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How the Rental Landscape is Changing in 2020

Technology and on-site amenities take the stage

Location, renovations, upgrades, property age, and parking have been classic qualities renters look for when seeking the ideal place to live. But in today’s rental market, the demographics are shifting as are the needs of renters, while different attributes that never played a role in the past are coming to the forefront.

A recent study from the National Multifamily Housing Council and Kingsley Associates was highlighted recently in CRETECH, citing what renters really want in today’s market, and the responses might surprise you:

It turns out that benefits such as short-term rentals, co-living, co-working voice-activated technology, and pet amenities all ranked as qualities that played a role in how tenants made leasing decisions.

When it came to co-working, 55% of residents were still interested in an on-site business center while only 15% would use a co-working space. Despite co-living gaining traction in 2019 for many new companies, only 31% of tenants would consider this type of living arrangement.

Voice activated technology actually played a role for 43% of responders, many who already owned devices including Alexa by Amazon or Google Home.

Pet amenities came in as another top priority to renters, concluding that dog owners would pay up to $34 more per month for amenities including on-site pet services or a community dog park.

Lastly, when it came to short-term rentals, whether or not a property permits the lease of shorter term rentals had either a positive outlook, or no negative outlook to at least 60% of renters.

But the property qualities renters look for only account for part of the changes taking place in the modern market of residential leasing.

The shift of baby boomers and multifamily housing

Originally, the demographic face of the traditional renter is commonly associated with millennials and younger generations, college students, single member households or smaller families. However it turns out the baby boomers are joining the leasing landscape now more than ever. In a study conducted by client development managers, architects and property engineers, many baby boomers are downsizing and relocating from suburban to urban city living (source). With this trend, the demand of multi-family housing within the urban landscape is higher than ever to accommodate the influx of millennials who are now starting to become home owners and parents while living within proximity to the older generations.

Like the boomers, millennials who are starting families are also seeking multifamily developments in communities that have more amenities to accommodate their busy lifestyle and dynamic family environments.

Sustainability and logistic challenges call for attention with the increase in urban multi-family living

The demographic changes in the rental landscape naturally pose challenges as multifamily developments compete for space in the logistically tighter infrastructure, plus limited proximity to transit areas, all while developers and engineers work to mesh together the feel of suburbanism within the urban environment.

Sustainability and carbon footprints also play a role in keeping up with concerns of modern developers and engineers as communities aim to shift away from emissions and move towards a minimal to zero carbon footprint.

Catherine Rotman