One of the biggest multifamily trends for 2020 isn’t about amenities or upgrades. It’s about inspiring confidence in the apartment industry as a whole. Renting is no longer a temporary solution as individuals save up money for their first starter homes. Instead, it’s becoming a permanent housing choice for many individuals who want the freedom and affordability that renting can provide. This is especially true in California, where housing prices are high, and even six-figure earners can’t afford homeownership.
Of course, that positive trend does come with a major downside: increased competition. Smart multifamily developers know that they can easily fill an apartment building, so they’re focusing on building in high-need areas. To compete, today’s landlords need to look at ways they can attract this large pool of renters and get them to stay for the long term. To connect with this group, landlords should consider adding amenities and community features that these middle–upper-class renters have their eyes out for.
6 Multifamily Trends to Watch in 2020
The amenities are what differentiate a complex. That’s why you’ll see that multifamily trends throughout 2020 will be more centered on the community amenities than the individual apartments. That’s not to say that there aren’t great options for in-unit upgrades that landlords can leverage to make individual spaces more attractive to renters.
Here are six trends that will drive high-demand amenities in 2020 and beyond.
#1: Tenants crave community
Today’s tenants want a sense of community in an apartment complex, just like they’d have if they lived in a neighborhood of single-family homes. That means creating a space that draws people in and gets them to socialize.
A few options for fostering a sense of community include:
- Common rooms: Having a common room that’s open for use for all tenants is an excellent start for building unity. Incorporating features like pool tables or ping pong can add an extra layer of engagement.
- Patio/Picnic areas: We have a lot of beautiful weather here in California; landlords should take advantage of it with outdoor eating and seating areas that tenants can enjoy on the weekends or after work. Fire pits and mood-lighting give these areas a sophisticated feel.
- Volleyball/Tennis courts: Volleyball and tennis courts are a great draw for today’s active tenants. Landlords can consider taking this up a notch by offering lessons or tournaments that will get other residents interested in the space.
Building high-end, casual spaces for tenants to spend their time will immediately elevate a complex. This strategy helps the landlord foster a sense of community that will keep existing tenants there and that will encourage new ones to move in.
#2: Pets are tenants too
With about 70% of US households owning pets, landlords need to step up their game when it comes to providing amenities for them. It’s not just enough to tolerate cats and dogs—landlords must be prepared to cater to pets by offering amenities that make caring for them easier.
Dog parks are the most obvious option as it’s so easy to set them up. It’s as simple as fencing in an area of about half an acre to an acre. Adding dog jungle gyms and other toys make the space more entertaining for pets, and providing benches and seating areas gives owners a place to relax. If the community has no weight limit on dogs, it may be wise to separate the parks into a small-dog park and a big-dog park to ensure everyone can play safe. Providing pet waste disposal stations with courtesy baggies is also a good option for dog-friendly communities, as it’s much easier for owners to clean up after their pets this way.
For landlords who want to take this further, onsite pet grooming or even veterinary services are great ideas. Consider partnering with small business owners and providing space to offer these services, or work with one of the many mobile pet grooming and care services available in California.
#3: Smart features go mainstream
Smart home features are slowly moving their way out of the specialty sector and into mainstream use. By 2022, the global smart home market is forecast to reach a value of more than $53 billion. With that in mind, landlords should consider incorporating some smarter features into their properties to provide better convenience for tenants.
These upgrades can be accomplished very quickly, and cost-effectively when using simple items like smart doorbells and locks. Such systems can provide security for tenants, but they can also allow them to take part in new options that make their lives easier. In-home package delivery, where tenants can let delivery people into their home remotely to drop off items and monitor them the entire time, is a good example of this. It’s a simple, smart upgrade that makes their lives easier and safer.
#4: Telecommuting drives office space demand
Telecommuting has grown by 140% over the past decade, and it’s not slowing down any time soon. That’s important for landlords to know as their residents may not just be looking for a place to live but also for a new remote workspace. A lot of that work will require access to standard office accessories that they’d either have to buy themselves or pay to use at a coworking center.
Providing a business center can be a big draw for these individuals. To set it up, landlords will need:
- Wi-Fi: High-speed, high-bandwidth internet is the first thing needed to establish a business center for residents. Typically, a 100 Mbps connection will support multiple people using the same service at the same time, even when using demanding processes like streaming.
- Video conferencing equipment: Having a meeting room with video conferencing equipment is a big draw for anyone who will need to have regular meetings, like business owners or individuals in remote sales. For a set up like this, it’s wiser to use an ethernet internet connection, as it would be very demanding on a Wi-Fi hookup.
- All-in-one printers: All-in-one printers can be copiers, scanners, and fax machines at the same time, making them ideal for business centers. The available options with Wi-Fi connections can replace multiple business machines at once and save space.
- Mailrooms: A mailroom doesn’t have to be a fully functioning post office. Packing materials, scales, and postage meters will go a long way for tenants needing to make regular deliveries. Most couriers will be happy to collect these packages when they drop off mail for the leasing office.
Offering a co-working space could be the competitive edge a landlord needs to pull tenants. With so many residents making the transition to remote work, these centers save them money and fit into their lifestyles seamlessly.
#5: Consumers demand eco-responsibility
More than one-third of consumers are willing to pay 25% more for products that are considered eco-friendly. Landlords should consider this when they’re thinking of amenities that will appeal to potential renters. Offering energy-efficient appliances and fixtures is a good immediate way to reduce a building’s impact on the environment while also controlling the consumer’s energy consumption. Landlords can consider other options like solar panels and smart thermostats to further improve those efforts. Simple upgrades like these will make individual living spaces much more attractive to today’s environmentally conscious renters.
Landlords can also add a community garden to bring that eco-friendliness to common areas. A lot of different fruits and vegetables can thrive in California’s temperate climate, making gardening a very popular activity. Landlords can provide space to residents to allow them to grow these and other items while improving their environmental impact at very little cost.
#6: Millennials replace the nightlife with nights at home
One thing that’s very different about the millennial generation than those that came before is how much they enjoy being at home. Almost one-third of millennials prefer to stay home to socialize, rather than go to local clubs and bars. Landlords can take advantage of this trend in 2020 by offering on-site social events that renters can enjoy right in their community.
Outdoor movie nights, pool parties, happy hours, and barbecues are all easy-to-put-on events that will appeal to millennials and cater to their desire to stay at home. It’s also a great way to instill a sense of community by allowing neighbors to get to know each other on a social level. The best part of this is that it doesn’t require any major upgrades as the landlord can leverage what they already have available, whether it’s a large courtyard, beautiful pool area, or sophisticated common room.
Choosing a California Contractor for 2020 Apartment Upgrades
Even more important than the popular multifamily upgrades for 2020 is the contractor you choose. There are more than 3,600 licensed general building contractors in the Los Angeles area alone, and not all of them are the right individuals to complete the job. Tenants who must contend with constant disruptions from construction, interrupted utilities, and other inconveniences aren’t going to renew, no matter how many high-end upgrades you may offer. To keep tenant retention high, choose your contractor carefully.
The top multifamily trends to watch in 2020 all center on how amenities can bring renters together. By offering them options like dog parks, picnic areas, community rooms, and business centers, you can serve many of your tenants’ needs on-site, and help you help your community stand out among the competition. With so many of today’s renters choosing long-term tenancy over homeownership, these amenities can be the key to reducing turnover and keeping tenant satisfaction high.