5 Trends in Multifamily Housing

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, multifamily housing is a booming industry in the United States with more multifamily housing units going up than single-family units. The agency reports that this boom over the single-family sector is due, in part, to the fact that it’s more difficult than before for many Americans to qualify for a mortgage. In addition, there is a rising trend toward urban living where multifamily dwellings are prominent. So how do builders keep up with demand, while staying competitive?

It’s all about building to the desires of today’s renters. Of course, as KWA has reported in the past, the demographics of your renters will impact what tenants desire. For example, your younger generation may place gym access and tanning parlors higher on their list, while your middle-aged and senior tenants might place more emphasis on laundry rooms and ceiling fans.

5 Trends in Multifamily Housing

Aside from age-specific differences, Multifamily Executive reports that the majority of ALL apartment and multifamily community renters list the following five amenities at the top of their general “must-have” lists:

  1. Quality appliances — Renters want to save as much money as possible. One way to accomplish this is by outfitting apartment units with energy-efficient appliances that will save renters on their utility bills. Cosmetic appeal of appliances is another factor. While many appliance manufacturers have tried to introduce new colors in recent years, stainless steel has staying power with consumers, as reported in the Wall Street Journal.

  2. Plenty of storage space — An apartment with little storage will be far less appealing than a similar unit with additional storage options. Big closets in bedrooms, laundry rooms rather than laundry closets, and patio or garage storage are all appealing to renters.

  3. Access to Internet and cable — This is two-fold. First, renters are looking for units with options when it comes to cable and Internet. This aspect is primarily at the mercy of the cable and Internet providers, as well as the apartment management. Second, multiple cable and Internet hookups in the unit are more appealing to renters. An apartment unit with one cable hookup limits the renter in layout and interior design of their space. Cable hookups on multiple walls allow renters to configure their home however they desire.

  4. Exercise and recreational facilities — From the pool to the fitness center, the more recreational facilities offered, the better. Outdoor community living spaces, such as large patio spaces by pools, is an additional appeal to renters.

  5. Access to shopping, dining and public transportation — Once you’ve selected the site for a build and purchased the land, there’s little to be done about this factor; But know this: A multifamily unit with easy access to shopping, dining and public transportation is of great appeal to most renters, especially younger tenants.

A builder can’t ignore trends, whether building single or multifamily homes. It is important to focus on the demographics and needs of potential renters in the market while also gearing construction efforts to suit those needs.

For more information on multifamily construction trends, read our blog on what Gen Y renters are looking for in their future apartment.