What Are Apartment Building Amenities Worth?

May 3, 2017

Apartment complexes and communities are looking to distinguish themselves in a relatively static residential market with amenities, but what ones do renters want? 

When potential residents search for apartments they are looking for value. The price tag of rent per month can be relatively static, especially in similar residential areas. In the end, the distinguishing factors are the amenities that provide value to the tenant.

But it can be difficult to assess what amenities are the most appreciated. Is it a common area that users desire for socializing or would they rather have a gym on the first floor? The nearest laundromat is five blocks away, perhaps a newly installed laundry room is in order? Results from a recent survey may help to answer questions such as these.

The National Apartment Association (NAA) announced the release of its new survey, “Adding Value in the Age of Amenities Wars,” which reveals the most recent trends in amenity offerings as well as identifies those with the highest rate of return in apartment communities.

“Our research shows that community spaces and modern conveniences drive the demand for amenities,” says NAA President & CEO Robert Pinnegar. “We’ve done the research and found which amenities increase the appeal of apartment communities through simple-to-implement offerings that require little up-front investment.”

Bringing people together made up half of the community-level top 10 list while appliances, high-end finishes and upgrades composed a large portion of the unit-specific list. Fitness centers and business centers are a must-have for most communities, topping the list of amenities that owners have either added entirely or upgraded during the past several years.

Residents also seek common areas and clubhouses for socializing. Pet-friendly communities are a draw, as are those with landscaped common areas, pools, outdoor kitchens, playgrounds and package holding areas. Pet-friendly amenities and fitness centers are the largest community revenue influencers.

An in-unit washer and dryer topped the list of unit-specific amenities and was just about equal with energy-efficient and high-end appliances in terms of contributing to rent increases. But with costs of a washer and dryer averaging almost 60% less than energy-efficient appliances, they’re an obvious choice for an owner to add value. Other unit-specific amenities included lighting, plumbing and electrical upgrades, ceiling fans, cable TV and garbage disposals.

NAA partnered with Enodo Score to determine the amenities that deliver the highest rent premiums in 11 major cities across the country. This insight provides an objective way for investors to quantify the return of various value adds before installing them.

For more information, or to download The Value Add of Amenities, visit www.naahq.org/valueaddedassets.

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