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What Gen Z Renters Want: 5 Must-Have Apartment Amenities

Choosing the top amenities that Gen Z renters want will help properties excel in the coming decade.

Meet Gen Z Renters

​​​​The first generation to grow up with social media and smart phones, Gen Zers have become an increasingly important demographic in the multifamily resident population. Born between roughly 1997 and 2012, this generation will replace millennials as the largest renter group in the multifamily market by 2030. Already, they represent over a quarter of lease applications around the nation. 

To succeed in the multifamily industry, it is vital for communities to understand Gen Z’s preferences and needs.

Quick Facts About Gen Z:

  • They are the most ethnically diverse and best-educated generation.
  • While Millennials were shaped by 9/11, the war in Iraq, and the 2008 economic recession, Gen Zers have little, if any, memory of these events.
  • YouTube is Gen Z’s most popular social channel, followed by TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat. 
  • 75% of Gen Zers selected their smartphone as their device of choice
  • Their consumption decisions are influenced by the value they place on individual identity and ethical choices.

The Emerging Renter Demographic

Gen Z was the only demographic that had an increase in renter applications between 2020 and 2021, rising by 21%. In the same year, Millennial applications fell by 8%, the largest drop of any generation. The trend is clear, and communities are rallying to attract the newest generation of adults. 

A survey from the National Apartment Association showed that 44% of Gen Z renters want to live in vibrant suburbs, but the cities of San Francisco, Jersey City, Manhattan, Philadelphia, and Boston showed the greatest increase in Gen Zers in 2022. These cities boast job opportunities, entertainment options, public transportation, and opportunities for social connection. Gen Zers also make up a majority of renters in college towns around the country.

Regardless of where your property is located, understanding the lifestyle of Gen Zers and their preferences can help you set your community up for success in the decade to come. 

Here are 5 apartment amenities that can increase the attractiveness of your property for Gen Z renters.

1. High-Speed Internet

According to a recent survey by Rent Cafe, high-speed internet connection was the most important amenity to Gen Z renters, outranking parking, gyms, and laundry facilities. 

This generation is used to streaming video and interacting via social media, so having reliable internet access is a must. In fact, 54% of Gen Z renters spend 4 or more hours online every day, according to a Morning Consult survey

Additionally, Gen Zers want to be able to access instant WiFi when they move in. They have grown up with Amazon Prime, and they don’t want to have to wait for installation. 

2. Smart Home Technology

62% of Gen Z renters said apartment technology is “extremely important” or “very important” when they are looking for a new apartment, according to a rent cafe survey. Smart locks and thermostats ranked even higher in importance than having an extra bedroom. 

Managed WiFi provides internet that is instantly on at move-in. It can also reduce expenses for residents while increasing revenue for properties. 

As digital natives, Gen Zers are experts at using technology to make their lives easier. They love the convenience of adjusting thermostats and lights remotely or sharing access to their smart locks with friends.

3. Energy Efficient Appliances

Sustainability is key to attracting this values-driven generation. Gen Z is highly involved climate activism, and they vote with their wallets. Studies show that they are willing to spend 10% more for products that are sustainable. In addition, three fourths of the Gen Z population reports that they value sustainability over brand name. This extends to their choice of where to live.

As a Cushman & Wakefield and Greystone report notes:

“While location, price and building quality will still largely determine Generation Z’s rental decisions, sustainability at the building and unit-level will offer ways of differentiating rental offerings. As Generation Z grows older and wealthier, they will have more budget to allocate towards their environmental values, so sustainability will remain key.” 

By investing in energy efficiency now, properties can stand out.

4. Pet-Friendly Policies

Many Gen Z pet owners adopted their pet at the height of the pandemic, and surveys show that they are more likely to think of their pets as their “children” than any other generation (33%).  They are also more likely to celebrate their pet’s birthdays (81%) and dress their pets up for festive occasions (43%).

Needless to say, pet-friendly policies are important for Gen Zers. As one Gen Z renter affirmed in an article in the Indianapolis Business Journal, “I wouldn’t leave my kid behind if I moved, so why would I do that to my dog?”

Pet-friendly policies and amenities like dog runs and pet washes are a great way for properties to win Gen Zers’ hearts. In fact, a recent Pet Inclusive Housing Initiative report showed that residents in pet-friendly housing stayed 21% longer.

Gen Z pet owners spend more on their animals than any other generation. Offering rentable amenity spaces like pet washes is a great way to attract residents and boost NOI.  

5. Package Rooms

Gen Z consumers are avid online shoppers, with 24% reporting that they prefer to make purchases online and 40% reporting that most of their electronics and clothes were purchased online.

Rates of online shopping soared at the beginning of the pandemic, and they have remained high. As a result, complaints about stolen packages have increased. Many properties are investing in proptech that reduces this risk.

Package rooms use a security camera, smart lock, and shelving to offer a versatile and secure theft-prevention solution. Research shows that Gen Z renters appreciate these efforts with more than a quarter reporting willingness to pay more for secure package management.

Are you ready for Gen Z?

Across all generations, fitness centers, designated parking, and laundry facilities remain important, but by investing in amenities that are especially appealing to emerging Gen Z adults, properties can give themselves a competitive edge.

By 2030, Gen Zers are projected to rule the multifamily world as the majority renter demographic. Properties that appeal to Gen Z renters now will find that this generational transition is an opportunity for growth.

Interested in learning more about how to set your property up for growth in the coming years? Speak with a smart building expert about how you can get ahead of the curve.

Homebase brings the smart apartment experience to new build and retrofit multifamily with trusted technology that delivers intuitive building access control with smart locks, automation of property management, new revenue with property-wide WiFi, and IoT technology amenities residents enjoy. All completely installed and managed for the multifamily innovation leaders of this decade.