In cities all across the United States, there is a growing trend of homeowners switching over to apartment renters. According to a 2016 Rent Café report, renters became the majority over homeowners in 22 of the largest U.S. cities from 2006-2016, bringing the total of cities with more residents leasing their homes instead of owning them up to 42.
In Ohio, two cities made the top 10 list of Rent Café’s report. Toledo earned the top spot for largest growth of renters (2006-2016) with a 31.3% rise in renters. Columbus bookended the top ten with a 17.5% increase. Both cities now have more renters than homeowners.
Many reports tell different stories on why the shift from homeownership to renting – the economy, the housing market, entrance of the millennial demographic into the housing market, etc. One fact remains, multi-family housing developers are seizing the opportunity to match the demand for rental housing by building more and more apartments.
With the booming development, developers and property managers continue to search for new ways to differentiate their product in the market place. The day of being a better service provider is over; customers in the 21st century demand an ultimate customer experience. Delivering exceptional customer service is simply the ticket to entry. With social media, online review platforms, and ILS’s (internet listing sites) offering customer review functionality, customer service is fully exposed and vulnerable. Reputation management and online review management software is a must have in the marketing budget for most communities, especially the communities in highly competitive markets.
Companies like Columbus, Ohio based 30 Lines, are growing in popularity for their cutting edge digital solutions to help developers and managers navigate the digital world.
Successfully managing your online reputation is only the ticket to entry. Once a community is in the game of competing for residents, there is a whole new area of focus for developers and managers: how to attract, close, and retain residents. This area of focus – apartment amenities, has evolved rapidly over the past 2-3 years. Developers are jumping way out of the box (and out of the community!) to find new ways to add amenities that matter. Here are 3 ways developers and managers are taking amenities to the next level to provide the ultimate customer experience.
Mixed-Use Space: Onsite business centers, free clubhouse Wi-Fi, and complimentary coffee are great for some communities, but in the highly competitive markets, more is needed. Developers are developing more mixed-use space which allows for popular retail, dining, and entertainment companies to set up shop within feet of households. A local favorite taco joint in Columbus is Condado Tacos – a gallery of a restaurant serving up tacos, tequila, margaritas, recently opened in Polaris at The Pointe at Polaris. This is in addition to another location at Highpoint on Columbus Commons. The popular restaurant chain also has many other locations in the Midwest that are not within the mixed-use space of a residential community.
Onsite Amenities: Pools and fitness centers are the norm. Rooftop terraces and technology driven amenities curate the ultimate customer experience. The Charles at Riggins Run The Charles at Riggins Runhas been one of the most anticipate apartment communities in Central Ohio and is finally open. It’s no surprise renters are flocking to this beautifully designed, Dublin area community. It’s not the design or layout that is attracting renters of all kinds, it’s the sophisticated, first-of-a-kind, and most importantly FUN, onsite amenities that renters want to see. The Charles at Riggins Run features one of the area’s largest rock climbing walls and super-tech Golf Simulator. The FSX Simulator by Foresight Sports allows a resident to play 18 holes of golf on the best course in the world, without leaving the community. The fully immersive experience is like no other.
Partnerships: Country clubs are known for offering exemplary golf, swimming, and social packages to residents, but at a steep price. Residents aren’t compromising on their demand for such packages just because they are moving into apartments. Oakwood Management Company offers a Golf Program, exclusively for residents of Oakwood managed communities. The program, which is offered at move in*, allows residents to play golf at some of the area’s finest courses. No stranger to golf, OMC Regional Manager, Vic Steinfels, coordinates the golf program every year and continues to build relationships with the best golf course developers in the city.
Whether it’s sipping margaritas at Condado within feet of their home, enjoying a round at Pebble Beach, or playing their own round at Muirfield, a lot of thought has gone into the curation of the ultimate customer experience. As the renters’ demands evolve so will the responses by developers and property managers.