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The Future of Apartment Living: 10 Top Trends & What to Expect

CBRE forecasts multifamily occupancy levels to remain above 95% for the foreseeable future and nearly 7% growth in net effective rents next year1. This can be partly attributed to employers embracing remote work, which has led many a previous homeowner to change their living arrangement and migrate to the rental housing market to test new cities and experiences.

Now, property owners and property managers alike are pushing to match evolving tenant expectations with new apartment building improvements shaped by the ongoing pandemic. Here’s a rundown of what other trends to expect in the future of apartment living:

10 Top Trends in the Future of Apartment Living

#1 Speedy Wi-Fi

A top property management tip is ensuring fast WiFi for your residents. Whether they live in a luxury apartment or in affordable housing, residents today demand that broadband is available from the day they move in. More importantly, however, is that they are willing to pay higher rent for high-speed internet access — about $35 more2.

#2 Dedicated Work from Home Areas

Hybrid work remains the future of work in America. In a recent Accenture study of 9,000 workers, 83% expressed a preference for hybrid work: a combination of work-from-home and work-in-office and 75% of employees want to continue to work flexibly3,4. Most startingly, 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 time5. Even Chief Executive of JP Morgan, Jamie Dimon, who has been vocal about getting workers back to the office, said this month in his latest letter to shareholders that 50% of the bank’s staff will spend some or all of their time working from home in the future6.

Apartment designers are installing small spaces like pocket offices, workstations, flexible rooms without closets, and unused corners that can be used as work areas to create better, more flexible living and workspaces in apartment units.

#3 Co-Working Spaces

Residents are seeking an additional area to work in their apartment complex besides their own apartment unit. Savvy apartment property owners are installing private offices, ergonomic meeting spaces, and co-working spaces. Of course, lobby Wi-Fi, charging centers, extra outlets, desks, and task lighting are crucial to the apartment community experience. With relaxed social distancing and masking guidelines, residents are beginning to seek connection and networking events with their neighbors again.

#4 Self-Leasing Tools

Thanks to advancements in technology, self-leasing tools are finally here. Virtual tours of the floor plan and living space are now a necessity. Recent statistics illustrate that 67% of people want more businesses to offer virtual tours7. And customers aged 18 to 34 are 130% more likely to book a place if there is a virtual tour. According to industry studies from the Center for Realtor Development, high-quality photography properties lease and sell 32% faster than those with poor photos or a lack of photos altogether8.

If you are an apartment property owner or property manager seeking further automation, there are several other tools at your disposal. MeetElise, for instance, acts as a leasing agent and responds intelligently to prospective residents via text or email. Self-reported stats show that it reduces the number of days a property is on the market by 39%. Funnel, which just raised $14 million in venture capital, streamlines the leasing process. And Checkpoint is filling an essential void by identifying and verifying lease prospects. Its solution reduces rental fraud and improves property safety. Utilization of Checkpoint skyrocketed from 3% in March to 40% during the height of the pandemic9.

#5 Green Innovations

Plants and flowers in the lobby create a connection to nature while also improving the air quality of living spaces. Research also shows that plants can increase the happiness factor for your residents10.

#6 A Life of Luxury

High-end renters are emerging. As Ryan Kimura, senior vice president of strategic partnerships at construction and renovation services at Premier, explains, “More folks are moving from Los Angeles or New York to Dallas, and they are looking and expecting the same standard of premier amenities that properties had where they came from on the coast.”11 He adds, “Many times, the necessity for ‘luxury’ design and amenities in Hollywood wouldn’t pencil into the budget for a property in Uptown Dallas, but recently there’s been a shift in the behavior.” In short, luxury living is now a reality in the apartment market.

#7 Pets as the Ulti-Mutt Amenity

The pandemic demonstrated the importance of furry friends in apartment living. According to 2020 CoStar data, pet-friendliness ranks in the top three amenity searches and remains a competitive advantage for apartment communities. Further, online pet retailer Chewy noted a 5.7% increase in pet-owning households last year and noted that the company’s own data showed a significant increase in customers’ creating pet profiles, including a 40% increase in profiles for newly adopted pets12. Providing pet-friendly amenities (like a dog park) is not only a great way to attract new residents, but is also a great resident retention idea.

