MHN Executive Council: Hottest Amenity Trends

What do renters want right now? The MHN Executive Council lists their top amenities.

To remain competitive, apartment communities need to keep up with the newest amenities in order to attract residents. What are today’s hottest amenities? The MHN Executive Council explained what renters want now.

Mary Cook

Crowd Pleasers

Wellness is front of mind and a top priority for consumers today across all housing sectors. In addition to providing spaces that offer access to natural light, fresh air and outdoor amenity areas, property managers are putting more emphasis on the programming and activities that engage residents, build a sense of community and foster well being.

The pandemic and social distancing have brought proxemics—the study of space and how we use it—more sharply into focus. Because some residents may feel differently about their closeness to others, the newest generation of amenities incorporates private nooks or pocket spaces that create a sense of separation while still giving residents the feeling of being part of a larger communal area.

Pet-focused amenities such as dog runs continue to be another big draw for today’s residents—particularly Millennials, who comprise the largest segment of US pet owners. Residents value the functionality of dog washes and grooming stations, as well as the opportunities for human socialization and getting to know your neighbors that come from using designated communal pet-friendly areas.

Fitness centers with large windows that maximize light tend to be more inviting and more frequently used. Multi-sport and golf simulators are popular recreational offerings—especially in colder climates—since they appeal to all ages and athletic abilities and offer multiple games and sports in an indoor setting that can be enjoyed year-round. Aging but active Baby Boomers and empty nesters continue to comprise a key renter demographic, so we’ve noticed a rise in pickleball and other racquet sports such as paddle tennis that are popular among these groups.

Another emerging trend is properties offering shared closets or so-called “gear garages” where residents can borrow or rent things like bikes, beach gear or pool toys as opposed to everyone buying—and having to store—their own. We see an uptick in new concierge services such as in-house dog walking, laundry and housekeeping, which allows residents to streamline their daily routines and focus more on their productivity, relaxation and social lives. —Mary Cook, President, Mary Cook Associates

Susan McPeak

No Place Like Home

Apartments are no longer places to live until residents can afford their own homes. They are homes and residents want amenities that make them feel like homeowners.

That means they want full-size in-home washer/dryers—no more laundry centers or small stackable units. They like kitchens that include trash pullout receptacles, pantries and islands. From soundproof walls to smart locks and double his-her sinks, quality is in. Residents want to be able to relax in a shower-tub combo and buzz Uber Eats in at the outdoor gate.

The luxury “home experience” continues on the community grounds with prospective residents looking for outdoor lounges with fire scape seating and BBQ dining. It’s even better if that includes a chef’s table and an outdoor sink. Great lawns you can sit on under the trees are in, and in cities, rooftop gardens and gathering spots.

Traditional fitness centers are out. The fitness area should be designed for functional training: TRX and Crossfit with roll up or big sliding doors that spill out to an outdoor turf area for yoga and outdoor fitness classes. —Susan McPeak, Creative Director, The Dales Group

Kyle Funk

Desired Lifestyle

The notion that amenities are rarely used and are built only to check a box during the sales process is proving to be a limited point of view. Community events and experiential spaces are very important to residents. Amenities that become a daily part of resident life contribute the most value. People aren’t looking for a checklist of amenities, they are looking for the experiences that create their desired lifestyle. —Kyle Funk, Marketing Director, LoftSixFour

Christine Gustafson

Full Access

One of the most sensical amenity trends I’m noticing is an extension of the package room/systems to now include refrigerated packaging to allow for food and grocery delivery services.

For those communities in bicycle-friendly areas, bicycle rooms are no longer just storage rooms; they now include stations for tire pressure pumping, patching, etc.

Business centers are transforming to co-working spaces. Some spaces include tables and phone-booth style cubicles for privacy. Some communities are also adding podcast rooms.

I’ve also seen a hospitality-inspired amenity starting to appear—the inclusion of an access controlled 24/7 mini-market in a common area for residents. These mini markets include laundry detergent, milk, frozen foods and, most popularly, ice cream. The mini market idea allows for ultimate convenience for residents 24 hours a day. —Christine Gustafson, Vice President of Marketing & Public Relations, The Breeden Co.

Paul Marks

High Tech

I have seen many changes or additions to already existing amenity trends, such as fitness classes (live or streaming), coworking spaces, EV charging stations, Wi-Fi and high-speed internet, smart devices in the units such as thermostats and appliances, and smart apps that provide rewards for resident use. —Paul Marks, Host & Producer, Multifamily Matters

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