Multifamily housing is in great demand. Occupancy rates were at a record high of 96% in 2019, and we could see as many as one million new renter households entering the market with each new year. 

Several factors play into a person’s decision to rent rather than buy, including:  

  • The desire for a flexible city lifestyle
  • Need for community
  • Lack of affordable single-family homes. 

Whatever their reasons, renters have evolving expectations for their living arrangements. Here are some of the latest trends changing the way multifamily housing looks, feels, and functions. 

Designed for diversity

For many, renting is no longer a passing phase. Whether they’re living by themselves, starting a family, or splitting the bills with roommates, younger generations are continuing to rent well beyond their college years. This population wants a place they can make their own and call their home.  

Renting is steadily gaining popularity among a wide variety of demographics, too. Immigrant families and baby boomers make up the fastest-growing percentage of multifamily tenants. And while there’s still a market for luxury living, many renters are prioritizing affordability over deluxe amenities. 

So, heading into 2020, a one-size-fits-all model simply won’t do if your goal is to attract tenants from various economic, age, and cultural groups. 

Close to everything

One of the most appealing aspects of renting, particularly in metro areas, is the ability to have all the essentials within reach. Today’s most popular on-site amenities are practical and convenient: 

  • High-speed WiFi
  • Package management systems
  • Laundry and dry cleaning services
  • Pet grooming and care
  • Fitness and wellness centers 

And to reach offices, parks, restaurants, retail stores, and other routine destinations, tenants prefer to be within walking distance or near public transit. They also love a property that accommodates other forms of urban transportation. Secure bike storage and repair services and designated parking spaces for rideshare vehicles are sure to please. 


In a world powered by technology, it can be easy to feel isolated. So when choosing an apartment, renters are looking for co-living layouts and common areas they can share with other residents. They may even be willing to settle for smaller private units if they have access to these community spaces. 

This co-living movement appeals to all age groups, but it’s currently trending among seniors. Known as the “Golden Girls” model, co-living arrangements allow older generations to maintain independence while enjoying the company of others their age. Americans are living well beyond retirement these days — the average life expectancy has increased from 68 to 79 years since 1950. And they don’t want to spend those senior years alone. 

There’s also a growing interest in co-working spaces, where tenants can access technology and work alongside one another. As more freelance, remote, and independent contractor positions emerge, co-working features bring modern office amenities into the home.

Safe and comfortable

Property technology (proptech) is catching on in the multifamily realm, thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT). Modern devices and sensors give tenants more control over their environment while providing property managers with greater insights into heating, cooling, lighting, and water usage. 

But there’s an emerging challenge in this area — extreme heat. Rising temperatures have increased the demand for central air conditioning and other features that help residents beat the heat. Some properties, particularly in areas that experience frequent heat waves, will need to undergo structural modifications to reduce temperatures. These efforts include the use of light-colored materials, the addition of canopies, and upgrades to heat-generating systems. In addition, trees may be added to reduce the surface temperatures of outdoor areas by as much as 35 degrees.

Another aspect of tenant comfort is feeling secure. And thanks to advancements in surveillance cameras, building and room access, and mailroom operations, you can use technology to offer renters that sense of security. Cameras now include person-detection capabilities, residents can remotely lock and unlock doors via mobile devices, and couriers can deposit tenant deliveries safely into package lockers


A great way to bring tenants peace of mind in the new year is to offer package protection. Learn how Smiota’s smart package lockers can help.