Top Amenities for the 2017 Renter

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In the era of smart homes, it’s still the ordinary amenities that add value to an apartment. In the end, comfort beats innovation.

alexandra_pacurarSeveral studies carried out in the last couple of years show that prospective renters value basic commodities and facilities that help them feel comfortable and integrated. Laundromats are becoming less popular as renters want to be able to do their laundry at home. Washers and dryers are the most popular amenities among renters, several studies show. In fact, this was also the case in 2016.

The 2017 renter wants to be able to work out, relax and walk their dogs within their communities. Common-area amenities are more expensive (monthly premium) compared to individual facilities. Still, people are willing to pay more for fitness or business centers.

Community Amenities

According to a recent study by the National Apartment Association, “Adding Value in the Age of Amenities Wars,” half of the top 10 amenities added or upgraded in the last couple of years involved bringing people together. This means that the community aspect is still relevant for renters. The report, made in conjunction with analytics company Enodo Score surveyed 100,000 units in 35 states.

The evaluation showed that the most popular common-area amenities are fitness centers, business centers, clubhouses, common areas for socializing and pet-friendly facilities. According to Enodo Score’s findings, renters in Boston are willing to pay the highest premium for a fitness center—$67 per month—while residents in Denver would pay less than $11 per month for that. However, the most prevalent was the concierge, which ranked in the top 10 for rent premiums in nine of the 11 cities included in this segment of the study. Boston renters would pay an extra $75 for the service, followed by Miami, Seattle, Austin and Phoenix. Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston and Denver were also part of this part of the research.

Another study by J Turner Research on the same topic confirms that fitness centers and walking trails or tracks are at the top of the list when it comes to facilities for which residents are willing to pay more.

In-Unit Amenities

When it comes to individual unit amenities, washers and dryers are the number-one feature that owners consider would add value to their apartments. High-end appliances and hardwood floors also made the top of the list. The J Turner Research study confirmed that residents are willing to pay more for facilities such as hardwood floors, balconies and granite countertops (from $30 to $75 extra per month). The premiums and amenity preferences vary depending on the market.

Last year, the most sought after in-unit amenities by those looking to rent an apartment in some of the country’s top markets were the washer/dryer combo and the washer/dryer hookups, according to a study by ForRent.com. Air conditioning, patio/balcony and furnishing were also among the most highly searched for amenities by renters. The dishwasher, fireplace, ceiling fans and hardwood floors were also among the most desired by residents.

Apartments that include these facilities are more sought after, which is why the amount spent by owners for providing these amenities increased year after year. Capital expenditures for a unit in 2015 reached roughly $1,200 compared to only $654 in 2010, as shown by the NAA’s Annual Income & Expenses Survey. Upgraded apartments are occupied faster. A renovation would increase occupancy by an average of 2 percent, with the most notable change registered by Class C assets. A renovation can increase occupancy by 2.4 percent for these properties.

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