5 Multifamily Housing Trends You Can’t Ignore in 2017

Posted on December 19, 2016

If you own or manage multifamily properties, explore some of the latest multifamily apartment trends in 2017. While some might seem over-the-top, it might be time to put yourself in your renters’ shoes, and put your properties more in line with their expectations.

1. Attract Diverse Demographics
These days, multifamily properties in urban centers are attracting two different demographics: Empty nesters who want to downsize after the children have gone to school and young Millennials who are attracted to an urban lifestyle.

What unites both of these groups is a desire for a walkable, well-located apartment that’s professionally landscaped and maintained.

To keep your multifamily property on pace with trends, invest in the latest technology to serve Millennials and woo empty nesters with nice landscaping, well-lit pathways, and apartments that accommodate aging in place. It wouldn’t hurt to then invest in soundproofing, so late-owl Millennials and early-bird empty nesters won’t bother one another and cause tenant disputes.

2. A Little Luxury Can Go a Long Way
Do you own an older multifamily property in need of full-scale remodeling? If so, investing in luxury touches can net a big win by drawing renters who want a luxury apartment and can afford to pay top dollar rents. In-demand luxury amenities include:

Multi-use common areas with premium hardwood floors and designer furniture
Onsite rock climbing wall
Yoga studios
Wine rooms
Infinity pools
These posh perks target hobbies of the well-to-do and can distinguish your luxury apartment building from others.

If you can’t afford to target the luxury market, don’t worry. You can still enjoy the benefits if you keep your multifamily rental affordable for the middle-class. Since the middle-class is squeezed out of luxury rentals and (frequently) out of the home buying market, targeting them virtually ensures you a steady stream of interested renters ready to snap up any vacancies.

3. Offer a Sustainable Lifestyle
Offering an eco-friendly apartment building sets your rentals apart from other properties on the market. If you care about the environment, offering services like composting, green energy, and bicycle parking at your multifamily unit is a natural fit.

By requiring tenants to live sustainably, via green clauses in the lease, you can create an intentional community of happy renters who enjoy where they live, intend to stay for a long time, and match your commitment to sustainability.

Since upgrades like energy-efficient windows and rooftop solar panels come with tax credits, greening your apartment complex can bestow benefits on you as well as the environment.

4. Cutting-edge Technology Sells
If you rely on your renters to do their own tech, you are falling behind the trends. Increasingly, renters expect their apartment complex to provide high-speed internet and fiber optics in common areas.

Reboot your property by offering blazing-fast WiFi in common areas and personalizing the apartment technology with smart thermostats and customizable entertainment packages. This way, tenants can design the technology environment they want by pre-selecting from your choices.

As you invest in new technology for your apartment building, don’t forget about the percentage of your rental community who telecommute. Make sure your business center or office space onsite has reliable, fast wireless, printer and fax capability, or even videoconferencing equipment available for use.

5. Micro Apartments Bring Big Opportunities
As evidenced by the tiny house phenomenon, small is in. Micro units of approximately 350 square feet allow property owners to accommodate more individuals in a smaller space. These micro apartments tend to draw young singles who want to live in a prime location and do not need to entertain at home.

These apartments are already popular in metropolitan areas like Seattle, San Francisco, or New York. Being an early adopter of the micro apartment trend in your city could pay off big by serving a new market.

Not all of these trends make sense for every multifamily property. Before you remodel your building, think about what makes sense for the renters who call your community home and what you can realistically invest in. Then make smart changes that will appeal to renters in your city and preserve the value of your investment.