HOUSTON – (By Dale King, Realty News Report) — Amenities are one of the most important elements renters consider when searching for an apartment. Having access to all of one’s preferred conveniences can make or break the decision to lease a particular residence.
That said, some amenities are easier to come by than others, says Apartment List, a platform that connects renters with apartment listings through an online marketplace.
“We help renters find homes they love, and amenities are a top factor they consider when searching for an apartment,” said Chris Salviati, a housing economist at the firm where he conducts research on economic trends in the housing market.
“However, the types of amenities that renters desire often do not match what is available in the marketplace,” he noted. In a newly released report, “Apartment List dug into renters’ search patterns and data from the properties on our platform to see how well the amenities available in rental properties align with what renters want in the nation’s largest metros.”
One conclusion is clear. Apartment hunters in Houston have little to worry about. “We categorize Houston as having too many amenities,” said Salviati. “Renters are likely to have an above average chance” of finding what they want.
He did note that in Houston, “an in-unit laundry is the hardest amenity to find. Fifty-seven percent of renters are looking for one, but only 42% of rentals have one.
By contrast, cat-friendliness is the most oversupplied amenity in the Bayou City. Seventy-nine percent of leasable units welcome felines while only 8% of renters bring kitties with them. Even dogs are no impediment to renting 81% of units on the market, though only 26% bring canines as part of their package of requests.
“Renters in Houston are more demanding that those in other parts of the country, with renter demand above the national average for 8 of the 10 amenities we analyzed,” said Salviati.
Also, more property owners in Houston offer things like air-conditioning, balconies, dishwashers, gymnasiums, hardwood floors, parking and pools than are requested by potential tenants.
“Our analysis indicates that in-unit laundry is the holy grail of amenities,” said Salviati. Research nationwide shows “an estimated 53% of renters want an in-unit laundry, but only 13% of properties have it.”
Nationally, “Air conditioning and parking are similarly lacking. These are the two most desired amenities, with 56 percent of renters citing a preference for air conditioning, and 55 percent saying they want parking. Meanwhile, only 39 percent of properties have air conditioning and only 46 percent have parking.”
“It’s also worth noting that even when parking is available, it often costs renters an additional fee. In some dense cities, such as New York and San Francisco, getting a parking spot could add hundreds of dollars to a renter’s monthly expenses.”
As might be expected, renter preferences vary significantly across different parts of the country, said Salviati. “San Antonio renters want it all, while in NYC, renters will take what they can get.”
Speaking of the hometown of the Alamo, San Antonio dominates the list for highest amenity demand, with the greatest share of renters requesting five of the 10 amenities Apartment List analyzed.
Given the Texas heat, it’s no surprise that so many San Antonio renters are looking for air conditioning and pools. San Antonio is also one of the nation’s most affordable large cities, with a median two-bedroom rent of $1,050, which may explain why the area’s renters are more willing to splurge on higher-end amenities, such as hardwood floors and balconies.
In contrast, the New York City metro has some of the nation’s least choosy renters, with the metro accounting for half of the spots on the low demand list. New York is the nation’s second most expensive rental market — trailing only San Francisco — with a median two-bedroom rent of $2,470.
Back in Texas, Dallas kind of mirrors Houston. You can pretty much get whatever you want, as long as it’s not an in-unit laundry. Only 19% of properties provide them for the 46% of renters who plead for clean clothes.
Ditto in Austin, where laundromats down the street are cleaning up, serving most of the 58% of renters who want to swab their duds within their own dwelling. Only 21% of rental units provide this accommodation.
Unfortunately for renters, only 10 of the 70 metros Apartment List analyzed contain communities with a well-matched supply of amenities. “Overall, Providence, R.I., has the best match.”
On the other hand, in Madison, Wis., the share of properties with gyms, hardwood floors and balconies is greater than the share of renters looking for them. Meanwhile, dishwashers, air conditioning and in-unit laundries are in short supply.
Other metros offering the wrong amenities include Portland, Phoenix and Tucson.
While finding all of one’s preferred amenities is great, an overabundance of amenities can be bad for renters if they’re paying extra for niceties they don’t need. Salviati said all four Texas metros (Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Austin) fall into this category, likely owing to the state’s abundant supply of new construction, which tends to be well-equipped with modern amenities.
“As our nation’s rental stock continues to grow, we hope that developers, property managers and landlords will consider which amenities are most desired in their markets in order to bridge the gap between amenity supply and amenity demand.”
July 9, 2018 Realty News Report Copyright 2018
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