Multifamily living is no longer about how happy we are with the four walls around us and the location we’re in. It’s about the overall experience. This is what operators need to focus on as we enter 2024.
What lease options and amenities can you provide to become as attractive as possible? How can you step up your customer service and environmental commitments? Some of the multifamily property management trends you’re about to see are no longer just nice-to-haves. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, here are the five emerging trends you’ve got to have on your radar:
1. Multifamily housing will use ‘flex strategies’ to boost occupancy
Longer leases may offer landlords more stability, but they only cater to a certain tenant pool. Offering shorter minimum stays and flexible terms appeals to tourists, business travelers, relocating individuals and digital nomads, which means you can easily fill gaps in tenancy. Tapping into these markets helps mitigate risks associated with economic downturns or unexpected events (e.g. a pandemic), turning properties into all-weather assets.
2. Landlords will amend contracts to allow subletting
Giving residents, who may want to temporarily relocate or take extended trips, the opportunity to sublet when they’re not there can be a great way for operators to make their property more attractive and financially viable for tenants.
Airbnb has really paved the way here with its Airbnb-friendly apartment program, which launched in the US in November 2022. The site partners with operators prepared to allow residents to sublet in return for taking a share of short-term rental revenue. Initially, the program had 175 buildings in 25 markets. Now, it boasts around 260 properties in 40 markets, which is roughly 100,000 US apartments.
Subletting is a win-win for both residents and operators. For residents, it improves financial security — someone with a two-bed apartment in San Diego, for example, would make almost $8,000 a year on average. For the landlord, it reduces the risk of vacancies and boosts income.
3. Mixed-use developments for that village feel
Working patterns were changing even before the pandemic. Now, remote and hybrid roles are here to stay. Multifamily operators know it’s not enough to just put a desk in a room and declare it caters to remote workers. Operators are increasingly going above and beyond by providing ‘third spaces’ where renters can get out of their apartment for a much needed change of scene, surrounded by other members of the community. From a mental health perspective, scientists have found that when people fill their days with more varied experiences, they’re happier.
An extension to dedicated workspaces is the industry’s shift to multi-functional properties with a broader offering. Mixed-use buildings can incorporate shared amenities such as gyms, pools and rooftop terraces, alongside retail and café space for that all-in-one-place, village feel. This approach creates vibrant and sustainable communities, where residents are encouraged to foster strong relationships with one another.
4. Renters actively seeking out sustainable properties
Consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious and residents are increasingly seeking out multifamily operators with progressive attitudes to corporate social responsibility (CSR). This can include energy efficient upgrades, sustainable building materials or waste reduction and recycling initiatives.
Electric vehicles (EVs) charging points remain a hot topic. While relatively few renters currently drive a fully electric or hybrid plug-in car (4%), nearly half (47%) say they plan to make their next vehicle an EV of some kind, or are considering it. Of those who do own an EV, one in three reported that they do not have access to any on-site charging points.
Operators can monetize charging points by offering residents a dedicated parking space where they can charge their car. It also presents another opportunity for residents to sublet by renting out their parking space while they are at work, or on holiday.
5. Hospitality is at the heart of the rental experience
Multifamily operators have no room to rest on their laurels — competition is rife. In a digital era where technology is advancing all of the time, landlords have endless opportunities to make their resident experience the best it can be.
Technology can be seamlessly integrated at virtually every stage of the renting process. A dedicated resident app can act as a central hub for everything a renter needs, including keyless access to their building or apartment, and a place to log maintenance requests. AI can also facilitate certain queries, helping residents to get the answers they need at any time of the day or night. Providers that use technology to enhance their operations – in addition to some of the other trends mentioned above — will stand in good stead heading into 2024.
Here are some other industry trends articles for the multifamily sector that we have enjoyed reading.
MRI Software Multifamily housing trends to expect in 2024
Globe Street Optimism for the 2024 Multifamily Market
YieldPro Multifamily fundamentals are strong in 2024, despite uncertainties
Wall Street Journal The Rise of the Forever Renters
PointCentral Key Takeaways From OPTECH 2023 – Resurgence Of Short-Term Rentals, Generative AI, And New ‘Junk Fee’ Regulations
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