An old friend of mine just moved his 22-year-old, recently-graduated son into his very own North Park apartment. His son was as excited as I’ve ever seen him, and once I saw photos of his place, I knew exactly why. The unit is newly renovated, the building is beautiful and boasts tons of energy-efficient upgrades, and the property offers amenities galore.
To provide some context, let me paint you a picture of my first apartment. It was essentially a shoebox that smelled vaguely of dirty laundry and Chinese take-out. There was one window and no AC. The landlord was a nice, older lady named Doris who once wrote me a check for $1.25 for helping her with some groceries. And if you can find a bank teller who won’t laugh at you for trying to cash it, I’ll write you one for the same amount.
Suffice to say, my buddy’s son has no idea how good he has it. I’ll admit that the twenty-something inside me felt a pang of jealousy when I heard the list of amenities, but the truth is, this is a growing trend. Apartments and apartment buildings today aren’t what they used to be because kids today aren’t what they used to be, either.
Millennials and the Rental Market
Young adults are delaying homeownership in staggering numbers. Right now, only 11% of consumers ages 20 – 29 have a mortgage because they prefer the flexibility and financial freedom of renting while they figure out their lives. USA Today reports that between 2006 and 2011, renters increased by more than a million among households headed by 25 to 34-year-olds.
Studies suggest that because millennials aren’t attached to owning, they’re staying in apartments longer than in past decades, and when they do move, they just move to other apartments. This means they’re looking for rentals that can feel like a comfortable home in the meantime, which means they expect a certain number of amenities. As the owner of a multifamily building, it’s worth the money to make sure your property boasts the most in-demand amenities so you can stand out in the rental market.
The Amenities that Young Renters Want
North Park is a unique neighborhood and if you haven’t noticed already, it’s full of millennials. Aside from their typically progressive politics and tight pants, millennials are also known for being technologically savvy and highly social, which is why you should sit up and take notice of the amenities they’re seeking – especially since some of them may come as a surprise.
A study conducted by J Research established what you probably already suspected: The millennial generation prefers a wired world. Young renters want Cat-5 wiring behind walls and a heavy blanket of WiFi available across the property. According to the report, when asked to rate the importance of speed, reception, and reliability within their apartment on a scale from zero to 10, respondents weighed internet connection with a 7.54, stability of internet connection at 7.44, and cell phone reception at 7.33. If reception on your property is poor, you can boost it by using a distributed antenna system (DAS).
These kinds of high-tech features will allow young renters to work from home, stream movies, and have fast downloads without any hiccups – all of which are important to this demographic. Other tech-centric amenities include:
- Shared work spaces
- Charging stations for electric and hybrid vehicles
- An on-site tech concierge (to help with WiFi issues, system installations, and more)
- Built-in USB ports
- Keyless entry remotes
Social and Outdoor Amenities
Millennial renters may be used to high rents, but they want to make sure they’re getting more bang for their buck. Renters will seek shared spaces for socializing, since apartments don’t always offer good space for communal activities, and outdoor spaces can make up for their lack of a private yard. Some of the amenities that are increasing in demand and popularity include:
- On-site cafés or coffee carts
- Theaters, rec rooms, and game rooms
- Fitness studios
- Pools and poolside cabanas
- Virtual golf simulators and putting greens
- BBQ pits
- On-site dog parks
Offering amenities like these will appeal to the millennial crowd who are willing to pay significantly more for a smaller space in order to take advantage of these luxurious outdoor and social features. Consider the fitness studio, for example. Right away, a young renter will see the benefit of having one on-site instead of paying $50 – $100 a month for a gym membership down the road. Community theaters with scheduled movie nights are a great selling point to twenty-somethings looking to save a few bucks on date night. And with pet-friendly housing becoming increasingly scarce, renters will respond to your willingness to accommodate their furry friend with a dog park on the property.
We Can Help You Cater to Your Renters
These lists might feel overwhelming, but REIG can help. We specialize in multifamily renovations, so we can guide you from start to finish. Our ultimate goal is to help you revitalize your community, and we pride ourselves on being able to do it on time and on budget. Plus, we can carry out any of these renovations with minimal disruption to your current residents. Contact us today and let’s talk about turning your ideas into reality.