New National Survey Highlights What Renters Seek in an Apartment Home

November 23, 2015

Top Five Apartment Features Include High-Speed Internet, Walk-In Closets, Sound Proof Walls, Patio or Balcony and Washer/Dryer In Unit

Rick Haughey, Vice President, Industry Technology Initiatives, National Multifamily Housing Council

(Washington, DC, Monday, November 23, 2015) – Apartment renters today want blazing-fast Internet while they’re washing their delicates right in their apartment, hanging them out to dry on the balcony (sorry – not allowed!) before they go back to the walk-in closet to put them away, all in peace and quiet without hearing the noisy neighbors next doors.

These insights and more come from the largest-ever national survey of apartment renters, released today in the National Multifamily Housing Council/Kingsley Associates 2015 Renter Preferences Survey.  Nearly 120,000 apartment residents across the nation were surveyed about their preferences in home features, community amenities, and more. 

Renters in the U.S. now total 38 million nationwide, with 1.6 million more renters today than five years ago and Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies projecting that renter households could rise by up to 4 million during the next decade.  With the rise of renters, apartments have evolved into amenity-rich homes that attract a wide swath of the population.  The survey provides detailed insights about what renters seek in an apartment home, providing both national trends and data from 44 metro markets nationwide.

When looking for an apartment home, renters prefer a community that is walking distance to the grocery store, restaurant or bar, and public transit.  Additionally, they want a neighborhood that is driving distance to work or the office, schools, and college or university. For their preferred communities, renters want secured community access, fitness center, parking, pool, and recycling.

The top five apartment features are:

  1. High-speed Internet (94%);
  2. Walk-in closet (89%);
  3. Soundproof walls (88%);
  4. Patio or balcony (87%); and
  5. Washer/dryer in the unit (87%). 

The survey also provides insights on several hot trends:

  • Packages—A typical apartment community can receive as many as 100 packages a week, which can double during the holiday season.
  • Mobile—92% of apartment residents use mobile phones vs. traditional landline
  • Pets—33% of apartment residents own a pet and are interested in amenities like a community dog park, treats in the lobby, and community pet-washing station. 

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