8 Disruptive Trends

By on Apr 26, 2018 in News

Multifamily housing is changing more rapidly than ever before. The National Multifamily Housing Council recently released the Multifamily Disruption report. It highlights eight major trends that are changing the way we design and marketing apartments.

1. Robotics

Tech research consultants at Gatner estimate that 26 billion devices will be connected through the cloud-based Internet of Things (IoT) by the year 2020. The five-fold increase includes more than 11 billion sensor-connected devices that control resident comfort, shopping, and entertainment. Investments in consumer artificial intelligence products may reach $126 billion by 2025.

Residents have come to expect the integration of smart technology into their residences. Owners and operators are scrambling to integrate—and update— tech-savvy gadgets into rentals.

2. Convenient, Customizable Living

Convenience reigns.

Renters value reliable cellphone reception and high-speed internet more than fitness centers, pools, or in-unit laundry machines. By 2023, more than 90 percent of the U.S. population will own cellphones and use them as the main method of interaction with businesses and services. 

The 2017 State of the Connected Customer report advises businesses to focus on immediacy, personalization, consistency, and anticipation. If these expectations aren’t met, 66 percent of polled consumers say that they’ll drop the brand. About 70 percent of consumers say that mobile technology makes switching brands easier than ever.

When it comes to apartments, this translates into a few major points. Cell reception and high-speed internet are must-haves. When renters reach out to leasing office staff, they expect quick, personalized responses. Moreso, they expect the leasing staff to anticipate their needs, promptly issuing updates and repairs before they’re requested.

3. Looking Beyond Millennials

One-bedroom apartments are no longer the hottest floor plan in most markets. Larger apartments at affordable prices are consuming a greater share of demand.

About 73 million Americans are considered Millennials, renters ages 18- to 34-years of age. About 23 million of these young adults are nesting with their parents. It is uncertain when, and if, they will enter the rental market before 2030.

While the remaining 50 million Millennials are a formidable force, experts advise owners and operators to turn their attention beyond Millennials’ needs. Baby Boomers and immigrants compose an even larger share of the future renter demographic.  These groups expect larger, multi-bedroom units yet they have lower-than-average incomes. Skipping fancy amenities to focus on lower costs and larger units may serve owners and operators well.

4. Remote Employment

Mobile technology has propelled an influx of remote employees. Gallup reports that about 43 percent of Americans already do some telecommuting. The number is expected to grow as 37 percent of respondents say they’d switch jobs if they could work offsite.

Companies are meeting employees’ expectations.  Since 1996, the amount of companies to offer telework options has tripled to 60 percent.

There has also been a 50 percent increase in the number of workers taking “offline alternative work.” The phrase encompasses everyone from Etsy artists to contractors and Uber drivers.

As a result of those trends, the demand for coworking spaces has grown. Apartment communities would be wise to include such spaces in their amenities. Fortunately, existing conference rooms and party rooms can quickly transform into swanky cowork lounges.

5. Automated Autos

Major cities are getting rid of antiquated parking space minimums.  A Center for Neighborhood Technology survey of residential lots in four major cities revealed that more than one-third of those spots are vacant when most residents should be home.

By removing the parking space minimum, major cities can cut back on the $35,000-per-space cost and decrease housing costs.

Those extra parking spaces won’t be missed. By 2030, autonomous vehicles will transport 95 percent of passenger miles driven—if experts at RethinkX are correct. In any case, car dependency is decreasing. A growing quantity of renters rely on ride-share and ride-hail services in the cities and suburbs alike. Goldman Sachs estimates that the ride-share industry will be worth $285 billion by 2030. Urban areas are also focusing on improving public transit, walkability, and access to delivery services. 

6. Delivery Services

E-commerce is quickly changing the way that apartments handle packages. Consumer Intelligence Research Partners reports that more than half of Americans subscribe to Amazon Prime.

Designated storage areas are becoming the new norm, equipped with climate control and private access key codes. Communities would be wise to consider accommodations for delivery drones and 3-D printing as well.

7. Home Care

Americans are stressed out. According to the American Psychological Association, 86 percent of respondents say they constantly or often check their emails, texts, and social media accounts. This group also reports higher stress levels than their less device-dependent peers.

Renters turn to community wellness centers to relieve stress. They expect on-site wellness to include physical, social, and emotional services. This means that owners and operators must expand their concept of the community fitness center.

During a workout, residents want machines that track and analyze their performance. This data offers greater customization for workouts, as well as the opportunity to share progress with friends.

To fortify mind and spirit, renters are turning to spacious, minimalist lounges for meditation. These spaces are clad in sustainable materials that are ethically sourced and bathed in natural light.

The feel-good vibes spread to other amenities as well. Activities that promote social and environmental justice are seen as a value-add service.

8. The Sharing Economy

Renters don’t value their privacy as much as they used to. They’d rather connect with others, including neighbors and visitors. Collaborative workspaces, shared rides, and even shared homes continue to grow in popularity. Statista estimates that adults that use sharing-economy services will grow from 56.5 billion in 2017 to 86.5 billion in 2021.