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Top Multifamily Property Management Trends Expected In 2021

While many property sectors didn’t fair as well during the economic circumstances of 2020, the multifamily industry faired better than others in related categories.

Going into 2021, CBRE forecasts a 6% increase in net effective rents and return to pre-COVID vacancy levels with a recovery by the first part of 2022. In addition, the trend of multifamily housing was at the highest it had ever been pre-COVID at an occupancy rate of 96.3%. Even with the events of last year, the estimated additional units required to accommodate demand for 2020 was forecasted at 4.6 million new units, or an average of 328,000 new units annually. While there certainly can be a slowdown of construction anticipated, there will still be a need for multifamily housing as the economy begins to stabilize as the impacts of COVID begin to recede.

Below are some of the top trends anticipated in the real estate and multifamily amenities spaces this year.

Urban markets will have to remain competitive to keep up with the suburban shift

As many renters who became comfortable in more affordable suburban areas fail to return to previously occupied urban hotspots, urban areas may likely be forced away from higher costs. Having more flexible amenities and lifestyle services available on demand may be an outlet for urban developers to justify pricing closer to previous costs. With the threat of location also no longer being as big of a priority to job seekers, suburban markets will need to leverage activities and ways to provide added value in order to stay afloat with the competitive suburban markets.

People will continue to spend more time at home, making living space and outdoor space higher considerations

Living space is another large consideration as renters spend more time at home than ever, however it is estimated that an element of hybrid work/school and home will remain into the future. Outdoor space and outdoor amenities have also shown to play a more meaningful factor for renters who desire the greater access after spending more time at home from work or with kids.

Virtual Experiences Will Continue Into the Future

According to EventBrite, by the first half of 2020, consumers were spending 28x more time attending virtual events than what was spent in January 2020 before the pandemic implicated began to spike worldwide. By November, the amount  of spending was 34x greater than January. In total, EventBrite alone logged 100million + hours on virtual events from close to 75 million attendees. Even more evidence that virtual events are not just a trend and are here to stay, is a global consumer survey led by YouGov in which 47% of 3k surveyed respondents agreed that online events were a better alternative to in-person events. Participants reported that they felt more connected afterwards, and even made new connections through these experiences. More than half agreed they would continue to attend virtual events well beyond the safety of in-person events resuming in the post-COVID world.

As ApartmentGuide recently highlighted TFLiving’s very own COO, Jason Deppen, apartments that have included virtual services such as virtual group fitness classes and virtual events such as wine tastings, cooking demos and trivia nights, have seen a success in engaging residents and tenants with a hybrid approach that offers safe, socially distanced alternatives to in-person amenities. 

Enhanced Services Will Remain Critical

As for factors that play a role in the challenges and recovery paths for this year, urban amenities make up one of those many considerations. With the continuation on limited availability of entertainment, restaurants, bars and cultural amenities, the pace of recovery is dependent on vaccine distribution over the course of the year.

Both ClickNotices and Multifamily Executive note there will be a greater significance of creativity that will be required in order to cultivate resident connection. In addition to a virtual spin on happy hours, celebrations and community game nights, services such as high-speed internet, socially distant co-working areas, and amenities like outdoor trails will be factors that can help draw in and retain residents who may otherwise be drawn to competing suburban markets. In addition, Advanced Management Group noted the importance of luxury amenities in the convenience, health-related and entertainment categories specifically playing a larger role than ever in 2021.

Digital Communication Will Remain a Key For Property Managers

From apps, to email and text, which already play such a huge role in all of our lives, digital communication portals that allow residents and tenants to communicate with each other, pay rent online, submit maintenance requests, and converge will all go a long way. A lot of this has already been coming into play over 2020 when there was a large shift to virtual tours and self-guided showings, and Property Managers had to limit physical contact with their residents and tenants and find other ways to get communications out. 

Catherine Rotman