Forget the marble countertops. Skip the jacuzzi. And don’t even think about a fireplace. When it comes to the most important feature sought by apartment hunters, a dog-friendly space is tops.
Pet-friendliness is not only the most desired amenity of prospective apartment renters, but it can be quite friendly to the bottom lines of landlords and investors. Figuring out what’s important to lure renters, and increasing income for owners, is getting extra attention this week as the apartment industry’s highest-profile annual gathering, Apartmentalize, gets underway Wednesday in Denver .
For U.S. renters this year, being dog-friendly is the most sought-after apartment feature, according to analysts at CoStar using data from the company’s nationwide rental search website, Apartments.com. Cat-friendliness comes close behind it at No. 3.
Welcoming furry friends can not only attract new tenants but increase the amount those renters pay.
About 72% of current and prospective residents have pets, and when they become tenants, they’re probably paying 20% to 30% premiums in rent and pet-related deposits or fees, according to a 2015 report by the National Apartment Association, the industry group presenting this week’s annual Apartmentalize convention in Denver.
Peter Scepanovic, senior vice president in the Carlsbad, California, office of brokerage Colliers International, noted that the high-spending consumers that landlords are trying to attract are increasingly willing to pay that premium, which in many cities amounts to $30 to $50 or more per month.
That extra income helps apartment developers and investors pay for amenities that are increasingly becoming competitive necessities for owners nationwide, as pet-loving tenants demand elements such as hardwood flooring – which turns out is easier to clean and lasts about twice as long as traditional carpeting anyway, a plus for the landlord – and outdoor dog-walking and play areas with waste pickup bags kept stocked at all times.
“I can tell you that more often than not, developers are not only making their properties pet friendly but they are specifically designing pet amenities like pet washing stations and dog runs to attract those tenants,” said Jim Neil, executive vice president in the San Diego office of brokerage Kidder Mathews. For instance, at Alliance Residential Broadstone North Park in San Diego, the property hosts a regular “Yappy Hour” where residents can bring their pets to mingle and enjoy treats.
All this helps with long-term tenant retention as well as attraction. “Five or six years ago you had a lot of landlords saying, ‘I don’t want to deal with pets,’ but now I have to tell clients that if they don’t, they’re potentially turning away a big chunk of their highly desirable tenant base,” Scepanovic said.
While it’s clear that dog and cat accommodations dominate what tenants value in an apartment, at least in the early stages of their hunting for a place to live, would-be renters this year are also seeking other features.
Analysts at CoStar Group found these to be the top amenity searches so far in 2019 on Apartments.com. This data reflects total U.S. searches from Jan. 1 to June 20 in which specific amenities were selected from a larger list of choices.
Renters searched for:
1. Dog Friendly – 11.4 Million
2. In Unit Washer and Dryer – 10.6 Million
3. Cat Friendly – 4.1 Million
4. Utilities Included – 3.2 Million
5. Central Air – 2.5 Million
6. Central Air and In Unit Washer and Dryer – 2.3 Million
7. Parking – 2.2 Million
8. In Unit Washer and Dryer and Dog Friendly – 2.2 Million
9. Furnished – 2 Million
10. In Unit Washer and Dryer and Parking – 1.4 Million
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