NMHC & Kingsley 2020 Apartment Resident Preferences Report takes residents’ pulse on top leasing factors

From must-have technology to popular pet perks, the 2020 Apartment Resident Preferences Report released today by the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) and Kingsley Associates provides an exhaustive look at what apartment residents want and need in their next home. The report is the largest-ever collection of apartment resident insights, featuring input from nearly 373,000 renters living in 5,336 communities across the U.S.

The report details the apartment features and community amenities that renters can’t live without, how much they expect to pay for them, and what matters during their apartment search.

“While emerging technologies have allowed communities to offer virtual tours and other opportunities for online engagement, we found that the majority of renters still prefer an in-person tour with a community representative,” Rick Haughey, Vice President, Industry Technology Initiatives, NMHC, said. “That said, 14 percent of renters noted they would rent an apartment sight unseen.”

“The 2020 Apartment Resident Preferences Report offers an in-depth look at what renters expect when choosing where to live,” John Falco, Principal, Kingsley Associates, said. “This data is invaluable for not only developers, architects and designers looking to build a new community or renovate an existing community, but also for property managers and leasing agents trying to improve the renter experience for current and future residents.”

Among hot topics and trends covered in the report:

  • Short-term rentals. The view on short-term rental activity on site is strongly reflective of resident age, with younger renters expressing more interest. Nationally, nearly 60 percent of respondents said having short-term rentals would either positively impact their perception of a community or have no effect at all; conversely, 16 percent said they wouldn’t rent at a community that allowed short-term rentals.
  • Coworking. While 42 percent of survey respondents said they telecommuted at least part of the time, just 15 percent said they either had or would use a coworking space, while 55 percent said they were interested in an on-site business center.
  • Coliving. Despite a lot of investment in coliving start-ups, nationally, apartment residents remain skeptical about the trend—at least for now—with 69 percent saying they definitely would not be interested in this type of living arrangement.
  • Voice-activated technology. Forty-three percent of respondents said they were interested in or would not rent without voice-activated virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home. More than a third said they already owned such devices.
  • Pet amenities. More than one-third of respondents were pet owners, with the majority having dogs. Dog owners, in turn, said they expected to pay between $28 and $34 more per feature per month for perks like a community dog park, pet-washing station or on-site pet services.
About the survey

Since its inception in 2013, the NMHC/ Kingsley Associates Apartment Resident Preferences Report has been the authoritative data source for apartment owners, managers, developers, industry suppliers, as well as architects, financial institutions and others seeking insights into the mind of apartment residents. This biennial survey provides users with reliable data to make a variety of investment, development and operational decisions. For the 2020 report, 372,944 apartment residents from 5,336 professionally managed apartment communities responded to the survey, creating the most robust database full of valuable business intelligence.