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Do You Know What Your Prospective Tenants Want? The Answers May Surprise You

A new survey from NMHC and Kingsley Associates looks at what apartment renters want.

Did you know that the number one apartment feature prospective tenants are interested in is central-air conditioning? Or that among community features, forget about on-site fitness centers, they would be willing to pay the highest premium for on-site child care? The results of an annual survey administered by NMHC and Kingsley Associates take an in-depth dive into today’s apartment renter preferences.

The survey found that when it comes to apartment features, renters were most interested in central air conditioning (95 percent), soundproof walls (94 percent) and garbage disposals (92 percent). Seventy-four percent of renters also indicated central air conditioning was simply a necessity for them. Respondents were willing to pay a premium of $40.98 per month for central air, $37.94 more per month for soundproof walls, and $27.09 more per month for a garbage disposal.

On the other hand, many high-tech apartment features ranked near the bottom of renters’ interest list. Only 58 percent of respondents were very interested in biometric-controlled apartment access, 51 percent were interested in an Internet-controlled fridge and 43 percent were interested in a virtual assistant.

Still, respondents were willing to pay a pretty high rent premium--$37.79 per month—for biometric-controlled access, and $33.60 more per month for a virtual assistant.

Community features

Among potential apartment community amenities, reliable cell reception got the highest level of interest (91 percent), followed by controlled amenity access (85 percent) and a swimming pool (also 85 percent).

When it came to paying a rent premium for community amenities, however, on-site child care would offer the highest payoff to the landlord (respondents were willing to pay $44.78 more in rent per month), followed by valet parking ($38.86 more per month). Reliable cell service would get $30 more in rent per month.

Modern add-ons

Among some additional apartment community features that emerged in the past decade or so, survey respondents revealed only a modest level of interest. Sixty-nine percent said they would definitely not be interested in co-living spaces, and another 16 percent said they would probably not be interested in those types of units. Twelve percent indicated their interest would depend on the units’ cost and features, while only 4 percent said they would definitely be interested in co-living.

In addition, sixty-six percent said they would not be interested in voice-activated technology in their apartment. Thirty-four percent said they would be interested in the feature.

Leasing decisions

Respondents’ leasing decisions did not seem to be highly influenced by any of the afore-mentioned features. Thirty-six percent said that proximity to their workplace was the top reason they chose their current apartment, followed by 11 percent who cited the reputation of their property owner/manager, and 7 percent who cited proximity to family. 

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