3 Ways COVID Has Changed What People Want in a Dream Apartment
After spending the past year staring at the same four walls, many of us are looking for a change of scenery. Maybe it’s a beach town, or a city with a lower cost of living. Or maybe you just dream of living in the same town where every Hallmark holiday movie is filmed. Wherever it is, it’s a safe bet that what you want out of your new home has probably changed too. After poring over Apartment Guide’s 2021 Apartment Amenities Survey, as well as data from Common, which offers co-living and apartments in nine cities nationwide, we uncovered a few, uh, common themes. Here’s what renters really want right now—and how that’s changed since the pandemic started.
1. They’re Trading in “Cruise Ship Amenities” for Stronger Communities
For years, luxury apartment complexes have tried to lure renters with the kinds of amenities you’d expect to see on cruise ships, like golf simulators, on-site fitness instructors, wine cellars and movie theaters. Now, many are starting to dial back those perks, which can inflate the price of rent. Affordability is top of mind, making this an easy way to keep costs down. Plus, all of our time spent indoors has made us all want to go outside more, which is why Common is investing more in (socially distanced) community-building initiatives. They’ve offered virtual craft classes through CraftJam, where they deliver kits full of craft supplies to residents’ doors, so they can take part in a project together. They’ve also donated meals to COVID testing sites, set up clothing donation boxes to benefit refashionNYC and started featuring local artists’ work in their buildings.
2. Proximity to the Park Is the New Status Symbol
Where a building is located is as important as ever; it’s just that how you define “where” has changed. In the past, the closer a complex was to mass transit, the better. Now, Common has found that people are much more interested in how close a building is to parks and outdoor spaces. It’s no wonder, then, that Etsy and Google have both seen searches for friluftsliv—the Swedish practice of getting outside and enjoying the open air—skyrocket over the past year.
3. High-Speed WiFi Is Paramount
With more people working from home—or simply growing more comfortable with regular Zoom hangouts and nonstop streaming—having WiFi that won’t lag is critical. Nearly 92 percent of renters surveyed by the National Multifamily Housing Council stated that it’s very important to them to have. Similarly, 91 percent said having reliable cell phone reception is a must—and nearly half of the people surveyed said they checked their connection on their phones while touring a building (because honestly, how annoying is it to move in and realize your whole bedroom is a dead zone?!).
To that end, Common reported more of a shift toward private, work-from-home spaces—such as small conference rooms and phone booths—over big, shared spaces. The brand doesn’t see this as the end of community lounges; they just feel that in co-living spaces, people want more private areas to escape to, beyond just their bedrooms. After all, when you need some alone time, it’s good to have options.