Millennials vs. Boomers: Trends in Multifamily Apartment Rentals
- Mar 09, 2016
By Dan Doyle, VP Development, The Beach Company
When it comes to choosing a residence, Millennials and Baby Boomers have more in common than you may think. Increasingly, both groups seek luxury multifamily apartment rentals well located within cities as their first choice for housing.
Both Millennials and Boomers are looking for housing options that cater to their lifestyle. Boomers (51–71) want to live mortgage-free and lower their housing expenses and transient Millennials (18–34) enjoy the flexibility of renting. Multifamily apartments also provide a range of unit types, from 500 square-foot studios to three-bedroom townhomes, fulfilling the desire of Boomers to downsize or Millennials to live minimally.
Multifamily communities check off many of the boxes both Millennials and Boomers are searching for in housing: a diverse community, convenience to daily necessities and high-end amenities.
Today’s apartment communities are far more diverse than they were 25 years ago. Apartments are no longer occupied solely by college students and young professionals. In the past decade alone, the number of renters aged 55 and older has increased by 42 percent. When you have a good mix of ages, the environment feels like a true community—it gets better.
Increasingly we are seeing that residents of all ages are actively seeking out community events to get to know their neighbors. Several of our communities employ CAREs Teams, comprised of individuals who live onsite and partner with the management team to foster a sense of community by personally welcoming new residents and planning monthly social events.
At Parks at Nexton in Summerville, S.C., the CAREs Team plans events that appeal to both Millennials and Boomers alike. Recently the team organized a resident dinner at a restaurant within walking distance from the property, a painting class and a Craft Beer Club meeting. The response to these events has been overwhelmingly positive; our Millennial and Boomer residents now more than ever seem genuinely interested in being an active member of their community.
Walkability and proximity to everyday conveniences is a major factor when choosing a residence. Both Millennials and Boomers value the ability to walk to a restaurant, neighborhood market or coffee shop.
The diversity and density of residents is what sustains walkable retail. As much as they have in common, Boomers and Millennials visit shops and restaurants at different times of day. Most of our apartment communities are mixed-use projects with retail use on the street level. The built-in number and frequency of customers support the retail, and the ability to walk to dining and shops becomes a neighborhood experience for residents. And, contrary to opinions frequently expressed by those opposed to density, every walk-in visit to a neighborhood shop is one fewer car on the road.
One of our recently completed projects, Riviera at Seaside, was built on outparcels throughout the Shoppes at Seaside Farms retail village in Mount Pleasant, S.C., to create a mutually supportive community. The village includes shops, restaurants, services and amenities next door to the apartments. The ability to pick up groceries, go to the gym and dine at a nice restaurant–all without starting a car—has greatly contributed to the success of this community.
In addition to proximity to goods and services, Boomers in particular are choosing apartments near their children and grandchildren. While the Millennial generation jumps from location to location, Boomers enjoy the flexibility of renting and living near their loved ones.
The amenity packages expected by today’s renter include items you would expect, like a pool, fitness center and clubroom. However today’s Millennials and Boomers expect next-level amenities. Your pool becomes a saltwater pool with aqua shade lounge, fitness centers are stocked with state-of-the-art equipment and are larger than ever before and resident clubrooms overlook the city skyline with HDTVs lining the walls. And that’s just the start.
Recently, we added amenities to our multifamily projects that were unheard just a few years ago. At Parkside at the Highlands, in Savannah, Ga., residents can take their dogs to the Parkside Bark Park and then visit the “pet spa,” with access special shampoos, dryers and a grooming station. At Parks at Nexton, our fitness facility features a Nexersys Boxing system, yoga area and access to miles of multiuse trails.
Aside from community amenities, Baby Boomers and Millennials both prefer high end finishes and appliances within their apartment homes. While average apartment sizes have dropped from around 1,200 square feet a generation ago to 750 square feet today, renters expect these spaces to be modernly outfitted and efficient.
Dan Doyle is vice president at The Beach Company, headquartered in Charleston, S.C. The Beach Company has five generations of family ownership with development projects spanning across the Charleston area and the Southeast region. The Beach Company upholds a tradition of establishing landmark properties and communities by evaluating each development opportunity for its potential to improve the quality of life for its neighbors, and contribute to the long-term economic vitality of the Charleston Lowcountry and the Southeast region.