How Architects Can Design to Attract Millennial Renters

Posted 08/10/2017

how architects can design to attract millennial renters

Saddled with student loan debt and having less liquid capital than the generation before them, millennials -- the largest current generation -- are electing to rent and put off home buying. According to the Brookings Institution's research, millennials will make up 1 in every 3 American adults by 2020. City-dwelling millennial renters have a unique set of priorities when it comes to selecting a Multifamily unit. Learn what amenities, layouts, and features matter most to millennials when planning your next Multifamily project. 

Millennial Renters Care About Health and Wellness.

According to a Goldman Sachs report, one of millennials' top priorities is wellness. This generation's commitment to tracking nutrition and fitness data make the inclusion of health centers imperative. Other Multifamily amenities to consider offering include: 

  • Community gyms 
  • Virtual personal training
  • Locker rooms
  • Air purifiers, and 
  • Blackout shade systems for optimal sleep. 

Sustainability and Energy Consciousness Are Top Priority.

This powerful group of renters cares about the environment, backing up their beliefs with composting, curbing energy, and decreasing water usage. Millennials oftentimes find creative ways to conserve, reduce, and reuse in their daily lives. Key features and amenities that appeal to energy saving include:

  • Water- and energy-efficient appliances 
  • Low-flow toilets, showerheads, and lavatory and kitchen faucets
  • Recycling and compost capabilities
  • Programmable thermostats -- or even smart/learning models that can automatically adjust according to the tenant's schedule

Additional building modifications can include electric vehicle charging stations and solar panels.

Millennials Are Digital Natives with an Affinity for Technology.

A new host of features shape these renters' day, from their morning cup of coffee, to how and where they work. Architects now include commuter cafes and work-from-home stations in their plans to accommodate the needs of remote workers. Automated mail and package reception make sure that these renters never miss a thing. 

"A recent survey from Wakefield Research and Schlage of 1,000 U.S. renters in Multifamily dwellings revealed that 86% of millennial renters who live in multifamily dwellings would pay higher rent for a 'smart' apartment." 

- Building Design & Construction Magazine

Embrace the Sharing Economy.

The sharing economy business model that made companies like Airbnb and numerous ride-sharing services successful has transformed consumer attitudes toward consumption and ownership. With this in mind, architects can incorporate convenience and shared amenities into their design. Here are a few examples:

  • Dog parks are now standard in some urban buildings like The Kensington in Boston's Theater District and One Canal in Boston's West End. 
  • While fire pits and rooftop lounges encourage social gatherings in the comfort of home, on-site Zipcars and bike-share stations allow residents to get around the city quickly and cost-effectively.

As you draw up your project plans, be sure to select products and finishes that are high quality and can stand up to tenant wear and tear, particularly in frequently used rooms, such as kitchens and bathrooms. Save time and energy by working with a partner like Symmons to select -- or even custom design -- bathroom and kitchen fixtures that speak to your Multifamily project's desired look and feel, as well as water conservation.  

Tags: Multifamily, Architecture

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