Across the city and into the suburbs the great amenities race is on with luxury buildings playing a large scale game of keeping up the Jones. Smaller, older properties are also trying to keep pace with renovations and amenity additions. Some of the most unique amenities we have seen include a vintage arcade room complete with Skee Ball and Pac-Man at Pierce Boston, Ink Block’s botanical gardens, and the upcoming “Woof Deck” a rooftop terrace for your dog to be included at the residential tower for The Hub on Causeway.
But what amenities to residents actually use, want, and will they pay a premium for? The National Multifamily Housing Council along with Kingsley Associates conducted a massive study of over 270,00 renters in 2017 to try and answer this conundrum. According to this study, the number factor in renter decisions was the availability of high-speed internet. In fact, 93% of all renters are reviewing the internet options of the community and the apartment when looking for a new home. With more people working remote and technology changing the way people consume media the importance of quality internet within a property, old or new cannot be underestimated.
Not surprisingly many renters also now expect to find a fitness center and pool within their community. 55% of renters surveyed wouldn’t lease without a fitness center onsite and 60% demand a pool! In another study conducted for the National Apartment Association, an average rent premium of nearly $70 per month is also added when a fitness center is available for residents. Package delivery and storage options were also high on the list of importance. As more residents shop online and the number of packages being delivered increases it is important for a property to have a secure location to store these items and also a rapid pickup system in place.
What was most interesting about this study however was that community amenities were ranked as the 4th reason that renters move. Amenities ranked behind lower rent, management, and apartment features in the survey. So while amenities are important, top quality service and apartment upkeep are larger factors in renter decisions. However, with such a competitive rental market it will still be crucial for developers and building owners to be able to offer a unique amenity package that helps form a building’s identity.