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Some trends are hard to deny and others are difficult to wrap into a successful business model. Developers are paying attention to this year's renter's survey to design and deliver the best product now and in the future.

RENTER RATIONALE
Apartments have long been painted as a housing option of last resort. However, the survey data shows that today’s renters choose apartment living for a wide variety of reasons.

While roughly 18 percent of survey respondents said they were living in an apartment while they saved for a down payment on a home purchase, nearly a quarter (23 percent) say renting offers them unparalleled convenience and flexibility. Other top reasons included just moved and exploring neighborhoods (11 percent), don’t want the maintenance costs associated with homeownership (10 percent) and like apartment community amenities (7 percent).

But arguably more interesting is the research on why renters choose to move to a different apartment community. Lower rent is unsurprisingly the No. 1 reason renters switch apartment communities; however, the second most cited reason for moving to a new community was better apartment management. Better apartment amenities, better apartment features and a better apartment floor plan/layout round out the top five reasons.

TOP TAKEAWAYS
Apartment communities come in all shapes and sizes. But whether big or small, urban or suburban, garden-style or high rise, renters are still looking for some key things in their next apartment.

In terms of the top apartment features, 94 percent of renters say they are interested (responded interested or very interested) in air conditioning, making A/C the most popular in-unit feature. High speed internet access came in a close second with an interest level of 93 percent.

Soundproof walls (91 percent interested); in-unit washer/dryer (89 percent interested); and dishwasher (88 percent interested) were other top-ranked unit features.

With regard to the top five community amenities, apartment renters are most interested in reliable cell reception, with 92 percent of renters reporting interest in dependable mobile connectivity. Restricted access was also important to apartment renters, with 88 percent noting interest in secure resident parking and 84 percent interested in secure amenity access. Swimming pool (82 percent interested) and fitness center (82 percent interested) completed the list.

However, in some cases, it’s not just a matter of what renters would like to have but rather what they can’t live without. For the first time, the renter preferences report captures what features and amenities are deal breakers for them, meaning they’re not signing a lease without them.

Keep reading for a few more future trends.

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