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Multifamily Resident Needs Have Changed: Here's How Developers Are Adapting

Updated: Jun 7, 2022

By Melea VanOstrand

February 25, 2022, at 07:53 AM

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Developers and designers are rethinking designs at their properties and clubhouses to analyze which amenities will best serve which renters.

Multifamily residents are seeking more space for pets, working from home, and leisure activities since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, highlighting the need for more property maintenance.

That was a key discussion topic among developers at the GlobeSt. SPRING MULTIFAMILY Conference in Hollywood, Florida.

The number of pet owners increased during the pandemic, said Juan Fernandez, director of real estate development at AHS Residential, a developer in Three Lakes, Florida. As a result, developers and designers are rethinking designs at their properties and clubhouses to analyze which amenities will best serve which renters.

Before the pandemic, the speakers said there were micro-unit concepts in development with shared kitchens and bathrooms, but that halted due to social-distancing requirements.

When it comes to student housing, David Timmerman, senior vice president of asset management at DMG Investments, said students mainly wanted to stay in the city they were studying in, despite the rise in online studying during the pandemic. That’s caused developers to cater to the student experience, and many have designed private bedrooms and bathrooms to accommodate social distancing needs.

“[In] the co-study space and co-work space, we’ve gone in on some renovations and taken out movie theaters to add in study rooms for single study and more of that study space as an amenity,” said Timmerman.

With more people spending time in their multifamily units, developers are looking at more ways to incorporate technology into everyday living, with better internet service, keyless entry access, and artificial intelligence technology. Environmentally-friendly features, such as efficient windows and appliances, will also be a growing trend.

Another need is space for package deliveries since currently, multifamily models cannot handle the flow of packages after an uptick in buying items and meals online.

The panelists agreed that flex space and coworking is here to stay since many employees now go into the office just once or twice a week.

Timmerman said he’s looking forward to seeing how the demand for second-tier cities and remote working pair up, and how multifamily spaces will change. He said he expects to see small rooms designed for an office inside homes or apartments and more amenity areas for people who work from home.

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