The COVID-19 pandemic has changed renters’ current and future wants and needs, according the 2022 Renter Preferences Survey Report from the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) and Grace Hill. The report includes input from 221,000 renters living in 4,564 communities in 79 markets nationwide.
“The pandemic caused many renters to reevaluate their housing priorities, with a striking example being one-quarter of all moves we tracked were specific to changes in teleworking,” said Sarah Yaussi, NMHC vice president of business strategy. “Whether it’s digital nomads looking to join a flexible membership club, pet amenities dog owners won’t rent without, or the insatiable appetite for more packages, the NMHC/Grace Hill Renter Preferences Survey reveals all that has changed since 2019. And what we’ve seen overall are renters reporting a great desire for more space, better amenities, and in-home creature comforts.”
One notable trend is the desire for more space, with 28% of renters who said they intend to move to a different rental community when their lease is up citing additional living space as a reason, an increase from 19% two years ago. This reason ranked third after seeking lower rent, 49%, and seeking better community amenities, 29%.
When it comes to the type of rental homes respondents considered during their last search, more than half, 57%, said traditional apartment homes. However, townhomes and single-family rentals garnered 23% and 19% of responses, respectively, “supporting the desire for more space and validating industry and investor eyes on these property types,” according to the NMHC.
The pandemic also has increased renters’ interest as well as what they are willing to pay for certain amenities. Topping the list are in-unit washers and dryers with 92% of renters interested and air conditioning with 91% of renters interested. For both, renters are willing to pay a $54.73 monthly premium. Additional amenities at the top of the list include soundproof walls with 90% of renters interested and a $46.21 monthly premium, high-speed internet access with 89% of renters interested and a $47.93 monthly premium, and walk-in closets with 88% of renters interested and a $43.46 monthly premium.
In addition, the report highlighted the increase in deliveries over the past two years for renters. While the share of renters who received two or fewer packages per month dropped from 45% in 2019 to 24%, the share who received three or more packages per month increased from 55% to 76% over the same time period. The share of those receiving perishable items several times a month or more also nearly doubled from 9% in 2019 to 17% in this latest survey round.