Buildium and the National Association of Rental Property Managers have released their fifth annual State of the Property Management Industry Report, which draws from a survey of 3,676 renters, owners, property managers, and community association members to track the current state and strongest trends in the property management industry.

Out of the 1,738 property managers who responded to Buildium’s survey, one in two have worked in property management for over a decade. Approximately 80% say they are bringing in more revenue now than they were two years ago, and 87.5% expect their revenue to continue to increase over the next two years.

Technology adoption has risen among property managers in recent years, up 4% in the past year alone. Nearly 90% incorporate technology into some facet of their job. The most common applications are accounting (90.2%), electronic payments (81%), communications (79.4%), and property management software (78.5%). A majority also use online listings, document sharing, and resident and client portals. (Only 7.7% have incorporated smart home tech in units.)

“Electronic lockboxes, electronic signatures, and online payment portals have allowed us to manage a greater number of properties in a larger geographic area with a smaller staff than would have been possible otherwise,” says a property manager from Richmond, Va. “When we discuss our range of properties and services with clients, they are astonished to hear what we are able to offer.”

Property managers are in high demand, with jobs in the sector expected to rise by 10% by 2026. However, Buildium notes that the profession has been hit by the same labor shortages that plague trade professions. In addition, understaffing has created working conditions that lead to burnout and turnover, and with the average property manager in their 50s, managers may begin to retire faster than new ones can enter the industry.

Of the 603 rental owners surveyed, almost 60% own single-family rentals, 37% own association rentals, and 28.8% own multifamily properties. Over 90% of owners own only between one and 20 units. One in two have been owners for over a decade, and 30% are actively growing their portfolios.

Both owners and renters now expect more from their property managers from a customer service standpoint than in years past, especially as technology has enabled real-time responses. Seventy-eight percent of property owners would like regular updates from property managers on their properties, of which 43% want real-time updates. As for renters, 72% say it is very important to them that their property manager is easy to reach and resolves issues quickly.

Of the 1,188 renters who took the survey, over half live in detached homes—31.9% single-family and 19.1% multifamily. Just under half live in small, medium, or large multifamily buildings, while 3.1% live in other property types.

When asked why they rent, the majority of renters —45%—say they would prefer to buy but are not in a position to do so. Buildium has observed that this response is most common among millennial and Gen Z renters. Just under 20% say renting is more affordable than buying, a response most common in urban neighborhoods.

The most desirable technologies among renter respondents are paying for rent online (65%), communication via text or email (58%), applying for rentals online (49%), access to a resident portal (49%), and filing maintenance requests online (49%). Interest in technology and amenities has risen among Gen X and baby boomer residents in the past year—up 8 percentage points for Gen X and 10 percentage points for baby boomers.

The most desirable community amenity is high-speed internet (53.5%), followed by a laundry room, garbage pickup, reserved parking, and a backyard. In units, residents would most prefer an in-unit washer and dryer (59.3%), followed by central air, a dishwasher, being allowed to have a pet, and a balcony, porch, or private patio.

Overall, renters expressed a desire to live in rentals that were comfortable, secure, and felt like home. “[I want to feel like] I’m in a home of my own,” one respondent says. “I don’t want to feel like it’s transient—something I’m just ‘living with’ until I buy something.”

Click here to access the full report.