New York City’s apartment squeeze on the working class, and a new pro-consumer mayor, has set the stage to change the landscape of the city’s housing, analysts say.
The city government is increasingly interested in putting more low-income housing units into the mix while the working class, particularly Millennials and small families, are also clamoring for more fair, attainable rents.
Glenn Brill, a manager at Baltimore-based FTI Consulting, says for the city to strike economic balance, officials must focus on housing the working class. Millennials will play a large role in deciding what multifamily communities will be successful and what just won’t work.
“I think there’s a growing demand for new housing stock because most of it is pretty old,” Brill says. “Millenials want a living environment that sort of matches their lifestyle and the current housing doesn’t do that.”
Social media has helped shape how Millennials choose where they want to live and how they interact. “You need those products that facilitate a lifestyle that is tech-driven and socially driven because of Facebook,” Brill says.
And although Millennials would prefer to live alone, they still want to know everyone else’s business, perhaps more so than previous generations.
“There used to be this attitude that if a New Yorker found a dead body in the hallway they would just step over it,” Brill says. “But the new generation wants to get to know their neighbors. I think you’re going to see more of that.”
Common areas such as pools and rooftop decks will play a large factor in new construction geared toward the working class. But privacy is an issue too.
“Millennials want lots of privacy at home,” Brill says. “They don’t want roommates, they would rather have pets. And they want an environment where they can interact if they choose to.”
As such, this generation of young workers will also help shape what size apartments need to be built to fuel demand.
“There’s a need to build one bedrooms targeted toward Millennials, I think,” Brill says. “The Millennials won’t care about space because they don’t spend a lot of time at home anyway.”
In many ways, the neighborhood is another amenity to this generation.
“You have to remember they’re not just renting your apartment, they’re renting the neighborhood too,” Brill says. “Your best bet is a small unit in a good neighborhood where there are lots of bars and restaurants.”
Lindsay Machak is an Associate Editor for Multifamily Executive. Connect with her on Twitter @LMachak.