In today's rental market, Millennials (80+ million strong) are the largest pool of renters. Gen-Z is not far behind as a fast-growing portion of the market. These generational groups prefer to rent rather than buy a home for multiple reasons. One of the most prominent reasons tends to be the amenity-rich offering of an apartment, such as common spaces and pools, on-site concierge, and typically located within an urban community. Trends and studies show that one of the most important amenities is technology. Millennials and Gen-Z will consider technology as one of their main decision-making factors when choosing a community.
Millennials grew up during the inception of the Internet, while Gen-Z was born into an already digital world. As these digital natives are joining the workforce and choosing a first-time home, they seek an environment that is seamless for their day-to-day lifestyle. As of 2018, there are over 23 billion connected devices in the world. In the U.S. alone, 86% of Millennials own and use a mobile phone regularly. That number increases to roughly 98% with Gen-Z. In terms of the U.S. rental market, this asserts technology as the main decision-making factor for Millennials and Gen-Z.
So, what does this mean for developers and owners in the apartment space? This means that attracting generational renters requires a technology-forward community. This is where IoT comes into play (if this acronym for the "Internet of Things" is new to you, now would be a good time to get on board) and these are key technology features and amenities that will attract Millennials and Gen-Z to your community:
- Managed Wi-Fi to each unit to provide a seamless move-in for residents
- Trustworthy data connection for residents
- Keyless or mobile entry for in-unit and common spaces (for property managers, this alleviates the need to change locks or keys upon move-out)
- Smart Home features, including thermostats, smoke detectors, smart outlets, and lighting
- In-unit Smart Hub, such as Amazon Alexa, that not only controls the Smart Home features, but is personalized to their living environment
- Online access for first-time renters:
- Apartment viewing
- Lease application
- Virtual communication portal to property staff:
- Maintenance requests
- Package tracking and delivery
- Visitors and parking
- Community announcements
All in all, these technology features prove that the Internet has evolved from a building amenity to a community-wide and in-unit amenity. While the Internet is required to provide these technology features to attract renters, it is important to consider cybersecurity measures to keep your community and residents safe from the theft of financial and personal information, and block intruders from accessing and divulging proprietary data.
Converged Services is your expert technology firm to guide you through the process of ensuring the technology and infrastructure for your community is attracting the next generation of renters.