October 22, 2020
Joe Fairless

Apartment Amenities and Coronavirus: 6 New Trends

Due to the onset of the coronavirus, the types of amenities and services in demand by residents of apartment communities have shifted. 

Whether this shift is permanent or temporary remains an uncertainty. It depends on how long the pandemic lasts and, maybe even more importantly, how long resident’s memories will be.

Nonetheless, it is helpful to know what residents are demanding. Armed with this information, you can adjust your current investments, as well as intelligently analyze prospective investments.

Here six amenities and services currently in demand by apartment residents as a result of COVID.

1. Virtual Everything

Residents still want to socialize with other residents. Therefore, social-distanced and virtual events are desired. Simple examples are virtual happy hours, virtual craft events and contests, and food truck events.

Another service that has become popular during COVID are virtual fitness classes. This can be as simple as providing residents with fitness videos on YouTube. You can also partner with a local fitness instructor. They can record videos for residents or do live fitness events over video, as well as be available to answer resident questions. 

At Class A apartment communities, consider an interesting service called TF Living, which is a technology-enabled amenities company providing wellness and lifestyle services to apartment communities across the US. 

Depending on the local COVID restrictions, you can offer outdoor fitness classes.

Something else that is currently in demand and will likely remain so even after the pandemic has subsided are virtual tours. Residents should be able to obtain enough information on the available units to rent sight unseen. Examples include video recordings of units, 3D walk throughs, and live video tours.

2. Outdoor Spaces

Residents who are stuck at home still want to experience the great outdoors. Therefore, access to outdoor spaces, both common and private, are desired.

Residents want access to the outdoors in their own private units, which means patios and balconies are in demand.

The demand for public outdoor amenities isn’t new. Pools, BBQ grilling areas, and pet parks remain in demand. 

An outdoor space more recently in demand are walking and biking paths, ideally ones that connect to existing local parks and paths.

3. Working Spaces

Remote working may be temporary. However, many employers will likely continue to allow their employees to work from home for the foreseeable future. Therefore, onsite public and private workspaces are in demand.

The type of workspace you can offer your residents is limited by the existing footprint of the community. However, here are a few unique tips on maximizing the current space:

  • Add seating in outdoor areas
  • Add seating and dividers in indoor areas
  • Tweak the furnishings in the model unit to include a workspace (ideally near a window)
  • Add console/desk combination under the living room table (like what you find in hotels) to select units for a premium
  • Offer In-unit fold down desks for rent

Arguably the most important shift is the quality of internet. In unit and shared Wi-Fi must have the bandwidth to support video conferencing. 

4. Kitchen Space

With the closure of restaurants and limited seating, more people are forced to eat at home. Therefore, residents are demanding new kitchen features. The bar eating area dividing the living room and the kitchen is a great way to maximize space since residents won’t require a kitchen/dining room table. 

Since people are cooking at home more, larger pantries to store more food, especially nonperishable item, and more cabinets to store new cooking tools are desired.

5. Package delivery capabilities

More people are purchasing home goods over the internet. Therefore, your apartment must have the ability to securely deliver packages to residents. Ideally, the apartment community have package lockers or package rooms that can be accessed with a code 24/7.

6. No-Touch Technology

The demand for sanitation likely won’t go away anytime soon. Therefore, residents prefer no-touch technologies, both in unit and in common areas.

For example, no-touch entry. For units, this means door handles that can be unlocked/opened with a phone app, hand way, elbow-open, or voice activation. Also, touchless soap dispensers and faucets in unit and common bathrooms. Adding touchless hand sanitizer stations in common areas is also a smart move.

In conclusion

Whenever an unforeseen event, like coronavirus, occurs that impacts the economy, the winners are always those who know how to identify new opportunities and then pivot accordingly. 

In multifamily, offering the right amenities is always a must. Using the information in this blog post, you can pivot from your existing amenities offered to increase the demand for your units, maintain (or even increase) revenue, and become a winner during the pandemic.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell any securities or to make or consider any investment or course of action.
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