When our lives got interrupted by the global pandemic two years ago, many of us thought it’d blow over in a few weeks. Soon enough however, we started to realize that regardless of how long it will take to go back to normal in terms of social dynamics, the virus will likely have substantial long-term effects on construction trends and real estate considerations.
We’ve reached out to Steven Levin, Vice President of the Philadelphia-based construction materials procurement powerhouse Mega Supply Pro and asked him to share his insights regarding upcoming trends in multifamily construction and real estate development.
Mr. Levin started by acknowledging that the real estate market is currently saturated with competitive offers, therefore it’s important to not only deliver the project, but to offer tenants a standard of living that will retain their loyalty and win over the competition.
As far as specifics, the good news is that renters and apartment buyers across the nation seem to express desires for similar features and amenities regardless of the region. In this case the pandemic had become somewhat of a unifying factor. Among the most sought-after features are better amenities, higher quality finishes, peace of body and mind, as well as more space.
Citing statistics from the National Multifamily Housing Council, Levin paints a picture where in major and minor metropolitan areas, from Philadelphia and Houston to Nashville and Mesa, AZ, renters are extremely interested in:
#1. In-Unit Washers and Dryers
Preferably water-conserving and power-saving. More and more prospective tenants simply won’t consider properties without those. Mega Supply Pro started sourcing compact ventless washer/dryer combos a few years ago for projects here and there; now we’re delivering hundreds every month because they’ve become a necessity. An average renter is more than willing to add $60 to their monthly rent to not haul their laundry to friends’ houses or public laundromats.
#2 Upgraded HVAC technologies and HEPA filters
Generally well-functioning air conditioning and climate control systems are at the top of the list. Many developers are choosing to future-proof their properties with digital tools that allow for programmable scheduling for morning, bedtime, away, sleeping-baby-awake-parent, entertaining, and other daily life routines. These also save energy, which makes them an excellent selling point. Renters are willing to pay $50-60 extra for AC, and up to $80 for AC with bells and whistles.
#3 Reliable, Fast WiFi
If for some reason you are unable to utilize one of the fiber broadband providers such as AT&T MDU or Google Fiber, do whatever you need to do to ensure a reliable fast WiFi that can handle everything from teens playing 8K games and families streaming tv shows all day, to crypto traders and entire corporate departments running operations through zoom while people are working from home. And because lightbulbs and fridges are now also going online, you better pay special attention to mitigation and prevention of cyber-attacks (which is something you can advertise for a huge leg up).
#4 Soundproof Walls
Because people are spending more time at home during the day as well as at night, “my home is my fortress” concept is starting to manifest itself in stronger than ever demand for soundproof walls and other sound-dampening technologies. Many architects are starting to pay special attention and use technology to engineer deliberate synergy of air, light, and sound inside the units.
#5 Smart Appliances and Keyless Doors
The usual suspects are even more relevant now than before – renters want dishwashers, microwaves, walk-in closets, garbage disposals, and window coverings, such as preinstalled blinds or shades. Many of these now come with a caveat of millennials and Gen Z demographics willing to pay extra if these familiar appliances are smart and connected.
It’s the little things – don’t underestimate their impact. We have a number of real-world accounts from our developer-customers where prospective tenants have picked their property over comparable but cheaper options because of smart window shades and LED lighted mirrors in the bathrooms.
Another developer asked Mega Supply Pro to design walk-in closets for one of their rehabs with recessed lights and custom cabinetry, – those are such a hit that we’ll be making them for most of their buildings going forward. Same goes for smart locks and keyless entry – people decidedly want to burry the concept of losing keys. Bedroom ceiling fans and bathtubs also don’t seem to be going away any time soon.
#6 Premium Finishes
People love nice stuff, they show them off to their guests and get an influx of dopamine that is demonstratively addictive, which is an important factor in tenant retention and attraction. And while for many this is common sense, we constantly find ourselves amazed at how many developers keep stuffing their properties with the same old set of six toilets and microwaves from Home Depot that went out of style a decade ago.
Of course, we at Mega Supply Pro understand that costs are a factor, but with us working on high volume and low margins directly with manufacturers, developers can get access to finishes they never thought would be financially feasible for them. And for renters – it’s very difficult to walk away from a Smeg fridge or a Bertazzoni oven.
#7 Community Amenities
Then there are the big things – community amenities are becoming more and more relevant and important. 24/7 Package delivery lockers and secure property access are at the top of the collective priority pyramid. Just below are property-wide recycling, dog runs, gyms, fitness centers, and yoga studios.
And speaking of yoga studios, here you should pay attention because a solid new trend is beginning to crystallize, – we call it “experience amenities”. Multifamily residents want their buildings to not just plump a yoga studio in the basement, but to bring in a yoga instructor. For owners and property managers, there’s a strong case for turning physical spaces like rooftop gardens and fitness centers into venues for social gatherings. Providing premium living experiences that link residents together not only provide new revenue streams, but also contribute to happier, more connected communities. We strongly believe – it’s the future.
How Mega Supply Pro Can Help You Provide What Renters Want
Mega Supply Pro works with your budget and schedule to source and deliver building materials and finishes for multifamily and mixed-use projects directly from manufacturers. We will take care of all logistics and coordination so you can focus on doing what you do best. From plumbing fixtures and appliances to windows and flooring – we’ll get you what you need, when you need it, with no headaches, even in today’s supply chain climate. Click here to see our work and start a conversation.
To get in touch with us for your next project, visit https://megasupplypro.com/book-a-demo or call (855) 634-2830.