Innovation in PropTech: Technology has shaped the real estate industry. In 2020, we will continue to see new and innovative technologies emerge, especially at a property and property management level. A few examples include automating processes, texting and instant messaging between management and residents or potential residents, analyzing and collecting big data, and virtual tours, among others.
Online Reputation Management: More than half of today’s prospective residents look to online reviews as they begin their search for an apartment. This makes it extremely crucial for property managers to actively monitor the online reputation of an apartment community, including monitoring and responding to online reviews quickly and promptly. In 2020, sophisticated property managers will take a more strategic approach to online reputation management, incorporating tools and software to help successfully address and monitor online reviews for all the communities they manage.
Savvy Social Media: On average, the typical adult spends 40 hours a week online, including time spent on social media. This is something that will continue and likely increase this year. As individuals spend more time online, they will likely look to social media to find their next home. As a result, property managers will need to become savvier in their social media approach. This includes incorporating a comprehensive social media strategy of engaging content for current and prospective residents. It also requires taking both a paid social and organic approach, including Google Ads, Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads. The combination of an organic and paid strategy will be the most successful in 2020 and will ultimately increase a community’s overall reach to potential residents this year.
Shift in Demographics: Many Millennials are reaching an age where they are transitioning to the suburbs and starting families. However, we will begin to see Gen Z residents enter the rental market and continue to see an increase in Baby Boomers, who are retiring and downsizing, enter the market as well. In fact, over the next 10 years, Gen Z is expected to grow from 8 million to more than 55 million. By 2030, all Baby Boomers will be 65. Therefore, we anticipate an influx in Baby Boomer and Gen Z renters during the next several years.
Steady Rental Demand: Despite a slight change in demographics in 2020, overall rental demand will remain strong. In many markets across the U.S., home prices continue to soar, which is driving demand to the rental market. These markets will continue to see strong growth this year and over the next several years.
Multifamily Supply: In 2019, we saw a rapid influx in multifamily development in many markets, and we anticipate that multifamily development will also remain strong in 2020. Demand for rental apartments in many markets across the U.S. continues to outpace supply.
Upgraded Amenities: The amenities race will continue this year with a focus on tech-centric amenities, including Nest thermostats, Wi-Fi access throughout communities or smart fitness equipment. We will also see a continued shift toward tech features that improve daily life and convenience for residents.
Unique Community Spaces: The blurred lines between the indoor and outdoor community spaces trend will continue in 2020. In 2019, we saw that renters were seeking unique community spaces where they could gather and engage with friends and family. This will continue in 2020. Property managers and apartment owners will continue to come up with unique community spaces that aid in building a sense of “home” and “community” for residents.
Concierge Services: The sheer level of concierge services that will be offered in 2020 will continue to expand. Services like dry cleaning drop-off and pick-up have evolved into dog walking, trash butlers and many other things. In 2020, we will see more and more apartment communities take a page out of the hospitality industry’s handbook by offering concierge-type services typically found in luxury and boutique hotels.
Adding Rideshare Locations: Rideshare companies have transformed the way people get around today. As a result, we are seeing many more communities incorporate rideshare drop-off and pick-up locations. This should continue in 2020.