Want buyers and/or tenants? Add amenities.

Many of Detroit’s luxury multi-family units now have on-site vehicles to rent, smart lockers, pre-installed smart home assistants and sky terraces with fire pits. Some of New York’s too many new units are offering guitar lessons and dog yoga in hopes of attracting two and four-legged residents. In Seattle, where Amazon fueled a boom in luxury apartments that has led to over-the-top rents, over building and vacant inventory, some buildings come with in-building bowling alleys and communal tree-houses to attract tenants.

According to a report by the National Multi-Family Housing Council (NMHC), our country will need an additional 4.6M new housing units by 2030 just to keep pace with demand for apartment living. (Remember, younger Gen Zers and Millennials want urban, not suburban, living, according to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.) The multi-family housing industry, also according to the NMHC report entitled “Disruption,” is “being forced” to design units that are “…more personalized, more flexible and more adaptable to changing lifestyles and needs.”

Shaunta Bruner, a senior associate with Delta Associates, a real estate research firm, told Curbed that the top two ways buildings can become distinctive and successful are to create some kind of unique story line for the building so that it has an identity/a brand and to add an infusion of tech.

The NMHC Consumers Housing Insights Survey indicated that high income (those making +$100,000/yearly) renters want “helpful” services such as in-building massages, energy efficient apps, smart locks, Pelotons rather than treadmills and weights, and amenities which the surrounding community can access and use.

Specific amenities mentioned in this NMHC Consumers Housing Insights Survey included…

  • Package delivery services to streamline deliveries from online product providers
  • Hello Alfred – an online concierge service
  • Baroo – a dog walking and daycare service
  • Dwello – a payment system for renters much like a payment system for owners
  • Amenify – a platform that connects both service and experience providers
  • Easier access for cleaning services, meal delivery, childcare services, etc.

A good 83% of NMHC survey respondents indicated, according to Curbed, they wanted face-to-face socializing with other families and friends living in the building. For example, residents not only wanted communal gardens, they wanted monthly supplies of the vegetables and herbs grown in that garden along with demonstrations on how to prepare ingredients harvested from the garden. They wanted planned events. They wanted structured ways to link up with other residents.

According to Brad Hargreaves, the founder of KIN, a family focused co-living community operator, “Having connections based on shared interests is table stakes,” for luxury multi-family housing units. And the fundamentals for those connections are outstanding listening, facilitating and customer service skills coupled with the latest and best technology available.