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Lot Lines: Inside the minds of apartment renters

One of the keys to success in the apartment market is to understand the minds of renters. They are the lifeblood of an apartment complex, and as a result, communities must cater to their needs and desires to retain them as tenants.

The mindset of apartment tenants has changed over the past few years. It has been well documented that the growing population of millennials are proving to favor apartment living to home ownership especially in urban areas. Furthermore, a growing number older Americans prefer renting, as they do not want to be tied down by the burden of a mortgage.

A recent survey conducted by The National Multifamily Housing Council and research and consulting firm Kingsley Associates offered even more detailed insight in the mind of apartment renters. The bottom line observed from the survey was tenant value amenities.

High-speed Internet was the No. 1 feature and amenity renters demand most. In fact, in most Class A and B apartment complexes high-speed Internet is a necessity because of how prolific it has become in the daily lives of people. Parking came in second followed by such amenities as walk-in closets, patios or balconies and soundproof walls.

Swimming pools still remain one of the most important amenities as four out of five residents said pools factored into their decision. Pools are not just for relaxation anymore, as many residents said they enjoy them as social gathering places.

Location is also important. The survey showed that over half of residents want to live within walking distance of retail shopping centers, grocery stores and restaurants. This desire plays into the growing popularity of walkability, which is now being measured in both apartment complexes and retail centers.

Finally, the survey stressed the value of the Internet for property managers. A third of respondents said they check their property’s social network pages such as Facebook for news and updates about the community. Additionally, the survey revealed first impressions begin online.

Approximately 80 percent of residents said the Internet played a large part in picking their current apartment community. Most said they read online reviews of properties with just over half not visiting certain properties because of negative reviews.

Darren Currin is an analyst with ARA Newmark who specializes in Oklahoma City and Tulsa commercial real estate. He may be reached dcurrin@aranewmark.com. A version of this column originally appeared in The Journal Record (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma), sister publication to The Daily Record.

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