8 Game-Changers for Multifamily

Posted on April 5, 2018

Major, disruptive shifts stand to reshape the needs and wants of tomorrow’s renters. Can the multifamily industry adapt its approach to designing, developing and operating apartment communities fast enough to stay relevant?

We live in an age of disruption. The world as we know it is changing, ushering in big shifts in the way people approach nearly every aspect of their lives. At the intersection of all these upheavals in technology, commerce, family, work, transportation and lifestyle is housing.

The apartment industry houses nearly 39 million people today, and demand for apartment living is growing. In fact, the industry will have to build at least 4.6 million apartments by 2030 just to keep up with demand. However, anything being designed today won’t see its first resident until the early 2020s, forcing the industry to become even more anticipatory, progressive and innovative when it comes to serving the next generation of renters’ needs.

But tomorrow’s needs and wants are shaping up to be so very different, thanks to a variety of game-changing shifts. This is the premise behind the new National Multifamily Housing Council report Disruption: How Demographics, Psychographics and Technology Are Bringing Multifamily to the Brink of a Design Revolution.

In the report, we dig into the following eight tectonic shifts that we believe are poised to radically reshape our customers’ expectations and experiences, and share our thoughts on how these will challenge multifamily’s approach to designing, developing and operating our communities.


Beyond just collecting more data through networking and sensor technology, computers are taking even bigger leaps forward in analyzing and interpreting data, effectively learning from it and even predicting future results. Given the giant steps forward in robotics and artificial intelligence, technology is set to become part of the core design of apartment communities rather than an add-on accessory or appliance. Technology will not just be employed for technology’s sake but rather to enrich the resident experience.


Hyper-informed and empowered by a tsunami of personalized, networked data, today’s consumers control their own destinies and expect immediate gratification. This will become exponentially apparent as younger generations take command of consumption. As real-time and personalized purchasing experiences become the norm, a lifestyle-focused, flexible and highly personalized apartment is as important as location and layout.


Young people have historically been the age group most likely to rent, and their sheer mass today is impressive. But targeting only this generation would be a mistake. Aging Baby Boomers, immigrants and non-traditional families will leave their mark on rental demand down the road. So while staple unit plans such as the typical one and two bedroom have long been the hallmark of the apartment industry, in the coming years apartment communities and units will have to adapt to serve a greater variety of households and housing needs. This will require building adaptability into physical components of unit construction.


Mobile technology, growth in non-traditional job sectors and increasing participation in the gig economy are disrupting where, how and for how long people work, impacting their housing priorities, their preferences, and ultimately, their decisions. Residents will favor having work in close proximity to—and even provided within—their apartment communities. The old home office, typically crammed into a den or spare bedroom, is ripe for a makeover.


Continue reading full article on multihousingnews.com.