The Rent is Too Damn High
A growing number of renters are planning to move out of their apartments because of high rents. Of the renters who plan to move to a different apartment community in the next 12 months, nearly half (48 percent) will leave for a unit with a lower rent. That works out to about 6 percent of renters overall.
Government agency Freddie Mac found similar results in its 2017 Renter Survey.
Cell Phone Service is Important
Good cell phone service is probably much more important than you think. “Reliable cell phone reception” is the most valuable amenity for the renters surveyed by Kingsley, ahead of a fitness center, a swimming pool or even parking.
Of the renters who plan to move to a different apartment community in the next 12 months, one in 20 (5 percent) is moving to get better cell phone reception. That’s not a lot of people, but those people depend so much on their cell phones that they are willing to go through all the trouble of moving to get better service.
Renters Want Better Managers
Of the renters who plan to move to a different apartment community in the next 12 months, more than a third (34 percent) are moving to get better property management.
“That’s bad. That’s really a wake up call for the industry,” says NMHC’s Haughey.
Property managers now have to do more to keep their renters happy and that includes tasks from handling mail packages to providing community wireless Internet service. “The expectations for customer service are going up,” says Haughey.
Potential Renters Want to See How Much You Care
Renters also expect managers to show how attentive they are to residents. For example, 79 percent of surveyed renters say that they consult online review sites when searching for apartments. Of those, nearly half (43 percent) expect management to respond to all reviews of their communities, even if it’s just a “thank you” comment. Most of the other half (39 percent) expect managers to respond to just the negative reviews.
If you as a manger are not responding to reviews of your communities on sites like Yelp, then just 18 percent of the apartment hunters visiting the site think that is okay. The others might be judging you negatively.
The Growing Lure of Homeownership
A significant number of renters are planning to stop renting and buy a home. Of the renters who say they plan to live in their current apartment for less than one year, more than a quarter (26 percent) say they plan to buy a home of their own. That works out to about 7 percent of renters who plan to become homeowners in the next 12 months, according to NMHC.
The survey didn’t ask this question in 2015, but a growing interest in homeownership would match well with the growing number of new, single-family housing starts, according to Census data.