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Avoiding the Occupancy Fallacy: Get Ahead of Renter Turnover in 2022

Renter migration is the sleeping giant that apartment communities won’t want to ignore.

Family loading car shutterstock_792003466 The multifamily industry is buzzing about record-breaking occupancy rates as renters seek new living situations suited to their needs. This may tempt leasing teams to relax their multifamily marketing initiatives, but resident retention will be one of the biggest challenges moving forward.

Owners and operators should be wary of getting caught in the “occupancy fallacy”—the idea that high occupancy rates in the near term will alleviate vacancy concerns longer term.

Renter migration is the sleeping giant that apartment communities won’t want to ignore.

In a November 2021 survey conducted by RentPath, 60% of renters indicated that they planned to seek a different apartment or home within the next six months.

Renters Have More Options and Can Work From Anywhere

The shift toward remote work is one of the biggest factors contributing to new moves across the country. Working from home is the new normal for many companies, with 70% of renters saying they will continue to work remotely as often, if not more, in the future.

In a November 2021 report, the RentPath research team surveyed renters across the country about their plans to move and preferences. When asked about reasons for moving, respondents selected saving money, finding a property with outdoor space, and living in a safer neighborhood as the top three factors.

Homeownership Is Elusive for Many in 2022

Budget is another growing concern for many renters. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York predicts a median increase in the price of rent at 10.1%. Unable to sustain increasing rent prices, renters are seeking more affordable communities.

Homeownership is out of reach for more and more people. According to a 2022 Redfin survey, 38% of respondents stated they didn’t have enough income to save money to buy a home.

Families that went into a rental with a short-term mindset hoping to eventually purchase a home are now faced with highly competitive housing markets on top of new remote work environments. In these cases, it is natural that rental home priorities are different.

Attract New Leads While Keeping Current Residents Happy

Losing a resident is no small cost for owners and operators. As cited by the National Apartment Association, the starting cost of losing one tenant starts at around $1,000 and can grow to $2,500 to $5,000, depending on capital replacements needed to get the unit move-in ready again.

In light of these trends, multifamily marketers need to prioritize resident retention. With the right strategies in place, properties can avoid being blindsided when renters begin their migration to new opportunities.

Source: Multifamily Executive

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