A new survey of tenants and apartment amenities shows a mismatch between tenants who want laundry in their units and management which is offering cat friendly apartments, according to Apartmentlist.com.
The report shows most cities apartment amenities fall into three categories:
- too many amenities
- not enough amenities
- the wrong amenities
This apartment amenities mismatch shows up in a new survey that shows most residents want laundry facilities in their apartment, but only 13 percent of apartments offer it. Meanwhile 39 percent of apartments are cat-friendly but many residents do not have cats and are not interested.
How well the amenities available in rental properties align with what renters want and how the supply and demand for amenities varies across the nation’s largest metros was a study done by Apartmentlist.com.
“Analyzing data for ten of the most common amenities, we find that the amenities that renters desire most aren’t the same ones that properties are most likely to offer,” the company says. “We compare the share of properties that have each amenity to the share of users that report a preference for that amenity.”
Apartment amenities most desired? In-unit laundry
In-unit laundry is the most undersupplied of the apartment amenities.
An estimated 53 percent of renters say they’re looking for in-unit laundry, but it’s also the hardest amenity to find, available in only 13 percent of properties. Air conditioning and parking are similarly lacking.
These are the two most desired amenities, with 56 percent of renters citing a preference for air conditioning, and 55 percent saying they want parking. Meanwhile, only 39 percent of properties have air conditioning and only 46 percent have parking.
“It’s also worth noting that even when parking is available, it often costs renters an additional fee. In some dense cities, such as New York and San Francisco, getting a parking spot could add hundreds of dollars to a renter’s monthly expenses,” the report says.
Being cat-friendly is not high on renters’ desires for apartment amenities
At the other end of the spectrum, it seems that there are more pet-friendly apartments than there are renters who have pets.
Cat-friendliness is the most common amenity on the property side, available in 52 percent of properties, but only 12 percent of renters are looking for a cat-friendly apartment, the smallest share of all the amenities we analyzed. Similarly, 48 percent of properties say that they are dog-friendly, but only 27 percent of users select this preference.
Apartment amenities offered often tied to up-front costs
The relative lack or overabundance of particular amenities on the property side is likely related to the upfront costs associated with each amenity.
For example, providing pet-friendliness doesn’t involve any upfront cost, only marginal incremental costs associated with faster wear and tear, which are often recouped by charging “pet rent.”
On the other hand, in-unit laundry takes up valuable additional space within a rental unit, and also requires significant upfront costs, including purchasing the machines and arranging the plumbing, the report says.
Apartment amenities vary by city
It is really hot in San Antonio in the summer, so it is no surprise air conditioning tops apartment amenities in that Texas city.
San Antonio dominates the list for highest amenity demand, with the greatest share of renters requesting five of the 10 amenities we analyzed. San Antonio is also one of the nation’s most affordable large cities, with a median two-bedroom rent of $1,050, which may explain why the area’s renters are more willing to splurge on higher-end amenities, such as hardwoods floors and balconies.
In contrast, the New York City metro has some of the nation’s least choosy renters, with the metro accounting for half of the spots on the low demand list. New York is the nation’s second most expensive rental market — trailing only San Francisco — with a median two-bedroom rent of $2,470. It seems that renters in New York are willing to sacrifice the comfort of additional amenities in an effort to maintain some semblance of affordability.
This relationship between affordability and renter demand holds in other cities as well. In the expensive San Francisco and Boston markets, renter demand is below the national average for nine of the 10 amenities we analyzed, while renter demand exceeds the national average for nine of 10 amenities in the more affordable Tampa and Phoenix markets.
Amenities are one of the top factors that renters consider when searching for an apartment, and having access to all of one’s preferred amenities can make it a much easier decision to rent a home. That said, some amenities are easier to come by than others.
“Our analysis indicates that in-unit laundry is the holy grail of amenities. Most renters want it, but very few properties have it,” the study says.
The level of emphasis that renters place on finding amenities also varies substantially by location. Renters in more affordable markets tend to have a higher demand for amenities, while renters in the priciest markets are more willing to wash dishes by hand or haul dirty clothes to the laundromat.
“Overall, we find that many markets do a poor job of matching amenity supply and amenity demand,” the report says.