The Outlook for the Home Rental Market
The rental market looks like it will remain strong in 2019 as rates of occupancy range between 94 and 95 percent, and rent increases should fall between 2 and 3 percent. As for the changes to come in the next few years, here are some predictions.
In 2018, the average apartment was 941 square feet. This was five percent smaller than apartments 10 years ago. However, even though the average size of rental units is shrinking, apartment seekers want to see larger common areas. Another change is the type of common areas that consumers are looking for. Instead of movie screening rooms and swimming pools, residents prefer to have a home office or outdoor grilling facilities.
Convenience and service
The market has begun to see a trend of consumers wanting convenience and service offerings with their rental packages. This is a trend that should continue for the next few years. The days are gone when renters were content to merely have a functioning fireplace. Today, people want to have high-tech features such as remote-controlled blinds and IOT-enabled appliances that send text messages to their smartphones.
Renters are also increasingly demanding special services such as dog walking, dry cleaning and wine delivery. Amenities such as refrigerated lockers for frozen perishables and delivery of specialty foods are also on the rise.
Accommodation for various age groups
There is an increasing number of baby boomers who are renting rather than owning. This is due to the appeal of living alone in the 21st Century and because of the increase in divorce rates. This equates to a higher variance of demographic groups in the renter population. In spite of this, millennials and baby boomers tend to want similar things from their communities. Events like wine tastings and pet-related functions are popular with most age groups.
However, when it comes to the desired features of the individual apartments, generational tastes differ. More mature renters place a higher value on storage space, large closets, and more decorative design. Millennials prefer more minimalist layouts that favor open floor plans over numerous closets. Older renters tend to have more seasoned tastes in decor, so they prefer units that allow them to choose their own color schemes and give leeway for interior design.
As new technologies become available, the rental industry will provide more powerful tech tools that make apartment hunting more efficient and effective. Renters already have valuable online tools that allow them to narrow their searches to apartments that have more desirable attributes. Some websites even provide virtual tours with 360-degree views that allow residents to experience a virtual walk-through of the apartment from the comfort of their living room.
There is an increase in the trend of renters going on self-guided tours of prospective properties. Rather than meeting up with an agent or building manager, the apartment seeker can use an app that gives directions to the property, helps them enter and exit the building via automated locks and allows renters to take more time to examine the facilities at their leisure.
The next step
Now that there’s “an app for that” in just about every scenario, the next step in technology is to integrate these tools in a way that makes them easier to find and access. It’s likely that popular apps and websites like Yelp, Lyft, Netflix and Amazon will be integrated seamlessly into one platform that helps renters streamline their apartment hunting and find a space that perfectly suits their desired lifestyle.