What Will Multifamily Real Estate Look Like in 2021

The year 2020 has imposed heavy demands on multifamily housing structures. More people are at home more often, whether due to quarantine or work-from-home arrangements. Many people have faced economic struggles that prevented them from paying rent. Meanwhile, cities continue to expand as more people move into metropolitan areas. So, what will multifamily residential buildings look like in 2021?

Demand for Rental Housing Will Continue to Rise

Millennials who entered the workforce during the Great Recession remain financially unstable. Those who do have the money to buy a home often prefer to rent because they want the flexibility to move. Meanwhile, boomers are retiring to warmer locations, where they have limited incomes. And the younger millennials and older Gen Zers are seeking apartments that offer better amenities.

Demand for rental properties was at an all-time high, with many prospective tenants looking for proximity to urban areas or easy access to amenities. Then when COVID hit, that demand plummeted. People started staying in place, and many found themselves unable to pay. This, in turn, forced property development companies to cease their projects. In 2021, we face a likely situation in which more people are looking for multifamily housing but unable to find something that suits their needs.

Tenants Will Expect More Amenities

The rise of apartment homes in the multifamily industry reflects consumers’ increased demand for in-house amenities. To stay competitive, many multifamily properties find that they now have to offer in-building laundry, parking spaces, a fitness center, and/or pool, and other perks as these amenities are expected. Some luxury multifamily properties offer valets, convenience stores, and utilities included with rent.

In general, multifamily properties are now expected to have luxurious finishes and a modern aesthetic. Carpets, standard light fixtures, and linoleum are being replaced by wooden floors, recessed lighting, and tile. Many people also expect their homes to be more eco-friendly, with low-flow showerheads, aerators, toilets, LED fixtures, etc.

Shared Areas Will Be Modified for COVID Prevention

While many multifamily properties shut down common areas, e.g. the gym, office, rec room, etc. it is now becoming clear that COVID isn’t going away any time soon. These spaces can’t stay closed forever, which means that multifamily properties are modifying those spaces to be socially distanced and easily sanitized. Some properties have installed new contactless mail collection areas or expanded their fitness facilities to accommodate social distancing.

Meanwhile, property managers are facing issues as many prospective tenants are reluctant to take in-person tours. With digital 3-D technology, many properties are now offering virtual and self-guided tours. As a plus, these tours allow tenants to view the property without traveling, which could lead to more business.

Smart Homes on the Rise

More people than ever are using AI-powered technology such as Google Home and Alexa to control their homes. More multifamily properties would do well to tap into this trend (many have), offering keyless entry, smart thermostats, and security cameras to entice residents. Even without these features, prospective tenants are seeking homes that can be fully wired to support remote work. That means plenty of outlets, high-speed internet access, and potentially a dedicated office or built-in desk area.

Multifamily Homes Will Dominate the Market

Despite all these factors, there will still be a strong demand for multifamily housing in 2021. Many families are seeking affordable, convenient options as they rebuild wealth. Others are moving to metropolitan areas where they intend to expand their careers. Either way, multifamily housing is a fairly recession-proof industry. While it’s true that some people have been unable to afford rent, multifamily housing provides a bit of a buffer during economic downturns.

Wrapping Up

2020 may have been a rough year, but multifamily housing solves many problems for the average American family. Premium multifamily buildings offer the amenities and convenience they need without the steep cost of homeownership. As Americans try to keep their options open, they’re reluctant to commit to a property — especially if they can enjoy a high standard of living in an apartment. That’s why multifamily housing is poised to hit big in 2021.

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