Sustainability is an apartment amenity?
In the US today, more households rent than at any point in the last 50 years (Pew Research). Almost half of apartment leases are not renewed (CBRE). Meanwhile, more apartments open every year to satisfy the growing rental demand. With a growing supply to choose from — what do renters look for when making decisions?
Amenities go green
According to an article by Multifamily Executive, sustainability could be the new “arms race” for apartments. Few properties compete on this amenity but more should. Before you dismiss sustainability as a decision factor in rental searches, consider the meteoric rise of Tesla stock (TSLA) or the perpetual discussions for tax incentives to drive environmentally friendly consumer behaviors. Money talks. Energy efficient appliances and reclaimed water for irrigation are two popular examples of lowering operating costs while promoting sustainability in multifamily living.
Is recycling provided? Is power generated by a renewable source? How many electric car chargers are on site? Questions like these can be critical decision factors for future tenants. Multifamily complexes willing to test the demand for sustainability before laying out a lot of cash can establish local partnerships at little to no cost. For example, a weekly food truck serving locally sourced fare or zero waste moving practices can be a differentiator among competition.
Apartment search criteria
There are certain non-negotiable elements of finding a new apartment. Renters are least likely to compromise on the fundamentals — location and price — according to a study by Egg Strategy. Desire to be in a certain neighborhood or area and budget constraints largely predetermine the menu. Renters are most likely to make concessions on square footage or housing type to maintain location. So, opting for a smaller apartment in the same area or choosing an apartment instead of a townhome. With location and price range decided, there is still wiggle room in final selection. This is where the amenities, like sustainability, concierge, and feel of the property take over.
Does sustainability really matter?
Is sustainability just talk when it comes to decision-making? Amenities such as pet shower, rooftop lounge, coffee bar, fitness facility, and community office space are fairly commonplace in major metro areas. There’s no definitive data to imply a communal garden wall in the lobby providing fresh herbs makes renters happy or a solar sail rooftop cabana compels anyone to sign a rental agreement. Consumer behavior is fickle and votes are cast in dollars. Are there more or less electric cars than 5 years ago? Solar panels? Wind turbines? Consumer packages calling out sustainability sourced ingredients? The trends are obvious. While many factors contribute to apartment selection, sustainability just might be the new infinity pool.