home said they would look for another job if their employer forced them to return to the office full time3,4.

After initially getting by with makeshift desks and chairs, today’s renters/workers are increasingly interested in dedicated workspaces. New research from the New Home Trends Institute highlights a trend that is showing up in apartment rentals too: the abandonment of the kitchen office5. 46% of young singles and couples say they would never use a kitchen desk.

#4 Better Communication Between Renters & Property Managers

With ever-changing health and safety guidelines, communication between residents and managers has been elevated in importance. Haphazard communication has been replaced with dedicated emails, daily website postings, and updated calendar listings. Trust is the new watermark for a good tenant/property management relationship. 

Read more: Property Management Tips and Tricks

#5 The Kitchen as the Heart of the Home & Apartment

The kitchen became an important common area during the pandemic. It is where we gather, cook, and safely socialize. Property owners and managers are investing in kitchen renovations to attract prospective residents and retain current residents. “The small changes a landlord makes in their rental can be the difference that makes their property more desirable to renters”, explains RE/MAX Infinity Management6.

When it comes to design trends, experts recommend using solid hardware, neutral colors, granite countertops, and incorporating tons of counter space for many makeshift uses including a place to pull up 2 stools.

#6 Virtual Leasing Became the Norm

Virtual leasing tools are not new, but the post-pandemic world introduced us to renting without ever setting foot in the apartment building itself! Whereas virtual tours used to be the first step in the leasing process, today, they are often the only step – and one preferred by many prospective residents.

#7 Outdoor Space is a Priority

Balconies and outdoor space are both hotly requested and featured among the best apartment amenities. For CGI Strategies, a California-based real estate investment and development company, now 90% of their new projects include balconies ­– up from 70% previously7.

#8 Same-Day Delivery & Packages Require Smart, Refrigerated Lockers

Demand is surging too for refrigerated lockers thanks to same day delivery. Over a quarter of Americans with incomes of $100,000 have increased their grocery deliveries since the onset of the pandemic and, in November 2020, researchers estimated that 38.7 million shoppers placed at least one online grocery order for delivery or pickup during the preceding 30 days, up 3.6% from 37.5 million in August8,9.

Smart parcel lockers offer utility and safety – two key benefits for both property management teams and residents. Renters are automatically notified by email, text, or mobile app alert that a delivery has arrived. They are then given a barcode to scan for contact-free access to their delivery at their convenience and without face-to-face contact with property staff or delivery drivers.

The pandemic was a catalyst for change at many multifamily housing properties. Demand for community amenities and modern apartment features such as lightning-fast Internet, modern kitchens, virtual tours, more outdoor space, dedicated workspaces, and smart lockers are permanent preference changes for today’s renters.

To discover how smart parcel locker solutions can benefit your property, contact a Parcel Pending by Quadient representative today!

Sources:

  1. Friedman, Robyn. Multi-Housing News. How to Attract Remote Workers to Your Apartment Community. (2021, January 28). https://www.multihousingnews.com/post/how-to-attract-remote-workers-to-your-apartment-community/.
  2. Anderson, Bendix. WealthManagement.com. Apartment Renters’ Shifted Amenities Preferences Are Likely to Last After COVID-19. (2021, April 27). https://www.wealthmanagement.com/multifamily/apartment-renters-shifted-amenities-preferences-are-likely-last-after-covid-19.
  3. Fleming, Sean. World Economic Forum. Working flexibly is now the new normal for employees: Poll. (2020, July 8). https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/07/working-flexibly-new-normal-poll/.
  4. Cutter, Chip. The Wall Street Journal. The Boss Wants You Back in the Office. Like, Now. (2021, July 24). https://www.wsj.com/articles/return-to-work-the-boss-wants-you-back-in-the-office-11627079616.
  5. Reiss, Craig. The Builder’s Daily. Kitchens Stir the Pot: Post-COVID Consumer Desires Revealed. (2021, June 14). https://www.thebuildersdaily.com/the-kitchen-stirs-the-pot-post-covid-consumer-demands-revealed/.
  6. Kitchen Solvers. Tips for a Kitchen Renovation in a Rental Property. (2020, September 4). https://gulfcoast.kitchensolvers.com/tips-for-a-kitchen-renovation-in-rental-property/.
  7. Kalinoski, Gail. Multi-Housing News. How Will the Pandemic Impact Future Apartments?. (2020, August 5). https://www.multihousingnews.com/post/how-will-the-pandemic-impact-future-apartments/
  8. UChicagoNews. How the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted demand in the gig economy. (2020, August 19). https://news.uchicago.edu/story/how-covid-19-pandemic-has-disrupted-demand-gig-economy.
  9. Digital Commerce 360. Coronavirus adds $105 billion to US ecommerce in 2020. (2021, June 16). https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/article/coronavirus-impact-online-retail/.