5 trends in apartment complex construction
Consumer preferences have trended toward luxury in multifamily design, but what this means for developers is sometimes unclear. Technology and design are shifting to accommodate the housing needs of a quickly changing workforce, and it takes market savvy to stay ahead of the curve.
With a strategic approach to renovation, a grasp on the most popular amenities and a willingness to invest, however, real estate professionals have an opportunity to position their properties at the top of competitive housing markets.
That said, they need to set aside a significant amount of time for research and planning before their work begins. They aren’t going to rush into success. Rather, they’ll only see an improvement in tenant satisfaction and occupancy rates in major urban centers if they move forward with a degree of caution and deliberate decision-making.
So what can we expect from apartment complexes moving into 2019? And on the business end, where should developers and investors allocate their budgets if they want to attract and retain tenants? Here are the five latest trends in multifamily design.
1. Outdoor Living Spaces
The outdoor area surrounding an apartment is an extension of a tenant’s living space. If it’s bare and practical, with no landscaping or attractive features, people will search elsewhere for properties that seem more accommodating. This is even more crucial in dense urban centers, where any available outdoor space needs careful planning for optimal use.
Real estate professionals should address this desire with outdoor amenities. They can start with comparatively small investments, like grilling stations, firepits or small dog parks. If they like the idea of large-scale renovations and their market supports these high-level amenities, they can even consider luxury pools or volleyball courts.
2. European Interior Finishes
Interior finishes have changed dramatically in response to modern trends, and investors would do well to step away from classic cookie-cutter designs. The familiar light brown plank is no longer the norm for apartment flooring. Recently, tenants have shown interest in wide European-style planks that are over twice as wide as more commonplace choices.
This same European style also applies to kitchen cabinets and vanities. Where the traditional cabinet door once came in classic brown or red hues, tenants now prefer light-color slab cabinet doors and exotic grained cabinets. These are substantial changes, but given their value, they’re well worth the investment.
3. An Industrial Aesthetic
On the subject of design, concrete is no longer considered a nondescript material for commercial structures. It’s taken on new significance among tenants, who view it as more than the standard for sidewalks and patios. With the rise of the industrial design movement, imperfection is now back in fashion.
This emerging trend is fortunate for real estate professionals on a strict budget, as concrete is far less expensive than alternative materials. Concrete flooring and walls are now a piece of art, with a chic, urban look that tenants find attractive.
4. Spacious Common Areas
A growing number of tenants work from home, able to fulfill their daily responsibilities from the comfort of their apartment. Of course, it’s often tedious to complete project after project, day after day in the same room. A common area accounts for this issue, creating a sense of freedom for remote workers.
Because of this, many of today’s tenants will search for this amenity as they’re browsing properties. Real estate professionals should consider their needs, organizing a community-centric space with flexible seating arrangements and multiple charging stations to provide added value to their residents.
If you need more evidence, the growth of co-living accommodations in major cities speaks to tenants’ interest in communal space. While not all renters are going to opt for these housing choices, incorporating more flexible, community-oriented space into a more traditional building can still accommodate this trend.
5. Modern Bath Design
Freestanding and soaking tubs have captured the attention of real estate professionals. In a 2017 survey, more than half of the members from the National Kitchen and Bath Association removed a whirlpool or standard tub the year before. Their priorities have shifted to safety, comfort and ADA-compliant features.
Members of the NKBA met these criteria with newer models of tubs. More than this, freestanding and soaking tubs provide a sleek, modern appearance that elevates the visual appeal of a space. The aesthetic and functional benefits of these bathtubs make them a strong contender among other renovations.
Developing Modern Multifamily Buildings
While design trends are always changing, an understanding of the aesthetic, practical and lifestyle preferences driving luxury development can give any investor a leg up in competitive markets. Real estate professionals should review the ROI of their renovations next to their available budget. As long as they give thought to the cost of these luxury amenities, they can feel confident that they’re reaching the modern renter.
Written by: Holly Welles
Holly Welles is a real estate writer who covers the latest market trends in everything from residential to commercial spaces. She is the editor behind her own blog, The Estate Update, and curates more advice on Twitter.
I would add “a quiet & peaceful living environemnt” especially for residences. Soundproofing is essential.
John Wegmann says
Holly, thanks for presenting an accurate synopsis of current trends in multi-family housing, particularly urban living. As an Opportunity Zone Tax and Investment Consultant, I find these features particularly beneficial to developers and renters alike. It’s unfortunate that existing condominiums lack the flexibility to update amenities to reflect lifestyle changes induced by technology and style trends.