#8 Outdoor Spaces

Balconies and outdoor space are a hotly requested amenity for apartment living. Whereas CGI Strategies, a California-based real estate investment and development company, previously stated that approximately 70% of their apartments included balconies, they are now aiming for at least 90% in new projects13. Sejal Sonani, principal, managing director at HLW summarizes the trend this way: “The past 18 months of being homebound in the small footprints of apartments or condos have brought increased attention to the availability and design of outdoor amenities. The expectation is not just the availability of roofs and terraces but adequate infrastructure and build-out of these spaces to function as outdoor live/work/play environments.”14

#9 Smart Lockers

No apartment marketing strategy would be complete without featuring smart lockers. Whereas an electronic locker solution might have once been considered “nice to have,” apartment package lockers are now a necessity for remaining competitive in the apartment industry. With packages bombarding the mail room due to the exponential growth in online shopping, residents now expect to have their packages securely stowed and available at their convenience. Most importantly, installing package lockers can lift lease renewals by as much as 40%!

Demand is rising too for refrigerated lockers thanks to same-day delivery. Researchers in November 2020 estimated that 38.7 million shoppers placed at least one online grocery order for delivery or pickup order during the preceding 30 days, up 3.6% from 37.5 million in August15.

Also of note, a smart parcel locker solution offers both utility and safety. 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.

#10 Smart Tech

Technology and smart real estate are influencing decision-making when it comes to renters. Millennials are willing to pay about 20% more and stay longer in buildings that offer modern lifestyle conveniences16. Residents are looking for cameras and wireless sensors that act as virtual sentries to boost feeling safe and secure in their home.


The future is already here when it comes to apartment living. Want to stay ahead of the curve? Find out how smart lockers can add to your amenities portfolio and help your apartment community stay competitive by contacting a Parcel Pending by Quadient representative today.

Sources:

  1. Barkham, Richard & Vance, Matt. “U.S. Real Esate Market Outlook 2022: Multifamily”. CBRE, n.d. https://www.cbre.com/en/insights/books/us-real-estate-market-outlook-2022/multifamily
  2. Friedman, Robyn. “How to Attract Remote Workers to Your Apartment Community”. Multi-Housing News, January 28, 2021. https://www.multihousingnews.com/post/how-to-attract-remote-workers-to-your-apartment-community/
  3. Cutter, Chip. “If You Thought Working From Home Was Messy, Here Comes Hybrid Work”. The Wall Street Journal, May 25, 2021. https://www.wsj.com/articles/if-you-thought-working-from-home-was-messy-here-comes-hybrid-work-11621935000
  4. 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/
  5. Cutter, Chip. “The Boss Wants You Back in the Office. Like, Now”. The Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2021. https://www.wsj.com/articles/return-to-work-the-boss-wants-you-back-in-the-office-11627079616
  6. Ryan, Carol. “Home Workers Are Making Some Offices Redundant”. The Wall Street Journal, April 11, 2022. https://www.wsj.com/articles/home-workers-are-making-some-offices-redundant-11649690607
  7. “13 Mind-Blowing Virtual Tour Statistics [Updated for 2021]”. Digital in the Round, July 11, 2021. https://digitalintheround.com/virtual-tour-statistics/
  8. “Shocking Stats About the Importance of Photography in Real Estate”. RISMedia, December 12, 2018. https://rismedia.com/2018/12/12/shocking-stats-importance-photography-real-estate/
  9. Donati, Angelica Krystle. “How Is The Multifamily Market Dealing With COVID-19 And What Tech Is It Turning To For Solutions?”. Forbes, October 25, 2020. https://www.forbes.com/sites/angelicakrystledonati/2020/10/25/how-is-how-the-multifamily-market-dealing-with-covid-19-and-what-tech-is-it-turning-to-for-solutions/?sh=74a91b0e53e9
  10. “Nature & Our Mood: Why Spending Time Outdoors Makes Us Happier”. Happify, n.d. https://www.happify.com/hd/nature-makes-us-happier-infographic/
  11. Strong, Symone. “10 Design Trends Shaping Multifamily Buildings in 2022”. Multifamily Executive, January 18, 2022. https://www.multifamilyexecutive.com/design-development/design/10-design-trends-shaping-multifamily-buildings-in-2022_o
  12. Armental, Maria. “Chewy Turns Quarterly Profit as Covid-19 Boosts Online Sales”. The Wall Street Journal, March 30, 2021. https://www.wsj.com/articles/chewy-turns-profit-as-covid-19-boosts-online-sales-and-pet-ownership-11617139571?
  13. Kalinoski, Gail. “How Will the Pandemic Impact Future Apartments?”. Multi-Housing News, August 5, 2020. https://www.multihousingnews.com/post/how-will-the-pandemic-impact-future-apartments/
  14. Ibid
  15. Berthene, April. “Coronavirus pandemic adds $219 billion to US ecommerce sales in 2020-2021”. Digital Commerce 360, March 15, 2022. https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/article/coronavirus-impact-online-retail/
  16. “Proptech Investments to Improve Your Multifamily Portfolio”. Brivo, n.d. https://resources.brivo.com/multifamily/brivo-proptech-investments

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