Main Takeaway: In the competitive landscape of multifamily dwellings, amenities are more than just perks—they are a pivotal factor in tenant satisfaction and retention. A deep dive into renter preferences reveals an opportunity: aligning amenity offerings with tenant desires satisfies current residents and attracts new ones, potentially boosting Net Operating Income (NOI) significantly.
Story: A new report from MRI Software shows a stark disparity between the amenities tenants have and those they want. While in-building laundry is a standard expectation, there’s a hunger for more—much more. The MRI report lays bare this discrepancy: 19 amenities have emerged as frontrunners, each desired by over 10% of renters, with seven amenities, in particular, showing a whopping 25% or greater chasm between current access and tenant desire.
The top amenities, according to the report, are as follows:
- Private garage (33%)
- High-speed broadband (31%)
- Onsite pool (30%)
- In-unit laundry (29%)
- Additional storage (28%)
- Premium appliances (27%)
- 24/7 onsite security (26%)
The message is clear: tenants are willing to pay a premium for these amenities. By investing in these high-demand amenities, multifamily properties can command higher rents, increase tenant retention, and decrease turnover—all key drivers of NOI.
In addition to the most sought-after amenities, here are several key takeaways from the report for multifamily owners and investors.
Preference for Familiar Surroundings and Homeownership Aspirations
A significant portion of the respondents (about two-thirds) plan to seek their next home in the same environment they currently live in. This indicates a strong preference for familiar surroundings. Additionally, despite affordability challenges, nearly two-thirds of respondents plan to eventually own a home, suggesting a strong aspiration for homeownership among renters.
Demand for Specific In-Unit Amenities and Growing Importance of Green Practices
Renters highly value in-unit amenities that improve convenience and privacy, such as private garages, laundry, premium appliances, additional storage, and high-speed internet. Moreover, the importance of green practices is growing, with approximately two-thirds of respondents citing its importance. About 40% consider green practices (or lack thereof) a deal-breaker.
Preference for Digital Interactions with Landlords
Over half of the respondents prefer digital interactions for communication with landlords or property managers. This trend also extends to rent payment methods, which prefer digital forms over traditional methods like checks or cash.
Amenities Desirability Gap
The survey highlighted a gap between current and desired amenities among renters. Some of the most desired amenities that showed a significant increase in preference compared to their current availability include private garages, high-speed broadband, onsite pools, in-unit laundry, additional storage, premium appliances, and 24/7 onsite security.
Communication Satisfaction and Rent Payment Methods
Renters’ satisfaction with landlord communication varies, with multifamily residents expressing the least satisfaction despite having the best opportunity for effective communication through on-site staff and various tools. Further, when it comes to rent payment, there’s a clear preference for more digital forms of payment, with traditional methods like checks and cash being less favored.
The Bottom Line: Invest in Amenities, Invest in Your NOI
To stay competitive and profitable in the multifamily market, understanding and acting on tenant amenity preferences is not just smart—it’s essential. This isn’t just wishful thinking on the part of residents; it’s actionable intelligence for multifamily investors. By pinpointing what renters are clamoring for, investors can tailor their upgrades to match, turning a modest investment into a magnetic draw.
The right amenities can elevate a property from average to exceptional, enticing tenants to stay longer and pay more. The numbers don’t lie: investing in the amenities tenants are asking for is investing in the future of your property’s NOI.
Expert Take on Multifamily Amenities
“Technological advancements have revolutionized the multifamily real estate industry, providing new opportunities for both tenants and investors. Smart home automation systems allow tenants to easily control various aspects of their living space such as lighting, temperature, security and entertainment systems. This level of convenience and connectivity not only enhances the tenant experience but also offers benefits for investors.” — Veena Jettii, Forbes