Over the past few years, the latest in-home technology has grown from a nice-to-have amenity to something that can make or break a deal for renters.
But are residents willing to pay more for the tech features they want?
The question was top of the agenda at the 2018 National Multifamily Housing Council Annual Meeting where discussions highlighted the growing importance of up-to-date technology in the country’s rental market. In the event’s Renter Preferences survey, respondents indicated that they’re willing to pay up to US$32.92 per month extra for pre-installed WiFi, and even more for features such as smart thermostats, smart lighting and in-wall USB ports.
According to Christine Espenshade from JLL, it’s this mix of convenience and connectivity that’s driving renters’ growing technology demands. She believes that “by understanding consumers’ habits and preferences, developers will be able to incorporate meaningful technology into their projects that create value for residents and owners.”
Beyond the basic tech features many of us take for granted, technology is increasingly influencing apartment construction and design. From smart refrigerators that track food consumption to elevators with facial recognition capabilities, the demand for convenience and connectivity is driving development trends and pushing up prices.
In the NMHC survey, respondents indicated they are willing to pay $31.32 per month for smart locks, $30.58 per month for video doorbells and $28.94 per month for non-key secure access.
Owners see improving technology – particularly in the realm of security – as a way of both attracting and retaining renters.
“If you help residents feel comfortable in their homes they are willing to pay more for their unit and will likely stay in their unit longer,” Espenshade said.
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