The Multi-Family typology has been fairly strong through this latest down-turn; one reason is economy driven, but mainly it’s been the emergence of the Gen Y’ers, the largest demographic boom since the baby boomers. As they come into the market, their priorities are not in owning their accommodations, but are more inclined to rent to immedicately reside within their preferred lifestyle.
Location is a big part of the selection process for a perspective tenant. Urban brownfield and transit oriented sites have become very popular for smart developers. Living in a walk-able and active area with dining, shops, and entertainment can add up to thirty percent in rents for building owners. Apartment dwellers want to wake-up in the morning and jog around an active park, or just go downtstairs and grab a cup of coffee.
Driving trends and factors in Gen Y multi-family include:
- Amenities. Pools, outdoor courtyards with fireplaces and bocce ball, fitness centers, business centers, and a room with a view are a few of some of the more important ones we’ve seen.
- Unit size is not as important anymore. Having a very efficient and smaller unit, without underused and wasted spaces are very marketable to the Gen Y’ers.
- Most new apartments are conforming to loft units with small, well designed kitchens opening to the living space. A master bath is important, but it doesn’t have to be spacious; just well designed.
- Podium designs in urban areas are very popular as the dense nature will drive down square footage costs, and can be constructed affordably with wood, up to four stories, over top of a level of concrete parking.
Overall, M+A has experienced that the quality of architecture and design has a substantial impact on whether or not people want to rent in these projects. Perception to the consumer is extremely important nowadays; aesthetics are a priority as people do not want to live in what looks like a low-income housing project. As multi-family projects are flourishing, it will be interesting in seeing its longevity. But we do foresee developers with good sites and an emphasis on design doing very well.
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