NW REporter

Developers rethinking amenities as consumer preferences shift

Trend tracking research from The New Homes Trends Institute (NHTI) indicate what consumers want in master planned and rental communities is changing, requiring developers to rethink their offerings.

Researchers identified three low cost, high impact amenities that merit consideration as add-ons:

  1. Concierge and rental services
  2. Amenities that facilitate working from anywhere
  3. Local community support

Offering concierge-like services can help residents attend to changing priorities while easing some of the responsibilities of caring for their homes and connecting with their communities. Personal assistance/virtual butler services like Hello Alfred, available in a growing list of metro areas (including selected apartments in Seattle), can facilitate access to tasks like grocery shopping, pet care, picking up prescriptions, light house cleaning, shipping packages or other errands.

NHTI findings also revealed a desire for seasonal outdoor equipment rentals. In Portland, for example, the Gear Shed at The Hotel Zags offers guests bikes, helmets, fishing rods, backpacks, kayaks, games and a variety of other seasonal equipment.

To accommodate the 40% of workers who expect to work from home at least one day a week, unique coworking spaces are increasingly popular and can give property owners/developers a competitive advantage. The Burns team listed distinctive workspaces that inspire or that offer podcast or broadcast facilities as examples.

The third desired amenity the trend trackers uncovered was local community support to connect residents to local businesses that might offer resident-exclusive discounts or benefits. As an example, discounted memberships at a nearby gym could be a win-win partnership for developments that lack their own fitness facility.

Noting demand for build-for-rent homes is growing, the researchers believe offering “next-level” amenities will help set communities apart and can influence where people chose to live.

New Home TrendsThe New Homes Trends Institute is affiliated with John Burns Real Estate Consulting. Members of NHTI have access to insights on housing preferences and pain points based on surveys, webinars and interactions with builders, architects, designers, and other industry professionals.