Here are our predictions for the top 5 unique amenities in 2021, especially given the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on the multifamily industry.
In 2021, with stay-at-home orders likely to remain in effect at least for the first part of the year, residents care about more space, more technology, and just more everything in-building!
Based on existing trends in multifamily from 2020, and the ongoing impacts of COVID-safety regulations, here are our predictions for the top 5 unique amenities in 2021:
1. Touchless, COVID-Safe Smart Technology
Unsurprisingly, touchless technology has never been in higher demand. According to a study from the National Apartment Association conducted in 2019, 62% of apartment owners are focused on installing smart devices. And that was BEFORE lockdown! In 2021, apartment buildings offering touchless technology, like the ability to call the elevator or open an apartment door using only an app, will continue to rise in prominence. The New York Times cited sales at Latch, one of the leaders in touchless technology, up 50% Q3 of 2020, when compared to the same time the year before.
2. Complimentary Telemedicine Access
In 2021, we will continue to see an increase in multifamily telemedicine partnerships. Related Companies has begun offering on-site COVID-19 PPR and antibody testing for residents at more than a dozen of its properties, through a partnership with Sollis Health (Architectural Digest). Additionally, expect to see a higher emphasis on cleanliness and improved air quality in all common spaces of apartment buildings.
3. In-Building Grocery Stores or Self-Serve Food Kiosks
Especially these days where no one is going anywhere, convenience is key. We predict a continued rise in in-building convenience and grocery stores, as well as self-serve food kiosks in the lobbies of smaller apartments. According to a report by RCLCO Real Estate Advisors, apartment buildings with Whole Foods or Trader Joe's on their ground floor bring in an average of 5.8% more rent (Bisnow). Additionally, some buildings are incorporating grab-and-go markets designed for self-service. These self-service stores increase revenue per unit and provide a new, profitable amenity for residents (Kiosk Marketplace).
4. Private and Bookable Offices
Residents want a “third” space to get them out of their units (in this case, maybe a "second space," as most are not going into the office), and existing shared apartment conference rooms are often too large and overbooked for individuals. In 2021, developers will continue to incorporate more co-working spaces into multifamily buildings. Not only that, but some buildings are now renting uninhabited apartment units as office spaces. Greystar, for example, is renting small private offices in some of their newer buildings (Mansion Global). Expect to see moveable walls, creating private, smaller spaces within co-working spaces that already exist as well.
5. In-Building Recording Studios
Forget an in-building movie theater. These days "Zoom Rooms" and "Tik Tok Studios" are taking center stage. In downtown Los Angeles, developer Behzad Souferian is launching a TikTok Studio in his new 606 unit rental building. Their space is “...Roughly 100-square-foot room with camera-ready lighting, tripod stand, and mirrors... ideal for one or two people to entertain themselves making TikToks (Mansion Global). The building will also host two podcast studios. Developers are coming up with new and creative ways to keep residents entertained indoors, and socially distant.
Here at Livly, we're excited to see what the year will bring. CBRE forecasts a return to pre-COVID vacancy levels and a 6% increase in net effective rents in 2021, with a full market recovery occurring in early 2022. (CBRE). The future looks bright and we're here to help elevate properties with our innovative apps and integrable technology.
What other interesting amenities are you incorporating into your buildings to attract tenants? We'd love to hear!